Pastor's corner | Published 2020/09/12

Dear church family,

By Josh Stadnik

I can’t believe its already September! By now many of us hoped to be out and enjoying some ease of restriction, but alas here we are. Still waiting patiently, doing our part, and waiting for the day where life goes somewhat back to normal. I can only begin to imagine how some of you might be feeling. Its tough, its annoying and at times doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I have many friends interstates and while I’m happy for them, I’m at times envious, wishing I could have the ability to do the same things as them.

Yet while this is hard, and there are many things causing us to be downhearted, I believe at times like this we still need to look for and find things to be thankful and grateful for.

I’m reminded by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Easy to say. Not so easy to do. Paul wrote these words in a tough season of his life. Paul was constantly finding himself in the most difficult of situations, yet he was always able to find things to be grateful for. He could always find a way to point it back to God, and give Him praise. Despite the situation it didn’t change who God was. Good, bad, and the down right ugly Paul was always able to find ways to give thanks and look to God.

So I think we need to learn how to practice the art of being grateful. Despite it being a strenuous time with many difficulties I think we can always find something to be grateful for.

Recently I was reading a book by Meik Wiking “Lykke: the secret of the words happiest people”. The author wrote about the positive impact of creating what he called a “smile file.” He writes,

When a new employee starts there, they are handed a ‘Smile File’ and asked to write down every nice comment they receive from co-workers, clients and their bosses. Why? Because people remember criticism far better than praise. It is an inexpensive approach we can apply in our personal lives to become more aware of the things that we do have, instead of focusing on what we don’t. Once a week, write down three to five things you are grateful for. Anything from ‘My family and friends are healthy’ to ‘Coffee and the Rolling Stones’, but try also to elaborate on how they impact on your life in a positive way. Studies show that translating our thoughts into concrete written language has advantages, compared to just thinking about it. It makes us more aware and increases the emotional impact. In recent years, ‘gratitude journals’ have become more and more popular, but it is important not to treat these exercises as just another item on your to-do list.”

So I want to encourage you to find some time in your day, maybe at the end and write some things you are grateful for. Big or small, find a way to be thankful.

For me I’m thankful for a few things.

This past week I had two friends (from interstate) pay for Uber eats and I was able to enjoy some much needed comfort food. That made me feel loved.

I’m thankful for warmers days and the ability to sit in the sun and read!

I’m thankful for being able to read more books during this time!

So what are you thankful for this week? Big and small! Make it part of your practice during this time!

Paul gives us something we can all be thankful for in 1 Corinthians 1:4.

“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”

Grace and peace to you friends.

Pastor Josh.