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Thanks for the gracious contributions of Lynn Watson (Bancroft-Carlow Pastoral Charge, Bancroft, Ontario), who wrote the offering invitations, and Kathie Murphy (Toronto, Ontario), who wrote the prayers, for January 6–February 10. Offering invitations and dedications for December and February 17–24 were written by Stewardship staff.
On this first Sunday in Advent, we begin a time of waiting, anticipating Christ's birth and the promise of salvation—the true gift of Christmas! Let us consider all our blessings and concentrate on sharing those blessings with others. "The days are coming" (Jeremiah 23:5)! Let us rejoice in the promise of God's grace by offering ourselves, including our financial blessings, to God.
Giving God, we are so blessed by the promise of Jesus. It is so exciting to anticipate Christ's birth. Help us to stay grounded in the promise of salvation and focussed on sharing Christ with others. Please use the gifts given now and those already given through PAR to share the good news of the coming days! Amen.
Like John the Baptist, we each have a role to play in God's ministry. Stewardship is first about answering God's call to use our lives for God's purposes. So, stewardship starts with listening. Just as John heard God while in the wilderness, we need to hear God's directions for our own lives, including how we share ourselves with others. As a symbol of how we live out John's example, let us now make an offering to God.
Heavenly and Earthly God, we thank you for the leaders in our lives. We thank you for those who came before us who built our churches, who started our mission work, who have made our ways clear. Help us to be the same sort of stewards to those who will follow us. Please use our gifts to help make straight the path for others in this world. Thank you for the privilege of serving you with our lives. We pray in the name of our Saviour. Amen.
John the Baptist has specific instructions for people wanting to follow God's path: give away what you don't need, share your wealth, take only what is required, don't impoverish others, and most importantly, "bear fruits worthy of repentance" (Luke 3:8). In other words, remember that everything that comes from you—actions, words, thoughts, prayers—should reflect God's love. God gives because God chooses to, not because God has to. In our service, we are invited to make gifts to God that will reflect God's love. Our offerings will now be received.
God of repentance and mercy, thank you for all you have given us. Help us to remember that you give to us out of love. Help us to know deep in our hearts that you provide for us because you want to, not because we have earned it. In the same way, we offer our gifts now and through PAR for the work of the church, not because we have to, but out of deep gratitude for blessed abundance. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
As Christian stewards, we serve as God's presence in the world, comforting those who are confused and frightened, mentoring those who are less experienced, leading by example, and opening our hearts to those in need. It seems as if we are especially called to serve during Advent. Hear again Elizabeth's words: "And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?" (Luke 1:43). Who are we that God should bless us so richly with the birth of Jesus? In response to such an incredible blessing, let us present ourselves and our offerings to God.
Mentoring God, we are so thankful for all the teachers and mentors in our lives. Who are we that we should be so richly blessed? Please accept our lives and these offerings as a way to mentor the ministries of this congregation, and as a way to share the blessing of Christ with others. Humbly, in gratitude, we give to you. Amen.
A new year approaches, and Paul's letter to the Colossians provides a call to action for us to act and speak in the name of Jesus. We are reminded that everything we do, we do in Christ's name, and that our lives are given and our actions enabled, by God. Let us respond to this good news with thanksgiving! Let us respond to God's abundance in our lives with our offerings.
Giving God, we celebrate the birth of Jesus during the Christmas season. Help us to celebrate Christ every day by dedicating everything we do to your mission and service. Please accept the offerings given now and those given through PAR as a renewed commitment to our living in Christ's name. In the name of the little child who was born in Bethlehem, we pray. Amen.
We have accepted God’s abundant gifts to us, both tangible and intangible—and we have been called to share our abundance with others. Let us now present our offerings as a community.
Generous God, we pray that we can give as you have given to us, unstintingly and with great love. Bless the offerings given now and through PAR that they may help to change the world to match your vision. In the name of the One who was a gift to us, we pray. Amen.
We’ve all heard it said that “actions speak louder than words,” and this is an opportunity for us to speak volumes without opening our mouths. When we present our gifts to God and for the work of God’s people, we are proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Let us share the good news as we present our church offerings.
God of all gifts, we pray that in some small way, we reflect the overflowing generosity we have received in our lives through the gifts we present today and through PAR. May we proclaim the good news today and every day through our gifts and through our actions. Amen.
More money is spent on beauty products these days than ever before, for both men and women. So what does the church need to do to improve its appearance? Isaiah says that God’s righteousness is a “crown of beauty” and a “royal diadem.” Generosity is the mark of a righteous church. Giving our gifts to God is the best beauty regimen we can use!
Loving God, help us to remember that physical beauty is fleeting, but the gifts of the Spirit last a lifetime and beyond. Inspire us to beautify our spiritual landscape by sharing the gifts we have been given with those who need them. Amen.
Jesus turned hundreds of litres of water into wine. Now that’s an abundant and delightful God! Let us now show our own abundance as we present our offerings.
Generous God, sometimes a gift becomes more valuable when it is given away to someone who needs it more than we do. Help us to see ways to “change our water into wine” for others. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
When Jesus stood in the synagogue in Nazareth and read the scripture, he said, “Today, scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” What does it mean to fulfill something? It means to embody, to incarnate something. Giving our offering is the incarnation of our faith in a God of abundance and promise. Let us present our offerings.
Loving God, help us to remember that living our faith doesn’t just mean showing up in church on Sunday. Show us how to incarnate our faith through the gifts we share with others in our offerings and in our everyday lives. Amen.
It’s been said in stewardship circles that “money follows mission,” and it’s true. People invest in the things that they can get excited about. Some will give to fill the hole in the budget, but most give to the things that the church does to make a difference in the world. May we hear the words spoken to Jeremiah as if they were spoken to us: “Look, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms...to build and to plant.”
Generous God, help us to see clearly what is needed by our church and by the world around us, and how we can best share our gifts to match that vision. And help us to remember that even the smallest gift is worth getting excited about! We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
When Moses met with God face-to-face, his appearance was transformed. He glowed with the reflection of God’s glory. We are a people who have hung our faith on the belief that our God transforms: water into wine, faith into works, our gifts into our mission.
Transforming God, please bless the gifts we give now and those already given through PAR that they may help transform our lives and your world. May our faith and our giving change us into a people who more clearly reflect your love. Amen.
Today’s lesson from Deuteronomy instructs us to present the first portion of our earnings to God and to celebrate the gifts God bestows upon us. So let us celebrate together now as we present our offerings to our magnificent Creator.
Abundant and caregiving God, thank you for the blessings and gifts that you bestow on us. We rejoice together as we acknowledge all that you provide for us. In our daily lives, help us to savour our gratitude. May our lives and the gifts that we present now and through PAR be dedicated to your purposes. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
God is our strength and our shield and our provider. What a wonderful thing it is to believe in God and to belong to a faith community! Let us respond to God’s bounty to us by presenting our gifts for the work of God’s church in this place.
Gracious and loving God, we offer these monetary gifts and those already given through PAR for your mission and ministry in the world, as well as for this congregation. In our giving, may we be blessed with the sure knowledge that we are making a difference and the confidence that we ourselves have enough. Amen.
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