Do we worship idols? The answer may surprise you.

For the four Sundays October 20-November 10, Collegiate/Wesley’s Sunday morning sermon series will be First Things First: putting God first in living and giving.  This series will culminate in our annual Consecration Sunday service at 9:30 a.m. on November 17, at which time we will have the opportunity to commit ourselves to the work of the church for 2014.

Please note that there will be one morning service only on November 17 from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m., followed by a Celebration Lunch in Wesley Hall at 11:00 a.m.  The worship service will be a Festival of Music and will conclude with the collection of 2014 Estimate of Giving Cards from members and friends.  Further information and Estimate of Giving cards will be mailed to church members and friends in early November.

We are made in God’s image and are meant to be creators of life and hope, not the consumers of our culture’s shiny gods. We have the ability to change the world and create a legacy that will live forever in the lives of generations to follow. That legacy starts when each of us takes the hard steps of financial discipline and fulfilling the call to generosity that God has placed in all of us.

The goal of this stewardship program is not to make people feel guilty, nor is it to create a cookie-cutter formula so that everyone responds in the same way.  The goal is for each person to ask questions of themselves and be open to the possibility that God will lead us in new directions in our lives.

During the four-week program, we’ll be challenged in a number of different ways.  We’ll be asked to look for the idols in our own lives (Hint: they aren’t all made of gold) and name the ways these idols enslave us, holding us back from living in the true freedom that God desires for us.

We’ll be challenged to consider the place that money, work, and debt have in our lives. What are our common understandings of these, and might the witness of Scripture lead us to some different understandings?

We’ll be challenged to ask ourselves what it means for us to be faithful, to save, and to give. How do we balance all the competing interests in our lives? What priorities does God want us to have?

Finally, we’ll be challenged to give with our hearts, not out of obligation or a sense of duty and not just when we think the recipient deserves our gift. Instead, we’ll be challenged to give the way God gives—freely, fully, with no favorites or expectations of repayment.

Sermons and preachers for the four Sundays are:

  • October 20: “Naming Our Idols” (Rev. Scott Grotewold, preaching)

What are the idols of everyday life and how do they enslave us?  How does this hold us back from living in the true freedom that God desires for us?

  • October 27: “Money, Work and Debt” (Rev. Jim Shirbroun, preaching)

What place do money, work, and debt have in our lives?  How might the witness of Scripture lead us to some different understandings of these?

  • November 3: “Be Faithful, Save and Give” (Rev. Scott Grotewold, preaching)

What does it mean for us to be faithful, to save, and to give?  Among all the competing interests in our lives, what priorities does God want us to have?

  • November 10: “Heart Giving” (Rev. Melissa Warren, preaching)

What does it mean to give with our hearts, not out of obligation or duty?  That’s how God gives: freely, fully, with no expectation of repayment.

It is our prayer that, at the end of these four weeks, we will have begun to grow into the individuals and the church that God knows we can be. Please join us for First Things First: putting God first in living and giving.