As we approach Thanksgiving this week, and as we consider the boundless blessing of God in our lives and across this church, today I want to pause and express gratitude to God for His grace expressed in the generosity of this faith family. Around this time last year, you as a church affirmed a budget that freed up one million dollars above and beyond our normal local and global disciple-making ministries to go specifically toward urgent spiritual and physical needs in Birmingham and among the nations. As a result, on behalf of many people here and around the world, I want to thank you.

On behalf of church planting teams on the ground in North Africa and East Asia, and on behalf of church planting teams about to be sent to Central Asia and the Middle East, thank you for enabling the unreached to be reached with the gospel. On behalf of millions of people who have never heard the gospel, thank you for making recordings of the New Testament available in their language for the first time. On behalf of hundreds of extremely impoverished families with newborn children across India and Ethiopia, thank you for making it possible for them to thrive physically, emotionally, and most important of all, spiritually. On behalf of communities across northern India, thank you for providing access not only to clean water for the first time, but also to living water for all time.

On behalf of urban churches in Birmingham, thank you for benevolence support, renovated facilities, and funding for outreach to their communities. On behalf of schools, centers, camps, and clinics in East Lake and Gate City, thank you for uniforms, supplies, equipment, and resources that have been used in discipleship processes through local churches. On behalf of foster and adoptive families and children all across our city, thank you for demonstrating the love of the Father to the fatherless. On behalf of men and women in prisons, transitional homes, homeless ministries, and counseling ministries, thank you for gifts that have been used to redeem lives, reconcile families, and restore hope.

This list of thank yous could go far beyond this front page, but I hope this short summary serves as a representative sample of the literally millions of lives that have been (and will be) affected through your million dollars in radical giving during 2012. Thank you, church. Thank you for the way you give out of love for Christ and compassion for people. Thank you for giving toward the spread of the gospel. Thank you for not only hearing the Word, but also obeying it. And thank you for the way I know you receive even this expression of gratitude with humble hearts that ultimately resound to the glory of God.

I love you, church.

Pastor David