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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
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.
The Johnson family heard about our church while they were serving
in Korea from the McCormick family. Kip wrote me this past week telling
me about that. He wrote, “I just wanted to take time out to tell
you and the congregation how much we appreciate Lighthouse Baptist Church.
Linda and I look back on our time with you as one that truly defined us
in our walk with the Lord. Up to then we were “dabbling” in Christianity.
At Lighthouse we saw the hands of God not only touch us but so many around
us. Some of our dearest friends in the world we met at Lighthouse
and still maintain close contact with them. Our walk with the Lord is stronger
and our foundation complete thanks to Lighthouse.
As an aside, Linda and the kids and I were at church a couple
of months ago and this young man came up to me and said, “Sir, I don’t
know whether you remember me but you changed my life?” I looked at
him like a pig looking at a wrist watch – I had no idea what he was talking
about. And then it clicked. Tony, his wife Darlene, and their
kids were leaving Korea in June 2002 when we arrived there.
We had just come from Monterey, and they were moving to Monterey.
They were sitting behind us in church and I heard they were going to Monterey,
at which time both Linda and I emphatically told them that they HAD to
go to Lighthouse, how much they’d love the ministry, the youth ministry,
the people… They went, Tony became a deacon and now they’re back
here at West Point. He and I serve in a men’s ministry program together
here and he is a great man of faith and example to our cadets. I
told him that I didn’t change his life; I just made a “no brainer” recommendation
for something that changed my life and the lives of all in my family –
Lighthouse Baptist Church. Thanks for all you and the great
people in Lighthouse do for the Lord. God bless you and Happy
Some people, like the McCormicks continue to recommend our church
long after they leave, others just come back. People like the Lanes.
Tim is going to come and share his gratitude to you now.
Thanks Tim, Ed Herty sent me this message to read to you:
"Hello Lighthouse Baptist! For those of you who remember me, I'm Ed Herty
and I left Monterey for Newport, RI last March. While at Lighthouse, I
had the opportunity for tremendous spiritual growth and I was pleased to
worship with many of you. More specifically, though, my experiences with
you gave me the tools I need to fulfill our mission of "sending disciples
to change the world."
Since we've last been together, the Lord has given me wonderful
opportunity to work with a new Church plant in Connecticut. While there,
we grew from a small congregation of only 4 members to a thriving body
of over thirty with 2 missionaries to China. More importantly, most of
our members came to a saving knowledge of our Savior soon after attending.
Things were not always easy, however, and I think that the values of discipline,
patience, and a desire for service, which I learned at Lighthouse, proved
of tremendous value with this new work.
Having left the New England area, I'll soon be back in California
and look forward to seeing you all again. May the Lord bless you over this
Thanksgiving season. I wish you all the best!"
Another family that’s returned to our church is the Rooke family.
Jessica agreed to express her gratitude to you this morning.
Thank you Jessica. The Blighton family sent us this video
I also asked Jorge Padilla to come and speak on behalf of the
Spanish congregation. Jorge, venga por favor y dinos su testimonio.
The Turpin family also sent their greetings. “Eudell and I take
pleasure in sending you special greetings at this Thanksgiving Season!
Although, we have been physically separated from you more than one year,
you remain in our thoughts, hearts, and daily prayers.
There is no way we can adequately thanks you for your ministry,
fellowship, and love. But, we do want to say thank you, thank you,
We thank you for ministering to our family for more than 25 years.
We thank you for permitting us to minister to you for a period. We
thank you for personal contributions by the score you have extended to
us. You let us cry with you when you cried and laugh with you when
you laughed. Who could ask for more? YOU WILL ALWAYS BE OUR
These sentiments are representative of many more of people who
wish to honor you and to say thank you for thinking of others and fulfilling
your God-given vision. I pray that each of your will accept these
expressions of gratitude in the spirit they’ve been given and that you
will cherish these thoughts for years to come and we continue work together
to change the world and bring glory to God.