Celebrating the Offering

Celebrating the Offering

Congregations, Giving, Resource Review
by Melvin Amerson and James Amerson Discipleship Resources, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-88177-526-6 I like to see how the offering is handled in different churches. In some churches, nothing is said. In others, the ushers are invited up. In many, the choir sings to fill the gap. In most, it is an uncomfortable gap in worship. We often don’t know where to put the offering time, or what to say or do. At times I have heard a worship leader say, “I know you don’t want to take an offering, but it wouldn’t be church if we didn’t.” In Celebrating the Offering, Melvin and James Amerson (brothers, both of whom are clergy) help clergy and lay worship teams understand the offering as an important time of worship. In chapter one, the Amersons…
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Money and Faith: The Search for Enough

Money and Faith: The Search for Enough

Resource Review, Simple Living, Workbook
Edited and compiled by Michael Schut, Morehouse Publishing, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-8192-2327-2 This book is crammed with mind- and heart-stretching quotes like this one from Walter Brueggemann: The central problem of our lives is that we are torn apart by the conflict between our attraction to the good news of God’s abundance and the power of our belief in scarcity—a belief that makes us greedy, mean, and unneighborly. We spend our lives trying to sort out that ambiguity. This marvelous anthology of short articles—none more than twelve pages—by theologians (e.g., Ched Meyers, Sallie McFague, Henri Nouwen) and others (e.g., Bill McKibben, Dave Barry, Lester Brown) is designed to help us answer the question, “How much is enough?” Through most of human history, “more”—that is, “growth”—has meant better. That is no longer…
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Giving to God: The Bible’s Good News about Living a Generous Life

Giving to God: The Bible’s Good News about Living a Generous Life

Biblical, Giving, Resource Review, Stewardship
By Mark Allan Powell, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006, ISBN: 978-0-8028-2926-9 Giving to God would be a great addition to the shelf of stewardship books you rely on to help you unlock biblical truths for a sermon, talk, or paper. Mark Allan Powell brings stewardship theology alive. Just when you think you have heard all the ways it can be expressed, Powell delivers a fresh, concise, and candid interpretation that speaks to today’s local church. The book’s subtitle really sums up the spirit in which the theological material is presented. The liberal use of anecdotes and examples brings us face to face with the person God has meant us to be and drives us toward being a stewardship partner with Christ. Giving to God sets itself apart in its…
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Swimming Upstream: Reflections on Consumerism and Culture

Swimming Upstream: Reflections on Consumerism and Culture

Resource Review, Simple Living
By Christine Roush, Design Group International, 2009, ISBN: 978-160844-020-7 Christine Roush asks if the Christians we know are different than non-Christians with regard to their perspectives on things such as clothes, cars, housing, saving, credit use, entertainment, divorce, and concern for the environment. She then proceeds to show through her own experience as well as through the stories of others how easily we are all enticed to practice materialistic and high-consumption behaviors. Each of twelve brief chapters guides the reader to understand how these behaviors have been adopted. Roush offers questions for reflection, options for action, referrals to further information, and an illustrative story. This approach makes the book a good resource for small-group discussions and for conversations around the dinner table at home. Roush concludes by naming the church’s…
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We Make a Life by What We Give

We Make a Life by What We Give

Biblical, Giving, Resource Review
By Richard B. Gunderman Indiana University Press, 2006, ISBN: 978-0-253-35076-3 In this book Richard Gunderman provides twenty-two short essays that explore topics related to philanthropy, giving, and the potential to share. Each stands alone in its given topic and provides a rich understanding of humanity and how we must live in community. Bringing forth many biblical and Greek references, Gunderman helps the reader discover a more philosophical understanding of philanthropy, while always emphasizing its profound effect on society. Gunderman uses a quote from Winston Churchill as the title of his book, of which the overarching theme is “generosity.” While many equate this word with money, these essays dig much deeper into the soul of civilization and how all that we have and all that we are contributes to the greater good…
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