The Weekly Epistle 11/17/21

Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers each Sunday morning.  He always found something for which to be thankful.  One Sunday morning the weather was quite gloomy and rainy so one church member said to another just before service began, “Certainly the preacher won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on such a wretched day like this.”  Much to his surprise, however, Pastor Whyte began by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this.”  
Is your life characterized by thankfulness?  I am not talking about faking it or living in denial or even being thankful for the trial itself, or about tacking on “praise the Lord” at the end of each sentence.  But I am speaking to the reality of who we are in Christ, what we have been given by the hand of God, and what is ours because of our relationship with Him.  
Writer and speaker Jerry Bridges put it this way, “Thanksgiving is a normal result of a vital union with Christ, and a direct measure of the extent to which we are experiencing the reality of that union in our daily lives.”
It begs the question, “To what extent are you experiencing the reality of your vital union in Christ?”  Can we remain in Him and complain at the same time?  This isn’t about dismissing or even minimizing the challenges confronting you right now, but can you still find cause to praise Him?  
As C.S. Lewis so aptly put it, “people who praise most are those who enjoy life most.”  Are you enjoying life?  “But, pastor, if you only knew what I was going through you wouldn’t ask me that?  If you walked in my shoes, then you would see there isn’t much to enjoy right about now.”  
Trust me, I get that.  At the same time, my hope is to challenge you, and I speak to myself as well, to shift the focus to a God who is always good.  My mind goes to Eve in the garden who was surrounded by the good gifts from God’s hand, yet she fixated on the one tree that was off limits.  We must fight our tendency to fixate on what might be restricting us from enjoying God’s gifts and the Giver of those gifts.  
How often do you hear, “I do have a wonderful marriage, but…”?  The one tree.  “I am blessed with a good job, but…”  The one tree.  “God has given me this ability and talent, but…”  The one tree.  This is a wonderful church, but…the one tree.  What are you fixated on that draws your heart away from thankfulness and contentment?
I thank God for you!  I thank God for the awesome privilege of being a part of the EBC family, for your receiving of God’s Word each Sunday, for the ways you have loved on me and shown great concern for my wife especially in this time of her grieving the loss of her dad who is finally home!  Thanks for the crew that showed up to help clean out the convent.  Thanks for your faithful giving to this church.  Thanks for those who consistently pray for one another.  
I do hope you can make it to our prayer 30 tomorrow night from 7:00-7:30 PM inside the gym.  We will begin our time together in prayer tomorrow night giving thanks to God!  Hope to see you then, but if not, I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
With thanks, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

He Who Sits On A Fence
James 4:7-12

Link to This Sunday Worship Service


Operation Christmas Child

This Sunday and Monday are the last days to get your Operation Christmas Child boxes back.  If you have questions, Jay and Bette Moreau will be available to answer them.

Next Prayer 30

Prayer 30 will meet inside the gym tomorrow night from 7:00 to 7:30pm.  Plan to join us to give thanks and pray for EBC and the communities of the Lakes Region.

Save The Date

Christmas Extravaganza,  “Dinner and a Movie”, will be Friday, December 10th this year.  Watch for more details to come in the future.