Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Whatever we’re thankful for is paid for by the blood of Christ

November 17, 2017

I wrote the following for my church’s weekly electronic newsletter. This insight comes from John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2009), 51-54.

Paul writes the following, in Romans 2:4-5:

[D]o you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

One of the things that we’ll be celebrating on Thanksgiving next week is what Paul calls the “riches of [God’s] kindness.” But consider Paul’s words above: We are living right now in a season of mercy, the purpose of which is to lead us to repentance.

Paul’s point is something like this: God gives us one amazing gift after another–our lives, our families, our friends, our health, our possessions. And God does so in spite of the fact that we’re sinners who, according to God’s Word, deserve only death, judgment, and hell. When we consider how kind and merciful God is to us, our hearts should melt. As a result, we should repent and be saved.

But notice what happens if we don’t repent: We are “presuming on” God’s riches and “storing up wrath” for ourselves on Judgment Day.

The only thing that saves us from this wrath is the blood of God’s Son Jesus.

Therefore, those of us who are Christians ought to remind ourselves that every gift that God gives us is paid for by the precious blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The gift of my wife or husband is paid for by the blood of Jesus. The gift of my children is paid for by the blood of Jesus. The gift of this warm, safe home is paid for by the blood of Jesus. The gift of this delicious meal is paid for by the blood of Jesus. The gifts of love, laughter, and friendship are paid for by the blood of Jesus.

Remind yourself of this truth next Thursday. Let it melt your heart. And be thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The secret to gratitude begins with the gospel

November 27, 2015

This would have made a good Thanksgiving post yesterday, but better late than never…

Andrew Wilson, whose praises I’ve sung on this blog several times already, gave an interview this week with his wife, Rachel, about their new book, The Life You Never Expected, which comes out in the States next year. The book is about their ongoing adventure of parenting two autistic children in light of their Christian faith.

In the following excerpt, Wilson discusses what he’s learned about gratitude from the experience:

I know I’ve got to get my head around the fact that what I deserve is death and condemnation, and, instead, I’ve received life. And you start there with the gospel, really. The center of the gospel makes you grateful as you consider it—and your eschatological hope and all the rest—compared to what you have. So you stop feeling grumbly about what you have.

But as that sets in in your heart, it begins to spread sideways as well and you become grateful rather than entitled to people… other people—you know, human organizations and institutions and the like—and start thinking, “This isn’t just that I’m grateful to God that he’s given me this instead of eternal separation from God. It’s changes the way you think about gratitude toward other people as well. And you begin to feel happy and excited about things that other people assume is their rights.

Next he talks about his gratitude that in Britain he has access to health resources that many parents of autistic children in other parts of the world don’t have.

But [gratitude] starts with the gospel, and you realize this is just scandalous, and I’ve got so much more than I should have. And as that seeps through bits of your life, it does begin to change [you]. Obviously, that’s a very nice picture of it; it doesn’t always feel like that, but I genuinely think I am a much more grateful person, and I have a much better theology of gift now than I did three years ago because of learning to see gifts everywhere.

He means “scandalous” in the sense that we take so many of God’s blessings for granted.

When I hear things like this, it reaffirms my conviction that we preachers need to preach the gospel in every sermon, in one way or another. We need to continually remind ourselves of the fact that “what [we] deserve is death and condemnation,” whereas what we receive in Christ is eternal life.

Sermon 11-24-13: “Thank-You Note, Part 4: Rejoice in the Lord Always”

December 4, 2013
"St. Paul in Prison" by Rembrandt.

“St. Paul in Prison” by Rembrandt.

In this Thanksgiving-themed sermon, Paul urges us to rejoice in the Lord always. Does always really mean always? Is that possible even in the midst of pain, suffering, and trials? If so, Paul would know: he suffered more than most Christians have, and he was writing this joy-filled letter to the Philippians from a harsh imprisonment.

Paul wants us to know that it is possible. “I have learned the secret,” he says, of being content under all circumstances. We also need to learn this secret.

[Please note: No sermon video this week. Yours truly accidentally deleted it from his iPhone!]

Sermon Text: Philippians 4:2-13

The following is my original sermon manuscript.

For Braves fans, this book, published in 1997, is depressing on so many levels!

For Braves fans, this book, published in 1997, is depressing on so many levels!

I was rummaging through my closet and I found a book that I salvaged from my mom’s house last year. It was published in 1997 with great optimism and fanfare. It’s called Turner Field: Rarest of Diamonds, and it’s a book about the new home of the Braves, Turner Field. The book jacket says the book “pays fitting tribute to the greatest baseball team of the ’90s and the new home it so richly deserves.”

That is depressing on so many levels. Do you think I could get anything on eBay for this—or would I have to pay someone to take this from me?

The lesson here, of course, is that one of the few things you can count on in life is that there are few things you can count on in life. Do you know Melissa and Glenn, the owners of the Jailhouse Brewery across the street? They have a child in our preschool, and they recently gave me a tour of their brewery, which is called Jailhouse Brewery. The names of all their beers and the labels on all the bottles have a criminal justice-related motif. I asked why: Because, as many of you longtime Hampton residents know, their brewery occupies the same space that was occupied by the old jailhouse in town! Read the rest of this entry »

Our best reason to be thankful

November 28, 2013

For Thanksgiving, our best reason to be thankful, as I said last Sunday. This is one of those cheesy homemade lyric videos, but at least the sound quality is excellent.

Happy Thanksgiving from HUMC

November 26, 2013

I put this video together for last Sunday’s Thanksgiving-themed service. I asked people to name one thing for which they are thankful. Enjoy!