“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in everyone of my prayers for all of you.”
-Philippians 1:3-4 NRSV
I hope everyone is geared up for a fantastic day of faith, family, food, and football tomorrow! Just a heads up, if you haven’t taken the turkey out of the freezer yet – this is your 24 hour warning to call Cracker Barrel, because it’s too late. We’ll be doing something different this year, but traditionally we rely on my Father-in-law’s expert turkey cooking skills. He spends most of Thanksgiving Day (and the night before) prepping for the big meal, but most of that isn’t the turkey itself. In the Thompson family it’s all about the stuffing that goes in the bird.
One of the definitions of turkey, if you scroll down through Websters, is “a person or thing of little appeal.” One could argue it implies, “someone or something with no substance.” Or…no stuffing.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians can be surface level encouraging, but recognizing that he is potentially on death row or, at the least, writing from prison – his “thanksgiving” takes on more depth. How can someone be so upbeat in the face of despair? Because Paul has stuffing.
Read Philippians 4:11-13 and see how Paul has recognized joy in all situations because of the gift of Christ. Because of Christ, death has no more sting. Because of Christ, riches and worldly comforts don’t mean as much. Because of Christ, he’s joyful at other people’s success instead of being jealous. In short, because of Christ, Paul can be content knowing his future is secure, his mind is changed, and his life is one of service. That makes Paul an interesting guy in my eyes. He’s someone I’d want to eat Thanksgiving dinner with and hear how he arrived at this place of peace. He’s someone I’d have a million questions for.
And it makes me wonder how much stuffing I/We have?
Lyndsey, me, and the kids recently made soup for about 50 people at the Plano Day Labor Center and served with some servants from Custer Road United Methodist Church. We did it one time, because school was out, but this group shows up early in the morning every Monday and Thursday – and why? – because inside them is this intriguing conviction that the way of Christ brings peace. What was most inspiring was that some of the volunteers knew every one of those person’s names and where they were going to work. I give thanks for that.
I think of Cayce McCullock, Lynn Partain, and all the other Harper Elementary teammates that work with them. There’s a million reasons not to drive to Princeton and inspire kids we don’t know and teachers who aren’t ours, but what’s intriguing is the one reason they do go so often. Because they have stuffed inside of them the conviction that the way of Jesus empowers. I give thanks for that.
I think of Gregg Blaylock and Allison Carr in the Children’s Wing EVERY Sunday morning, and Jen Waldrop, Rick Adler, and Dwayne Dohmann who have committed to loving all of our pre-teens and teenagers. There are so many reasons why people don’t want to stuff their lives with that commitment, but there’s one reason why these 5 do. Because inside of them is the faith that God has a great vision for each one of those children, and God needs servants to help those children know that God loves them, and what God wants for them. I give thanks for them.
My Father-in-law usually sits down beat-tired by the end of Thanksgiving meal. At times we wish he’d just cook less so he wouldn’t be so tired, but there’s something stuffed inside of him that makes him less of a turkey. It’s interesting and fun to go to his house because you know you’ll be cared for. We give thanks for that hospitality. I wonder what we’re stuffed with? What substance do we have? What flavor do our neighbors taste when they interact with us?
I hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving. I hope you give thanks for more than what meets the eye. And I pray we’ll all be stuffed not with food from the table, but with substantive faith that fills the hearts of those around us.
We have seen a wonderful response financially, and I’m thankful for the faith displayed by those who have given anew, given again, and given aplenty. If you have yet to make giving a regular spiritual habit, I’d encourage you to click on the button below and start today. Giving not only physically supports the ministries of the church, but it helps you release and trust so that you can be filled up with more substance than money can buy.
A few weeks ago I told you that we needed approximately $381,000 to end the year without using financial reserves. Due to your generous giving that number has already been cut down to $243,475.95. Let’s keep it up!
Also, be praying for what your financial commitment will be for 2022. Let it be both an investment in the hope and love that Creekwood offers AND a sign of intent of how you intend to trust in God and grow deeper in your following of Christ. If you have any questions about what tithing/giving means or how we spend money at Creekwood, I’m more than happy to chat.