How To Give THANKS! (Sermon Audio)

How To Give THANKS! (Sermon Audio)

 

This will serve as the November 3 post in the series I am writing this month on giving thanks.  This is the audio from the November 3, 2019 sermon, “How To Give THANKS”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

Text: Psalm 100, 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Anyhow, this version of “How To Give THANKS” is based around a “made-for-the-movies” stereotypical family thanksgiving day.  Here are six things I think we can learn about giving thanks from a traditional Thanksgiving Day gathering:

We give thanks to God, and to others, when we give:

  • Turkey:
    • Hebrews 5:11-14 —   I know, you probably have the same reaction that the congregation did this morning — “What?  Did he say what I thought I heard?  He didn’t just say turkey, did he?”.  Yep, I said turkey!  When you think of Thanksgiving, for most people, the first thing that comes to mind is turkey.  It is the traditional main course, the very center and substance to the meal which surrounds it.  When I say, “give turkey”, that is what I mean — give thanks with substance and meat at its very heart.  Don’t settle for simply mouthing the words thank you when you can give thanks with turkey — with real depth and meaning behind it.  This is a thanks that settles in and satisfies the deepest reaches of a person’s being.
  • Humor: 
    • Psalm 126:2-3 –Without a good sense of humor, Thanksgiving and other family gatherings can fall apart quite quickly.  We give thanks when we don’t take our self too seriously.  God says that a cheerful, or merry, heart is good medicine!  I believe that there are boundaries that need to be kept when it comes to humor but laughter is not only good for the spirit, it is good for the body.  This is not only true of an individual but it applies to a family, or a church family, as well.  Don’t take every situation more seriously than it ought to be taken.  True joy can shine through brightly when you give thanks with humor.
  • Abundance:
    • 2 Peter 1:2, John 10:10 — Does anything symbolize the American Thanksgiving Day gathering any more than a table overflowing with every variety of food imaginable — a table of Abundance?  Jesus said He came to not only give us life, but to give us life abundantly!  Do you give thanks with abundance, or just enough to get by?  When we want to celebrate or to remember great things, we would likely never ask how little can I do and still look good.  No, we would examine our resources of every kind to determine how abundantly can I celebrate to make my joy known to all.  When we want to express deep-felt thankfulness it ought to be the same way — not what do I have to do but how much can I do.  Your generosity overflows when you give thanks with abundance.
  • Naps:
    • 1 John 3:18-20 — Ahhh . . . turkey, plenty of good humor, an abundance of food . . . I’m tired.  What good Thanksgiving Day gathering would be complete without a Nap?  We give thanks when we give Naps!  When we allow a person to relax and rest we communicate that we value both them and their time.  If every interaction with a person has you walking away knowing that they expect something from you it is not likely that you will feel a true appreciation regardless of any words of thanks.  Resting is a God-given concept and gift that we typically don’t use enough ourself and seldom think to give to others.  The sabbath concept, a day of rest, is connected by God to the fact that on the seventh day He rested from His work of creation.  We, and those around us, are more tolerable when we give thanks with naps.
  • Kindness:
    • Ephesians 4:31-32 — What family gathering is complete without that cousin that’s . . . well, he’s just different.  Regardless of his different looks, different political views, different lifestyle, different pie preference, or different whatever, he is part of the family so we give Kindness.  Extending kindness doesn’t mean that we agree or approve of everything about him — we may pray and work desperately to influence positive change in his life.  It does mean, however, that we acknowledge his value as a person and do our best to include him in the family celebration of the Thanksgiving Day gathering.  We all sin and find our self in need of God’s greatest kindness — the undeserved gift of forgiveness and salvation through the blood of His Son, Jesus!  It is this example that we must follow when we give thanks with kindness.
  • Sweets:
    • Proverbs 16:24 — Finally, the part that no one really needs but no Thanksgiving Day gathering is complete without — Sweets!  Take away the pie, the ice cream, the cookies, the fudge, the chocolate, the candies, and the other desserts and what do you have?  You have one very unhappy and disappointed family!  Sweets are those over-and-above extras in life that shout “thank you” in ways that little else can.  When we really want to give thanks, we adopt an “and then some” attitude.  We do what is expected and required . . . and then some.  We walk the extra mile.  We take the extra time.  We give the extra attention.  With our actions we say loudly, “you’re worth it!”.  Just as dessert completes the Thanksgiving Day gathering, our expressions of gratitude are completed when we give thanks with sweets.

So, how are you at giving THANKS?  I pray that as you gather with others this Thanksgiving day, and any other day, you would give “Turkey”, give Humor, give Abundance, give Naps, give Kindness, and give Sweets!

Living As ONE! (Sermon Audio)

Living As ONE! (Sermon Audio)

 

This is the audio from the October 6, 2019 sermon, “Living As ONE!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Here are the main points from the sermon:

Being one in Christ means we learn to live as:

  • Obedient:
    • 1 Corinthians 12:15-16, 2 Corinthians 10:5 —  Living as one with Christ and with one another will require a steadfast pursuit of an obedient life.  One key to bringing our actions into obedience to the will of God is learning to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.”  Our obedience to Christ will lead us to do the work that God uniquely created us to do.  Not only do we grow in obedience to Christ, our living as one should lead us to a greater obedience or submission to one another.  .
  • Necessary: 
    • 1 Corinthians 12:17-21, Ephesians 4:11-16 — Living as one with Christ will also require a recognition of how necessary we are as a part of His body.  Our culture seems to have trained us in the very bad habit of evaluating a person’s usefulness based on a standard that doesn’t take into account what each person was created to do.  When we come to understand that we are vital to the well-being of the body as a whole, we are more likely to live as one with those who bring different gifts and abilities to the body.
  • Enough:
    • 1 Corinthians 12:22-25, Romans 15:5-14 — Living as one with Christ will also require that we accept that we are enough just as Christ made us.  To be fair and honest, this isn’t an excuse to quit growing and improving.  God’s desire is that we would always give Him our best and be our best in our interactions with others.  What it does mean, however, is that when we offer ourselves fully to the work of the Lord, what we offer is enough.  We don’t have to become what someone else is or what they want us to be — in fact, doing so would often lessen the effectiveness of the body as it would be missing the part we were created to be!  

Choosing to live as ONE will always have to begin with me.  I must live as Obedient, Necessary, and Enough before I can expect that from others.  Because we are part of one body, the body of Christ, after applying these lessons to ourselves we then begin to see how each attribute benefits the body.  Our obedience prospers when it is built on the Word of God and grows out of submission to one another.  Our sense of belonging grows when we realize just how necessary we are and how equally necessary all of the other members of the body are.  Our value is measured accurately when we no longer have to measure up to the standards and expectations of another person whose task is different than ours.  When the body functions as one and each part of the body lives as Obedient, Necessary, and Enough, we will make great strides in being the disciples God has called us to be and the witnesses for Jesus that He needs us to be.

Praying For the Church: Witness (Session Four)

Praying For the Church: Witness (Session Four)

 

This is the audio of session four from the September 7, 2019 Praying For the Church Prayer Event held at Michiana Christian Camp.

This final session focused on praying for the church’s witness as we considered how to live in such a way that the truth of Jesus is evident in our life.

Praying For the Church: Worship (Session Three)

Praying For the Church: Worship (Session Three)

 

This is the audio of session three from the September 7, 2019 Praying For the Church Prayer Event held at Michiana Christian Camp.

This third session focused on praying for the church in worship as we considered how our personal worship of God each day ought to impact the worship that is expressed when we gather with other believers.

Praying For the Church: Work (Session Two)

Praying For the Church: Work (Session Two)

 

This is the audio of session two from the September 7, 2019 Praying For the Church Prayer Event held at Michiana Christian Camp.

This second session focused on praying for the church at work as we considered how our relationship with Jesus ought to make a difference in everything we do.

Praying For the Church: Wisdom (Session One)

Praying For the Church: Wisdom (Session One)

 

This is the audio of session one from the September 7, 2019 Praying For the Church Prayer Event held at Michiana Christian Camp.

This first session focused on praying for the church with the wisdom that comes from God’s Word, His Spirit, and a fear of the Lord.

WORK That Matters! (Sermon Audio)

WORK That Matters! (Sermon Audio)

 

This is the audio from the September 1, 2019 sermon, “WORK That Matters!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

 

Text: John 6:28-29

Here are the main points from the sermon:

When it comes to having work that matters, make sure these elements matter in your work:

  • Worship that matters:
    • Romans 12:1 — When you present your body to God as a living sacrifice, your work — the things you do with your body — ought to become a big part of the worship you offer God.  Seeing the work that you do as an element of worshiping God helps you to see  your work as something that matters to God.  Learning to have worship that matters within all of your daily activities will go a long way toward helping others see Jesus in the midst of your daily work.  In seeking to have work that matters, find ways in all circumstances to have worship that matters.
  • Occupation that matters: 
    • Colossians 3:23-24 — “Whatever you do.”  While there are some tasks done by mankind that I believe are sinful and therefore should not be done by Christians (or anyone else for that matter), God’s desire is that whatever you do would be done for Him.  In the Kingdom workforce, there is work “created in advance” for each one of us to do.  Just as we have been created uniquely, the work God has for us to do will rarely be identical to the work He has for someone else.  Having work that matters isn’t nearly as dependent on finding the right occupation as it is in working our occupation with the proper attitude.
  • Rest that matters:
    • Hebrews 4:9-11 — Having work that matters will require us to have rest that matters.  When God chose to rest after the six days of creation, it wasn’t so much that He was worn out and needed it but rather it was to serve as an example of our need for rest.  While there are times we must press on even when we’ve become weary, being able to stop and rest at appropriate intervals will generally improve our ability to work in such a way that we believe our work matters.  In our culture today, we often have a tendency to fill our “non-work” hours with so much activity that real rest is rather elusive.  When we learn to have rest that matters, I believe  we will grow in having work that matters.
  • Knowledge that matters:
    • 2 Timothy 2:15 — We live in a time that I think could well be described as information overload.  It seems we are constantly being bombarded with sound bites and headlines that contain talking points of information but very little actual knowledge.  When Paul instructs Timothy to “study to show yourself approved”, it is in the context of being a worker who won’t be ashamed.  While our culture prides itself on having an ever-increasing base of knowledge, any knowledge that does not have the Word of God as its foundation tend to make a prideful people rather than a humble worker.   When we spend time fully digesting and putting into practice the Word of God, we set our self up to have work that matters because we have knowledge that matters.

Having WORK that matters isn’t really so much about what you do as it is about how you do it and who you do it for.  I believe you will find that as you fill your life with worship, occupation, rest, and knowledge that matters, you will discover great growth in your understanding and practice of work that matters.