Every Thursday I’ll send a note to your inbox with a devotional thought designed to help connect you with God, information about what’s going on at The Church at Clayton Crossings, and some fun facts to help us get to know one another.

What I’m thinking:

Years ago, I didn’t care about Thomas the Tank Engine. Not even a little bit. In fact, I didn’t know very much about Thomas, except that he was the big-cheeked train whose eyes could bore through to your soul if you stared at the display at Target for too long. Honestly, the thing creeped me out.


I didn’t care about Thomas until the little guy who lived in my house got bit by the Thomas bug (thanks, Nana). My mother let him watch the TV show (which, by the way, was narrated by George Carlin. Who in their right mind would let George Carlin narrate a show for children? The same people who would give Alec Baldwin a shot at the same gig, but I digress…), which led him to wanting a train, which led him to taking over our living room with a full-scale model of the Island of Sodor.

I started having visions of Thomas, Percy, and Sir Topham Hat in my sleep. Stephen King could do no worse….

Despite my apathy-turned-loathing for Thomas and his pals, Bryan was simply ensorcelled, which is why, in a moment of selfless love, we purchased tickets to ride on a train pulled by Thomas himself. By “we” and “selfless love”, I mean that Lisa had a brilliant idea to do something meaningful for our (at the time) only offspring.

The day of the train ride was the day I turned the corner on Thomas. My change of heart had nothing to do with seeing the cheeky train in person, but had everything to do with seeing the delight in Bryan’s eyes.

On Sunday I shared a message about giving that had me more than a little anxious. Many people expect a pastor to give a sermon about tithing that hearkens back to the days of fire, brimstone, and the evils that accompany mixed bathing. I pray you heard the hopefulness that was woven in my words.

I spoke with you about giving, not because I want something from you, but because I want something for you.

That’s why I bought Bryan tickets to ride on Thomas – I could have gone my entire life without riding on that train, but my heart was filled because it was an experience that elated my son.

My prayer for you is that you will trust God enough to allow Him to bless your faithfulness as you give back to Him a portion of what He has so graciously given to you in the first place. It will fill my heart to know that you are becoming more like our Heavenly Father as you practice generosity and obedience.

Acts 20:32-35 “And now I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands have provided for my needs and for those who were with me. In every way I’ve shown you that by laboring like this, it is necessary to help the weak and to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, for He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Holman Christian Standard)


What I need to remember:

  • ORNAMENT EXCHANGE FOR THE WOMEN AT CLAYTON CROSSINGS! This Saturday at 9:00 AM. Super extra bonus: Lisa Sanders will be speaking at this soiree, and she’s really amazing! RSVP and find all the details by visiting this link: http://bit.ly/1TnQzUL
  • NEW SERMON SERIES STARTS THIS WEEK I’m a Christmas junkie, so a sermon series about the birth of Jesus gets me more than a little fired up! Join us this Sunday at 10:30 for the first sermon in the Christmas Unwrapped series.

What I’m reading:

  • I’ve been in Cuba (no time to read!) and/or sick over the last week, so I’ve not been reading much other than The Multiplying Church by Bob Roberts (still).

What I’m listening to:

  • It’s all Christmas music, all the time! I’m currently hooked on the Holiday Traditions channel available through SiriusXM – I suppose I’m an old soul…

About me:
John Sanders is the non-stuffy pastor at The Church at Clayton Crossings. His primary mission is to help people find and follow Jesus. Additionally, he longs to write like the child of Aaron Sorkin and Dave Barry, preach like W.A. Criswell, look like Bradley Cooper, and eat like he’s seventeen years old. A more complete (and less snarky) bio can be found here.