I always find it hard to practice Phil 4:6-7. I mean how can one possibly not be anxious about anything? Because I can not even tame my heart from worries and anxieties, I find the rest of the passage unattainable.
It is only recently that I realize I have misunderstood God. God knows that it is hard for me not to be anxious, that is why He proposes “a way out” for me. To overcome my tendency to be pre-occupied with worries, He wants me to be occupied in prayer WITH thanksgiving. In other words, prayer with thanksgiving is not a natural outflow from an anxious-free heart. Instead, prayer with thanksgiving is the remedy for an anxious-bound heart.
In the book Starting Over, Doug Sparks explains that the “lifestyle of a victorious Christian is not just about surrender and trust and obedience, but it must also be about THANKSGIVING – a joyful celebration that God is Sovereign Love and that I can trust Him in all circumstances.”
I have come to learn that being thankful requires intentionality. It is more deliberate than it is natural, at least at the beginning.
On 17th September 2016, the leaders of the church came together to review the ministries of the church in preparation for the coming year. I decided that instead of first identifying the problems; we should begin by thanking God for what He has done or is doing in our church. So we took time to pen down our thanksgiving and thanked the Lord in prayer.
Below are some of our thanksgivings….
- A sister visited our church after seeing our street banner and later received Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior.
- After resisting Christianity for many years, God touched a brother in a very special way during one of the worship service; he broke down in tears and experienced His reality.
- God revealed Himself in a dream to a brother leading him to receive Christ into his life.
- For touching a brother who was terminally ill. He was an atheist all his life but came to acknowledge Jesus as His Savior and Lord. We praise God that he is now resting in His arms.
- For leading a sister in our midst to minister to an elderly woman in her dying moments. She gave her life to Jesus before passing away.
- For staffing the pastoral team to meet the needs of the ministry.
- For bringing more worship leaders into the worship team and their commitment in preparing earnestly and serving well.
- For pulpit teaching grounded in the Word, and for raising more younger men to preach the Word.
- For the declaration of God’s Word in corporate worship to touch lives.
- For bringing in young men into the Elders Board. 4 out of 6 are in their mid 40s.
- For helping some brothers experience victory in their battle against pornography.
- For using Men’s Support Group to minister to brothers who are struggling with their sexual identity.
- For various individuals/couples who sought help in time of their personal or marital crises.
- For bringing individuals who are mentally, physically or emotionally broken into our midst.
- For sending a sister and a brother on separate occasions to affirm that the church is truly an authentic community.
- For helping a sister to be liberated from darkness.
- For helping a brother to come out from his addiction.
- For using the mission committee to help organize PITH. Through PITH, we saw God’s work in various parts of the world. The conference went smoothly, and exciting mission partnerships are already taking place.
- Giving us a pastor and pastoral team who loves the Lord.
- For providing us a new kindergarten principal.
- For God’s design for sexuality, marriage and family series in our Children Ministry.
- For obvious desire to study God’s Word in Palm Green Fellowship.
- For growth in number of newcomers in YCK Chapel.
- For the way a brother loves the Lord and testifies for Him, For the way he disciples his wife and children and the seriousness with which he prepares for SG worship time.
- Strong desire to learn the Word of God in Filipino Fellowship.
- We are becoming more intentional in having our Quiet Time on a regular basis.
I am overwhelmed by the thanksgivings! I am deeply moved by the salvation stories in our midst. I am excited that God is bringing broken people into our midst to experience His redemptive work. My heart is warmed to know that we are growing in being an authentic community. God has heard my prayers!
In this 62nd anniversary, let us give thanks for the works He has done in this church!
By Rick Toh, Lead Pastor/Elder (YCKC Bulletin 2 October 2016)