One of our regular banters back and forth around the church office is in regard to the proper or improper use of the popular email sign off: "thanks in advance for your cooperation." I am probably most often the culprit of using the sign-off improperly, given that I am often challenging people to take action. Sometimes, "thank you in advance" can come across as presumptuous and even passive-aggressive. This is certainly not my desire, but instead I want to reinforce gratitude as a solid way to end an email that solicits a response.

While this is incorrect grammar, and I am growing and learning how to communicate using additional grammatical tools, there is something here to learn about faith in action. Faith is not believing God can do something. Faith is not hoping he will do something. Faith is thanking God in advance.

23 "Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:23-24 

At Randall Church last spring we asked you to give $25k in the month of May above and beyond your regular tithes and offerings. Two wonderful things happened. The congregation took a faith step together relying on God to provide, and the money came in that we needed to make some facility improvements.

As we both look to the future and attend to the here and now, our end goal is to finish well. Our church has been entrusted with a lot of resources and our call is to use these gifts well and finish strong in life, in ministry, and in this calendar year. We do a lot of things as a church, but we are committed to prioritizing a faith budget that sends 26% of our giving out the doors to our local and global planters, partners, and Christ-like presence opportunities.

Yet, the bottom line is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Randall Church expenditures totaled $599k in 2014-15, totalled $478k in 2015-16, and totalled $436k in 2016-17. Meanwhile, Randall Church sent OUTward $112k in 2014-15, sent OUTward $121k in 2015-16 and sent OUTward $117k in 2016-17. As you can see we are doing all we can to be good stewards of our church resources and maintaining our current commitments, but we are going to need your help in order to continue to tackle new mission and ministry initiatives.

Each year we ask our church for a Christmas Partner Offering that will be sent directly to our global missionary partners. Each year we ask our church to give of their time and resources to provide a better Christmas for the people our local missionary partners tirelessly serve. This year is no different, we ask you to do the same.

This year however, we encourage you to consider doing something else as well. As we round the halfway point on our fiscal year, Randall is currently about $30k behind where we want to be. Making the math simple puts us at needing an additional $1000 a day for the next 30 days. I admit, this sounds like a tremendous task. But we serve a God who makes mountains move. We worship a God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. We serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Will you choose to increase your regular giving to the local church, or perhaps even choose to start giving for the first time? This is putting faith in action. This is relying on God. We will begin the push immediately, at the Thanksgiving Eve Service and continue through the end of 2017.

Thanks for considering my request. Thanks for taking action. Thanks in advance for giving towards what God is going to do through Randall Church :-)

Pastor Milo