Summary: If we take the time to observe, we have so much to be thankful for. Even in the worst of times, we can see God and His mercy all around.
A. YOUR BLESSING
1. Think for a moment about your life – your family – your children – their family’s (if it fits).
2. What do YOU Have to be Thankful For? Anyone care to share?
3. Share with Us!
B. AMERICA – 9/11
1. Trying to prepare for a Strategic Plan to accomplish our Vision for 2008, I have found myself doing a lot of reading. What God has shown me through the writings of 4 Great Pastors & their Ministries has been awesome.
2. One of the books – Bill Hybels’ “Courageous Leadership”
a. Tragic as it was
b. Tremendous Acts of Compassion and Love from many organizations
c. There was Another Group Not Recorded in the News Media
I read it 3 times – Each time I became more thankful. I want to read from it.
3. READ PAGES 13 – 17 (sorry, it’s rather lengthy but worth it)
C. A Lot to Be Thankful For
1. READ Page 15 again ‘the local church is the hope of the world’. ‘I could see it so clearly.’
2. Began to think about Hugo in SC
a. It was the Church That kept the Meals Going while many were out of home
3. Katrina & the Forrest Fires
a. Over and Over – The Church Has Stood Up to say WE WILL MAKE THE DIFFERENCE – WE WILL SERVE
4. Don’t Leave Out The Church
Where would America had been without the ministries and love from the church?
Read Page 15 “The local church is the hope of the world.” ‘I could see it so clearly’.
D. Paul’s Charge to the Church – 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18
1. Background to Passage
a. Paul left Elders to Care for Church
b. Some had confused the Message of Christ’s Return and Stopped Working
c. Elders Chastised and Paul wrote to Address
2. Paul’s Response to Church gives 3 Ways to have a Thankful Heart
a. REJOICE ALWAYS
b. MAINTAIN A ATTITUDE OF PRAYER
c. GIVE THANKS
I. VS. 16 – REJOICE ALWAYS
Paul had earlier instructed the church to Love Each Other - Read chapter 4:9-10
Now he tells them to have JOY AT ALL TIMES
a. True JOY can only come with Christ
b. Christ Shows GOOD during TIMES THAT MAKE NO SENSE
c. Even in BAD, one can find God and thus CAN FIND GOOD!
When I asked “What do YOU have to be thankful for”, how many of you…
1. Thankful for the “forgiveness of sin” – What does this mean to you?
2. Thankful for the “eternal life” - What does this mean to you?
3. Thankful for “heaven here on earth” –God making his home with me.
TRUE JOY IS ONLY FOUND IN CHRIST!
- But like 9/11, HUGO, Katrina, Thanksgiving – WE DON’T LOOK!
- Take Time To Notice GOD and HIS WORK – He is ALWAYS HERE!
II. VS. 17 – PRAY CONTINUALLY
READ VERSE 17
Paul was not asking the church to be on their knees at all times. In fact, the background to the passage is Paul writing to correct their giving disrespect to the elders who had corrected some for not working.
Key is word: “continually” - We can ALWAYS maintain a Spirit of Prayer.
Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
This attitude comes from one maintaining “complete dependence on God”.
(Always having short conversations, short prayers, short thanks etc.)