Visiting Churches

Be Thankful (Visiting Church #33)

We only recently learned of today’s congregation, discovering them in a printed directory of churches. Their rural location seems further removed from us than our 8.8 mile drive.

Their scripture for today is Habakkuk 3:17-19.

Verse 17 recaps the dire conditions of the day, with a transition occurring in verse 18 when the prophet proclaims, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” A verse later Habakkuk affirms, “The Lord is my strength.”

52 Churches: A Yearlong Journey Encountering God, His Church, and Our Common Faith

It’s four days before Thanksgiving. The minister’s message “Thanksgiving Anyhow!” follows Habakkuk’s tone. This rural congregation seems needy, with the implication that some will only eat one or two meals today.

The message includes mentions of helping others in need. This isn’t to call attention to the giver, but to show how this church family takes care of one another. Behind the church is a sizable garden, planted with the intention to share.

“When God blesses you,” the pastor says, “you need to pass it on.” Though the growing season is over, there are some onions and potatoes remaining in the ground should anyone need them.

Deer hunting season began a few days ago and the pastor has bagged two. If anyone lacks meat for Thanksgiving, he offers venison. From his property, he cuts trees for those needing wood for heat.

He also has two acres of fruit trees. Usually he shares the produce with others, but due to an early spring and a late freeze, the harvest this year was nil. He refers back to Habakkuk’s mention of no fruit. “Yet I will rejoice”

We must “be thankful in hard times…and be thankful for our salvation.” He shares some more verses and additional stories of need and provision. “In everything, give thanks—even on your bad days.”

[Read about Church #32 and Church #34, start at the beginning of our journey, or learn more about Church #33.]

My wife and I visited a different Christian Church every Sunday for a year. This is our story. Get your copy of 52 Churches today, available in ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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