I've been feeling it all week - this welling up of gratitude deep in my chest. I have more to be thankful for than anyone I know. In fact, I could make a list that would stretch a mile wide. But my grateful eyes are gazing on one thing that's so beautiful, it's hard to look at anything else. It's Christ, through His church.
It's like a big, bright bouquet of balloons that takes my breath away even though I'm 32 years old. It's a collection of Jesus followers with brilliant gifts, engaged hearts, and strong servant arms. They are filled with the Holy Spirit, who takes flat, rubbery lives and gives them impossible dimension and lightness. They are generous with their time, money, and love. They don't keep a mental list of all the things they've done for the Lord so they can cash it in when they think they've done enough. This is their calling - to be a living sacrifice. Every minute, every heartbeat, every step, every breath is purposed for the glory and renown of their God. His Word renews their minds and fills their mouths. They face opposition, but they are ready for battle. Having been forgiven and set free, and they preach the Gospel to those who are suffering in their hopelessness and frustration. They love Jesus. They bear each other's burdens. They forgive each other because Christ forgave them.
To our friends at Bayou City Fellowship, Curtis and I are so thankful for you. We praise God today because of your great faith, your hard work and endurance, your authenticity, and your humility. You are beyond all we could have asked for or imagined. We asked God to put together a team of believers that represented every spiritual gift and every part of the body, and He did it. We marvel at His faithfulness through you.
Thank you for believing God. We love you so much.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)