WELCOME TO CALVARY LUTHERAN CHURCH – “This is the day the Lord has made”. We join the Psalmist in acknowledging the goodness of our Lord our God, as we not only see His goodness in the beauty of His creation, but even more than that, we know of His goodness in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. Thank you for joining us as we receive His forgiveness and peace during this hour of worship.

AS WE GATHER: God takes us as we are; He forgives us, makes us His own, and uses us to care, to witness, and to bless. Our Lord called Paul from persecution to mission, and He called Peter from denial to proclamation, and He calls each of us to be His disciples and follow him.

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                         What Makes for a Cheerful Giver

	St. Paul wrote to Church of Christ in Corinth: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). God loves a cheerful giver; but who, really, is a cheerful giver?

	Abel was; by faith, he gave the firstborn of his flock, and it was acceptable in God’s sight.  Abraham was; by faith, he prepared cakes and a tender choice calf for God and entertained angels unaware.  So also were David and Solomon.  By faith, David would not make a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing, so he paid Araunah his due. By faith, Solomon built a house for God, where his name would dwell and thereby where He would dwell to be Israel’s God and they His people.

	What more shall we say? For time would fail us to tell of all those who gave not simply for the joy of giving, but for the joy of knowing the One to whom they gave their gift.

	So also our Lord, who for the joy set before Him, gave everything – yes;  even His life – enduring the cross and scorning its shame.  He gave to the shedding of His blood, as he willingly, and resolutely set His face toward Jerusalem to die for the life of the world. Though He was rich in every way, He became poor, so that by His poverty, we might be rich beyond measure.  

	“But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, ''whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great."  John answered, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us."  But Jesus said to him, "do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.  When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.  And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him.”   [Luke 9:47-52]

	So then, let us like Abel and Abraham, like David and Solomon, and even like our own Lord Jesus Christ, give cheerfully to God for the work of His kingdom in our midst. Like them, let us decide in our heart for the joy that is set before us.  It’s the joy of knowing the One to whom we give is the One who gives us all good things.

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that
was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
[Hebrews 12:2]