featured graphic for Pastor Mike McKay and his wife Kristi of Neighborhood Church during COVID-19

Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: Thanks, makes a difference

1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

We were having a family birthday party celebrating the many birthdays the month of November holds. It was a fun time where the crazy chaos of joy thundered through our house. Kids were running everywhere. Yes, a few were getting in to mischief. I think the little girls got into Kristi’s (my wife’s) makeup. You draw your own scene of what you think happened. Let’s just say a lot of lip gloss was used! The boys were leaping though the house doing their best ninja moves. The song “Kung Fu Fighting” was playing in my head as I was joining in. The parents, my kids, were working hard in the kitchen preparing the meal and having some much-needed adult conversation. As the evening went on, it was time for presents. Each of the birthday people opened their gifts and after each gift, an amazing thing happened. There was a stop to the untying of bows, the ripping of wrapping paper and eyeing the new gift with delight. The gift was set down and a gushing thank you was given to the giver of the gift. As I was watching, I noticed that the giving of thanks seemed to bring a new appreciation for the gift. As well, when a grandson sincerely thanked Kristi and I for a gift, it was so nice to be appreciated. I also felt affirmed, honored, and loved. Thanks, makes a difference.

Psychologists tell us that there is a great benefit in giving thanks. In an online article from Psychology Today, entitled 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude, seven blessings are revealed. Yes, thanks makes a difference as when we are thankful it opens doors to more and deeper relationships, improves our physical health, builds empathy, reduces aggression, and even brings on better sleep! There is proven research showing that expressing thanks is truly a blessing. The Bible encourages us to be thankful for God.

Psalms 107:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 9:1-2 I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Giving thanks also greatly encourages others. The Apostle Paul was good at thanking others.

Ephesians 1:16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,

Philippians 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,

Colossians 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,

I’m sure the people who received this thank you were encouraged and built up. I’m sure you do too. Why not take a moment right now in reading this and pause and think of all the people who have helped you, encouraged you, guided you and challenged you. Also, thank God for watching over you, for orchestrating circumstances and people to help you grow to be that amazing person He created you to be. So, go ahead and take a moment and be thankful. You might even take the opportunity to share that thanks to God and others. When you do, it will make a difference.

Church can be a place not only to give thanks, but a place to learn of thankfulness. If you don’t already have a church you regularly join, we would like to invite you to attend Neighborhood Church. Due to the new COVID-19 restrictions, we are changing our Sunday gathering options. At 9am we are having a live-stream only gathering from our Cypress campus and another pre-recorded gathering at our Los Alamitos campus. At 11am at the Cypress Campus we will be having an in-person outdoor gathering. Our webpage has information on how to connect with us or find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on the YouTube site.

Seeking to make a difference through being thankful along with you,

Mike