Today is officially Riverwood's 3rd Birthday! It was on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 that Riverwood held its first public worship gathering at the W-SR Middle School. A lot has happened and changed since that day. But what hasn't changed is Riverwood's commitment to Jesus and His gospel.
That's why this Sunday, April 23, I'm excited to celebrate these past three years with you by looking at the lives that have changed as a result of the gospel upon which Riverwood is founded. So do everything you can to be there this Sunday, 10:00 am, at the Waverly Area Veterans Post as we celebrate the work of Jesus!
We are in a short series here in the News and Notes on the topic of Giving. We are walking through 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, and this week we come to verses 8-12, which say...
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, 'He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.' "He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God."
These verses tie back to the topic of "a return to giving" found in verse 6 (which we talked about two weeks ago) as well as the idea that a joy can be found in giving (which we looked at last week). But there are two more ideas Paul brings up in these sentences that I want to focus on today.
In verse 9, Paul quotes from Psalm 112:9. The psalmist declares the generosity of God, giving to the poor.
What a blessing to the poor! When God gives to them, they are blessed.
But let's think about this in spiritual terms. Without Jesus, we were poor spiritually, yet God gave us, the spiritually impoverished, the spiritual wealth of the gospel. Ephesians 1:3 tells us that God has given us every spiritual blessing in heaven. What a blessing!
Likewise, when you give, you are blessing others. When you give to Riverwood, you a blessing the spiritually disconnected in our community, as well as those within the church family. Your giving isn't simply an act of obedience to God. It is truly blessing others and changing lives.
Second, notice how Paul says that the very act of giving is a blessing to you.
At the tail end of verse 12, he says that when you give, you see God generously provide for you, and that leads you to "overflow in many thanksgivings to God."
In other words, you can give generously, not hoarding what you have, because God can and will generously provide for your needs. And when you see Him do this, you will be blessed!
So giving to others doesn't just bless them, it also blesses you!
In light of all this, I want to give you an opportunity to apply what God says to us through Paul in this passage.
This Sunday, at our Birthday Celebration, we are going to give you an opportunity to sponsor a child through Compassion International. For less than a monthly cell phone plan, you can truly change a child's life, knowing your gift is going to not only provide some food, clothing, and education for an impoverished child, but your sponsored child will receive these blessings through a local church that will teach them about the love of God seen through Jesus.
And when you get letters from your sponsored child, you will not only realize just how much God has used you to bless them, but you will be blessed as well!
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