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Date:   11/20/05

Text:   Selected

Title:   Recipe For Thanksgiving

Theme: As followers of Christ, we are to lift the content of our thanksgiving beyond the cultural norm.

 

Introduction:

  In 1620, about 102 pilgrims left England and arrived at Plymouth , Ma. Because of the severe conditions in the first winter, about half of them died. By the second winter, they had adequate harvest and celebrated the occasion for 3 days with about 90 native Americans. However, there was a severe draught in the 3 rd year. Governor Bradford ordered a day of prayer and fasting. When rain came, this prayer was changed to another thanksgiving. 11/29 of 1623 was proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving. They thanked God for the abundant harvest, protection from diseases and all of God's blessings and the freedom to worship. 3 centuries later, President Roosevelt declared the 4 th Thursday of every November as the national Thanksgiving Day.

  Even though there is no real evidence that turkey was used in the first thanksgiving, but it has become an indispensable part of the Thanksgiving recipe. Many of us remember when we tried to make a real American thanksgiving meal. We bought turkey, yams, diner rolls and followed the recipe to the dot in order to have a perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Americans as a nation also followed Governor Bradford in the content of our thanksgiving. Such gratitude has become a hallmark of this nation. Sometimes I feel that we are all following the same recipe for thanksgiving. We thank God for his provision, for family and health. There appears to be little difference in the content of thanksgiving between the believers and non-believers.

  Therefore this morning I want to invite you to take note of another recipe for thanksgiving. I want to briefly call your attention to what did Jesus give thanks for.

1.   Jesus thanks God for his provision. Mark 6:41

   Jesus knew that the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish were from this boy. Yet he also knew that all good things are from God, and he thanked God for them.

  Many of us worked very hard to make our ends meet. We got up early to go to work so we can provide for our family. However, it is also important to realize it is God who gives us health, so we can get up and go to work in the first place. It is God working through different people locally and globally so your company can make profit and pay you the salary. Yes, we worked hard, but it is from God in the first place.

  On this Thanksgiving, thank God for all the good he has given us: our family, our job, our friends and this spiritual family.

2.   Jesus thanks God for the prayers answered. John 11:41

  Please note that even before he prayed, Jesus thanked God for having heard him. Jesus knows God always listen to his prayers. I know we pray to God a lot. Just look at the prayer list from church office and from your own fellowship. Every week is a long list. Sometimes I wonder if we ever thank God for listening to us even before we pray? Isn't it also true that even after God has heard our prayers, we may have forgotten to thank Him. Don't forget to thank him for hearing our prayers. Prayers without gratitude is like a whining child.

3.    Jesus thanks God for the eternal salvation. Mark 14:23.

  This passage is about the first Lord's Supper, or the Communion. When Jesus took the bread, he gave thanks to God. This is more than thanking God for his provision. The bread and cup symbolize Christ's body and blood; pointing us to the covenant between God and men. It is about God's unconditional love for his people and reconciliation and peace between God and men. It is about eternal salvation and abundant life; giving us meaning and direction in life. For this Jesus thanks God.

  Every month when we take part in the Holy Communion, we thank God for saving us from his wrath. Everyday, we thank God that we can be at peace with him; we are his chosen and beloved children.

4.   Jesus thanks God for the truth revealed. Luke 10:21.

   Jesus gave thanks to God for the truth revealed. This is about the God's redemptive story. Those who are wise, who insist on seeking and knowing God through human wisdom and reason, will not understand it. Human reason without acknowledging God, will only drive God away. However, God's redemptive story is understood by those who are humble like a child. A child like faith is not a naive faith. But an attitude of receiving what is revealed in the word.

  And you know what, when we with a child like faith, humbly receiving what God has revealed to us, we become wise. Look at C.S. Lewis, in humility he received God's revelation of the redemptive story in the Bible. And then he turned around, through his creative mind and powerful pen, he explained this redemptive story through the Chronicles of Narnia. When we go see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe next month, thank God for revealing his truth to us.

Conclusion:

  There are many things we may not like in this country. Many of us have come here with the dream of realization of potential and expertise. Yet in many of work places, all we see is injustice, prejudice and discrimination. It is a dream broken, causing many of us to live an unhappy and resentful life.

  However, it is also in this country, especially during this season, we learn to cultivate a heart of gratitude. We may not have much, our family may be broken, but we can thank God for life itself, for food to eat, clothes to wear and a place to stay.

  Moreover, with Jesus as our example, we can also lift our thanksgiving beyond that which we can see and touch. We thank God for hearing all those prayers we offered. We thank God for saving us from eternal punishment that we can be at peace with God. Whenever we open the Bible, we thank him for his revelation. It is in this book, that we know what is right and wrong, and how we can truly live.

  Now, let us join several brothers and sisters in their sharing of gratitude for how God has worked in their lives.




http://archive.hcchome.org/

English Service:

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Cantonese audio translation available up to 2011

2014 |2013 |2012 |2011

 


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