Thankfulness in November
In the past few days I have been impressed by the beauty of the fall foliage. Walking or driving through familiar blocks seem different with all the colors of the leaves. I thank God for the beauty of His creation.
November is the month we celebrate Thanksgiving Day as a nation. The exercise of being thankful often gives us new perspective on our same set of circumstances. We need to be thankful people for our emotional, mental and spiritual well being. The book of Psalms is a great guide to living a thankful life.
One of the great aspects of the book of Psalms is that they reflect various circumstances. At times the Psalmist (often David) is overjoyed and at other times he is depressed.
Psalm 34 is an example of David’s praise when he feels great. The first 3 verses say,
I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.
David rejoiced in the blessings of God in his life. The question for us is whether or not we thank God in our successes, consider ourselves lucky, or take the credit ourselves. When we receive a good report from the doctor, it makes more sense to thank our Creator that to congratulate ourselves.
Another type of Psalm is what has been called a complaining Psalm. Here David is in a place of pain. His thankfulness is more a step of faith than an overflowing emotion. Could it be that when we feel least like being thankful, we most need to give God praise.
Psalm 13 is a Psalm that is best read as a complete prayer. David wrote:
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me. Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.
In the midst of pain and sorrow, David could declare his trust in God’s unfailing love. David rejoiced in God’s salvation. He could sing when he likely did not feel like singing, and David declared that God has been good to him.
As believers we have multiple reasons to be thankful. We can speak with the Creator of the universe on a daily basis. We have been forgiven and know that heaven awaits us some day. God has promised to guide and hold us through the challenges of life. In Christ we are loved and have purpose in living beyond ourselves.
I encourage us today to be like David who thanked God in the joys of life and by faith express gratitude when life is hard. Our God is worthy of praise in the good times and the hard times of life.
May Thanksgiving be more than a day on our calendar!
Prayer for the Persecuted Church: Nov. 3
November 3rd will be marked by thousands of churches around the world as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. This tradition has been ongoing for many years as western Christians have been educated to the challenges of living as a Christian in hostile environments.
This year we remember that it is very difficult to live as a Christian in countries such as Saudi Arabia and North Korea. Sometimes persecution is government sponsored and at other times local religious leaders lead mob violence against Christians. Often persecution is tied to stopping people from converting to Christianity.
Voice of the Martyrs website is a good source of news to learn of people and places where there is suffering for Christ. (www.persecution.com)
This year we also highlight that our Christians brothers and sisters are also fighting for human rights in various countries including Hong Kong and South Korea. There, the protestors face hardship in their fight to maintain their freedoms including freedom to worship.
On Sunday, November 3rd, time will be taken in our Sunday worship service to pray for those who suffer for their faith around the world. Be sure to keep the persecuted church in your prayers.
Building Upgrades and Renovations
In recent weeks we have been in the process of fixing some of the issues in our building. This includes some external repairs along with cleaning up the inside of the building.
Repairs include the nursery and replacement of carpet upstairs and downstairs. We also replaced the hot water heater last month. At the time of this writing the work is not yet finished but the end is in sight.
A part of our vision as a church is that we are able to steward our building in a way that other ministries also use our facilities. We host three churches (Korean, Chinese, and Spanish speaking) and offer some building use to a couple of additional programs. The heavy use of the building means that maintenance comes more frequently. Consider supporting our building fund in addition to regular giving.
Speaking of the building upgrades, look out for the new painting in our church lobby painted by our own artist, Wynter Yee.
We thank God for our building in the heart of our growing community, just blocks form the busiest bridge in the world.
Thanksgiving Themed Meal: November 24
We are a congregation where the majority of our adults were born in another country. Not every country observes a Thanksgiving meal in the way that America does.
One of the annual events that is important to the life of our church is an annual Thanksgiving meal on the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day. This year it will take place on Sunday, November 24th, following the morning worship service.
The meal is like our monthly church dinner except that it is sure to include turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and other Thanksgiving favorites. A sign up sheet will be available to help prepare for this special meal. Consider inviting a friend or someone unfamiliar with the American Thanksgiving traditions.
November Events at Fort Lee Gospel
11:00 AM Worship Service Our weekly service including worship through singing, prayer, preaching and fellowship. Nursery and three children’s classes are available.
9:00 AM Chinese Worship Service The Chinese worship service is led by Pastor Sandy Xie and she can be reached at 917-593-0420.
1:30 PM Korean Worship Service Contact Pastor Jaedoo Lee for further details at 646-464-2448.
5:30 PM Spanish Worship Service Contact Rev. Esteban Canales at 973-510-8834 for more details.
7:00 PM, Nov 3 & 17 Evening Service Our Sunday evening service usually meets on the first and third Sunday of the month.
1:30 PM, Nov 10 & 24 NYC Nursing Home Ministry A group leads a service twice a month at a nursing home in NYC.
1:15 PM, Nov 17 Seniors Ministry A group leads a service at an assisted living facility in Teaneck.
12:30 PM, Nov. 24 Church Dinner Our month meal with a Thanksgiving theme.
12:30 PM, Tuesdays Men’s Lunch & Bible Study We meet for a meal before we study the Bible and pray together.
7:30 PM, Tuesdays Bible Study The group is studying the book of Joshua.
6:00 AM, Wednesdays Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
6:00 AM Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting combining personal and group prayer meets every Saturday.
2:00 PM, Nov 2, 16 & 30 Women’s Bible Study Study from The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms & Wisdom Books
5:00 PM, Nov 2, 16 & 30 Youth Group For those in 7th grade through 12th grade.
Operation Christmas Child
This year Fort Lee Gospel Church will continue to encourage the congregation to prepare shoe box gifts for children around the world. Our church has participated in this program for about twenty years.
Operation Christmas Child is a program that fills shoe boxes with school supplies, small toys, and toiletries, to be sent to children in poor and war-torn nations of the world. Shoe boxes will be collected during the fall to be shipped out in time for Christmas, with a collection date of November 17th through 24th.
Samaritan’s Purse has been sending shoe boxes around the world for many years. Plan to take part in this important ministry that God is using around the world. For details on packing the boxes, brochures are available or you can speak with Laurie. Further information on building a shoe box can be found online at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. Be sure to check out this site.
The past few years our church has prepared about 100 shoe boxes each year, with last year reaching about 140 boxes. Every box built impacts a life and often a family, showing them the love of Jesus. We believe God will use this ministry to touch many lives, as we all participate and do our part. Plan to be a part of this important ministry.
Thanksgiving Proclamation from 1864
It is the duty of the nations as well as of men to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proved by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.
We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subject to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins; to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings are produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and all those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.
by Abraham Lincoln