Generous Actions

Generous Actions

Published November 13, 2019

23rd Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/November 13, 2019

Just these lines, my friends …

to say what a Sunday (November 10) it was for us as we marked our day with grateful remembering of veterans who have served our country and given of themselves in the defense of freedom around the world. We are all recipients of their training, courage and sacrifice. The morning included: celebrating our veterans at 8:15 am and 11:00 am with their particular service song (click to watch the Armed Forces Medley!); stunning music from our Sanctuary Choir, Melody Makers and Praise Team; a gratitude video from our Rainbow friends (watch here); a powerful film by John Woodall about veterans during the 9:30 hour (click the link below); and so much more.

Here’s a note I received on Sunday afternoon from Rick/Kathleen Benjamin. The Benjamins have been a part of church life for many years. Their work/business is sports media. They were in Las Vegas on Sunday for a trade show, but they worshipped online. So they wrote me a note:

“Good morning Chuck (It is still morning here in Nevada). Rick and I fly home this PM after 4 days in Las Vegas for a trade show. As grateful as I always feel for the gift of on-line worship when traveling, it was never more welcome than this AM.  After four days surrounded by conspicuous consumption, excessive indulgence, and addictions of all stripes, I was in need of a soul revival. And our MUMC family provided: the music, the prayers, the scripture, and the message. It erased the images I feared would be seared in my brain. So, thank you for that spiritual bath. Oh yes … and thanks to your message, we plan to stop dragging our feet and risk learning new dance steps on Mondays.”

Ha! Ha! Ha! Way to go, Rick and Kathleen. You can watch the entirety of the 11 am service here where you will learn about dance steps. At the very least, I hope you’ll take the time to hear the story I tell at the very end of my sermon about the Battle of Midway Island in World War II.

On November 5, we had our Annual Charge Conference. This gathering occurs most every November, where we elect leaders for the coming year. In addition, we celebrated Grant Overbey and Scott Putnam for their remarkable, faithful, generous service for their years as our Administrative Council Chair and Lay Leader. “Well done, good and faithful servants.” You can click here to review the listing of leaders for 2020.

Joash Chest Sunday this Sunday
Please remember to be in prayer in your consideration of your financial commitment to our shared ministry for 2020. In the last few days cards were mailed to your home. They are also available on the website by clicking here. Remember, no one at the church will open your card, as it is a gift between you and God. Our Joash Chest Sunday (Generosity Sunday) is this Sunday, November 17. If you are unable to be present this Sunday, you may place your commitment card in the Joash Chest on November 24 and December 1, or you can drop it by the church office or mail it in, and we will place it in the Joash Chest.

It is always inspiring to watch the church pull together in generosity to bless our community and world. We may not bring the same gifts, but we strive to bring a united, sacrificial commitment to making God’s love real in our time. By turning in a financial commitment card for 2020, we are saying, “I want to be a part of what Matthews United Methodist is doing in our community and world.” So, I invite you to have the conversation with your family, discern God’s direction, and bring your commitment card to worship this coming Sunday, November 17.

Generous Actions
Our opportunity to bless others is often right in front of us. The other day, I learned about Deborah Hausladen of Malvern, Pennsylvania. She was not looking for an opportunity to start a ministry that blessed our soldiers around the world, but when she took a phone call from her son, who was deployed with the United States Army in Afghanistan, Deborah knew that she needed to help.

At the end of a brief phone call from her son, Deborah was asked if she could send him a new pair of tennis shoes. She was surprised at his request, but she agreed to help. Deborah then asked if any other soldiers in his unit needed new shoes. Her son said they did because they were not issued by the U.S. Army.

Deborah went to work quickly. Within one week she had started a local mission, Sneakers for Soldiers. She started by first purchasing shoes with her own money, and soon involved her church and local businesses.  She has now been sending shoes to active duty personnel in Afghanistan since 2018. They have sent well over 200 pairs of shoes to soldiers in need.

The volunteers at Sneakers for Soldiers often hear back from those who have received new shoes. The soldiers express how thankful they are for the gift of new shoes. They also tell of how grateful they are that people care and have not forgotten about them.

When Deborah Hausladen answered the phone that day she knew she would be blessed by hearing her son’s voice. She did not know that an opportunity to be a blessing would be on the other side of the phone. When that opportunity presented itself, Deborah began the work of meeting a need on the other side of the world.

Each day we are faced with the needs of others. Deborah Hausladen’s generous actions remind us that we have the ability and the calling to care for our brothers and sisters in times of need. We can bless others if only we look for the opportunities in our midst to serve, and when we find the opportunity, use our gifts to share God’s love and bring hope to all.

“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (I John 3:17-18)

The Gratitude Challenge
Are you participating in our Gratitude Challenge? It all began October 30, but you could start today, with writing a note of gratitude every day until Thanksgiving Day, November 28.

Here are a few ideas for this week:

  • Acknowledge your appreciation of a staff member of one of our great organizations in Matthews, like The Help Center and Habitat for Humanity.
  • Offer thanks to somebody who helped you grieve in the loss of a loved one.
  • Honor a person with a special note who made you smile this week.

Some Gratitude Bible verses:

  • Psalm 105:1 – “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!”
  • Colossians 2:6-7 – “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” 

Some Gratitude Quotes

  • Unknown – “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”
  • Thornton Wilder – “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  

Upcoming Dates
If you will, please consider putting an “X” on the calendar for these upcoming dates:

  • Joash Chest Sunday, November 17: This is our annual Sunday for our families to make their financial commitments for 2020. These are some of the holiest moments we share each year. I love watching you stream forward to make your commitments.
  • Operation Christmas Child (OCC): All OCC boxes are to be returned by November 17.
  • 2nd Annual Community Thanksgiving Worship, Sunday, November 24, 6 pm, Matthews Presbyterian Church: Please join us for a beautiful evening of Thanksgiving worship with our friends from Matthews Presbyterian, Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of Matthews.
  • Advent Begins, Sunday, December 1: Our worship series this year, Count Your Blessings, will continue our gratitude theme through the end of the year.

This Sunday (November 17) in Worship
I’m excited to see you on Sunday, one of my favorite days of the year … the Sunday I watch so many of us stream forward to lay your financial commitment cards for 2020 in the Joash Chest.  I’m so grateful for each of you.

I’m Choosing Gratitude,

Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that 55 packages of underwear were collected for children at the Kidron Valley orphanage in Uganda and presented to Pastor John when he spoke at Youth Group? Our Small Group leaders got the word out and made this possible!

Did you know that over 150 young people have registered for our Youth Basketball League, which will represent 30-35 teams? Basketball reaches many beyond our walls and serves as a significant outreach in the life of our Church.

Did you know that the Rehobeth Circle packed 100 Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes again this year? This Women’s Circle has met this goal for the past 15 years!

Did you know that Martha Drum met Donald Driver, seventh-round pick for the Green Bay Packers in 1999, whose story was featured in Pastor Chuck’s November 3 worship message? Hear the moving story that will incite gratitude in your heart by clicking to the worship message here.

Did you know that Iris DeVore was presented the inaugural Founders Award by the Matthews Help Center on Tuesday, November 12, before a crowd of staff, volunteers and supporters who were gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of The Help Center? Iris was one of the founders some 40 years ago.