Thanksgiving Day, USA
November 24, 2011
Deuteronomy 8:7-18; Psalm 65; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15; Luke 17:11-19
7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. 8 It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. 9 It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. 10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.
11 “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. 12 For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, 13 and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! 14 Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. 15 Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! 16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.
The lesson from today’s passage is that we shouldn’t forget. Notice verse 11, the Israelites are reminded that after entering the land that God was giving them that they shouldn’t forget their God. They are given a warning not to forget their God. I love verse 18, “Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant…”
Today, we remember and celebrate the good things that God has given to us. I am so thankful to have my family home for Thanksgiving and later we will be celebrated with more of our family. There are also so many of my friends and family who are scattered around the states that I am extremely thankful for. Blessings…and Happy Thanksgiving.
May the strength of God pilot us.
May the power of God preserve us.
May the wisdom of God instruct us.
May the hand of God protect us.
May the way of God direct us.
May the host of God guard us against the snares of the evil one and the temptation of this world.
May Christ be with us, Christ be before us, Christ be in us, Christ be over us.
May Your salvation, Lord, be always ours this day and evermore.
The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post.
L. Thomas Holdcroft
This was a special weekend. 2,876 posts ago, I wrote about our homecoming service. Today at Parkway we had our equivalent of homecoming. This past weekend, Parkway celebrated 90 years of ministry. In November of 1921, a small group of believers formed Emmanuel Pilgrim Holiness Church. In 1968, the Pilgrim Holiness Church would merge with the Wesleyan Methodist Church and our church became Emmanuel Wesleyan Church. In 1996, the church voted to change its name to Parkway Wesleyan Church in anticipation of moving to our current location on the Woodrow Wilson Parkway. So today we celebrated and it was an amazing celebration. I’ll get back to that in a moment.
We have been in a very inconsistent weather pattern of late. Sometimes it feels like early fall and sometimes almost like early winter. Today was beautiful. The last couple of days have started out brisk. Yesterday afternoon was cool and breezy. Overall the weather is not bad for the end of November.
Today, I reached a major weight goal – 210 pounds! I have now lost 55 pounds since August 2009. Saturday, I was also able to go out on a long run – 8 miles – and had a consistent 9:45 pace, which I was very pleased with. I have 75 miles in this month, which is twice as much mileage as I had last November. Hopefully I can keep this kind of mileage up throughout the winter. The new running clothing seems to help on those cold, brisk mornings.
Yesterday, we also picked up our daughter Rebecca at the Roanoke airport. She has come home for Thanksgiving and it is so good to have her home. Her husband will be joining us later this week as the family gathers together.
As I’ve already mentioned, we had an awesome, Spirit-filled service this morning. Our choir was amazing — what a great job they did as we sang “How Can I Keep from Singing,” “Written In Red,” and “When We All Get to Heaven.” We had several guest musical selections. All the music was great. I was humbled to have the opportunity to lead the musical worship for this celebration. We didn’t have our praise team this week, but the choir provided vocal support and backup. It was really cool to hear 15 voices from behind and then 180+ voices in the congregation — all singing heartily. It was amazing as our congregation sang “Mighty to Save” and later in the service, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” It was amazing to hear the the testimonies of God’s faithfulness. Pastor Barry preached a great message on the Passion of Parkway.
It has been a great day and a great weekend. This week we get ready to start the Advent season. I get to preach this coming week and we will celebrate communion as we remember the hope that we have because Jesus has come and that Jesus will come again in His Second Advent. Blessings…
Seize the Day!
November 20, 2011
Reign of Christ Sunday
Call to Worship – Choir
How Can I Keep from Singing
Welcome and Invocation
Songs of Worship
Sing to the King
Mighty to Save
Written In Red
Worship through Prayer
A Testimony of God’s Faithfulness
Worship through Testimony – Eleanor Bennington and Jim Ryder
Special Music Presentation – The Diggs Trio
Because He Lives
Worship through Testimony – Bill Hostetter and Ethelyn Kilmer
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Special Musical Presentation
When We All Get To Heaven
Worship Through Giving
Special Music Presentation
The Rick Webb Family
Worship Through God’s Word
What Now? The Passion of Parkway
Song of Commitment
To God Be the Glory
Reign of Christ – Proper 29 (34)
November 20, 2011
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 100; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46
11 “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. 12 I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. 13 I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. 14 Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice!
This is the final week of the church year. It is known as Reign of Christ Sunday. In some circles this is also known as Christ the King Sunday. This Sunday sets us up for flipping the calendar back to Advent. I love this passage for Sunday. It reminds us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd — that He cares for His people. It also reminds us that Christ is the King and that He will reign forever and in the process, justice will finally be restored.