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August 20, 2006 "Reasons for Giving"
Ben Welmaker, Teacher

The St. Martins Prime Timers.

Welcome to the St. Martin's Prime Timers Web Page!

You are invited you to join us in the Payne Education Center at St. Martin's, we're in rooms 207-209.  We meet inbetween the 9am and 11am services from 10:10am to 10:50. We have coffee and snacks and this week more from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians awaiting you.

This week Prime Timer Skip Allen led the class.

Prime Timers Good News

At the beginning of our class we set aside time for members to bring us their good news. For $1 you can have the floor!

John Grant reports that he is a grandfather and that his son got a "real job" where he's been working for over three months! He also asks us to pray for Kile Prado, who was born two months prematurely and has been through a host of problems. John also told us he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I know our thoughts and prayers will be with John as he confronts this new challenge. He told us that the survival rate for this disease is now at eighty-five percent! That has to be reassuring news.

Skip Allen mentioned Tony Masraff's Prostate Cancer Research Foundation  for a positive story on the subject. Click on the name above for a great Houston story, and stop by Masraff's restaurant on South Post Oak while you are at it! Its just around the corner from the church.

Skip Allen asked us to pray for the family of Beverly Cowl, who died unexpectedly at the way-too-young age of forty eight. Why this is in the "good news" section? The good news is that the family pulled together at this painful time and is coping very well with their new situation. 

Forgiving and Reconciling

Skip Allen began our exploration of 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 with some context. Paul writes this letter around the time of a trip he made to Jerusalem with Barnabus and Titus, as referenced in Galatians 2:1-2. Paul initiates collection of a fund to build a new church in Jerusalem and the Corinthians at first enthusiastically support the project. As time went on, however, they did not live up to their original pledges. Paul is in Jerusalem involved in a controversy over whether Gentiles had to go through "steps" to become Christians, echoing the Jewish law with its many
steps, or laws. Paul says that no, you only need faith in Jesus Christ, (Galatians 2:11-21).

Paul uses the example of the Macedonians--people giving generously as they are able--to convince the Corinthians to do the same. While the Macedonians are not as well off as the Corinthians, they come from a Greco-Roman culture of reciprocal giving, and insist on making contributions to the common good. Skip used the example of Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence as an example here. Paul is making the Corinthians want to contribute and make good on their promises.

Paul reminds the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 8:9) For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. This does not mean that the Corinthians need to become poor, but rather that they contribute as they are able out of their surplus. Skip presented a simple exercise you can do to determine your priorities. List out in dollars 1) your income, 2) fixed expenses, 3) Church contributions, 4) contributions to the common good, 5) discretionary spending. This can let you see in black and white what your actual priorities are.

For class discussion Skip asked if we had any models for giving. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet came up as examples of a new kind of giver, where Mr. Gates is taking a very active role in his foundation to make sure the money goes where he intends. Mr. Buffet will contribute to this as long as Bill Gates continues in this role. Someone else brought up the St. Jude and the generous giving around the time of hurricane Katrina and Rita.

Max Kech then led the class in our healing prayer and Skip Allen dismissed class after a short benediction.

Prime Timers Contact names and numbers


Rev. B. Massey Gentry


Skip Maryan
713/974-1490 H


Skip Maryan

713/974-1490 H

Outreach (inviting and welcoming new members)

Anne Berry
832/251-8868 H

Catey Carter

Elizabeth Sleeper

Caring (prayers, follow-up w/class members who have been ill or have other needs)

Max Kech
713/802-0690 H

Marty Smith - Communications and Web Page
713/464-6737 H



Photo taken on Palm Sunday

The Prime Timers on Palm Sunday!

The Conversion of St. Paul by Caravaggio.

The Conversion of Paul by Caravaggio, 1600, oil on cypress wood, for the Cerasi Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo, Italy. Now in the Odescalchi Balbi Collection, Rome.

St. Paul by Domenico Beccafumi

St. Paul by Domenico Beccafumi, 1515, oil on wood, at the Museo dell'Opera della Metro-politana, Siena, Italy.

St. Paul at St. Martin's Church

St. Paul on the road to Damascus, St. Martin's New Church stained glass. And, you don't have to go to Italy to see it! St. Martin's Episcopal Church conducts tours of the church every Sunday starting at 12:30pm, and then Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:45am to 12:30pm, with a formal tour from 11:00am to 12:00pm. For more information, or to schedule a tour, call 713-830-4117.

The Lesson for Sunday, August 20th is titled "Reasons for Giving"

Key Verse:  2 Corinthians 9:8

Focus of the Lesson:  People give to causes for a variety of reasons. Why should we give of our money or our time? Paul says we are to give in response to God's generosity.

The reading is 2 Corinthians 9:1-15. This text is from the New International Version®.

   1There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints. 2For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 3But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

   6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
   "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
   his righteousness endures forever."
   10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

   12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!


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717 Sage Road | Houston, Texas 77056-2199 | (713) 621-3040 | (713) 622-5701 Fax