Publication date: 11/29/21

Thanksgiving to the Glory of God

If you spent time counting your blessings during the Thanksgiving holiday, congratulations! Both the Scriptures and conventional wisdom affirm this practice. Here are a few headlines: “Counting Your Blessings Will Actually Make You Happier,” “How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain,” “Gratitude increases the quality of life in people,” “How Gratitude Improves Your Health…

And here are a few Scriptures: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” (1 Thess. 5:18) “…be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Col. 3:15-16) “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Ps. 50:23) “…it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:15)

Practicing gratitude in this way also makes you stand out in today’s world. Lost people today are increasingly anxious, depressed and hostile to the faith. On Thursday, I was surprised at how many on social media were actively speaking out against Thanksgiving, resenting the holiday and everything it stands for. Yet God tells us “praise is comely for the upright” (Psalm 33:1)

One big gap in a materialist worldview is that they have no one to thank… for beauty… for health and growth… for unearned advantages… for fortuitous circumstances. It’s strange: it is obvious—and objectively true—that gratitude is a virtue, ingratitude a vice, and yet they find themselves with no meaningful way to be thankful.

In calling us to a place of service requiring us to raise up a team of ministry partners, God basically called us to make a network of connections to members of His Body dedicated to His Kingdom in the same way that we are. It’s why some people prefer to call fund-raising friend-raising! When God called you to join our team, it was a call to a special relationship, specific prayer and watchfulness, for, as we were repeatedly reminded, by our coach, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also!” (Matt. 6:21)

Some Family Updates

EmilyThanks to one thoughtful and generous partner couple who gifted their airline mileage points, Emily was able to fly home Tuesday-Saturday to spend Thanksgiving with us. We were so grateful that both she and Luke could be home for Thanksgiving.

Luke also completed his most challenging but highest-achieving academic year yet, finished his finals and is home for the rest of 2021 with us!Thumbnail

Cindy’s mom, Donna, is also here for her first Thanksgiving with us since moving in with us. At this time last year, she was fighting for her life after poor care following hip replacement surgery resulted in a pulmonary embolism. Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday, and it was a wonderful blessing to have her with us, sharing family recipes for a traditional meal with everyone around the table with the whole family.

Some Ministry Updates

Although it’s still not completely trouble-free, a number of our big problems with our new PATH system have been ironed out, and we’ve worked through four webinars with 60-100 in attendance, fielding live questions and sharing answers in a regularly-updated web page since then. Some of our volunteers still struggle to reconcile to the new system, understandably missing many of the ways the old one functioned.

Several months ago, the leadership of approached Global Media Outreach. After a careful and prayerful decision process, this other ministry decided to become one of our outreaches: essentially gifting GMO with a whole new ministry! For the past 17 years, GMO has been committed to sharing the gospel without distractions and with a clear, easy way to respond and receive follow-up, Explore God has approached the task of evangelism earlier in the process, laying groundwork by providing apologetic, “pre-evangelistic” content that is refined and thoughtful. Because they didn’t recruit volunteers, they didn’t have much of a practical way to connect seekers they’d brought to faith with Christians eager to disciple them. But now that all their content, their technology, their ministry partners and even their president have now joined GMO, God has really shown us where putting our efforts together might multiply our effectiveness. We’ve always admitted that we’re mostly a “harvesting” ministry - we know that, (as Jesus told the Disciples), “…here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” (John 4:37–38) The acquisition of Explore God brings us an exciting way to do more of the initial labor: giving skeptics and the unevangelized reasons for hope, offering them long-term discipleship and connection with local fellowships.

We see this as God expanding our platform and increasing our influence—even at a time we can foresee opportunities beginning to get closed off for believers in the world. We don’t take this for granted, or assume that it’s because we’re so clever or talented, but rather because it’s what He wants to do. But when we love Him, when we are called according to His purpose, we know that all things work together for our good. What else can we do but be grateful? We know thankfulness always God’s will; He does all these things are so that they result in more glory for God.

Just like we answered His calling to serve at GMO, you answered His calling to join with us in this partnership, and we’re so grateful He put us together! We think His coming is very soon! Through your partnership, by God’s grace, we’re getting to do exactly what we’d want to be doing at the return of Christ which is…

Love, in Christ,

Mike Skinner Cindy Skinner

One Day Closer!
Romans 13:11