Respond

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In this message, we learn that a grateful heart lives victorious.

Alright, hey, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. I’m really glad that you’re here with us today. We want to welcome all of our campuses wherever you are, Den Flower Mound, Lewisville, The Venue, watching online, let’s welcome each other. Together, we are so glad that you are here. It is a great season to be a part of this church and what God is doing in this place. And I really want to make your attention aware of, starting on Monday, we are going to have prepare basically a week-long opportunity where we’re going to get ready for God to move. We did something similar to this last year but we didn’t call it anything. We just tried it organically. We basically just had worship and prayer every morning for a week kind of before that back-to-school season. And it was incredible. And we had such great participation, God moved, He engaged with us and we really believe it set the tone for the entire fall experience that we had and so this year, we want to raise the value of that even more. And so at every one of our campuses, from Monday through Friday this week, from 6:30 to 7:30 in the morning, there’s going to be an hour, just an hour of worship, prayer and encountering God.

Every day, there’ll be a prayer point that we’re going to rally around together and what we just want to do is get ready for God to move. Because I don’t know about you, but I’m expecting God to move this fall. I mean, I love this verse, Joshua 3:5, Joshua said, “Consecrate yourselves, prepare yourselves, get yourselves ready for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” He says, “Hey, God’s going to move.” Are you going to be ready? And so there’s an invitation from God for us to prepare ourselves for that what he wants to do. And so, if you think about it, there’s a lot of stuff happening, like it’s back-to-school season, it’s back to routine season. It’s — some of you, it’s back to work season, like summer’s winding down, fall is kicking off, God wants to do some amazing things. And we love Matthew 6:33, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and everything else will be given unto you. What if before we go back to getting our kids all scurried and set off with their school supplies and we get back to our football season fun and all that kind of stuff and back to our routine and our work, what if we just put God first.

And prepare the spiritual environment of this atmosphere, of this city, and then our own lives for God to win the lost, for God to bring breakthrough, for God to heal marriages, for God to do miracles. We want to be a church that prepares the spiritual atmosphere through prayer and worship, more so than just showing up and expecting God to move. We want to start by asking God to move and putting ourselves in that posture with him. Does that make sense? So, every day, that’s all — every day is going to be different. Every campus come one day, come all days, hope to see you 6:30, 7:30 every single day this week, it’s going to be awesome. Alright. We are — we’re in a series called grateful. And the tagline — we started it last week, the tagline is the key to living a full life.

And if you were here with us last week, we talked about this concept and we said that like you can have everything the world offers and still have an empty life. Or you can have hardly anything at all and have an overflowing life. We said that an overflowing life is only possible with a grateful heart. And when you can learn to be grateful for where you’ve been and where you are, you actually position yourself to get where God wants you to go. And I really believe this is an incredibly important series for our church because you have to understand that gratitude is the culture of the kingdom of God. It’s not just a random concept. It’s not just a nice thing that you should say to the person at Starbucks that gives you your drink. Like, it’s the culture of the kingdom of God. And we want to be grateful people. We want that to get embedded in our value system here at this church, because you have to understand gratitude is the opposite spirit of the world.

The world lives with a grumbling spirit, the kingdom of God lives with a grateful spirit. And when we show up with a grateful spirit in a grumbling environment, we actually defeat the kingdom of darkness. And so we need to learn to be grateful people with an overflowing life, not based on circumstances, but based on the goodness of God. And so if you were here with us last week, let me just remind you what we talked about. We took a look at the story in Luke Chapter 17, you know, there’s 10 lepers. And these 10 lepers, this incurable disease, and they cry out to Jesus, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us”, from a distance. And he says, “Okay”, because he has compassion for all of us. And he says, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” In other words, take a next step, they take a next step. They’re all healed but only one guy comes back, throws himself at Jesus’ feet to give thanks. And what we did with that story is we pulled it apart and we said that there’s really five things that we learned about why gratitude matters. And I just want to walk back through those because they’re — yes, they’re that important. We said the first thing is this gratitude is always a response to God’s grace.

That that’s where it comes from. When you start to understand the undeserved favor of God that’s been poured out in your life, the only natural response is to give thanks to him. When we are living in a posture of ungratefulness, it’s because we have forgotten how much God has done for us that he has saved us, and healed us, and freed us and provided for us. Gratitude is the only natural response to the grace of God in our lives. And then the second thing we said about gratitude is we said that gratitude keeps us humble. We talked about how easy it is to take credit for the good things in our lives. And we have these little formulas of why the good things in our lives have happened because we’ve been disciplined or we’ve worked hard, or we went to school when everyone else went and played, or we did this when everyone else did that. We have these little formulas and we start to take credit and we forget that when we stop giving thanks to God, what we do is we unintentionally put ourselves into a posture of independence instead of God dependence. And we forget that every good thing in our life comes from God.

And we talked about this truth that gratitude is humility expressed. That it’s an acknowledgment that you need God and other people in your lives. That God has done something for you that you could never do for yourselves. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but he gives grace to the humble.” In other words, God’s grace makes us humble and humility allows us to receive more of God’s grace. It’s an amazing cycle. His grace makes us humble and humility opens us up to say, “Yes, God, I need even more of you. I am completely dependent upon you in my life.” So gratitude keeps us humble. And then the third thing we talked about was that how gratitude builds our faith. This was sometimes when I’m writing messages, I call it the money point. This is — this was the money point of last week. It was like the one that if you didn’t listen to anything else we said, I’ll hope you got this one because gratitude builds your faith. Like when you give thanks to God, what you’re doing is you’re connecting God to the good things in your life.

We said Hebrews 11:1, it says faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. So faith is the belief in the unseen. It’s the expectation that God is going to move. Well, how does my faith in the unseen grow? By giving thanks for what I have seen. When I start to thank God for what He has done, my faith in what He wants to do begins to grow. When I thank God for how He has moved, my faith and expectation for Him to move begins to grow. God’s faithfulness yesterday gives us the faith we need for today, but if we don’t thank Him for yesterday, we don’t have the faith for today. And we looked at this verse, Romans 1:21, for although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but in their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. It’s an incredibly sobering verse because what it’s saying is that when we don’t give thanks to God, we start to have worldly thinking, we start to have hard hearts and the truth is, an ungrateful heart is the birthplace of the spirit of doubt.

That a lack of gratitude is agreement with the king of darkness. And we talked about our prayer lives, if you are here, and maybe you remember that when we said that the problem is, is that we spend all this time asking God to do things and He shows up and He does them but we never go back and give thanks to Him, so our faith for the next thing never begins to grow. And we looked at the lepers and we said that only one guy comes back. They all need Jesus from a distance but only one guy comes back and gives thanks and we said that if Jesus is master when we’re in need, He shouldn’t be irrelevant when we’re — when we have plenty. That if we seek Him when we’re desperate, we shouldn’t ignore Him when we’ve been delivered. And if we really want to be a people with a big faith, we have to first learn to be people with a big level of gratitude. And so we said, what if 90% of our prayer life isn’t asking God for things, it’s just thanking God. Thank you, God, that you made the earth. Thank you, God, that you raised Jesus from the grave. Thank you, God, that you poured out your holy spirit on me. Thank you, God, that you’ve given me food today. Thank you, God, that you woke me up this morning.

Thank you, God, that you brought me to this church today. Thank you, God, that you filled my air with lungs. Thank you, God, for the way that you’ve been moving in my life. Thank you, God, that even when I feel like I’m alone, you’re there and you’re with me and all of a sudden, we start thanking God and our faith begins to grow. You’re like, “You said that last week.” I know, I want to say it again this week. In fact, I found this verse this week, I wish I had it last week, Psalm 118:21, I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory. Boom, just listen to that verse, I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory. Just reading it builds my faith. Because what the Psalm is just saying is I had a need and I asked you about it, and you delivered on it. And instead of me just going back to my life now, I came and gave you thanks and acknowledged you gave me victory so you know what, now, I’m expecting the next victory.

You can just feel it begin to grow. Gratitude builds your faith. If we’re ever going to be people, we have a faith, we have to learn to say thanks. And then we said the fourth thing was, is that gratitude is the pathway to encounters with God. That if we really want to meet with God, it’s gratitude that draws us into his presence because 10 lepers got a word from Jesus, but only one leper got a touch from Jesus. And it was the one who came back to give thanks that got a touch. Psalm 100 verse 4, enter his gates with thanksgiving in your heart and his courts with praise. He tells us the way in is through gratitude. That gratitude doesn’t make God come, it reminds me He’s already here. It doesn’t move Him closer to me, it moves me closer to Him. And so every day, we get a choice we can stand at a distance and shout to God or we can come close through the posture of gratitude. And then the last thing we said is that gratitude gives us a healthy heart. That there’s something about gratitude that just makes us whole. It makes us in this posture where we feel strong and victorious. Giving thanks to God anchors our hearts in His goodness, so that we can walk through the midst of the storms of life. We said Psalm 23:5, David, who is running from Saul, has this crazy life, things couldn’t be worse for him.

He says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.” In other words, David says, “I have a full life because I have a good God, even though my circumstances stink.” I’m going to choose to give Him thanks so I can be healthy. I’m going to thank Him for what I do have and that allows me to walk in victory over what I don’t have. Okay. So that’s a recap from last week. And if you’re saying, “Okay, I — like, great, man, we heard that sermon last week.” Then good, you’re catching my point. Thank you. We finished that up. We finished that up but because I had five points, we didn’t have time to really finish. We finished the message, but we didn’t really have time to respond. It’s good.

And so this week, as I begin to prepare for this week, I realize that we really couldn’t jump in to the next round of content because we hadn’t responded to the last round of content. But we always have to understand. You can feel it, today, the tone is a little bit different and it’s a good tone. So lean into it with me. We have to remember and understand that the teachings of Jesus are never meant to educate us, they’re meant to transform us. That Jesus really — He didn’t really just — like if we think of the disciples, like they didn’t live a lifestyle of like non-stop sermons. I think sometimes in our minds, that’s what we think like I would have been Ralph Peter three years of non-stop sermons, man. It’s actually not true. Jesus would teach them something and then He would give them a lot of space to apply it in their life. He would actually expect them to do something with what He shared with them. So they received and then he would expect them to respond. And that’s how they begin to grow His people. That’s how they begin to learn, to think like the kingdom of heaven instead of thinking like the kingdom of the world.

And like we said that the number one problem with our prayer life is, is that we ask God for things but we don’t come back and give thanks to Him. The number one problem with our message receptivity, our sermon listening, is we hear all this good stuff but we don’t actually do it in our life. Is that okay to say? Because I don’t do it in my life sometimes, too. We hear great stuff, but what are we doing with it sometimes. And sometimes we just need the space to respond to it. Like Luke 11:29, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey.” Catch it. He says the blessing is not that you heard the great sermon, the blessing is, is that you heard the great sermon and that you actually applied it to your life and that begin to transform you because Jesus says, “I’m not here to educate you, I’m here to set you free.” But you got to hear the truth and then you got to apply the truth if you want the freedom that the truth wants to set you free with. If that make sense. In fact, let me try to say it to you like this, like the religious spirit is born out of the heart that listens but never responds. You say, what is a religious spirit? A religious spirit is someone that thinks they know everything but their life necessarily doesn’t look like the kingdom of God. But boy, they can talk a big kingdom of God game.

The religious spirit comes from the heart that listens but doesn’t actually respond. The best example I could give you would be like a vaccine. Like if you go in and get a vaccine, they actually inject you with a little bit of that virus and it gets into your body and your body builds all these antibodies up to it and then your body thinks like, “Okay, like we’ve dealt with this, we know how to do it.” So then if you walk into an environment that had that disease present, you wouldn’t be able to contract that disease because your body has already acted like it’s taking care of it, it knows it, it’s dealt with it, so it would reject it and you would be okay. Okay. That’s the danger a lot of times in hearing a lot of sermons in our lives. It’s like a vaccine. It’s like it get shot into our spirit. We hear a little bit about gratitude and the importance of it in our lives. And if we don’t actually then give thanks and move into a posture of gratitude, we think we’ve heard that one before. And so we know it, but we didn’t do it so we become resistant to it. And that’s the religious spirit. The religious spirit hears it but doesn’t respond to it, so the next time it’s brought up, it’s actually resistant to it. And that’s the very thing God wants to set us free from. In fact, in John 5, I love this, Jesus says, “You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them, you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” In other words, he says, it’s great that you know all the stuff. You hear all the stuff. You sit under this amazing teaching. He says, but just understand that the whole point of this is to move you to me, teaching in the kingdom of God is always meant to lead us to an encounter with God. God doesn’t want us to just know about Him. He wants us to actually experience Him.

Or how about this in Luke 6. This — Jesus says, “So why do you keep calling me Lord, Lord when you don’t do what I say.” I will show you what it’s like, when someone who comes to me, listens to my teaching and then follows it, it is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the flood waters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it’s well built. Ready? But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey, you listen but you don’t respond, is like a person who builds a house, who’s building their life right on the ground without a foundation, when the flood sweep down against it, the house collapses and it falls into a heap of ruins. In other words, what He’s saying is that when we hear and respond, we’re like a person who builds their life on a solid foundation. But when we hear and don’t respond, here’s the problem. We actually think we’re standing firm, completely oblivious that we’ve built our life on sinking sand. It’s the religious spirit.

I’ve heard but I didn’t respond so I become resistant. And so I think I’m good, but the truth is I’m actually not, and at some point in time, it’s all going to come cratering down. And so here’s — so, here’s what I’m trying to say to you today, like, it was just really interesting this week. Just — I mean, I wrestle to you, like I’m really excited for the message that I was supposed to preach today. We’re going to preach that one next week. But I really felt like from the Lord, we couldn’t move on from last week until we take the time to respond and actually give thanks together. This is not like about like another message. This is about us like being the people of the kingdom of God, following Jesus, listening to Jesus and then actually like taking a little step of faith to apply what Jesus has actually said to our lives. There are some weeks we are here to receive and some weeks we are here to just respond. This is a week to respond to Jesus. And here’s the reality. It is impossible to be grateful when you are busy, and when you are constantly consuming.

It’s impossible. You and I with the best intentions. If we are busy, which we all are and we are constantly consuming which we all are, that would include sermons like go into the next, to the next, to the next, it’s impossible to be grateful. So here’s the beauty. We’ve got this hour together to actually, like, stop for a moment scheduled in our lives to respond, and let our faith grow, and let our hearts get healthy and have an encounter with God and have a little bit of humility. Does that make sense to you? And I know — I know that might be like, well, I’m not so sure about that, but trust me in this, the future for us, we talked about some things last year — last week about the future of shared leadership, the future is also being willing to just be a people that wants to meet with God, and being grateful and content with that. Gratitude is learning to be content with what you have instead of constantly demanding more.

And sometimes we just have to be grateful for what God has said to us instead of demanding more from Him and just respond to that truth. So what we’re just going to do is we’re going to take communion together. And so in a minute, our guys are going to pass it out. I just want you to listen to this. Listen — we’ve read this so many — if you’ve been in church, you’ve heard this so many times on communion weekends. This is what it says. It says 1 Corinthians 11:23. It says, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you. The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given, say it with me, thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you, do it in remembrance of me.” And in the same way after the supper, he took the cup saying, “This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood, do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Communion guys, you can just wait for a second. Let me walk through this for a second and then we’ll do it. I’ll make sure I give you the signal. You can just sit right there, you’re good. Here’s what I want you to see for a second. On the very night Jesus was being betrayed and headed to the cross, he took time to give thanks. If I’m Jesus, I’m, Iike, I’m a little busy to give thanks right now.

I got some stuff to do. If he weren’t too busy, neither are we. And I was thinking about this this week. I was thinking, “How cool is this?” He has been betrayed by Judas right there. And he’s about to walk into the worst storm that anyone on this earth has ever walked through. And how did he have the strength to do it? By giving thanks. Gratitude allows you to live a victorious life. It was true for Jesus, it was true for David when he’s running for his life, he’s given thanks left and right for the goodness of God. It was true for Paul. When Paul’s begging God to get the thorn out of his flesh, some sickness in his life that we don’t know what it is, but he’s desperate. And God says, “Hey, Paul, my grace is sufficient for you.” So what does Paul says, he says, “Then I delight in this weakness of my life because when I am weak, then I am strong. So thank you God for this thing in my life because it’s driving me to you and so I have the strength to keep moving forward.” The way you get through a bad day, a bad week or a bad season of life is by choosing to be a person with a heart full of gratitude. It’s as simple as that. Because what it does is it doesn’t change my circumstances but it changes me. It changes my perspective. And my guess would be there’s a lot of us here today and we’re hurting. We’re hurting over a relationship, or a brokenness, or a financial thing, or a sickness in our body or a betrayal of some loved person in our lives.

We say, “What am I suppose to do with that?” Give thanks, because gratitude is the pathway to strength. See if you can catch this. Psalm 100 verse 4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.” Gratitude is what pulls me into the presence of God. Doesn’t make Him come, it reminds me He’s there. Gratitude brings me into the presence of God. Now, take that and add it to Psalm 16:11 that says, “In his presence is fullness of joy.” So when I give thanks, I enter into the presence of God and Psalm 16 tells me when I’m in the presence of God, that’s where the fullness of joy is in life. And then take that and add it to Nehemiah 8:10 that says, “For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So now, add those three together. When I give thanks, I step into the throne room of heaven and get in the presence of God. The presence of God comes through my gratitude not that He now accepts me, it’s now that I’m aware that He is with me.

When I give thanks, I’m now aware that He is here and in His presence is fullness of joy. And when there is joy in my life, that joy of the Lord becomes my strength, so gratitude is the on ramp to a life full of victory. It’s what allows you to be strong in the midst of your pain, in the midst of the storm, in the midst of the brokenness and the worry and the stress and the chaos of all of it, gratitude is the pathway to strength. And so here’s what I want to do. I want to take communion, and I want us to just take a moment and give thanks. And have an encounter with God and become strong in our spirits for this week, and respond by faith to that which he has been teaching us and apply it to our lives so that we don’t become enucleated to this truth. If you have discovered something about me, you’ll discover that there’s this handful of like values, principles or truths that like — are like if you cut me to the core, I will bleed them, I will die for them, I will fight for them to the end for us. Gratitude is one of them. Because I understand how deep gratitude goes and what it will do for the rest of your life or what the lack of gratitude will do for the rest of your life. So in good conscience, I couldn’t move forward the fresh content. And some of you are like, “Yeah, there’s a lot of fresh stuff today.” That’s good. It’s fresh for last week.

Because I need us to respond, I don’t need us, let me rephrase that. God’s inviting us. I need to respond for me. And God’s inviting you to respond for you. So now, our guys can pass communion out, and gals. And what I want you to do is I want you to take it when you get it. Grab a cup — grab a cracker. And this is for anyone and everyone who has put their faith in Jesus. And if you’re here today and you’ve never done that before, today might be your day where you reach out and you take a hold of, then you say, “I believe that Jesus died for me and set me free.” And what I want us to do is, as this is being passed out for the next few moments, is I’m just going to give you just a couple things, some real simple prompts for you to just give thanks to God for. You might come every single week and you’re here with us every week. You might — this might be your first time and you rarely come. It didn’t really matter, what matters is if we’re willing to just posture our hearts in the place of humility just long enough to say thanks to God. There’s something about gratitude that allows us to listen to God’s heart instead of just receiving from His hand.

If you have ever said thank you to someone over a deep and profound thing, in the moment you express thanks to them for what they did for you, usually it’s in that moment they then share their heart with you. They did something for you and you say thanks. And so it was not the gift, it was actually the gratitude that created the encounter and this deep relational connection that released their heart into your life and the same is true with God. So can we just do this for a moment? Can we just give thanks for our salvation? I’m going to put these points up on the board as we go through it here or up on the screen for a minute. But, I just want you — can you just stop and in your heart, can you just thank Jesus for salvation?

Can you thank Him that He brought you from death to life? Can you just say, thank you God that you chose me, that you rescued me, that you came to find me, that you didn’t leave me on the borders of life but you came, when I least deserved it and least expected it? Thank you, Jesus, that you rescued me out of deep darkness, out of deep pain and brokenness. Thank you that you heard my cry when no one else did and you saw my loneliness when no one else was around. Thank you, Jesus, that you are willing to walk through the worst storm any man has ever walked through on this earth of the cross so that I could be freed and saved from my storms. And so today, Jesus, I give you thanks for my salvation. Can you thank Him, church, in your own way?

You see, the interesting thing about gratitude is no one can say thank for you. You have to choose to do it with your own heart. And not only do we want to be thankful for salvation, can we just take a moment and thank Him for our relationships? Can we just say, thank you, Jesus, for the relationships you have put in my life? Thank you, God, for my husband and for my wife. Thank you, God, for the way that my spouse has forgiven me when I’ve messed up and they’ve given me second and third and fourth and 50th chances. Thank you, God, for my children and the way that you have blessed me with them in my life. And thank you for my friends, thank you for the friends that you’ve surrounded me with and you’ve given me these people to walk with and do life with and share you with. And thank you, God, for my neighbors or my parents. Thank you for my teachers, and my boss, and my co-workers and my employees and even thank God for that person that drives you nuts.

Thank you, God, for people made in image and likeness of you that are in my life that in some way, shape or form reflect your goodness to me. Even though those relationships may not be exactly where I want them to be, I’m not focusing on what they’re not, I’m focusing on what they are and for that, I’m giving thanks. Can you thank Him, church? And not only do we want to say thanks for relationships, we want to say thanks for provision. Think of all the ways God has provided for you and can you just tell Him, thank you. Thank you, God, that nothing I have has come from me. Thank you, God, that your grace has supplied all of my needs according to the glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Thank you, God, that you’ve given me finances and a house and a phone, and a car. And thank you, God, for the air that I breathe and the water that I drink and the food that I eat and the bed that I sleep and then the clothes that I wear.

I do not take that for granted today, instead I stop to acknowledge I would have none of that without you. You have provided for me because you love me and I say thank you. Can you, for a moment, like a loved son or daughter just say thank you, Father, for filling me up with your goodness? And we also want to say thank you for His faithfulness. Can you thank God for a moment for how faithful He’s been to you, that He has never left you nor forsake you, that He hasn’t forgotten about you, that He isn’t demanding things from you, that His character never changes, that He’s not a God who tricks us, that He’s not a God who hides from us, that He’s not a God who’s trying to make things difficult for us, but that He is a God who has been faithful to us and poured out love in every way, shape and form.

Can you just — I know — here’s the deal, it is so uncomfortable for us to take five minutes to give thanks because we just don’t do it in life. Me, too. Okay. This is me, too. And so it’s so refreshing to take a moment to just acknowledge what He’s done. And the last thing I would say is, can you just say thank you to God for your life? Thank you, Jesus, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that I am made in the image and likeness of God, that I am not a dead person walking on this life but I have been raised to a new life by the spirit of the living God. Thank you that you have given me abundant life even though I don’t always see it or understand it, I choose today to just thank you for it by faith, in advance, believing I’m about to walk into it. Thank you, God, that I walk on this earth and breath this air and speak these words and sing these songs. Thank you for the sun and the moon and the stars and the days and the weeks and the months and the seasons. Today, we declare Psalm 36:1, give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever. God has been good to you and His love cast out your fear. You see, on the night the Lord Jesus was betrayed after He had given thanks. I’m telling you, I must have said that to you 10,000 times all the times we’ve taken communion together. I don’t think I ever pieced together how significant it was that Jesus gave thanks. He gave thanks to the Good Father for his faithfulness and his love and his kindness.

And while He looked into the eyes of His betrayer and felt the weight of the storm blowing in, He gave thanks. And said, “Now, you do likewise, and when you do, do this in remembrance of me.” And what I want you to understand is that when we take communion, we’re not focusing on what is wrong, we’re focusing on what is right. We’re not sitting here saying, “What was me, I should have, can’t believe I, I wonder if he’ll forgive.” No, no, no, He says, don’t — He didn’t say, “Do this in remembrance of your sin.” He says, “Do this in remembrance of me.” So you give thanks for what is, not for what isn’t, and that will give you the strength to be whole. Let’s receive it together.

And in the same way after the supper, Jesus took the cup, He says, “This is the new covenant poured out for you, as often as you do this, you proclaim my death, burial and resurrection until I come again. In other words, when you give thanks and receive the fullness of what I offered you, you live a life of victory.” Because it’s a grateful heart that’s a humble heart. It’s a humble heart that’s a receptive heart. And it’s the heart that receives the finished work of Jesus that lives free. He says, “Give thanks and live free.” Let’s receive that together. So Jesus, today, we say to you that we take a few moments to just respond and give thanks because you are good. You want us to have an encounter with you not just be educated about you. So today, Jesus, we meet with you, we celebrate you and we thank you. We love you, Lord. We are a grateful people and our life is full. In your name, we pray. Amen.

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