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Life is not always easy! We go through disappointments. We live with unmet expectations. We have memories of hurtful experiences and even abuse. We often relate with Job who said, “Man…is of few days, and full of trouble.” Our eyes are focused on bad things. Our minds are tuned in to negative thoughts. And, if we are not careful, we can become sad, cynical, or even nihilistic.

This is why I love Thanksgiving! I have to be honest. I am naturally optimistic. I won’t pretend to fully understand the emotional pendulum that many melancholies live on a daily basis. However, I do have my moments of discouragement. It is in these moments that I find strength in recounting all of the blessings that God has given me. Cheesy? Yes. Trite? I suppose. Does it work? Absolutely!

Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

It works because the Lord enjoys hearing a thankful heart. He inhabits the praise of His people. If you want to feel closer to God then simply begin praising Him for all He has done in your life. If you want to draw near to the almighty then stop complaining about how He and others have disappointed you. The Scripture above teaches us the proper way to approach our King. He clearly tells us that he desires to be surrounded with praise and thanksgiving, yet many wonder why they feel as though they are distanced from God and on the outskirts of his presence. Could it be that we have been pushing Him away? Willing to settle for the company of other discontents while the joy of heaven lies just beyond the gates of thanksgiving and into the courts of praise?


I’ll list my thanksgiving list right here. I’d love to hear yours in the comment section!

1. My God
Why the Father loved me will always remain a mystery. Why the Son would embrace the cross is unfathomable. Why the Holy Spirit continues to work with the hypocritical, angry, prideful wreck of a man that I am, I will never understand. He is my God. He is my friend. He is my king while being my companion. He saved my soul and allows me to serve Him daily. I just really love Him!

2. My Family
Heather is the greatest gift on earth that God has ever given me. Those who know us best know that I’d not be me without her. Jonathan, Savannah and Scarlett light my life every night when I put them to bed. They are the smile in my heart and will be my greatest legacy.

3. The Teis Clan
I have a pretty great family. We have our problems but you won’t hear any of us talk with you about them. Dad recently told me that the Robertson family (Duck Dynasty) reminds him a lot of our family. I watched the show. I’d have to agree. However, I think that would make me Willie and Matt would be Jase. This bothers me because Jase is so much cooler. (By the way – Kay is Anna Teis)

4. Southern Hills
Our services are energetic, powerful, spirit-filled and packed full. But I’m not talking about our services. I’m talking about the people. The people of Southern Hills are so amazing. The names and faces of hundreds of friends are flowing though my mind right now. I can truly say that I love them. I care for them. I work at being the best pastor for them that I can possibly be. They are so good to me. I can feel that they love me too.

5. My Team & Deacons
Fred & Kelly Murray, Jason & Kimberly Coombes, Steve & Becky Miller, Akeem Smith, Cindy Hammons and Melanie Graves. This is our all-star team. I wish I could take credit by saying that I hand selected them. However, I know that it is God who brought this team together. I am so thankful for my deacons. The more I hear of other churches and other pastors who have other deacon boards I become more convinced that God sent me His best. They lighten my load instead of increasing my burden. They serve the people instead of expecting the people to serve them. They build me up instead of tearing me down. They encourage their pastor! From what I hear, this is not normal. I am thankful for godly, humble, wise, and loving deacons.

6. Las Vegas
Born and raised in this city has given be a passion to reach this amazing town with the unending, unchanging, unvarnished truth of the gospel of Christ. And I believe that “greater things are yet to be done in this city.”

7. The U.S. Military
I’m thankful this thanksgiving I’ll be able to enjoy time with my family and friends because there are those willing to live on foreign fields and fight evil people in order to protect our freedom. Today I am so thankful for our men and women in arms.

Join me! What are you thankful for? Trust me. This will be good for you! Comment below!

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  • Reply
    November 26, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I am free, because of America defining and defending liberty. I am eternal because God let His Son become the Ultimate Sacrifice. I am thankful for air, water, food, and shelter, things that so many are denied. And I have found a super-dooper-peachy-keenereeno church. I have it all just like Bogey and Bacall.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      November 26, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Nancy, what a wonderful list of blessings. Thank you for sharing. beautifully written

  • Reply
    Jaclyn Palmer
    November 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Minus details…simply words…

    Salvation. Protection. Father’s Hand. Don. Marriage. Laughter. Love. Peyton. Miracle. Time. Motherhood. Family. Faithfulness. Friends. Friendship. Girlfriends. Giggles. Prayer. Support. Smiles. Church. Pastor. Preaching. Wisdom. Words. Fred-ly, Jas-berly and Ste-cky. My personal amusement. Ohmy. Thursdays.The girls. The Spirit. My website. The power of words. The power of a smile. Health. Walking. Writing. Teaching. My Students. Books. My Bible. Selah.

  • Reply
    kathy parks
    November 27, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I can’t help but be optimistic when God is so good. My God is BIG andI don’t get why He would put His spirit in a lump of clay. I am thankful this fall for a Pastors wife who has been a spiritual leader in taking a group to the Beth Moore simulcast. That
    was in introduction for me and a blessing. Then she encouraged us to go to the Ladies retreat. I had a blast! She even drove that
    smelly van so I could have a ride. I confided to her my fondness for the Newsboys and she didn’t scold like so many in the past. Heather is one of many blessings of late. They are new every morning – great is His faithfulness beacause He’s living on the inside, roarin like a lion.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      November 27, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Kathy, I agree with you. Heather is pretty great. Beth Moore’s teaching has been an incredible blessing to Heather and has helped her grow into a tremendous, godly woman. She too loves the annual Ladies Retreat at Ironwood. She also is a lover of music and has helped me to grow in my appreciation of many Christian artists. I’m so thankful for a church full of men and women who genuinely love the Lord and express that love to me and my family.

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