How’s that for a title? No, I am not off my rocker. That is really what I wanted it to say. A few weeks ago I had the privilege of going with our youth group to Spring Hill. This was at least our 11th year and maybe our 12th. Let me put in a quick plug for a great camp! If you want a fabulous camp experience check out Spring Hill!

The way things worked out I was going to be teaching the first few nights before our youth leader got there. The text I chose was Ephesians 5:15-21. It was a four-part series on how to be the church. It was entitled “There Is A Better Way.” I spoke on wisdom (v15-18), encouragement (v19),  thankfulness (v20), and unity (v21).

I started off the first night with the lesson on thankfulness because I thought I only had two nights to teach. The song, “Me and My Teddy Bear”, was actually used as part of my introduction. The kids loved the song and it was something they sang all week long. I just hope they remember the main point more than they remember the song!

Below is the introduction that I gave…

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What kind of routines do you have with your family? Mealtime, bedtime, vacation, chores? Are there any that you’ve had from a very young age? One of the routines I can remember most vividly from growing up is my bedtime routine. Every night as we were getting ready for bed we’d crawl up the stairs while mom would sing to us. I can still remember the song. It was called “Me and My Teddy Bear” by Rosemary Clooney.

After we got up the stairs mom would tuck us in and we’d pray “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take.” After that I can remember going through a simple routine of praying for all of our family. “God bless mommy, God bless daddy, God bless grandma, God bless grandpa, God bless granny, God bless pappaw, etc…”

Little did I know how much this routine would influence me. Now that I’m older, I realize the first prayer is not really accurate biblically. But I’ve also realized that it did teach me how to pray. Not only did it teach me how to pray but it also taught me how to be thankful as I recognized the important things in my life, such as family.

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From there I jumped into the passage and talked about thankfulness. In v20 of Ephesians 5 Paul challenges the church to be thankful always and for everything. That’s a big step for many of us!

The Jews developed a tradition of blessing God in and for everything. It was called a brakha or berakhah. The first word means thanksgiving and berakhah means prayer of thanksgiving. According to Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg, the traditional line for each blessing, in use for the past seventeen hundred years, is this: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe,” or, in Hebrew, “Barukh atah, Adonai Elohenu, Melek ha-olam…” (p92).

What if we lived life being thankful to God for everything and in all circumstances? How would that change our approach to life?

How would that change the church?

There really is a better way!

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