By Didi Bacon

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”  Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV)

I like to begin my day by writing in my journal five things I am thankful for.  Starting my day with gratitude is the best way to tune my ears toward hearing from God.

This got me thinking.  Maybe this is a good opportunity to share my five “Mount Carmel Thankfuls” with you as we look back on 2022. God is at work in this world.  He is at work through the ministry of Mount Carmel.  It is good to acknowledge Him with gratitude.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

Five things I am thankful for at Mount Carmel in 2022:

  1. I am thankful for the baptisms.

Every baptism is a highlight for me!  It is a highlight in heaven!  Jesus said the angels rejoice when one who is lost is found and brought home.  So far, we have had 37 baptisms (with another one scheduled in the middle of this week)!  Every baptism has been awesome!  I  remember three members of a One-with-Three group baptizing one of their own.  The many times when a mom and dad baptized their kids.  When a family member from out of state came in to be baptized because of the witness of the Mount Carmel member here. Thank you, Lord for the harvest of souls!

2. I am thankful for all the groups that learn and live scripture together.

Not too long ago, I came to the building one Tuesday night to find the parking lot packed with cars.  I said to my wife, “What is going on?”  What was going on was groups were meetings to learn and live scripture together.  There was a small group meeting to work through the lesson in our all-church study.  There was a mom’s Recharge group meeting to get into the Gospel story of Jesus.  There was a support group learning to deal with trauma.  I told Shannon as we drove away, “That was awesome!”

3. I am thankful for the many testimonies of generous living.

When you give your life to Jesus, it opens the floodgates of blessings. You discover that not only are you valuable to God (He loves you!) but that you have value to share with the world because of God’s Spirit in you.  There have been so many examples of our Mount Carmel church family sharing their God-given gifts to bless others.  Prayers have been prayed in faith, kindnesses have been shown, encouragements have been given, acts of service have been done, the hungry have been fed, the lost have been given direction, and financial resources have been shared!   

4. I am thankful for the privilege to serve.

I often tell people that I operate on a one-year contract when it comes to ministry.  God has been kind enough to renew my contract at Mount Carmel now 25 times, and I am excited for Him to do it again for number 26.  I am excited about the future of our ministry as we seek to make disciples who make disciples, to see more baptisms, more participation in groups that learn and live scripture, and more testimonies of Holy Spirit life transformation.

5. I am thankful for ministry teams I work with.

I often consider our elders and staff, and I have to chuckle!  Only God could bring together such a diverse group of people to work together for Him!  We are quite a motley crew.  We have a lady who was born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania who loves “Tasty Cakes” and cheese steaks working with a lady who was born and raised in Campbell County Kentucky who loves to eat whatever those Campbell County Camels love to eat!  We have a rock and roll singer from California working with a former engineer from Goshen, Ohio (via the hills of Kentucky!). We have a man from Virginia Beach working with a man from Bethel, Ohio, who had access to East Fork Lake Beach!  We are so different, yet united by a singular commitment to serve Jesus in the ministry at Mount Carmel.  I am grateful to serve with them.

Five things that I am thankful for at Mount Carmel in 2022.  I know that I could add a lot more.  Looking forward with hope for 2023.  Going with Jesus, and going with the faithful of Mount Carmel Christian Church.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)