“It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” Tim Keller
“I like to think of thankfulness as God’s ‘spiritual air freshener.’ It replaces the stale odor of resentment with clean, fresh-smelling air for the soul to breathe.” Gary Thomas
Gratitude is a bit like healthy eating. We all want it, and sometimes can do it for a few days, but our bad habits usually shoot us in the foot. Both take more than good intentions. They require replacing old habits with new ones. Good intentions need good habits if we want good results.
Continue reading November Thirty-Day Gratitude Reading Plan & Challenge
My book, The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks: Reclaiming the Gifts of a Lost Spiritual Discipline, releases today. It’s exciting to see the work become a reality, and I pray that God will use it to stir up gratitude in the hearts of his people.
Maybe you think you’re not really a grumbler, so a book on gratitude isn’t for you. Here’s a Grumbler’s Quiz (excerpted from the book) to help you know if it’s for you or not.
Continue reading Book Release Day & Grumbler’s Quiz!
I”m excited to announce the release of my new book, The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks: Reclaiming the Gifts of a Lost Spiritual Discipline. My aim is to help the reader see how pervasive thanksgiving is in the Bible and how practical it is for the Christian life. It’s an everyday rhythm. On a daily basis, our heart gravitates toward either grumbling or gratitude. Each brings with it a host of friends. Grumbling invites pride, fear, anxiety, discontentment, and idolatry. Gratitude is accompanied by joy, worship, contentment, trust, and intimacy with God. Choose to give thanks rather than grumble.
As we give thanks, we not only enjoy God’s gifts to us and care for us, but we better know Him. Thanksgiving, then, is meant to lead us from gifts to the Giver. Even in trials, we practice “gritty gratitude” to trust God and thank Him for how He’s at work.
Below are three of the endorsements for the book.
Continue reading Endorsements for The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks
In our kitchen, we have this framed chalk art in the image to the left. “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart” (Psalm 104:14-15). It’s a reminder food and drink are both God’s provision to care for us but also an evidence of His goodness in giving us food to add to our happiness. God wants us to enjoy our food, our drinks, and our feasts.
The Bible describes feasting in very positive terms—although there are obviously times where it’s corrupted or misused, like all of creation. It seems God created us to thoroughly enjoy food as a gift but also to prepare our hearts and minds for something even more satisfying.
Continue reading A Theology of Feasting
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord.” (Psalm 92:1)
In our day and age of more-more-more where “Thanksgiving” is the waiting season between Halloween and Christmas, gratitude often takes a back seat. It’s no surprise thankfulness struggles to compete for attention with a holiday where I get to make a list of things people will buy me.
Continue reading A Theology of Thanksgiving
(This guest post was written by Heidi Sweet, the Director of Children’s Ministry at Pennington Park Church. I get the privilege to serve on staff with her and learn from her.)
Continue reading Family Activities for Practicing Thanksgiving
(The following is a Communion meditation shared in my local church as we look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday.)
The Lord’s Supper is also called Communion or even the Eucharist. That latter term, Eucharist, comes from the greek word eucharisteo, which means “to give thanks.” In Luke 22, when Jesus instituted this meal, breaking the bread and drinking the cup, it says he did so by “giving thanks.” Since we’re less than two weeks away from what might be my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, I thought it might help us approach Communion today by considering why it’s a meal about giving thanks.
Continue reading Communion Meditation: Give Thanks, Remember, and Trust
In addition to “no shave November” there are other challenges you might take on in this month. A couple personal ones are saying yes to pumpkin anything and downing as much Thanksgiving Blend coffee from Starbucks as possible (while it’s around). It’s a month of food and feasting, and that is certainly something I can give thanks for with a full heart (and stomach)!
Continue reading 2018 November Thanksgiving Reading Plan
(For an updated reading plan different from what’s below, see this blog.)
If you’re looking for some additional resources and ways to practice giving thanks, here’s a place to start.
- Read a book specifically on thanksgiving or gratitude. Some recommendations would be Thanksgiving by David Pao; The Things of Earth by Joe Rigney; One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp; Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss; or God is the Gospel by John Piper.
- If a book seems like a bit too much of a commitment right now, read one of the following articles.
- Listen to a sermon on thanksgiving.
- Sing Christian hymns or worship songs related to the theme of giving thanks.
- Do something as a family that makes this an enjoyable and memorable experience, such as a gratitude tree.
- As you interact with other Christians—in formal settings such as small group or informal settings like work or a restaurant—ask them what God has done for them that they’re thankful for.
- If things like gratitude trees are a bit too artsy for you, just keep a list of things you can thank God for. Keep a journal, a sheet of paper in your Bible, or use something on your phone like “Notes” to record and revisit these reasons for thanksgiving.
Below is a list of 30 verses that mention giving thanks, thanksgiving, or thankfulness. I’d encourage you to read them at the start of your morning and meditate on (chew on) then throughout the day. There are plenty of related words in the Bible tied to this theme we could have looked at, or even words showing the problem with a lack of thanksgiving (such as ingratitude or murmuring). A quick word search on Logos resulted in 132 occurrences of thank/thanks/thankful and 38 occurrences of thanksgiving. So this is meant to be a starter rather than an exhaustive list. Hopefully it helps cement the importance of and joy in giving thanks in your heart, as well as providing some specific examples of what it looks like in the Bible.
Day 1: 1 Chr. 29:10-13
Day 2: Ps. 30:4
Day 3: Ps. 100:4
Day 4: Col. 1:3, 12
Day 5: Col. 2:7
Day 6: Col. 3:15-17
Day 7: Col. 4:2
Day 8: Ps. 107:1, 21-22
Day 9: Ps. 118:1, 19-21, 28-29
Day 10: Luke 17:16 (see 17:11-19)
Day 11: John 6:11, 23
Day 12: John 11:41
Day 13: Ps. 50:23
Day 14: 1 Cor. 11:23-24
Day 15: 2 Cor. 2:14
Day 16: 2 Cor. 4:15
Day 17: 2 Cor. 9:11-15
Day 18: Eph. 5:4
Day 19: Eph. 5:20
Day 20: Ps. 147:7
Day 21: Ps. 136:1-3 (see all of 136)
Day 22: Phi. 1:3
Day 23: Matt. 15:36
Day 24: Acts 27:35
Day 25: Ps. 138
Day 26: 1 Thess. 3:9
Day 27: 1 Thess. 5:18
Day 28: 1 Tim. 4:3
Day 29: Rev. 4:9
Day 30: Rev. 7:12