On September 16 of last year, Threshold Church celebrated its 10th anniversary. As a part of that worship celebration, I compiled and read aloud a list of 100 things for which I was – and am – personally thankful. In light of this morning’s talk, I am re-printing it in hopes that we might all learn to count and name our blessings more often.
100 THINGS FOR WHICH I AM THANKFUL
I am thankful to God for the many gifts we have received from Him over the past ten years…
for His grace,
and His sense of humor;
for his power,
and healing touch in the lives of so many.
And I am thankful to Him in advance…
for the building we will hopefully soon occupy, that will allow us to become more fully who we already are,
for the hundred or maybe thousands more lives we will impact in the coming years,
and for the growth within that most if not all of us have yet to experience.
I am thankful for
all who are or have been a part of this body,
especially for those who have worshiped here for the entire past ten years…
I am thankful for our ten-year staff members, who have in every way been my partners and my friends:
and for newer but no less wonderful staff…
and for former staff who also brought special gifts…
I am thankful for seminary interns we have mentored,
and now Matt
I am thankful for all who serve one another on Sunday mornings;
who hold babies
and change diapers
and teach children;
who make coffee
and say good morning;
who set up chairs
and plug in cables
and aim lights;
and create a one-of-a-kind worship environment;
who play instruments
and sing as they lead us in worship
and those who pray for us all every sunday before we even enter this room.
I am thankful for the people of this church
who care for others before themselves,
who not only allow creative worship, but love it,
who give their lives away to people across the street
and across the globe
who meet regularly in cells to learn and grow and pray for one another,
and visit one another when they are sick or hurting.
I am thankful for Forest HIll Church who launched us
and the Siskey YMCA who hosts us,
for David Chadwick’s vision ten years ago
and for Kevin Dean’s partnership ever since.
I am thankful for our local partners in ministry who are extensions of who we are:
for Common Heart, through whom we feed the hungry,
for Christ our Shepherd, through whom we reach single-parent kids,
for Room in the Inn, through whom we house homeless men,
for Habitat for Humanity, with whom we have brought new life to needy homeowners,
for Operation Christmas Child, through whom we share the gospel with thousands of children around the world.
And I am thankful for missionary partners, through whom we respond obediently to the Lord’s command to make disciples everywhere:
for Dominic and Hillary Rivera in France,
for Jon and Kristi Nykamp in Ethiopia,
for Rick and Judith Grossman,
and Jeffrey and Sidey Prieto in Costa Rica,
for Gerry and Barb Steba in Waxhaw, who provide missionary assistance to other worldwide.
I am thankful for our elders, fellow shepherds, who lead beside me, tending the flock over which God has made them an overseer:
I am thankful for the amazing ways God has allowed us to reach others to His glory, in the name of Jesus, His Son:
for the thousands of shoeboxes that have been lovingly packed and sent to children in every corner of the globe,
for the thousands of pounds of food that have been collected in local neighborhoods to feed people less than 20 miles away,
for the hundreds of children and youth in Costa Rica who have heard the gospel directly from our people who willingly and lovingly travelled there,
and for the dozens of families in the deep poverty of Appalachia whose homes and lives have been improved by dozens of our people who have labored in those hills.
I am thankful for Threshold servants…
who show up to set up on fifth Sundays,
who serve children even when it isn’t their week,
or greet when they aren’t even on that team;
who sit down with strangers in coffee shops to listen to their troubles,
who sleep outdoors and cook for kids on youth retreats,
who blow up air mattresses and cook hamburgers and sleep on the Siskey floor with homeless people,
who meet in the chapel every single Sunday at 8:45 am and carry us to Jesus on their knees!
I am thankful for Threshold leaders,
who increase our knowledge and love of God by leading Cells,
who direct our energies for changing lives by leading Serve projects and trips,
who understand that they are leaders in the lives of their own children at home first.
I am thankful for the salvation and life-change that has occurred in so many of us over the years…
for the lives given to Jesus for eternity,
for the marriages that have been healed,
for the kids who have “gotten it” for the first time,
and the millions of tears that have been shed in this room as God’s Holy Spirit has taken up fuller residence in so many hearts.
I am thankful for the milestone moments of faith in which I have been amazingly privileged to share…
the first communions,
and the funerals.
I am thankful for my family…
for Jake, my son, who while quiet on the outside, has a burning desire within to defend the faith and see people who do not know Christ learn to love him,
for Ashley, my daughter, who has the biggest heart of nearly anyone I know, and refuses to let anyone be discounted,
and for my wife, Michelle, whose prayers have sustained me in my work for nearly 25 years; and whose loving arms often feel like the only safe place on earth.