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It is always a wonderful time to offer thanks for what God has done! This week is the end of our Moving the Chains toward Gratitude series. We hope that you continue to find a sense of thankfulness that decreases your fear, anxiety, and discouragement while filling your heart with praise! Our sermon this week is Sack Materialism. The source of much of our anxiety, fear, and discouragement is materialism. Materialism is one of the oldest forms of human worship. There is no doubt that we need money, things, and resources but we also have to realize that the “love” of money is truly the root of all evil. Jesus reminds us that we cannot love both materialism and God. This is a spiritual battle that we continue to fight and at times we wonder whose side we are on! We turn to 2 Corinthians 8:1-9. There is a famine in Jerusalem and the surrounding region which has impacted the Jewish believers. Paul saw this as God’s providence to unite the Gentile and Jewish believers in the churches he had started by collecting an offering to send to Jerusalem. The Corinthians have committed to the offering but they have not collected the offering! Paul is concerned that they have not honored their commitment but he does not condemn them or send them on a guilt trip. Instead, Paul inspires and illustrates the grace of giving, and God gave him an exceptional example through the Macedonian believers. They gave willingly, graciously, and abundantly despite hardship and poverty! It was beyond anything he could have imagined because it was an example of God’s powerful grace! The example of the Macedonian churches and Paul’s conversation with the Corinthians helps us to “sack materialism” so it cannot fill us with anxiety and fear, instead, we find a confident grace in our God, who will supply our every need! This is our prayer as you read 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, may you be filled with the powerful grace of Jesus who became a pauper so that we would be rich in his love and peace. 


2 Corinthians 8:1-9 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything– in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you– see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (NIV)