G.I.F.T. 7-31-16

 Growing In Faith Together   

 July 31, 2016

 Today’s Texts:
 Ecclesiastes 1:2, 
 12-14,2:18-23 
 Ps 49:1-12 
 Colossians 3:1-11 
 Luke 12:13-21

GATHERED BY GRACE 
Working for mere accumulation of wealth turns life into an empty game, a “vanity of vanities.” In God’s reign, the “rich will be sent away empty.” Jesus warns against identifying the worth of one’s life with the value of one’s possessions rather than one’s relationship with God. Life in Christ includes a radical reorientation of our values.

Discuss in your household or small group: 
* What is your most treasured possession?  Why? 
* How does this parable speak to the way financial wellness affects our relationship with God? 
* What is "the good life"--what makes our lives rich and full?
* What does following God give that money can’t buy?
* Why are we so often uncomfortable when talking about money in our churches?

DAILY BIBLE READINGS
These readings are related to the Sunday readings. M-W reflect upon the past Sunday’s readings and Th-Sa prepare for the next Sunday.  Try to take time each day to read the assigned Bible passage.
Sunday   Luke 12:13-21  
Monday   Psalm 127:1-5  
Tuesday   Colossians 4:2-6 
Wednesday   Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 
Thursday   Psalm 33:20-22
Friday   Ecclesiastes 6:1-6
Saturday   Matthew 6:19-21
Sunday   Luke 12:32-40

NEXT SUNDAY: Genesis 15:1-6; Psalm 33:12-22; Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16; Luke 12:32-40

PRAYERS FOR THIS WEEK

For the Week:  
Teach me, God, to long for the riches that come from you.

Throughout the Day: 
Set my mind on Christ.

A Blessing to Share:  Christ is all and in all.

For mealtime say responsively: My mouth shall speak of wisdom:  My heart shall mediate on understanding.

Summer Mealtime Prayer:   
Lord, we gather by your grace.
Forgiven much, we seek your face.
Fed with these gifts of yours so kind 
Lead us to love all whom we find. Amen.


FOR FURTHER REFLECTION  

Devotional Practice:  
Spend time this week reflecting on today’s parable. Where are we defined by our possessions? Where in our lives do we have what is sufficient? Where is it spilling over into unnecessary excess? Where are we possessed by our possessions? How might we “seek after God and not things”? Cut out and decorate a credit-card-sized card featuring these words: “Seek after God”.  Place this in your purse or wallet as a reminder.

Summer Ritual: 
Summer is a glorious time to celebrate the goodness of God and the sacredness of life. Take some quiet time alone each week this summer. Become aware of what is around you (mindfulness is a popular word for this). Pay attention to the flowers. Delight in the colors.  Run water over your hand. Enjoy the coolness. Appreciate the miracle of the human body, the joy of laughter and friends, the freedom of a bird in flight, or the precious smile of a child. Give thanks to God the Creator of all things for this world and all that is in it.

SCATTERED FOR SERVICE
Being “rich towards God” means growing in generosity towards those who are in need.  Decide together on a food item or recreational activity to forgo this week.  Set aside the money saved to donate to the ELCA Hunger Fund. Next Sunday is Loose Change Sunday at Gloria Dei; all change in the offering will go to the Hunger Fund.

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Written by Pam Larabee-Zierath


Gathered by Grace, Scattered for Service
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