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Giving to God

Giving to God
by Mark Allan Powell
Paperback: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (2006); 204 pages

About This Book
Powell's book is subtitled "The Bible's Good News about Living a Generous Life," and this is his good news: People who live according to the Bible's definition of a faithful steward—those who live like they belong to God—will experience life at its best.

Powell essentially gives his readers a sound and eminently readable theology of stewardship. He shows generosity to be an outflow of one's relationship with God—when our hearts are connected to God's, we will care about what He cares about. We will consider the giving of our resources to be an opportunity rather than an obligation.

How It Will Help
If you're looking for a concise and biblically-informed book on the use and giving of one's possessions, this is your book. Powell is a New Testament professor, and is clearly committed to helping his readers understand both what he's talking about and why they should care.

Powell's threefold view of stewardship—as an act of worship, a step of faith, and a powerful spiritual discipline—will aid you in structuring a sermon or sermon series. Also helpful is his two-part division of the book; the first half focuses on the "what" of stewardship, the second on the "how."

An interesting feature of this book is the list of discussion questions at the end of each chapter. These questions, though clearly ideal for small group use, are good indicators of questions your congregants may have about money and stewardship. You could also allow these questions to stimulate your thinking on the matter, or present them as points to ponder at the close of your sermon.

Table of Contents
Introduction: Getting Completely Wet

Part One: Belonging to God
     1. An Act of Worship
     2. An Expression of Faith
     3. A Spiritual Discipline

Part Two: Our Duty and Delight
     4. Faithful Living
     5. Faithful Giving
     6. Support and Sacrifice
     7. How Much?

Suggestions for Further Reading
Index of Scripture References

About the Author
Mark Allan Powell is Robert and Phyllis Leatherman Professor of New Testament Studies at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. He is a theologian and Bible scholar noted for his work in spiritual formation and congregational ministries.

Prior to holding his current post at Trinity, Powell was an associate professor of New Testament there, as well as Director of Continuing Education and Post-Graduate Studies. Before that, he pastored churches in Pasadena, Texas, and Richmond, Virginia. 

Powell holds a BA from Texas Lutheran College, an MDiv from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and a PhD from Union Theological Seminary.

Other books by Powell:

Introduction to the New Testament (Baker Academic, 2007)
What Do They Hear? How to Bridge the Gap Between Preacher and Congregation (Abingdon, 2006)
Loving Jesus (Fortress, 2004)
Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (Hendrickson, 2002)
Chasing the Eastern Star: Adventures in Biblical Reader-Response Criticism (Westminster/John Knox Press, 2001)
Matthew: The Harper-Collins Bible Commentary Series (Harper-Collins, 2000)

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