On Sunday, I was reminded how grateful I am that I get to do what I do. The congregation I serve in East Dallas celebrated our 5th birthday on Sunday, and I’ll be the first to tell you that the sermon wasn’t the best part of the service. No, it was what happened afterwards that everyone is talking about.
Who Knew Cardboard Could Make You Cry?
We had asked some folks from our congregation to share their “cardboard testimonies” immediately following my sermon. Nothing I could ever say could be as powerful as what those folks wrote on their cardboard signs:
I feel so grateful to get to be a part of a place like Munger and to see the saving power of God up close.
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Five years! The congregation I serve in East Dallas celebrated our 5th anniversary today, and my friend Lin Thomas–a great Mungarian!–blessed us with a birthday poem. Check out the 90 second video, below.
Lin’s Birthday Poem
Lin, who is blind, is a faithful and generous member of our congregation. (You might remember that he shared a Thanksgiving prayer with us last November.) This morning, this is what he had to say to a packed house of Mungarians:
We are so blessed.
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“It’s no wonder we often find ourselves looking for satisfaction in all the wrong ways. You and I are deluged from every side by advertising designed to foster dissatisfaction with our current lives. From what I’ve seen on television, my life would be much more satisfying if I were to eat Special K for breakfast, buy my car insurance form GEICO, and wear a Breitling watch. No one is impervious to advertising’s influence….
The real root of our dissatisfaction goes deeper than our response to the blitz of media advertising. It resides somewhere deep in our souls and traces its origins all the way back to Eden. The serpent’s question to Eve strikes home in all of our hearts: ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’
Before this, Eve had delighted in God’s provision, but now she wants more. She decides that the only fruit that will satisfy her hangs from the branches of the one tree God forbade her to eat from. But upon partaking of the fruit, she finds–as we all have–that living outside of God’s boundaries and provision leads to fatal dissatisfaction. Once humanity crossed the threshold into a broken relationship with God, we’ve been dissatisfied ever since.”
from Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul, by Bill Hybels (pp. 256-257)
My friend Lin Thomas is blind. He was diagnosed a few years ago with irreversible glaucoma; the doctor who evaluated him told him, “You’ll never work again.”
Lin can’t work, but he’s busy. He rides up and down on the DART train in Dallas making connections with troubled young men who remind him of himself when he was younger. His disability has given him the time to do that sort of thing.
Lin lives on a disability check. Even in straitened financial circumstances, he tithes–gives 10%–to our church.
Last Sunday, Lin gave me a prayer he’d written, and I asked him to read it in church today. Here’s his prayer (text below the video):
Lin Thomas’s Thanksgiving Prayer
(1 Thessalonians 5:18: Give Thanks Always)
Father, thank you for the life that we live;
Thank you for the love that you give;
Thank you for the food that we eat;
Thank you for a strong heartbeat;
Thank you for the water we drink;
Thank you for the thought we think;
Thank you for the pleasure and pain;
Thank you for the sunshine and rain;
Thank you for a place here on Earth;
Thank you for the grace of our birth.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.