Dr. Tom Pace, Dr. Tom Pace lll, Senior Pastor St. Lukes UMC, Sr Pastor St Lukes
On Thanksgiving morning, I am reminded that being thankful should be like breathing. Your apostle Paul says to rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. All of these commands remind me that giving thanks isn’t something I should just stop and do sometimes. Rather, gratitude should be the very flavor of all of my thoughts, words, and deeds. It seems funny to have a single day dedicated to such a thing. We don’t have a national breathing day, or a day set aside for seeing or hearing. Giving thanks is simply a way of being alive.
Nonetheless, the day can remind me that I am not always as grateful as I could be. I have many good excuses, God, and responses to your command.
·         The people in my life aren’t perfect, and they irritate me sometimes.
·         I am really busy.
·         You don’t seriously mean I should give thanks in ALL circumstances.
·         I said thank you once; how many times do I have to say it?
But yes, God, especially today I will remember to thank you. I thank you for the basics: food to eat, a home in which to live, a hot shower in the morning, warm clothes on a cold day, a mind to think, and hands and feet to use for your glory. Thank you God for health, and for the life you give me, for the rising of the sun each and every day, and the chance to experience all the trees of the garden of Eden. I thank you for work to do, and wonderful people to work with. I thank you for this country, and this state, and this city, and all the leaders who work to make it better and better. I thank you for the freedom to speak whatever I believe is right, and for those who have given themselves over the centuries to make it so. I thank you for friendship, for people who care about me, and about whom I care. I thank you for family, people with which I can share my life – for mother and father and daughters and sonsinlaw and the joy of grandchildren. Thank you so much for Dee, whom I take for granted too often, and with whom I have been one flesh for almost forty years. And I thank you most of all for the gift of your presence, God, for your son Jesus Christ who gave himself so that you and I would no longer be separated by a wall of sin, but joined together in a relationship of amazing love. 
Thank you. Just thank you.   
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
What do you think it means to “give thanks in deed?” Who are the people you thank God for, but have not expressed it adequately? 
Please Come! St. Luke’s CCSC Dinner in the Activity Center
This Thursday, November 30, from 6:30-7:45, you are invited to be our guest for dinner in the Activity Center to learn about God’s dreams and visions for the Christian Community Service Center and what St. Luke’s United Methodist Church can do to help make those dreams a reality. During our Advent and Christmas season this year, we will support CCSC as they seek to replace their old flooded facility near St. Luke’s with a new one, as well as seek to increase our volunteer support of CCSC’s fine ministries. This effort will be our 2017 Christmas Offering, and we will dedicate our entire Christmas Eve offering to this endeavor. CCSC was the brainchild of one of St. Luke’s associate pastors 40 years ago, and we have been a foundational partner for their work since it began in 1980. Please come and hear about how you can be a part of this effort. Click Here to RSVP
Advent and Christmas Events and Schedule
Yes, it is upon us! Everything Advent and Christmas is right here. It is going to be a great season as we lean into the coming of Jesus. Our sermon series is entitled “What Do You Expect?” and we will think together about how our sense of expectancy (not expectation) determines how we experience this season. Let’s expect God’s goodness, transformation, wonder, and love. 
Last week in “Life in the Spirit” Sermon Series
This Sunday, November 26, I will be preaching a sermon entitled “Three-fold thanksgiving.” How can giving thanks be more than simply saying thank you or writing a thank you note? How can it flavor every single part of our lives? Gratitude is the basic response of human beings to God’s grace. This Sunday, we will talk about how we can bring it to the surface.
Sunday, November 26
Dear God, we thank you for this day and all who are with us. Thank you for giving shelter during hot days. And thank you for providing food and meals for us. Thank you for all you do for us. Amen. -Prayer by Lily Riddle, 5th Grade
Monday, November 27
Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for birds, and the trees, and your forgiveness. Thank you for food and shelter and all of the things that we want and have but don’t need. Most of all, thank you for your Son, Jesus. Amen. -Prayer by Reagan Nisbet, 5th Grade
Tuesday, November 28
Dear God, thank you for the support of friends and family. Thank you for the nation we live in. Thank you for your loving support. Thank you for your forever grace. Thank you for those who work to protect us. Amen. -Prayer by Sarena Gaddy
Wednesday, November 29
Dear God, I am thankful for your continued love and support each and every day. Knowing you are there gives me strength and understanding in the face of the daily challenges. Amen.
Thursday, November 30
Lord, we pray for St. Luke’s ministers for the Holy Spirit to encourage, guide and sustain each of them in their individual ministries. We ask your special blessings of discernment and strength for these ministers during the busy Christmas season. Amen. -Prayer by Neil Stovall
Friday, December 1
Heavenly Father, sometimes the holidays can be hard because of broken relationships or the loss of a loved one. Please be with those who are struggling this holiday season. Heal their broken hearts, and mend broken relationships. Show them your love in everyday things and in unexpected blessings. Amen.
Saturday, December 2
Gracious God, you sent us a Messiah, not as a worldly king but as a humble servant. Grant us the wisdom to follow his example so that we may experience the joy of serving others. Place it on our hearts to love like Jesus does. Amen.
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