1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Coming back from the Gospel Alliance gathering, most of us probably threw ourselves right back into the full-time swing of things. During our time together the discussions that ranged from diversity to the Sabbath were thought-provoking and encouraging.
Going into our holiday season with Thanksgiving upon us, an idea came to me. What if we all scheduled a moment each day to be thankful for the church? Stop for a few moments each day to meditate on God’s goodness and what you are thankful for.
Today I’m starting with the friendships. I am so thankful to have incredible friends within our denomination. These friends are intentional to pray for me, our congregation, as well as our denomination. I have a weekly time with another pastor where we pray together, share the past week’s activities in ministry, as well as personal life. We then pray together. During these times of prayer I am energized and centered. Today I got off the phone with her and a cloud had been lifted. Life has stuff, yet across the country a friend, who I would have never met without our denomination, was there to pray with me over the phone. I am grateful for her sacrifice of time.
I am also thankful that our Lord brought us together. This friend and I have very different political and religious thoughts. She is from New York and I from California. You would think we would be similar in how we share the gospel and interpret the scriptures. Yet we differ significantly. I know she loves Jesus and has an intimate saving relationship with Him. As do I. I am so thankful we have been brought together because through this relationship I am learning to love my neighbors in a way I have not loved before.
I am thankful for the Region I am a part of. My west coast brothers and sisters are passionate about church planting and the scriptures. Expanding the church has always been my bent and heart. Having spaces where doors are wide open for the hurting and lost is a passion. I am thankful to be a part of a Region that shares the same passion.
I am thankful for the Classis I am a part of. The friendships I have met here are like no other. People in the past I would have not associated with because of our life differences, I now sit across a table from, eat, laugh and have thoughtful conversations. My first Classis meeting I chuckled to myself when a group of tattooed, powerful-looking men walked in. As a child, this girl would have run and hid from fear. Yet there we were, worshiping our Lord and coming together to advance His Kingdom. It would be easy to stay in my suburb and just minister in my neighborhood. These men are amazing and I am thankful to know them.
I am thankful for the Commissioned Pastor process I was honored to be a part of. For two years I sat in a room with incredible minds and hearts searching the scriptures, discussing and writing in a way I had not before. Hearing different ideas and being challenged to articulate mine with the scriptures was fantastic. I now read the scriptures differently and my understanding of who God is has exploded. For that I am so thankful.
I am thankful for the local church I am a part of. I have never worked in a place that celebrated learning so much. Our church is a place where diverse thought can be discussed. Everyone’s ideas are valued and listened to. Does not matter what department they are in–we are committed to listening to one another. The bonds are strong. Men and women together with a heart to share the gospel, love God, and love one another.
Each day let’s take three minutes and be thankful for something in our denomination, Region, Classis and our local church. There is so much to be thankful for. There are times when we are frustrated and sit in disbelief. When those thoughts come, let’s stop and pray and turn our frustrations into moments to be thankful for what is good. Because our God is good!
This powerful verses that continues to stretch me when things are difficult. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
May we think about those things. May we be thankful, because we have so much to be thankful for.