One Thing: Thanks

 In Featured, One Thing, Pastor Paul's Blog

By Pastor Paul Gauche

One Thing I’m Grateful For…

I’m really grateful for my colleagues on staff at Prince of Peace. I’ve been at this for a while. I’ve served three congregations in three communities over the years and all three have been a blast. Sure, there were seasons in each of those communities when ministry was really challenging. But in each setting the work of reflecting on where we’d been, assessing where we were, and praying for clarity and making strategic decisions about where God was moving us was done in community with teams. There has always a deep sense of gratitude for the community of people. These past several months have been powerfully unique and challenging on just about every level. But let me tell how deeply grateful I am to wake up each day and give thanks for my colleagues on this staff. The congregation is in such good, good hands!

One Thing I’m Learning…

I’ve said this many times: I was born with an extra dose of positivity. It’s just how I’m wired. There’s always a bright spot in the darkest places for me, and I gravitate there. Sometimes too quickly. As the events of the past several months and weeks have unfolded, I’ve made a point of doing the difficult work of self-reflection. I’ve been trying to be honest about my frustrations, the sense of helplessness, and even anger. That hasn’t been easy. But it’s been necessary. Rushing too quickly toward the positive is my way of coping with fear which goes back. But I’m discovering that by being honest and patient about how I’m really feeling on any given day and learning how to “sitting with it…” allows me to move ahead with more emotional and spiritual agility. Continuing to ground myself in scripture and daily meditation has created a healthy space for all of that to take place.

 One Devotional Thought or Insight That is Forming or Challenging Me…

Today I’m thinking about Thanks. The New Testament book of Philippians was written by the Apostle Paul from a prison cell in Rome in about the year 61 BCE. Paul and his partners in ministry had started this community of faith on his second missionary journey, and was the first church established on the European continent. Even from a prison cell, Paul was filled with joy and gratitude for these people. Here’s what he wrote to them: “Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.”  (Philippians 1:3-6 MSG) It’s stunning that Paul wrote that from prison. When life gets tough, when the challenges of the day seem to pile up, I’m reminded of the power of giving thanks for the people in my life. My colleagues on staff here at Prince of Peace are some of my dearest friends. We love one another, we look out for each other and we’re constantly looking for ways to build each other up and encourage one another. We’re also encouraged and uplifted by this amazing congregation, giving thanks for all of the ways God is moving in and through this congregation. For all of that, for all of you, I’m giving thanks!

What are you grateful for? What are you learning? What’s challenging or forming you spiritually?

Join me midweek for a deeper dive into this on Facebook or YouTube

Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN. You’re invited to follow his #100days50words project, where be blogs about a different word each day. You can follow his project on Facebook, Instagram (@pgauche), or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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