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Archive for the ‘giving thanks’ Category

Going into the weeklong campaign of Giving Thanks by Giving Back, I handed it over to God and trusted God to lead me in a new manner of approach and address within the scope of ministry. COVID-19 did its part by giving me some restrictions that I had imagined would have been lifted or lessened to a degree by then, but I had to maintain my trust in God going into this. For anyone seeking to anything B.I.G. in the name of God, always remember to remain Bold In Grace (B.I.G.) as I learned from Hebrews 4:16.

Giving Thanks by Giving Back incorporated a formula that helped shape the campaign and make for an ease of communications and social media sharing. We used daily themes related gratefulness, expressions of thanksgiving, leaning heavily on the Book of Psalms, and items in 3 major categories. We placed these into a calendar which we made available for download online.

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks gave people an opportunity to reflect on God’s goodness and to take time to spend time with God. Personally, I thought that this was a key component for setting the tone alongside the daily theme. Our personal time with God sets up our worship and works. Giving thanks gave an open opportunity to settle into a a mode where we might search our own hearts or look into the Scriptures for where we truly need to acknowledge and appreciate God for His everlasting love towards us.

Our campaign promotion was primarily through social media

Giving Back

We spent some time with a focus on giving back in various ways. We even looked at why and how to give back. We provided a lot of support here, providing examples and training videos on conducting good works. I sought out a lot of references to other bloggers and authors of the faith to lend support and examples linked throughout the series of daily posts I have archived on this blog during this past week.

During this week and beyond I had the privilege of sharing the campaign components with Christ Temple of San Diego and Pastor John Powell. I was also able to join in service with my beloved friend Pastor Terry W. Brooks and the Bayview Church as they served over 700 meals to local families with the support of Saddleback Church. Additionally, I was able to connect with Dr. Foley Parker and the Lamb of God Food Bank to assist in unloading food for needy families in North County San Diego. These are just examples of some of what we got to get into with this campaign in term of giving back.

An Endearing Example of Gratefulness

An example of gratefulness on full display in a modern context would Amy Frohnmayer Winn. I read her story a few years back in Runners World Magazine. Amy suffered from the debilitating effects of Fanconi anemia (FA) and it plagued her with a high risk of cancer and no cure due to what is considered a recessive-gene disorder. Despite all of that going on with her medically, Amy relished life and its every moment with her husband and her family, especially while she was able to continue running. In essence, Amy’s story taught me a few things about gratefulness.

First, I learned that gratefulness comes out through your composure despite your condition. Let your countenance show that you appreciate life, even the little things that will vanish into thin air when you are gone. Secondly, I learned that gratefulness comes out through your communication despite your condition. What we say oftentimes does not match what we show on our face. Let your words and writing express more gratitude than grief as you deal with life and any condition that you might face. Finally, I learned that your gratefulness will come out through your contentment despite your condition. Paul speaks of this eloquently in the epistles when he wrote: Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content (Philippians 4:11). Our gratefulness does not have to be hidden. It should not be hidden. It should be shown to others, encouraging and inspiring them to hold fast throughout the storms of life embracing more than enduring through it all.

Thank you again to any and all who were involved and supportive of the campaign. We will continue going forward in faith with more to come in the coming month.

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1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.2 Give thanks to the God of gods, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness is everlasting

Psalm 136:1-3 (NASB)

Daily Theme

Thank God for His everlasting and enduring love.

Give Thanks

Read Psalm 136 & meditate on God’s love, mercy, and lovingkindness. Spend some time reflecting on how God spoke with you through His Spirit to keep you grounded when you wanted to lose it or to help you remain steadfast when you felt like it was just all too much to handle. Think on it and thank God for where His love, mercy, and lovingkindness helped you endure and embrace your own challenges in your life.

For His lovingkindness is everlasting repeats over and over again in Psalm 136. It is equivalent to the modern popular music’s hook. But it creates a sense of assurance for the Bible reader. It makes its case crystal clear to the newly enlightened person of the faith. Read the blog of the Psalmist and see it in the shared poems and other expressions. It simply helps us to know that God’s love is here to stay and that this very same love is available to us all as we accept Him as Lord and Savior in our lives.

Give Back

Praise the Lord & invite others to join you in worship. Go beyond just a shared worship experience with others from within your congregation. Go to someone and ask them will they join you for worship today.

What that looks like might be different where you are. You might be able to attend worship in the sanctuary or outdoors. You might be in an area that restricts worship due to curfews and health regulations during this period of increased COVID-19 cases. Whether it be in-person or online, invite someone to join you and share in the worship experience together.

Go Beyond the Norm

Take things up a notch and invite someone to church, but also go beyond that. Pick up them for church services or invite an elderly person to brunch. You might be offering them the only interaction that they will get with another person all week. Do not neglect the fact that a small task or gesture on your end can carry so much meaning to someone else. As Judy Dykstra-Brown lays it out in her blog post, our actions prove our beliefs. Let your actions speak volumes about your faith.

This has been an adventurous journey this week. Look back at all that has transpired and what you have been able to do. Thank God for the opportunity to provide a blessing to someone else. Thank Him for equipping and endowing you with what you needed in order to bless someone else. Continue to look for those opportunities to show compassion and the love of Christ through your service and good works just like it is said in Drawing Closer to Christ and Lisconnect. Even if the other person does not take you up on your offer, you have been obedient to the leading of the Spirit and what God has called you to do.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

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1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2 (NASB)

Daily Theme

Thank God for safety & shelter.

Giving Thanks

Read Psalm 121 in its entirety. Think about those times when you might have been down and out, when you were not at your best or on top of your game. Reflect on how God reclaimed you and restored you. Think back on how it felt to know His presence and to receive His provision, those times when you knew that you would not have made it if it had not been for His protection.

Thank God for His help during your hard times. Thank Him for everything that He provided to you. Thank Him for everything that He protected you from during those times. Take a moment and thank Him for all of the grace and mercy that He showered upon you. Let Him know how much that it meant to you to have His hedge of protection in your time of need.

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Giving Back

Support & shop small businesses today. Whether it be at a local farmers market or through a small business website for online shopping. Help end the effects of coronavirus on the small and minority business owners that have been able to keep things together. Black business owners need help, women-owned businesses need help. Veteran-owned and operated businesses are in need of help. Do what you can and make Small Business Saturday a staple as we shop small and buy local.

Go Beyond the Norm

Deliver leftovers to a needy family within your church or community. If you have leftover turkey and trimmings, you might be in a position to help somebody else out and offer them something that you might be looking to toss out come Sunday. Ask your pastor or a church elder. Check with the principal or counselor at your child’s school. Look into it and see who might be willing to accept some care packages of homemade cooking, especially if it is enough to feed a family or two.

#GivingThanks #GivingBack

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You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

– Psalms 145:16

Daily Theme

Thank God as your provider for all your needs.

God’s name Jehovah Jireh means “God the Provider.” “It’s the name given by Abraham to the place where he had sacrificed a ram provided by God, instead of his son Isaac ( Genesis 22:14 ). The meaning plainly is that the Lord sees and provides for the necessities of His servants,” according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Giving Thanks

The Book of Psalms has plenty examples of thanksgiving within its pages upon pages of praise to the Lord. Read Psalm 145:16 & thank God for meeting your needs day by day. Truth2Freedom’s blog expresses it through a list of passages with thanksgiving and gratefulness, while Period Pastor Pad has been reflecting on the Book of Psalms since Lent of 2020 amid church closure due to the pandemic.

This season has taken many names and labels but I believe that we must watch and guard ourselves against what Daily Disciple called ” a season of discontentment.” Aside from being Black Friday, you know that there are daily necessities that God meets for you. Take a moment to thank God for the daily needs He provides for you. Thank God for His provisions that make your life smoother and easier. Thank God for all that He has done on your behalf. As CFoster20 simply put it in a recent post from earlier in November: Let’s be grateful.

Giving Back

Instead of buying items for your Christmas list, donate clothing or food. Give away old clothing that fills your closets that you will never wear again or better yet fit again. Give away canned goods and other nonperishable items to food drives or food banks in order to address hunger and food insecurity. Give back to help others today as a sign of your gratefulness for God’s provision for you and your family. Try to match God with your giving back. After all, the song says that you can’t beat God giving.

Go Beyond the Norm

Provide clothing or food directly to people on the street in your community. Meet people at the point of their need and embrace the opportunity to share with them. Take advantage of an extra day off if you have it and enter the streets with bundles of blankets and jackets, even socks, to share with people on the street and simply be a blessing to someone else today.

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Reflect on Thanksgiving as a holiday. Think on how you spent the time you had on Thanksgiving. Did you do a virtual turkey trot with family and friends? Did you serve others on that day? Did you reflect on what and who you are thankful for in your life? Look back and let yourself feel free to make the most of the days remaining if you feel like you might have missed the mark.

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Daily Theme

Thank God for family & friends, even community.

Giving Thanks

Message each family member your gratitude for them. If you have a large family, consider doing a video message of thanksgiving. You can even add a message via Facebook Messenger or Instagram Direct Message. The point is to share your gratefulness with as many family members as possible.

Giving Back

Model an attitude of gratitude. Show others the way by providing a grateful example, especially as you share a scrumptious meal together. Be sure to thank and acknowledge those who cooked and brought dishes, even the ones who just showed up with those King’s Hawaiian rolls. Just be sure to show yourself an example of gratitude. In case you forget somebody, make sure to circle back and talk to them one on one about how much you appreciate them.

Go Beyond the Norm

Message your local officials or church leaders with your gratitude for them. Give them an encouraging message of what they mean to you and your community. Take the time to send them a message, whether it be a simple tweet with the leader tagged on it or post to Facebook or Instagram with a photo or inspiring visual that you share with a message of gratitude for their service.

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Tune in to Live @ Lunch Bible Study today at 10 AM

Daily Theme

Thank God for your support system & encouragement.

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. – Hebrews 3:13

Giving Thanks

Right now reveals just how crazy things seem to get day by day. COVID-19 and quarantines or lockdowns are a reality for the holidays. People are bracing for a day of family tradition with limited numbers and loads of restrictions. It’s truly driving some folks COVID crazy. The Devotional Guy posts to what he calls the COVID-19 Devotionals. Think about those who truly serve as a support system to you and who encourages you when you need it. Be thankful for that system and those individuals. Write a list of them. Read their names aloud as you remember them in your prayers. Keep them showered with prayers for strength and endurance, praising God for how much they mean to you. Never forget how we are called to support one another with encouragement day after day.

Giving Back

Return the favor by supporting someone else. It could be one of your friends or co-workers. It might be one of the elders or deacons at your church, even one of the Bible teachers or youth counselors. Support them with words of encouragement. Express it in a variety of different ways. Share an e-card via email. Drop a note in their social media inbox. Tag them in a post on Facebook or Instagram. Include words of encouragement, a Bible verse or just a thank you for what they mean to you. What’s important is that you take the time to share it with that person.

Go Beyond the Norm

Now consider this and see if it you can take it on today. Think about someone who has not been there for you. Offer them support & encourage them. Step up and encourage them today. Share words that might stimulate them to make moves today or just simply get through another tough and demanding day.

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DAILY THEME: Thank God for sharing His Word with us

Giving Thanks

Read Psalm 119 throughout your day It is a psalm that has the Word of God, His laws, His precepts, and His statutes at its core. It was used as encouragement by the Christian Fiction Girl Blog. A Child Shall Lead Them stressed the importance of teaching the Word with Psalm 119:11.

Psalm 119 consistently and repeatedly directs the reader to the Word of God. Use it for your morning devotional reading. Dive into it during your lunch breaks. Take it via audio Bible resources like Faith Comes by Hearing or YouVersion on your drive home from work today. Find a way to take in His Word and let it stick.

Giving Back

Share the Word with someone today.
Don’t hold back. Just share it.
Use whatever you have as a means of sharing the Word.
Go on TikTok or IG Stories and read a verse or two.
Take to Facebook Live or Instagram Live and offer up your favorite verse.
Tweet your favorite words from the Scriptures with a link to the full chapter on sites like Biblegateway or Studylight.
Go Beyond the Norm:
Inbox or DM someone with your favorite verse and what it means to you. Make it a personal appeal to share the Word with someone. Let it be a direct share between you and that one person. And make yourself available for the possibility of the person asking questions of you. You never know how much it might settle on someone’s heart and make their day today.
Check out more with our training download available online.

Just in Case

The Spirit might have pricked your heart and motivated you to do something. But that also might present you with another dilemma. You might not have planned anything for this season or this week of good works.

Don’t sweat it too much. You can still do something rather than give up and do nothing. You can actually partner with another church or local service agency. Or, you can still do your own thing by piggy-backing on another group’s project or event like a food giveaway.

Be sure to download the Partner or Piggyback Tip Sheet for more information on how to make that happen this week.

#GivngThanks #GivingBack

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DAILY THEME: Thank God for His blessings
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever
– Psalm 118:1

Take a moment today and give thanks to God for His enduring mercy and His everlasting goodness. Say it in a prayer. Read the psalm out loud. Say it out loud when you thank Him. Say it with your full heart.

Giving Thanks

Meditate on the many ways God has blessed you. Read Psalm 103:2. It simply says: Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

Giving Back

Be a blessing to someone else today. Go out of your way to bless somebody at their point of need. Whether it be someone in need of a listening ear or a hand with getting groceries into the house, be that blessing for someone else today. It may call for you to go above and beyond, even out of your way, but it might make a difference and make an impact.

Go Beyond the Norm

Make today the day where you make a move to make a difference in someone else’s day. Make it happen and make it better for that other person. Go so far as to post thankful sticky notes throughout your office or share a simple message on someone’s social media feed and timeline.

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Today we start with Sunday as the kickoff for our Fall 2020 seasonal campaign Giving Thanks by Giving Back. It is so appropriate to do so.

Why?

Sunday represents the day when most faithful Christians make their way down the aisle and into the pews to hear a stirring medley of hymns and spiritual songs and a soul-stirring sermon. That was at least the case before COVID-19 hit us in the spring of this year. Ever since we have been under the attack of the coronavirus, we have managed to worship differently. The CDC and county health officials have become additional sources of guidance for how churches operate with the designation that terms them as non-essential businesses within their communities. Regulated to outdoor or online worship services, depending on the locale, the church has taken a hit due to coronavirus.

Add the tension and division over the recent election and a summer full of protests regarding Black lives Matter, police reform, anti-masking, and Trump rallies and parades to the disheartening and discouraging effects of coronavirus with evangelical Christians split on nearly each and every item listed and you have the makings for the church in need of a come to Jesus meeting of its own. It’s high time that the people of God turned their attention to the very things that God called them to proclaim and produce rather than proliferate and pontificate rhetorical rants about ballot counting, turning the red states blue, and election fraud conspiracies.

It’s time that we as the people of God get back to God’s business. I love what C. H. Spurgeon said with such simplicity: “The business of the church is salvation. . .Our main business is winning souls.” John Wesley similarly surmised, saying: “You have one business on earth- save souls.”

So let’s get to it without wasting any time. Let’s take our day of worship and kick things into gear for a week of works.

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Think about it from a different perspective. This is the prime opportunity for us as believers to gather in His name, and then take all that has inspired and edified us from that gathering to go out into the world and spread goodwill through good works. We could turn the world upside down while altering the perception of Christians as hate mongers who want to protect Second Amendment right to bear arms a little bit more than the pro-life sentiment of anti-abortion. Our faith is so much more than modern worldviews and social-political confrontations. It is on us to show the world the core of our faith in action as we serve, providing a living breathing example of good works before their very eyes.

Let today serve as a day where we enlighten the world and encourage the world as we let our light shine. Let today start new beginnings of new ministries designed to serve more of the “least of these” while providing an open opportunity for us to “look after orphans and widows in their distress.” Make today the day where you make a difference and make an impact.

Start today by giving thanks by giving back.

#GivingThanks #GivingBack

Learn More About the Campaign

NOTE: A big thank you to bloggers like Dan Zimmerman, The Simple Preacher’s Blog and other folks whose blogs I have linked here. Your posts say so much more on the subjects than I could convey on my own, so I appreciate your work and efforts to communicate with the world at large on the things at hand and on your heart and mind.

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I had the pleasure of presenting our Fall 2020 campaign Giving Thanks by Giving Back yesterday. The livestream was an opportunity for me to present and pray over the project with an open and earnest heart for the work ahead. As always with our Life Path Multimedia livestreams, the recording remains available via YouTube. A copy of the presentation is available for download online.

Good works are part of our calling as believers. StopAndPrayTV speaks on being fruitful in our good works, every single one of them. The reference to Colossians 1:10 centers the post and makes for a compelling read. I truly love how Kim Petitt lays it out there and explains good works. Naturally, Being Benedictine would reference Saint Benedict as it explores the topic of good works. I guess part of my take on it is aligned with the combined stances and approaches to good works, summing up my views by quoting NT verses from Titus 3:14 to Ephesians 2:8-10. I believe good works are the fruit of our faith, not the root of our faith. (One of my preacher friend’s will steal that and use it, and it’s okay.)

Part of Giving Thanks by Giving Back was covered in the previous post, but yesterday’s training session allowed for me to delve into finer elements of the campaign. This post gives you some of the highlights from yesterday’s session.

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The Campaign Includes Guidance

What we presented is designed to serves as a guide for generating ideas and stimulating conversations around how to give thanks by giving back within your local congregation and community. It is by no means designed to serve as the only source material or resource for doing good works or charitable service. Every congregation and community is unique, so it would behoove anyone seeking to do something with this campaign to identify local issues and priorities that fit with the theme of the campaign as they plan and strategize any kind of project or event.

You Have to Keep COVID-19 in Consideration

The numbers don’t lie. There is a major upswing in COVID-19 deaths and case throughout the United States. In California, we have many counties shifting into the most restrictive tier due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. It is difficult to plan and organize any project or event without considering the implications of COVID-19 on those plans.

Some advice on how to handle COVID-19 restrictions and precautions comes from the CDC. As many of us have learned over these past months, be sure to check with your local public health officials for restrictions and guidance related to large gatherings and events. Some of the most basic precautions such as face coverings, social distancing, and hand washing have been touted to help limit the spread. Always check and keep updated and abreast of the latest restrictions and precautions as you plan and organize.

Develop Connections within Your Community

Whether it is working with the local food bank or another church in its efforts to distribute turkeys, make connections that provide a win-win for your group or church as well as whoever you might partner with to make things happen. Do not neglect the idea of serving as resource to your congregation and community by providing updated information for clothing drives, food distributions, turkey giveaways, and special events happening within and around your community. Make connections that help make a difference and make an impact.

I like how another blog puts it out there with Psalm 100 and “Daily Service: Give Thanks.” It ought to become more natural for us to serve and give thanks. It should become part of our Christian DNA. Similarly, another blogger references Simon Sinek when speaking on a lifetime of service. No matter how you see it, giving back a way that we can show our gratitude and our own way of giving thanks that touches someone else’s life.

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