It is a helpful to stop every so often and think about what God has been doing around us and for us. There is much to celebrate. Yet, I think I am often thankfully challenged! In other words, I often fail to be thankful for much.
The apostle Paul to each of the churches he wrote to (with the exception of the church of Galatia) gives thanks or praise to God for what he has done for those he is writing too.
- To the Romans – thanks to God through Jesus Christ…because of their faith being reported all around the world (Rom 1:8)
- To the Corinthians – thanks to God because of the grace given in Christ Jesus…because the testimony of Christ was confirmed in the Corinthians (1 Cor 1:4-6)
- To the Ephesians – thanks…for their faith in the Lord Jesus and love for all the saints (Eph 1:15)
- To the Philippians – thanks to God…because of the partnership in the gospel Paul shares with those in Phillippi (Phil 1:3-5)
- To the Colossians – thanks to God…because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for the saints (Col 1:3-4)
- To the Thessalonians – thanks to God…for the work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in or Lord Jesus (1 Thess 1:3)
- Also to the Thessalonians – thanks to God…because your faith is growing more and more and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing (2 Thess 1:3)
Do you notice – Paul does not give thanks to each church – he gives thanks for each Church and he give his thanks to God.
Why do we give thanks? Do we give it as a way to pat a person on the back, or as a genuine expression of gratefulness and appreciation? It appears that Paul does not give thanks primarily for the sake of those he writes too, but as a genuine expression of gratefulness and appreciation to God for what He has done through those he is writing to.
It is a helpful distinction because it ensures that when we think of things to be thankful for we give God the credit and avoid puffing up our own egos as if it is by our own merit that we have achieved something!
So thanks be to God for what he has done this year through people at 5pm Church – he has been busy!
Thanks to God for…
- Our Home Groups – and our tireless and often unappreciated leaders.
- Many people becoming Christians and many people joining 5pm Church and becoming part of 5pm Church.
- For the 5 to 15 people who visit us for the first time each week – and for some who live in Adelaide and have stayed and joined.
- For the opportunity to serve and do the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10).
- For the many Internationals (those who have come from overseas) who have joined us.
- For the amazing ministry of Fusion (Youth Group) with the excellent leaders.
- For the new babies born to folk at 5pm and for the ones on the way.
- For the heaps of people meeting in Evangelistic Prayer Teams across the city – and getting involved with workplace evangelism
- For our 5 AWAY weekend earlier in the year and for the team putting together the next one.
- For the many who are reading the Bible 121 with someone during in the week.
- For our talented Music and Audio/Video Ministry teams who give some much time leading us in worship and ensuring we hear the Word.
- For our Global Partners – serving the gospel around the world.
- For City Light and the ministries that have happened under its banner including the ‘James Brown’ Home Group.
- For Katy Annis, Conrad and Sue Cabral and Peter Blyth training and serving in Ministry.
- For every week having at least 20 people serving in different ways just to get Sunday church happening (e.g. Music, Welcoming, Technology etc) – and much more going on across the week.
- For the 5pm’ers who run and help at either Equip, Grace Conference, Revelation Conference or CV Conference. And for those from 5pm involved in governing CMS, Trinity City, BCSA.
- For our freedom to hear the gospel preached freely and for our benefit.
- For the Westcare ministry.
Pick a letter of Paul, wouldn’t be good if the thanks given to God there could be the thanks given to God for what he has done at 5pm Church. In fact, in many ways I think they can. Praise God.