Summary: A complete thanksgiving service, weaving Scripture, worship, and reflection around 5 themes: Thanks for God’s Character, Thanks for God’s Creation, Thanks for God’s Redemption, Thanks for God’s blessings, and Our Response.

Thanksgiving Service 2002

Opening Song prior to service

Saturday Here I Am (I Will Always Love Your Name)

Sunday Psalm Of Thanks – Andy Park

Welcome, Call to Worship, and Prayer

Giving Thanks for God’s Character

Saturday Forever (Niels ends by reading Psalm 136.1-3)

Sunday #10 O Worship The King (after which a reader announces the Scripture passage, Psalm 136.1-3, and reads it)

Psalm 136

1 Give thanks to the LORD , for he is good.

His love endures forever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods.

His love endures forever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:

His love endures forever.

Thoughts on being thankful for God’s character (Steve)

What would the universe be like if God was not who He claims to be?

If God was not all-powerful, it would feel like the universe was being run by a 14 yr old driving a car without a license.

If God was not all-knowing, we could not trust Him for tomorrow since it would come as a surprise to Him just like it will for us.

If God was not ever-present, the chances of Him being there when we need Him most would be about the same as the chances of having our best friend there at exactly the moment the heart attack starts.

If God was not patient, we would feel like we were standing before an overworked judge at 5:30 on a Friday afternoon who had a clear dislike for our lawyer and could not pronounce “Guilty” and slap the maximum sentence – death – fast enough.

If God was not forgiving, the verdict would never be anything but “Guilty” and we would have exactly no hope for today or for eternity.

If God was not loving, we would be at the whim of a cosmic tyrant in charge of a universe as his plaything, who takes cruel pleasure in inflicting pain on his subjects “just because he can.”

If God was not good, there would be no laughter nor joy, no sunset nor spring, no diversity of food and no color - only shades of gray. There would be no music or beauty or art, no words of hope and life and inspiration, but only insults and profanity.

If God was not Father, we would have no safe, warm, accepting, disciplining arms to run to at the end of the day. We would be alone.

And if God was not Holy, none of the rest would matter since He could not be relied upon to be true to the standard He has set.

But God is all-powerful, and so we thank Him for creating and sustaining the universe and handling every situation with ease. God is all-knowing, and so we relax in the faith that He will not be caught off guard or surprised by what we might have to tell Him. God is ever-present, and so we know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. God is patient, and so we know that no matter how many times we run to Him, crying because we failed and sinned again, He will honor our true repentance. God is forgiving, through the pain of the cross He went as far as He could to offer us a second chance. And a third. And a fourth. And another. God is loving, and so we know that even when we come home covered in mud from head to toe, shivering with cold and making a mess of the nice carpet, His first response will always be “I’m glad you’re home”. God is good, and we see that in every laugh, every leaf, every gift, every bite of food and every note of song and every thoughtful word. God is Father, especially to those of us who have known only Him as Father.

And God is Holy, Holy, Holy. And that makes all the rest trustworthy, reliable, and true.

Saturday Holy, Holy, Holy (with band)

Sunday #262 Holy, Holy, Holy

Giving Thanks for God’s Creation

Preparation (Niels)

“All God’s works praise His name in earth and sky and sea. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, and sovereign over all creation”. Psalm 136.4-9 is read without introduction or pause

Psalm 136

4 to him who alone does great wonders,

His love endures forever.

5 who by his understanding made the heavens,

His love endures forever.

6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,

His love endures forever.

7 who made the great lights-

His love endures forever.

8 the sun to govern the day,

His love endures forever.

9 the moon and stars to govern the night;

His love endures forever.

Thoughts on being thankful for God’s creation (Sue)

Saturday Great In Power

Sunday #58 This Is My Father’s World

Giving Thanks for God’s Redemption

Saturday Message Of The Cross

Sunday Who Is There Like You

Thoughts on Being Saved (Steve)

I am being saved. You see, an amazing thing happened on Easter Sunday evening, 1980, when I as a 9yr old boy understood the truth of the Gospel and responded to it by asking Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour. At that moment, my eternal destiny was changed, my name written in the book of life, and I became a new creation.

But I wasn’t finished. I’m not finished now, 22 yrs later. God is continuing to remake me, to mold me, to shape me into the child of His that He desires.

I am incredibly thankful that God has saved me. Because of His deep love for us, He became human, and setting aside His God-ness He humbled Himself unto death on a cross. All for one purpose – so that we could be reunited with God the Father as forgiven, redeemed children. It is kind of like this:

A father and son worked for months to build a toy sailboat. Every night when he came home from work the man and his boy would disappear into the garage for hours. It was a labor of love--love for each other and for the thing they were creating. The wooden hull was painted bright red and it was trimmed with gleaming white sails. When it was finished, they traveled to a nearby lake for the boat’s trial run. Before launching it the father tied a string to its stern to keep it from sailing too far. The boat performed beautifully, but before long a motorboat crossing the lake cut the string, and the sailboat drifted out of sight on the large lake. Attempts to find it were fruitless, and both father and son wept over its loss.

A few weeks later as the boy was walking home from school he passed his favorite toy store and was amazed to see a toy sailboat in the window--his sailboat! He ran inside to claim the boat, telling the proprietor about his experience on the lake. The store owner explained that he had found the boat while on a fishing trip. "You may be its maker," he said, "but as a finder I am its legal owner. You may have it back--for fifty dollars." The boy was stunned at how much it would cost him to regain his boat, but since it was so precious to him he quickly set about earning the money to buy it back. Months later he joyfully walked into the toy store and handed the owner fifty dollars in exchange for his sailboat. It was the happiest day of his life. As he left the store he held the boat up to the sunlight. Its colors gleamed as though newly painted. "I made you, but I lost you," he said. "Now I’ve bought you back. That makes you twice mine, and twice mine is mine forever."

Romans 5:1-11 says:

1Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

3We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to endure. 4And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. 5And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

6When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment. 10For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. 11So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God--all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.

Giving Thanks for God’s Blessings

Saturday I Give Thanks - Doerksen

Sunday I Give Thanks - Doerksen

Psalm 136

23 to the One who remembered us in our low estate

His love endures forever.

24 and freed us from our enemies,

His love endures forever.

25 and who gives food to every creature.

His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.

His love endures forever.

An invitation is extended to the congregation to share thanks for God’s blessings and corporately lift them up in prayer. (Steve)

Our Response

Saturday I Will Offer Up My Life

Sunday I Will Offer Up My Life

Thoughts on Responding to God (Steve)

We have reflected together on God’s character, on His creation, on His redemption, and on His Blessings to us. How do we respond?

A heart of thankfulness is a good place to start. God cares most about what is in our hearts, and while the words might come easily to our lips God knows the depths out of which those words come, and He knows if our heart is truly thankful. Getting there is a matter of perspective – if we concentrate solely on the challenges and difficulties of life we will find this discipline difficult. But if we choose instead to see what God is doing in and around us, if we focus on God’s goodness and faithfulness through the trials, we will get closer. If your heart is not a thankful one, ask God’s Holy Spirit to open your eyes to what He is doing in and around you. Take the time to make a list of the blessings that God has given you, and choose to think on those things. Paul wrote, in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, 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.” As you do, you will find your heart start to overflow with praise and thanksgiving to God for all that He is and Has done.

I want to invite you to respond to God’s goodness in three ways this morning. The first is one we do every week, with an offering of our finances to God for the work of His Kingdom in our church and beyond into the world. The second is an offering of time. And the third goes a little deeper – it is your life.

For the first, I’d like to invite the ushers to come forward and receive our tithes.

The first offering - of our material gifts - is received.

I know many of you hold time more precious than money, and so as our church leaders talked about a thanksgiving offering this year we decided to ask for an offering of time to the Lord. Let me be clear, this isn’t a recruitment thing – our desire is that you would offer your time to the Lord to serve in His Kingdom wherever He may choose. That might be in a place in the church, it might be private time between you and God, it might be time building relationships and sharing faith with a non-Christian, it might be service in God’s Kindgom somewhere else. Wherever it is, I invite you to make a Thanksgiving pledge to God of your time in service to His Kingdom. If you’re not sure where to start, ask one of the pastoral staff and we’ll help you get pointed in the right direction.

In your bulletin you will find a little slip of paper. I’d like you to fill it out, and we are going to collect a second “offering” in just a few moments. We’re collecting them so that we can celebrate the grand total together.

As you are thinking about that, and as we receive that after it a few moments, I invite you to reflect on the words of this song. This is the third offering I invite you to make as a response of thankfulness to God – to give Him your entire life.

Saturday My Offering

Sunday My Offering

The second offering - of our gifts of time - is received.

Celebration of Thankfulness

Reprise of Scripture (Niels)

In concluding our service, we celebrate part of the Scripture that has been read throughout the service, Psalm 136.

Saturday Forever

Sunday Forever