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Next week marks the beginning of our Advent Season and to be honest with you, I can’t wait to experience it with you this year. I plan to fully immerse myself in the season and enjoy an extreme encounter with God. I pray that each of you will begin preparing for the season this week.
Immediately following our service, we will all gather around the table to enjoy a turkey dinner to celebrate this week of thanksgiving. The dinner is in honor of our locals who long ago opened their hearts and the doors of their church to military families and recently to our Spanish-speaking friends. Their selfless service and vision is something we can all be grateful for and celebrate.
Our text today is Luke 17:11-19. It says, “While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.  As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him;  and they raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’  When He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they were going, they were cleansed.  Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice,  and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.  Then Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they?  Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?’  And He said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.’” (NASB)
We often focus on the words of Jesus in verse 17, noting that only one of ten people returned to say thank you, but today I want you to notice what He says in verse 19, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.” Wait a minute, I thought he was already healed and that is why he returned. Yet Jesus announced his healing after he expressed gratitude. Which is it, was he healed before or after he expressed his gratitude? I guess it depends on how you define health. A person can be disease free, yet still not be “well.” This man’s healing was complete after he gave glory to God for what happened and said thank you to Jesus for his healing.
We all know that we should always have an attitude of gratitude and should say thank you to those who serve us. Today, I want to help facilitate that. Every year we honor our military families on Memorial Day and express our appreciation to them for their service in our church and to our country. Lately, we’ve highlighted our Spanish-speaking ministry and honored those who are serving to reach our immediate community with the gospel. Annually, the church remembers my family and honors us on our anniversary with you. Today we are honoring a group that usually does the honoring—our locals. For the next thirty minutes or so, you will hear from different people who wish to say thank you. Some of them are a part of our church today; others live in other parts of the world.
We’ll begin with a greeting from the Johnson family.
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