Giving Your Gifts

Several of our Sunday School classes complete a four-week study this Sunday on the use of time, talents and resources. The series, using Paul’s letters to Christians in Corinth and in Rome as the text, looks at the motivation and commitment of using all that God has provided for the benefit of God’s Kingdom and others. How do you look at all with which you have been blessed? Do you see your time, talents and resources as solely your own, or do you see them all as really belonging to God? As Believers, we are called to follow Christ and allow the Spirit of Christ to teach and guide us in using all that we have and all that we are to demonstrate and communicate to others the love, mercy and grace of God. All of this we know, but the daily living of our lives can skew our perception of who has really provided all that we have and enjoy. Through these lessons we are challenged to ask the hard questions of our commitment to using our time, talents, and resources. The financial gifts most make on a regular basis are important but there are other ways to give by using our time and talents. Here are some ways that we can join together in helping others and in celebrating God’s blessings this week:

  • Participate TONIGHT at 5:00 p.m. assembling hygiene kits for the needy. The project will take place in Drennen Hall.
  • Attend the Family Promise Fundraiser at St Stephens Episcopal Church on Thursday evening to benefit homeless families.
  • Join your church family by taking part in the Magic City AIDS walk this Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Railroad Park.

In 2 Corinthians 9:7 we read, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Please pray for discernment, understanding and guidance as you decide what you will give.

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Giving Your Gifts

Be Generous

A heightened awareness and understanding of what is truly important has been the dominant focus of thoughts for many in recent days. When faced with the threat of a natural disaster, or in surveying the aftermath of the two massive storms that took the lives of 107 individuals and brought destruction and great loss of property, it is only natural to think about what is most valuable; to put it another way, what brings real meaning to our life.

Crises and critical needs jolt us back from the routine of life that dulls our senses and spirits to the really important aspects of life. The layers covering the innate goodness created by God in our hearts are peeled away in a single moment and we catch a glimpse of what life can be as we respond to the needs of those facing life changing events. The world would be very different if we all demonstrated concern and compassion for others everyday, even in the absence of a natural disaster, and lived a life that reflected the generous heart and character of the God who gave us life and who sustains life.

Generosity is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) made evident in one’s life as the Spirit of Christ guides and teaches us to see the world and all that is in it as Jesus sees it. Generosity is seeing human pain and suffering and taking action to help and bring comfort and healing. Developing a spirit of generosity and using the time, talents and resources that God has blessed us with brings us closer to God and to one another. Thus we develop an even greater understanding of Jesus’ words “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind… and to love your neighbor as yourself.”

Please prayerfully consider how the Spirit of Christ is guiding you to use the time, talents and resources that God has entrusted to you for your spiritual journey of growing more into a likeness of Jesus the Christ.

I enjoy our journey together,

Tim Kelley

Ways to help:

  1. Pray.
  2. Give money to the Disaster Relief causes through Southside Baptist Church as you feel led to do so.
  3. Give items for relief efforts that are on lists provided by collection centers. (We have plastic bins for toiletries collections around the church.)
  4. Offer displaced friends or other victims a place to stay as they have to leave their homes.
  5. Volunteer at collection sights or even join teams traveling to help in recovery efforts.
Be Generous

The cross, the rose and the anchor

It is a common occurrence to stand in the pulpit on a Sunday morning and see someone in the congregation gazing at the ceiling. I assume the usual reason for looking upward with such a fixed focus is to pass the time, but, I hope, that on occasion, it is because one’s attention is captured by beauty and meaning of architectural features and symbols.

There are many emblems in the worship space that might go unnoticed unless one carefully looks at all the details. Even those not so obvious are there for a reason though; they remind us of who we are and how those before us gave expression to their faith. One place you will find, some not so obvious symbols is in the corners of each recessed tray where the coffers intersect. In each corner is a shield that is abutted on each side by oak leaf crown molding. The off-white shield and the molding are in stark contrast to the Wedgwood blue ceiling, and are therefore obvious even from the floor forty feet below. Not easily seen, though, are the symbols on the shield: a cross, a rose and an anchor.

The cross represents the unconditional and sacrificial love of Jesus, God incarnate. Jesus, in and through his journey to the cross for all of humanity demonstrated God’s love at work in the world made evident in his death, burial and resurrection. The other two symbols on the shield, the rose and anchor, have been associated with Christianity through the centuries, and are relevant to us today as well. The rose is a universal symbol of love and a reminder of the love of God that is at work in individual lives and in the world. The anchor is a symbol of the hope we have in Christ; hope for today, hope for tomorrow and forever. It reminds us that whatever we face in life, the love of Christ will hold fast and never fail. A truth that is affirmed in the hymn, “The Solid Rock.”
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In very high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

The cross, a rose, and an anchor, all symbols to remind us that God who created all that is has blessed humankind with opportunities to experience the depth of his love, mercy and grace.

So, look up, and be reminded and encouraged because God is present with us as we all journey together.

The cross, the rose and the anchor

Calling All College/Grad Students & Young Professionals!!

A new group has begun and we’re really excited about it! There’s so much going on in the world today and everyone needs a safe place to voice their concerns, ideas and opinions openly. And that’s what we’re offering.

Join us on Wednesday nights at 6:00pm in Room 138 after picking up a delicious meal over in Drennen Hall. The meal is FREE for college students and just $5 for everyone else. Or join us on Sunday morning during the Sunday School hour after the Gathering (more free food). We look forward to seeing you there!

Calling All College/Grad Students & Young Professionals!!

Toiletries Drive!

Our toiletries pantry has been depleted and we’re in desperate need of more items. We know some of you have had grand travels over these summer months and we’re hoping you’ll share some of your bounty.

We’ll have boxes placed around the church in the lobbies and other obvious places so be on the lookout!

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Next month, we’ll have a few events to package these items in handy little baggies for our Food Bank and Clothes Closet clients and others who come to us in need.

Stay tuned for more information on how you can be a part of SSBC’s ministry outreach efforts. Have some ideas or want to organize something? Email the church or call us at 205.933.8381.

Toiletries Drive!