Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The Church in Central New York founded and consistently fostered by the GLBTQIS community. October 31, 2017 was the 34th Anniversary in our 35th year in Ministry.
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Exhortation given by Veronica Floyd, a Member of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ entitled: STEWARDSHIP
SUNDAY 10/29/00 The Seventeenth Anniversary of the Founding of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ


Leviticus 27:28-30 and 2 Chronicles 31:2-6



Leviticus 27:28-30

28Nothing that a person owns that has been devoted to destruction for the LORD, be it human or animal, or inherited landholding, may be sold or redeemed; every devoted thing is most holy to the LORD. 29No human beings who have been devoted to destruction can be ransomed; they shall be put to death. 30All tithes from the land, whether the seed from the ground or the fruit from the tree, are the LORD’S; they are holy to the LORD.

2 Chronicles 31:2-6:

2Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and of the Levites, division by division, everyone according to his service, the priests and the Levites, for burnt offerings and offerings of well-being, to minister in the gates of the camp of the LORD and to give thanks and praise. 3The contribution of the king from his own possessions was for the burnt offerings: the burnt offerings of morning and evening, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, the new moons, and the appointed festivals, as it is written in the law of the LORD. 4He commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, so that they might devote themselves to the law of the LORD. 5As soon as the word spread, the people of Israel gave in abundance the first fruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. 6The people of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also brought in the tithe of cattle and sheep, and the tithe of the dedicated things that had been consecrated to the LORD their God, and laid them in heaps.

This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

Psalm 116:12-19

1 12 What shall I return to the LORD
for all his bounty to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD,
14 I will pay my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
16 O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.
You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice
and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will pay my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD!

1 Corinthians 9:7-18

7Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not get any of its milk?
8Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law also say the same? 9For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10Or does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was indeed written for our sake, for whoever plows should plow in hope and whoever threshes should thresh in hope of a share in the crop. 11If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? 12If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more?
Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is sacrificed on the altar? 14In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
15But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this so that they may be applied in my case. Indeed, I would rather die than that—no one will deprive me of my ground for boasting! 16If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! 17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. 18What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.

This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

Luke 10:1-12



1After this the Lord appointed seventy£ others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’£ 10But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’£ 12I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.
Reader: This is the Gospel of the Lord; Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.




Exhortation given by Veronica Floyd, a Member of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ entitled: STEWARDSHIP
SUNDAY 10/29/00 The Seventeenth Anniversary of the Founding of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ



I'd like to thank Brother for giving me this opportunity on this day, the anniversary of the founding of Ray of Hope Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to share a few words with you about stewardship and how GOD blesses good stewardship. I feel I can talk a little about this subject because I've tried it and I know it works. I have to admit that when we first discussed me giving a talk on this subject, I thought sure I can do that, NO PROBLEM! The more I thought about it though, the more nervous I became about exactly what I would stand before you and say. Then, just as always, GOD stepped in and put a sign by the side of the road that I travel back and forth on everyday that read "worry ends where faith begins". I knew that was a message for me and I stopped worrying and did what we should always do first, asked GOD what to say. So, here it is through GOD's intervention…..from emails from Brother with Scripture support, stumbling across material I had received years ago on the subject and from a pamphlet Kitty shared with me months ago on walking with GOD.

First, you have to know and believe GOD loves you enough to bless you. You have to believe you are worthy to be blessed, which all of us are worthy by the grace of GOD. It is however, a relationship, that is worked both ways----we can't take, take, take, from GOD, you know sitting in church just listening to the messages delivered by Brother and many others, then going home and thinking that's it for my part. GOD wants and deserves to see some effort and consistency from us. We need to give something back to GOD, participate in the ministries, get involved, find something you can do!! GOD will bless you in so many ways and make you a blessing in other people's lives. Being a good steward is an easy way to give GOD glory and recognition.

What is a steward? Webster defines a steward as one who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs. Pertaining to GOD - as stewards we are the managers and GOD is the owner. The key to stewardship being the realization that YOU DON'T OWN A THING!! Genesis 1:1 tells us that GOD created everything. Psalm 24:1,2 tells us the earth and everything on it belongs to GOD. Psalm 115:1-3 tells us You deserve all the glory, GOD and in the first reading today we heard from Leviticus 27:30, "all tithes from the land, whether the seed from the ground or the fruit from the tree are the Lord's; they are holy to the Lord." Nothing we have is ours apart from the gracious gifts of GOD. Giving back to GOD a portion of what has been given to us simply let's GOD know that we recognize GOD as the owner.

Let's take a look at Giving, Obedience, Dedication as they relate to stewardship.

Matthew 25:15 tells us that GOD gives to us according to our ability. We should think on this and remember the two-way relationship that exists between GOD and us and return back to GOD according to our ability. In 2 Corinthians 8:12 it states "For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has - not according to what one does not have". Verse 15 states "as it is written, the one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little."

In our Psalm reading today verse 12, we were posed with the question "what shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?" Jacob's response to this and maybe ours should be as well was this ….In Genesis 28:20-22, "Then Jacob made a vow, saying "if GOD will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my GOD and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be GOD's house; and of all that you give me I will surely give one tenth to you." This is another key to stewardship - Believing that our abundance is a gift from GOD. If you do, you will find it much easier to return a part of that blessing back to GOD.

The act of returning a portion of our monetary blessings back to GOD is known by some as tithing. Beginning in the Hebrew Scriptures and throughout the New Testament there are several references to tithing and its purpose. The tithe was in many cases the sole support of the Levitical priest and the work of the temple. In our 1st reading today we heard from 2 Chronicles an order from Hezekiah verse 4 "He commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, so that they might devote themselves to the law of the Lord."

In the Christian reading today 1 Corinthians 9:13,14 it stated "Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is sacrificed on the altar? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel." It is our responsibilities to support the ministers and the ministry that is being brought to us by them. If we think of tithing in today's day and age it is giving back to GOD a portion of earnings to enable the church to carry out its missions and ministries. For us at Ray of Hope it would allow us to carry out our Statement of Purpose that is found on the back of the bulletin.

This leads to the second area that I wanted to touch on which was obedience, obedience to GOD's word. If you have attended services consistently this year, you have heard several sermons from Brother on this subject matter and how obedience opens doors and windows for blessings to flow into our lives. Obedience in regards to stewardship is supporting the ministry through tithes and offerings of time, service and money.

In Isaiah 1:19, "If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land". As stewards, obedience is being the manager of GOD's property and disobedience is trying to be the owner. Remember GOD is the owner of all things and when we get those roles mixed up in our heads we are being disobedient.

We are all a part of the body of Christ, and our giving enables the body to grow in ministry and reach out to others who need the word of GOD's love for them. It is important to do all we can for the building up of the Kingdom. Some of us may not be in a place to give as much as others, but we can each give some amount and then strive for a higher level of giving. That's what happened to me, in 1998 I made a pledge to strive to tithe a portion of my earnings to GOD and you know what, I feel like I received more blessings that year than I could begin to count. In 1999, I again made a pledge and was able to increase my pledge amount. I increased my return back to GOD and the returns to me increased. Relationships with friends and family became stronger, opportunities at work opened up to me and my finances came in order. Truly I was blessed and continue to be blessed. You may be saying that was you ,not me, and you are right but all it takes for anyone of you is a leap of faith. Everyone should examine himself or herself under the light of GOD's word with the scrutiny of GOD's spirit in order to be sure that both how you give and what you keep are pleasing to GOD. The final area that I would like to talk about in regards to stewardship is dedication.

It is a simple fact the church needs our money to carry out GOD's work. However to be a strong, healthy body of Christ, the church needs the dedication of the whole person! Each of us has gifts, talents, and abilities that are vital to the church's success in ministry. But one is not to be substituted for the other. GOD needs the whole person. We are all special, and GOD intends for us to share our uniqueness for the good of the whole church. Romans 12:1 reminds us to recognize how we are called to serve GOD when it says, "present your bodies as a living sacrifice." There is a place in ministry for each of us, and it is important that we discover where that place is and help others discover their role. Responsible giving involves our money as well as our talents. As we give, so we are blessed. GOD needs each gift and uses them fully when we allow ourselves to give of our whole selves. The degree to which we are willing to answer GOD's call on our lives is measured by the degree to which we strive to be the best Christians we can be.

For many of us today, conditioned as we are by the world, money becomes one of the most persuasive things in our lives. But, GOD does ask that we return a portion of it in faith for GOD's work. If GOD was questioning us as stewards, the question might be, "How is my dominion better off because of the blessings I have given you?"

Remember:

Giving
Obedience
Dedication

These three things support good stewardship and giving Glory to GOD.

It is summed up really nicely in 2 Corinthians 9:6-9, 13-15 where it states, "The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for GOD loves a cheerful giver. And GOD is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever. Through the testing of this ministry you glorify GOD by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of GOD that he has given you. Thanks be to GOD for his indescribable gift!"

I urge you to pray about tithing and good stewardship and take a step in faith, allowing GOD to work wonders in your life.

Stewardship is a Choice

GOD has given you special gifts and resources to help you become the person GOD intends for you to be. That is GOD's gift to you….. You must manage these gifts and resources for GOD's glory and not your own. That is your gift to GOD!!!!!!!!


May Almighty God bless all of us, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

 

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