Welcome home to John Knox Church
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Written by Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan
Tom is on sabbatical this summer returning in early September. His weekly message will also return at that time. In the meantime, the Monday Message will contintue to be published throughout the summer with a link to each week's Sunday sermon, bulletin and lectionary.
July Pastor's Page
Rev. Susanne Bendoraitis
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
The year I graduated from college, I moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, and worked with a college ministry as a missionary. When the year started, I was on a team of eight people. By the time we got to January, over half our team had left the project for home. Myriad issues contributed to the departures: depression, culture shock, and disillusionment.
Needless to say, it was a difficult year. However, before the year began, my mom, wise as she is, had anticipated that this adventure might have its ups and downs. As I left for my post-college adventure, she gave me a gift – and a challenge.
The gift was a small notebook with small spaces for entries. It was a “gratitude journal.” She challenged
me – no matter what the circumstances, no matter how badly my day had gone, that before I went to bed each night, I find five things for which I was thankful. I was to write those five things in the book, saying a small prayer to thank God for the things on the list.
It ended up being a more difficult challenge than I expected as it was a harder year than I expected. Yet, the simple act of setting aside time each day to thank God for things in the midst of my difficulties changed my perspective and experience of the challenges I faced.
I appreciate that this verse from Thessalonians does not say “Give thanks FOR all circumstances” - as there are things that happen to me and to all of us where this would be impossible. The verse says, “Give thanks IN all circumstances.” I have found the discipline of having an attitude of gratitude transformative, even (or maybe especially) when there are difficult things going on all around me or in me.
When I take this practice seriously, when I take time to recall five things for which I am thankful, to lift them up in prayer, my perspective is transformed. I invite you today, and even this week to take time each day to practice gratitude, even share what you wrote down with a family member or friend, so that we notice God’s work in our lives.
9:30 am and 11:00 am
JOHN KNOX UPCOMING EVENTS
Summer Speaker Series
"The Emerging Man"
Trinity Hall @ 12:00 pm
Proceeds received from the GFS
Fun Fund Program are used to
help support the annual youth
summer mission trip.
JKC's Organization # 2324060
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