We celebrate God’s grace each day in our lives and we give of ourselves in response to God’s gift of grace in Jesus Christ. Our Celebration and Commitment Sunday will be this Sunday, October 23. Please join us in celebrating our ministry and discipleship together by filling out the commitment card and time and talent sheet mailed to you this week. If you did not receive these in the mail please call (815-459-2690) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) the church office.
You are invited to prayerfully consider how God is calling you to share your gifts and then complete the commitment card and time and talent sheet with a spirit of joy and thanksgiving for the many blessings God has given us. We would like to invite you to bring your envelope to worship this Sunday to give during our worship service or you may send the commitment card and time and talent sheet to church.
This Sunday the Pierzina Family will share a “Mission Moment – Giving in Grace.”
BIBLE STUDY: “Giving of Grace”
The Parable of the Prodigal and His Brother (Luke 15:11-32)
Then Jesus said, ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.” So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.’ ” So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” And they began to celebrate.
‘Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.” Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!” Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a story of grace and the joy of sharing the gift of grace. Luke shares this story first to illustrate the completeness of God’s grace in Christ. It is a gift that is not limited in any way by the bounds or barriers that we are so inclined to erect in life. Secondly, the grace given by the father to the prodigal and his brother, has the same characteristic of grace we receive from God in Christ. It is a grace that fully encompasses us as individuals and celebrates our being a child of God no matter the circumstances. Such is the abundant and rich grace of God. Thirdly, this is the grace in which God’s people live each day. It is a grace that is life giving and full of surprises. This is the great gift of God in which we live our lives.
Christian stewardship can be defined as “how we, as people of God, walk in the midst of this abundant grace each day.” In other words, the question for us is, “How do we share the joy of this gift in our own giving of grace by what we do and say in life?” The answer to this is how we live a “grace-full” life of stewardship.
· How is the Parable of the prodigal Son an example of “giving of grace”? List some of the actions and behaviors in the story that lie behind this giving.
· What gift of grace did the brothers receive? The father?
· What do you think motivated his “giving in grace”?
· The writer of I John tells us: “We love because God first loved us” (John4:19). God’s love in Christ is the foundational principle and motivational factor in a life of stewardship that is grace-filled and grace-given. How does God’s gift of life transforming grace in Christ inform and motivate you in your giving?
· How does a grace-filled sense of stewardship transform our giving from somethingwe should do to something we do in joy and celebration? What do you see as characteristics of a grace-filled lifestyle of stewardship? How would this transform your own sense of life and “giving of grace”?
· Beyond the obvious such as family, friends, and church, what are some ways you have experienced the gift of God’s grace this week?
· What are some ways you were involved in the “giving of grace” this past week?