Summer Memory Verse: Colossians 1:15-20
June: 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him.
July: 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
August: 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
A NOTE FROM THE PASTOR:
As we continued on Sunday to work our way through the opening verses of his letter to the church in Colossae, we noted the place of thanksgiving in the way that Paul prays. If you were with us on Sunday you likely remember that Paul highlights three key petitions in his unceasing prayers for these young believers: knowledge of God, spiritual strength, and thanksgiving. The latter comes in Colossians 1:12 – “…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Having already modeled a heart of thanksgiving in the opening few verses of the letter, Paul is now telling the Colossians that he prays that they too would overflow in thanksgiving. He also goes on to give them the primary reason they have to be thankful – namely, because God has welcomed them into His Kingdom (vv. 12-14).
So Paul’s prayer has had me thinking this week; in particular, I’ve been thinking a lot about the gratitude for which Paul prays. What seeds can I sow in my heart that will produce the fruit of gratitude? What does it look like to have this kind of gratitude in my heart? What fruit comes from a truly grateful heart?
As I’ve pondered these questions here are 5 observations that have come to mind.
- Gratitude isn’t an expression of the mind, but it often starts there. We don’t speak of a “grateful mind”, but rather a “grateful heart.” However, gratitude is stirred up in our hearts when our minds actively search for reasons to be thankful. For this reason the Bible doesn’t merely command thanksgiving, it gives us reasons to be thankful. The pursuit of genuine gratitude often requires our minds to be fully engaged as we consider the reasons we have to give thanks.
- Gratitude for little things is kindling for the fire of increased gratitude. Let’s face it, there are times when it’s difficult to feel thankful. We hear the words of Paul to “give thanks in all circumstances” and our kneejerk reaction is to say, “Really Paul? Did you really mean ‘all’ circumstances?” The key to lighting a fire when logs are wet is by cutting them up and making them into smaller kindling-like pieces. So it is with gratitude – it’s sometimes better to look for the “kindling”, the small stuff that’s really easy to be thankful for, and then watch as the fire of gratitude grows from there.
- Gratitude quenches and starves many of the sins of my heart, including pride, selfishness, and entitlement. I arrived here by asking this question: what’s going on in my heart when I’m not grateful? The answer is not “nothing”. When gratitude is absent the void in my heart is often filled with hidden sins like self-reliance, self-centeredness, and pride. So, it follows that genuine gratitude chases away those defaults of my heart. For example, by definition gratitude is an acknowledgement of dependence on God (or others), so it cannot co-exist with a spirit of self-reliance. The fight for gratitude is simultaneously the fight against some of the deeply-rooted sins of our hearts.
- Gratitude overflows into worship. This connection is on display again and again throughout Scripture, including the passage we looked at on Sunday, where Paul moves seamlessly from thanksgiving to prayer to praise. A grateful person cannot help but erupt in worship to the God who has given us everything we have and everything we’ll ever need.
- Gratitude is contagious; unfortunately, so is ingratitude. You, like me, probably know this to be true from personal experience. The takeaway here for me is to strive to be that person that encourages gratitude among my brothers and sisters in Christ, rather than the wet blanket that snuffs it out.
These are just a few observations that have come as a result of meditating on Paul’s prayer for thanksgiving. What comes to your mind as you consider the gratitude we are to have as believers in Jesus Christ? Like Paul, I pray that we all would be people whose hearts overflow in gratitude to the Lord for who He is and for all He has done.
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)
THIS WEEK AT FAITH:
Servant's Heart Food Pantry
Prayer Group in the Prayer Room
Sunday Worship Gathering
|Wednesday, 7:00pm (August 3)
||NO Men's Gathering this Month
(Next Gathering: September 7)
This Week's Sermon Text: Colossians 1:15-20
SUMMER TEACHERS NEEDED:
During the summer months we use a weekly rotation for our Junior Church teachers and nursery workers, with a sign-up sheet at the back of the sanctuary. As of this week there are still many openings for both Junior Church teachers and nursery volunteers. If you're one of our regular volunteers please consider signing up for at least one week this summer to help ease the burden. If you're interested in helping out in this way for the first time, please speak to Pastor Joshua.
MEN'S GATHERING: 1st Wednesday of the Month!
Since March the men of Faith Church have been gathering on the 1st Wednesday of the Month for an opportunity to be in conversation, in the Word, and in prayer. (Please take a moment to read about this new opportunity here, which describes it in much more detail.) All men are invited to join us on the first Wednesday of the month as we ground ourselves in the Word and commit ourselves to growing in godliness. Due to vacation schedules, there will be NO Men's Gathering for the month of August. The next gathering will be Wednesday, September 7. We'll be continuing in our look at the life of David.
FOOD PANTRY/FARMERS MARKET PICK-UP: Thursdays
As with the past several summers, we're looking for help throughout the summer on Thursdays picking up fresh fruits and vegetables for our food pantry from the local farmer's market. Help is needed every Thursday from about 6:45-8:30pm, picking up at Cedar Park in Melrose at 7:00pm, then delivering the bins of vegetables to the church and helping to sort through them and lay them out for the Friday morning pantry. The bins are sometimes heavy and a vehicle with space for several bins of vegetables is necessary. If you're able to help in the coming few weeks please contact Joan Dean (781-662-6481, email@example.com); soon there is a sign-up sheet for the remaining Thursdays over the rest of the summer.
PRAYER GATHERINGS: 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, Sunday AM
Please consider joining us as we gather together in prayer for the life of our church. These times begin by a brief devotional from the Word, followed by a time of praying for the needs of our church family. These gatherings happen on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, along with every Sunday morning at 9:30am (with prayer primarily focused on the worship service). It is a great joy to gather as God's people and unite our hearts in prayer - join us!
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD COLLECTION:
Did you know that at our Annual Operation Christmas Child Carnival Night we pack nearly 60 shoeboxes for needy children? To prepare, we need your help. Each month through November, we will collect items to be packed in shoeboxes on Carnival Night. In July, we are asking for TOYS! Any small toys that will fit into shoeboxes! Cars, dolls, yo-yo's, balls, etc. If everybody participates, we should have enough for every shoebox! There is a box in the back of the sanctuary for you to drop-off your items of OCC!
There are a few upcoming dates when either or both Pastor Andy and Pastor Joshua will be away. This week Pastor Joshua is serving as the camp speaker at Baptist Park in Mapleton, ME. He will return on Wednesday, August 3. Pastor Andy will be away from August 7-14 serving at Camp Washington in Washington, ME. If you have an emergency and cannot reach Pastor Andy or Pastor Joshua on their cell phones, please contact Ken Houghton. Thank you for supporting our pastors in their ministry for the Kingdom beyond our local community!
COMMUNITY GROUP GATHERING:
Over the summer the Rices' Community Group is meeting only once each month. Our next Community Group Gathering will be Sunday, August 21. T
his is open to anyone interested in pursuing biblical fellowship together. This group will continue to gather at least twice each month for planned gatherings, on the first Friday of the month and the third Sunday of the month. If you would like to know more about Community Groups, please speak to Pastor Andy (you can also read a brief overview here
LOCAL VBS OPPORTUNITIES:
There are several local opportunities for children to attend Vacation Bible School this summer. One opportunity is the First Baptist Church in Melrose, to be held August 15-19. You can find more details soon on their website
Have you made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ? Have you subsequently followed the Lord Jesus in the waters of baptism? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and you have never been baptized since becoming a believer then you need to know that we are planning a baptism for September. In preparation for that we'll be offering a baptism class after a Sunday worship service in August (date TBA). The class is required for anyone who wants to get baptized in September, but it is also open to anyone - even if you're not yet sure about baptism. If you have any questions please speak to Pastor Andy.
PRACTICAL WAYS YOU CAN SERVE:
Over the past few weeks in our Weekly Update notes we've been highlighting a total of 15 practical ways you can serve - 10 ways in our church and 5 ways to serve in our community. If you missed any of those notes, you can read up on them here
. Our goal in providing these suggestions is to connect willing hearts to current needs. If you have any questions about ways you can use your gifts to build up the body of Christ, please do not hesitate to contact us!
FINANCIAL UPDATE FROM THE FINANCE COMMITTEE:
The following is a financial update from the Finance Committee that highlights our collections to date and compares them to the amount needed in order to fulfill our 2016 budget. As you can see below, our collections are well below our budgeted need, which would lead to a significant shortfall at the end of the year.
| Budgeted Collections as of July 17
||Actual Collections as of July 17
Please join us in praying for God to continue to provide for the ministry of Faith Church. If you have additional questions about the budget or collections, please speak to Carolyn Smith. Thank you for your faithfulness and support of Faith Church. "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7)
PARSONAGE RELOCATION FUND:
At our Annual Meeting in January, the membership authorized the future purchase of a home in Melrose to replace our existing parsonage in Lynn. More details about this process that were distributed at a previous meeting are available here
. This authorization does not mean that a purchase is imminent, but simply that we are prepared if an opportunity arises. We are continuing to ask people to join us in praying for this particular need, and more information about that can be found here
. We also want to make people aware of our Parsonage Relocation Fund
, the goal of which is to offset the cost of purchasing a home in Melrose. A recent update about this fund and our progress in pursuing a home in Melrose was emailed to the congregation. If you'd like more information, please speak to Pastor Andy.
Our Moms Together ministry continues with two monthly opportunities for gathering. The first opportunity is a daytime playdate for moms and their children that will meet on the second Tuesday of the month at the church, which is open to any moms who can make it, so feel free to invite a friend! The second opportunity is meant to include moms who aren't available during the day and to be a "moms night out." These will be monthly gatherings on either a Friday or Saturday to do something fun together. Mark your calendars for these new opportunities to gather for encouragement and fellowship. If you have any questions please speak to Carrie Rice. Stay tuned for the summer schedule!
SAVE THE DATE
Baptism Class: August (TBA)
Prayer & Praise Gathering: August 28 (tentative)
Men's Wednesday Gathering: September 7
Baptism Service: September 18
Sunday Scoops Giveaway: TBA
Interested in a copy of the message from Sunday? Email the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see that you get a copy. Past sermons are available at www.faithchurchac.org/sermons.