Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday had many great moments. Yesterday also continued our string of several Sundays of outstanding worship services. As for my musings …

-Our children’s ministries are on fire. Such great things are taking place in all our children’s ministries. Kids are learning great truths. Families are being reached. The number of children attending keeps growing.

-The growth in our children’s ministries has created a problem. We need more people to begin serving in this area of ministry so that our current workers do not get burned out.

-There was a good spirit in our worship service.

-Attendance was good.

-Yesterday, for some reason, I really missed some of those who passed earlier this year. The places where they usually sat seemed to stand out to me yesterday.

-The new carpet in the hallways at church looks great.

-I amazed at how mild our weather has been. I am not complaining, but I am amazed. My brother in Georgia has had a major snowstorm, but we have had only flurries so far. I expect much more to come, but I am enjoying this for the moment.

-I went to Chicago for a couple of days last week for some training on the Fatherhood program that I am helping to teach at the prison. It was fascinating to hear what many in the training are doing to reach fathers in their area and to hear their personal journeys as well.

-We did not have any major technical issues during our worship yesterday. That is a major praise. A big reason is because my wife spent time figuring some things out and fixed a couple of our computer/projector problems. Have I mentioned lately that my wife is awesome?

-I finished first in my Fantasy Football league. We are now in the playoffs and I have a bye this week.

-Last week was difficult for my preparation and study. With a funeral and being out of town for 2 days, I had to maximize the time I had available.

-I am excited for this coming Sunday when our children share a major part of the worship service with their Christmas presentation. The energy they bring is always exciting. The opportunity to make a good impression on visitors is something I get stoked about.

-This week I will be meeting with some people who are interested in, or at least curious about, baptism. I am looking forward to meeting with this group.

-My oldest grandson, he is also my oldest grandchild, had a birthday last week. I have vivid memories of the day he arrived, and my world forever changed in an awesome way.

-It is time for me to get going. My wife and I have an insurance meeting this morning. No, I am not smiling.

Here’s hoping you find much to smile about this week and that you share your smile with many others.

 

Dennis

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Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday I did much to boost the economy, at least the economy of the cough drop industry. The other things that transpired yesterday were much more interesting and exciting. As for my musings …

-We had a lot of technical issues yesterday while my wife, and others, were attempting to put the final pieces in place for our worship service. The good news is that there was very little that was noticed by people during worship. The bad news is that we need to get some things taken care of soon.

-Our worship service went well. We had a lot of children in attendance and they add a lot of energy to the service before they leave for their own ministry time.

-There was a very good spirit throughout the service.

-Our attendance was good.

-We had a family return for the second week in a row.

-We had some people attend who had missed for several weeks.

-My wife and I have both been battling colds. The bad news is the colds decided to hang out in the throat over the weekend. Our volume of cough drops consumed was staggering.

-It appears that my fantasy football team will win again this week.

-I made it through November without performing a funeral. I believe that is the first month since January this year in which I did not perform a funeral. I do have a funeral tomorrow.

-I ended up changing my Christmas message series in the middle of last week.

-We were able to go get our Christmas tree at the beginning of last week. Then we have been too busy to get it decorated. But the tree looks good and the pine smell is wonderful.

-I am taking some training this week to be better equipped to teach the Fatherhood class that I am helping with at the prison.

-In my previous pastorate, I coached volleyball at the local High School the last 7 years we were there. I have been hoping to get into the program here since we arrived nearly 4 years ago. Last week I began helping with the 7th and 8th grade volleyball program. I am excited about this opportunity.

-Three years ago, my wife and I were in Kenya visiting our son, daughter in law and 5 of our grandkids. Looking back at some pictures over the weekend reminded us of how blessed we were to take that trip.

-Yesterday afternoon a group of 9 or 10 people returned to church and took the carpet out of our hallways. This morning the installers came and began preparing the floors for the new carpet that will begin going down tomorrow morning. It will look very different and much nicer by Wednesday evening.

-It is time to get my study hat on. I need to have a funeral message, Sunday’s sermon and a Fatherhood lesson put together in the next couple of days. The funeral is tomorrow morning, the Fatherhood class is Wednesday afternoon and I really need Sunday’s sermon nearly finished by Wednesday morning because of the training I will be doing on Thursday and Friday. Good thing I love what I do.

Here’s hoping that you will see God’s hand guiding you this week.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

We enjoyed an outstanding day yesterday. It was another “Wow God!” time of worship. We honored some special people and much more. As for my musings …

-We honored the people who serve in our Children’s ministries. They give a lot of time and energy to make an impact in the lives of our children. Our children’s ministries have been growing in number and in the number of children who are seeking to follow Christ. It is awesome. We took a few minutes to honor them in our worship time.

-Our time of singing in worship was very good.

-One of my sons in law sang just before my message. He really worshiped as he sang and his ministry in that moment was powerful.

-Our prayer times seemed to have a little something extra in them yesterday. I don’t know how to explain it, but I know what I felt, and it was very good.

-We had a new family in attendance and our total attendance was very good.

-Our community’s Christmas parade took place on Saturday. Our church had a float in the parade and it looked great. That is not just my opinion, our church’s float took first place. We had a bunch of children on the float. One couple in the church took the leadership for this and did an outstanding job. The weather was great on Saturday as well.

-We had both of our daughters, sons in law and 5 of our grandchildren at our place from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. It was great. We were able to Facetime with our oldest grandson who is in college. We were also able to Skype with our son, daughter in law and 4 of our grandkids for a while on Saturday (They are serving as missionaries in Africa). It was the first time we had seen their faces and heard their voices in a long time. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving for us.

-Our house seemed so quiet last evening.

-We had more technical glitches yesterday. All but one of them was resolved before our worship service began. Kudos to my wife and the tech team for their work yesterday.

-Now the big Christmas push begins.

-I am loving our mild weather. It was wonderful while our family was here, and today’s weather is just as good.

-In our Vacation Bible School this year, the phrase “Wow God!” was part of our theme. That phrase has stuck with us. Yesterday’s worship service could best be described as “Wow God!” worship. The best news is that we have had quite a few of those times in our worship recently.

-Our family is a game-playing family. Whenever we get together we play games. We had a couple of new ones and they were big hits. We played a few of our favorites as well. The sounds of laughter filled our home and I loved every moment. I also know that we will continue to discover reminders of the family being there as things that were left behind are found. Some things we leave where they are discovered as a reminder for a few days. I love my family and I am blessed to be part of this incredible group.

-My fantasy football team has a big lead this week going into the Monday night game. My team was the first to qualify for our playoffs. That is the good news, the bad news is that I seem to beat a lot of the teams when they have their worst week.

Here’s hoping that you will take the time to reflect on what you have for which to be thankful.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was another very good day. Many good things took place. As for my musings …

-Our District Superintendent was with us yesterday. He brought a powerful message. It was great to have him here and good for our congregation to hear from him. I love that my new people now have a face to put with the name as we pray for him in his role as District Superintendent.

-It was 4 years ago this past weekend that my wife and I interviewed with the leadership of this church.

-I loved it when the children sang in our worship time yesterday. Their enthusiasm and joy were inspiring.

-There were 2 or 3 rows of kids singing. It wasn’t that long ago that all the children fit in one short row of about 4 kids. The growth in our children’s ministries is encouraging.

-We are still celebrating this morning after seeing a lady, for whom we have been fervently praying, walk in yesterday. She is a miracle after coming back from her stroke. It was a very special moment.

-Last week I spent a couple of days with 4 guys from my college days. The 5 of us became friends our freshmen year in college. We have maintained the friendships through the years. For the past 10 years we have gotten together for a couple of days every fall. It is always fun. It is always entertaining. It is always meaningful, and it is always worth it. We live in 4 different states and most of us travel several hours to get together. They are great men and great friends. I know I can contact them anytime and know that they will pray and if it were needed, they would rearrange schedules and show up. I am blessed.

-It was very different to be in our worship service but not preach. That also meant that I was not preparing to preach during the week. I was still studying for some up-coming sermons, but the urgency was not present. It did make it a great week to be gone a couple of days with my college buddies.

-This week our daughters and their families will be with us for a few days as we celebrate Thanksgiving. The house will be full. Games, many games, will be played. The laughter will be loud. The energy, from 5 grandkids, will be significant and awesome. The joy will be wonderful. However, we will be missing our son and family as they are serving in Africa. There will be 11 in the house and 7 that will be missed.

-We have many people going through significant physical issues recently. Several procedures, surgeries, emergency room trips, serious tests and more in the past couple of months. I almost need a separate calendar to keep track of them all. I hate seeing people suffer or anxiously waiting to hear results from tests.

-My fantasy football team squeaked out the victory last week and I am leading this week heading into the Monday night game. I assume you were anxiously waiting to hear.

-I have the basic outline of my Christmas message series laid out, but I am struggling to get any further with the messages.

-Is it just me, or has this year gone faster than most years?

Here’s praying that you will notice many things for which to be thankful this week.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a good day with many reasons to rejoice. This morning, not so much since I am currently sitting in a tire shop waiting to have a new tire put on our van. As for my musings …

-We declared yesterday “Comeback Sunday”. After all, everyone loves a good comeback. The focus was on realizing how we got to the place of needing a comeback and then the steps to making a comeback. These principles applied whether the comeback was needed in a relationship, from an addiction, from a fear and especially if the need was to come back to Christ.

-At least 2 people prayed to receive Christ as their personal Savior. Another dozen people committed to taking the first steps toward a comeback in their circumstances.

-It was a very good day. Each week, for the past month, we have been experiencing great things. God really is moving in our church and community.

-Last evening in our small group for parents of young children we looked at passing on our faith. It was a great lesson and some good discussion. Bottom line, we must model the faith we hope that our children will embrace personally. If we are not living it, it will be difficult for them to follow it.

-This coming Sunday our District Superintendent will be coming to share about some great things taking place on our District and will be preaching as well. I had to assure some people that nothing is wrong with me or our church. Some of them panicked when they heard that the District Superintendent was coming to preach. Evidently, their experience was the that the District Superintendent only came to share during times of pastoral transition.

-I am excited about what is taking place in our children and youth ministries. I keep hearing reports of decisions being made and of great discussions taking place. It seems like every week there are new students in attendance and some of them have started to become regular attenders. We have a great group of people serving with our children and youth. However, we still need several more people to help so that our current people do not become overwhelmed.

-We had some people who came back to church yesterday. That was encouraging.

-We had some new attenders as well.

-I couldn’t do my normal Sunday morning routine yesterday. As a result, I felt out of sorts all morning and especially during my message. I am not a person who needs routine each day, but on Sundays I do have a rhythm that I works for me. When that gets messed up I struggle. One of my many flaws.

-My wife is having some very painful issues with her knees. They have gotten much worse in the past few days. Trying to delay probable knee replacement. Not sure how much longer she can delay it. Prayers are appreciated.

-My fantasy team lost last week, and I am trailing going into the Monday night game. My opponent has no one left playing, I have one, but it is my kicker. I am rooting for that team to not score touchdowns so my kicker can get me a bunch of points.

-As we thanked the Veterans yesterday, I was reminded that not everyone who loves Jesus is in a place where they can worship freely and openly, and yet they continue to worship. I want to remember and celebrate my freedoms, while remembering many do not have these same freedoms. As well as recognizing that the greatest freedom comes through Jesus Christ.

Here’s hoping you find many reasons to give thanks this week.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yes! Yes! Yes! In case you haven’t already guessed, the weekend was outstanding! From new life in Christ, to dozens of people serving on a Saturday, to the dozens of children who had a blast at our Saturday event, and much more. Yes, it was a very good weekend. As for my musings …

-Yesterday, during our Sunday School/Small group hour, an elementary child prayed to accept Christ as their personal Savior. I am rejoicing, and so is heaven. I love that the teacher of that group of kids was sensitive to what was going on in this child’s life. I love that this teacher presented the gospel to the class. I love that not only is our children’s ministry growing, but it is also making a huge impact.

-On Saturday we had a children’s and family event. It was called Maker Fest and was focused on the theme that we are God’s Masterpiece. The intent of the day was for the children and their family to know that they are special, that God made them with unique gifts and that He loves them. We wanted them to have a blast. We wanted them to be creative and inventive. It was a huge success. We had 33 children in attendance from 18 different families. The energy, the laughter, the smiles and the joy, was outstanding.

 

-We had people working over a period of several days preparing for the children’s event. We had more than 2 dozen people serving at the event. We had more than a dozen stay after the event to clean-up and set-up for Sunday. They gave time and effort when they could have taken the day for themselves or relaxed, instead they invested in kids.

-I waved my W flag, as in the Cubs win, during announcements yesterday. If we can get excited when our sports team wins we should be even more excited when people come to faith in Christ and we are able to impact a lot of families through an event. So, we celebrated and cheered yesterday morning.

-In the midst of all the great things taking place over the weekend my heart is breaking for the tragedies that I read about. The shooting in Texas at a church during their worship. I cannot imagine. I pray for that pastor as he tries to lead and comfort his church while dealing with his own grief, since his 14-year old daughter was among those who were killed. I read more about the atrocities taking place in Central Africa Republic, stories about human trafficking and the upheaval from the presidential election in Kenya.

-This week there are several people in my church who are facing serious physical issues. Three have surgery and another is meeting with a surgeon about possible cancer surgery and another is facing difficulties from a stroke. Lots, and lots, of prayers.

-Looking forward to spending a couple of days with some college buddies next week. We try to get together once a year for a couple of days. The 5 of us became friends our freshmen year at college. We are still friends. It is always good to catch up with each other and do a little reminiscing.

-My message yesterday was “Sin – Stop It!”. Let’s see if everyone comes back next Sunday.

-I am loving the discussions we are having in the Sunday evening small group my wife and I are leading for parents of young children.

-This morning I reached my first goal, of four, in my weight loss/get healthier journey. It took me 4 weeks to reach it, but I hit it this morning.

-The extra hour on Saturday night didn’t get people to arrive any earlier on Sunday.

-My fantasy football team is leading going into tonight’s game. However, all my players have played, and my opponent has two playing tonight. Not looking good.

-We are hosting for Thanksgiving this year. Love having my family gather. We will be missing our Africa kids and grandkids, but all the others will be here. The house will be full. My heart will be full and likely my stomach as well. Good thing I hit my first weight loss goal.

Here’s hoping you find something to celebrate today.

 

Dennis

I Need You to See …

God is speaking. I am doing my best to listen and hear everything He is saying to me. I have sensed Him moving in me in some very uncomfortable ways in recent weeks. Honesty compels me to admit He has been trying to get my attention for longer than a few weeks.

I still don’t know if I am seeing everything He is urging me to show me or not. It is not all clear, but it is beginning to have some focus. Right now, I feel a lot like the blind man in Mark 8. Jesus spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him. Then Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” The man responded, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” The man who had been blind could see, but he could not see clearly.

I sense that I am beginning to see. I believe that I am beginning to see what God wants me to see. However, it is not clear. There are shapes, and I am guessing what the shapes are, but it is not obvious, at least not yet.

God is telling me that he needs me to see what he sees. He wants me to see what he sees for what is coming next. I have been praying for God to move in me, in our church and in our community. For several months, I have told people that we are at a tipping point. A place where something, needs to push us over and then we will experience a flow of God that we may have never seen before.

I have been frustrated with how long it is taking for us get past this tipping point. This evening I know God is speaking to me. It is possible that I have been the problem.

I have been praying for God to move and for us/me to see him clearly and to clearly see what he desires.

Tonight, I think I am beginning to see. Tonight, I believe I am beginning to understand somethings I must do. Tonight, I am a strange mix of excited, overwhelmed and fearful. Tonight, I am praying for the faith to take the next right step. I am praying to see what he sees. I am praying to have the courage to act on what he is showing me. I am praying for the courage to share what I see with some other people.

That phrase, “I need you to see” keeps echoing in my heart and my mind. I believe it is beginning to reach a place in me that I find indescribable.

That phrase, “I need you to see”. I believe I am going to need to say that phrase to several people in the coming days and weeks if I am going to be obedient. I want to be obedient. I want to see what he wants me to see. I want to be able to share it with others. I want to share it with the people I need to share it with.

I would ask you to pray with me that I will see it, that I would be obedient and that I would share it.

Last Sunday I preached on trusting God. I challenged my people to write some specific things on paper. I asked them to write them down twice. Then I asked them to keep one copy and lay the other copy on the altar if they were committing to trust God with those things. 50 people responded. It was awesome. I wrote down 4 things and placed it on the altar and I placed the other copy in my Bible. What I believe God is speaking to me about and what I believe he is trying to get me to see, fits some of what I wrote down on Sunday.

Wow God!

So here I am, trusting. Here I am listening. Here I am trying to see. Here I am on the tipping point.

In Mark 8, Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes a second time. After the second touch, the man’s eyes were opened, and his sight was restored.

Do it again Lord.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was filled with several interruptions, the best being when God broke through in our worship and moved in many people. As for my musings …

-It seemed that everything in our worship service flowed well and connected each part of the service with the next part. The result was that we were moved by God and knew that we had been in His presence.

-The sermon was on Trusting God. As our service concluded, 50 people made a commitment to trust God with specific issues in their life! They wrote them down, saying they were now trusting God with these issues and laid them on the altar. It was a powerful scene.

-The morning did not start well. We had an issue with the computer we use in our sound and media booth. That problem was corrected easily. Then the projector at the front of our worship center would not project anything. We got on a ladder tried some troubleshooting tricks, but they did not work. Then we took the projector that is in the back so that those on the platform can see what the congregation sees and moved it to the front. The congregation could see everything, but those on the platform were operating by faith.

-The interruptions are continuing this morning. They are all important and are all ministry. However, they were not part of “my plan” for this morning and they are delaying these musings.

-We had a new family in attendance yesterday.

-There is some significant spiritual growth taking place in our small groups. It is exciting to see, and to hear, the results and impact.

-Our church overwhelmed my wife and I with their expressions of appreciation every week in October. What is impressive is that they show us appreciation all year long. They do it as a group and many of them do it individually. We are blessed, in so many ways, and we are humbled by their many expressions to us.

-We are planning a large children’s event and family outreach for this Saturday. Our worship center will be transformed for the event. We are praying that lives will be transformed as a result. We are praying for many opportunities to express the love of Jesus through this outreach.

-Our community was rocked this week by a couple of tragic deaths. One of a child and another of a young adult. Much comfort and strength has been, and still is, needed.

-I am really looking forward to our family being together for a couple of days around Thanksgiving. As always, we will greatly miss the ones in Africa.

-Our parenting small group has been smaller than I hoped, but the interaction and sharing has been great.

-The news of the upheaval, and unrest, with the presidential elections in Kenya has ramped up the urgency of my prayers in the past week. I have 2 grandchildren in Kenya and my son, daughter in law and 2 other grandchildren are next door to Kenya.

-One of our granddaughters turned 3 this past week. It was fun to facetime with her as she showed us what she had received for her birthday.

-I am really enjoying watching the World Series games this year. The result was much more enjoyable last year when my Cubs finally won. However, I am enjoying just watching the games that have all been close and each has had a lot of dramatic moments. My blood pressure has been much better while watching this year.

-My fantasy football team is trailing heading into tonight’s game. I don’t expect to be able to make up the difference given who I have in the game. Oh well, it will only be my second loss.

-We have turned a corner in our weather and furnaces were running over the weekend. The good news is that it is almost sweater weather.

Here’s hoping that you experience the warmth of an encouraging word from someone today.

 

Dennis

 

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was an outstanding day, not a perfect one, but outstanding even though there were some difficult moments. As for my musings …

-The spirit and energy in our worship service was outstanding. You could feel it before the service even began and it only got better as the service went along.

-October is considered Pastor Appreciation month in many circles. My church has had a different ministry area present something to my wife and I each Sunday. Yesterday, it was the children. They sang a special song, and they sang it with enthusiasm. Then they gave each of us a large bowl filled with many things, including several Hugs candies. Then they gave us a poster with their names on it that said Thank You and We Pray for You. They finished it off with every one of the kids giving each of us a hug. How cool is that?

-Our worship team did a wonderful job of leading us in worship and the congregation was singing with volume and feeling. The sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the service was even more pronounced during the singing.

-Our technical issues were at a minimum yesterday.

-On Saturday my back stiffened up and was very painful. I have some long term back issues, but I hadn’t had an issue for several months. It made me very cautious in my movements. The good news is that once I got going in the sermon I didn’t notice any pain in my back. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing.

-I serve one day a week as Chaplain at our local hospital. I enjoy serving people in this capacity. Trying to bring some comfort and encouragement to patients, and sometimes to their family. There are times when it is not easy, when you talk and pray with a family whose loved one is going through a very difficult time. Last week I had one of those days.

-I have the privilege to help teach a class on fatherhood at a nearby prison. We began a new round of the class recently. I really grow to love these men as I see them seeking to make a change and become better fathers while in prison and especially desiring to be a better father when they are released. We limit our group to 13. I think we had 10 or 11 finish the class the first time we taught it. This time there were 40 men who applied to be in the class. A couple of our alumni came back to talk with us and share with the new group what they got out of the class. That was very encouraging.

-My Cubs had a good season following the World Series Championship. They got beat by a team that is playing much better than them this year. I am still proud to be a Cubs fan.

-We had a couple of first time visitors again yesterday. We also had a couple of people return for the second time.

-We had some great discussion in the parenting small group when we met last evening.

-I am humbled by the number of people in my church who give of themselves for several hours each week. They are the backbone of our church.

-My fantasy football team is leading, but we each have one player in the Monday Night game.

Here’s hoping that you find several times this week to let someone know you believe in them. I am also praying that you will notice God at work this week.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a day with a lot of chaos. As for my musings …

-Yesterday was filled with technical problems. Some of it can be attributed to it being the first Sunday since my Assistant Pastor moved on, he directed our technical stuff. Some people are returning to roles they haven’t done in a while or they are trying something new. We made it through, and it probably bothered those of us up front and in the sound booth a lot more than the congregation.

-The technical chaos was not limited to our Worship service. At our small group last night, which meets in a home, we could not get our online video segment to work. We still had good discussion.

-To add to the chaos, I was terrible in delivering my message yesterday. I was scattered in my thoughts and my words. Hoping that my prayers before the service for God to speak beyond my words were answered.

-Not everything was bad, but the chaos that took place was where my thinking went last night.

-On a more positive note, we had a couple of new people attend and one person who returned for the second time.

-We had a lot of children and youth in attendance yesterday. 3 years ago, we had 4 or 5 children and youth attending. Yesterday I believe we had 25.

-Another good thing from yesterday was that more people committed to helping with a significant children’s outreach that we will be doing in 3 weeks.

-I am very much looking forward to getting a day off to spend with my wife this week. It has been 2 or 3 weeks since that has been possible.

-My Cubs won their first series in the playoffs, so that made me happy. It doesn’t look good for the current series.

-A fun element in my message yesterday is that I used my bow for an illustration. Any time I can carry a bow around while I preach it is a fun thing.

-My mid-week study is going well. The issues we are digging into are so relevant and many people need healing in these areas. The first week only 3 came, the past couple of weeks we have had 5 and yesterday 2 additional people told me they plan to attend this week.

-The small group that meets on Monday evenings is called Inside Out. They are looking to get healthy spiritually and physically. Part of the focus is accountability. Part of the focus is learning about what God’s Word says and part of the focus is hearing from people in the health and fitness profession share. Good things are coming from that group.

-My fantasy football team lost for the first time this week. Let’s all pause for a moment of sadness.

-This morning I am experiencing a mix of joy and sadness as I reflect on having family scattered around the country and the world. I am missing times with all of us together. I am rejoicing as they are serving the Lord and that they are all doing well.

Here’s hoping you find joy as you serve this week.

 

Dennis