The Congregation gathers

On stewardship

God's PeopleStewardship Sunday comes early this year as we take the next step in our journey with Brian McLaren. This week’s focus is “Alive in a Global Uprising: An Uprising of Stewardship.” He suggests three great texts on the topic. The first is from Deuteronomy, which features guidelines for the “year of Jubilee” in which debts were to be forgiven and the land renewed (and redistributed.) The second involves instructions to Timothy on how to be a good steward and a righteous or godly individual. This passage contains the famous maxim that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” The third is from Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth. Here the apostle “guilts” the Corinthians into giving more to the special offering for the church in Jerusalem by telling them how generous their poor sisters and brothers in Macedonia have been.

One of the things we discussed in Bible study on Tuesday is how important our attitude toward giving and sharing is. We know that “God loves a cheerful giver.” Two weeks ago we looked at the passage in Acts 2 in which Luke tells us that the first church gathered with “glad and generous hearts.” What if our attitude toward our neighbors in need, toward God’s good creation, toward life overall, was one of gratitude? How would we be different and what difference would it make in the world around us? McLaren argues, and I agree, that an “attitude of gratitude” is fundamental to our discipleship.

And while we’re focused on giving, thanks to everyone who has given so generously to support the scholarship needs of the students at ABSW. I was telling the Dean Tuesday night what a delight it is to sit in the lounge before class and listen in on the incredible multi-cultural experience that the school now provides, with students from Korea and Africa and Latin America and Oakland and even our own Doug Davidson, who will be graduating in a couple of weeks. It’s a blessing to eavesdrop on this rich mix of folk committed to following Christ into specialized ministries of all sorts. Thanks also to those who have given to the offering for the important work of the Peace Fellowship as well as for earthquake relief in Nepal. The needs are great; your generosity is valued.

We did not begin the series on religion and evolution last week as Doug shared his presentation on prisons and mass incarceration from his class on Saturday. The presentation was timely and informative and led to a spirited discussion. Thanks for sharing with us, Doug.

So, this week in Adult Spiritual Formation we will begin a seven part series from the producers of the “Living the Questions” curriculum that we studied several years ago. This new series is entitled, “Painting the Stars: Science, Religion and an Evolving Earth.” Each session includes a twenty minute video featuring theologians and thinkers such as Philip Clayton, Rachel Held Evans, Matthew Fox, John Shelby Spong and Bruce Sanguin, whose beautiful prayers from If Darwin Prayed, we have used a number of times in worship. I believe this will be an exciting and challenging study for us

Please plan to be here by 10:00 AM for worship and Sunday School, followed by Adult Spiritual Formation. Then join the “Lunch Bunch” if you’re available. What better time to bring others along to share in the life of our community than this blessed Easter season?

May we continue to grow together as God’s people.

Pastor Rick  

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We are a progressive Baptist Church affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA. We have been in Palo Alto since 1893. We celebrate our Baptist heritage. We affirm the historic Baptist tenets of: Bible Freedom, Soul Freedom, Church Freedom, Religious Freedom

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