Rhona amount collected to date: R426 780 – just R70 000 short of our dream! Thanksgiving envelopes and EFT’s can still be offered throughout the month of December.
Over the next ten Sundays (from 4/10/205 until 6/12/2015), we celebrate a special season in the life of our community known as Rhona or Thanksgiving. This is a time in which we open our eyes to the abundance of God’s mercy, forgiveness, peace, presence, love and life, and – in turn – have the opportunity to be generous to God with our life, our love, our worship, and our resources.
The passage to guide our meditation and thanksgiving this year is 1 Corinthians 9:6-15:
6 Remember this: The farmer who plants a few seeds will have a very small harvest. But the farmer who plants because he has received God’s blessings will receive a harvest of God’s blessings in return.
7 Each of you should give whatever you have decided. You shouldn’t be sorry that you gave or feel forced to give, since God loves a cheerful giver.
8 Besides, God will give you his constantly overflowing kindness. Then, when you always have everything you need, you can do more and more good things.
9 Scripture says, “The righteous person gives freely to the poor. His righteousness continues forever.”
10 God gives seed to the farmer and food to those who need to eat. God will also give you seed and multiply it. In your lives he will increase the things you do that have his approval.
11 God will make you rich enough so that you can always be generous. Your generosity will produce thanksgiving to God because of us.
12 What you do to serve others not only provides for the needs of God’s people, but also produces more and more prayers of thanksgiving to God.
13 You will honour God through this genuine act of service because of your commitment to spread the Good News of Christ and because of your generosity in sharing with them and everyone else.
14 With deep affection they will pray for you because of the extreme kindness that God has shown you.
15 I thank God for his gift that words cannot describe.
In his writings to the church at Corinth, Paul reminds the people that God provides us with all the life-giving gifts we have: our skills, talents, jobs, businesses, and any other spiritual gifts to the glory of God. It is from this generous supply of gifts that God challenges us to continue the cycle of giving that began from God’s ultimate gift to us in Jesus Christ.
Our response, the act of our generosity is Thanksgiving and the continuous praise and worship of God as we plant seeds that further God’s kingdom of shalom.
The Rhona season, then, is about more than sharing our resources with those who have less than us, or just ensuring that our churches are operational: it is about being faithful in using our blessings to bless others and discovering, in the act of blessing, that we are blessed even more.
This year, we hope to accumulate an abundance of R500 000 for advancing the work of God’s Kingdom (over and above our normal Sunday tithes and offerings) through individuals, families, Spiritual formation groups (organisations), fellowship groups, ministry/mission groups, leadership groups and committees giving generously according to the guidelines set below:
Individuals: R500 – R1 000+
Families: R2 500 – R5 000+
Mission Groups: R1 500 – R5 000+
Organizations: R5 000+
Fellowship Groups: R5 000+
Leaders: R5 000+
There will be a special time of sharing as part of each service for people, and groups, to make their pledges and offer testimony as to God’s goodness and presence in their lives (see service schedule below and sign up sheet for testimonies on the notice board). Each service will also focus on a particular blessing of God and our sermons will not only draw us into a deeper awareness of God’s blessings in our lives, but also provide practical ways in which we can respond to God going beyond this season into a brand new year full of opportunity and promise.
May this time be one of profound connection with the Author and Sustainer of our lives, and may the generosity of God become an essential part of our nature and our community.
4 October (Rhona launch): We give thanks to God for who God is and learn about what abundance really means (sermon notes already available on website).
11 October (individual pledges and testimonies): We give thanks to God for the blessing of life and health; and learn about developing Attitudes of Gratitude.
18 October (family pledges and testimonies): We give thanks to God for the blessing of companionship, friendship and family; and learn about strange blessings – God’s presence in sorrow.
25 October (individual pledges and testimonies): We give thanks to God for the blessing of employment, a business, a talent, or skill; and learn about how we were created to be a blessing.
1 November (family pledges and testimonies): We give thanks to God for the blessing of once being a child, then a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, or godparent; and we learn about how we become responsible with our resources.
8 November (fellowship group pledges and testimonies): We give thanks to God for the blessing of being part of God’s family; and learn about money as relational.
15 November (Spiritual formation group pledges and testimonies): We give thanks to God for the blessing of being part of the Christian community and being actively involved in the Church’s mission work; and we learn about how God can be blessed through our giving.
22 November (leadership pledges and testimonies): We give thanks to God for the blessing of stewardship and leadership in the community, church, or any other social development organisations in the country and beyond; and we learn about discipline as a gift that giving gives us.
29 November (ministry/mission group pledges and testimonies): We give thanks to God for the blessing of others through mission; and we learn about how our money can truly matter.
6 December (closing of Rhona): We give thanks to God for all of our blessings as we celebrate the Anniversary of our Community and welcome new Confirmees into full membership; and we learn about the journey before us.