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Giving Thanks

2016 has been wild. Things have happened in our country which have divided us and untied us. We’ve seen protests, riots, and mass shootings. We’ve experienced one of the most divisive elections in history, an election that left half the country cheering and the other half tearing up. Giving thanks is hard. Do we even have anything left to be thankful for this year?

Yes, of course we do.

God is still good, and He’s still in charge. We live in a great country at a great time with amazing people. Even though we seem divided, we all want the same thing. We all want peace, love, hope, and joy. Everything we desire in our hearts is found in the heart of God revealed in Christ. Everything we need in life is found in the life giving power of Christ’s Spirit within us.

Churches have a special role in the future of this nation. I visit many churches. A few days ago I visited a church leadership meeting. As I looked around the table, I saw men and women of all ages and nationalities busy with Kingdom business. It was beautiful.  They they were thoughtfully and prayerfully considering church business. In a time when the media portrays our nation as hopelessly divided, the Church proves that Christ is the hope of the world.

Let’s be thankful that God has uniquely positioned the church to demonstrate the reality of living in community. The church must be the place of healing and restoration for the nations. Every tribe and every tongue will one day confess Jesus as Lord so we should start today. The church is a place where people gather together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and engage themselves in His Kingdom work. From the beginning, the church has been a place where people found grace no matter their race, income, or gender. (Gal 3:28) The church is the place where God’s love and mercy are readily available to all in Christ.

Here are a few things to remember as we enter the holiday season.

1) Jesus’ love never fails even when we do.
2) Jesus is in charge even when we feel like we’ve lost control.
3) Jesus loves everyone no matter who they voted for or didn’t vote for this in this election
4) Jesus loved us when we were unlovable.
5) Jesus forgives us when we mess up.
6) Jesus is at work in His church to fulfill His purposes.
7) Jesus has better things for us than we can hope or imagine.

In this spirit, let’s make the most of this Thanksgiving season. Let’s invite those who don’t think like us and don’t look like us to our tables. Let’s move past our differences as we remember that we all are saved by the same grace. Let’s look past the colors of our skin and remember the color of the blood that provides our salvation. Let’s look past our own hurt to the One who suffered for us all.

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