Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day
November 23, 2006

INTRODUCTION: Once again we have come to another Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving here at Zion is much more likened to a harvest festival in which we return thanks to God who has given us another year to serve Him in providing the people of this world food to eat.

We have again experienced the four seasons which are so critical and significant to our farming community. There is first, the dormancy of winter in which the world around us sleeps and enters hibernation. But with the emergence of spring comes the hope of another season. Planting leads to growth and maturation in summer which gives way to the harvest of autumn. Each year has its own challenges and this year has had its own.  How should we view this year’s harvest? Let us consider these realities.

Through the kindness of God we have again received the fruit of the earth in their season.

Our prayer should be that we rejoice in Christ’s mercy.

Our prayer should be that neither prosperity nor adversity would drive us from Christ’s presence.

CONCLUSION: Lord God heavenly Father, through whose kindness we have again received the fruits of the earth in their season, grant us ever to rejoice in Your mercy that neither prosperity nor adversity may drive us from Your presences. This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving Eve
November 22, 2006

As we gather this night to give thanks to the Lord for another harvest, for an opportunity to serve Him let us come to Him as He has invited us simply to come, for we come at Christ’s great invitation.

Christ’s Great Invitation

I.        Come – UNTO ME – For Rest. Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

A.     Are you burdened, weighed down by the load and cares of this life and the troubles of this world. Does sin hamper and consume us? Where can we find relief?

B.     The rest we find comes from the Lord Jesus who suffered, died and rose again to give us eternal rest and gladness. He bore our sins in His own body on the cross that we might die to sin and live unto righteousness.

Transition: We look to Jesus for rest from the burdens of sin and strife. We look unto Him for life. 

II.     Look – UNTO ME – for Life Isaiah 45:22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

A.     The Lord is specific – turn to Me to be saved. There is salvation in no one else. Jesus is the only way to salvation. He desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. He desires all from the ends of the earth to come to Him and be His.

B.     Apart from Christ there is no other way of salvation. There is no other way! He is not just one among many. He alone is the only way.

Transition: As He comes to us for rest, as He comes to us for life He comes to us for us to be made whole.

III.   Turn – UNTO ME – for Restoration Nehemiah 1:9 “but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.”

A.     The Lord has a plan, to gather all men to Himself. He desires us to return back to Him. How do we come to Him? We come to Him with humble and thankful hearts. We come at His bidding, at His urging, at His calling.

B.     We come to the place He has chosen. It might be this service tonight. It might have been at a moment in your life when you realized God’s call. It comes daily as He speaks to us clearly through His Word and in His Sacraments. His calling, urging, prompting, is His Holy Spirit at work in you.