Dear Church of the Redeemer:
Every Sunday during our prayers of Holy Communion, we declare that God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit is present in our midst. God is with us! Do you let that reality sink into your heart and soul?
My grandpa Buddy told me one time that he felt comforted whenever he talked to my sister Chris on the phone, because her carefree tone assured him that “everything was alright with the world.” One of our parishioners posted this statement on Facebook recently, “Just saw a golden retriever riding shotgun in a truck, staring majestically out of the window. So I think we’re all gonna be just fine.” I can relate to being comforted and reassurred by a golden retriever. Don’t we all have blessings that make us feel at home? How much more comforting and reassurring to know that God moves among us during our worship together?
God lives in our midst, and he works to bring about his good purpose in our lives—corporately and individually. What is God doing at Church of the Redeemer? I think he is building his church. In fact, we are being “built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” God shapes us as individual believers also to be “a temple of the Holy Spirit.” By the Holy Spirit, God gives us spiritual gifts for the building up of the Body of Christ. He desires that we would not lack any spiritual gift, as we bless one another and our community with the testimony and love of Jesus.
When we give our tithes and offerings of money to this ministry, we give them to God and his work. We become God’s “fellow workers” joining in his work of building his temple.
Jesus encourages giving to God, so that givers would have “treasure in heaven.” He teaches, “as you give it is given unto you…good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.” The Apostle Paul encourages giving so that it leads to “increases to your credit” and because God loves a “cheerful giver.”
Is it true, as the Old Testament prophet Malachi promises, that if you “Bring the full tithe” into God’s house then God will “open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need?” I believe this promise is true for financial provision and much more. Imagine what comes out of God’s kingdom when the “windows of heaven” are opened to you and your family!
For me, an important Scripture regarding our financial giving to the church is Jesus’ teaching that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I want our hearts to be with God and his people. I encourage you to pledge to God your treasure in the form of tithing (10% or more of income) to Church of the Redeemer. Or your financial situation may warrant pledging an offering (an amount God inspires you to give from savings, etc). Please follow the Spirit’s guidance through prayer by acting immediately, as he leads you.
Pledges help the vestry and staff of the church to plan the budget. I think pledging also helps members stay faithfully obedient to God’s counsel.
If you have any questions, please contact me, a vestry member or the Treasurer. Church of the Redeemer is founded, funded and fueled by faithful, sacrificial givers and servants of God. I pray and know that God will honor all of your giving by supplying “every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” I pray that God will also increase your peace, comfort, assurance and the harvest of your righteousness in Camden, ElizabethCity, Hertford, Edenton, Ocracoke, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and throughout the world!
In Christ with Love,
The Rev. Craig Stephans