Giving Thanks Always
Invitation to Worship
This morning we enter a time of worship with these words from Paul, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18). No matter what circumstances come our way, we have much for which to be thankful. As you prepare your hearts for worship this morning, praise the Lord for who he is and thank God for all his blessings.
Prelude, Slide Show with Bible Verses
Gathering Song: “Come, All You People, Praise Our God” PsH 242
Call to Worship: Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Song: “We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise” CH 213, SNC 12, WR 651
Song of Praise: “Shout to the Lord” SNC 223, SWM 49, WR 94
A Testimony from the Israelites: Psalm 107:1-22
Song of Response: “Forever” (Chris Tomlin, WOW Worship, 2003)
A Testimony from the Life of Paul: 2 Corinthians 11:23-29; Philippians 4:4, 12
In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul recorded a list of the hardships he faced throughout his life as a follower of Christ. “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own people, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?” (vv. 23-29, TNIV).
Despite all these hardships, Paul was still able to say in his letter to the Philippians, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Paul rejoiced in the Lord even when he was in chains.
God is greater than our weaknesses.
God is faithful to all of his promises in all of life’s circumstances.
God is to be forever praised.
Song of Response: “We Praise You, O God” CH 68, PsH 237, TH 97, WR 726
A Testimony from Martin Rinkart
Note: This was a hymn story that I put together using a variety of resources from books, including 101 Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck, and the Internet.
Martin Rinkart was born on April 23, 1586, in Eilenberg, Saxony, Germany. He was a chorister in the famous St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany, and received his ordination to the ministry of the Lutheran Church through the University of Leipzig. At the age of 31 he was called to be the pastor in his native town. He arrived there at the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War, which lasted from 1618 through 1648.
Because Eilenberg was a walled city, it became a severely overcrowded refuge for political and military fugitives from far and near. As a result, the entire city suffered from famine and disease. The Rinkart home served as a refuge for the afflicted victims, even though it is said that Martin often had difficulty in providing food and clothing for his own family.
The Plague of 1637 was particularly severe. At that time Rinkart was the only remaining minister because the others had either died or fled. Rinkart alone conducted funeral services for 4,480 people, sometimes conducting as many as fifty funeral services a day. One of these services was for his own wife.
During the closing years of the war, Eilenberg was overrun three times by invading armies. During one of the occupations by the Swedish army, there came the demand that a tribute payment of 30,000 thalers be made by these already impoverished people. Rinkart interceded with the leaders of the army. The commander would not consider his request for lowering the payment.
Rinkart then turned to his parishioners and said, “Come, my children, we can find no mercy with man; let us take refuge with God.” On his knees, Rinkart led them in prayer and in the singing of a familiar hymn. The commander was so moved that he lowered the payment to 1,350 thalers. Soon after this event, the Thirty Years’ War ended.
Rinkart responded to all the hardships he had faced during the Thirty Years’ War by writing the hymn of praise “Now Thank We All Our God.” The hymn is a testimony that God’s providence is always good.
Song of Response: “Now Thank We All Our God” CH 788, PH 55, PsH 454, SWM 230, SFL 33, TH 98, WR 14
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
Meditation: “Give Thanks in All Circumstances”
Prayer of Application
Offertory: “Let All Things Now Living” CH 749, PH 554, PsH 453, TH 125, WR 22
Doxology: “My Friends, May You Grow in Grace” PsH 288, SNC 288, SWM 234