Summary: A sermon for Thanksgiving.

“Shout for Joy!!!”

Psalm 100

A year ago, this past March, a couple of guys and I at East Ridge United Methodist Church, felt the call to start a Food Pantry.

All we had to work with was $2,500.

A year later, my buddy and I were walking through the Food Pantry.

There were hundreds of people standing outside the doors waiting for it to open.

Inside between 40 and 50 people from 8 different churches in the East Ridge area were busy getting everything ready, working together.

A Publix Grocery Store which had opened up near Hamilton Place, was now giving us all their meat, bread, pastries—you name it—as soon as they took it off their shelves.

We didn’t have enough freezers to store all the food.

And we had $20,000 in the bank, to boot.

As we were walking and looking at what had occurred in just one year, we said, “Can you believe this?

Neither of us had ever run a food pantry before.

We had no idea what we were doing.

And yet, one year later—look at this!!!

This food pantry is feeding over 1,000 people a month!!!”

When something like that happens, your faith increases, and you feel as if you are in the midst of a miracle.

It’s like the loaves and fish.

And you know God is in complete control—there is no other explanation.

I can’t help reading Psalm 100 without picturing just how happy and excited the Psalmist was.

You can almost feel the intensity of his emotions: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

This psalm is exciting.

It is filled with life!!!

It is written by someone who is head-over-heals in-love with God.

“the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

This Psalm is written by someone who has experienced the goodness of God, the mercy of God, the love of God and the faithfulness of God.

This Psalm is written by someone who is walking in relationship with God—in a daily hand-in-hand relationship with “he who made us”!!!

And there is nothing more exciting!!!

Have any of you ever seen the movie “The Cross”?

It’s a documentary about a guy named Arthur Blessitt.

He’s an evangelist who felt God call him to make a giant cross, and carry it across the country, witnessing to people along the way about Jesus.

But just before Blessitt was about to leave on his journey, he was hospitalized with a brain hemorrhage.

And the doctors told him that he was going to have to have surgery or else he would die.

And it was going to take a long time to heal from the surgery.

So, Arthur was laying in his hospital bed, dumbfounded.

And he was having a conversation with God.

And he said “God I don’t understand. I know you called me to make this cross and carry it across the country.

And I know you called me to leave on this journey in just a couple of days.

Now, I am not going to be able to do this.”

And as Arthur lay in that hospital bed he had an epiphany.

And so, he took all the tubes out of his arms and he got up out of that bed and got that cross and started his walk.

And the epiphany was that Arthur realized he would rather die within the will of God than live outside of it.

40 years later, Arthur Blessitt had carried that cross to every continent in the entire world, and he is still alive today.

There is nothing more exciting than living within the will of God.

It is living in a miracle.

And you experience, up close and personal what the Psalmist is writing about in our Scripture passage for this morning.

“The Lord is good…”

“The Lord’s love endures forever…”

“The Lord is faithful…”

And it makes you want to “Shout for joy!!!”

A friend of mine once told me about the church he grew up in—in Norfolk, Virginia.

He said that, when he was a kid, that church had a membership of over 1,000 people.

But, he added, “Mostly all it did was Sunday stuff.”

It didn’t reach out to the community.

It was very inwardly focused, kind of like a country club.

Eventually, the church lost members and got to the point where it almost had to close the doors.

But, he said that turned out to be a good thing because the church is now more “alive” than it ever was.

They now have feeding events for their community every week.

They are known in their neighborhood as a church which is filled with joy, racially diverse, friendly, open to all, non-judgmental, loving, and a place where people can find help.

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