This Is The Year

This is the Year.001

This sermon was given at Valley Shepherd Church of the Nazarene on February 14, 2016

5 Ways To Be Thankful

  
I don’t know if your year has been anything like mine, but this year has gone by incredibly fast. Whether you year has gone by quickly or slowly, the month of November is upon us. This means two different things.

First, it means you better begin planning for what you are going to be buying your family for Christmas. Second, it means it is the season of being thankful.

Each year, my wife and I sit down with our extended family to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. During this meal, we always take time to go around and have everyone share something that they are thankful for from the previous year. That time is honestly one of my favorite times year. 

It is so important to be a thankful person. So, I thought I would write this post to help us discover some ways they can be thankful during this season.

1. Realize you are called to be thankful

Before we can even think about what we should be thankful for, we have to realize that God calls us to be thankful people. Paul writes in Colossians 3:15, “The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people.” Further Paul writes in Ephesians 5:20, “always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” As Christians, we are called to give thanks for everything.

2. Look at everything in your life and think of why you are thankful for it

I’ll be honest, this one seems like an obvious one. The sad thing is that we sometimes overlook the obvious things in our lives that we can be thankful for. This point is to help us evaluate everything and give thanks for it. It can be as big as the fact thank you keep breathing and as simple as having a bar of soap for when you shower. 

3. Look to the past

Sometimes in life, you can’t totally understand where you are and who you are until you look at where you came from. Think through the last five to ten years and think about the kind of person you were back then and who you are now. How have you grown and what have you learned? Who are people who have had a major influence in your life in these past years? This simple process of looking to the past can help you realize different things that you might be thankful for.

4. Tell someone that you are thankful for them

As a natural reaction to number three, there are many people that have had an influence on you in your life. Being thankful for them is great, but it is even better if you actually tell them how thankful you are for what they have done in your life. Perhaps you are shy and don’t want to talk to someone face to face, write a card or send an email.

(Hand written thank you cards are great! They tell the person you are willing to take the time to write a note of thanks. It can mean a lot.)

5. Give back and be generous

Giving back is the natural response to living a thankful life. Once we begin to discover how much we have and have been blessed with, we might discover that we have much that we can bless others with. Generosity is so powerful. 

Proverbs 11:25 states, “Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Further Proverbs 22:9 says, “Happy are generous people, because they give some of their food to the poor.”

During this thanksgiving month, there are so many ways to be generous and give back. Start a donation box and slowly fill it with items that you no longer need and can donate to a local shelter or a family in need. Another thing you could do it volunteer at a local food bank or shelter with your family and give back out of your time. Finally, you could consider sponsoring a child from around the world that is in needs (World Vision and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries).

November is the month of thanksgiving. So, go out there and be thankful!

30 Days With Wesley – Day 30: The Send Off

30 Days with Wesley(Optional Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

Today’s optional reading is very fitting for the 30th day of this book. It it Paul’s Biblical send off to his readers in 1 Thessalonians. He writes,

Now, may the God of peace himself cause you to be completely dedicated to him; and may your spirit, soul, and body be kept intact and blameless at our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming. The one who is calling you is faithful and will do this.

It is a beautiful send of. It fits so well for today. If you have been journeying with me through these 30 days with Wesley, I probably have never met you in person and we are not close friends. Though if you are a follower of Jesus like I am, I know that we are both on the same journey of seeking after Christ and letting him transform our lives on a daily basis.

It is this common ground that I send you off. May God keep us dedicated to him and may we be found blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen. 

How did you like the journey of 30 Days with Wesley? Let me know in the comments below.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 29: The Secret To Genuine Faith

Genuine Stamp Showing Real Certified Product(Optional Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-19)

What is genuine faith? What does it look like? How do you know if you have it? Faith is sometimes a complicated subject to think about? What does it mean to have faith? Peter writes and states, “You now rejoice in this hope, even if it’s necessary for you to be distressed for a short time by various trials. This is necessary so that your faith may be found genuine.

Faith is not hard to have. There is the classic example that you have faith in a chair to hold you up. You have faith that your computer is going to work for you so that you can read this post. We have faith in many different things. But what is it that take faith from its regular state and transforms it into genuine faith?

According Peter, it is the test of time. Does your faith stay stable and strong in the face of conflict and testing? When your faith can face something difficult and trying time of life, you can come out knowing that your faith is not a shallow faith but one of genuine faith.

Peter goes on to say that genuine faith is worth fighting for. He states, “(Your faith is more valuable than gold, which will be destroyed even though it is itself tested by fire.) Your genuine faith will result in praise, glory, and honor for you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” May your faith be transformed today and may you find that you have genuine faith.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 28: Right Now But Not Yet

Kingdom-of-God(Optional Reading: 2 Peter 3:13-15)

But according to his promise we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. Therefore, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found by him in peace—pure and faultless. Consider the patience of our Lord to be salvation, just as our dear friend and brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him

In the Christian faith, we live in a constant balance of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is both right now but not yet. The author of 2 Peter points out that we are waiting for the day when the new heaven and a new earth will be brought about and where righteousness is at home. It is easy to see that this world is not perfect. There are people hurting other people. We are constantly hearing about global warming and many more things. With all of this in mind, the future of a new earth and a new heaven sounds really exciting.

The author goes on to say, “Therefore, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found by him in peace—pure and faultless.” Further, the Lord’s Prayer, which I have been postings each day with my post, states: “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.”

This is what I mean when I say that Kingdom of God is right now but not yet. As we wait for the new heaven and new earth and God’s Kingdom to be established, we are called to live our lives in a way that begins to process or bringing God’s Kingdom to the earth right now. This means that we live at peace with each other. We live pure and faultless lives. We create a way of living in our homes and neighborhoods so that people can stand back and see that righteousness is at home in our lives.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.