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  • Four-letter words have a bad name. Perhaps four-letter words have been given a bad rap. Some four letter words are wholesome, even holy. We can all think of some. I want to nominate one word to be holy – the word is “GROW.” Grow? How big is that four-letter word? The word “grow” is so big that only God can fill the domain in which it dwells. God grows everything, and everyone. Stewards of God could very easily define their entire being and doing into “grow.”
  • Good place to bring up the five dirty words
  • Note good use of word “need”

Grow Grow Presentation Transcript

  • “ Grow: A Steward Theology for Individuals and Congregations” Dr. Ed Kruse Director for Stewardship ELCA July, 2010
  • The Model of Jesus – “Jesus grew…”
    • Jesus, in his human life, is the perfect respondent to God, the Steward.
    • Lk 2:51-52
    • Ph 2:5-11
    • The life of Jesus is marked by obedience and faithfulness to God.
    • Steward Theology is “Gratitude Growth Living”
    • Grow means a “steward life” that:
    • Lifts worship to “week-long”
    • Shifts support to “unwrapping gifts”
    • Inspires service to “our need to give”
    • Grows to “always having enough to give”
    • Frees us from the “bondage of money”
    • -Ro 6:4, 13
    • Steward theology is about God’s relationship
    • with all who are created in God’s image.
    • God’s relationship is :
    • Beyond our comprehension
    • AND clearly revealed to us
      • In the Word made flesh
      • In the resurrected life
      • In gift-based vocation
      • In glorifying God
      • In building up the body of Christ
    • -Lk 9:45, 18:34, 1 Co 2:7, 2 Co 4:3, Jn 3:16
    2. Stewards Grow in Faith
  • Steward Theology in our Creeds
    • Creator & Creature
    • We believe that what God created iin His image serves God’s purpose.
    • God’s Plan Revealed
    • God has revealed His purpose to us.
  • 3. “Grow” Steward Theology is Grace-based and God-directed
    • God’s dream for you and your congregation is rooted in God’s grace. God involves you in creating, restoring, and sustaining God’s world, all creatures, and all people.
    • All people can be drawn into a new
    • relationship with God
    • and into new life with purpose.
    • - -Ep 2:8-9
  • 4. Steward Theology Is Visible
    • God is the chief steward, the “ oikonomos ” of creation, history, and the quality of the future.
    • God’s plan, “ oikonomia ,” God’s “economy,” calls us to be stewards of God’s:
      • Intentions, Goals, and
      • Accomplishments
      • -Lk 19:11-27
  • Steward Theology Grows Best in Community
    • Old Testament
    • God’s plan is marked by abundance and is expressed in community .
    • New Testament
    • God’s plan is embodied in the resurrected Jesus, lived out in the community gathered in his name, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  • Stewards Grow in “Following-Jesus-Attitudes/Actions ”
    • Stewards recognize God’s plan and recognize Jesus at the center of that plan.
    • Stewards
    • live into God’s plan.
  • 5. Stewards Grow in Joyful Worship
    • In the Old Testament God says, “ You shall have no other gods before me .” - Ex 20:3
    • Jesus said, “ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart , and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment .”
    • - Mt 22:37-38
  • “ Worship is living one’s life in God.” The First and the Best When we offer our “ first fruits ” we are thanking God and trusting in God. - De 26, Ps 119
  • 6. Stewards Grow in Serving Others
    • The first commandment is to love God; the second, “… is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself .”
    • - Mt 22
    • Feeding the hungry
    • Providing drink for the thirsty
    • Welcoming the stranger
    • Clothing the naked
    • Taking care of the sick
    • Visiting the prisoners
    • Comforting the bereaved
  • 7. Stewards Grow in Self-care
    • Self-Care and Vocational Fulfillment
    • A Christian approach to self-care and vocational fulfillment is marked by obedience and dependence upon God and God’s plan.
    • -Ps 1:1-3, 2 Ti 2:1-5
  • 8. Stewards Grow Communally
    • What Does Luther Say?
    • “We now want to return to the Gospel, which gives guidance and help against sin in more than one way because God is extravagantly rich in his grace… through the mutual conversation and consolation of brothers and sisters. “… Where two or three are gathered .” - Mt 18:20
    • Smalcald Articles
  • 9. Stewards Grow In Rhythm
    • It is challenging to grow in living a balanced life; a rhythmic balance.
    • Work & Leisure Achievement & Relationship
    • Spending & Saving Responsibility & Individuality
    • Plenty & Poverty Commitment & Freedom
    • Giving & Receiving Planning & Trusting
    • -Ec 3:1-8
    • Our behavior impacts not only the lives of others of our species, but of the whole living world!
    • -Ge 1-2, Job 38-39, Ps 104
    10. Stewards Care for God’s Creation Our celebration of creation means stewarding God’s creation!
  • 11. Stewards Grow Relationships
    • Lives of Meaning and Purpose
    • People derive meaning and purpose through:
      • Their relationship with God.
      • Their interaction with the community of faith, the organism we call the Body of Christ, the church.
      • -1 Co 12:12-31
  • 12. Stewards Grow in Generosity
    • Lives of Meaning and Purpose
    • Stewards offer what God has given
    • them:
      • Selves…
      • Time…
      • Possessions…
    • Signs of our relationship with God and with one another. These give meaning and purpose to life.
    • -LBW 80, 129
  • God’s Purpose for You - Glorify God and Build Up the Body of Christ
    • God Makes a Difference Through God-glorifying Desires
    • Desire to serve God
    • Desire to build the Body of Christ
    • Desire to make a difference for God
    • 1 Co. 12:26-27
  • 13. Stewards Grow in Building the Body of Christ
    • In the church we gather as Jesus-followers and praise God in Jesus-communities that use their gifts to make a difference in the local and global community.
    • Church leaders connect to each other for the sake of Jesus Christ.
    • -1 Co 12:26-27
  • 14. Stewards Grow Free from the Bondage of Money
    • Americans are in bondage to wealth and the things money claims to be able to provide.
    • -Lk 12:16-24
    • Bondage sometimes looks like
    • 1. consumerism
    • 2. Accumulation
    • 3. Stinginess,
    • 4. Miserliness
    • 5. Fear of loss
    • 6. Fear of gain, or
    • 7. Debt
  • Freedom from Bondage
    • Stewardship teaching offers the possibility of providing a perspective that is larger than that provided by advertisements or financial pages.
  • Generosity Is Its Own Reward
    • Spiritual life is a life of generosity. God is the Great Giver.
    Those who grow in generosity bear fruit out of a deeper understanding of and love for God.
  • 15. Stewards Grow “to and from” the Tithe
    • Tithing is a particularly useful way to practice generosity. We define tithing as giving one-tenth (10%) of one’s income .
    • It is not a small amount
    • It requires an act of faith
    • It is a significant action
    • Tithes, offerings, & alms
    • -Ma 3:8-10, He 7:2-9, Mt 6:21, Lk 12:34
  • Tithing
    • God’s grace may lead us to “act our way into thinking” or “think our way into acting.” Either way our behaviors change and our faith grows. - Jn. 7, Mt. 6
    Tithing is Action!
  • Tithing is a Mark of a Growing and Joyful Steward
    • Generous people discover deeper joy as they grow in giving.
    • Tithers think of themselves as giving to God “through” the church rather than “to” the church.
    • There are few, if any, disgruntled tithers.
  • Generous Giving
    • “ Y ou know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich .”
    • -2 Co. 8
    • Christians contribute generously, even sacrificially, as followers of Jesus who generously gave his life!
  • 16. Most of All, Stewards Grow in Trusting God
    • Giving generously grows our of trusting God’s promise to provide “ every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work .”
    • -2 Co 9:6-13
    • True prosperity is more than riches; it is learning to share and trust!
  • A Steward Grows in Trusting the Promises of God (cont’d)
    • God’s generosity renews our daily generous giving as we worship God and serve God’s people.
    • - Ro. 12
    • A life of meaning and purpose flows in the abundance of God.
  • A Stewards’ Prayer
    • (In unison) Dear Lord God, in Christ you have given us so much. You have given us Jesus. You have given us everything we are and have. Give us one thing more – a grateful heart; not just for our sake, but for Jesus’ sake. Amen .