Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Heart of Gratefulness in All Situations

Grey morning but sunny hearts in the sanctuary, which is abuzz with lively chatter as we await Pastor Brad's heartfelt welcome to begin the service. Pastor Brad opened by stating he's spent a lot of time this week thinking about gratefulness. Gratitude is important, and Brad asserted that nothing will pull us away from Jesus faster than a heart of ingratitude.

~Valentine's Day there will be a special event from 6-9 on the 14th, with special guests, salmon from Alaska, and a wonderful meal by Micah and Leonard.
~Wednesday will be a parents night at Youth Group.

Chuck led our transition to worship with an uplifting passage from the Old Testament before singing "Worthy of Worship" with the trio. Then we all sang a set of Gospel songs and choruses from the Silver Song Book. All good. During the offering we also joined in on "And I Know."

Children ages one to four were invited downstairs for the remainder of the service as we entered into a time of prayer in which quite a few brought up expressions of gratitude for so many things.

A Heart of Gratefulness in All Situations

Our goal as a church to spur each of us on to maturity in Christ. In thinking about this

What do you think is the greatest single barrier to awareness of Christ? Brad said the biggest issue for all of us is sin. The world is broken, but the problem is sin and that sin is within us.

Brad asked us to state aloud a family member we were grateful for. And then he asked about people outside our families like co-workers. And then he asked about experiences we were grateful for. And finally, what about gifts? Small gifts or big gifts...

We were then led through a series of Bible passages addressing this matter of gratitude.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 5:19

Colossians 3:16-17

We're not supposed to try to feel grateful. We need to remember what we are grateful for. Gratefulness will flow out of our remembering.

The word "benediction" comes from combining two words: bene and diction, which means "Good Words.

Here are three benes.

Psalm 103:1,2  "And forget not all His benefits."

There is a source of these benefits. This is God, our benefactor.

The beneficiary is the recipient of these good things. In point of fact, the gifts are undeserved. We are not worthy of these benefits.

Unfortunately, we live in a world of entitlements. People feel they deserve things and instead of receiving gifts with gratefulness they complain and grouse.

Here are two more passages of value: James 1:16-17 and Romans 1:21

How do we become more grateful as a people? I believe we must train ourselves for this.

Here are things you can do to train towards developing a heart of gratitutde.

The Jews in Biblical times had two prayers they practiced. The Shema, and the 18 Benedictions, which were designed to remind us of our many blessings.

Brad asked us to reflect tonight at the end of the day on each moment of our day, and reflect on how God was present in each moment, how each portion of your day contained a blessing.

Another way is to write a letter of gratefulness to someone, then deliver it face-to-face. This can be very powerful.

Even when things are going bad we have an incredible Hope... Attitudes can be godly despite circumstances.

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