Last night I had the privilege of joining ministers from Anderson, South Carolina, in a Thanksgiving Holiday Service. Complete with a community choir, a collection for Safe Harbor and Tabernacle of Faith, and an excellent sermon from the new guy in town (Austin Carty, Boulevard Baptist Church), we joined ranks to proclaim we are thankful for this day! Special thanks to Evangelist Doris Gray, Rebecca Powell, and Reverends James Clark, Josh Hunt, Austin Carty, Kitty Holtzclaw, and others I’m sure I failed to capture, for their efforts to eliminate barriers in our faith community. We are indeed all one.
We spent less than an hour worshipping together, but it was truly family. Grateful hearts met gracious smiles and warm embraces. I especially liked the Community Choir’s song, “Thank You.” Perfect.
Rev Carty’s sermon was excellent! I will never read Romans 10:8-13 the same again!
If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
Austin set the stage for a greater understanding of this famous verse by reminding us of the context from which these words were offered. At a time when Caesar was “lord” by decree, and Pax Ramano was the way of the Roman Empire, merely stating “Jesus is Lord” could have devasting results. That didn’t stop Paul from declaring the truth for any that desired true salvation! We may not be under the rule of an emperor but in this day and age of political correctness, I wonder how we respond to this edict:
Will you declare, ‘Jesus is Lord?’
Would you be so bold if it might land you in jail or being nailed to a cross?
Austin pointed back to Jeremiah 28 for contrast and underscored the importance of speaking the truth boldly and without reservation. Hananiah attempted to appease the people by proclaiming words that made them happy. Jeremiah offers a sober response, as usual, and Hananiah’s fate, well, let’s just say it doesn’t go well for H. The lesson learned is one I wish we all could hear. Thanks, Austin, for encouraging and challenging words.
We live in a world divided by race, religion, politics, and wealth, to name a few. For an hour, we were none of these things. I’m thankful for that time — a mere moment in the span of a full calendar.
Bless the Lord, O My Soul
I had the privilege of leading the gathering with a song I love by Matt Redmon. The verses were written for the occasion. How I long for the day when ten thousand upon ten thousand will sing with all our might, bless the Lord, O my soul!
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) – Matt Redmon
Thanksgiving 2019 verses – Dave Phillips
Bless the Lord O my soul O my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
We’re thankful Lord, for Your many blessings
Your love so pure and a heart of gold
Wherever we may go and where’er we see another
Ten thousand souls will sing Your praise once more.
We’ve gathered here in Your mighty presence
We feel Your love, yes, we know Your fame.
May all who hear Your praises sing this song unending.
Ten thousand times we lift Your holy name.
Chorus + tag
One final thought before hitting the “publish” button: what are you thankful for? Take time to write it down. Make a habit of reflecting on such things. I read an article this morning that provided scientific research that proves a posture of gratitude is good for mental health. (Link to Gratitude – Neuroscience)
I’ve asked several people in the last week as they waited in lines for food, “how’s it going?” Many of these weary souls simply smiled and said, “I’m blessed to be alive!” We should learn from those who appreciate the value is waking up each day. Father Gregory Boyle tells many stories in Tattoos on the Heart that intensify my gratitude. Chapter 7 begins with this quote from Leo Rock, his director of novices:
God created us–because He thought we’d enjoy it.
Father Boyle goes on to say,
We try to find a way, then, to hold our fingertips gently to the pulse of God. We watch as our hearts begin to beat as one with the One who delights in our being. Then what do we do? We exhale that same spirit of delight into the world and hope for poetry.
Jesus is Lord! Have a blessed day!