Hello Brothers & Sisters,
I have felt a real sense of God’s presence in our services over the past few weeks. And as I said last Sunday, we have much to be thankful for as the people of God.
If you missed the service, the message was on The Power of Thankfulness. According to recent studies, America isn't a very happy place to be, as people's sense of well-being is at an all-time low. People are fearful, angry, depressed, discontented, and lacking purpose in life. Therefore, followers of Jesus need to be reminded of the full life that he promises in John 10:10.
If we’re going to access the peace that surpasses all understanding, it’s helpful to know that the Bible and recent neuroscience indicates that practicing gratitude can help us do that. Which is why I encouraged us to live into thankfulness by suggesting one or more of these practices:
Thank God each time you pray
Express thankfulness with friends and family
Make it a practice to thank others
Journal (write down a few things you’re thankful for each day)
Reduce judgment (constant criticism doesn’t allow for gratitude)
Practice mindfulness (be still & present – experience gratitude)
As I said at the end of the service, scientists say it takes at least 12 minutes of meditation and prayer for it to have any real impact on your brain. Meaning, that if you will practice this on a regular basis, you will experience peace and calm in your mind, body, and soul.
This is what it’s like to practice mindfulness: talk to God, give thanks, and also sit with your thoughts (Philippians 4:4-9) for an extended period of time. If you have a hard time sitting still, at first it might feel unbearable, but keep working at it. I submit to you that our resistance to it is evidence that we need it. So, give it a try. Set a timer and start with 5 minutes. Do that for a week. Each week add a minute or two until you reach 12 minutes, and see if God doesn’t bless you.
We will continue with this season of thankfulness with a Thanksgiving Service this Sunday. There won’t be a sermon this Sunday, but instead we will get to hear from multiple people in our congregation. They will all express how God has been at work in their life through Grantham Church. This will be a good reminder of how beneficial it is to be an active member of God’s family. We will also be having a brief ceremony of reception for new members and celebrating the new additions to our congregation. I hope you can join us this Sunday.
Finally, I want to encourage you to attend our Congregational Council on Sunday, December 2 at 6:00 pm. We have had a great year at Grantham and we’re excited to report what God has done through you, and share where we see the Spirit leading us in 2019. I’ll be sharing some reflections and vision for the coming year, and give you an opportunity to respond. We will also be electing new board members and… wait for it… approving a balanced budget for 2019!
Thank you for your faithfulness in giving of your time, talents, and treasure. We are on a solid trajectory not only to meet budget for 2018, but to exceed it. The church board has just approved an approach for how we will continue investing in ministry initiatives if giving exceeds our actual expenses for the year. Your recent responses to our congregational financial survey were helpful to us in that conversation. Thank you for your input! We’re excited to share more details with you at council.
May God continue to bless Grantham Church as we seek to make disciples who make disciples, and believe that love will prevail.
Grace & Peace,
* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org