1 Corinthians 8:1-15

Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.

For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.  They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.

They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.

I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving.

Give in proportion to what you have. Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.

Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.

As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.” (Manna)

A Prayer

1 Timothy 6:17-19

Lord, teach us who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in our money, which is so unreliable. May our trust be in you God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Compel us to use our resources to do good. May we be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. Lord we know this is your will that we store up the treasure of ‘Generous Living’ as a good foundation for the future so that we may experience true life.

Today we gloriously welcomed seven members into the Midtown Church family. Together we act as one body. None of us can fulfill God’s purpose alone; we do it in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

God’s family is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. – 1 Timothy 3:15B

C.S. Lewis taught us that the word membershiphas Christian origin. Member is from the Latin membrum, meaning ‘limb.’ As Woody Johnson opined at service today, we function better as a church when we work together, like a body with all of its limbs intact.

   Together, not separated, we are His body. – 1 Corinthians 12:27

Today’s teaching was the third part in a series about the culture of Midtown Church. Pastor Todd enlightened us with three critical components of understanding prayer, summarized here.

Gravity of prayer. (Revelations 5: 6-9)

Because of Christ’s great sacrifice, we are connected to God and have been granted the gift of being able to pray to Him, converse with Him. In Revelations 5, Jesus is a sacrificial lamb. When he retrieves the scroll, he is agreeing to take on the job of being everyone’s savior. At that point, the living creatures fall down in worship and offer up their prayers to our Lord.

Heart of prayer. (Mark 11: 24-26)

What is at the heart of prayer? Forgiveness. Our relationship with God was bought by His forgiveness of us. We must both experience and embrace forgiveness. Before God can forgive us, we must forgive those who have hurt us. Our forgiveness must come first. This daunting task requires active forgiveness. Our model for doing that is Jesus Christ himself. It is by God’s grace that we are able to forgive.

Direction for prayer in your life. (Matthew 6: 6-8)

Pray the Bible. By making scripture the foundation of our prayer, we infuse God’s will and His word into our prayer. Read scripture. Say it out loud. Understand its meaning. Imagine yourself at the scene. Contemplate what is happening at the scene. Repeat the words. Sing the Psalms! God wants us to pray in his Word–it is the perfect guidebook to praying and to living God’s will.