JANUARY 30, 2006

“Giving and Receivingâ€?
by Pastor Connie Larson DeVaughn

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.â€? The Apostle Paul, when he received a gift from the Philippians, put this truth in his own words, “not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account.â€? When we give, we may initially feel the out-go of funds as a loss, but the return to the giver is far greater, not only in the practical help to people and causes in need, but also in the “fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” (Phil 4:17, 19) Many Christians have discovered the joy of giving to God in this way.

Altadena Baptist Church friends and family have a proven track record of generosity. As of the beginning of 2005, we thought a cost-of-living increase for staff and missions would be too much of a stretch for us, so we held off until proved otherwise by consistent increased giving in the Sunday morning offering. We gave above budget in a way that allowed us to vote in that increase mid-way through the year. Now three fourths of the way through the year we have stayed on target to meet our increased budget. In addition, we gave generously above our tithes and regular offerings for special, one-time designations.

This is what we’ve been able to do together:

  • Disaster relief of the tsunami in Asia and the Katrina hurricane
  • A gift to the Altadena Christian Children’s Center in honor of Pastor George
  • A gift of appreciation to Alice Blackwood for many years of outstanding service to the church
  • Funds to cover Pastor Connie’s missions trip to Barcelona and Africa
  • The carpet fund which allowed us to beautify our sanctuary and foyer (a project that was long overdue)
  • Support of our sister church in Lebanon through one adult Sunday School
  • A gift to the King of Peace Church in Uruguay towards the purchase of their property
  • Substantial increase in the salary of Glenn Molina, our Director of Worship, out of our savings reserves

All of these extra gifts were significant, given the size of our congregation. Together, they speak of open hearts, of loving through giving.

It is in this context of generosity that I mention the other significant piece of giving, which has occurred over and above the budget for several years: Faith Promise. With a goal of $13,688 in 2005, we received $13,293.

Since Faith Promise concurs with the calendar year, it is past time for us to set our new goal for 2006. I’m sure that there will be plenty of opportunity for generosity this year, and that ABCers will respond as they have in the past. Will you now prayerfully consider giving to missions in this significant way? Those who do have a heart big enough for the whole world, specifically bringing the good news of Christ through the very special people called by God and sent from the church. A Faith Promise card is enclosed, and will also be available on Sundays through the end of the month.

We are rejoicing as a church body at the many opportunities that have opened up for us as we give, investing in people’s lives for the sake of the Gospel. And as we build into our character the generosity of God, we realize a greater blessing to ourselves as givers. May you know joy in your giving this year.