Pastor’s Pondering

As we enter into October and the Fall, we enter into our Stewardship Season, a time when we reflect on how we use our money and our resources and how God is inviting us to be people who practice gratitude and generosity in all the parts of our lives. I know it’s tempting to stop reading once you see the words Stewardship and money. It can be an uncomfortable topic, it’s one of those topics we have been taught as polite people to politely ignore. But it’s not a topic Jesus ignored; it’s one he talked about again and again and again almost more than any other. I think he talked about it so often not because it was his favorite subject, but because Jesus knew that it is hard. That navigating our financial resources wisely and faithfully is hard. It’s hard to do when many of us carry debt. It’s hard to do when many of us are planning for retirement, college funds, on fixed incomes, or facing any of the other financial challenges many of us experience. So know that if this is hard or uncomfortable we are in this together.

This summer I took the youth on a trip down to Disneyland. It was something they had been asking to do for a long time. As we talked and planned this trip we all agreed that just going down to Disneyland wouldn’t be enough. Sure it would be fun, but we as a youth group are about more than just having fun. We are about being centered in Jesus Christ, growing in faith, celebrating community, and serving others with love. And so I challenged the youth that each day when we were in Disneyland each group roving around the park and having fun had to come up with a way they were intentionally living into each one of our core values each day. I loved hearing the stories at the end of each day, from impromptu bible studies while waiting in line, to youth praying out loud who were not used to it, to youth letting others go ahead of them in line and sharing what they had, it was a moving and powerful experience to hear how the youth rose to meet that challenge, using their time and resources, including in one case money, to live out their core values. We saw in new ways what it meant to live those core values outside of church, in parts of our lives that maybe normally don’t intersect with our awareness of God and living our faith. If God can show up in the middle of Disneyland, God can show up anywhere. And if we can allow our faith to shape how we live in the middle of Disneyland, we can allow our faith to shape us anywhere and in all parts of our life.

So this is the same challenge your Stewardship Committee is extending to each one of us throughout the month of October: to live intentionally into our core values. This Stewardship season we will explore together how our core values shape how we live and the decisions we make about how to use our resources. How do you center yourself in Jesus Christ each day? How do you grow in faith in your daily life? How do you celebrate community with every person you meet? And how do you practice serving others with love? We will explore one value each week both in worship and then in one way we can engage that value together in the week ahead. You can find more details about the weekly engagement in the “Stewardship Activities” part of this newsletter. I hope that you will join us in wrestling with this topic in the month ahead. The journey of following Jesus is one that asks us to learn and grow, that is the journey we are on together. I am so grateful for each of you as companions on this journey, and so grateful that we do not walk alone.

-Pastor Chelsea

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