But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. (1 Corinthians 12:18)
Thank you to everyone who submitted a financial pledge for 2018! At our annual meeting in January we, as a congregation, approved a budget and have committed to support: Sunday School and Confirmation, music ministries, staff salaries, building maintenance, ELCA ministries, Good Samaritan, Hephetha, Hope Pantry, Hope Closet, LSS, Serenity Inns, World Hunger Relief, and the high school mission trip. WOW! That’s quite a variety of opportunities to serve! The Holy Spirit is moving us in ministry and outreach. Which part of the body are you? Are you supporting our ministries financially and/or with your time? Will you say “Yes” when you’re called to serve?
Pastor Mary Martha of Hephetha joined us on Commitment Sunday in November and her message encouraged us to use the abundance we’ve been given. We are not called to maintain our gifts, but rather to multiply them. She challenged us and said, “May we use the gifts God has given us, in this time God has given us, for the work God has given us.”
May we resist the urge to bury our gifts, but rather multiply them as we reach out to minister to our community and beyond. As we sang, “This little gospel light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!”
Romans 12: 6-8
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry in ministering; the teacher in teaching; the exhorter in exhortation; the giver in generosity; the leader in diligence; the compassionate in cheerfulness.
The act of giving an offering of money at church represents an acknowledgement of God’s blessings in our lives, and a commitment to the ministry of the congregation as part of our worship. Kind of like thinking about the song, “The Hokey Pokey.” The lyrics of the song tell us to put our right leg or left arm in a circle, shake it, then “turn yourself about.” While the song is a silly one, the last command is asking you to “Put your whole self in…” If we think of Christ’s worship, He asks that we offer our whole person to God. While all of us need some help with the thought and idea of offering ourselves, our time and talents to God, and how we can each play a part in God’s worship, there are many examples of this at Mount Hope.
Weekly, the offering plate collects money envelopes dedicated to special ministries served at Mount Hope. Being a monetary donation, or a donation of self, time and talents, we encourage you to continue think about what more you could do to help worship at Mount Hope, and reach out to help make a difference within our community.
- If you are looking for ways in which you can help and volunteer and donate, please speak with family and friends, even Pastor Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out ways in which your talents are needed!
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God… Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them… the teacher in teaching. (Romans 12: 2, 6, and 7)
Teaching. Now that’s easier to understand than exhorting. We’ve all been teachers. We’ve taught a child to tie shoes, pitch a ball, sew on a button or catch a fish. We’ve taught co-workers how to do a task. We’ve taught our children to pray. We’re all equipped to be teachers of the Word of God. Our Sunday School program at Mt. Hope includes 4 age levels; preschool, k-5 & 1st grade, 2nd & 3rd grade, and 4th & 5th grade. The children rotate weekly to 4 stations: art, cinema, kitchen, and science. If your gift is teaching, and you would like to help with the Sunday School program, you can choose the age and station which fits your interest. Please direct any questions to Colleen Hammerer, Sunday School coordinator, at email@example.com. Teaching opportunities aren’t limited to Sunday School. If you’d be interested in helping with confirmation classes or would like to teach adults, please talk to Pastor Brian.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God… Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them… the exhorter, in exhortation. (Romans 12: 2, 6, and 8)
As Pastor Brian noted in his July 17 sermon, our Christian life requires both discernment and action. As our gifts differ, so do our actions. The definition of “to exhort” includes “to encourage” and “to strengthen,” so we’re lifting up our Boy Scouts and our Health Cabinet as ways to use the gift of exhortation.
- Did you know that Boy Scout Troop 580 has been meeting at Mount Hope since 1941? If you’d be interested in working with the Boy Scouts, please contact Dave Loosen at 414-327-0419 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Do you work in the medical field or have a passion for health and wellness education? Please contact Sandy Alioto at 414-546-1717 or email@example.com.
While some of us may be vacationing or just not able to attend regular church services, please continue to financially support Mt. Hope through the summer months. It’s important for us to be ready to fully fund our ministry activities in the fall.
Romans 12: 6-8
6 So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God's message, we should do it according to the faith that we have; 7 if it is to serve, we should serve; if it is to teach, we should teach; 8 if it is to encourage others, we should do so. Whoever shares with others should do it generously; whoever has authority should work hard; whoever shows kindness to others should do it cheerfully.
How wonderful that God has given us different gifts of grace! We are to use these gifts to serve others. There should not be any benchwarmers in the body of Christ. Every member has been given a gift and God didn’t give you a gift to bury it and wait for His return. So if you’re not serving, look around, figure out what needs to be done, and get on with doing it! We have members of our congregation who are assisting ministers on Sunday mornings. Too public for you? There are members who visit one-on-one monthly with our homebound members. Not sure if that’s your gift… try it out. Maybe? Talk to Pastor Brian.
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Please be sure to financially support Mt. Hope during the summer months. Our ministry continues through June, July and August and we need your help to fund Mt. Hope’s on-going mission.
Romans 12: 4-5
4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.
Have you ever thought about what difference you make in this world? Some of us strive to stand out above others, while some may want to make small strides in the day to day hustle and blend in. While each of us were placed on this earth with unique talents and gifts to make us different from everyone else, we all stand on this earth united to serve God, as one body, with the purpose to teach his love and blessings to one another.
Each one of us should consider this and operate as God has called us to. There are many parts to the body of Christ and many roles. Not all are teachers or pastors, but even the non-visible roles have their importance. The wonderful thing about each of our uniqueness is that each one of us can play to our strengths and talents within the gifts the Lord has given us. This is how we know what we are called to be. Each part is necessary and each part blesses the body of Christ. At Mt. Hope, your offerings help support our ministry partners such as Hephatha and Lutheran Social Services. The people of these organizations are one body in Christ with us, and help extend our service to those in need. We are called to belong to each other, and also set apart from one another for God’s specific use. We ask that you continue to operate in Christ’s calling, and continue to pray and think about what you can do to make a difference.
What does worship mean to you? Have you ever really considered this question?
We’re using Romans 12 to focus our attention on offerings this year.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Discerning the will of God is a part of worship. In biblical terms, there are two main types of worship – to bow down and to serve. We sing and pray and share the Lord’s Supper. We visit and clothe and feed those in need. Part of our ministry at Mt. Hope is to offer many different opportunities for worship.
As we move forward with faith and praise this year at Mt. Hope, part of our discernment as a congregation is to decide how to use our gifts, both financial and spiritual, to follow the will of God. We read in Philippians, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” We’re not alone! What gifts will you share to enable Mt. Hope to move forward with faith and hope? How will you bow down and serve? What is the will of God for your life? What does worship at Mt. Hope mean to you?
Please click the image above to see Jean Guenther explain what worship means to her.
A reflection on Romans 12
L: Let us pray:
Your church is composed of people like me.
I help make it what it is.
It will be friendly, if I am.
Its pews will be filled, if I help fill them.
It will do great work, if I work.
It will make generous gifts to many causes, if I am a generous giver.
It will bring other people into its worship and fellowship, if I invite and bring them.
It will be a church where people grow in faith and serve you, if I am open to such growth and service.
Therefore, with your help Lord, We shall dedicate ourselves to the task of being all the things you want your church to be. Amen.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our Commitment Sunday celebration and who submitted a pledge for next year. Pledges are important for the budgeting process. The Finance Committee and Council need accurate information on our projected income in order to do ministry planning for 2018. If you haven’t already done so, pledge cards are available at the office and on our web site. You can also email your pledge to: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> Pastor Mary Martha of Hephetha joined us on Commitment Sunday and her message encouraged us to use the abundance we’ve been given. We are not called to maintain our gifts, but rather to multiply them. She challenged us and said, “May we use the gifts God has given us, in this time God has given us, for the work God has given us.” May we resist the urge to bury our gifts, but rather multiply them as we reach out to minister to our neighbors. As we sang, “This little gospel light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!”