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Stories of Brethren stewards * September 23, 2015


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Segnanos NJHC15
Lauren Seganos preaching at National Junior High Conference in July.
Photo by Glenn Riegel

Being an offering
By Lauren Seganos

“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life—and place it before God as an offering” (Romans 12:1-2, The Message).

What comes to mind when you hear the word “offering”? I think of the offering plates we pass during worship. Children drop in pennies or quarters. Adults write checks to their congregation. And these offerings are collected to pay the pastor’s salary, the church air conditioning bill, or for a rented van so the youth can go to National Junior High Conference.

Now imagine what it would look like if, instead of dropping money into the offering plate, you hopped into the plate yourself? Imagine sitting in the plate, your knees bent to your chest, and grabbing the sides of the plate with each hand. People pass you along, probably giving you strange looks, and the experience reminds you of crowd surfing.

What a ridiculous thing to imagine, being in the offering plate with envelopes and cash. But what might it look like to be an offering to God? How might that work?
NJHC15 worship
Worship at National Junior High Conference.
Photo by Glenn Riegel
Growing up, I loved to sing, and from what I could tell, the people around me enjoyed it too. I grabbed every opportunity to do it—in school and community choirs, in school musicals, at school basketball games, and at church. Singing was something that brought me joy.

But in junior high and high school, a friend always sang better, getting the part whenever we auditioned for musicals or solos in concerts. No matter how hard I tried, she always performed better than me. Once, I was asked to sing at a coffee house, but out of spite or pride, I refused. “I’m not as good as her, so why sing at all?” I thought. I wasn’t special or unique, just an ordinary, average singer.

After college, I realized that even though I won’t sing for a career or be the best, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t sing at all. Today, you’ll find me singing while I’m doing everything, especially while driving my car or cleaning my apartment. I know now that singing is one of the best ways to nourish my soul and praise God by using my gift.

Maybe you can relate. Is there something that nourishes you and gives you deep joy? Maybe you do it every day: like kicking around a soccer ball, writing stories, or drawing. Maybe you make people laugh, or help others feel included and loved. These are gifts God has given you. And it’s not about being the best. It’s about using those talents every day, in ordinary ways, to bring joy to yourself, to others, and to God. This is what it looks like to be an offering to God.

Lauren Seganos is a licensed minister at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa.. To hear the full version of this sermon visit www.brethren.org/podcasts  . Learn more about National Junior High Conference and Youth and Young Adult ministries at www.brethren.org/yya or support them today at www.brethren.org/give .

NJHS15
www.brethren.org/
jrhighsunday



National Junior
High Sunday 2015


Celebrate the junior high youth
in your congregation on
National Junior High Sunday,
November 1.

This year's theme, inspired by
James 2:14-17, is
“Faith without works
is outrageous nonsense.”

Find worship resources for at www.brethren.org/jrhighsunday.


“It’s easy to profess Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior,
but much harder to pronounce him the Lord of our actions…
I hope we in the Church of the Brethren will continue
to become better disciples of Jesus, striving humbly and passionately
to implement his teaching into action.”

—Emmett Eldred in “Remember to build on a rock”
from the September issue of Messenger magazine

 

September15 Messenger
 


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Watch for our next issue on
October 7
.

Do you have a story about how you and your congregation practice stewardship?
E-mail it to ebrethren@brethren.org !

eBrethren: Stories of Brethren Stewards, is produced every other week by the Church of the Brethren Donor Relations team.

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