As I attended the excellent “Be Encouraged in Prayer” workshop last Saturday at The Rock led by Janice Taylor and folks from the Thursday night Rock House of Prayer, I thought how thankful we should be to have committed, talented leaders in our church willing to help us all learn and grow in our faith.  The words of Paul the Apostle came to mind that we should …

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

As I reflected more on that, I realized that I don’t always do that, I don’t always take time to thank God and to thanks others.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that gets so busy that all too often I fail to express appreciation to those who have impacted my life.  The tragedy is that so often we get so busy doing the “work” of the church that we fail to "live" the life of the church.

The classic Biblical story of failing to give thanks is one that I suspect we all familiar with.  After healing ten lepers, only one came back to thank Him.  The words of Jesus should resonate with us, “didn’t I heal ten, where are the other nine?”

As we enter the fifth week of Lent, I believe it is an opportunity to take some time and reflect on the things that we are thankful for, the blessing that God has given us that give meaning and purpose to our lives.  Have you ever done that?  Have you ever made a list of things that you’re grateful for?  Let me share with you a partial, abbreviated list: 

  • I am thankful for a loving God who forgives me and loves me even when by worldly standards I don’t deserved to be loved.  How often I forget that our Lord said that He is always with us, that He will never leave or forsake us to the very end of the age.  That’s like forever!
  •   I am thankful for a savior who took my place on the cross.  Many of us saw Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ in 2004.  Some saw it many times, but I had a hard enough time watching just once.  So often we sensitize the suffering of our Lord, forgetting that Jesus, before He was painfully crucified on the cross, was scourged and received the 39 lashes because 40 lashes was said to kill a person.  As I watched the movie, it convicted me of the suffering that Jesus did for me on that cross and His words, “greater love has no person than one who would lay down their lives for another.”
  •   I am thankful for my family, my wife of 54 years (OK Sherry reminds me that it has only been 53 years but I’m hoping we’ll make it till 54 on July 4th!), my three children, and five grandchildren ranging in age from 7 years to 25 years. 
  •   I am thankful for my church family at all three campuses and the many ways that they continuously touch my life.
  •   I am thankful for those who work so hard to serve us from our phenomenal administrative assistant to those on our leadership team.
  •   I am thankful for our music ministry and our awesome choir. 
  •   I am thankful for those who lead our men’s and women’s ministry as well as our LifeGroups.
  •   Last, but certainly not least, I thankful for each of you and for your support and encouragement, your thoughtfulness, your forgiveness and the many ways that you touch my life.

See you Sunday at St. Matts at 8:45 as we conclude our study on the book of James together.

God bless,

Pastor Frank