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The Great Gratitude Experiment

In and through Christ, our hearts can sing with radical gratitude and blessing.


There's a theme in the Bible that appears in several different places. Paul says to the church in Thessalonica, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:16-18).

He also says, "Make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 5:19-20). To the church at Colossae, he talks about this theme three different times in one brief passage:

And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col. 3:15-17).

So we're going to train for gratitude, and you can start right now. Did you notice when you came in and got a bulletin that it's blank? Open it up now if you would, and get out a pen or pencil. This is deliberate. We're going to try an exercise in this sermon, because sometimes during a sermon your mind will drift. Today the idea is to let your mind drift toward gratitude.

Here are a few categories to help. Maybe there are individuals God will bring to your mind: a family member, or a coworker, or a teacher. Or an experience: getting to go to school or work or travel. Or a time when you were suffering and God comforted you. Think of a small gift: an encouraging word from somebody, a phone call, a text, a good night's sleep, food you love to eat. Maybe this gift is life-changing: faith, the Bible, the death of Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, ...

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John Ortberg is pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Gratitude flows from God's presence.

II. Gratitude grows in humility.

III. Gratitude leads to a life of blessing.

IV. Gratitude arises in imperfection.