August 2019 Newsletter
A Message from the Pastor:
Dear Friends in Christ,
In the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930’s, a government agent visited the Great Smoky Mountains. At the time, the federal government was making small allotment payments to impoverished farmers to aid in the purchase of stock, feed and necessary equipment. On this particular afternoon, the agent drove up a scraggly country dirt road and came upon a small sun-bleached wooden shack. A mountain woman was busy hoeing in her parched cornfield when she saw the government agent drive up.
The woman invited the agent to come in out of the sun for a cup of sweet iced tea and a slice of homemade pound cake. As the agent entered the cabin, he saw no floor, only packed down North Carolina mountain dirt. The one room cabin was furnished with just a few sticks of handcrafted furniture. Daylight streamed through chinks in the cabin walls.
The agent was immediately struck by the hospitality and generosity of the woman and was pleased to announce to her the good news of the government’s program of assistance. “If the government gave you 200 dollars,” said the man, “what would you be able to do with it?”
The woman pondered the question for a moment and then replied, “Reckon I’d give it to the poor.”
This woman demonstrated the startling power of a mindset of generosity and abundance even in the circumstance of immense poverty. She gave out of her need, not her excess, and showed what the soul of generosity and true abundance looks like. In the 17th chapter of 1 Kings, the prophet Elijah meets the Widow of Zarephath, a woman similar to the mountain woman of Appalachia just mentioned. She too gave out of her need and miraculously discovered that God blessed her abundantly for her faith and her generosity. See 1 Kings 17:7-15.
Throughout the Bible, we are taught that God requests a sacrificial offering of our FIRST fruits as a part of our commitment to God and our trust and worship in Christ, Our Savior. The Bible is clear that this first fruit portion is 10% of our resources or income. Such generosity does not spring from our excess, from what is left over after we have taken care of ourselves. It is made possible only as a FIRST fruit that is given out of our need. It is rooted in our poverty, not our wealth! The mountain woman of Appalachia and the Widow of Zarephath understood this and lived it. We are directed to follow their example in committing ourselves to an abundant mindset and life.
Dave Ramsey, the director of Financial Peace University, reminds us, “If you cannot live off 90 percent of your income, then you cannot live off 100 percent… I think if you sit down and look at your budget, you will see that you can make it while giving at least 10%. Read the Bible and take from it what you will, and if you tithe, do it out of love for God, not guilt.” Do it out of your need and watch how God replenishes your abundance in ways you never could have imagined!
Starting this month, I invite you to step out in faith as a 10-Percenter – A worshiper who gives out of your need, committing 10% FIRST FRUIT GIVING weekly in the certain trust of God’s abundant replenishment and grace! Not out of your excess, what’s left over! Out of your need, what comes first! “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33).
Sermon Series - Return From Exile
We will continue our series on "Return From Exile" through August 18.
Aug 4: Part 7 | Nehemiah 8 | THE OPEN BOOK
Text: Nehemiah 8:1-18
Aug 11: Part 8 | Nehemiah 9 | WHERE YOU CAME FROM
Text: Nehemiah 9:1-37
Aug 18: Part 9 | Nehemiah 10 | RISING STRONG
Text: Nehemiah 9:38; 10:28-39
Church Council will meet August 12 at 7:00 p.m.
Women of the ELCA
Women of the ELCA will meet August 18 at 11:30 a.m.
Please plan to come soon and often to the Yoga/Qigong combination exercise class every Monday from 7:00 – 7:45 p.m.! It’s designed to relax, restore, and invigorate and is for all ages and body types. Leave feeling great! No prior experience or special props required. A Free Will Offering is collected with 100% funding area church mission projects. Seasonal Open Houses are planned to encourage our neighbors to stop in and to keep things fresh and lively for regular students. Class is taught by Amazing Grace member Ellen Crider, Yoga Therapist.
Thank you to all the great cooks and Grill Master John for a delicious Hot Dog luncheon celebration. We enjoyed dogs and fixings, sides of baked beans and potato salad, birthday cake by Tim and other desserts. If you missed the meal, we missed you! Plan to stay for our next food fellowship. We always have enough for guests, too!
Thank you to everyone that participated in our White Goods collection for the kitchen and bathrooms. It will be a tremendous help in cutting some of the cost of the church budget.
Fall Adult Class to start September 11th
The Just Shall Live! : The A-B-C’s of Lutheran Faith a series of classes on the basics of the LutheranfFaith and witness will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 11th from 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. The Just Shall Live! : The A-B-C’s of Lutheran Faith will be a six-week course focusing on the core principles of the Evangelical Lutheran faith. The course will be designed for those new to Lutheranism as well as those seeking a refresher course on the basics of Lutheran theology and faith practice. The course is open to seekers, non-members and anyone curious to know more about the Christian expression inspired by Martin Luther and other reformers. If you are interested in attending the seminar, please contact Pastor Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We had a great turn out for our first get together last month to share a meal and fellowship. There were 30 plus folks in attendance. We will continue to meet on the third Wednesday of each month at 1:00 p.m. for lunch. This month (August 21st) we will be going to the Village Inn Pizza in the Viewmont area of Hickory. If you wish to car pool, please be at the church by 12:30 p.m. If you have questions, please speak to Bobby Lail, Gail Wilcox or John Renn.
Notes from the Outreach Committee:
Please check your grocery packages for BoxTops for Education. They are not only on some food labels but, have also been found on paper products and cleaning supplies. We have a collection container near the opportunities board to receive those clipped coupons. They are donated to local teachers.
The Outreach Committee had another successful trip to Living Waters Cherokee mid-July. Several community members who have donated to this worthy cause accompanied an enclosed trailer and vehicles packed with goods. Some members of Amazing Grace were able to assist with loading prior to the trip. As reported the following Sunday, the group had good weather, a chance to see firsthand where their donations are helping and visit with members of Living Waters. We continue to collect items for transport. Donations of clothing – especially maternity, men’s work clothes and children’s clothes - along with cleaning supplies, trash bags and Ziploc storage bags are in need. A big Thank You to all who continue to donate, drive and accompany on the mission and assist with loading goods!
August is Amazing Grace’s scheduled turn to collect food for South Caldwell Christian Ministry. Our last collection yielded about 300 pounds of food. Let’s do our part and donate 500 pounds or more this time! An easy way to achieve this goal is to bring goods weekly. We have divided the requested food items to weekly suggestions. Week 1 – canned vegetables like carrots, greens of all kinds, mixed vegs, potatoes, squash. They already have green beans, peas and corn. Week 2 – Canned fruit of all types. Week 3 – Spaghetti, elbow macaroni, twists, penne pastas and tomato sauces with meat or extra vegs and/or Alfredo type sauces. Week 4 – canned meats like Vienna sausages, chicken, treat and canned pastas like spaghetti-o’s and mini ravioli. Also applesauce and fruit packs that fit for children lunches. Let’s do our part to help neighbors in our community. Thanks for participating!
We need volunteers for the Teachers' Back to School Bash on August 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Speak to Paula Laxton in regards to volunteering. Also, we collected enough school supplies to create 30 Agape bags for children grades 3-5 with leftover supplies donated for use in other bags. We had committed to 25. Go Amazing Grace family!!!
Call for Artists and Musicians - HILLABILLOOZA - October 26th
Amazing Grace is planning to host HILLABILLOOZA: THE AMAZING FESTIVAL OF ART on Saturday, October 26th from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The “hillbilly” arts festival will host handmade art from regional artists, including pottery, weaving, handcrafts, honey, and other arts. Music will be provided on an outdoor soundstage by regional artists. The event will be a community event open to the public. Applications are being taken for vendor booths and musical performance slots. Anyone interested in participating in the event as a vendor or musician is encouraged to contact Anne Fredley at email@example.com. More information is available at the HILLLABILLOOZA: THE AMAZING FESTIVAL OF ART website: www.theamazingfest.org.
Trinity Ridge Worship & Singing
Trinity Ridge contacted Pastor Frank in regards to being a part of their Parish Chaplains offering worship once a month. The first service will be October 4 at 10:45 a.m. He's hopeful that those that had gone to the nursing homes prior will come along and maybe do some singing. Mark your calendar now!
Pastor Frank's Book Club
The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Les Hewitt
Many people today are concerned about their lifestyle. Phrases like, “I’m looking for a better quality of life,” or “I just want to simplify my life,” are now commonplace. It seems the headlong rush for material success and all the trappings of a so-called successful life are not enough. To be truly rich includes not only financial freedom, but also developing rich, meaningful relationships, enriching your health, and enjoying a rich balance between your career and your personal life.
The nourishment of your own spirit or soul is also an essential requirement. This takes time to explore and expand. It is a never-ending process. The more you learn about yourself - how you think, how you feel, what your purpose is and how you want to live - the more your life will flow.
Instead of just working hard every week, you will begin to make better choices based on intuition and instinctively knowing the right thing to do. It is this higher level of awareness that determines your daily quality of life.
Pick up a copy of The Power of Focus at Amazon.com for $10.93 today!
INVITE- INVITE- INVITE
Invite an individual or a family to worship with you each week!