• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Youth & Families Intern
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
  • Daniel Brown
    Print & Digital Media Specialist
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Pastor’s Note

How Important Is Thanksgiving?

This month we will gather with families, consume tons of food, and overdose on football games, all in the context of giving thanks for the blessings of life.  Giving thanks is a great thing for us to do and is something well worth celebrating, but do we understand what being thankful means?  Being thankful is a part of having good manners, and it is an aspect of good biblical character.  That said, we must go even further.  Putting it negatively, if I am not thankful, I demonstrate the heart of an idolater.  From a positive angle, a thankful heart is a key sign of the presence of faith.

In Romans 1, Paul writes of how mankind, apart from Christ, is in open rebellion against their Creator.  A pivotal section in that description of fallen human nature is verses 21-23: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Man, in the ultimate expression of folly, exchanged rightful worship of the Creator for twisted worship of the creation with himself at the pinnacle. To get to that place, man refused to give God two critical things—honor and thanks. 

Why are these so critical?  Honor exalts God and puts Him in His rightful place as God and King.  Man’s rebellion attempted to usurp that high place God alone deserved.  Refusing to give thanks pertains to man’s thinking of himself.  Not only did he lower his image of God, but he also elevated himself.  You do not generally give thanks for what you earn or what you are entitled to.  You give thanks for what is not deserved or for assistance given in time of need.  You give thanks for mercy, not justice.  You give thanks for things you cannot provide for yourself. Therefore, only a contrite, dependent person who sees himself as needy and undeserving will be thankful.  A proud, self-sufficient person who demands his due will consider what he has as the produce of his own hands.  In that state being thankful is not required.  So, when we are not thankful, we demonstrate our natural twisted tendency to worship self rather than our gracious Creator.

What does this look like on a daily basis?  When I complain instead of giving thanks, even about something trivial like the weather, I am making statements that I don’t often realize.  I am saying that God made a mistake.  He should have known better than to allow it to be so hot!  If He had only listened to me.  I refuse to honor Him as God, and instead I worship myself.  Complaining also says that I am entitled to something better.  Ingratitude takes for granted the gracious gift of family, material possessions, and experiences, and says, whether consciously or not, that I am not needy.  I accomplished all of this.  I do not need a benefactor.  I am enough. 

Sadly, my life often reflects this idolatrous approach to life.  I need Thanksgiving Day to call me back to a right comprehension of who God is and who I am.  In that day I need to thank God, not just be generically thankful.  He alone can and will provide for all of my needs.  I also need to thank God not only for things I have but also for the mercy I have received in Christ.  In myself I am needy beyond my understanding, but in Christ I am given everything.  In Christ I receive the lavish grace of fulfilled justice for my sin.  In Christ I am being made new.  I am no one outside of Christ, but in Him I am all that I was made to be.  All that I can be thankful for, and hopefully I’ll be thankful for more than just one day of the year.