I began the message telling the students that since it is the month and season where we focus on being thankful that we would be doing that, but also be challenged to act on our gratitude. We are all guilty of saying something but out actions not matching up. If I say I want to be better at something but never work at it then I probably do not really want to be better at it. If I say I love Jesus and sing praise to Him, but never show Him that I love Him then I probably do no. Also if we are thankful for what God has blessed us with but never show Him our gratitude then we probably are not that thankful. I shared about two people that I know, my nephew Noah and Paul's grandson Jackson (who actually calls me Uncle Nathan which is awesome). These two children are always so grateful for anything and everything and have such gentle and loving spirits. They are always happy and thankful which is a great example for us all.
We watched a clip from the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie where Charlie Brown and his sister Sally are talking about Thanksgiving. She makes the statement "Why should I give thanks on Thanksgiving? What do I have to be thankful for?" Maybe you have felt this way before. Maybe you felt like there was more bad than good in your life at the moment and did not feel like you had a reason to give thanks. So what do you do when you feel this way? We first looked at 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 where we looked at three things that Paul says we should do as Christians: rejoice always, pray with ceasing, and in everything give thanks. We have the tendency to only be thankful and praise God when things are going good. But here we are told to rejoice always. I believe if we stay in constant communication with God then it comes only natural to rejoice always and give thanks in everything.
At this moment I asked the students to take some time and consider all the ways that God has blessed them and all they have to be thankful for. I told them to spend some time quietly in prayer and when they were ready to grab a stack of sticky notes that we had scattered on the stage and write on five of them what they are thankful for and place on the wall. Here are a few pictures of what the wall looked like. They wrote down some really good stuff. One particular note caught my eye that said "My awesome youth group."
Afterward I read 2 Corinthians 9:15 and talked about how His indescribable gift to us is Jesus Christ. We thank God because of HIs love and blessings He has poured out on us. Each student still had 1 sticky note left and I asked them to spend a few more moments in silence and prayer and that if God had stirred in their hearts a reason to thank/worship Him then to write down what they will do to show Him thanks and place it in their Bible. I closed by sharing that God is most glorified when we show Him thanks in the fact that we are most satisfied in Him. He receives the most glory when our joy in life comes from the fact that we are satisfied in Him alone. It was a great night and I am really looking forward to part 2 this Wednesday night.