“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, & into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, & bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting & His truth endures to all generations.” –Psalm 100:4-5
It’s that time of year again! The holidays are upon us. This time of year can be wonderful & terrible – wonderful because we get to see family & celebrate Christ’s coming but terrible because of what our culture has turned it into. Only in America would people have a day celebrating what they’re thankful for, followed by a day of trampling one another in order to get more stuff. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s anything wrong if we went out on black Friday to get some deals. But still, we must guard our hearts. The feeding frenzy of consumerism on Friday reveals the absence of true thanksgiving on Thursday. Real gratitude doesn’t beget materialism.
In order to have a grateful heart & resist the temptations of materialism we need to become satisfied in Christ. An example of this I like to use is going to the grocery store. If we go with an empty stomach we’re more tempted to buy food we don’t need. But if we go to the grocery store after eating a huge meal, we only buy the things we really need. It’s no different in the spirit. If we’re not content in Christ and haven’t been “feeding on Him,” we’re more susceptible to the world’s temptations. But if we’re already content in Christ, the world’s temptations don’t sway us very much. Real gratitude is powerful stuff. It sets us free from the tyranny of covetousness & allows us to experience the Lord’s presence. We must push against the current of materialism this Holiday season to experience true joy – Immanuel!
Loretta & I spent this last Thanksgiving with her family, eating the classics – turkey, stuffing, pies, & potatoes. It was a wonderful reprieve from the unusual busyness lately. As most of you are aware of, we are now in the process of buying our first home. It’s a lot of work but we’re looking forward to planting our roots and using it to host our weekly house group!
While in the process of buying our house we’ve been asking the Lord to give us vision for the next 5 years, and right now we have a few simple goals: 1) Have kids. We want to start a family and raise them up in the context of day & night prayer. 2) Strengthen Houses of Prayer throughout the Midwest Region. We’d eventually like to travel to different houses of prayer, preaching, leading worship, and serving in such a way that gives people courage to minister to the Lord day & night. 3) Continue to serve as staff at IHOP-KC till the Lord directs us somewhere else. We don’t foresee ourselves moving to a different city unless the Lord puts it on our hearts to do so. 4) Grow in love for Jesus & make Him known. Obviously this should be everyone’s main goal but it needs to be said. So many people have a vision to grow in ministry, finances, & relationships but have no specific goals to grow in their interior life. Right now our specific goal for our interior life is meditating on the birth of Christ in Matthew 1 & Luke 1-2 with our small group & reading books about the incarnation.
We are so grateful to be full-time missionaries in the house of the Lord and we just want to thank you for sowing into our lives & into our ministry on a regular basis. We truly do have so much to be thankful for – the indwelling Spirit, the cross of Christ, a warm place to live, food, clothing, family, friends, and faithful supporters who enable us to stand in the house of the Lord as our occupation. Thank you so much & happy Holidays!