Wednesday, November 13, 2013

MONEY MATTERS – Giving Out of Appreciation

Lakeside Reflections – NOVEMBER 2013 – Week 2

Message – Dr. Peter Christofides

MONEY MATTERS – Giving Out of Appreciation

The Highlights Reel

We naturally want to skirt away from talking about giving. We particularly feel uncomfortable hearing about giving from the pulpit. But when we come close to a correct understanding and application of stewardship we finally understand giving – the purpose and necessity to give. Stewardship is about managing the resources God has given us, but we need to understand that:


The Christian Gospel is all about giving

Stewardship is a pivotal concept within the gospel framework. Because everything we have, everything we have been given – everything – is from God (1 Chronicles 29:14; James 1:17), and we are benefactors of Grace, we are blessed to wisely apportion back what we have received, so we actively acknowledge who actually owns it all – who has given us all we have.

Stretching Mind, Muscle and Memory: Being honest, what is it that makes us feel so uncomfortable when it comes to talking about giving or money? Discuss briefly as a group.

Warm-up: Brainstorm as a group (or with the person next to you) the variations on stewardship and how that converts into giving out of appreciation.


Read 1 Chronicles 29:10-20


The nature of God – who God is – is to give, through creation, and through the things we’ve been given. God is both great (through creation) and good (through how he blesses us).

It is something we often miss – that God’s nature is, has, and always will be, to give. Do we appreciate God for who he is? How might we reinforce God’s giving nature within Lakeside and in our own lives?


The strength we have, the brains, and even our breath – these are from God. We cannot bring this sort of favour on ourselves. Neither can we claim the resources God has given us as our own.

Contemplate for a moment of silence, what it means to you to have strength, to be able to think and feel, to breath.


It is blessed to do what is right, for who are we to retain what is truly not our own?

Share a time within the last year that you knew the right thing to do, you did it, and you were blessed as a result.


A steward is someone who managers the assets of someone else …

We are managing what we have, and Lakeside as a church, because we have been entrusted. Our abundance is truly God’s abundance.

Consider for a moment the manifestations of abundance in your life, how grateful you are, and how you like to response. Share with the group if you feel led.


God searches the heart and he is pleased when his uprightness is matched by an attitude of humble uprightness – to honour the truth – in us.

How do you feel when your attitude is revealed as honouring God? How do we feel when we fall short of the glory of God because our attitudes did not honour God?


Just reflect on what this means as a group – allowing one or two people to contribute what they think.


When we give with good hearts, out of appreciation, praise is the instant response.

Go around the group and answer where your ‘praise meter’ sits presently, 1 – “no praise in my heart” to 10 – “I feel I’m already in heaven.” Try to be honest for you right now.

Overall Idea: God owns everything. We are his stewards. Giving that is aligned with these thoughts elicits praise.

Shot Clock (24-seconds): leader to allocate a person to pray a short prayer for the group – to ask God’s Spirit to bless the group to experience giving out of appreciation this week.

Post-Match Debrief: What are the ways in which you could give sacrificially this week?

Prayer time: Pray that God would help us live and give appreciatively. Pray for each other and each other’s family concerns, for health and safety, and pray where we might be of assistance to each other in practical ways.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Poetic Proverbs and Quotes No1

Forgiveness is freedom,

Choice not to run,

Welcome greets wisdom,

Better’s the deed once done.


Time to be still,

Opportune frame,

Busyness I must kill,

Putting slavery to shame.


The ‘how’ of faith is the way it’s lived,

challenge tradition using a revelatory sieve.

Faith authentic is Spirit-aligned,

really no way life's better designed.


Truth bestows power,

Trust in it; it’s clean,

Beauty like a flower,

Best way to lean.


Love at hand,

Magnanimously so,

Grace is grand,

Peace and joy glow.


Blessed to be just,

Right to be fair,

God’s will is a must,

For those with courage and compassion to care.


We, as persons:

As good as anyone living,

Or as bad,

What separates: our attitude to giving,

The only gauge making us eternally glad.


Forever love sustains,

For those loving God,

Always grace remains,

For those devoted to God.


The depths of hurt,

The heights of grace,

Vastness of the life alert,

Holds the heavenly ace.


“God Speaks to Me”

People may think,

Us crazy and weak,

They tend to wink,

When they hear us speak.

Something we can say,

When they disagree,

“How can I disobey,

When God speaks to me?”


We can feel another’s pain only through our own eyes; their heartache or impairment only through our own experience. We do well to remember this when offering our empathy.


Recovery is like ascending through murky clouds; in faith we climb and recovery is borne on the lighted rays of the looming sun as it appears. The secret: keep climbing.


We cannot coexist in successful harmony in a spirit of innate competition. Like all rock fights someone inevitably loses an eye.


In a world seeking signs,

Evidence of the physical,

Hope otherwise shines,

In the shape of ‘the miracle’.


The instinct is right,

When we’re caused to think,

In ways not to fight,

Halting conflict in a blink.


Little by little the frustrations of life mount; then, suddenly, anger. Resolution requires patience—to attend to frustrations as they arise.


Think: “What I have,”

Not: “What I’ve not,”

For life’s in the thanks,

Or all turns to rot.


A gently wafting morning breeze,

Was what it took to bend my knees,

The Spirit’s voice sent to apprehend,

Spiritual ease God did send.


The word, “Contract”: legal and binding—often the bane of human existence. The cause? Our lacking situational wisdom in failing to underwrite with insight.


Time with God,

Winds of change,

Turning the sod,

Finds us our range.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, July 4, 2011

On Patience, Again

Patience—not simply a virtue;

It’s our whole life.

For it is linked to everything;

There’s nothing more true.


There’s nothing more intrapersonally divisive than patience—the fight, tooth and nail, between flesh and will. Patience is the make or break; the achievement of our goals or repeated failure. The ultimate patience: resilience, to achieve—patiently—even after many failures.


Patience is the thing,

And awkwardly so,

That wise hearts do so to cling,

Blessed are they to know.


Patience unending,

Selfishness’s a recluse,

Silences sending,

Ending abuse.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: Karina Gerbst.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

On Fellowship, Growth and Humility

Strength and vitality and signs of life; these are the physics and chemistry of striving, cooperating, overcoming humanity.

Indifference is a pariah. It divides even as it pretends friendship.

No adulation in celebration. Instead celebrate fellowship together.

You may cry inside as you smile in vain. God knows the truth.

Intensity of heart is the secret of life. Just as much it must be tempered.

Disciplines will hold us and commitment quicken our spirits.

Growth never stops. To stop growing is to select reverse gear.

Nothing expands like words. Bloating and extending they betray truth at light speed.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Growing Old with the Aged

When thought comes to enjoy the grandchildren, a new burden presents — the aged parent.

Age can be a scourge. But not when the dishevelment of years is cast off. Why feel bad for being ‘old’ or dependent again?

Acceptance greets age in the manner of grace; when the urge to return to childishness, within capacity, is resisted.

Aged parents: gifts of God to hearken us onward on our journey to patience.

Patience with the aged; a test for the purity of our hearts.

How humbling to be cared for, as an invalid, by one’s children and grandchildren.

Familial justice of the years: those who were cared for will care for those who cared for them.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One Day

Our days: winsome and lovely and yearned for, some. Deplorable and desperate and depressing, the thought of others. And many are those between. These are our days.

One large set of entirely different events. How could one day be entirely bad or good?

One day is a world; in terms of time. Like American Beauty, 24, or Groundhog Day it has plenty of its own celebrations and concerns — every one, a macrocosm of wonder.

One day in time; a raucous success or an abject failure. Either way put it behind you. Be present.

One day at a time. Each day starts as they always do; with fresh hope or in despair — it’s our choice. What do we choose for?

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: ZiggyDenim.

Monday, June 27, 2011

On Gold Dust, Christian Faith and Resolution

Relational Gold Dust:

Pleasant reminders are opportunities at 20-second corridor conversations. The best of days are sprinkled with these.

One Superior Life:

Understanding why we have envious enemies is easy when we consider how awesome it would be to live our lives. This is the God-possession.

‘AND’ not ‘OR’:

The Christian faith is universally dispersed yet it can never be watered down. Truth must be. God cannot cohabit with one not disposed to truth. Salvation is God’s desired destiny for all. Yet it can only occur in humble truth.

Resolution of Spirit:

Disciplines of abstinence enacted are not only self-control, but peace; the harmony of forward-flowing energy for life. The gear “congruence” has been engaged.

All in a One Day:

Blessed are they who can see past, present and future — truthfully — on one day.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.