I can’t think of a better time than Thanksgiving to express gratitude for the many things God has blessed us with.
There will be joy and songs of thanksgiving… —Jeremiah 30:19 (NLT)
Joy and thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and joy. These go together like turkey and stuffing. Chances are if you’re joyful, you’re thankful…and if you’re thankful, you’re joyful.
Here is a list of 10 things I’m thankful for…that bring great joy.
The gist of what Jesus said in Luke 7:47 is, “To him who is forgiven much is thankful much.” This means I’m thankful a whole bunch! I’m so glad the Gospel is good news. After Jesus rocked the manger, the angel proclaimed that He is “good news that brings great joy for all people.”
For all people.
It’s hard to believe that Annette and I have been married for 21 years! Our marriage has delivered two beautiful children (Savannah Angel—13 & Ashton Richie—10) that have brought more joy than I can write. My wife, daughter, and I enjoy watching Hallmark movies together (sorry guys, I gave up my man-card years ago) and my son and I enjoy playing one-one-one miniature basketball in our basement. We also love getting together with our extended family to celebrate holidays, eat, and laugh.
It’s only by God’s grace and mercy that Annette and I have been fortunate enough to lead the same church (RockChurch) for more than 19 years. These years have been filled with deep friendships, countless rewards, gut-wrenching challenges, and lots of love. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Full volume worship.
I love to laugh. This is a good thing because Proverbs 17:22 says that laughter is like medicine…which is why it should come as no surprise that laughter has been proven to even help fight disease. Not only was Jesus joyful—He is the very One who created emotional responses such as laughter. So do yourself a favor and laugh. I’m talking about a spit-out-your-drink howl (or snorting like my wife) that comes from deep within your belly!
5. 41 Will Come
My 41 Will Come publishing journey was more than 15 years in the making but I it was absolutely worth it. I am still blown away by how God has already used it and I’m humbled by how many people have shared how it has helped, encouraged, and inspired them.
Heaping of hope.
I wouldn’t have survived most of the above without coffee. I brew 4 cups every morning before I do anything else; Starbucks is my second office; and I recently discovered that an iced caramel macchiato from Dunkin Donuts is pretty delicious. My drink of choice is still a Starbucks venti iced caramel white chocolate mocha with an extra shot of espresso and no whip (or nae nae).
Worth every penny.
7. People Who Don’t Slow Down At Green Lights
Patience is one of the attributes of the fruit of the Spirit. The KJV calls this attribute long-suffering. Some people try my patience more than others and make me suffer-long because of their driving—specifically those who slow down at green lights. I created a video of helpful tips just for them. Click on the following link to watch and enjoy. —> CLICK HERE
Green means go.
8. Social Media
The reality is that most people—myself included—are on their phones too much (because of social media), but the one thing I love about social media is how convenient it is to keep up with family, friends, and colleagues. It also presents unique opportunities to learn and connect with mentors, people of influence, and even celebrities (who normally wouldn’t have the time to talk to you).
My wife and I were watching a television series a fews weeks ago and got into a discussion about a song played during the episode. I tweeted one of the actresses (a question about the song) and she tweeted me back.
Lots of crazy.
I love music. I listen to music while I worship, study, pray, drive, run, mow the grass, and when helping my wife clean the house. I listen to a wide range of music that includes worship, hard rock, pop, country (rockabilly, not twang), and anything from the 80’s.
Check out a portion of the lyrics from the song Over My Head from the band, King’s X. It was released in 1989 and I still can’t get it out of my head (no pun intended)!
Over my head I hear music in the air
Over my head I hear music
Over my head it’s loud and clear
It’s going to my head
Music, music, I hear music
Music, I hear music, music
Music oh oh oh Lord
Music over my head
Grandma used to sing
Grandma used to sing
Everynight while she was prayin’
Over my head, over my head
I hear music oh Lord
Listen to it (by clicking HERE) and I guarantee you will be singing it the rest of the day…or week. You’re welcome.
If it’s too loud, you’re too old.
10. Hearing Aids
Welcome to my world.
I have been hearing impaired as long as I can remember—and no, it’s not because I like loud music—and no it’s not because I’m the pastor of RockChurch (even though we have ear plug dispensers outside our sanctuary doors). It’s hereditary and it’s a bummer. Just ask my wife!
About 18 months ago I was blessed with new hearing aids that have literally changed my life. The Bluetooth technology allows me to stream phone calls, music, and videos from my phone directly to my hearing aids (like wireless earbuds). My ringtone is “Eye of the Tiger” but I’m the only who hears it—which has made for a couple of embarrassing moments (imagine seeing me pumping my fists and doing push-ups in Kroger). Kidding. Kind of.
I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders. I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God. —Psalm 9:1-2 (MSG)
What are you most thankful for?