Dear Resurrection Family,
Have you started Christmas shopping yet? LaVon and I are starting by thinking about our aim and objectives for Christmas giving, how much is enough or too much, what experts suggest on Christmas giving, and how we will also include the Christmas Eve offering focused on caring for low-income children and families in our Christmas budget. This weekend I’ll share a bit of what the experts have to say about Christmas giving as a part of my message focused on Jesus’ words about the surprising blessings associated with generosity.
I’m always grateful for our annual three-week focus on finances leading up to commitment weekend. That may seem strange, but money, the connection between wealth and happiness, our common struggle with materialism, budgeting, prioritizing, the importance of cultivating generosity, and the connection between spending and the spiritual life are things I need to think about each year. This weekend’s sermon will conclude our series on What Did Jesus Say About Money by looking at his words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” as well as his words, “Give and it shall be given to you.”
It is fun receiving gifts, especially when I was a child. But I notice something about Stella, our eight-year-old granddaughter: when we open her gifts at Christmas, often things she has made for us, she stops what she’s doing and really pays attention and takes delight in telling us about what she picked out or made. Even for an eight-year-old, I see hints that it is more blessed to give than to receive. There is a joy in giving, and it actually deepens our love for the one we are giving to.
This joy and deepening love are some of the gifts given to us in giving. But there are many others. I’ll be sharing this weekend the latest research on the impact of generosity on our mental and physical health. And, we’ll look, spiritually, at what the blessings are from our generosity towards God and others. We surveyed the congregation on Monday of this week, and I’ll also be sharing some of what you said about the blessings of giving. I believe you’ll find the message relevant, helpful and inspiring.
Each year we ask those who consider Resurrection their church family, to prayerfully consider their giving to God through the church for the coming year, then to return their next year’s commitment card on commitment weekend. At the end of the sermon this weekend we’ll invite you to bring forward your commitment card (for those in person) or to return them online for those online and on television. I always find this deeply meaningful as it is more than returning our card – we are also making our commitment of our resources to God (which is why we invite you to bring your cards forward) by symbolically bringing these commitments to Him. If you are out of town this weekend, you can also make your commitment online at cor.org/commitment.
Following worship, as a way of thanking you for making your commitment, we will have the 2023 Resurrection coffee mug for you as you leave church – one per family, but if a child or teen makes a commitment, they receive their own mug. If you make a commitment online or mail it in and you live in Kansas City, you can pick up your mug at any of our locations during worship or regular office hours.
Here's a picture of the 2023 Resurrection mug we’ll be giving out:
You can learn more about stewardship and generosity on our stewardship website. This site includes information about the impact of your generosity, some financial planning tools and resources, and examples of ways to give to Resurrection.
This weekend, we’ll be giving a special gift to children in Sunday School. It has three piggy banks inside, one for giving, one for saving and one for spending. The hope is to give you and your children a tool to help them establish the pattern of giving, saving and spending in their lives. Out-of-town members with children may request one as well – we’re looking into how to send them without them being damaged in shipping. If you are interested, click here to let us know. Here’s a picture of the box and piggy banks.
Last weekend, we gave over 250 children their third grade Bibles and invited them to read through the Gospel of Luke before Christmas and challenged their parents to read through the gospel too. I asked our congregation how many of them received a Bible in third grade and how many still had their Bible – about half had received a third grade Bible when they were children, and most still had them, including people in their 60’s and 70’s.
I then shared with parents and grandparents of 3rd graders the note I wrote inside Stella’s Bible (see below). I encouraged them to write a note in their children’s or grandchildren’s Bible that would be a testament to their desire for their children to know God’s love and to read the Bible, while imagining that when their children or grandchildren were in their 60’s or 70’s, they could still look in their third grade Bibles and see a testimony to their parents’ or grandparents’ hopes for their spiritual life. Here's Stella's Bible.
As you prepare for Thanksgiving, I encourage you to find time to join our annual Thanksgiving Prayer Vigil. Before the busyness of the holidays sets in, take time to lift others up in prayer and offer thanks to God. You can drop by the Firestone Chapel in Building B at the Leawood location on Tuesday, Nov. 22, anytime between 10 am - 3 pm for a time of personal prayer. Prayer guides are provided, and we’ll even have a light lunch available between 11 am and 1 pm. If you can’t join in person, we have a prayer guide that you can download and use individually or with your family. Here’s the link. This tool could also be used to engage in giving thanks around your holiday table.
The season of Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, is a time to prepare our hearts not only to celebrate the birth of Christ, but also for the day we meet him face to face. Here are a couple of suggestions for ways you can make this Advent more meaningful:
1) Make a commitment to worship each weekend Next weekend we’ll kick-off our study of The REAL Christmas Story – our Advent sermon series which looks at the story of Christmas through the lens of the classic Christmas movies – from Rudolf, Elf, Home Alone and others. It will be both fun and meaningful as we look at the story of the birth of Jesus and see the universal longing for Emmanuel with the help of some of the most loved Christmas movies.
2) Participate in an Advent Bible Study We are offering a three-week Advent Study online on Mondays, December 5, 12 and 19, from 6:30 – 8 pm CT. Pastors Ashley Morgan Kirk and Matt Bisel will be leading you through a study of the book Prepare the Way for the Lord: Advent and the Message of John the Baptist. This is my latest book, and it is based on our Advent sermon series from several years ago. My hope is that it will help each of us prepare our hearts for Christ this Christmas season. Here’s the link to learn more and register.
3) Join us for Christmas at Resurrection Musical Production This Kansas City tradition is back, and you won’t want to miss it. Bring the family! All generations – kids to great grandparents – will enjoy the music and scenes from beloved Christmas movies as well as a retelling of the birth of Jesus. Performances are December 8 – 11, and tickets are on sale now online.
4) Bring your family to Merry Little Christmas with Santa! Join us for this fun family event at each of our locations. It’s free and you’ll enjoy a visit with Santa, photo ops, service projects, treats and a meaningful craft. Each of our locations will have a similar event, with slightly different times and details. No registration is required, but we are looking for volunteers to help host this fun event! If you’re over 14 and would like to help out, or if you just want to learn more about this event, visit cor.org/next.
This coming Tuesday, I’ll be sharing a brief reflection on Thanksgiving and the importance of gratitude on my Vespers. I’ll also share a little from chapter two of Prepare the Way for the Lord. Join me at Pastor Adam Hamilton Facebook at 7:30 pm CT this Tuesday. You can also catch the replay on YouTube later in the week.
I continue to hear from people who were inspired by our campaign this fall to BE Just, Kind and Humble. The yard signs really had an impact! But now I need to ask a favor of you. Please keep your signs in your yards or businesses as long as you want, but if you placed a sign on public property (or if you see a sign still out), could you pick it up and recycle it? Most cities have ordinances about removing signs, and we want to make sure that we are being good neighbors. Thanks!
Finally, I want to say thank you to all who give to God through Resurrection. You make possible everything that happens in and through this church. You impact countless people every year through your generosity, a generosity that is a reflection of your faith and commitment to Christ. Thank you!
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
24000 W. Valley Pkwy
Olathe, KS 66061
1601 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson St.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
8412 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
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