“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” -James 1:17
There are a great many passages in Scripture which echo this theme: everything good we have is from God. He loves to give. He loves to bless. He loves to show us generosity time and again – and He desires that we grow into His image and reflect His love and open-handed kindness.
As a congregation, we have the opportunity to say, “Thank You, Lord,” for the gifts He continually pours upon us. Now, this gift is not to replace your weekly financial commitment to ongoing discipleship. Rather, it is a chance for you to bring forward a gift of true appreciation.
Things you may be thankful for…God’s Son and His resurrection, your church and her servants, the family God has given to you, your occupation or volunteer opportunities, your health or recovery from an illness, friends and neighbors who care for you, and the military and those who serve to keep our country and freedoms safe. The list you create will be specific to you and your situations, but the occasion for us to reflect and say “Thank You” is the same!
During the month of May and June, you will see a green “THANK OFFERING” envelope in the pews. If you are so moved, we invite you to use this envelope to say “Thank You God for…” You may also choose to write a note and place it in the envelope to share with the church what you are thankful for.
“ Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) On this Memorial Day weekend, we are quick to associate this verse with the thousands of men and women who gave their lives defending our country and her freedoms. We thank God daily for their sacrifice and love. Though theirs is one of the most tangible expressions of this love in the present world, we also continue to pause on this sixth Sunday of Easter to thank God for the way His Son, Jesus Christ, demonstrated this love for us in His dying and rising. We eagerly look forward to the day when we will experience the perfect effects of that love, the day Christ returns to wipe away every tear from our eyes, to restore all of creation. Let the prayer of your hearts continue to be, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”
Wednesday & Thursday Morning Bible Studies are done and will resume after Labor Day
There will be no Worship Service on Wednesday, May 29
Stewardship & Gifting
Members of St. John’s who are 70 1/2 have been taking advantage of rolling over their required minimum distributions (RMD’s) to satisfy the requirements of this investment vehicle for the last few years. If you qualify, below are a few reasons why you should consider this option of serving God through the resources He has blessed you with.
Counts Toward Your RMD: If you do not need the RMD for your living expenses, a charitable IRA rollover can be a great way to comply with the RMD requirement without triggering the tax liability that would occur if the RMD were paid to you. If you do not comply, you can owe a penalty equal to 50% of the amount you should have withdrawn but did not.
Does Not Require Itemizing: You might be able to achieve a similar tax result from taking the RMD and then contributing that amount to charity. But it’s more complex because you must report the RMD as income and then take an itemized deduction for the donation. And, with the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act near doubling the standard deduction, fewer taxpayers will benefit from itemizing. Itemizing saves tax only when itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction. For 2018, the standard deduction is $12,000 for singles, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly.
Social Security and Medicare Possible Complications: So, what if you decide to take your RMD even though you do not need the income? Even if you have enough other itemized deductions to exceed your standard deduction, taking your RMD and contributing that amount to charity could lead to two additional complications.
First, the reported RMD income might increase your income to the point you are pushed into a higher tax bracket, certain additional taxes are triggered and/or the benefits of certain tax breaks are reduced or completely eliminated. It could even cause your Social Security payments to become taxable or increase income-based Medicare premiums and prescription drug charges. Second, if your donation would equal a large portion of your income for the year, your deduction might be reduced due to the percentage-of-income limit. You generally can’t deduct cash donations that exceed 60% of your adjusted gross income for the year. (The TCJA raised this limit from 50%, but if the cash donation is to a private non-operating foundation, the limit is only 30%.) You can carry forward the excess up to five years, but if you make large donations every year, that won’t help you.
Allows you to keep cash in your checking/savings account: If you normally give your first fruits from cash, giving your RMD to charity allows you to keep the cash in your account and use that for your current living expenses, while fulfilling your commitment to serving the Lord through your RMD.
A charitable IRA rollover avoids these potential negative tax consequences. For questions or to learn more, contact your financial advisor or the Church Office at 262-334-4901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents and students are welcome to schedule a tour and learn more about Living Word at any time! We would be happy to host your child for a shadow day, which can include a half a day (morning or afternoon) or an entire day in any of our classrooms.
Do you feel God’s Calling to Become a Pastor or Deaconess?
Concordia Seminary exists to prepare the next generation of church leaders. We are here to support you as you consider being trained to become a pastor, deaconess or scholar, to ultimately contribute to the church with deep commitment to Lutheran theology and practice, and in a spirit of servant leadership.