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Greed, trust and faith common themes in times of volatile global economy

The volatile global economy has sent shockwaves of uncertainty around the world — and provided ministers with more than a few sermon points.
While preaching on the book of Revelation recently, Keith Brumley, minister for the Northtown church in Milwaukee, mentioned the poverty of the church in Smyrna, brought on by persecution.
“I said, in jest, that the Roman Senate didn’t have a bailout package for them,” Brumley said, “and that the Christians relied on the Lord instead.”
Church members are likely to hear warnings about greed from the pulpit — and the need to trust in God, not money — ministers told The Christian Chronicle. None reported a significant drop-off in weekly contributions following the recent stock market crash, although a few said they anticipate tighter budgets if the crisis worsens.
Christians who raise funds for missions already are feeling the financial pinch.
“This is the worst season ever, compared to my previous trips to the States,” said Jared Odhiambo, who oversees a school that cares for 500 children orphaned by HIV and AIDS in Kisumu, Kenya. The minister makes regular visits to the U.S., reporting on the work as part of a fund-raising effort. Arnold Dzah, a missionary in Senegal, and Peter Lasu Ladu, a minister in southern Sudan, also made appeals for funds during recent visits to the U.S., but returned home with no firm commitments of support.
In some countries, the worsening global economy has a silver lining. For the first time in years, the U.S. dollar is gaining strength against international currencies.
In June, one dollar was worth 1.58 Brazilian reais, missionary John Pennisi said. “I exchanged last week one dollar for 1.90 reais — a great improvement for us,” he said, but noted that four years ago one dollar was worth 3.4 reais.
The dollar’s value also is on the rise in Mexico, but Christians there are concerned about the uncertain future of their neighbors to the north, said Kim Rush. She and her husband, Tim, are missionaries in Guadalajara. Recently, a church member asked the congregation to pray “for everyone that is going to be out of work due to the financial situation in the U.S.,” Rush said.
“He commented that, ‘When the U.S. gets a cold, Mexico gets pneumonia.’”
Though Christians, and the rest of the world, face uncertain financial times, the worsening economy provides ample opportunities to serve, Rush said. She noted a Mexican family that, despite living in circumstances most Americans would consider impoverished, shares food with a neighbor who is struggling.
“It seems like God will be able to shine brighter during this dark time through people living like Jesus,” she said.

Filed under: National

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