"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." That phrase occurs in 6 different passages of Scripture (1st Chron.16:34, Pss. 106:1, 107:1, 118:1, 118:29, and 136:1). Now God only has to say something one time for it to be authoritative but 6 times in the Scriptures God commands His people to give thanks to Him for He is good and to acknowledge that His mercy endures forever. As we head into the holiday season, Thanksgiving is first on the horizon where we celebrate the historical holiday the Pilgrims first marked in the new world in 1621 in the Plymouth Colony. Observances of Thanksgiving were held by the American colonies but it was not consistently observed at the same time till President George Washington made it a national holiday in 1789. It is a time that is set aside to reflect with thankful hearts what the Lord has done for our country and for each of us as families and individuals. Christians ought to be the most thankful people of all because of the Lord Jesus Christ and His birth which is observed at Christmas just a few short weeks after Thanksgiving.
My family has much to be thankful for as we enter this time of year and I want our family to give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His mercy does endure to us forever. He’s sustained us through the death of our sweet grand-daughter Addison Lynn Deason. He’s continued to provide for us even though as of this writing, our house in Houston has not sold, we’ve never missed a meal for lack of groceries and we’ve not lost our home there; nor a roof over our heads in Bel Air. He’s been so faithful to the Green family but space will not permit me to share all that our wonderful and gracious Heavenly Father has done for us. As the leader of my family, I give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever!
I’m thankful as the under-shepherd of Calvary in scary economic times when so many churches are struggling; Calvary’s giving continues to outpace our budget need which is a testimony to the generosity of God’s people whose giving shows their gratitude to God for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. I’m thankful to be the pastor of a church that loves Jesus and seeks to honor Him in all we do. I’m thankful to be the pastor of a church that seems eager to hear the Word of God preached each week and is excited to worship Him. There is an excitement and anticipation in our midst each week as we gather together to praise our God, to proclaim the wonderful Gospel message that Jesus saves, to mine out the unsearchable riches of the Scriptures, and to genuinely encounter God and experience the life change that authentic encounters with God produce. I’m thankful for prayer warriors in our church family I can ask without embarrassment or hesitation to pray for me and our church. I’m thankful for faithful saints of God who serve in so many capacities so that when we have a major staff change as we’ve had recently with Pastor Bob being called to another field of service, the church does not suffer and the work of the ministry continues, but that’s not us or the product of human effort, but we can give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever!
As I pen this brief note, I’m holed up on a spiritual retreat seeking God’s face and direction for my next sermon series after we conclude the book of Ephesians just before Christmas. I’m reading much Scripture, writing, but most of all I’m praying for the Lord’s direction for this needy preacher that He would in fact feed me the truth I need and in turn He would use it to feed you my church family. I’m thankful as I believe He is answering me on what I need to pursue next for our Sunday mornings together. Quite frankly, I’m overwhelmed by what I think the Lord will have me preaching next year, but I believe God’s church needs to hear the message He’s proclaimed through the prophets and I know He’ll use it to challenge us, convict us, break us and ultimately restore us to further His purposes. I have much work to do and I want to be faithful to it for God’s glory.
On the church front, I am working with the personnel committee on revising the job description for the position of associate pastor that Bob held. We are prayerfully asking the Lord for His wisdom as it is apparent to all of us that Bob had way more to do and was responsible for far more than one guy could possibly do. I anticipate sharing directly with the church early in January after the holiday season passes what we believe the Lord would have us to do related to our staff needs. Please be in prayer now for me and our team as we seek to lead us in these exciting days. On the other side of it, I’m confident we’ll be saying once again: “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever.” Thankfulness and excitement is abounding in my little corner of the world, I hope it is in yours…
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church www.calvarybelair.com