Tates Creek Christian Church

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Archive for the tag “Multiplying Faith”

Thankfulness is Contagious

Thankfulness Broadens Our View of God’s Greatness!

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I have shared before that I grew up on a farm.  On this farm we raised horses, and throughout the years we tried to train these horses to pull wagons.  In fact, for my sister’s wedding, my father had built his own buggy and trained a horse to pull the buggy.  We tried our best to train this young horse, but he simply became distracted too easily.  These distractions often led to him stopping in the middle of the trail until he could be refocused.     Along with the necessary equipment used for horse pulling there is one piece more vital than the others.  It is the blinders on the headstall.  These are located on each side of the horse’s face.  The role of the blinders is to keep the horse focused on the direct path ahead.    Have you ever noticed that when things start going wrong in our lives it feels like we have spiritual blinders on?  We start seeing the world around us in a closed off way.  We begin feeling like we are the only ones going through a difficult situation.  The more our blinders close in on our perspective, the further into a spiritual slump we feel.  This seems to be the devil’s system to lead us away from God’s greatness.    In the verse above, Paul offers a different option.  Instead of allowing the devil to close in our perspective he offers a remedy.  Rejoice, pray, and give thanks!  Immediately when our view changes so does our attitude.  We begin to open up our eyes to the power of God, the love of God, and the greatness of God.     It is amazing to me how this is the cultural norm of so many other cultures.  For example, anytime I interact with my friends in Liberia they often say the phrase, Thank God.  When they have done our team a huge favor, cooked a delicious meal, and fixed something we couldn’t figure out, we always tell them thank you.  This is when they reply- “Thank God.”  It’s as if they constantly speak to bring glory to God through their thankfulness.  Such a wonderful example of Christ-followers from one of the poorest places on the earth.

Matt Lee, Children’s Minister

Be Thankful

When I was growing up on the farm, the only benefit Thanksgiving provided my siblings and me was being out of school.  However, being out of school meant work on the farm.  Our family always worked on Thanksgiving Day.  Somehow, my Dad never received the memo about Thanksgiving Day being a labor free day.  Dad always saw that day as a great opportunity to get much needed work done in the crop.  So, the Thanksgiving holiday didn’t provide any real special break from the routine for our family.  My Mom fixed a special meal for dinner ~ on the farm dinner was at noon!

Thankfully, that all changed as the years unfolded.  Now, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays!  One of the reasons is that it provides a great opportunity for our family to be together.  Another reason is due to its simplicity!  There is a great absence of commercialism and busyness.  The third reason and the best reason for it being a favorite, speaks to the purpose for the holiday ~ to give thanks.  Hopefully, as Christians, our gratitude stretches far beyond the holiday of Thanksgiving!

For Christians, our spirit of gratitude should permeate our hearts!  In I Thessalonians 5:18, the Bible says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Gratitude is the difference between someone who is a grumbler and someone who expresses great joy!  Is there anyone who likes to be around a grumbler; someone who complains and gripes, groans and moans?  Anyone?  Unless they are of similar nature!  But, we really like being around people who are joyful!  People who are joyful attract other people!

Grateful people acknowledge that everything they have comes from God!  Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”

Grateful people trust God’s providence that He will bring good out of everything, including the terrible things that happen in life.  (Romans 8:28).  All that farm work on Thanksgiving Day, and every other day, sure made for a close family; I am most thankful!

Grateful people visit with those who are less fortunate and minister to them.     Grateful people count their blessings regularly and thank God for those blessings!     Grateful people refuse, absolutely refuse, to complain, gripe, or grumble!   A grateful heart brings honor and glory to God!

As Zella & I count our blessings, serving here at Tates Creek with you all is right at the top.  Thank you so much for the opportunity and the privilege of allowing us to serve our Lord with each of you!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tommy Simpson, Senior Minister

Are You Showing Gratitude?

Have you ever thought of how some of the toughest commands from the Bible are usually the ones that are the most straightforward and cut straight to the heart?  For example, “pray without ceasing,” “follow me,” “be joyful always,” and how about this one, “give thanks in all circumstances.”
To give thanks in all circumstances is tough, isn’t it?  There is no room for excuses or loop holes that give us a free pass.  God desires for our lives to be characterized by thankfulness, even when it is hard.  God longs for us to trust Him enough that we can be thankful even when it hurts and life doesn’t make sense!
To give thanks in all situations does not mean that we “fake it until we make it”. Instead, we are to have an attitude of gratitude that flows out of our hearts and is seen in every area and circumstance of our lives.  How we respond when tough situations hit speaks volumes. People are daily looking for purpose and meaning and we have an opportunity in the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ times with how we respond to point people towards Christ.
Consider this, we would have nothing good in our lives if it were not for God placing it there.  Do you realize that?  I think so often we take for granted the gifts that God has given us. James tells us that every good gift we have comes from God (James 1:17).
Every good gift!  It does not matter how big or small, every gift was given to us by the God of the Universe.  Here is an idea, as we enter this season, I challenge you not to wait until Thanksgiving Day to reflect on how thankful you are.  Instead, would you consider daily how much we have and give thanks with a grateful heart?  We have a Good Father who deeply loves us through the good and bad times. We have a lot to be thankful for daily!

Geoff Lawson, Student Minister

Rejoice and be Thankful

When times are hard, who is it that you turn to in your life?  Your spouse, your children maybe?  Friends?  Most importantly, do you turn to God?  With this season of Thanksgiving, I felt it would be appropriate to share verses that help through difficult situations.  They remind me that no matter what may be going on with my earthly problems, I can rejoice and be thankful for the things God has given me in my life, and especially for the greatest gift of all, His Son.
1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Hebrews 12: 28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”
1 Timothy 4:4-5 “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”

Lesley Tipton, Preschool Director

Kill Your Sin with Thankfulness

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.  For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5:3–5, ESV)   In the Bible, cultivating a heart of thankfulness toward God is not just a nice suggestion, it is a strategy for killing sin.  Far from the sentimental feeling suggested on holiday greeting cards, thankfulness is one of the absolutely essential offensive weapons Christians must use to put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13).    Look at the passage above from Ephesians 5.  Notice how Paul challenges the Ephesian believers to fight against sexual immorality, impurity, filthiness, and the like.  He tells them to replace those things with thankfulness.  But why?  He gives us a clue in his list of sins by including covetousness.    At the heart level, every sin springs out of the covetous desires of our hearts.  We want what we are not supposed to have, and we are not content with what we do have.  It is no coincidence that James writes, “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” (James 4:2, ESV)    Even though the Ten Commandments include laws against both stealing and adultery, the last of the ten reveals that coveting in the heart is the sin that precedes them both: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17, ESV)   So one of the ways we fight and kill sin in our hearts is by cultivating thankfulness.  We need to take regular time to thank the Lord for all that he has given us.  When we sing “Count your many blessings, name them one by one,” it’s not just feel-good sentimentality… them’s fightin’ words.
~ John Davis, Minister of Evangelism & Discipleship

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