A few weeks ago, in our study of the book of Acts, we took a look at how Paul kept true to a Nazirite vow by shaving his head when he returned from his 2nd missionary journey (Acts 18:18). We know very little about the vow itself, however we do know that once Paul’s hair was shorn it would have been offered to God as a peace offering, which is also known as a fellowship offering. A peace offering is given to show thanksgiving to God.
Understanding this, we took time in each service to think about the things for which we were thankful. Then, once all words of thanksgiving had been spoken, we commemorated the event by having one of the church elders, Chris Hartman, come forward and shave my head.
And thus, the people of the congregation have been subject to dealing with even more shine off the top of my noggin than was previously the norm. (In truth, it’s not very different). I’ve actually enjoyed keeping it shaved down, and it has served to work as a continual reminder of all the blessings we have, for which to be thankful.
I invite you now, here again, to prayerfully and purposefully think about the life of our church and to give God thanks. And if you will, allow me to direct some of your thoughts. Pray with me…
Lord, thank-you for the history of this church. Thank-you for all those who were part of the life of First Baptist before me. Thank-you for those who’s legacy has blessed us today with such a great place to worship. (Give some time to recall, specifically, people you may know who fit this category).
Lord, thank-you for the people who serve in leadership in our church. How we appreciate those who have responded to your call upon their heart to help this church, your body, accomplish our mission to reach the lost with the hope of the Gospel. (Some leaders to consider include our church elders: Christopher Cole, Marge Pieratt, Chris Hartman and Frank Nilsen. Other leaders include those who serve as chairmen and women in our various departments, as well as people who either lead or host a small group. And the church staff should certainly be remembered as well).
Lord, thank-you for the beautiful music we enjoy in our church. How we appreciated the many people who help us to honor you in song. (Spend time thinking of specific musical moments that stand out for you, anything from our little ones singing “Away in the Manger” at Christmas time, to a particular bell choir number, to the RENEW worship experience that concluded with the ice cream social).
Lord, thank-you for the heart to bless our community that is so alive in this place. (Give consideration to ways that you know FBC makes a difference in Port Angeles, such as the Outreach BBQ, the MyChoices benefit concert on the pier, our annual Harvestfest, the annual Bazaar, among many, many others. What community blessings does God bring to your mind?
Lord, thank-you for our love of mission. We thank-you for our ability to partner with our sister churches in the American Baptist Churches of the Northwest to help plant churches, revitalize others. We are also thankful for being part of a larger denomination that helps support missionaries around the globe, some of whom have even come from our own congregation!
And now, spend time praising God and thanking Him for your own place in this great church. Thank Him that you can be assured that God planned for you before the very foundation of the world (Ephesians 1) and that His plan included providing you a place and a purpose with this particular body of believers. Take time to thank the God who loves you, for bringing you here and gifting you to enjoy serving him at FBC.
And when you are ready… say, “Amen”.
This article originally appeared in the August 2014 edition of the FBC newsletter. Click here to view the rest of this newsletter.