This week I listened to a message by Steven Furtick. A pastor from Elevation church up in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is a pastor that I have been listening to weekly for 3 years now. People that know me, know that I have been totally challenged by this pastor as I see God’s hand upon him and his ministry. Let me share with you a part of the message that so stirred in me this week.
He begins with telling some scripture that I now have written on index cards to memorize.
Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving.
“God inhabits the praises of his people.”
*Start giving him praise for the blessings he has given you and his presence will be abundant with you.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.”
“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
This sermon parked my mind in a place of learning this week. There is so much that I take for granted and don’t praise God for so many times. I so want to be at that place where I don’t do that! I know that comes with time. He has had me in a grateful place before but the world draws me out where I become unaware of those blessings that naturally happen.
Several points that Pastor Steven drives home are this:
1 – Gratitude begins where my entitlement ends. Something that once seemed as a perk now has become a sense of entitlement over time. He gave the example of when he was just out of college and got a job that didn’t come with the benefits of insurance and he had to pay out-of-pocket for the insurance that he and his family received. Later, when he did get a job that did include insurance as part of the package – he was so overwhelmed with gratitude. Today, insurance is something most us expect with benefits of a job.
Other examples that I use daily with teaching my girls are:
* You woke up this morning and someone else didn’t.
* You have a warm breakfast, nice clothes and can walk, someone else doesn’t.
We need to rejoice in the unexpected blessings of life. Gratitude isn’t about how good my situation is but how it seems or how you choose to see it.
2 – Grateful people can find a blessing, enlarge a blessing, and create a blessing in any situation. Ungrateful people do the opposite; find a problem, enlarge a problem, and create a problem for every situation. Pastor Steven called these type of people “crap factories”. I usually don’t use that kind of language but it does drive the picture home. I happen to know some of those people. They are draining to be around.
3 – Gratitude increases God’s blessings and favor and creates opportunity. The more we focus on those verses of scripture I listed above it is amazing how much better we are in a place to receive the blessings God wants to pour out to us.
These were just a few of the points that I pulled from the message I listened to. It would be hard for me to recreate this message for you so that you “get it” and I believe it would take away from how Pastor Steven actually delivers it so well. I just wanted to share these thoughts that are swirling around where God is wanting me to focus more on my gratitude toward Him.
So if you would like to listen you can go iTunes. Go under podcasts and search for Elevation church podcast for the “greatest gift message – deepest gratitude” on 12/18/10. Sorry, for this inconvenience but I think they don’t post his archive messages online since most people do have iTunes these days. It is well worth the trip to iTunes to download! 🙂
Have a great Monday and remember – consider your gratitude no matter your circumstances!