Seminar Notes

The Th(i)nkful Seminar

Karin M. Brown at Tri-County Bible Church, Rensselaer, IN

Part 1: Foundation of Thinking Thanks

Breakout Exercise:

Introduction: The time I cried the most in the last 5 years was driving out of the driveway of Bjørkeli, our little cottage in the woods of northern Wisconsin….

  • God allows us to be pushed into crisis to reveal what we really believe and trust in
  • We feel guilty because our feelings don’t line up with what we know to be true
  • “Emotions are REAL, but not REALITY”

What is Th(i)nkful?

  • ETYMOLOGY OF THANKS – Proto Indo-European Root (PIE) of the English word “thank” is tong = to think/feel
  • ORIGIN OF THE WORD th(i)nkful – seeking to illustrate that thinking thanks is essential to expressing thanks
  • REFOCUS SCATTERED THOUGHTS – A person has on an average 50,000 thoughts per day (monkey thoughts)
  • BRAIN NEURAL PATHWAY – Our brains are able to carve new neural pathways. It can be compared to forging a new path through the woods. It feels very difficult at first, but as you “power through,” it slowly becomes easier and easier. “A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.” Erasmus

Why Be Th(i)nkful?

Benefits of being thankful (secular view):

  • Stronger immune systems and less depression
  • More joy, optimism, and happiness
  • Stronger relationships and more generous behavior
  • Less feelings of loneliness and isolation

Benefits of being thankful (biblical view):

  • WE ARE OBEYING GOD’S COMMAND – Psalm 50:14; Ephesians 5:18-20; I Thess. 5:18
  • WE JOIN HIS PEOPLE IN HONORING GOD – Bible references it 135X (OT = 67; NT = 68)
  • GRATITUDE DOWNLOADS GOD’S GRACE – more on this in Part 2
  • GRATITUDE BUILDS MY SPIRITUAL HEALTH – more on this in Part 2
  • GRATITUDE BRINGS ENCOURAGEMENT TO THOSE AROUND ME – more on this in Part 2
  • INGRATITUDE BEGINS A DOWNWARD SPIRAL – Romans 1:21

 


Part 2: Cultivating Thinking Thanks

Gratitude and Grace

  • CONNECTION: Genuine thankfulness to our Creator and Redeemer God is only possible through the transformation that the gospel brings
  • COMMUNICATION: We must be thankful to, not just thankful for
  • CORRELATION: Colossians 3:15-17 – charis (vs 16) is translated thanks (Example: Say grace for the food). Thinking and expressing thankfulness in difficult situations seems to trigger God’s grace (help) being poured into my heart.

Tree Visual – Colossians 2:6-7

Tree with roots3. CROWN: Photosynthesis happens (creation of sugar for the tree and oxygen for everything around it)

  • Our responsibility is connecting thinking thanks (water and nutrients) to the circumstance (carbon) in our lives – I Thess. 5:18; Eph.5:20

2. TRUNK: Transportation of water and nutrients upward, and glucose (sugar) downward

  • Our responsibility is carving the brain neural pathway to think thanks – Romans 12:2; 2 Cor.10:5

1. ROOTS: Anchoring and source of water and nutrients

  • Our responsibility is growing roots to connect to living water, to draw in nutrients, and to bring stability (trust in God’s character and promises) in storms and drought – John 4:14; Psalm 1:2-3; Jer. 17:5-8

 

Ending Exercise:

 

© 2017 Karin M. Brown