Okay, I admit it: I have been obsessed with things, especially in this past year or more. For the last several years, we have looked forward to major downsizing. So we did it – moved from a rural paradise that requires constant hard work beyond our current sustained efforts, to a house half the size…

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Lord, grant me a simple, kind, open, believing, loving, and generous heart worthy of being your dwelling-place.       ** — From prayer by John Sergieff, 1829-1908, in The Harper Collins Book of Prayers: A Treasury of Prayers Through the Ages (HarperSanFrancisco, 1994); cited in When True Simplicity Is Gained: finding Spiritual Clarity in…

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We can choose to live a simpler lifestyle as an act of: Personal integrity and commitment to a more equitable distribution of wealth in the world. Self-defense against the mind-numbing effects of over-consumption. Sharing with others what has been given to us, or returning what we have unequally received at the expense of others around…

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The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn, is a small gift book with loads of wisdom for Christians in process. Its subtitle says it all: Discovering the secret of joyful giving. The foundation of our hidden treasure, says Alcorn, is in Matthew 6:19-21, where Jesus says that earthly treasures won’t last, in contrast to our treasures…

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“Stewardship has been kidnapped and is being held hostage by a sinister villain named Paying the Bills,” states Charles R. Lane in his book, Ask, Thank, Tell. But authentic stewardship is really about discipleship, biblically based, and centered on three simple verbs that can renew and clarify our local-church stewardship efforts. This refreshing book helped…

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Now is a natural time for pastors to be planning their preaching topics for the year ahead. How can we approach stewardship holistically – in its fullness – over the months ahead to include giving money but not let it take over all the other dimensions of stewarding God’s gifts? One helpful way is to…

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There are many helpful and creative ways to make a planned gift. Here are the most important ones, according to Renard J. Kolasa, Esq., of Couzens, Lansky:1 Outright gifts, particularly appreciated securities. Gifts at death via Will or Trust – perhaps the most important source of gifts other than outright cash gifts during life; should…

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It’s good to learn about one or more of the spiritual disciplines – prayer, meditation, Scripture study, and more – but to actually practice them presupposes solitude, or the clarity of mind and heart that come from it. In these days of the pandemic, many may say, “With social distancing and staying home, I have…

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Almost every parent has been there: pressuring their young child to write the obligatory thank-notes to Aunt Charlotte and the next-door neighbor after Christmas or their birthday. But does sending those notes under mild duress make your kids really feel grateful? The fact is: we cannot make children be thankful. We can only make them…

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“To speak of the heart is not to sentimentalize but to ensoul,” says author Thomas Moore. “There is a toughness and intelligence about living from the heart. . . .”1 Moore uses the phrase living from the heart to describe what the Gospels imply about a new sense of self: “openness to experience, to the…

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Most church leaders want to help their congregations become more generous. But how do we do that? And how can we assess or measure our progress toward specific results? “Results” are what people will know, be, or do because of their stewardship exposure and experience. “Strategies” are action steps to achieve our results. For example,…

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Written for Voices and Silences, 2003 Grace, Giftedness, Giving and Growth – these four words, from Clif Christopher and Herb Mather’s book, Holy Smoke!, prompted me to reflect on these themes in my life. For me, they flow in a cycle, a deepening spiral, which begins and ends with God’s grace. From God’s side, it’s…

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