Saturday, January 3, 2009

G.I.F.T. Mission

I would like to discuss the G.I.F.T mission. I was not present in the beginning so missed any discussion at that time. Even so, it never hurts to review the mission from time to time. Ever since the church started talk of the vision for mission a few years ago, I have been thinking of what I want from church, which is a long term path of spiritual growth. Ever since Pastor Carol came, I tried to take advantage of her bible study classes. Over time it seemed to me that I could not just go to church, adult education sessions and bible studies to grow. All of those things are great building blocks, but it takes something else to turn it all into a better person.

I would like to explore several ways to Grow In Faith. First is to enumerate the ways. I can think of a few: (1) Relationship with God (prayer, meditation), (2) Relationship with self, (3) Relationship with spouse, (4) relationship with family. This list goes on to include friends, relatives, neighbors, strangers and ends with enemies. The list of things to deal with includes attitude and actions, words and deeds.

Let me suggest just one topic, as a result of the big news of the times. What is the proper Christian response to bad economic times? Our church revenue is declining, some of us are becoming unemployed and those of us who are self-employed may experience declining incomes. I suggest that the proper Christian response is to give more. The Old Testament calls for the ancient Jews to give 10% of their income to support the clergy. In our modern economy we can probably support 'our' clergy with less than 10%. We are also called to feed the hungry, cloth the naked and take care of the widows and orphans. However how much money does it take to support mission? The number 1 goal of our church is mission. How do we know that we are doing 'enough'? Can we do more? Just some questions for discussion.

I would like to fill out this discussion with more general topics and then start filling in some details and gather sentiments of interest from the group.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Service Project

You know, we are talking about doing service projects with our 7th grade Sunday School class, while I was talking about this with someone (can't remember who) the comment was said, " it would be nice to have an ongoing project so that there was committment and possibly noticable results, not just to swoop in and do something for a day...."

This idea has had me thinking. Perhaps there is a need for relationship service: at a nursing home, at the Salvation army-somehow, at channel one, boys and girls club, making hospitality bags for homeless and having them in our car(like we talked about this summer), are there people in the community that need help shoveling, decorating, wrapping, shoppping, some place that GIFT could impact regularly. not everyone would have to committ every time but we could rotate dates and families --- i don't i am thinking off the top of my head.....

Just wondering how the discussion went and what was decided. Was there a decision to do a project. were there other ideas?

We have been talking about helping the homeless and making "care bags" to have in our car since the early fall with Tor and Solveig. We have been slow to make them but have given some gift cards to a couple of homeless men.

So Tor earned $10 shoveling the neighbors driveway last week. On Sunday on the way home from church we saw a homeless man on the corner. A few minutes later Tor decided that it would be good to check to see if the man was still there on the way back to the Christmas program and he would give him one of his $5 dollar bills. Yea! So we checked and Tor gave him his $5 and wished him a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ideas for GIFT evenings

I understand that there are no current plans for future Wed night meetings. The Sunday meetings are still viable topics for the blog. I'll open up this entry to discussion of future activities.

Frigga was watching and suggested something about family Christmas traditions. However she fell asleep while I was trying to get this picture loaded so I'll have to wing it on my own. My family always opened presents from each other on Christmas eve and then opened presents from Santa on Christmas day. I tend to be an anti materialist and do not want any thing that I can not eat else the house fills up with stuff. Frigga's relatives have other thoughts and the basement is so full of toys for the kids that it is hard to walk around down there some times. I see the MoJo's blog said they made Lefsa for the first time. I actually thought every one at ZLC made lefsa. One of several reasons I joined this church was that they sell lefsa :).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nov 19 - Professing Jesus

Who Was Jesus? (RZIM Critical Questions Discussion Guides) (Paperback)by Scot McKnigh (Author), Ravi K. Zacharias (Editor), Daniell Durant (Editor).

Nov 5 we discussed chapter 3 - Rejecting Jesus (John 10:14-40) and chapter 4 - Neutralizeing Jesus (John 18:28-40).

On the 19th we will cover chapter 5 - Professing Jesus (Luke 6:43-7:10) and chapter 6 - Following Jesus (Matthew 6:25-34, 7:7-12).

Luke 6:43-45 addresses the old question of works v.s. faith. This clearly suggests that with out works there is no faith. Granted it does not say exactly the scale of works. Each according to their ability seems appropriate.

Luke 7:9 hints at the future mission of Christianity to the Gentiles and the virtue of humility
It's easy to say do works and be humble however I think it is the innate character of the heart, unprompted by thoughts of 'am I worthy' and 'what do I need to do to be worthy' that counts.

Luke 6

A Tree and Its Fruit

43"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

The Two Foundations

46"Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? 47I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. 48That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built.£ 49But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Welcome to G.I.F.T. blog

Welcome to the G.I.F.T. blog. For those of you who have not participated in a blog before, the point is to post comments. In an active blog, there is just as much interesting conversation in the comments as in the article. I like the idea of a blog so that we can continue the discussion after the meetings. To participate, you need to register and pick a user name. Blogs can be viewed publicly, so many people try to use an anonymous user name for privacy. Let's hope that people do not try to hide behind user names so that they can leave annoying comments, but that is possible and happens on other blogs.

The first step is picking a name. I use 'Odin' since my boat is called 'OdinQuest' and I am a fan of old Norse literature. On this blog you should expect to see Frigg. If they could write on the internet, you may also see Tor, Solveig and Loki. Perhaps you can guess who is who. Odin is the father of the gods and spends his literary life acquiring wisdom to forestall the doom of the world at the hand of the frost and fire giants. That fits my personality, my family is doomed unless I can forestall disaster by the hand of a fickle economy and rabid social secularism by acquiring wisdom and defending my household.

I am used to blogs with pictures, so I will try to have them too. This picture is of the Death of Balder, a famous Old Norse story. There are some reasons to think that the story was influenced by christanity. Which would be an interesting topic to discuss some time, if you are a fan of Old Norse literature.

So, please pick a name, register, and comment this article to tell us why (or not if you want to make it more challenging) and let's see if we can guess who is who at a meeting.