Monday, November 14, 2011

A Word of Thanksgiving from Bro. Jeff Summers

A Word of Thanksgiving from Bro. Jeff Summers:

2 Corinthians 4:15
“For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.”

I must confess, far too often, I focus on the potential problems that lie ahead rather than taking the time to give thanks for what God has done and is doing amongst us.  In the midst of giving thanks, I am able to reflect on God’s plans and achievements that otherwise may get overlooked by more pressing agendas and if you will, the “squeaky wheel” that out shouts those things God is doing.

Pausing to reflect on what God has done and is doing in our faith family, I can’t help but think of the increasing spiritual growth and hunger that I see at Trinity, and even more so since I first joined this body.  Specifically, I see a hunger in parents wanting to know how to lead their children spiritually. One of our children’s teachers, in response to the call to help equip and encourage parents, has begun to reach out to the moms of the children she teaches by offering up her home for them to meet and disciple one another. There was a great response!  All of our children’s teachers, of whom I am so thankful for, not only love to teach our children, but are seeking ways to encourage and help parents be that primary faith teacher for their children.
A similar effect is happening among our men and fathers as we meet in our Men’s Fraternity each week - at the break of dawn I might add...and I am not a morning person! But we are hungry to be the husbands and fathers God called us to be. God’s grace is moving in and through these men, and the benefactors are our families! Our praise goes to our Lord for the work of His Spirit amongst us.

As a family pastor, I am thrilled to see God’s Spirit doing a work in the hearts of moms and dads who have an increasing desire to raise up a Godly generation! I am thankful for a church, our senior pastor, and ministerial staff who all have the shared vision that our church partner with parents and families to raise up the next generation to know the Lord. We have dedicated teachers and other leaders in our various children’s ministries who are not only faithful to deliver God’s Word to our children, but are seeking ways to equip and encourage parents.  I’ve mentioned our Sunday School teachers, but our AWANA leaders and directors see children growing to know God’s Word in a tremendous way, and our parents are a vital part of this growth.  Tim Wyatt, and his team during D6Live Kids Worship, is not only equipping our kids with God’s Word each week, but he is supplying resources to our parents, and involving our parents in kids worship. I am so thankful to all our teachers and leaders who serve in Sunday School, AWANA, kids worship, our KidCare, nursery captains, and Angie and Pam who so lovingly serve our families not only on Sundays but through our Mother’s Day Out Ministry.

An evidence of God’s grace spreading through many, and the shared vision of the partnership between the church and parents, is the increasing number of children asking about wanting to follow Christ as their Lord and Savior. This is not an accident. As parents teach their children at home, and the Church teaches the family, the Spirit of God begins to bring children to a point of salvation! Praise the Lord!
As I turn to reflect on our church’s responsibility to carry out our mission to the world, our church is making great strides in growth toward realizing that we are all called to make disciples starting in our own neighborhoods and extending to the unreached and unengaged people groups around the world. We have had multiple families not only host block parties in their own neighborhoods during Halloween, but other families committed to being at home just so that they can be a witness to their neighbors!  This is what making disciples means! From a consistent team of people serving the homeless in Memphis every month to men discipling one another, to our church sending teams to other areas around our world so that others may hear and be reconciled to Christ. We have been able to expand our partnership with other ministries and missionaries. The grace of God is at work in our church accomplishing His purposes in our families and enlarging our hearts and wills to reaching people for His Kingdom.

I want to thank the Lord for the men I serve with every single day. I am honored and privileged to not only call them brothers but to be serving with men who love the Lord enthusiastically and love his church, I am simply humbled. As the least of these men, I thank God for his providence of placing me here with them to serve His church.            Finally, I want to express my deepest appreciation and thanks to Carol Ann and our children for their support, for their growth in Christ, and love in spite of my many, many failings. I love you guys!

The sad thing is this: I don’t say thank you enough to my Lord or to you. Thank you for loving my family, thank you for responding to the Lord and growing in your faith, thank you for serving our Savior, and being an encouragement to me. Know this, that my thanks to God is great because I see the grace of God abounding to more and more people within our family of faith, and extending outward to those who have yet come to know that amazing grace.

In Christ, 
Bro. Jeff

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