5 Reasons I am Thankful for You

Grace Community Church family,

I am so thankful for you.  Here’s why:

  • I am thankful for your passion for the Gospel.  More than 150 of you volunteered many hours to share the Gospel with kids during Kids Camp. Together we trekked into 5 different communities in our county, played with their kids, fed them and taught them about Jesus. We hosted sports and arts camps for 180 kids!  In just a couple of weeks, we’ll head to 200 homes Christmas caroling with an invitation for them to join us for Christmas worship.
  • I am thankful for your compassionate hearts.  You’ve given away 25,000 pounds of food this year. You’ve risen to the occasion to help families in crisis. You’ve given thousands of dollars to help people keep their power on and heat their homes. You’ve provided backpacks for local kids and provided more than 2,000 desserts for McDowell County’s senior citizens.
  • I am thankful for your hunger for God’s Word.  Each week you show up hungry to hear from God’s Word. This year’s sermons (by all of our preachers at Grace) have been downloaded thousands of times. Your appetite for God’s Word causes us to get “in the kitchen” every week and work hard to prepare fresh recipes from God’s Word.
  • I am thankful for your generosity.  You’ve given so much time. Volunteers work in the Food Pantry every week, equip young moms every month, park cars every Sunday, build a phenomenal set for Kids Camp, teach preschoolers and children 52 weeks a year, and tutor children at CHAMPS each week.  You’ve given so much money…to people in need, to people on mission and to Grace’s First2000 Days building project.
  • I am thankful for your empathy.  You have rejoiced with those who rejoice and wept with those who weep. Never in the life of Grace have we cried so many tears for so many people. Every diagnosis and death has been met with open arms and praying knees.

I love you.  It is an honor to be your pastor.

Happy Thanksgiving.

1 out of 10

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)

This isn’t intended to sound crass, but the 10 lepers were not on Jesus’ itinerary. They happened to be on his way to Jerusalem. Of course we know that no one happens to be on Jesus’ agenda–He does everything on purpose. Theirs was a desperate plight. They had no hope of healing, no promise of restoration, no chance of relationships. Ostracized, they were confined to being outside the city gates. Their calling card was “unclean.” This day they cried to Jesus for mercy…and he responded. And as they went they were cleansed.

Then one of them. Only one. Ten were set free from a life of condemnation and shame. Only one said “thank you.” Ten were liberated from social isolation. Only one fell at Jesus’ feet. Ten were healed. Only one praised God. Only one. Jesus noticed.

“Were not ten cleansed?”

Yes!

“Where are the nine?”

Who knows?

Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”

Yes, that’s right.  And he’s a Samaritan.  Samaritans were Israel’s outcasts. This leper turned worshiper was an outcast because he was a Samaritan. He was an outcast because he was a leper. Hopeless was his middle name. Rejection was his constant companion. Despair was his roommate.

And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

1 out of 10.

Will you be among the 9 this Thanksgiving? Or will you be the one who remembers your life before Christ and returns to give him thanks?

Be the 1.