Welcome to our blog from the Red Roof Church and the wonderful, Spirit-filled folks here at St. Paul. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor, inviting you to spend some time giving thanks to the author of all our blessings not just the coming Thanksgiving Day, but each and every day. We have much to be thankful for. If you’re in the neighborhood of Hwy 281 N. and 1863 this Wednesday evening, November 27, stop by for our worship celebration of Thanksgiving at 7:00PM. We offer warm fellowship and a seat at our Lord’s table of Holy Communion. If you can’t make Wednesday, join us this Sunday at 8:30AM or 10:45AM as we celebrate Christ the King Sunday. You’ll always find us here ready to welcome you into our family.
Thanksgiving Day is a day set aside by Abraham Lincoln for a nation to give thanks to God. Yes, you hear correctly even in these “PC” times, thanks TO GOD for all His blessings. Barring a few minor changes, every president and this nation’s people have made it a point to thank God, the one and only true divine presence, for the love He gives to each of us and every day in a myriad of ways.
Sometimes it’s not easy to remember to give thanks. Like children who need a gentle push to say “thank you,” we must often have some formal nudge so that we bow in humble gratitude to the author of all our blessings. In addition, we can easily fail to realize an event that causes us worry, concern, disappointment, sorrow or difficulty today, is being used by God to build us up for tomorrow. Thus it, too, becomes a blessing for which we should give thanks.
I cannot help but think of the many challenges facing our Church. The current trend of vast branches of the Christian Church toward a secular agenda empowered by a social gospel causes great sorrow in my heart. I fear for our Christian heritage, our children and the direction of Christendom as a whole.
Yet, these very concerns have resulted in a renewal in study and examination of our Confessions and Scripture itself. Personally, I have learned and come to understand more about the bedrock foundation of my own faith because I seek God’s Word for guidance. Even in adversity, God’s work is being done and I am thankful.
Again soon in the body of believers I serve, we are daring to engage in another bold adventure of recommitting ourselves to God’s great commission of proclaiming the gospel and loving the church which is His body on earth. It’s not our first endeavor to move ourselves into true discipleship nor will it be our last. The work progresses, sometimes slowly, but always forward. We are coming to know that we must not underestimate the work of the Spirit. Some have truly risen to take first steps toward dedicated service in God’s name. That’s cause to give God our heartfelt thanks.
We have so much for which to render our thanks to God. His blessings shower us with witness to His ever present love and support. The most precious gift is our Lord, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself so that we might have life and forgiveness of sin in His name. There are not enough words or ways we can respond in thanksgiving.
As disciples of Christ, called to bear testimony to the Gospel of Salvation, our difficulties and hardships, the times of testing we confront, must cause us to raise our prayers of gratitude. It is in adversity that our lives are tempered for strength in God’s service. So, for these, too, we gave thanks to God.
May we remember to give thanks for all our Lord provides for us, that which we know to be good, as well as those things which God puts to good use within us. As Paul said in Romans 5:3-5 — We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
And those are my thoughts. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Pastor Lee R. Harder