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  • Writer's pictureRich Zeiger

So Happy Together

November has been designated National Gratitude Month, which seems like a logical choice for the month containing our national Thanksgiving holiday. This particular November—the 30th, to be exact—marks the 20th anniversary of Real Life Community Church’s first public worship service. One could reasonably say that this church was founded on thankfulness to the Lord.

Over the years, Real Life has had ups and downs, tragedy and ecstasy, but through it all the Lord has built this work in ways only He could have designed. We have celebrated the births of many babies to joyful parents and the spiritual births of many sinners who received Jesus Christ by faith. We have grieved the earthly loss of dear ones who have passed from this life into the presence of the Lord. We have rejoiced together in the vows of matrimony and mourned the loss of marriages in which those vows were broken. The journey has not been easy, and some have chosen to depart along the way, yet here we stand after two decades…together in Christ.

I am thankful to our sovereign Lord for what He has built at Real Life: a true family. We are by no means a perfect family. (How could we be, flawed and human as we are?)

Nonetheless, God has built and is building us into a real-life family, bonded together by our union with Christ. The love He has for us produces the love we have for one another, and for that bond of love I am—we all should be—eternally grateful.

Paul’s thoughts resonate deep within my own heart, as he writes to his dear brothers and sisters in Christ in 1 Thessalonians 2:19.

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

He reiterates his deep emotional investment and profound gratitude for them in 3‬:‭8‬-‭9.

For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?

What we see in Paul’s letter we recognize in our own experience over the past twenty years: the transforming reality of Christ unites His followers with rejoicing love.

As we approach this wonderful milestone together, let us thank God for His amazing grace, His faithful providence, His perfect wisdom, and His constant presence among us. Let us also thank Him for the gift of each other—the tremendous gift of forever family He has given us in the church.

Happy 20th anniversary, Real Life! I thank God for bringing us together.

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