Giving Thanks for People and Other Blessings

Credit: Ben Earwicker Garrison Photography, Boise, ID

Credit: Ben Earwicker
Garrison Photography, Boise, ID

If you haven’t done so in a while, I recommend making a list on this Thanksgiving day of the people and other blessings for whom and for which you are most thankful. It’s a fairly safe guess that most of our lists would include some or all of the following:

People:

  • Parents
  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Siblings
  • Pastors
  • Teachers
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Public servants
  • Health care providers
  • Police and fire men and women
  • Military service men and women

Blessings:

  • Health
  • Home
  • Food
  • Faith
  • Freedom
  • Forgiveness
  • Peace
  • Prosperity
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Vocation
  • Employment
  • Income and financial resources

Perhaps this outline will be helpful in preparing your own list. Where possible, be specific. Fill in the blanks. Name the family members and friends for whom you are thankful and let them know they made your list.

This Thanksgiving, take some time to thank God for these very important people and blessings!

“Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good and his steadfast love endures forever!” (Ps. 106:1)

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Children of the Parsonage

Credit:  Milan Jurek

Credit: Milan Jurek

That’s a respectful term for people born into a pastor’s family, aka preachers’ kids or PKs. My father was not a pastor. Neither was my grandfather or great grandfather. So what I know about being a PK is purely observational and neither experiential nor hereditary. Our children know more about this topic than either Terry or I will ever know.

PKs have a sometimes well-deserved but often unfairly caricatured reputation of being misbehaved scoundrels and rebellious ne’er-do-wells. Some have been raised with unrealistic expectations of parents, parishioners or peers. Those expectations can result in overreaction from a PK who goes way out of his or her way to prove that he or she is not perfect, holy or pure.

In many other cases PKs are raised with a balanced understanding of who they are, both as children of the Heavenly Father and also as children of earthly parents. Such PKs come to understand that they have been brought into this world by parents who love them enough not to impose upon them unrealistic expectations of how they should dress or behave or live just because one of their parents happens to be a pastor.

My heart is heavy for PKs who come from homes with inordinate amounts of dysfunction or unnecessarily stringent parental expectations. My heart rejoices with PKs who have been allowed and encouraged to live life as normally as possible, in the freedom and forgiveness of God’s love and the unquestionable assurance of their parents’ love.

For all who read these words, whether a PK or not, I pray your life is blessed with unconditional love, not because of what you do but because of who you are, by God’s grace.

Paul’s Missionary Journeys

Ephesus 1Terry and I just returned from an eleven day trip to Turkey and Greece during which I served as lecturer on the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul. We sailed from Istanbul to Athens, with stops in Troy/Troas, Sardis/Ephesus, Kos, Rhodes, Laodicea/Hierapolis, Santorini and Corinth.

In most of these ancient cities, ruins have been excavated sufficiently to enable identification of homes, businesses, civic buildings, temples and churches. Amazing architecture and incredible construction technique produced structures beyond comprehension. In some cases gigantic stone blocks weighing many tons rested for centuries atop mammoth stone pillars.

The New Testament contains information about Paul’s three separate missionary journeys, probably conducted between 45 and 58 A.D. Each was several years in length. During these trips Paul preached the news of Jesus in many important coastal cities and trade route towns.

God used Paul’s ministry to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, establishing the Christian church in places beyond its point of origin. He was aided by Barnabas, John Mark, Silas, Luke and Timothy. Positively received by many, Paul and his message were rejected by others who expressed their disapproval by beating, stoning, imprisoning and running him out of town.

Because of his bold testimony of Jesus, Saul the persecutor became Paul the persecuted.

Although Paul’s missionary journeys caused him to sacrifice everything, he said his sufferings were worth the cost: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him.” (Phil. 3:8)

Last week’s journey greatly enhanced our appreciation for Paul and his courageous ministry! I hope you share that appreciation!