Thank you! Two simple words, yet combined they have great power. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. We all want others to acknowledge what we do. We don’t serve for the praise of man, but it is nice to be appreciated. Many people walk away from churches because they feel unappreciated.
Today, I want to express my appreciation to you. To every church which blessed me by allowing me to serve in staff I say thank you. I especially appreciate my early churches. You put up with me when I thought I knew everything. You helped mentor me and blessed my family. I am amazed as I reflect back to how much you had to tolerate as I was taking my firsts steps in ministry.
I am also overwhelmed with gratitude for LBC Mexia for allowing me to serve here for 17 years. When I became a pastor, I hoped I wouldn’t have to move much. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be able to stay at one church for nearly two decades! The typical tenure for pastors is 4 years. You have been amazing people. It is your hard work and sacrifice that keeps us moving forward. Thank you for supporting us through difficult times. Thank you for loving us with all our faults. I love you and am grateful to be your pastor.
This Thanksgiving, let’s take time to give thanks and show appreciate.
Last night I was teaching road safety to my Cub Scout den. We went over walking on the left so that you face oncoming traffic, crossing the street at crosswalks, looking both ways when crossing the street, etc. It struck me that there are a lot of hazards to consider when just walking in our neighborhood. Why do we spend the time discussing and practicing these things? Failure to follow safety rules can lead to injury and death.
It stirred me to think about our “other” walk. You know the one to which I’m referring. Our spiritual walk is often like an untrained child playing and running in the road with no thought about possible hazards. We often do what feels right at the moment, or what we see others doing. We are often too careless and haphazard in our walk with Christ.
Ephesians 5:15-16 HCSB says, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time,[a] because the days are evil.” We are advised to pay careful attention to our walk. We can’t afford to coast and drift through life. That way surely leads to dangers. We must be wise and walk with a purpose. That purpose is to glorify God. In all things, we must carefully choose our steps. What dangers lurk out there in the spiritual realm? The sudden oncoming heresies, those teachings, which may seem harmless but are hurtling toward us and can wreak havoc upon our faith. There also ditches to avoid. When we stray from the path the Lord has laid out for us, we can land in sin and error. In addition to all that we can bring on ourselves, Satan, our advisory, is a lion roaming around looking for easy prey. If we are careless, we could be his next victims
One day in my 8th grade science lab, a kid pulled the chair out from under another as he was in the process if sitting down. Naturally this caused him to hit the ground, and the room erupted in laughter. The wounded student jumped up and wanted to fight. The perpetrator said, “I was only joking!” And the other smiled and laughed. NOT! Saying it was a joke didn’t undo the hurt and diffuse the anger. As a teacher, I witnessed this phenomenon regularly. The details were different but the behavior was always the same. The excuse of “only joking” was never sufficient.
Proverbs says this, “Like a madman who throws flaming darts and deadly arrows, so is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking! ” (Proverbs 26:18-19 HCSB). Pretty strong language here. The point is we cannot undo the damage done by saying, “only joking”. The arrows and flaming darts have already wounded and destroyed. I love a good joke as much next as the next guy, but not at the expense of others. Once the damage is done, it leaves scars, we are supposed to speak words which build each other up and encourage each other. Deception dies not encourage anyone.
Don’t be a madman!