The Deadline for Scholarship Applications Is April 2, 2018

The Mississippi United Methodist Foundation reminds you that we have moved up the scholarship application deadline. The move was made in order to assist students in making decisions about school choices. The applications are due April 2, 2018 and award letters will be sent the first week of May.

Applications may be found on our website under download forms. Or you may call or email the Foundation to request an application. Please note that non-seminary students may only apply for up to four awards. Seminary students may apply for an additional three awards.

Students must be active in United Methodist Church in the Mississippi Annual Conference. This is certified by the pastor’s signature on the application form.

We are once again partnering with the Wood College Foundation in awarding twenty-five $1,000 scholarships for undergraduate students. Other Foundation scholarships range from $200 to $700 per year. Seminary scholarships may be higher.


Expressing Love

Today, we will see lots of red hearts and ash crosses on foreheads. Valentine’s Day is a great day for florists, restaurants, jewelers and candy makers. Today is also Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. On this day we are invited to give freely of cards, candy, jewels, etc. in order to express our love to another. We also begin to engage in spiritual disciplines as an expression of love for Jesus.

I remember many years ago that our children were in a school system that allowed florists to deliver items to students in classrooms on Valentine’s Day. You should have seen how many balloons and stuffed animals filled cars and buses at the end of the day. I guess we were bad parents, because we did not send balloons or stuffed animals to our children at school.  What we did notice over the next two or three years that it became a contest to see which children would get the most balloons and stuffed animals. Thankfully, the school ended the practice because it just disrupted the whole day. It is so easy to equate stuff with love.

This is a day that many will renounce eating chocolates and eating out as a spiritual discipline. What a confusing day of emotions for us all.  We give out of love and deny out of love. We acquire more and let go of more. What a perfect way to begin discerning the place of money and stuff in our life of faith.


Children and Giving

Children and Tithing

 

A recent Leading Ideas article from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership shared about teaching children to tithe. Dan Pezet writes that giving to God is a core value of our faith. I agree with him. Giving is at the heart of who we are as Christians. God lives out of generosity and invites us to live out of generosity as well. Our children will never learn this concept unless we teach it.

 

I remember our children making it very clear that toys belonged to them with a shouted, “Mine!” Only through encouragement and stern words would they freely offer to share a toy with brother, sister, or friend. We are not naturally generous. If we are not taught about generosity, we will never learn to be generous. As Christians we believe that the church and the home are to form us in faith and generosity.

 

Encouraging children to give to God a portion of their allowance is an excellent way to build generosity. It also requires parents to model generosity through their own behavior. It is not enough to tell our children to do something. It requires our children seeing us do the same. This also includes the rest of the congregation.

 

What is your congregation doing to model generosity? Do children have an opportunity to participate in the offering? Is the church providing teaching materials for the home related to generosity?