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MOnday Morning News

Nov. 12, 2018

Hi All,
 It’s as regular as clock-work. Every year those letters come in the mail from our alma maters, the Red Cross, the local hospital foundation, veteran’s organizations, all sorts of worthwhile endeavors and causes. They all want to get in that pile of end-of-the-year appeals building up on our desks and dining room tables. It’s a good strategy. As the year comes to a close our finances and their condition come into focus as we contemplate our tax bills. And, since we have a tax structure that encourages us to give, all these various organizations know that asking then might just result in some largess from all of us.
But taxes aren’t the only reason for this year-end tidal wave of appeals. Many organizations begin to look at the coming year making decisions about what kind of funding they will need. Our congregations are no exception. Looking ahead, we try to predict what we’ll need for ministry and maintenance. What do we want to do for Jesus? What are the expenses we anticipate for the spaces we maintain? Of course, none of these things are predictable. We may find God calling us in surprising directions as we reach out to our neighbors and the wider world or the furnace could break or we might get even more snow than last year.

You know, I’m not very comfortable talking about money this way. I don’t think many of us are. Oh, we do like to fantasize about money. I, like so many of us, love to sit and chat with a group of folks about that old dream, “What if I won the lottery?” That’s fun to do and might actually be a remote possibility – if we play! (I don’t. It just seems like tossing money into the wind to me.) But it’s fun to contemplate. What would we do with all that moolah? Would we give loads to charity? Would we buy a car … a house … a yacht?

That’s the fun part about talking about money. But this part, the part a how we live and give with the resources we have, hits a little too close to home. Still, we need to remember that Jesus talked loads about money. He spoke about it in parables, using it to illustrate a wider meaning. Parables about a pearl of great price, a treasure buried in a field, of vineyard owners and how they paid their laborers, of stewards and debts, of masters giving charge of their great fortunes to servants, industrious or lazy. He spoke about it as an actual thing. What should we pay to Caesar, what should I do with my great wealth, where your heart is, there is your treasure.

Since Jesus talked of money and how we should use it, we need to, as well. The money we have is a gift from God – a gift God has given us the skills to earn and the brains to manage. So, the question I put to you is the same I put to myself: How much do I want to give for the work of Christ in the coming year? One way we can answer that question is by going back to that Old Testament suggestion of ten percent. You know how we speak of tithes in the church. Well, a tithe is what we give to the work of Christ in the world and is traditionally set as ten percent of our income for the year. I use the word a bit more loosely. To me a tithe is what I plan to give to the work of Christ through the year. It may be five, or ten, or fifteen percent – it doesn’t matter much to me. What is important is that I make a plan.

You’ll notice (at least I hope you have) that I haven’t written much about gifts to the church or to a particular church. Instead, I’ve written about the work of Christ. That’s because I think about the work of Christ being far wider than just what I give to a particular church. That stack of appeals that rains upon us at the end of each year represents an opportunity for us to pray and think about what we might do for Jesus’ work in the wider world. What we do in the church is certainly important, especially those things which impact the lives of our neighbors and friends and strangers. But God’s work doesn’t just happen in what we do as God’s people here. God’s work happens as scientists peer through their microscopes seeking to cure disease. God’s work happens as children are educated. God’s work happens as folks caught up in terrible circumstances – tornadoes, earthquakes, wars – are given food and shelter and safety. God’s work happens as those in desperate need are given solace and aid. God’s work happens when the poor are given opportunities to live better lives. Personally, I don’t think it matters whether the ones doing the work are of one religious group or another. It’s their actions and dedication to the work they do that makes what they do God’s work.

A friend of mine once told me, “God has all the money God needs to get God’s work done. It’s in your pocket.” I know that as you deal with that pile of appeals in the next month or two you will remember to include our congregations (or the church you attend) in what you plan to give in the coming year, but remember that God works through many folks and in many ways. And finally, I wouldn’t be a good preacher unless I meddled a bit: seriously think about what you plan to give and consider giving a bit more. Jump it up a percent or two. It’s not only good for those we give to, it’s good for our hearts for as Jesus said, “…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

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Scriptures for November 18, 2018
Daniel 12:1–3
Psalm 16:1-11
Hebrews 10:11–19–25
Mark 13:1–8

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Prayer Requests from November 11, 2018
Those affected by wildfires, Veterans, Julie, Joyce, Linda, Steve, Val, Donna, Helen, Rocky, Jenn, Richard, Daniel, Roger and Lillian

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TUESDAY, November 13
Dayton-Bible Study 10:00 - 11:30

WEDNESDAY, November 14
Polson - Bible Study 9:30 - 11:00 AM
Polson – Bell Choir Rehearsal 5:00 PM
Polson – Chancel Choir Rehearsal 6:30 PM

FRIDAY, November 16
Polson – Alanon Meeting 8:00 PM

SATURDAY, November 17
Polson - Men’s Bible Study, 8:30 - 10:00

SUNDAY, November 18
Dayton-Worship 9:00 AM
Polson – Adult Study 9:00 AM
Polson – Children’s Learning Time 11:00 AM
Polson - Worship 11:00 AM
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Our Tuesday morning Bible Study in Dayton is back on beginning this Tuesday, November 13th. We meet from 10:00 to 11:30 AM and will be reading through the Old Testament books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.

Our Wednesday morning Bible Study in Matthew will be reading in Matthew’s Gospel chapters 16 through 18. Come join us on Wednesdays from 9:30 to 11:00.


Our Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner in Dayton will be this Thursday, November 15th from Noon to 1:30. We still need folks to bring salads and vegetables. If you’re still wondering what to bring, bring one of those.

Polson Community Dinner: We had as close 100 folks as you can get last Friday enjoying lamb stew prepared by Dick Erb. Thank you to all those who helped out with food, set-up, serving and clean-up.



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