It is no secret that I have a passion for encouraging people to base their life on gratitude. Paul put it like this, “Give thanks in all circumstances” (I Thessalonians 5:18a). Let me point out that Paul didn’t say to give thanks “for” all circumstances. Obviously, we don’t give thanks for cancer or heart attacks, arthritis or blindness, Alzheimer’s or terrorist attacks. But we can give thanks “in” all circumstances because God is with us, come what may. And when we realize that and embrace that and reach out to God in faith, he will give us strength and see us through. We can count on that. And that is cause for great thanksgiving.
There is an old legend that tells about a man who came one day to the barn where Satan stores the seed that he scatters across the earth. The man noticed that the two most abundant seeds in the barn were the seeds of bitterness and discouragement. He asked Satan about those seeds. “Oh, yes,” came the reply, “bitterness and discouragement; they are, without question, my most effective seeds. Why, these seeds will grow almost anywhere.”
Then, with a solemn look on his face, Satan said, “However, there is one place where the seeds of bitterness and discouragement will not grow.” “Oh?” said the man, “and where is that?” Satan answered, “They will not grow in a heart of gratitude.”
Let us pray: God of love, we come to you with hearts full of love, souls full of trust and minds full of thanksgiving. Your loving kindness is as far reaching as the stars, your care for us as deep as the sea. Help us to turn with childlike trust. Open our eyes to the wonders of Your Word and send us on our way with hope and courage. Watch over those who are traveling. Teach us that we never journey beyond your loving-care. Through the amazing grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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Our Founder - Reverend Dr. Roger M. Kunkel
November 24, 1934 – June 29, 2011
Rev. Dr. Roger Kunkel was a native of Parsons, Kansas, graduated from Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, where he received an award for "Outstanding Student and Citizen". After graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary, he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois, and went on to serve as Senior Pastor in Duluth, Minnesota, and Riverside, Illinois. He served as Chaplain of Heritage Park Rehab Center in Bradenton, Florida, after retiring from his pastorate at First Presbyterian Church of Sarasota in 1998.