Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

Philippians 4:6-7 — Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Family and Friends of Abiding Love Lutheran,

I know there has been a great amount of anxiety. I hope that this has led to active prayer lives among you. Do you hear in that verse above how prayer and peace are connected?

But in the middle of those verses, Paul adds that we pray “with thanksgiving”. In every situation, we always have a reason to give thanks. And so I wanted to share with you some positive news and invite you to give thanks with me today:

  1. I give thanks for the team of “callers” that have been contacting our members during this time of separation. This team have been the voices of our congregation, reaching out member to member, to share information and to hear how each household is doing. These callers will continue to serve through this time of self-distancing. What a blessing these volunteers are to our church family.
  2. I give thanks for an incredible technology team that has stepped up their efforts to make sure our congregation is providing spiritual encouragement through every online vehicle possible: website, facebook, email, text… There are many faces behind the scenes making sure that what we produce is quality sight and sound and easily accessible.
  3. I give thanks for the generous hearts who have made the extra effort and continued to provide offerings to the Lord. Gifts have poured in from many directions. Some special gifts have been given while others have continued to give their weekly offerings. We can rejoice that our offerings over the last six weeks have matched, and even slightly exceeded, our giving over the same time last year. Even in a time when we can’t meet face to face, God has moved your hearts to support the gospel ministry. I am so encouraged and thankful.
  4. I give thanks for our Early Childhood Ministry team. Led by Jessica Roberts, they continue to show initiative in getting tasks done and ministering to our early childhood families. I was so encouraged not long ago when I watched preschool families pulling into our parking lot and our preschool staff sending home Bible study materials. Many of the families requested these materials and Jessica is now teaching a Bible lesson online each week.
  5. I give thanks for how God is giving us opportunities to spread the gospel in new and innovative ways. I have been amazed to see how our efforts at Bible study and worship have reached an audience we have never reached before. This may never lead to congregational growth, but it is leading to the Spirit growing God’s Church, which is all that matters.
  6. I give thanks for my family. For a wonderful wife and some great kids who have been a smile to my day each day and who have been so willing to be a part of sharing the Word.
  7. I give thanks for each note, text, post or email that I have received from recently that has been an encouragement to my faith. And I give thanks for how I have seen that same Christian love expressed between others.
  8. Most of all, I give thanks that Christ is risen and God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Does this mean there is nothing to request from God? Of course there is. And you will see a list of prayers and notes on this email. But we pray with thanksgiving, because even now God is blessing us.

Peace in Jesus,
Pastor Gensmer

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