Lead Pastor Michael J. Paris

 

A child of God, Husband of Sue, Father, Grandfather, Pastor and friend.  Pastor Mike longs to lead men and women to live like they are God’s most treasured possession and grow in their faith all for the Glory of Him who is the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

 

Hey Church –

Happy Thanksgiving! As our Christian and civic holidays cross paths, we need to be very careful that Thanksgiving doesn’t  just degenerate into a national “eating of the bird” feast day, a paid day off of work, to watch the Cowboys and  Washington football team play football, or to prepare for an insane shopping season holiday. The word holiday really  means “holy day”! How holy will Thursday be for you and your family? Maybe we, as disciples of Jesus Christ and lovers  of God, ought to lead a revival of that thankful spirit that accompanies our salvation! But how? 

Whenever we think about revamping, revising, or reviving the practices of our faith, we must turn back to Scriptures for  our heading and bearing. Would you consider the powerful words of Psalm 96? Maybe read these words together after  the Thanksgiving meal and before dessert. Here are some discussion questions to help you “digest” what the psalmists  says. 

  1. This psalm has a lot of triples in it! How many things can you find that are repeated three times or are in groups  of three that are similar? Did you notice that the psalm itself has three parts or stanzas? (1-6/7-10/11-13) Each of  the stanzas has a key word that is repeated three times. Can you remember them? (SING, ASCRIBE, LET) 
  2. Who is our singing supposed to be to? (see vv 1-2) What is the difference between singing to Him and singing to  the others in the congregation? What is your favorite worship song to sing right now? Sing to the LORD those  songs around the table. (Maybe you will want to pull them up on YouTube and hum along.) 
  3. Read v. 2 again. Part of the feasting table is for storytelling. Share your original salvation story with the  generations around the table. You could also share stories of great feats of God’s strength in your life in the last  year. Those accounts are testimonials about “His glory” and “His marvelous works” (v3). How has God’s splendor,  majesty, strength or beauty been worked out before your very eyes this year?  
  4. What does ascribing mean? (vv7-8) [Here’s a start: ”to refer to a supposed cause, source, or author: to say or  think that (something) is caused by, comes from, or is associated with a particular person or thing”] What things  has God been the cause of in this last year? How has that caused you to respond to Him? 
  5. Say this together out loud: “The LORD reigns!” (v10) Practice saying it together as a cheering crowd for a  conquering king. (loud and proud!) How would it sound differently for a person struggling with cancer? How  would it sound for a person who has lost a family member this year? How would it sound if you had nothing to  eat, no home, no family? Think about someone you know that has had a tough year and pray for them. How can  we celebrate the sovereignty of God even in difficult times? Confess to each other when/where it has been hard  to celebrate God’s being in charge in 2021.

    6.  Nature celebrates God! What elements of nature are listed in vv11-12? Take time to show each other your best  nature photo of 2021 on your phones. Or go to the window and practice “I spying” something that God made.  How does nature smile, rejoice, roar, dance, and sing? Jesus said that if we were quiet, the rocks would scream  worship out! Let’s not let nature have all the fun! Take a family walk in nature and observe these activities. Then  think of worship songs or hymns that include nature references. Have fun naming the song as others quote the  lyrics! 

    So, how much happier are you after making Thanksgiving a participatory feast? God is certainly worthy of our praise.  Let’s not just make this day about family or food or football. I look forward to hearing how your celebrations went. In  doing these activities and sharing these things together, we will sanctify (make holy) this day and disciple our next  generations in the art of worship.

Blessings, Pastor Mike pastormike33@yahoo.com, 607.220.9911, 99 East Ave, Attica NY 14011