52 Weeks of Gratefulness #42 – Jannie Thompson

Jannie Thompson
Janine Thompson with Ebenezer youth at old Burger King
Janine Thompson jump rope Ebenezer youth
Ebenezer Youth Group

In Week 42 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for the youngest person I know, Jannie Thompson.

Miss Jannie (as she’s affectionately known around my house) was one of the first people to welcome me when I visited Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church as a college student. If Ebenezer had a mascot, it would be Jannie Thompson. She is the personification of the down-home kindness and warmth that characterizes that fellowship.

I got to know Ms. Jannie mostly by serving with her in the youth ministry. Among the many things I’ve come to love about Ms. Jannie is her enthusiasm for life. Whatever the youth were doing, she was doing. It didn’t matter if it was kickball, jumping rope or racing, she was in it to win it.

She kept us grounded because she is unapologetically real. She is one of the kindest people I’ve met but she will slip off those shoes and earrings on you, if she has to. Because she was so real, our time together as a youth group was real. We didn’t pretend or play church. We wrestled with real problems, discussed what was happening today and talked about how to apply our faith to real life.

But perhaps what I appreciate most about Ms. Jannie was her openness and big heart. There were kids that came to our church hurt, confused and alone but always found a safe place with Jannie Thompson. I personally saw her be understanding, forgiving and take in scores of people into her life where she would love on them and where they would find healing. I was one them. I’m grateful. #52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #41 – Childhood Neighborhood

Childhood Neighborhood - Facebook

Image Courtesy of Google Maps

In Week 41 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for my childhood neighborhood.

I find the sound of lawn mowers strangely satisfying.

It elicits feelings of safety and security. When I was growing up as a kid in Jackson, Mississippi, lawn mowers were part of a cacophony of sounds that announced the arrival of a new Saturday morning. It meant it was sunny, the day was underway, the neighborhood was awake and that it was time to go out and play.

As I reflect back on this as an adult, it has another meaning that I didn’t consider consciously as a child but nonetheless planted the sentiments I find myself reflecting on today. And that is, I had neighbors who cared.

They cared enough to be up at the crack of dawn to weed flowerbeds, trim hedges and mow lawns. They cared enough to organize neighborhood watches and neighborhood events.

I remember during Christmas, the neighbors would come together to select a theme for the entire neighborhood. Each yard had common decoration elements such as a frosty white Christmas tree behind a spotlight and matching signage with different phrases like “Joy to the world”.

There was a deep sense of pride in *our* neighborhood characterized by doing things with each other and for each other. We were together and it made me as a child feel secure. I pray we can get back to that. I’m grateful. #52WoG

Fine Without God

Only Light In The Darkness


I reject God believing “I am fine without God”. At the heart of that thinking is a belief that the light I’m walking in is my own.
Whatever your proximity to God, all light you enjoy -any semblance of love, justice or truth comes from Him. These are not concepts of human invention or products of our effort. They are characteristics of God that emanate from Him and shine through His vessels.
But there is coming a terrible day, after God’s offer of Himself and plea to choose life has gone out to every creature under heaven, that God will withdraw Himself completely from those who reject Him,
“For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine.” Isaiah 13:10, Mark 13:24
God will allow them their desire -utter darkness because “they loved darkness rather than light” John 3:19. In His withdrawal, He will also take His people. Not one who bares His Light will remain. Mankind will be completely left to languish in their own corruption and cruelty, being devoid of understanding, with no hope of any good. There will be no love, truth, justice nor anything of the sort -no light.
This is why Jesus proclaims, “I must work while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” John 9:4
I remember my ignorance of the harm I was doing and how I was being harmed, until finally I was forced to acknowledge my sin because it was piled up to heaven and I was being crushed under the weight of it. I was not fine without God. And, neither are you.
Be not deceived, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
I am so thankful that while I was in darkness, hope remained for me and there shone a great light. Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 4:16
And, there remains hope for you! The love of God compels me, “Believe Jesus, be freed from darkness and receive the Light of the world!” John 8:12
How can you test what I’m saying? How can you know it is true? The closer you walk with God through faith in Christ, the greater your light will shine.