Greetings Church Family,
A belated Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. I hope that your day was filled with good food and good friendship. As I write this, I hear the sweet music of toddler voices, chattering excitedly as they run around at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Taking a couple of days to spend with family is a life-giving tonic for the busy soul. As I reflect on the last year, I recognize so many good things for which to be thankful. A great family. A wonderful church family. A roof. Enough food. And the list goes on. And yet I’m inspired by the words found in 1 Chronicles 16, “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.” It strikes me that over and over again in the Hebrew scriptures, we see thanks given to God, not because of what He has done, but because of who He is and how much He loves. So maybe it is appropriate that thanksgiving is the gateway into the Advent season, the time in which we are reminded so personally of God’s overwhelming love for us.
In the spirit thanksgiving, I want to say thank you to everyone who was involved in our Harvest dinner last Sunday evening. Jackee Duvall led an incredible crew that provided a lovely meal and welcoming environment. The Pathfinders served with grace and efficiency. At the end of the night, we raised more than $13,000 to fund our outreach activities in 2012. As many of you know there was a $15,000 matching grant provided for the outreach dinner. We still have a little ways to go to fully match that grant. If you missed the dinner, but still would like to support Sunnyside’s outreach ministries and help us reach the full match, you can put any offerings in a tithe envelope and write in “Faith Forum 2012” under Local Offerings. God has called us to serve our local community, sharing the gospel with our friends and neighbors. Your generous donations help to make that happen
This week, I was interested when a pastor friend of mine from Texas posted online a picture from their business meeting. I was instantly impressed for one of two reasons. Either, (1) they had a really good turn out and over half of the sanctuary was full, <or> (2) he was really good at framing the picture so that it appeared that over half the sanctuary was full. I like to think that it was actually really good attendance. I caught myself thinking, “I hope that we can have such good attendance at our business meeting.” On November 30 at 7 PM, we are holding a business meeting that will be the first step toward shaping the future of Sunnyside Church. We’ve been nearly 30 years in this location. After 30 years, things like carpet, glass, upholstery, paint and technology can use an overhaul. We’ve had committees working hard to lay plans, but the plans are no good unless the whole church family recognizes the need. This business meeting is your opportunity to weigh in. Do you think it’s time to start moving forward on a project such as this? Then we need to hear your opinion. Think it’s a bad idea? Come to the meeting to let your voice be heard. Will you be someone who shows up? When we have almost 400-500 people attending on any given Sabbath, would it be outrageous to think that we could get 150-200 at the business meeting? Maybe even more? Let’s make it happen. And in the mean time, please be praying for the facilities committee, the design committee and the finance committee as they continue to develop and think through plans.
Tomorrow is going to be a great day at Sunnyside. The church choir will be presenting a thanksgiving offering of music. I will be preaching a shorter message entitled, “Thanks for Nothing.” Oftentimes, this is a phrase that is uttered as a sarcastic or backhanded put down when someone doesn’t live up to our expectations. But is it possible that this could be an authentic statement of a thankful heart? I wonder if God calls us to have a thankful spirit, even if we can think of nothing for which to be thankful. In preparing for this message, my perspective has been challenged. I hope that you will be there on Sabbath to be challenged as well. I look forward to worshipping together with you tomorrow.
Since we are still in the spirit Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for? Post in the comments below!