Three Invitations to the Thanksgiving ServiceNovember 18, 2022 Thanksgiving
Three Invitations to the Thanksgiving Service
One of my earliest memories at Harvest—eight years ago—was attending the annual Thanksgiving Service. I remember sitting with Suzanne and listening to the testimony of a member who shared how God had been at work in their marriage through an unthinkable, do-we-pull-the-plug-on-this-thing set of circumstances. As someone who was visiting Harvest at the time, I left encouraged by God’s goodness as testified to by his people.
It wasn’t just stories about God’s goodness in the weighty and hard though. It was short, simple observations about how God’s lavish kindness were splashed all around us: in the beauty of sunsets, the sweet laughter of friends, the innocence of a newborn baby. While sometimes the hustle and hardships of life conspire to cast the goodness of God in muted greys, as I heard these testimonies it was as if I was begin to see the beauty of God’s goodness in full color again.
Our Thanksgiving Service this year will be Wednesday, November 23 from 7:00 – 8:15 PM. Like a normal worship service, we’ll gather to sing, pray, and hear God speak through Scripture and sermon. Unlike an ordinary worship service, during the Thanksgiving service, the sermon is only about 15 minutes because we want to give time to hear testimonies from members and visitors about things they are thankful for. This year, Pastor Adrian will be preaching from Philippians 4, “Contentment When Nothing Seems Like Enough.”
So, as we look ahead to this holiday season, I want to extend to you a warm, three-fold invitation:
- To Come to the Thanksgiving Service. You will be encouraged as I was those many years ago (and have been in years since)! And what’s more: you will encourage others by your presence!
- Write a Testimony. We are still inviting people to submit a written testimony by Sunday, November 20. Your thanksgiving testimony will answer the question: what am I thankful for? It could be for certain ways God has provided for you, saved you, encouraged you, grown you, or otherwise carried you through difficult times. Testimonies range in length from a couple sentences to a couple paragraphs. You can submit your testimony by clicking this link.
(Note: while we would love for people to read their own testimony at the thanksgiving service so that we hear more varied and personal expressions of thanksgiving, you can also request that one of the pastors read your testimony for you).
- Invite a friend: Decide on inviting someone to join you at the Thanksgiving service. Special events like holidays are great opportunities to invite people to come with us to church since some people still see going to church on holidays as something we should do. Spend some time praying about who you could invite and then ask for the Lord to help you move toward that person with an invitation. If you want help learning how to invite a friend, I found this 20-minute video helpful.
Hope to see you (and your friends) next Wednesday,
What I’m Reading:
Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rumelt. Rumelt is a professor at UCLA who teaches on strategy. This was a helpful book in thinking through how organizations think about problems and how we address them.
Compel Them to Come In: Calvinism and the Free Offer of the Gospel by Donald Macleod. A heart-warming, soul-stirring book on why we should invite people to trust in Christ. As someone who preaches regularly, I hope the substance and tone of this book will be increasingly evident in my own ministry.
Just Starting Out: 7 Letters to a New Christian by Alan Stewart. A very short booklet that would be great to read and discuss with someone who has become a Christian recently. It discusses how we become Christians and basic Christian practices: reading the Bible, prayer, church membership, and evangelism.