Take your Bibles and turn to the book of Psalms. On this Sunday prior to Thanksgiving I want us to read Psalm 103:1 and then the entire 100th Psalm.
Psalm 103:1 – Praise the Lord O my soul and forget NOT all His benefits.
Psalm 100:1 – Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 – Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.
3 – Know that the Lord is God. It is He Who made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
4 – Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.
5 – For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough, have done a great deal of the research on the subject of gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants in their study to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics. One group wrote about things they were GRATEFUL FOR that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily IRRITATIONS or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about EVENTS THAT HAD AFFECTED THEM (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives than the other groups. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, tested the impact of various assignments given to help the mood of 411 people. When their assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of GRATITUDE to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other assignment, with benefits lasting for a month or more.
Of course, studies like these cannot PROVE cause and effect but most studies published on this topic support a direct association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being. This is because THANKFULNESS is good for us as individuals—and as a church. Being grateful to others—and to God—Who is the source of every good and perfect gift is one of the keys to abundant living.
In his book, It All Goes Back In the Box, Ortberg puts it like this: “The great secret JOY in life—the prize that we think getting richer will bring us—is the ecstasy of GRATITUDE. Gratitude is how those rich toward God—rich in BEING, not just HAVING—play the game of life.” And I would certainly agree. The CAPACITY for gratitude—the mature mindset that leads us to be grateful—is a great blessing in and of itself. Think of it. Gratitude is that attitude—that way of thinking and perceiving—that enables us to experience EVERY moment of life as a gift because, more than anything else, thankfulness opens us up to wonder, delight, and humility. It makes our hearts generous and liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation. It empowers us to always TRUST in God’s wise and loving provision.Let me put it this way. Gratitude is not something we give to God because He wants to make sure we know how much trouble He went to over us. No—gratitude is the GIFT God gives us that enables us to be blessed by all His other gifts—similar to the way our taste buds enable us to enjoy the gift of food. Without gratitude, we remain spiritual infants, blind to God’s true greatness—ignorant of His loving providence.
This is one reason it is our tradition here at Redland to set aside a Sunday at this time every year to pause and Thank God for His blessings. And—as in past years—God has continued to RICHLY bless our church this year. In fact, time doesn’t allow me to list ALL the ways God has blessed us—but I do want to share a few highlights that I see from my perspective as your pastor.
First, I’m thankful for God’s invitation for us to once again join Him on three very successful mission trips this past year—to the Dominican Republic where we built two houses and conducted Bible Schools as well as a class for local pastors. I’m thankful that through the generosity of a Redland family we were able to have Pastor Carlos and his family with us earlier this year and to be a part of providing medical treatment for him and his wife Teresa. We also had VERY productive mission trips working with the people of Morocco and Ocean City, Maryland.
I’m VERY thankful for your faith-filled response to Catch-up Sunday—the biggest Sunday like that in Redland history. In fact the new pastor at Mill Creek Baptist Church heard about our $100,000 Sunday and asked if we’d be willing to share some of those proceeds with them. I’m not bragging here—well maybe a little—but I am VERY thankful that our giving has been something even people in other churches have praised God for.
Speaking of giving, I’m thankful that you gave to more than meet our missions offering goals this year—both our Lottie Moon Offering and our Annie Armstrong offering. On top of that, many of you gave generously above and beyond your tithes—to Cathie Burke so she can continue to work with refugee women in Kenya—and still gave enough for her to get a much-needed new car. You also gave nearly $8000 to our deacon benevolence fund to help people in our church who have serious financial need. In short, I’m thankful that we have learned the joy of giving. May we always be a giving church—a church that learns if we give to God, He gives right back!
I’m praising God for your response to our SHINE THE LIGHT PROJECT emphasis. If I count correctly you’ve done over 50 projects costing over $17,000. These projects ranged from making bags to distribute to the homeless or day laborers to making welcome baskets for neighbors to helping a family with funeral expenses to getting a friend a bike so he could commute to work and to providing books for local schools to food for neighbors and to helping a family buy a car.
In fact, we have had so many projects done—we are about six months behind when it comes to scheduling the testimonies where we can hear about them. We may have to settle for getting those project testimonies written out so we can distribute them in book form. The SHINE THE LIGHT ministry has been a wonderful part of our developing our second nature of service and I’m thankful to God for the family who made these funds possible.
And speaking of “second” I am grateful to your response to next year’s emphasis—going the 2nd mile. We had 72 individuals or families turn in commitment cards to go the extra mile in many ways. I’m looking forward to that being fleshed out as we go through 2015.
I also continue to be thankful for the sweet, sweet, Spirit of fellowship that permeates our church family. This past Monday I went to visit one of our Shut-ins—Walda Hill and I bumped into a friend of Walda. She asked if I were Walda’s pastor and when I said I was, she told me how much Walda loves all the cards and visits she gets. This woman said, “She loves to read the SOWER—every word. You must have a wonderful church!” And we do. And I hear that kind of thing ALL THE TIME. In fact about 100% of the people in my 101 class say their first impression of our church was its friendliness. Thank You God for that—and may we always be that friendly—that loving! May our unity always be like that of a close family because that is what we are!
Speaking of our membership I’m thankful that God has continued to replenish our numbers. As most of you know we live in a VERY transitional area so we are used to losing people to job transfers or retirements. Since January of 2013 we lost 79 members—and the vast majority of them were to job transfers like the Fergis family moving to Ohio and the Wards to Long Island.
But in that same time period God has brought us 85 new members and 49 of them came through profession of faith and baptism. If we could stop job transfers and make Montgomery County’s cost of living low enough to attract retirees we would have been mega-church sized a long time ago. But that’s ok because God uses Uncle Sam’s purse to finance our sending believers all over the world!
I have other reasons to be thankful. For example, I’m grateful for another excellent RBC CAMP and the backyard Bible Club spin off at the McGaffins. I’m thankful our ESL ministry has been VERY successful this year. In fact, I believe this is our highest enrollment ever with nearly 50 people coming to four classes. But my greatest joy is that we’ve seen our first conversions among our ESL students—and have seen others who are moving toward the all-important decision to follow Jesus.
I am especially thankful that this year we have seen the ROC doing what God told us it would do. It’s attracted LOTS of unchurched people and families to our campus. Years ago Bill Wehunt said it well. He said we were building that gym to “…give people what they want so we would have opportunities to give them what they need: JESUS.” And that’s happening. In our fast-paced county people want recreation. They want time with families and so they are coming to find that at the ROC and they are coming in groves! Here’s the list of the number of UNCHURCHED families and individual who have come on our campus because of the ROC this year.
- Tang Su Do brought at least 30 individuals to Redland.
- Sports camps brought another 40 unchurched families.
- So far this year’s UPWARD has brought 21 families.
- Rumpus has brought 15..
- Open night volley ball has brought 12.
- Our drop in Basketball has brought 70. And I LOVED how this summer we invited the champion team from our summer league to worship and a picnic. Six unchurched families came to that.
If I count right that’s 188 unchurch families touched by ROC REC ministry this year. These families came to get what they wanted and they heard about Jesus through half-time devotionals and interaction with Redlanders. You know, in Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby said that when we see God at work we must join Him in that work—and God is at work in our ROC. More of us need to join Him in it! It is literally a field ripe unto harvest. All that is needed for more people to accept Jesus is more laborers—people to volunteer to come mingle with the men who come to open night basketball—or to work in Upwards, etc.
Well, I could go on and on—but suffice it to say that GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME—and as He has been in the past, in 2014 He has once again been VERY good to this church! Our loving Heavenly Father continues to shower His blessings on us. Hebrews 12:28 encourages us to: “be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe…” hence the need for a service like this. So, today instead of a sermon—which is really a time for us to hear what God has to say to us—as in decades past, I want us to turn the tables and make this a time for God to hear what we have to say to Him. We are taking this portion of our service today and making it into a concert of prayer in which we say, “Thank You, God for all Your blessings to this local body of believers.” At my request five individuals or couples have prepared prayers for this purpose. So, let us now enter a time of conversational prayer—a time of communicating together with God—eyes and ears open—as we hear these prayers of thanks and offer our own. They will come to you in the order that they are printed in the bulletin. Between each prayer we will sing a song of thanks and then after these prayers we will pause to give us all a chance to offer our own thanks to God for His great faithfulness. So, now, let us pray, “Heavenly Father, Hear now these, the prayers of Your people:”
Mike and Nancy Craig
Among the many different gifts and abilities God has given mankind, several help differentiate us from other living creations. Included in that list are the abilities to remember the many blessings God has brings into our lives, as well as, the capability to recognize and thank the source of the blessings, our living, loving God. Therefore, Nancy and I ask you to join with us this morning in our prayer of Thanksgiving.
Dear Heavenly Father, Nancy and I, in the presence of your congregation, come before you today with humble and thankful hearts, mindful of the many blessings you provided us this past year. We are grateful for the opportunity this morning to remember those blessings and to give testimony to the greatness of our God and your loving care for us and all those you have chosen to call your own. Thank you God for allowing us to celebrate thirty three years of marriage. After meeting in Sunday school, you also provided the means and opportunity for us to dedicate our lives to each other under your authority. We are so thankful for having established you as the head of our home, and for dedicating our lives to your service. Thank you God for our warm and loving home where we continue to see your Hands at work in the lives of our children, relatives and friends. We are thankful for having been raised in Christian homes, by parents who showed your unfailing love right from the beginning. Living examples of God’s grace and forgiveness, our parents modeled God’s love for us which we in turn modeled for our children. We are so thankful that our children came to know and love you through our home and the many Christian people at church who helped them learn about your love, starting with the nursery Sunday school workers up through the college and career workers. This year especially, our children have demonstrated the fruits of a life dedicated to serving you as they have both grown stronger and more determined to live their lives for Christ. Thank you God for allowing Nancy and I to witness their devotion to you in our lifetime. We continue to be very thankful and grateful to you for having a wonderful church family here at Redland Baptist Church. We come here to worship you, and to participate in the many programs and ministries in order to learn more about you and to put our belief into action by ministering to the needs of others and share your love along life’s journey. Thank you father for the spirit of ministry and service present here among the church’s leadership and congregation. The opportunities to be a part of life changing ministry are tremendous and we are grateful so many of the congregation serve with so much heart and devotion. It is an honor and joy to say we serve at a church that honestly cares for the lost and needy, from helping to serve the hungry and the poor. A congregation that serves from the local community to the far shores of Africa and the Caribbean. From soup kitchens to nursing homes to prisons, your people, this congregation, are sharing the love of God, fulfilling the Great Commission. Thank you God for directing our path to be here, serving you with joy and heart. Thank you for placing on our heart a burden to be involved. We continue to be very thankful for the freedom that we have in America; to worship you freely and openly in a meaningful way. We are reminded daily that the freedoms we have are so precious and that not all other Christians share in this freedom. Thank you God, for showing us your daily provision of mercy and care despite our questions and sometimes doubt and lack of faith. You continually reminded us that you are with us always and that we are never alone. You were beside us the entire time. You reminded us that we have an active, loving, heavenly Father, who cares about our smallest concerns, who is there with us through good times and through tough times. You reminded us that you are the same always- never changing and that you love us even when we mess up. Thank you God for your unchanging love. The Bible tells us in 1 Chronicles 16:34 “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting.” We are reminded to give thanks in everything—for our many blessings—so numerous that we can’t keep track. Thank you Lord, for all that you have done—especially for the gift of Jesus your Son. Thank you for loving us unconditionally—just as we are. We thank you and praise you. In Jesus name, Amen
Daniel and Ashley Adams
Lord God, we believe, as the book of James says, that every good and perfect gift comes from you. We confess that daily we fail to give you the thanks and praise you deserve. We ourselves take credit for the blessings we continuously experience, or spend our days harboring a spirit of discontent, or envy. Forgive us, and help us to remember that in this and all seasons, our hearts should overflow with gratitude toward you, for you have done great things O God.
Lydia: Thank you, God, for my teachers
Thank you Father for our church family here at Redland, friends who do stick closer than a brother. Thank you for the committed nursery workers who generously love our two children, patiently discipline them and generously share your truth with them. Thank you for the many couples who study your word with us each week, honestly sharing of both life’s burdens and joys. Through them you have sharpened us, and strengthened our relationship with you and with each other. Thank you for each friendship that blossomed while serving alongside each other in ministry to our community. Through this church we have experienced tangible and overwhelming expressions of your love, and for that we thank you God.
Lydia: Thank you, God, for where we live.
Lord, while so many of our brothers and sisters are facing heavy persecution in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Sudan and elsewhere, we are reminded to thank you for the great privilege of worshipping freely in this place, of having unlimited access to your holy Word. Help us to not grow complacent in our freedom, but to instead share the gospel of your Son Jesus Christ with boldness and urgency.
Lydia: Thank you, God, for my family
Lord, I find myself most often thanking you when I’m holding my children. In this season of our lives, Lydia and Joel are constant reminders of your goodness and creative power. Thank you for the great satisfaction of seeing them bring joy to others, especially their grandparents. Thank you for Lydia’s silliness and joy, for her inquisitive spirit, her strangling hugs. Thank you for her reminders at breakfast to thank God before we eat. Thank you for the chance to see the world through her untainted eyes, to look past the endless traffic while driving, to gaze at a perfect sunset, or to snap out of a daydream about my “to do” list while on a walk and marvel at your magnificent creation. Thank you for Joel’s sweet smiles and kisses, and his fearless pursuit of adventure. Oh that we would follow you Lord with such passion and abandon.
Lydia: Thank you, God, for keeping me safe.
Father, each day at work I meet kids who are really sick, and see the fear and hopelessness many of their parents experience. Of course we thank you God for keeping our children healthy, but even more we thank you for your promise that we’ll never have to face such struggles alone. In this dark and fallen world, it frightens me to realize I can’t perfectly protect my kids, but we trust in your promise that Lydia and Joel are never out of your reach, and you love them infinitely more than we do.
Lydia: Thank you, God, for Jesus
God, not a day goes by that we don’t fail as parents, as husband and wife, as your children. In our prayers to you we often jump first to a long list of requests instead of giving you the thanks and praise you are due. Worse yet, we put our conversation with you on hold to answer a text or check an email. Instead of making You number one in our life, we run after worldly treasure and false gods. Therefore, the gift we thank you most for is your Son Jesus Christ. Thank You for sending Him to die for us, so that we could be reconciled to You. For without You Jesus, our life would be hopeless and empty, but since we have You, we are forever blessed. Father, we borrow the Psalmist’s words to thank you. “Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.” (Psalm 40:5).
Heavenly Father, Your name is holy. You are bigger than we can ever imagine. I want to thank You for making Yourself vulnerable for us. For coming down and sacrificing Yourself for us. Thank You for giving the life of Your only Son for us, not when we are on Your path and loving You with all our heart, but when we are at our worst. Thank You for not just taking care of the big things in our lives, but also for meeting our daily needs, Lord. Thank You for allowing me to be a part of Your body, Lord, for bringing me closer to You and Your people. You know exactly what kind of person I was. I was a person without love and without hope. You still reached out to me and I thank You for showing me how to love. Thank You for filling me with Your love and the desire to share Your love with others. You have done so much for me. You have shown me that Your Church is so much more than what I thought it was. You have connected me with people who aren’t content with just giving lip service, but who truly seek to love as You call us to, and who love You with all of their heart, mind, body, and strength. Thank You for connecting me with people who are serious about following in Your path, Lord. I don’t know what will happen in the future, Lord, but I thank You for being in control of things. Even though there might be moments where I do not like what is happening, I am so glad that it is Your will that be done and not my own, because I am short-sighted, selfish, and stupid. I thank You for being there, and I look forward to whatever it is You might have in store for us. In Your name we pray, Amen
Beth Rowe and Family
Heavenly Father, We thank you for all that you have given us. We thank you for the trials and tribulations we have endured and we thank you for allowing these events to draw us closer to you. Although, it can be difficult, you’ve reminded us to look to you in both the good and bad and we are forever thankful. We thank you for our family and friends, new and old that you have put into our lives. They have taught us patience and kindness and have reflected your love to us.
They laugh with us, cry with us, pray with us. They support us, lead us and stand beside us unconditionally. We thank you for the family and friends that are no longer with us and thank you for the time you allowed us to spend with them, although we miss them, we pray that we will see them again in heaven. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share your love with them.
We thank you for what lies ahead of us as a family. Although we may not know what the plan ahead of us is, we know that you are in charge. Thank you for opening up doors of opportunity for us all, we ask that you guide us in your way. Thank you for keeping us healthy, but also, thank you for giving us the chance to serve those who are not. We pray your healing hand will hold those who need healing and we pray that you will continue to use us to serve those who are hurting and in need of your love. Thank you for putting both family and friends in our path that we can serve in your name. We thank you for the opportunities to learn more about you and we pray that you will lay it on our hearts to continue to learn and grow in your word. We are very thankful that we have the freedom to worship and praise you, keep us mindful that we don’t take this freedom for granted. Thank you for our church family and the opportunity to stand before them now and give thanks to you and for you. We are eternally grateful that we are your children and that you love us. in your son’s precious name we pray, Amen
Craig and Mimi Kimball
Craig: Dear Father in Heaven, Thank you for leading my wife and I to Redland Baptist Church. I am thankful for the people who serve the church, including the Sunday School teachers who work diligently to provide us with lessons each week. Thank you for providing pastors who preach the Word in a meaningful way. Thank you for the youth ministry who are leading our young people into the world, equipped with a strong faith in these trying times. Thank you for all the folks behind the scenes that work together to accomplish countless tasks that allow us to sit here every week and worship you. With all the instability in the world today, I am very grateful to live in a country with a stable government — in a democracy by the people and for the people. I am happy to live in a world where hard work can serve us well. Thank you, Father, for providing our country with a strong military, many of which will not be home this Thanksgiving and Christmas. We appreciate their sacrifices and pray that you will lift them up and fill them with your Spirit. I’m especially thankful for my family — my mother, stepfather, children, and wife. mother, that she survived cancer and is thriving and in excellent health. I lift up my stepfather, who just had surgery, and I’m grateful that was a success. I am thankful that my wife is also cancer-free and regaining her strength and vitality. You were there with me during her treatment and recovery to help her when she needed it. With so many family members depending on doctors and medical treatments, I am grateful to live in a country with an excellent healthcare system, accessible hospitals, gifted doctors, and hard-working nurses. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Mimi: Dear Father in Heaven, I am so very grateful for so many things. You’ve been more good to me than I deserve. This last year was a year of trials and joys. I am blessed to have a family that loves me and I’m grateful for them. I am so happy that you led Craig and I to Redland Baptist. We couldn’t have asked for a better place to call our church home. From the day we arrived, we’ve been blessed — blessed with a wonderful pastor and Sunday School teacher, who faithfully prepare wonderful sermons and lessons and feed us spiritually each week. I am eternally grateful to have married the man of my dreams, a man who loves You and puts You first in his life. I could never ask for a better husband — it was as if You created him just for me. You’ve given us your Son as the foundation of our marriage, which guides and helps us build a life together. Thank you so much for giving me the love of my life and my closest, truest friend. Father, You held my hand and led me through the dark days of cancer treatment this last year. When I could barely get out of bed, you were holding me up. You carried me during times of pure exhaustion and listened to my endless requests for relief. Through the difficulties of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, heart failure, and endless medical tests, you were always there, filling me with strength. I never felt abandoned because I could feel your arms around me and could never have gotten through that time without you, Lord. Father, I will be eternally grateful for the things you taught me during this last year —that through times of struggle there is still joy and that the time you give us on earth can never be taken for granted. I pray for all these things in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Chandler and Jane Cox
Heavenly Father we pause today to remember and acknowledge the many blessings that you bestow on each one of us. First of all, we thank you for our salvation–that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. And Lord, we are grateful that you adopted us as sons and daughters, not as subjects and slaves, and give us places of service in your kingdom. That you listen to and answer our prayers, in spite of the lack of perfection in our lives. And Lord, we thank you for your word, which shows us how you want us to live our lives and to worship You. Father, we thank you for our families where we find love and support. We are thankful for believing parents, who raised us in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And I am thankful for Jane, who every day, shows our family acts of graciousness, forgiveness and faithfulness. We are thankful for Cathy and for Barbara and David and their children, David and Matthew, who are following you in spirit and in truth. And we are thankful for Elise Winn, who will be joining our family in a few months as a new daughter-in-law. Lord, we are thankful for our church, where Pastor Mark faithfully preaches Your Word and lost people are sought and brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Thank you for all those who serve You here, pastors and laypeople. We are grateful that we are offered opportunities of service here, and that in addition to the joy of worshiping you we can know the joy of serving You. Heavenly Father, we are thankful for our friends, who provide day-to-day support in our everyday lives. For those who put up with us even when we are not very companionable, who help us understand the world and our place in it. Lord, as we recall the joys we find in friendship, we remember that not everyone has friends, and ask you to make us more considerate and more loving to the people around us. Lord, we are thankful for the physical provision you make in our lives, for the things which we have in such abundance in a world in which so many have so little. We have houses to live in, food to eat, and security in our communities. And as we say this we remember those of your children who do not have these things, and are homeless, hungry and face persecution for their faith. Lord we are thankful that we have enough to share, and pray that you would make us more generous. Lord as the years pass and we grow older, we are more and more mindful of your protection and watch care over the years. As you protected us in our youth and met our needs, we ask that you protect us now in the remaining time that we have. While we yearn to be joined with You and the host of saints that have gone before, we realize that we may not be finished with our task here on earth. Continue to give us strength and patience to be the people that you have called us to be. We ask this for all of us in Jesus Name, Amen.
Don and Rizaline Dunnevant
Hugh and Nancy Faulconer
Our Heavenly Father, Thank you for the watchcare of our family all year long and for the blessings you have bestowed upon our family and us. You have always been kind, loving, patient and generous. We give thanks that both of our daughters have full time work, and we pray you will provide jobs for those today in need of work. Thank you for our two rescue dogs who give us unconditional love, entertainment and keep us exercising in all types of weather. Thank you for my husband who helps keep our finances straight. Thank you for my wife who keeps me grounded. Who provides me with compassion and empathy at times when they are sorely lacking. Thank you for a loving church family where we can safely study your word and fellowship with other believers. As you say in proverbs 18:24- these are friends who stick closer than a brother. Thank you for the Sunday school teachers, nursery workers, and all the other volunteers who make Redland such a warm and loving place. Thank you for providing these leaders who taught and guided our family over these years. Because of their Godly influence, our children came to know God in this place. Thank you for the Redland Ministerial staff that serve unselfishly and point us to Christ. We give you thanks for their strong guidance and Bible based teaching. We also want to thank you for our wonderful trip to Alaska this year where the beauty of your creation was on display. You are undeniably the creator of heaven and earth. Psalms 89:11 says- The heavens are yours and yours also the earth: you found the world and all that is in it. We are thankful for the opportunity to go on the mission trip to the Dominican Republic. It has been a blessing to our family to partner with Pastor Carlos, who is passionate about you and your people in the DR. What a gift to see how other cultures live and worship while working beside other believers. We are very grateful for warm showers and clean water. We pray that everyone will soon have access to these. Lord, we want to thank you for the routine things of life. Too often we take for granted the small miracles that you provide. We thank you for beautiful sunrises and sunsets; for shelter from the seasons, for food in the fridge. Mostly father, we want to thank for sending your son to die on the cross; providing a way for each of us to gain forgiveness of our sins; and to one day live with you eternally in heaven. Psalm 118:28-29 says—You are my God, and I will give you thanks. You are my God and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord; for he is good; his love endures forever. And all God’s people said– AMEN
Willie and Tina Price
Tina: Dear Heavenly Father, I am thankful for this opportunity to share my gratitude to you for being a relevant part of my life. When I think of Thanksgiving, it is not just a word to me, it is a time to give thanks to God for all He has done. He has brought me through some very difficult times, however, He was there for comfort. Not only do I thank Him for a wonderful husband and family, I thank Him for my Christian church family that has stood by my side through happy and difficult times. As Hebrew 13:1 states: “Keep on loving each other as brothers, which is exhibited through our fellowship and love for one another.” Most of all, I thank God for the gift of Jesus Christ with the comfort, joy, peace and faith of knowing that I have been forgiven for my sins and one day will meet Him face to face. I pray all of these things in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Thank you Lord!!! AMEN
Willie: Father God I’m counting my blessings by viewing adversities as a time of discipline and trying to be thankful in all things. A recent Sunday school lesson in Hebrews 12:5-7 reminded me about dealing with adversity and difficulties in my everyday life. I pray for peace and racial justice in our society. I count our church and country as blessings to the world. Though My number one blessing is knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior and that you love me and sent him for my Salvation. Thank you Lord for my children and grandchildren and their salvation. Another blessing is My wife Tina and, her love for you and for me. Her caring as we travel life’s journey together. I ask your continued blessing on her. Additional blessings this year was in the death of my brother David and, knowing he was a faithful Christian and, his life reflected it in his caring and, sharing. I’m thankful for my brothers and sisters here at Redland for their prayers and consolation in his passing. Another blessing is my health which has had a few challenges while it seems one issue or another was occurring. I am thankful for the medical help that has been made available to me. Lord I am thankful that as we age and, I know it’s inevitable we will require medical care as well as other assistance and, you have been faithful in your promises to supply our needs. So along with the song writer I’ll say no need to worry no need to fret for You my God has never failed me yet. Thank you God. Amen
Jeff and Rhonda Negard
Jeff: Please join us as we give thanks to the Lord
Rhonda: Heavenly Father, we are thankful that You have shown Your grace to us and blessed us over and over again, and we are also thankful for Your sense of humor. When I declared I am shy about praying out loud, You moved the pastor to include us in this very public prayer of thankfulness. We thank You for giving us new perspectives in 2014 that includes seeing the humor in this.
With our last full year in Maryland drawing to an end, You have reminded us that happiness is not where we are in the world but where we are with You. With our first military move we’ve missed being near our family and friends, and it was hard leaving our home in Texas where we began our lives together. But, You didn’t allow us to be alone for long. We thank You for leading us to this wonderful church, where we have been welcomed with open and loving arms. You remind us that no matter where you take us we will always have a family when we are with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Thank you, dear Lord, for an entire year of health improvements. After a year of cancer treatments, Jeff was able to restart his schooling exactly where he left off. We’re no longer taking one step forward and two steps back. And, through those dark moments, we are grateful for our faithful, Christian friends and family for guiding us through them and using these moments to help us grow closer to You.
I’m so thankful that during the summer, You made it possible to spend time with my young niece and nephew. Your presence in their lives gives me renewed hope for their generation.
We are also thankful that after years of struggling to start a family, that You moved the heart of a friend to help us and be a testimony of faith. In her words, “If God can send his only son to die for someone like me, how can I not help give a child to a friend in need?” We don’t know if this is how our family will actually start, but what we do know, is that You are guiding us down this road for a reason, and we are following.
This leads me to what I’m most thankful for—for answering my prayers six years ago and bringing me a husband who trusts in You and trusts that Your hands are in all things.
Jeff: Father, I am thankful foremost that you have blessed me with a loving wife who puts you first in her life. She has been with me in my darkest of days, holding my hand and letting me know that You would provide us the strength to make it through. Two years ago this week I received the news that no one ever wants, and I spent many days wondering how much longer I had to live. But Rhonda never gave-up hope and listened to my fears, standing strong for us both when I was at a breaking point. She is kind and patient, and truly knows what it means to be a partner in marriage. I could never imagine my life without her. Though I often wish I could have met her many years earlier, I know you brought her into my life at just the right moment. Most of all, I am thankful that after almost 4 years of battling her own rare and at times disabling illness that she is finally healing. You have answered my most fervent prayer and I am continually awed at the miracles of your hands.
We are thankful Father that you take care of all of our needs. Your faithfulness is beyond measure and our prayer is that we will never take it for granted. Let us be content with what we have and wherever You take us. Most of all, we are thankful for your saving grace and promise of eternal life. It’s in Your name we pray.
Now it is your chance to join in this time of thanks-praying. As the instrumentalists continue to play, let us all bow our heads and all thank God. Praying together at the same time. Pray out loud if you want—in your seat—or on your knees—but pray and thank God for all of His blessings.
THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
We are Your people—the sheep of Your pasture and we have come this morning to worship You with glad and joyful songs—inspired by Who You are and for What You have done. For, You are good and Your love endures forever; Your faithfulness continues through all generations And all God’s people said….AMEN
Perhaps as we have acknowledged all that God has done for us, you have remembered the many ways He has blessed your life. And as you did, you felt the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit to give back to God in some way. You may feel led to come forward and publicly show your thanks to God by recommitting your life to Him or by joining this church as we use all that God provides us with to minister to this community. You may want to acknowledge for the first time that God gave His Son to die for you…and today publicly give Him your life as you accept Him as Savior and Lord. But however God leads won’t you come and share your decision with us?