Something struck me this week. It dawned on me that we really don't celebrate as much as we should in the church. God is doing amazing things in our midst. But often we don't really stop and take the time to give thanks for what God is doing and to celebrate his victories. I think what often happens is we have so much going on that as soon as we have come through one event or season, our attention is immediately redirected on the next thing.
For example, at Thanksgiving time our congregation was extraordinarily generous, providing food and financial support sufficient for over 200 families. But before we ever really had a chance to celebrate that great victory, we were immediately focused on the giving tree. Through the giving trees at our various campuses we provided over 450 new gifts for needy families as well as elderly members of our communities. On top of that we provided Christmas food baskets for dozens of needy families.
Of course by the time we were done our Christmas missional outreach efforts, we were focused on Christmas eve. Did you know that this year on Christmas Eve we had our largest combined attendance ever? Just under 900 over three campuses. But before we had much time to give God thanks for that, we were jumping into a new sermon series, launching new lifegroups for the new year, etc. etc. etc.
When God parted the Red Sea allowing the Israelites to escape certain destruction at the hands of the Egyptian army, the nation celebrated. In Exodus 15:1 we hear "Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord." The bulk of the chapter that follows is the spontaneous song of praise lead by Miriam and Moses, celebrating God's victory.
In a large and active ministry like ours, there will always be a next challenge, opportunity or event that we will invest ourselves in. But I want to encourage us to be sure that we always take the time to pause, give thanks to God and to celebrate His victories, even as we are beginning to plan and prepare for the next great opportunity He has provided us.
So regarding our Thanksgiving and Christmas outreaches, I want to thank everyone who shared and helped, and I want to praise God for the lives that were blessed through it. For an amazing (and record breaking) Christmas Eve, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped make those services go so well and I praise God for seeds that were sown. And for what God is doing in our lifegroups right now, I just want to thank and praise Him!
God is good! And we have something to celebrate. I hope you can all be with us in worship on Sunday at we bring our Reboot series to a powerful conclusion. You won't want to miss this Sunday.