Stewardship Notes for December 2018

     We hope that these monthly articles have helped you to understand that a Stewardship Lifestyle includes our whole lives.  Yes, being a good steward does involve our money, but it isn’t only about money   This month, we want to briefly discuss two ideas with you: first, that we are Stewards of God’s Grace, and second, a few practical thoughts about end-of-year financial matters, as well as what will happen during the first part of 2019. 

     This month, we are preparing for, and celebrating, the birth of Jesus.  During this holy season, we will remember Jesus’ coming into our world is a fulfillment of many messianic prophecies in our sacred Scriptures and, once again, our hearts will be touched by the beautiful story of Jesus’ Nativity. However, the real point of the story is that God Himself came to be with us — as one of us.  We must understand that Christ is God in human form.  The incredible wonder of the Incarnation is not that an ordinary human being somehow became God because of His exemplary life.  The Gospel of John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was at the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and without Him, not one thing came into being.”  (John 1:1-2a NRSV)   And after that he writes,  “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory as of a father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NRSV)  John uses “the Word” as a symbol for Jesus, who is the preexistent Messiah for all of God’s Creation.  Now, while you are thinking about what else the Bible says about Jesus, read Romans 8:3, Galatians 4:4-5, Philippians 2:5-11, and Colossians 1:15-20.   Grace is unmerited favor from God and, because of God’s mercy, we have been blessed with undeserved redemption from our sinfulness through Jesus.  Take time to contemplate that God became one of us, revel in the wonder of this awesome truth about Grace, and then share it with others!  It was given so that we could live in it, and share our Light in the spiritual darkness that surrounds us.  Then let us sing “Joy to the World” with new appreciation and enthusiasm!  God is with us!   This year, have a truly blessed Christmas!

     As we approach the ending of 2018, please consider making generous gifts to Peace Lutheran Church.   Do you want to “catch-up” with the amount that you estimated in your 2018 Statement of Intent?  If your age is at least 70 1/2, and if you have a Traditional, Rollover, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA, or other retirement plan account (but not a Roth IRA), then you are required by law to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) annually.  If so, consider the advantage of having your investment manager transfer your RMD directly to Peace Lutheran Church before the end of this year.  Your end-of-year gifts to the church will be included in the Statement of 2018 Giving that you will receive from Peace’s bookkeeper next January or February.   We haven’t asked you to give the church an estimate of your giving for 2019, but we do plan to focus on that topic next May.  Please be as generous as you can with your offerings and special gifts.  If possible, try to increase your 2019 giving from your 2018 amounts.  And when you write your checks to Peace Lutheran Church, please make a notation in the check’s memo space about how you would like the total amount to be distributed (General Fund, Building Fund, etc.). Thanks! 

     Come to our Stewardship Community Connections cluster on Sunday, December 2, 2018!