Isn't Thanksgiving a wonderful holiday? There are wonderful aromas in the house as an abundance of good foods are prepared. Family and friends gather to enjoy each other's company. Football is on TV as people relax and digest their feasts. At our house some people go for a walk or run to work off a few of the many calories ingested. Some volunteer to rake leaves that have fallen yet again after the fall yard clean up. There is no worry about giving or receiving the right gift. Overall, there is a profound sense of being thankful to God for his many blessings.
But somewhere in the back of our minds, we realize that for some people, all is not so well. We remember the people in the Philippines who lost everything when the worst storm in recorded history struck their homes. We remember the tornadoes which struck in the midwest last week. Champaign County in Illinois where my sister and her son and grandson live was declared a disaster area.
Thankfully, they were not hurt, but many in their community lost everything as homes were blown away and people were injured and killed. We remember with sadness the tragedy that struck in Arlington last week when the lives of a young family ended abruptly in such a senseless manner.
So while we thank God for our own blessings, we remember and reach out to help those less fortunate. Jesus told us that when we help other in his name, it is as if we do it for him. American Baptist sent financial aid to the Philippines within days of typhoon from our One Great Hour of Sharing Offering. Baptist men's groups from all over the country were dispatched to the midwest where they served food and brought in supplies to help the victims and their families. They were financed in part by the America for Christ offering. And Christians from all over our city have prayed for the families and friends of the family slain here in Arlington.
We are blessed and want to bless others. We know Christ and the difference he makes in our own lives, and we want others to know him. Knowing Jesus is the most wonderful blessing anyone can have.
Tuesdays - 6:30 pm
We have started a Bible Study for teens, young adults, and adults, on the Letter of Paul to the Romans. Come early and join us for pizza. All Are Welcome!
Over the past year we have done a lot of thinking about prayer. We started with a study of Philip Yancey’s book Prayer, Does it Make Any Difference?. He probes such questions as: Is God listening? Why should God care about me? If God knows everything, what’s the point of prayer? Why does God seem to answer some prayers and not others? He describes prayer as the intimate place where God and humans meet.
Then we moved on to a study of the Lord’s Prayer by Walter Wangerin. This is the model prayer that Jesus gave us in response to the disciples asking Him to teach them to pray. We are in the middle of that study now as we meet on Saturday mornings. We are looking at it phrase by phrase hoping to gain insight on how to keep it from being just a remote saying that we recite every Sunday. Dr Wangerin sheds light about what the Lord’s Prayer reveals about God’s nature and our own nature, and how we should live in relationship with God and one another.
But last Saturday evening, I received a real lesson in prayer. I was with a group of people from church who gathered at the Museum of Science to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was an amazing exhibit. Tiny bits of Scripture that have been preserved over centuries were on display. If you have an opportunity to see it I strongly encourage you to do so. At the exit was a duplication of the wall of the ancient temple at Jerusalem. The wall was constructed like the wailing wall, and we were invited to write prayers down and put them in the cracks in the wall. We were told that the prayers would then actually be sent to Jerusalem.
So I looked deeply into my heart and wrote down my most common prayer and my greatest concern. It was a prayer that I have prayed many times over the years. It is one that has never been completely answered. I have attempted to bargain with God to answer this prayer. I have offered to do this or that or give up something important to me is God would only answer it. That answer has not yet come. But somehow the act of physically writing the words down and putting it in the wall helped me. I can’t explain it. I don’t understand what happened. But I am sure that my prayer reached heaven. I am expecting a response from God any day.
NEW STUDY THIS FALL
FAITH, HOPE and LUCK
Sundays - 11:30 am
Starting on Sunday, September 22, 2013, this 5-week
study will transform your thinking about the
difference between faith and hope. You’ll be
presented with a definition of faith that will shed
new light on both the Old and New Testaments.
Join us for this exciting new study which will be facilitated by Mark and