Ephesians 1:15-23
1 Corinthians 1:4-5

Asked to write a composition entitled, What I am thankful for on Thanksgiving, little Johnny wrote, “I am thankful that I’m not a turkey.”

Shawn Achor, a psychologist who teaches at Harvard, suggests that we can train our brains to become more grateful by setting aside just five minutes a day for practicing gratitude. He cites a study in which people were asked to take five minutes a day, at the same time every day, to write down three things they were thankful for. They didn’t have to be big things, but they had to be concrete and specific, such as, “I’m thankful for the delicious Thai take-out dinner I had last night.” Or, “I’m thankful that my daughter gave me a hug.” Or, “I’m thankful that my boss complimented my work.” The participants simply expressed thanks for three specific things at the same time every day. At the end of just one month, the researchers followed up and found that those who practiced gratitude were happier and less depressed. Remarkably, even after six months, the participants were still more joyful, less anxious, and less depressed. The researchers hypothesized that the simple practice of writing down three thanksgivings a day primed the participants’ minds to search for the good in their lives.

Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life. It lowers blood pressure, improves immune function and facilitates more efficient sleep.

One recent study from the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine found that people who were more grateful actually had better heart health, specifically less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms.

And finally stress hormones like cortisol are 23 percent lower in grateful people.

Next Sunday, I am going to give you a chance to express what you are thankful for.

But today I wish to express my thanksgiving to God, and to you for you, for your service, for your faith and your commitment to Christ

I thank God for the good people of Crosspointe Community Church. I am thankful for the great people who make CrossPointe the loving and kind congregation it is. I am thankful for the decisions that you have made to make this your church home; to worship here, to fellowship here, to spiritually grow here; to practice your faith here by offering your gifts to God the Father through Jesus the Son in the power of His Holy Spirit.

I thank God for those of you who have responded to God’s call to use your gifts in a leadership capacity.

I thank God for those who serve as staff members: Annie Dean, Chuck Lemmon, and Gail Hruska.

I thank God for those who serve on our Leadership Team: Amy Topola, Annie Dean, Chuck Lemmon, Gail Hruska, Gale Arthur, Heidi Cantlin, Jim Arthur, Robyn Tresch.

I thank God for those who serve as Trustees: Lee Kehoe, Bill Richardson and Stephanie Kinney; and Annie Dean, Chuck Lemmon, Gail Hruska,

I thank God for those who serve as Financial Secretaries: Annie Dean, Gail Hruska, and Gale Arthur.

I thank God for our two Treasurers: Chuck Lemmon and Jim Arthur.

I thank God for those of you who participate in providing leadership during worship. In that regard, I thank God for those use their gifts to serve in the Music Ministry: our musicians; Barb Schuster, Jim Brandenburg, John Topola, and John Dean; our song leaders; Dawn Tresch, Heidi Cantlin, Kathy Sheppard, Lindsay Brandenburg, Patti Nelson, Robyn Tresch and Sheryl Noble; our choir members; in addition to those just named, Alan Robbins, Erica Grey, Frank Noble, Judy Hankins, Lexi Rentschler, Lyle Morse, Rhonda Lloyd, and Vanna Robbins.

I thank God for those who use their gifts of prayer during worship: Alan Robbins, Annie Dean, Brad Winter, Chuck Lemmon, Karen Snyder, Karen Tate, Kathy Sheppard, Nancy Carr and Robyn Tresch.

I thank God for those who use their gift of helps to serve in the nursery: Amy Topola, Sheri Eckert, Suz Lemmon and Vanna Robbins.

I thank God for those who use their teaching gifts to serve in kid’s worship: Karen Tate, Kathy Sheppard, Lyle Morse, and Robyn Tresch.

I thank God for those who use their gifts of helps to serve as ushers: Cathy and Larry Warner, Chuck and Suz Lemmon, Denny Huff, Jerry and Sandy Barnes, Jim and Gale Arthur, Lee Kehoe, Ron and Rena Thomas, and in addition Bob Petruna and Tom and Sara Copley today.

I thank God for those who use their gifts of helps to serve as greeters: Deidra Pettry, Flo Madrolaus, Jenny Richardson, Jim and Gale Arthur, Lee Kehoe, Liz Pelillo, and Ron and Rena Thomas.

I thank God for those who use their gifts of helps as communion stewards: Alan and Vanna Robbins, Chuck Suz Lemmon, Jim and Gale Arthur, Karen Snyder, Lee Kehoe, Ron and Rena Thomas.

I thank God for those who provide leadership for our various programs:

I thank God for Annie Dean and Chuck Lemmon who use their gifts of compassion and shepherding to lead, in Annie’s case our Grief Ministry, and in Chuck’s, our Recovery Ministry.

I thank God for Larry and Cathy Warner who use their gifts of hospitality and generosity in providing our Senior’s lunches and summer farm markets.

And I thank God for Gail who is currently leading the Really Bad Girls of Crosspointe (a bible study on the “Really Bad Girls of the Bible”).

I thank God for those who have used their Handyman gifts in various ways: Jim Brandenburg, Bill Richardson, Lee Kehoe and Jerry Barnes.

Beyond being thankful for all the ways that you contribute to the life and ministry of this congregation I am thankful that we collectively have a God-given Purpose of “Sharing God’s Grace with Our Community” and that you have embraced it so well. I thank God that He has enabled us to see that the church is not only about coming together to worship and fellowship but also about heading out and ministering to our community.

In that regard I thank God for those of you who use your gifts of serving others to participate in our Gather to Scatter. And surely I will miss someone, so I am going to ask to help me by standing if you have ever gathered to scatter. And a special thanks to Annie Dean for recently taking over the leadership of this important ministry.

I thank God for all of you who have ever participated in our once a month Free Community Dinner.

I thank God for all the people who use their gifts of serving others to help in any capacity with the annual Lions Club Polar Bear Event.

Similarly, I thank God for all of you who have participated in the last 2 years in the Chippewa Lake Labor Day Summer’s End Party

I thank God for all of you who use your gifts of compassion and generosity as it concerns opportunities to help the less fortunate; the Thanksgiving Boxes and the Adopt a Family at Christmas.

And I thank God for those of you who use your gifts of faith and generosity as it concerns your commitment to the Biblical principles of Christian stewardship.

Without you we would not have been able to give thanks today for all that we are enabled to accomplish on Christ’s behalf. Without you, we wouldn’t be here today at all; we wouldn’t have the blessing of this building, this ministry, this manifestation of God’s presence in this community.

Have you ever stopped to imagine the positive impact that our family has had in coming to and maintaining this ministry in Chippewa Lake? I don’t think I am stretching it to say that almost everyone who lives here knows about our, and therefore, God’s presence here. And whether or not people come to join us on Sunday morning they know about a group of people who are doing their best to make a significant impact on this community. What I am saying is without your commitment to giving every Sunday this amazing ministry we share together would not be possible.

Realizing that, doesn’t that make all of you want to get involved financially supporting this ministry according to the Biblical principles of stewardship?

What are those principles you ask? I’m glad you asked.

  1. God is the rightful owner of everything we have. Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”
  2. Therefore; everything we have is a gift from God. I Tim. 6:17 says, “Teach those who are rich in the world, not to be proud and not to trust in their money which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”
  3. Therefore, we are stewards (managers) of what God has blessed us with. I Co. 4: “It is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”
  4. Faithful stewards give a portion of their income to the Lord’s work. II Co. 8:11 “Give in proportion to what you have.”
  5. The Biblical guideline for the portion is the tithe (10%). Malachi 3:10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse.”

Hey, if everyone in our congregation tithed there’s no telling what we could accomplish here on behalf of Christ. We would be able to pay off the rest of our $84,000 mortgage and begin saving for a much needed addition. Or we could perhaps buy the house and property out front that may well go up for auction in the coming year. Or we could work toward improving our 7 acre property to match the appearance of our building. Or we could hire a Youth or Children’s Pastor.

If everyone tithed you would no longer see a weekly deficit in your Sunday morning bulletin. From Jan through Oct, our average giving per week has been $2248 which is $265 per week short of our weekly need of $2513.

How are we able to take care of all of our financial obligations you ask? You may recall that we received $10,075 in a special Easter Offering. Those monies have supplemented our weekly giving, enabling us to remain solvent.

But if nothing changes in this regard, it is only a matter of time before we have to ask for another special offering. Unless God prompts us all to get in line with what He in His Word says about this and everyone begin to give sacrificially, regularly and joyfully to the Lord’s work here at CrossPointe.

Wait a minute did you say joyfully? I did. In II Corinthians 9:7, Paul says that those who give joyfully are those who carefully make a decision about how much they are going to give and then they just do it week in and week out.

And so I thank God for this opportunity to challenge you all. And I thank God ahead of time for the responses that we are going to make to bring us more in line with what God says.

You know; in standing here this morning and giving God thanks for you all while at the same time also challenging us to grow in our faith, I can’t help but think of our departed friend and brother Ken Jones. He stood where I am today and challenged us many times to give joyfully. And I can only hope that I am as effective as he was in this regard. Ken was one who not only encouraged us all to give our best he gave his best to the Master.

He believed in resourcing God’s Church so much that while Ken was still with us, he made arrangements for CrossPointe to receive some $27,000 through a 401-K. It was because of Ken’s commitment and generosity that we were able to make these wonderful improvements to this church building this year; this new floor, the windows and the siding.

And it is our privilege to dedicate them to the Lord in Ken’s name.

Dedication of Recent Improvements to CrossPointe Community Church

We thank You, O God, that through the faithfulness and generosity of our departed brother in Christ, Kenneth E. Jones, we have been enabled to make improvements to this building.

We pray that people who walk or drive by this church building on any given day will see this church building as a place of beauty and a haven of blessing and peace.

We pray that the light of Christ will shine out through these windows and be a beacon of hope to all who live in this community.

We pray that all who walk the floors of this sanctuary will also walk in all Your ways; devoting themselves to loving You with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength.

Almighty God, we dedicate the recent improvements to this church building to Your glory. Thank You for Ken’s generosity that enables us to be more welcoming to all who come to CrossPointe Community Church. And thank You too for all those others who have made these improvements possible; for their vision, their labors, their guidance, and their prayers. In the name of Jesus Christ who is our ultimate and sure foundation, we pray. Amen.

May the memory of Ken Jones inspire us to follow in his footsteps by as much as possible right now giving ourselves to God.