What does it mean to Grow in Grace?  On the most basic level it means to be more like Jesus Christ, or in other words, increasingly orienting our lives to God.  This takes place on a number of different levels.

The most important is our heart.  The prophet Jeremiah says that God's law will be written on our hearts (31:33).  We also see the difference in a number of tangible ways: use of our time, our money, God given gifts and passions.

You will find a helpful personal reflection from a Grace member on how he is growing in grace at Grace Episcopal Church.

 

 

 
 

Chris Pahl

 
Pahl FamilyChris talks about the amazing grace of coming to Grace Episcopal when he felt lost.  You can read the text below but you need to listen to hear the emotion in his voice, the difference Grace has made in his life.
 
"Hi, I’m Chris, and I’m an Episcopalian.  I’ve been reflecting in the last couple of days how I’m growing, ow my family is growing in Grace.  It kind of hit me.  Looking back I felt lost.  I’m a former member of St. Michael’s in Raleigh and after college sort of lost touch there.  My family still attends every Sunday, ninety percent of my family.  My brother is an Episcopal priest.  I’m not perfect.
 
We moved to Clayton in 2009.  Driving down Highway 70 seeing the Grace signs before you guys moved over here.  Always in the back of my mind, Grace.
 
Last year we took a Dave Ramsey class, sort of changed our lives, and last summer I was reading the North Carolina Disciple, there was an article that caught my attention and I read the article and on the opposite page was the garden.  There was an article about the garden at Grace, and I saw John.  It was God talking to me, telling me you’ve seen the sign on Highway 70, you’ve seen it now on Highway 42, just take the chance, and we came that Sunday, and we probably missed a few more Sundays after that.  John got my email address.  I think he was emailing me.  We started coming again.
 
Now were members, regular attenders.  I’m growing in Grace.  It’s funny.  I felt lost and God put me at Grace.  Amazing Grace.   It’s funny.  God’s been working in so many ways through me.  I feel it.  I think, John, we’ve talked about it.  Just from the Dave Ramsey classes we did.  From the article just being there when I flipped through the magazine.
 
I hope in the future you guys will be able to watch my kids grow at Grace.   I was an acolyte at St. Michael’s.  I was in the choir at St. Michael’s.  I hope Davis one day will get to carry the cross.  It’s something I enjoyed.  I hope you would want to do it.  I hope you get to watch them grow not physically but in their faith.   I think it’s special to be in such a small church and I feel the family, and I do feel it here, so I thank you."
 
 
 
 
 

 

neverenoughdecal blog1

When is Enough Enough?

 
“Who is rich?  He that is contented.  Who is that? Nobody.”  Benjamin Franklin.
 
Although wanting more than what we have is not a bad thing, it can lead us to being discontented no matter what we acquire.  In the 2006 article “When is Enough Enough?” in the magazine Giving, Shane Stanford discusses six Biblical principles in handling personal finances.  Over the six weeks of our fall pledge campaign "Growing in Grace" we will focus on one a week.
 
The first is “The Principle of Enough” found in Hebrews 13:5.  “Let your conduct be without covetousness and be content with such things as you have.”  Stanford asks “What happens when consuming becomes our God?  The writer of Hebrews encourages us to be satisfied with the indispensable promise of God’s faithfulness.  Regardless of the ebb and flow of the world’s gifts, God’s gift will never rust, fade or slip away.
 

Proper Perspective

The second of six Biblical principles on personal finance is “The Principle of Proper Perspective.”  Jesus says in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon”.
 
“Such clear distinction between the things of this world and the things of God gives us the opportunity for clarity in our decisions," maintains Shane Stanford.  "What seems like a stark, declarative statement actually provides a clear point of reference by which we can understand God’s plan for our lives.”
 

Good Steward

The third of six biblical principles on personal finance is “The Principle of the Good Steward” found in Matthew 19:16-22.  In verse 21, Jesus says to the rich man “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven and come and follow me.”
 
“In a world where ‘good’ is defined in terms of the accumulation of material possessions, Jesus counters that ‘good’ is a matter of care and stewardship, even to the point of giving away that which we treasure.  Most financial problems come when the things we possess in reality possess us,” says Shane Stanford.  “Part of being a good steward involves understanding the temporary nature of all the material goods we possess.”
 

Dishonest Manager

The fourth of six biblical principles on personal finance is “The Principle of the Dishonest Manager” found in Luke 16:1-18.  In verse 10, Jesus says, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and he who is unjust in what is least, is unjust also in much.  Therefore, if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”
 
“Clearly, Jesus is not endorsing the manager’s dishonest practices” states Shane Stanford.  “Rather, he is teaching us that, like the manager, we are called to be shrewd managers of the resources that God gives us.  The parable might be paraphrased, ‘If only we were as wise and shrewd in achieving eternal things as those who are intent on possessing dishonest things.’  Only when we spend as much time and effort preparing our lives and resources for kingdom good, as we do for pleasure, will we experience a true measure of God’s enormous potential in both our earthly and our eternal lives.”
 

Widow's Mite

The fifth of six Biblical Principles on personal finance is “The Principle of the Widow’s Mite” found in Mark 12:41-44. In verse 43, Jesus says, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

“What does it means to give out of poverty?” asks Shane Stanford. “Jesus understands that trusting God is much easier in our times of abundance than our times of need. However, some of life’s greatest lessons are learned from our commitment and response as we experience times of hardship and sacrifice.”

Faithful Giver

The last principle is the Faithful Giver” found in 1 Timothy 6:17-18 that tells us to avoid arrogance or trusting in uncertain riches but to trust in the living God, who gives us all to enjoy, to do good, to be rich in good works and to give.

“Paul’s command highlights the nature of why we give – because God expects us to do so,” maintains Shane Stanford. “Our resources serve as another opportunity to be a part of the work of God in this world and to do things in God’s name. We do not share our resources for pride or personal gain but because God covets the whole of our lives, including our earthly possessions, to be offered in God’s service.”

Conclusion

These six principles of finance provide a framework for stewarding our resources for significance in the kingdom of God. Stanford states, “Jesus taught that our resources give us opportunities to live faithfully before God and one another. Money, for Jesus, was another tool for doing great good in the world. To this end, Scripture gives us principles that we can shape our financial future into nothing less than a spiritual gift.”



 We feel good when we give! We feel good when we make a difference! It's human nature.

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Making a pledge, a financial faith commitment, to Grace brings the love, hope and power of God to other people. You can pledge securely online by clicking the link below to the pledge form.

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Thank you for making a difference!