on Thanksgiving Sunday

In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. Usually, as in all ways we differ from Americans, many Canadians are quite smug about it. According to us, we celebrated Thanksgiving first. So there. Most Americans I know look on this insecurity with bemusement.

Anyway, since Thanksgiving fell on Oct 8, the earliest it can occur in Canada, we made our Sunday a special Thanksgiving Sunday. We usually hold a special service and Thanksgiving banquet in our hall on the actual day. This year a number of people are away, including my wife who is caring for her failing mother in Tennessee. So the week before, we decided to make our regular Sunday meal our Thanksgiving dinner. Our ladies did a tremendous job decorating the fellowship room and preparing the meal. And… our folks invited a number of others to the services. We ended up with 66, which was especially tremendous since I was thinking we would be way down with the number of folks who were away.

Our first service continued our Romans series, finally completing verse 1 with the message The Called Apostle. The proposition of the message was this: “The Word of God stands or falls on the integrity of its human authors.” We began the message talking about the importance of credentials and showing how Paul was laying out his credentials in verse 1. We noted a bit more about the designation ‘slave of Christ Jesus’, noting that the slavery to Christ is a voluntary slavery, an entire selling of the soul to Christ. The term is not used of Christians in general in the NT, but of men who are given over to the service of Christ in the gospel. The bulk of the message dealt with the credential ‘a called apostle’ [literal rendering]. The term apostle was invested with special meaning by the Lord himself, the word does mean ‘sent one’ but in Greek usage doesn’t have the high, ambassadorial connotation that the New Testament gives it. The Lord himself used it to distinguish a select group out of his disciples [and a man named Saul, an apostle born ‘out of due season’.] The function of these men is to lay the groundwork for the Christian church, to provide the foundation. The whole credibility of the Christian church rests on their integrity and mission. This leads us to the third credential ‘separated unto the gospel’ or ‘horizoned’ or ‘marked out’ – the word has to do with someone who is especially set apart, marked out like a towering monument on the horizon, like a mountain, for a particular cause, in this case, the gospel.

In all of this, we see a man volunteering himself as the slave of Christ. This man finds himself called an apostle, and marked out for a task. These last two are the works of God in his life. I concluded this way:

It is remarkable – the God of Heaven put His word in the hands of men.

Now …

God’s word is in your hands.

What kind of credibility do you offer its message in the places where you live?

~~~

For our afternoon service, we did something different. As our Thanksgiving Sunday fell on the first Sunday of the month, making it a Communion Sunday, I decided to create a reading interspersed with various hymns to prepare our hearts for communion. We had our deacons and one of the deacon’s wives doing most of the reading. I read the ‘narrator’ bits. The selections moved from some of the birth passages to the betrayal and denial, the trial, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. The hymns were selected from our Majesty Hymnal. The whole reading and singing took us about 45 minutes to complete. The whole service was quite moving as simply the words of Scripture put before us once again the redemptive work of Christ. So that you can see the way the service went, here is a link to Thanksgiving: A Communion Reading.

May the Lord bless you in your work, wherever you might be. At our Thanksgiving, our hearts are quite full of the grace of God.

May those unsaved folks who visited our services this weekend be moved by the power of the Word of God to trust Christ for their own salvation.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

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