21st Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/October 30, 2019
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that I hope you were able to be with us in worship on Sunday. We concluded our 10-week worship series, The Spirited Life, with our final fruit of the Holy Spirit…generosity. You can watch here. We also listened to glorious handbells from adults and children, we baptized a beautiful child (Ella Jane Davis), and we were wildly inspired by a GodStory. Margie Vanasek is one of God’s very finest, with an amazing story of hope, heartbreak and gratitude. Margie launched us into our newest worship series, The Gratitude Path. You can watch her GodStory by clicking here or on the image below.
Please also help celebrate the 10 young people that stood before our church leaders on Monday night, October 28, in The Commons. One of our Youth Praise Bands led our HIS (High Impact Servants) meeting in worship and praise. My heart was bursting with great joy and gratitude for them. A special word of thanks to all our leaders of these wonderful young people: our Youth Ministry Staff, Small Group Leaders, Music Ministry Leaders and so many more.
I’m reminded of a quote I used at the HIS meeting. It makes me think of those wonderful young people. “At a certain age our lives simplify and we need have only three phrases left in our spiritual vocabulary: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” – Morris West
Hebrews 12:28 – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks …”
We Will Remember
- “Roy G. Biv”
- “Every Good Boy Does Fine”
- “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”
- “I before E, except after C”
Do you recognize any of these? These are tools we learned as children to collect and retrieve facts that would be helpful throughout our lives, but something has happened. With today’s portable personal technology, designed to store more and more personal information, our ability to remember has actually decreased. In a study a few years ago by Ian Robertson, professor at Trinity College in Dublin, dependence on such devices to remember birthdays, phone numbers, email addresses and other important data has diminished the memory capacity of our brains!
“People have more to remember these days, and they are relying on technology for their memory. But the less you use your memory, the poorer it becomes. This may be reflected in the survey findings which show that persons over 50 who grew up committing more to memory report better performance in many areas than those under 30 who are heavily reliant on technology to act as their day to day aide memoir.”
Here’s the lesson: True remembrance takes intentionality and effort. And that is as true of spiritual matters as it is of dates and numbers. It’s one thing merely to recall central elements of our faith. It’s quite another to allow those memories to shape our conscience and inform our behavior.
Did you know that over ninety occasions in the Bible, God called people to remember God’s saving activity throughout history, through rituals, prayers, and symbols? From the Psalms to the Seder, from the Ten Commandments to the Beatitudes, the Bible is filled with reminders of our identity and calling as kingdom people.
Malachi 3:16 from The Message – “Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of God-fearers written down, all the name of those who honored God’s name.”
The 30-Day Gratitude Challenge
I do hope you’ll be participating with us in our 30-Day Gratitude Challenge. It all begins today, October 30, with writing a note of gratitude every day for 30 days (concluding on Thanksgiving Day).
Here are a few ideas for this week:
- Smile on a friend who lives outside of North Carolina with a note.
- Bless a faith mentor through a note of gratitude.
- Carry a note with you and thank someone on the spot.
- Show appreciation to a close family member or friend who has helped you with an accomplishment.
Some Gratitude Bible verses:
- 2 Thessalonians 1:3, The Message – “You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it.”
- Colossians 2:6-7, The Message – “My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let you living spill over into thanksgiving.”
Some Gratitude Quotes
- Albert Schweitzer – “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
- William Arthur Ward – “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
If you will, please consider putting an “X” on the calendar for these upcoming dates:
- Annual Charge Conference, Tuesday, November 5, 7:00 pm in the Chapel: The Annual Charge Conference is a business gathering where we officially approve all Charge Conference requirements of the Western NC Conference for the 2020 calendar year. Everyone is welcome to attend.
- Operation Christmas Child (OCC): Have you picked up your box to fill? Boxes are available in The Commons, The Children’s Area and at the Welcome Center. Please return filled boxes to the hallway outside the Front Office by November 17. I love this short film about Justin and gratitude. You can watch it here.
- Joash Chest Sunday, November 17: This is our annual Sunday for our families to make their financial commitments for 2020. These are some of the holiest moments we share each year. I love watching you stream forward to make your commitments.
- 2nd Annual Community Thanksgiving Worship, Sunday, November 24, 6 pm, Matthews Presbyterian Church: Please come and join us for a beautiful evening of Thanksgiving worship with our friends from Matthews Presbyterian, Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of Matthews.
- Advent Begins, Sunday, December 1: Our worship series this year, Count Your Blessings, will continue our gratitude theme right through until the end of the year.
This Sunday (November 3) in Worship (All Saints’ Sunday)
Please don’t forget to “Fall Back” this Sunday as daylight savings time ends. There will be a convergence of reminders in worship — each one recalling our identity in Christ and our connection with those who have gone before us.
- We will launch our days of generosity with a remembrance of the saints — the 27 members of our church as well as our loved ones and friends who have died since last November.
- We will conclude each service by gathering at the Lord’s Table, remembering our past and our future in Christ through the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup.
- We will be interviewing Pastor John Shiundu from Kidron Valley Ministries in Uganda.
- My sermon along The Gratitude Path is titled “Discovering the Power of Gratitude” from Luke 17:11-19.
As you can see, Sunday will be a special day. I hope to see you there.
I’m Choosing Generosity,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that United KIDS and Rainbow Ark Ministry have partnered with Special Olympics in North Carolina to host a dinner for the athletes on Saturday, November 2?
Did you know that Global Impact helped make the Greenway Park Elementary School Fall Festival possible? Students had fun with their families!
Did you know that Ladies Game Night featured Bunco? Everyone learned how to play, while eating delicious food and getting to know one another. Mark your calendar for the next event on Thursday, January 23, where a different game will be featured.