Well, it is time for the obligatory blog about all the things I’m thankful for. I think it is important to acknowledge the blessings of God in our life, so my hope is that this will not seem cliche- ish. A few years ago, I blogged about contentment and thankfulness. As I looked back, I thought it would be worth reposting part of that.

Contentment as Paul describes it in 1 Timothy 6, is directly related to godliness. I cannot have godliness without a relationship with Christ. Therefore my contentment is dependent upon a relationship with Christ first and godliness second. This godliness, according to Paul, is gain, because it is accompanied by contentment.

I am content and thankful most of all for the fact that in October 1974, God reached down and touched the heart of this 6th grade boy and saved me from my sin. 35 years later I am still growing and struggling through this faith journey. I am thankful for my Savior, because I know how pitiful and unworthy I still am. Yet Jesus still gives me grace every day, works in me, guides me, gives me wisdom, continues to chip away at the things in my life that don’t look like Him, and for some inexplicable reason chooses to use me to accomplish His Kingdom work. Amazing!

I am thankful these past couple of years for God’s provision for His church and our family through some very difficult economic times. I am thankful for an amazing wife, whom I do not deserve, and for 8 fantastic children. They are a huge blessing in my life. I am thankful for a heritage of faith in my family. Thankful to those who went before me and for those who have stood…and who atill stand…with me. I am thankful for many friends over the years who have encouraged and challenged me, laughed with me, prayed for me, listened to me and ministered to me and my family. I am thankful for the privilege of pastoring His Church @ The Ridge. I still can’t figure out why God would entrust that task to me, but I am thankful for the people who make up this church and who “get it” when it comes to reaching people with the love and hope and grace of Jesus. I am thankful for a great staff that is working so faithfully alongside me in this journey. I am thankful for the opportunities we have had to partner in ministry with those in Burkina Faso. I ‘m thankful for Craig Parsons and Warehouse of Hope partnering with us allowing us use of office space.

A few other random things I am thankful for…Dr. Pepper…Chick-fil-a…football…baseball…fall…spring…health…my bed 🙂 …clothing…laughter of a 3 year old…playing dollhouse with a 6 year old…throwing baseball or football in the yard with my sons…a house…my college girl pulling in the driveway…my 12 grader coming in the door safe…food to eat…Honey Nut Cheerios…did I mention Chick-fil-a? …

Every few years we do a thing with our family that is called a “Thanksgiving Tree” for the days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. We drew and cut out of a cardboard box, a tree without leaves on it and hung it up in the kitchen. Each night we gather for family devotions and read a part of the Pilgrim story (the real story, not the revisionist history version). We use the book  Thanksgiving: A Time To Remember by Barbara Rainey. While we do that, the kids all color leaves that we have printed and cut out. On the leaves they write their names and one thing each night that they are thankful for, then they stick them on the tree. By Thanksgiving day, we read the final part of the Pilgrim story and the tree is full of colorful leaves and lots of blessings we are thankful for as a family. (It is a simple project you could do with your family too.)

This year, the kids asked us if we were going to do the tree again. We don’t do it every year because we don’t want it to get stale. Since we hadn’t done it the last couple of years, they really wanted to do it again. It has been fun, but it has been sad too as my oldest two have not been able to participate much…one away at college and the other dancing and working all the time. There are fewer leaves on the tree than in years past…but it’s still pretty full…full of blessings from God! And I’m content.

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