give thanks

Psalm 50:23 “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me…

This weekend officially begins one of the most universal holiday seasons on the planet in human history. For those who notice it is significant that it begins in our country with a day of thanksgiving. Though it has become cliché to lament the passing over of thanksgiving in the rush to a materialistic version of Christmas, I’d us to think more deeply about importance of giving thanks.

Rom 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Where does gratitude fit today? This weekend we are going to consider why it matters for a follower of Jesus and what to do if you just aren’t feeling it. What if the condition of our gratitude says something about the condition of our faith and the focus of our faith. The Bible is full of calls to praise the Lord with gratitude. It also contains a couple of serious warnings. 2Timothy warns that in the last’s day’s people will become ungrateful. This seems like the least significant on that list until we connect it with Romans 1 where we learn that failing to honor God with gratitude actually leads to a darkened heart! What is the condition of your heart today? How are you with the gratitude test?

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giant babies 1Cor. 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

There is a common thread that disrupts life of every local church. It often begins as an imperceptible ripple, but if left unchecked can grow to rolling waves of chaotic conflict. Have you seen it before? As one who grew up on congregational churches I have seen it more often than I would have wished.

Consider for a moment. What is the church? It is the community, family really, of all those who become connected to each other in a true way through their shared faith connection to Jesus Christ. We embrace the same core truth for our lives. We receive the same grace for our sins. We look to the same truth to build our lives. We prayerfully seek help from the same Father. The things that define us most in life are what unify us. We gather weekly to share in a celebration of the redeemed life Jesus works out within us. At least that is how Christ intends it.

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holy bible canstock photoThere have been a couple of watershed moments in my ministry life where I know God has forced the issue of going to a different place. I don’t mean a different church or community. I mean a different level of dependence in my approach to teaching. One of them may be happening right now. For the past week I have been participating in a 6-day training along with 3 others in our church family on leading our sexual & relational brokenness ministry. The training days are very full so I did c. 80 percent of my sermon prep for this coming Sunday in advance. Great right! The day before leaving my hard drive failed making it impossible to access that work for prayer and finishing work in the gaps this week. Return to start. DO NOT PASS GO. Ugh… Continue reading