Thursday, November 09, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know if I were to make a list of all of the various aspects of my life for which I should be grateful and give thanks, it would certainly be a very long list. Whenever we try to form such a list, we can discover a great deal concerning whom we are and what truly matters. In other words, how would I answer the question, “For what am I most thankful?” I am grateful for a savior who died for me, and a creator who sought me. I am very thankful for my wife, and for both her parents and mine. I am grateful for a church family who allows me to serve, to grow, and to challenge you to do the same. Does this mean I am not thankful for a place to live, for food to eat, and for the house where we live? Obviously, I am grateful for these things as well; however, they certainly should fall further down my list.

Jesus tells us to seek the kingdom of God first, and all the important things of life fall into their proper place. This may not mean a six-figure salary or an office on the top floor. But if we place the kingdom of God and his righteousness as our top priority, we very often find it easier to recognize the abundance of things which matter, but less.

This Thanksgiving, take some time to look at how you spend your time, money, and energy. What are your priorities? What is your ultimate concern? Where is your treasure, and your heart? What is your use of time, money, and energy saying about what’s important to you? Are you seeking the kingdom of God? This Thanksgiving, take some time to examine your priorities; to think about making adjustments if you’re not satisfied with the way things are now. Every day should be able to be a day of Thanksgiving, not just one day a year on our national holiday. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.”

Grace and peace,
James

Fasting & Study

As we enter into this time of year, it has become almost cliché to say “It’s my favorite time of the year!” In fact, we even have a song to remind us that it is the “most wonderful time of the year.” However, I can not deny that Advent and Christmas seasons are some of my favorite times of the year. I blame my parents – they have always been kind of crazy about Christmas.

If you are like me, don’t miss this next month as we charge head-long into the December which is to come. On November 19th we have a very special day in the life of our church. It is “Friends and Family” Sunday, and it will be the perfect opportunity to invite friends, family members, and co-workers to come and worship with us at Southwest Baptist Church. We will truly make this service a celebration of worship as we prepare for the season to come. In addition, we will be gathering on the same day for our annual Thanksgiving dinner. It would be best to just clear that day on your calendar now!

Before we get to November 19th, we also have a continuing opportunity on November 12th. At 5:30 pm on Sunday, November 12th we will have the third in our series of Christian Spiritual Practices. If you have not been a part of this discussion group and study, now is the perfect time to join us. We will be discussing Fasting and Study as spiritual practices. Wait! Don’t stop reading, yet! Our discussion never center on only the stereotypical aspects of these concepts. I have been really encouraged by how well our emphases on meditation, prayer, and hospitality have gone. This will truly be an opportunity that I believe those who miss will regret.

Do I still have you, or did I scare you off? If you are still here, let me encourage you to be looking for a new format for our newsletter, coming soon. And as we prepare for the coming season, I look forward to sharing with our church from the pulpit on November 5th and 12th.

Grace and peace,
James