Phoenix Disciples Newsletter #30

Sermon by 
Al Baird
November 23, 2020
“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near…Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” - James 5:7-8, 10-11 (NIV)


In a few days we will celebrate the strangest Thanksgiving that most of us have ever experienced. Thanksgiving is usually about being with family and friends. But as the COVID-19 numbers once again climb, plans are changing. I have been looking forward for months to my trip to San Francisco to spend the holiday week with my daughter Kristi and family, but with tightening travel restrictions in California my trip had to be cancelled last week. That is the fourth flight that I have had to cancel during the pandemic.

This has been an incredibly difficult year for every one of us. We have lost loved ones, we have had health issues, we have faced social and political unrest, we have missed the close fellowship and worship with our brothers and sisters…and the list seems to go on and on.

I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving, celebrated almost 400 years ago by the Pilgrims. The year before, 102 passengers sailed for 66 days from England to their new village of Plymouth. That first brutal winter only half of them survived. With the help of friendly Native Americans, the survivors adapted and thrived. In November they celebrated God’s mercy and goodness with a feast. 

Their lists of hardships and losses would doubtless make ours pale in comparison. But they chose to focus on their blessings rather than the negatives. Their example is an upward call for me, and hopefully for you. Let’s take some time to consider God’s goodness to us.

Here are just a few things: 1) We have family and friends who love us. 2) We have sufficient food, clothing, and shelter. 3) We have the word of God to guide us in every area that matters. 4) We are a part of a fellowship of disciples who are committed to following God and loving one another. 5) We have the hope and expectation of an eternity of perfection with our God.

Why don’t you expand this list? Just doing it will make you thankful and make our troubles not seem so overwhelming.

Until our next update, stay thankful, stay calm, walk with God, and encourage one another,

Al Baird for the Leadership Team

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