Thanksgiving is always a little convicting for me. But in a really good way. When I slow down and reflect, I realize just how much I have to be thankful for in life. My wife, my kids, our families. Health. Friends. God’s provision in our lives. A job that I love in a city that I love. So, how in the world do I spend so much of the rest of the year grumbling and complaining? It seems hard to believe. And then I add in the blessing of knowing Jesus, the freedom of being forgiven, the certainty of heaven and my ingratitude becomes downright wickedness.
Ingratitude is the fruit of pride – I’ve earned what I have. It’s the fruit of envy – I think I deserve more. It’s the fruit of a heart that isn’t abiding in Jesus – if God loved me, He would be doing more for me. It’s the fruit of a soul that isn’t a rest – as Bono would sing, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. And it’s the fruit of not pausing to say thank you.
It’s the last one that I want to deal with today.
When I think about Restoration City, I’m overwhelmed by how much I have to be grateful for this year. I genuinely love (and like!) our staff, elder and leadership teams. God has done things for and through us as a church in the last 12 months that are extraordinary. And I can go on and on. But what’s really on my mind today is the extraordinary kindness so many of you have shown Laura and I in the last month since Emma was born.
In the last four weeks, we’ve had friends drop off meals, take our boys to the park, clean our house, fold laundry, take our boys to church, send notes, drop off incredibly thoughtful gifts for Laura and send a constant flow of encouraging text messages. I can’t tell you the number of times Laura and I have said, “I can’t imagine having a baby outside of the local church.” I’m honestly not sure how new parents do it without a strong community around them.
Thank you, Restoration City.
You are such a gift to me and my family. When Laura and I were dreaming about planting a church, we were dreaming about a community that would love and serve one another the way you have loved and served us this past month. We dreamed of a community that would make Jesus visible by the way we cared for one another. I know we still have a long way to go but the glimpses we’ve seen this past month have been even more beautiful than we imagined.
I’m praying 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 for us as a church, “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more” It’s a gift to be a part of what God is doing in this little expression of His church. He’s teaching us to love one another. Let’s be bold enough to ask Him for the grace to do it “more and more.” Who wouldn’t want to be part of a community that excels at loving one another?
I love you, Restoration City, and am so grateful to have you in my life and for the privilege of being in yours.