E-pistle March 27

Our Spurring, Stirring Stimulus Plan
Yesterday was payday at the church and our checks reflected the new withholding rates that are part of the Stimulus Bill that was passed by the congress and signed into law by the president. Tom Drake, our good and faithful church treasurer, had sent a notice earlier in the week alerting us to the change.  Most of you will see approximately $30.00 more in your take home pay, some more some less,” he had written.  Just about right in my case. 
So what will we do with the extra $20,000?  That is, what will LPC do with the extra $20,000?  The math is pretty straight forward.  Let’s make a conservative guess that there are 250 active wage earners among the 500+ adult members of our church.  And let’s say that Tom’s estimate is about right for all of us.  Based on a bi-weekly payroll like the one used at the church, a tithe, 10%, of our congregation’s share of the stimulus bill’s personal income tax provision would be around $20,000.  Yes, $3.00 every other week from the wage-earners in the congregation would add $20,000 to our church budget. 
So what will we do with the extra $20,000?  How about a gift to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to help the people of Fargo, North Dakota?  Maybe we could purchase some additional supplies for the Young Adult Work Week as our team travels to Texas to help with Hurricane Ike clean-up.  Promised Land Ministries has a vision for a new clinic in San Lucas Toliman. There are some among us who have lost jobs and may need a little help. How about seed money for a creative new evangelism and outreach program at LPC?  And yes, the trustees are right about the needs of our parking lot (have you noticed the nice new potholes that have developed this winter?) and sanctuary roof.
$3.00 every other week doesn’t seem like all that much.  Amazing what we might be able to do together. I’m good for it. Anyone care to join me?
Okay, but that’s just our use of the government’s stimulus plan.
Scripture already has a much better stimulus plan in place, and it’s been there for 2,000 years.  Consider Hebrews 10:24.  You’ll notice that the link provides the wording from three different translations. Each gets at the Greek word a little differently.  The NIV speaks of “spurring on another on” and the ESV exhorts us to consider how we might “stir up one another.”  And, yes, the NASB tells us to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds.”
Read in context, we are exhorted first to draw near to God, which we can do in full confidence because of our

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.  Secondly, we are reminded not to give up on hope, our hope in Christ, which is the most audacious of all hope (for he who promised is faithful – 10:23). Then comes our spurring, stirring stimulus. Finally, the practical and the simple: keep on getting together.  My stimulus bonus comes every other week.  Worship and fellowship with the people of God needs to be at least weekly.
If we all tithe our stimulus bonus, we could come up with $20,000 in the next year. Maybe more.  But what if, having drawn near to God, having hung on to hope, we spur, stir and stimulate one another to love and good deeds?  500+ spurred on, stirred up and stimulated LPC folk could, well, we could turn the world, or at least our corner of it, upside down.
Now, that’s a stimulus plan.
See you Sunday – spurred, stirred and stimulated.