Openhearted Generosity

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes

Dear Christ Church Family,

“Stewardship is the act of organizing your life so that God can spend you.” These words by Lynn Miller put financial generosity in the context of discipleship, of making ourselves available to God in every arena of life. On Sunday, February 12th we will celebrate the joy of giving as an act of gospel gratitude, when we make our pledges for the year. This Sunday we have our Annual Parish Mtg. and continue our recent sermon series with a look at “Open Hearts” and what it means to give generously out of a heart overflowing with gospel gratitude.

God has done a powerful work in and through us this past year, building a community of fully devoted followers of Christ in and for Austin and the world, to the glory of God. Christ Church is called to be an Anglican church in the heart of the city, with a contagious passion for Jesus Christ and a culture of life-changing discipleship and world-changing mission. We want to be used of God so that no one stands alone: no one in Christ Church; no one in Austin; no one in the world. It is our hope–that for which we love, serve, give, and pray–that all people would stand in the company of Christ and his people.

This mission is not just an inspiring idea; it’s a concrete calling requiring concrete provision of time, talent and treasure from the whole body. The Vestry has put together a budget for 2012 to financially guide us in this mission. The budget will be presented to you for adoption at our Annual Parish Meeting this Sunday, February 5th. For the next two Sundays you’ll also be hearing some people give testimony to the grace of God in their own lives through the joy of giving.

You might be familiar with the concept of giving a tithe (10%). This is not a command, but serves as a good rule of thumb, which we can have the joy of even exceeding as God provides. Some people may be nowhere near that level of giving, but wherever you are, incremental annual increases are a realistic way to reach your goals.

You will find an electronic pledge card here. You will also receive a hard copy on Sunday or in the mail, which you can bring to church on Celebration Sunday (Feb. 12) and place on the Lord’s Table. This is a tangible response to God’s love as we behold His glory and celebrate His work in our lives. I encourage families to fill it out prayerfully together in order to model for our children what it means to live a generous life in response to the grace of God.

Remember, it’s not about “paying the bills”; it’s about giving back cheerfully to God and His work and becoming like Christ, with hearts of sacrificial generosity. Let’s consider what God has given us . . . and then pray that we might hear and follow His will for us. May the God of all splendor and might, comfort and joy rule our hearts!

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Cliff Warner