Good Morning! Today is the first of a series of Stewardship Temple Talks. These stories will be from and about us, we who worship here at Redeemer Lutheran. We all have a story to tell of how we / I have been touched by God through Redeemer Lutheran. And as we enter this period of prayerful reflection in contemplation of completing and turning in our our pledge cards, it is meaningful to ponder what it means to have our church and all the richness it has to offer. The benefit of having Redeemer is not just for those of us who participate in worship and other activities, but also what it means for individuals who have not yet found Redeemer Lutheran of New Paltz. These individuals may have never known God, their faith in God may need strengthening, or, like me, they have been away from church and God and are experiencing a certain hunger that is not satisfied by food, money, power, or other assets.
40+ years ago, I stepped away from organized religion, specifically the Lutheran Church. In January, 2017, I moved to New Paltz. Three days after my move, I came to Redeemer for the first time. I like to think that when I crossed the threshold of Redeemer, I returned to my Redeemer. I remember my first Sunday so well. I almost didn’t come. But I felt simultaneously pushed and pulled out my front door and through those doors into the narthex.
My involvement with God and church has expanded rapidly. From my first day here I have felt fully embraced by God, by Pastor Tobias, and by you my fellow worshipers. I have felt the Holy Spirit working in and through me.
All that I have become these last 2 years is because Redeemer Lutheran is here and available to me. All that I have become these last 2 years is a result of reconnecting with God and being guided by the Holy Spirit.
Stewardship & Discipleship are personal journeys that we take with God. But we do not take them alone. We are blessed to have this building, God’s house in which to worship. We are blessed to have many talented, creative and generous worshipers that help to, as we say in our mission statement, “Share Christ’s Welcome”. I thank God every day that He pushed and pulled me here on that cold January Sunday morning.
There are many more people like me, and you, who can benefit from crossing that threshold. But it does take money to heat and cool and repair God’s house. It takes money to sponsor our ministries of feeding the hungry, not only with nutritious food, but also with spiritual food for the soul. It takes money to spread God’s word outside the walls of this building.
We all have stories to tell about how God through Redeemer has touched our lives or someone we know. So I ask you to join me. If you have a story to tell, let me know. You might come up here to share it. Or you might write it out and email me it to me. We could publish it in our newsletter, or someone else might read it aloud up here.
I know that all the talents and assets that I call mine, are actually gifts from God. The assets are merely on loan to me while I’m here on earth. And so it is for all of us.
So I ask you to prayerfully consider the message in the letter I sent you last week. And I thank you for joining me in responding to God’s grace and committing to “Sharing Christ’s Welcome” through Redeemer to the world.
Thank you and God Bless you.