Archive for extravagant generosity

Living Beyond the Borders Worship Series

Five Practices GroupLife medallion largeOur latest worship theme is “Living Beyond the Borders,” a five-Sunday series about how the five practices of discipleship can transform our lives. We will get back to the basics and look at each discipleship practice, as well as how they all integrate into our lives.

June 26: Radical Hospitality
Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon will preach at the morning services and Pastor Dirk Damonte at the evening service. The scripture texts are 1 John 4:19 and Romans 15:7.

July 3: Passionate Worship
Pastor Sam Lewis will give the message at all four services, based on Luke 10:27 and Psalm 84:1-2. Holy Communion will be served at all services.

July 10: Deepening Faith
Pastor Dirk will give the sermon at all four services. The scripture passages are Hebrews 10:24-25 and Acts 2:42.

July 17: Bold Service & Social Justice
Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will preach from Matthew 16:24-25 and 25:40.

July 24: Extravagant Generosity
Pastor Mariellen will give the message, using 2 Corinthians 9:11.

Heart Essentials: January Worship and Stewardship Theme

Our 2016 stewardship vision and January worship theme is Heart Essentials. During this heart-felt stewardship season, we will be thinking about, reflecting upon, and perhaps even wrestling with ways we can cultivate healthier hearts and stronger, more vibrant spirits.

With the foundation of Jesus’ teaching, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21), we will discern where our hearts are now and where our hearts might thrive. Then, with thriving hearts, we will seek to respond to the goodness and the gifts God showers upon us.

Our worship theme follows three stories of Jesus encouraging people to cultivate thriving, responsive hearts. These stories will lead us to invigorated spiritual health and renewed understanding of our hearts.

LAUMC’s Heart Essentials stewardship season will include three Sundays focusing on Heart Essentials as well as three stewardship gatherings. We will be invited to make our commitments to the 2016 Operating Fund on or by Sunday, January 24, using an online form or commitment cards.

Heart Essentials Worship Series

January 10: A Heart of Surrender
The scripture story will be about a man whom Jesus healed when he gave Jesus his withered hand. After he was healed, what was the state of the man’s heart? What did the man do?

January 17: A Heart of Gratitude
The scripture story will be about the group of people Jesus healed of leprosy. After they were healed, where were their hearts? How did they respond?

January 24: A Heart of Worship
The scripture story will be about Zacchaeus, whose heart yearned for something more. We will discover how his heart became strong and how he could not help but respond generously to his newly found abundant life.

Stewardship Gatherings

To support our stewardship focus, there will be three informational and participatory gatherings, each with a different focus but all designed to help us grow healthier hearts in 2016. Please consider registering for and attending at least one gathering.

Stewardship of Gifts and Resources
Thursday, January 21, 7:30–9:00pm, Creekside
Hosts: Becky Everett, Tonya Treble, and Derek Nam

There have been announcements in recent weeks about a contributions shortfall at LAUMC in 2015. Are you concerned? Would you like to understand the congregation’s giving patterns and the underlying demographics? Would you like to know more about how we invest our operating funds to support our ministries? Through our stewardship, we provide resources that enable LAUMC to reach out in faith to our congregation and our community while, at the same time, we cultivate our own hearts of generosity and gratitude. Come learn about the financial realities we face as a congregation as Derek Nam, chair of the Finance Committee, Tonya Treble, from the Extravagant Generosity Committee, and Becky Everett, LAUMC director of operations, host a discussion of how our stewardship can ensure a healthy future for LAUMC. Registration is appreciated, though drop-ins are welcome.

Stewardship Through Family Generosity
Friday, January 22, 6:00pm, Creekside
Hosts: Brian and Kim Jones

It’s tough to raise a family in the Bay Area. How can we be generous to the church and still pay for tuition, sports, extracurriculars, and a home, all while trying to pay off debt and save for retirement? What do we teach our kids about giving, and how do we set examples for them? How can our practice of giving draw us closer to God and give us peace? Hear Brian and Kim Jones share their experiences, and then discuss what Extravagant Generosity might look like for us. Come for a snack supper at 6:00pm, followed by child care for young children, stewardship activities for older children (with Lisa Conway and Pastor Mariellen), and interactive conversation for adults. If you would like supper and/or child care provided, please register at least one week in advance so arrangements can be made. For others, registration is appreciated, but drop-ins are welcome.

Stewardship Through Scripture and Stories
Saturday, January 23, 11:00am–12:30pm, Creekside C/D
Hosts: Phil Pompei and Pam Milam

How can we cultivate hearts of generosity while living a lifestyle that demands so much of our time, talents, and treasures? What wisdom can we learn from the scriptures in our quest to cultivate generous hearts? What does generous living look like, and how can it bring us closer to God? Discuss these and other important questions at an open meeting. Hear stories from LAUMC members Pam Milam and Phil Pompei and bring your own to share as we wrestle with our call to practice extravagant generosity. Those who want to continue in conversation might want to go out to lunch together. Registration is appreciated, though drop-ins are welcome.

Advent Generosity: Unclutter Christmas

Advent Tradition

Six years ago Los Altos United Methodist Church started changing the way we celebrate Christmas. During the holiday season we practice extravagant generosity by making gifts to specific missions in addition to giving to our church. We can continue the Advent Generosity tradition this year and Worship Fully, Give More, Spend Less, and Love All this Christmas.

By doing so, we can “unclutter Christmas,” as Beth Richardson encourages in our Advent book, The Uncluttered Heart. Advent is often the busiest time of the year, and it is a challenge as Christians to make time and space to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. As the Christmas season approaches, we have the opportunity to reconsider and unclutter the way we approach this most holy of seasons, making space for the arrival of the Christ child.


Participating in Advent Generosity is one way to shower love on others in honor of Christ’s birth. Instead of being consumed by the exhausting decorating and preparations, the chaotic clutter of shopping, spending, buying, and wrapping gifts that many of us don’t need, we can instead choose to devote our time to worshipping fully and use our money toward loving all. In addition to our regular giving to Los Altos UMC for our vital ministries, participating in Advent Generosity supports programs that exhibit God’s love to those who need it most.

Please consider donating to the Advent Generosity 2015 programs as a gift to friends and family. Making one donation supports three worthy programs in our community and the world:

hope's corner logoHope’s Corner, Inc., Capital Campaign: Hope’s Corner provides weekly healthy meals and showers to people in need in the Mountain View area. Advent Generosity gifts will go toward building a commercial kitchen on site to expand Hope’s Corner’s food service. Visit the Hope’s Corner page for more information.

Compassion Week logoCompassion Week 2016: Compassion Week provides church and community members with an opportunity to put their faith in action by addressing poverty, education, homelessness, hunger, the environment, and more. Advent Generosity funds will purchase supplies for these activities. Visit the Compassion Week page for more information.

UMCORUMCOR Gifts of Hope: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: Around 884 million people lack adequate access to water. More than 2.5 billion people lack basic sanitation. Through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (Advance #3020600), Advent Generosity gifts will supply the life-giving gift of water, sanitation, and hygiene education to people around the world. Visit UMCOR’s project page for more information.

How to Participate

Pick up an Advent Generosity 2015 envelope in the Sanctuary, Creekside, or the church office to collect the money you save by not buying unneeded/unwanted gifts. Then return the filled envelope to the church office or place it in the offering plate on or before Christmas Eve. You can also donate online.donate online button

If you want to want to make a gift donation on someone’s behalf, cards are enclosed in the collection envelope that you can fill out and give to them to let them know what you have done. Doing so can help unclutter the Christmas season for both of you! More gift cards are available if you have a long list of recipients.

Invite a Friend to Give in Your Name

As you unclutter your Christmas and focus on preparing for the birth of Christ, consider contacting someone who usually gives you a gift and let them know that you would like to work together with them to redirect the money that they would have spent on a gift for you to Advent Generosity instead, to help feed the hungry, put faith into action, and provide clean water. You will be uncluttering your own life and Christmas celebration and, in the process, inviting someone who cares about you to join you in making a difference for others in need.

This Christmas, let’s choose to unclutter our expectations, our preparations, and our celebration of Christ’s birth through Advent Generosity giving. Together, let’s unclutter our Christmas season and Worship Fully. Give More. Spend Less. And Love All.

Oct. Worship Theme: By God’s Grace

It is only by God’s grace that we are able to do amazing things. And we at Los Altos UMC are doing amazing things! This month in our worship services, we are examining how God works with and through our extravagant generosity to accomplish good in our community and our world.

By Gods Grace cropOctober 18: The Feeding of the 5,000

How does a feeding miracle relate to extravagant generosity in our own lives? Pastor Mariellen will preach, and the scripture is Matthew 14:13-21. In the evening, all are invited for the Compassion Week Celebration, 4:30–6:30pm, which includes dinner for purchase and time for worship.

October 25: The Feeding of the 4,000

Why does the gospel of Matthew tell a second story of feeding the crowds (Matthew 15:29-39)? Come hear Pastor Mariellen share more about Matthew’s account of this second, similar miracle.