In his wonderful biography of the prophet Elijah, Chuck Swindoll shares the following story of a man he once visited in a dismal veterans hospital. Swindoll writes:
“The day I arrived to visit, I saw a touching scene. This soldier had a young son, and during his confinement in the hospital, he had made a little wooden truck for his boy. Since the boy was not allowed to go up into the ward and visit his father, an orderly had brought the gift down to the child, who was waiting in front of the hospital with his mother. The father looked out of a fifth floor window, watching his son unwrap the gift. The little boy opened the package, and his eyes got wide when he saw that wonderful little truck. He hugged it to his chest. He was thrilled by the gift. Meanwhile, the father was walking back and forth waving his arms behind the windowpane, trying to get his son’s attention. The little boy put the truck down and reached up and hugged the orderly and thanked him for the truck. And all the while the frustrated father was going through these dramatic gestures, trying to say, ‘It’s me, son! I made the truck for you! I gave that to you! Look up here!’ I could almost read his lips. Finally the mother and the orderly were able to turn the boy’s attention up to that fifth floor window. It was then that the boy cried, ‘Daddy! Oh, thank you! I miss you, Daddy! Come home, Daddy. Thank you for my truck!’ And the father stood in the window smiling with tears pouring down his cheeks.”
I share this excerpt from Swindoll’s book as a reminder of the fact that so often we are very much like this little boy in that we forget to look up and thank our Heavenly Father for all His gifts. In Psalm 103:1 David warned us not to make this mistake when he wrote, “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits!”
We need to heed David’s warning because many times even here in the church we forget to thank God. And, you know, when we forget the source of life’s blessings when we cease to be thankful people we rob ourselves and our church of joy, the joyful awareness that the burden of providing our needs is not one that we have to bear.
Thankful people know that God takes care of them. They do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” No, they don’t allow themselves to be burdened with such thoughts, because they are aware of the fact that our Heavenly Father knows our needs and that not only does He meet our needs, He also provides us with, ” every good and perfect gift.” (Matthew 6:31 32; James 1:16)
Brennan Manning writes,
“I believe the real difference in the American church is not between conservatives and liberals, fundamentalists and charismatics, nor between Republicans and Democrats. The real difference is between the aware and the unaware. When somebody is aware of [the loving provision of God] that person is just spontaneously grateful. Cries of thankfulness become the dominant characteristic of the interior life, and the byproduct of this gratitude is joy. We’re not joyful and then become grateful we’re grateful and that makes us joyful.”
Our text for this morning makes the same connection between gratitude and joy. Take your Bibles and turn to the 100th Psalm and let’s read its words together.
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.
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Now, as the psalmist says, our Lord is good and He has been faithful to provide for this church in so many ways over the past year. So, as has been our custom for nearly a decade now, we are structuring our worship service this Sunday before Thanksgiving a bit differently so as to stop corporately and remind ourselves to look up and remember from Whom all blessings flow.
And the blessings have indeed flowed this year. Let me remind you of just a few examples of God’s goodness to our church family over the past twelve months. Since last Thanksgiving we have had 50 new people join Redland Baptist Church. And once again God has blessed this church financially. In spite the fact that we are behind budget a bit at this point, giving is up over last year. I am so thankful to be a part of a church that believes in giving sacrificially. Your giving has enabled us to not only meet our needs here but to also join God in His work all around the world by sending nearly 100,000 dollars to missions efforts like: The Cooperative Program, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Cathie Burke and her ministry to refugee women in Nairobi and Rwanda, the Machlans who serve as Wycliffe Bible Translators in the Philippines, and to the Bakers as they prepared to serve as ESL missionaries and the new church start in Milford, the Montgomery Baptist Association, Baptist Family and Children’s Services, not to mention our gifts to the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong missions offerings. We’ve also been able to give out nearly 17,000 or our Deacon Benevolence fund money that has helped members of our church who were in financial crises of one form or another. It’s been wonderful to be able to join God in blessing a needy friend in a tangible way over and over and over again.
God has also blessed us with another busy summer of ministry. We had an amazing Vacation Bible School week in which children and their workers were excited to study about God’s great love. Seven children made professions of faith in VBS this summer .two of them members of our church. Sports Camps enrollment was up this year. I’m so thankful for Becky McGaffin’s leadership in this pre gymnasium sports ministry because it is helping the members of our community begin to associate our church with athletics. In essence it’s already building momentum for the kinds of ministry we will do in our new gym about one year from now. This past summer a team of 23 Redlanders went to the Gulf to help repair a church and work on two homes of Katrina Victims. 16 of us were able to travel to Glorieta, New Mexico and attend Sunday School Week and learn things that make us excited about new ways to do discipleship. Our teens went to Student Life Camp and God challenged them to grow to be more like Jesus. As a parent I am so very thankful for that blessing of God in the life of my girls. Weren’t you impressed by their share service a couple months ago?!
And perhaps the blessing that stands out most this year is our wonderful 40th anniversary celebration a few weeks back. I don’t know about you but to me it seemed as if that entire weekend literally glowed with the blessing of God. The food and the fellowship were almost heavenly. And, as I talked to older Redlanders and relived four decades of this Church’s ministry through their memories well, I couldn’t help but see God at work and stand in awe of it all.
This year God blessed us with a very successful Capital Campaign The Crossing. Over two million dollars was pledged and in this first year we have collected more than a third of that. We’ve also broken ground and have a contract with a construction firm. Recently Hugh and I co signed the biggest check I’ve ever seen to get things going. In a few weeks you’ll begin to see work started as our steeple and marquee are installed. Shortly thereafter we’ll see bulldozers. Why soon, I’ll have to wear a hard hat to work!
And the barnavillion was finally completed this year! That fact alone inspires me to sing The Doxology because we have waited so long for that to be done. We got to use that wonderful deck at the reunion and each Wednesday and Sunday our teens are using this space we’ve been working on for 8 or 9 years!
This fall God blessed us with a brand new ministry: English as a Second Language. We’ve got about a dozen Redlanders working together to teach four classes two nights a week to nearly 50 adults people from literally all over the world who are coming to this campus to learn English and in the process to learn about the love of God.
A recent blessing is the hiring of Carrie Lagas as our new interim Minister of Youth. It’s been about 16 months now since Steve left and when we realized Danielle would be getting married and leaving us we all worried, but once again God has faithfully provided. His perfect timing is seen in the fact that Carrie was available just as Danielle had to step down and so we’ve got a new interim youth minister, one who’s got a college degree in youth ministry and experience interning with great youth ministers from Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church and Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago not to mention three years full time experience. God’s taking care of our teens and I’m so thankful!
Well, all this is to say, 2006 has been a year in which God has been very good to this church. And we need to stop and look up and acknowledge this in worship. Hebrews 12:28 encourages us to “be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” We are here in this meeting place today to do just that to recall all that God has given us and to thank Him for it.
So today instead of a sermon which is really a time for us to hear what God has to say to us, as in year’s 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.” Six 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 to us.
So, now, let us pray: “Heavenly Father, Hear now these, the prayers of Your people:"
Chris & Kerry Shea Penland
Dear Heavenly Father, As this year comes to a close and we enter Thanksgiving, the Penland Family has many reasons to be thankful. The most important of which is the wonderful gift of salvation you have offered us through your glorious Son. We thank you also for your Word and strive to do as it says in 1 Thesssalonias 5:16 18 to “Be joyful always: pray continually; Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is your will for us in Christ Jesus.”
We’d like thank you Lord, for the difficulties and struggles of this year, and how you have used each respectively for our growth. We thank you, Lord, for marriage struggles. We know that our lives were joined by you, and for that we are very thankful. Turning to you in a difficult situation, only brings us closer together as a couple. Knowing that each of us is committed to our relationship with you, only makes us more committed to each other and for that we are extremely thankful.
We thank you Lord for the parenting struggles, for each opportunity to show Duncan, Annie Lane, and Grayson the power of your forgiveness and Love.
We thank you Lord for our family’s financial struggles this year. You taught us that no matter what, we should always continue to give generously and trust you for the rest. This trust resulted in a retreat that provided us with a summer of many blessings as we were able to fellowship with friends both new and old and strengthen our family ties. It also gave us wonderful opportunities to witness to people who do not yet know you personally. We pray that you will continue to give us strength as we witness to others through friendship and fellowship during the many summers and holidays to come spent at the Lake.
I thank you, Lord ,for all the difficulties when trying to plan my trip to Africa; trying to find a travel partner, my overwhelming fear of the unknown, and my fear of flying to name a few. As it is said in Deuteronomy 31:8 – “It is the Lord who goes before you, He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” You provided a travel partner whose heart was changed on this trip and hopefully will someday put her life in your hands. For myself, you gave me the strength to turn to you and away from those fears, resulting in a life altering trip which brought me closer to you than I ever imagined.
I thank you Lord for my struggle to want to be a part of a ministry. You taught me to trust you and just continue to work doing something I love and to leave the rest to you. This has resulted in my role with Amani and for that I am so grateful.
I thank you Lord for the sleepless nights I had this past year when you felt I needed to hear you and I did not take the time during the day to listen. I thank you that you give me strength even when I don’t think I have any left. I thank you for listening and helping me learn how to honor you.
I even thank you Lord for the imperfections of each of us in the world. This gives us hope in the promise of heaven and allows us to have peace when one of your children moves from this imperfect world to the perfect world you have waiting for us.
Lastly Lord, we pray as a family that you will gives us ways in the coming year to thank you with our actions. Show us how you want us to live, what you want us to do, and whose lives you can touch through our service. We pray that you will continue to give us strength and be with us through the good times and the hard times, teaching us in every situation. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen
Felix & Lois Pena
Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray to you with an immense need to thank you for the abundance of blessings that you have given me. I thank you God for your patience and love through the many years that I did not reach for you that you held my hand and never let go.
I thank you God for bringing Lois and I together, a person with a loving heart for you, that she would patiently bring me back closer to you one step at a time. I thank you God for giving us two beautiful children that know you and adore you.
I thank you God for bringing us to the footsteps of this church. We received a warm and sincere welcome and we were made to feel as privileged guests. We rejoice now that we are members of this group of believers. I thank you God for the deeply dedicated teachers in this Church that bring us your word into our hearts and mind every week. God, I thank you for the fellowship and friendships that we have developed in this Church. I thank you God, that in your mysterious ways, you would find a way to persuade me into serving you through my first Mission trip. God, to this day I continue to cherish the precious moments that I spent with my fellow Christian brothers and sisters, which served so joyfully, lovingly and so unselfishly. I thank you God for every one of these people, for they have truly sculpted my heart forever and have given me an insatiable longing to continue to serve You in the future. God, in this church we feel nurtured in knowledge and brought closer to you with each passing day.
God, as I was told nine years ago as a newly licensed pilot, this license is a license to learn, so it is with our soon-to-end yearlong Bible reading activity. This is my license to learn more and more about you and about being a Christian. God, I pray for all these things in your precious Son Jesus Christ.
We are grateful for our Sunday School class. Each one of you is dear to us.
We are so grateful for the youth and their teachers and the Youth workers who reached out to our children during a difficult transition time of changing churches. We are thankful for each youth in the youth department. They each have their own challenges and are going through the process of learning to become adults in addition to growing in faith. Yet, the youth had the ability to welcome new attendees into their group. This is such a blessing! Without the openness and acceptance that these youth display, we would not have a strong youth program. Thank you for those who are especially good at helping others along the way. We are thankful for Extreme Makeover, Soul Fuel, Winter Breakout, YPAC, gnome nights, and outdoor movies. We are also grateful for the Youth music programs. Handbell trips, and singing programs require so much time and dedication from the leaders. We are so grateful that they see this as an important ministry because it has such an impact on the lives of our teens.
I have been thankful for the women’s ministries at Redland. It is a blessing that Redland recognizes this ministry as a need. We are grateful for those who lead these classes and those who work behind the scenes doing childcare so that many more of Redland’s women can participate. It has given me a chance to get to know women of all ages and backgrounds and I know that I have learned much from their different perspectives. We are also extremely grateful for those of you who have asked us to help you with different tasks and events here at Redland. You have given us a chance to know you better and to have a place to serve.
We are grateful for the worship leaders and ministerial staff at Redland. We thank you for the love that you give for this church and for your talents. We are thankful for the prayers that are said on behalf of others by church members. May this church continue to show love to each other in prayer.
We are thankful for the gifts that each member at Redland possesses. For those members who teach by example, showing their dedication to You and their joy in serving You even when they face challenges in their lives. We are thankful for members with vision and wisdom to lead us where you want our church to grow. And we are thankful for those who are willing to do the work behind the scenes out of love for You.
We are thankful for the work that you give us outside of church to meet our family’s needs. We are so thankful for all of the blessings you have given us. For a wonderful country to live in and dedicated people who serve to keep us safe. And most of all, thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus. You have blessed us, when we are undeserving. You love us and continue to love us. Amen.
Hi, my name is Danielle. I have been very blessed throughout my teenage years. God has provided me with a great family, fantastic friends, and help me have stronger faith in him. My family is very important to me. The are always there when I need them, no matter what. If I am scared to tell them something I know it would be ok because in the end they will love me unconditionally.
During my soul fuel retreat a few weeks ago they asked us who is someone who’s fire is burning so bright for God. The first person that came to my mind was my dad. There was a range 1 through 10 and I put a 10 for raging inferno. I look up to my dad so much. I always see him during his devotion or pray or doing something so generous. He lives his life everyday for God.
My mom is my best friend. She always puts her self last just so we can be happy. She never fails to make me feel like loved and she goes out of her way just so I can go to a friends house, a school event, or just go out.
Now, my brothers. I love them to death, but they can get on my nerves sometimes and get me mad but my anger is over in the next 5 minutes because they always make me laugh. I can always count on them.
My friends are my rock. I thought friends were people you can laugh with and talk to. But I realize they are much more than that. They are people who touch your hearts and they have definitely touched mine. I can spend hours with them doing absolutely nothing, and it can be the best time of my life just because it was with them. They don’t judge me or make me change. They accept me for who I am. I find my time with my friends the most amazing and fantastic moments.
As a regular teenager you go through changes and try to adjust to your surroundings and find out who you really are. God has always been there.
One of my favorite verses is Joshua 1:9. Which says,
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Sometimes I feel scared to do what I know I should but something always holds be back. Then I remember what God had said and it pushes me to keep on moving.
Another favorite verse of mine is Hebrews 13:5. It says “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Whenever I feel alone or helpless I recite what He has said. I often before I go to sleep I just lay there and think about how my day went. I think about how God has worked through my life that day. Whether it is helping someone with their problems, or encouraging me to be a light for those who don’t know him, or maybe even just a simple hug for someone who needed it.
I remember over the summer I went to a Christian camp called the “Zone” with my friends Becca, Sarah and my two brothers. The one thing that really got me thinking was when the speaker that night said “two C seven 14 ” which is 2 Chronicles 7:14 it says “If my people called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” He challenged us in our life time to turn 714 people to Jesus and turn them from their wicked ways and seek His face. The speaker said it was not impossible because he told us a story about how a young boy about my age turned 714 people to Jesus in just 2 days. I always think about that story and wonder will I ever be able to do that. Then I remember how Moses freed his people from Egypt. How Noah made an ark and was on it for 40 days and 40 nights. How David beat Goliath. How Jeremiah blew down the walls with horns. How God sent Jesus, His only Son, to die on the cross for us. Then I tell myself of course I can do this.
Every morning my brother and I listen to 91.9 the family friendly station and I just sing along to the lyrics and it lifts me up on the way to school and think about how much God has blessed me. I am so thankful for what God has given me. Everyday I try to focus my life on Him. It is hard being a Christian in school, everywhere actually, but God had promised us eternal life with Him as long as we have Jesus in our hearts.
I now realize how blessed I am and not everybody has what I have. Thank you so much for being my church family and I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.
Dennis & Sheila Woofter
Our Heavenly Father, we come humbly before you this morning with our hearts full of thanksgiving.
For who you are, we give thanks:
“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love!” Psalm 36:5 7a
You are not relative. You are not fickle. You are not elusive. You are not hypocritical.
We are thankful that, in this ever changing world, you are the one thing that was the same yesterday, is the same today, and will be the same forever. Would that our faith be so steadfast! Your constancy provides us security, comfort, peace and hope.
For your creation, we give thanks:
“The heavens declare the glory of God: the skies proclaim the work of His hands!” Psalm 19:1
We would have been excited about one bird, but you made so many different ones; different colors, different sizes, different songs. The trees! From the gnarled Joshua tree, to the graceful willow, to the grand Sequoias! The colors as revealed to us in your rainbows. And water! Rippling rivers, quiet ponds, pounding waves, and the vast oceans. Seeing and feeling your omnipresence throughout your creation calls us to respect, cherish and seek to sustain this wonderful, truly incredible gift.
For our country, we give thanks.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 33:12a
We are truly blessed to live in a country so richly endowed with natural resources, the freedom to openly express ourselves, the freedom to practice our faith in you as we are individually and collectively called, and the security to protect and preserve those freedoms. Make us not only a God fearing nation, but equally God reflecting. Our thankfulness for your blessings on our country will be clearly revealed to the extent we share them with all countries.
For our church, we give thanks:
“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.'” Psalm 122:1
We thank you for Redland Baptist Church. What a wonderful place to worship. We are so blessed by the inspired and tireless leadership of Mark and his supporting staff. Thank you for the opportunities Redland provides us to learn and mature in our faith. Thank you for the opportunities Redland provides us to demonstrate our faith through service. Thank you for fueling Redland’s ever-present beacon of Grace for a grace needing community.
For Families- immediate, extended, and church, we give thanks:
“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations”. Psalm 89:1
Today, we thankfully stand on the shoulders of those who prepared the way so long before us. We reap the harvest and enjoy the bounty from the fields they so faithfully sowed over the years. You know we are thankful for the family members who directly introduced us to you and established and nurtured our faith. These grandparents, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, in laws, elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers, and brothers and sisters in Christ bestowed on us our most eternal and priceless gift. As for my personal faith journey, I am thankful you blessed me with a truly remarkable mother in law.
For our personal salvation we especially give thanks:
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1, 2
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14: 5 7
Father, as thankful as we are for the gifts of who you are, your creation, our country, our church and our families, it is our personal salvation for which we are most thankful. Life with you in heaven, free from this world’s sin and pain, free to worship at your feet for eternity. Only a Father whose power is unlimited and whose love is infinite could or would convey such a gift to his children. The magnitude of this gift is enriched immeasurably by your enabling its receipt through my/through our personal relationship with your most Holy Son, Jesus.
To my God, To my Heavenly Father, To my Salvation,
As I sit in reflection of all you have done and all you have been over the past year, I am so overcome with gratitude and awe, that my simple mind cannot begin to communicate the praises that flow from my heart. And that is, perhaps, a wonderful place to begin.
Father, thank you for not needing my words. Thank you for hearing the cries of joy and thanksgiving that well up inside my soul, and that sometimes only show themselves as a smile or a contented sigh. Such as when I am overcome by the beauty of your creation, whether it is laughing at the antics of all our four legged friends, sitting silent during a desert sunset, feeling the rush of your power as ocean waves crash onto the shore, or gasping for breath as we reach the top of a climb in the crisp mountain air. When I see you in all these places, Father, I can understand how David penned the 139th Psalm:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go to the heavens, you are there. If I make my bed in the depths you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me. Your right hand will hold me fast.”
Thank you that you make yourself known in every inch of your creation, and that we can always find you there. Father in Heaven, thank you that you do not stay there!
But this natural world is far from the only place to witness your generosity and love for me. Everyday for that past 13 weeks, I gaze into the eyes of one of your most amazing gifts, a beautiful baby girl. And as we rock and sing hymns in the nursery, play in the family room, or fall asleep reading Bible stories, she reminds me of your provision and grace. I look at her and I am immediately brought back to my own childhood. I am reminded of all the incredible people that you placed in my life along the way. My heart is so full of thankfulness for the witness that the members of this congregation have been to me and my family over the years. For choir leaders like Virginia Coffman, Louise Brinkman and Kay Main; for Sunday school teachers like Martha Davis, Paul Jordan, Sue Adams and Jim Main; for Youth group leadership like Ken Marshall and, of course, Mark Adams. Father, as I think about how much these lives have helped You to form me into the person You created me to be. I am so grateful. And it is my earnest prayer that little Madilynne Paige will be so blessed in her life, to have a cloud of witnesses around her, helping to grow her up in your truth and grace, just as this church has done for me.
And Father, thank you so much for making me a Wehunt. Thank you for parents that truly model your unconditional love and grace. Thank you for brothers that have taught me the art of survival, the importance of patience, and the reward of sibling friendship. Thank you for being the Rock that my parents can (and have) leaned on as they sought to do your will in raising us. I beg you Lord, please teach Jason and I to be half the parents that they have been. And Lord, as I watch them interact with their grandchildren I am so thankful that you are blessing them with the desires of their hearts. They have given so much to each of us, I am so grateful for the ability to give the gift of grandchildren back to them. To see the sheer joy and love for these grand babies in their eyes even when changing dirty diapers, is a gift from you that I treasure. Thank you Lord, for the beautiful blessing of family.
So Father, forgive me when a day goes by and I do not humbly and undeservingly come to your throne of grace in gratitude for all that you have done and all that you are. And forgive me when all of these earthly blessings cause me to forget about your most precious and perfect gift; your Son, Jesus Christ. Who, through obedience and love, has rescued us from depths that that we cannot even imagine and allowed us life so abundant, so amazing, and so beautiful.
Mostly Father, during this special season of Thanksgiving, thank you for being You.
Gale and Toiya Goodlow
Heavenly Father, In the Name of Jesus,
Thank you for another opportunity to come to your alter and praise Your Name. Lord, You said that when two or three are gathered in Your name, You would be in our midst. Lord, we thank You for being with us today and every other day. Heavenly Father, You have been better to us than we would ever have been to ourselves. Thank You for being so good to us and sending Your Son to die for the sins we commit against You, the One who loves us the most. Lord, we ask You to forgive us for our sins and please give us the strength to turn from them.
God, thank You for our church home and the opportunity to grow in Your love and fellowship with other believers. Lord, this year, we ask you to help us grow as Christians and be better examples so that we may help bring non believers into the Body of Christ. Lord, please help us to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have. And Lord, please guide us so that we can tell others about our Savior with gentleness and respect.
Lord we ask that you continue to bless our church family here at Redland. Thank you for Pastor and Mrs. Adams and all the leaders of this church. Lord I want to pray for all the ministries here and allow us to always strive to meet the needs of Your people. I pray that we can continue to be a church that serves and acts as doers of Your will. Father, bless all the members of Redland, those who are here with us today and the sick and shut in as well. I ask that you keep us all in Your care.
Finally Lord as we approach Thanksgiving I pray that you will keep our families safe as we travel and celebrate all You’ve done for us this year. Allow us to acknowledge all the things we for which we should be thankful and realize that it is all from you, as all good things come from God.
We ask all these things in Jesus’ name, Amen Selah
We are gathered here this morning, Heavenly Father, to express to you our thanks for the many blessings that you have given to us over the past year. And, indeed, you have blessed me beyond measure, and you do deserve my thanks and praise for these blessings. However, Lord, the feelings of thankfulness that I have for my blessings are tempered by what I see taking place outside of 6922 Muncaster Mill Road. God, I am thankful for the way you provide for my daily needs. You have provided me with a job that I can use to provide me with clothes on my back, food on my table, shelter over my head, and transportation to where I want to go. And I am appreciative of all the material blessings you have given me.
However, I am reminded of those who are not as blessed when I see and hear of the homeless and hungry in our area. There are people who live on the streets of Washington, even during the winter months. And there are people who are not sure where their next meal will come from. Jesus told us in a parable that, inasmuch as you have taken care of one of the least of these, you have done it to me. You have provided Redland with volunteer opportunities to minister to the “least of these”, ranging from soup kitchens and food pantries to homeless shelters. Open our eyes, Lord, so that we may see other ways to be your hands and your feet to the hungry and homeless.
God, I am thankful for the privilege of living in a country where I can freely worship you. I am thankful for this church, Pastor Mark, Aaron, and the rest of the church staff who minister to me on a daily basis. I am also thankful to the members of Redland who stick by closer to me than a brother. And I am appreciative of worshiping you as my belief dictates. But there are people that are not as blessed. In some countries, people are persecuted (or even killed) because they are known to be Christians. In other countries, people are forced to worship you in underground churches because the government forbids them to acknowledge you as Lord. The Apostle Paul stated that, when one part of the body of Christ suffers, all parts suffer. Help us, Lord, to be a voice to those who are being persecuted.
God, I am thankful for the Bible that you have provided. You have blessed me with several versions of the Bible, both lying around the house and on my computer, as well as numerous commentaries to better understand your Word. And I am appreciative of having easy access to the scriptures. However, there are people who don’t have access to a Bible. There are churches where members are limited to having a portion of the Bible. There are also ethnic groups who don’t have access to your Word because it’s not available in their language. You have provided the means necessary to print and distribute Bibles, as well as people who translate the Bible into various languages so that all people can understand your plan of salvation. Open our eyes, Lord, so that we may see how we can send your Word to those who so desperately need it.
But most of all, God, I am thankful for the salvation you have provided me through the sacrifice of your Son on the cross. Jesus came to pay a debt He didn’t owe because I owed a debt I could never pay. And I am appreciative of the gift of eternal life you gave to me. But there are people, even those who live within sight of this church, that do not have a personal relationship with you. Jesus commanded us to go into the entire world and preach the gospel to everyone. You have provided Redland with mission opportunities this past year, ranging from hosting sports camps and vacation bible school to sending members to Milford, DE, Long Beach, MS, and Nairobi, Kenya. Help us, Lord, to be bolder in reaching a lost and dying world for you.
I am thankful for these blessings, and many more. Help me, Lord, so I can use my blessings to be a blessing to others. For it’s in Christ’s name that I pray. Amen.
Fred & Vicki Robinson
Our Father in heaven, Holy and Righteous, Blessed is Your name and most worthily praised. Humbly, we thank You for Your unconditional love, Your mercy, the grace with which You have favored and saved us. We thank You for saving sinners unworthy of all You have given. See in our hearts our gratitude for Your kindness and mere consideration. Father, we will never be worthy, yet our comfort rests in You.
Dear God, it is through Your provision that we are protected from evil and harm; blessed with the love of family and friends. And, it is Your love that sustains us, the light that guides us as we strive to surrender our lives to You. You have provided us with nourishment, a comfortable home and answered every prayer. You have blessed us with the opportunity to serve and be used as witnesses to the abundance of Your love.
We are grateful for our children, Jolie and Errol. And thankful that they both know and love You.
How blessed we are to be a part of Your body here in this place, Redland Baptist Church. Thank You for this church, its leaders, its youth, our friends and their influence in our lives. You have blessed us all abundantly, allowing us to be vessels, molded instruments of your will. Father, strengthen us and our faith. Help us to be more Christlike, a better husband and father, wife and mother, son, daughter, brother and sister. Help us to do more of Your will and humbly surrender our lives to You more each day.
In the name of Jesus the Way, the Truth and the Life. Amen
Now it is your chance to join in this time of thanks praying.
As the instrumentalists continue to play, let us now bow our heads and all thank God. Praying together at the same time softly but audibly.
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. We give you a chance to thank God by publicly responding to all He has done in your life.
Won’t you come as we sing?
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly and whatever you do in word or in deed Do it all in the name of Christ giving thanks to God the Father through Him.