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"GROW"

This week we focus on the “GROW” part of the phrase with our WILL YOU
GROW campaign. God does not give us life to become static but rather to
grow. We are challenging everyone in our congregation to grow! Our capacity to grow never ends. We are never too young or old to grow. There are endless frontiers to grow as a person in knowledge, wisdom, and love. In the spiritual life, we are seeking to be more like Jesus. We seek to GROW in our discipleship and His teachings. We, as a church, seek to grow in REACH,
TEACH, and SEND in both numbers of people impacted and disciples made
through our church.

One other important area to never grow complacent is to grow in generosity. Growing in generosity helps you grow both individually and as a disciple. In addition, we have a need in our heart to give. All of us growing in our generosity helps the church flourish! Our WILL YOU GROW campaign is challenging us all to grow in our giving for the Lord!

Over the past 33 years, Karen and I have grown in our giving. We have learned and experienced God’s blessings early in our marriage, when we began tithing (10% of our total income). As a pastor of a brand new church start, I witnessed first-hand not only the personal blessings of tithing but also how the church grew as the entire church grew in generosity.

This year Karen and I have had our conversation and are committing to
increasing our weekly giving for 2019. We already give more than 10% of our total income. In preparation for 2019 we will increase our weekly generosity and take another step forward. Karen and I will grow and we invite each of you to grow as well.

Finally, I would ask you to take a moment and think about the reasons we have to give thanks to God. As we continue WILL YOU GROW, take a few moments and reflect on how God has blessed you. Our generosity will grow as our gratitude grows. God has blessed us and we cannot out give God! May our gratitude lead the way of our generosity!

Shalom,
Philip

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A Request for a Church Wide Deed of Shalom

Rev. Craig Carter called me Tuesday and was following up on my offer to help Lynn Haven United Methodist Church in this time following Hurricane Michael. They are worshipping in their parking lot and the people really love to stay and fellowship after the service. This koinonia (deeper fellowship) really rallies their spirits each time they are together as they cope in their community of such massive destruction. I appreciate Craig making a specific suggestion of how we could help. He went on to say that meals after worship mean so much to their people right now. Craig asked me if Shalimar UMC would consider sponsoring a meal following their worship on a Sunday. This would mean feeding about 500 people. I told him I thought we could make that happen! After all, we serve the God of the loaves and fishes.

After the call, I immediately called our church chef, Heyward Mckenzie. Heyward quickly and with confidence said, “we can make that happen.” We brainstormed for a few minutes and agreed to talk again on Wednesday. The next day I called Heyward again and he suggested we provide a Thanksgiving Feast the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving which is November 18th. I thought this was a great idea. I called Craig and he loved the idea.

The plan, which came about “quick and nimble” is to sponsor a meal for 500 worshipers as a deed of shalom from our church to their church on November 18. How can we help?

#1 We can volunteer to be on a team of about 15 people to travel on this day to Lynn Haven. This will include transporting the food and helping Heyward as needed. Also, it will offer a chance to offer hospitality while serving this congregation.
#2 We can give financially to help sponsor this meal. It would be great if people in our church gave enough to underwrite whatever costs are incurred with this meal. We are in the midst of our “WILL YOU GROW” campaign and this gives us an opportunity to grow in our giving and action.
#3 We can pray for Lynn Haven UMC and all churches dealing with catastrophic loss from Hurricane Michael and the challenges ahead in recovery.
#4 We can use our capacity to be “quick and nimble” in generosity and to bless others through what God can do through our church. The scripture teaches (Luke 12:48) “to whom much is given much is required.” Shalimar UMC has been given much and is blessed to be a blessing to others.

What a great opportunity to show our love in a church wide “deed of shalom” from one church to another. If you would like to help contact Pastor Brian at 651-0721. Thank you for your generosity in advance!

Shalom, 
Philip

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Will You Grow Intro

This weekend we begin a series entitled Will You Grow? We are asking everyone to grow spiritually in the Lord as we move toward the New Year 2019. In preparation, each week leading up to Thanksgiving we will be teaching about one of these three words. WILL, YOU, and GROW. These three words each challenge us to take a fresh look at ourselves and grow in our walk with the Lord.

The first word is WILL. There are at least two ways to understand WILL in this question. First, we have a WILL. Our COMMITMENT (WILL) is a deciding factor. There is a difference between I CAN grow (theoretical) and I WILL grow. The analogy I would use is simple. I can lose weight but will I? The losing of weight requires me to eat differently for the future. So knowing I CAN lose weight and losing weight are two different matters. The choice is mine. I must make a COMMITMENT to lose weight. Likewise, I CAN grow in generosity but WILL I grow? WILL I make different choices in the future so that I can grow? My WILL must be committed to grow!

The second way to understand WILL is that God has a WILL for my life. My life is incomplete seeking my own will. When I am focused on myself, I am always lacking and there is never enough. When I am wrapped up in my own will I worry more and I see life through anxiety. My world view is likely one of scarcity, when I am dwelling on seeking my own will. In this perspective, I spend more time being anxious about what I do not have instead of my blessings. My life becomes complete as I seek God’s WILL and not my own. A better choice is seeking God’s Will for my life! It is amazing, when God comes first I focus more on the blessings I have and there always seems to be enough. My joy is more complete when I am focused on God’s WILL instead of my own. In seeking His Will I acknowledge, God knows best for my life and I find peace in His way.

Finally, when my WILL (commitment) meets God’s WILL, my life becomes the very best possible. The best joy and fulfillment of life come together when my WILL meets GOD’s WILL. This is the best life possible.

The Will You Grow series is seeking the best God life God is offering to us. We begin the journey this weekend! The question for all of us is, WILL YOU GROW? We begin today with a provocative question, Will I commit to commit? We CAN but WILL we? Let us all resolve to commit for 2019 to give to God through our church and grow in generosity! Imagine our church with everyone growing at the same time and God’s abundance overflowing through our congregation!

Shalom, 
Philip

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