Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a wonderful, powerful and crazy day. As for my musings …

-Sitting in a Starbucks in Kansas this morning.

-I am back out here to see my Dad. He took a couple of steps backward after we saw him last weekend. So, I made the crazy decision to throw things in a suitcase and make the nearly 6-hour drive as soon as our worship service was finished.

-Last night, Dad was doing okay, and I had a nice visit with him. Going to see him again in a few minutes.

-Our worship service had a powerful spirit all through the service yesterday. That was a great encouragement.

-Began a new sermon series yesterday, “Moving to Yes”. This series will take us right to Easter. Part of the message from the feeding of the 5,000, was “Remember who is asking” and “Remember, Jesus always has in mind what he is going to do”. So, say yes and then keep moving your feet to the yes He is calling you toward.

-Yesterday we received our “Give it All Away” offering. Everything that was given will be given away. Half of it is going to a church planting project in another state. The other half will go to a local pregnancy resource center. I haven’t gotten the numbers as of this posting. I love that my church does this act of generosity.

-Our attendance was back up to our average, or a little above.

-The 8th grade volleyball team I help coach finished 2nd in our county tourney last week. It has been a long time since our school finished this well in the county tourney.

-We are just 6 weeks away from Easter.

-I am so grateful for my family.

-I am working on two sermon series now. The “Moving to Yes” series that began yesterday and will take us to Easter. Also, the “Yes You Can … Because God Will” series that is to begin the week after Easter.

-Thinking of the great legacy my Dad had created throughout his lifetime. 44 years of ministry as a pastor. 5 or 6 years as a representative for our denomination’s publishing company. Years of assisting my step-mom with senior adult retreats. Many times, sharing devotionals, or leading services at nursing homes and retirement homes until a couple of years ago.

-I think his greatest legacy will be the impact on his family. His example of being a godly man. His example of perseverance through many difficult circumstances. His example of enjoying life and always seeking to make others smile or laugh. His example of being a wonderful pastor.

-Seeing some pictures recently of the grandkids in Africa makes me swell with pride (the good kind), tear up from missing them and increases my prayer time. It also makes me appreciate the times that I am able to be with, or talk to, my grandkids who are living in the states.

-Started another group at the prison, teaching about fatherhood for 12 weeks. Each group has gripped my heart in a special way. I love the opportunity to speak into their lives, to pray for them and with them, to see them begin to believe that they can make a difference as a dad.

-I am excited that baseball spring training has begun. Go Cubs!

-I have been reminded often recently of the power of a word of encouragement.

-Missing my wife. She was not able to make this trip.

Here’s hoping that you will encourage someone today and that you will be encouraged by someone or something today.




Monday Morning Musings …

This morning is a much different feeling since my wife and I were gone yesterday. I am still getting reports of how things went while we were gone. As for my musings …

-On Tuesday I received word that my Dad was back in the hospital.

-On Wednesday I was informed that the seminar in which I was to teach on Friday, Saturday and Sunday was being cancelled.

-On Thursday my wife and I decided to make an impromptu trip to Kansas to check on my Dad. Since we had already arranged to be gone on Sunday it didn’t take us long to pull things together and take off.

-I am very glad we made the trip. It meant missing 3 volleyball matches (there was a tourney on Saturday), which I hated to do, but they won all 3 of them (maybe I should do that more often).

-It was great to spend time with family. My brother and sister in law (who live in Georgia) decided to make an impromptu trip as well, arriving on Friday afternoon. We were all together (myself, my wife, my brother and sister in-law, step-sister and her husband) for a while and I believe that encouraged my Dad and stepmom. My wife and I stayed with her brother and sister in law who live in the same town. We were able to catch up with a lot of family in that time. We didn’t get a lot of rest, but it was worth it.

-My Dad was doing a little better on Saturday and Sunday, but he is not out of the woods yet.

-One report I received about the worship service here yesterday was that it concluded about 15 minutes earlier than our normal time. People might wish I would take a few more trips.

-Attendance was down a little again. We received a few inches of snow Saturday evening and early Sunday morning, but none of the predicted ice. I don’t know if that, or illness, was the main contributor.

-On Saturday we left to head back home. We drove about 2/3 of the distance and then stopped for the night. Where we stopped got a couple of inches of snow and a little ice.

-We took advantage of being gone on a Sunday to attend church somewhere else. It was a very good experience. We attended worship at a satellite location for a church that has 9 locations. They are doing a lot of great stuff in their communities. Yesterday was the beginning of a series that is kicking off a 2-year campaign of expansion of ministry and locations. We came away with thoughts of things we are doing well and some thoughts on improving some details in our Sunday morning routines.

-Since we rarely get to attend another church we love it when we get to attend somewhere that does things very differently so that we can observe some new things.

-This coming Sunday is our “Give it All Away” offering. We call it the ultimate love offering. Everything that we receive we will give away. This year it is being split between a local pregnancy center and a church planting project in North Carolina.

-Beginning a new sermon series this Sunday, “Moving to Yes” that will take us to Easter.

-Easter is just 7 weeks away.

-Really burdened for people who are attending church most Sundays but are not allowing God to make a difference in their daily lives and relationships. They are still running their life they way they want to run it and trying to stuff God into it. It doesn’t work that way.

Here’s hoping that you get a fresh sense of God’s amazing grace and love for you and allow yourself to surrender to him and his will.



Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a day of challenges and victories. As for my musings …

-I have a fierce head cold that is manifesting itself with a constantly running nose and sneezing over and over. I began to feel it Wednesday, it kicked in on Thursday and then on Friday I felt pretty good. When I woke on Saturday I was miserable and yesterday was even worse. The Lord helped me make it through my sermon without a single sneeze, but I think I am keeping the Kleenex industry in business by myself.

-Evidently, I was not the only one who was suffering. We had a lot of people who missed because they were sick.

-The best victory that took place yesterday was a young man giving his life to Christ! Wow God! He told me after the service that he had lost his hope but after our worship service, he had regained his faith. How awesome is that?

-Another victory that I enjoyed yesterday was the Eagles win in the Super Bowl.

-I am beginning to believe that we are going to have to replace my headset mic. We have had problems with it for a few weeks and the fixes that have made a difference in the past are not working.

-I have been studying for the 11 sessions I will be teaching this weekend at a college with ministry students. There is a trio of us going, and we will be teaching about starting new ministries and church planting. I am excited to share and very nervous.

-Our youth ministry is beginning to grow. It appears we will need to divide the group into middle school and high school groups soon. What a great problem to work on.

-Our weather was at least 20 degrees colder yesterday than it was last Sunday and we got a little snow in the afternoon. This is shaping up to be a very strange winter, as the temperatures keep fluctuating wildly.

-Last week marked the third week in a row that I prayed with a family who just lost a loved one at the hospital. I would appreciate that streak ending at 3.

-The volleyball teams I help coach are now both 7-3.

-This is going to be short today. This cold is messing with me.

-I am excited to have a church planter coming to share with us this Sunday.

-We are doing our 3rd annual “Give it all away” offering in 2 weeks. I love being able to do this and I love the message it sends about our vision.

Here’s hoping you are feeling better than I am and that you find some things to encourage you this week.



Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was another beautiful Sunday and quite a pleasant surprise for the last Sunday of January. As for my musings …

-Yesterday marked my 4th anniversary as pastor of this church.  The contrast in weather between the two Sundays is staggering. Yesterday it was pleasant, sunny and in the 40s. 4 years ago the weather was about 40 degrees colder and the ground was covered in snow several inches deep.

-One thing was still the same as it was 4 years ago. The people were wonderful then and they were just as wonderful yesterday.

-One major difference from 4 years ago was that there are many more people in attendance and a lot more children. Another noticeable difference is who was missing. We have lost several great people, to death (especially in the past year), who were here 4 years ago.

-Our time of music went well yesterday, and when you consider that 2 of the 3 (my wife was one of those) on the worship team were battling bad colds, it was even more impressive.

-There seemed to be a very good spirit throughout the worship service.

-Last Wednesday night we had 24 children attending our ministries and 6 youth. That is huge for us and those numbers were not imaginable 4 years ago. There were also 27 adults here last Wednesday evening.

-Last week I did not have a funeral, nor did I have a wedding!

-This week begins another Fatherhood class (24/7 Dads) at the prison. These are powerful, and meaningful, groups that I have the privilege to help lead.

-The volleyball teams I help coach had a tougher week. One of them went 2-1 and the other went 1-2. They are 6-1 and 5-2 on the season.

-3 families started a journey last week to change the legacy of their families. They were part of a Financial Peace class that started last Wednesday night.

-On my day as Chaplain at the local hospital last week, I once again prayed with, and ministered to, a family that was with a dying parent.

-This coming Sunday we are going to finish the current sermon series “What’s Your Why?”. This week we will be celebrating our why. Part of our celebration will be sharing communion together.

-“…As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” In John 20:21, Jesus said this to his disciples on one occasion when he appeared to them after his resurrection. That phrase has been echoing in my heart and mind the past 2 weeks. Trying to understand what it means to be sent. Coming to grips with the statement that I am sent in the same way that Jesus was sent by the Father. That is a staggering realization. I tried to convey this as part of my sermon yesterday. I fell woefully short in my attempt, but I am still working to practice this regularly in my life personally.

-Easter is just over 2 months away.

-Have you noticed how many messages in our media, in advertising, television shows and movies, send poor messages about having healthy relationships?

-I was recently given a book. It was an unusual book in that the main character was a pastor. It was a fiction book, but it touched on many real issues that a pastor, and family, faces. I want to thank my friend for sending it to me. Part of the struggle this pastor was dealing with was trying to live as one who is passionately following Christ and showing Christ to people around them and challenging their church to do the same. The personal part of living as a representation of Christ is difficult and attempting to guide, and challenge, others to do the same creates tension. The author of the book did a good job of capturing the tensions this creates in person, their family and their church family.

Here’s hoping you find ways to show Jesus to those around you this week. In loving, compassionate and meaningful ways.



Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was an unusual day. As for my musings …

-It was unusual because it was 50 degrees on January 21.

-It was unusual because we had a much smaller number of children present than normal.

-It was unusual because there was very little response at the end of the service. The reason that is unusual is because there was a powerful sense of God’s presence and a moving of the Holy Spirit throughout the entire service. That is a big concern to me.

-I performed a wedding last week. Not a funeral, a wedding. That was a nice change. The wedding was a private affair with just 5 of us in attendance. I enjoyed it very much.

-The volleyball teams I am helping coach won all three of their matches last week.

-Last week I was asked to be part of a trio of people going to a college to teach for 3 days next month. We will be teaching about starting new ministries and planting churches. I was honored to be asked and am excited to be a part of this event. There is a lot of studying to do between now and then. I am glad that I have the focus of my next 3 or 4 sermons already laid out.

-Weather did not impact attendance yesterday. Illness and hospital stays impacted it. There were at least 14 people who were not in attendance as a direct result of illness or hospital stays. That is just the ones I am aware of.

-My current sermon series “What’s Your Why?”, is really impacting me. I am praying that it is impacting others as well. This Sunday we will be looking at discovering your why. Each week we have been looking how Jesus stated his why and how he demonstrated his why. The last Sunday of the series we are going to celebrate our why.

-Many years ago, I did a series entitled “Yes You Can … Because God Will”. The focus was on obedience. My next series is going to be “Yes You Can” with a focus on being victorious in difficult circumstances. We can overcome because God will do his part. We will look at how God has provided for others in the past and how he will provide for us now, and in the future. He will provide the strength, the wisdom, the comfort, the support, or whatever we need to overcome difficult times.

-This time of year, 3 or 4 weeks past Christmas, is always difficult for me. There is a big push from early November through Christmas, that requires a lot of time, energy and emotion. The letdown seems to hit me about now. I try to do some things to change my routine and hope that helps to recharge my mind, emotions and energy. When possible, I try to get away for a few days as well.

-12 of us from my church worked the concession stand at our local high school for the basketball games Saturday night. It was fun to work together and to see some people in a completely different setting. Getting to watch some of the games was a nice bonus.

-Here’s hoping you find something to recharge your mind and energy this week.


Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a day with great spirit, great conversations and many encouraging signs. As for my musings …

-Our worship service was very good yesterday. There was a great spirit in the service from beginning to end. After 3 Sundays in a row where weather was a major factor it was nice to have a normal January Sunday. It was average temperature and the snow didn’t begin until several hours after our service finished. People were engaged in all parts of the service. It was an encouraging Sunday.

-There were 2 or 3 people who confessed the need to have more compassion for others and committed to allowing God to fill them with compassion for those around them.

-Yesterday was the second message in the series “What’s Your Why?”. We looked at what Jesus said about his why the first week and yesterday we looked at how he demonstrated his why. This series is really challenging me, and I pray it is making an impact on my congregation.

-Last week, on Tuesday I finished my 5th funeral in 6 days. On Wednesday I was at an out of town hospital to spend some time with a couple as she was heading into surgery to remove cancer. On Thursday my church hosted 50+ pastors on our District for a wonderful time of fellowship and training. Then I headed to the local hospital to check on an older man in our congregation who was taken by ambulance to the ER that morning. This is on top of the first volleyball match of the season for the 7th and 8th grade teams I am helping to coach. (We won them both!) I served as Chaplain and got called to the ER to pray with a family whose father was dying. Those are always difficult moments for everyone. Obviously, you could see the pain on the family’s faces, but I was struck by the grief on the faces of the nurses and the doctor. Last week was a very full week with many different emotions.

-I was in awe this past week thinking of the people in my congregation who serve so sacrificially. Every Sunday there are many who serve in several areas. They arrive early and stay late. There are those who volunteer to clean the church every week. There is our Wednesday night crew, there are those who maintain our building and property, and those who respond whenever we have something extra, such as a funeral dinner or to help someone in need. I am humbled by their service and their joy as they serve.

-I hit a wall mentally sometime on Thursday. I found myself unable to focus much, and creative thinking was nowhere to be found in my mind. Fortunately, I had my sermon 95% done by that time. I had plenty of things to do that did not require a great deal of creative thought. I am hoping that some good rest last night, a few hours watching some great basketball and football games, are enough to get me back in the swing of things this week.

-I am using a different plan this year for reading through the Bible. Not yet sure if I like the plan or not. I love reading the Word, but not sure about the new plan. I love challenging myself and changing some routines to spark my thinking. That doesn’t mean I always love the new routine, time will tell on this one.

-The Lord has really been opening my eyes, and my heart, to the needs in the lives of many people in our community. If I, and my church, are going to be a part of making an impact in this community, I must be aware of the real needs.

-I have been especially burdened in recent weeks for those separated from their families. Whether the separation is because of career, calling, or relationships, separation from family is difficult.

Here’s hoping that you are connecting with your family and with those in your community.



7 Tips to Breaking the Impact Barrier …

Impact versus Numbers, which is more important? Numbers matter, because each number represents a person who matters. Therefore, we should pay attention to numbers in ministry. However, I am more interested in the impact we are making in our community. I am more interested in the number of people whose lives are a little better because my church is in this community. I am praying that we pay attention to the number of people who think a little more about Jesus because they see His love in us and feel His compassion through us.

There has been a lot written about how to break through certain numerical barriers in the church. I believe these articles and books have an important place in the evaluation of a church’s effectiveness. However, I believe that if we only seek numbers then all we will be left with are those numbers. If we instead, seek to love, help, touch and impact people we will have a church that has people who are seeking and following Jesus, and that will make a huge impact anywhere.

To break through we must …

  1. Be a part of the community – It is nearly impossible to have a lasting impact in a community if we are not in that community. We need people, from our ministry, who live in, and near, that community. If we are not in the community, we may be viewed suspiciously by those in the community.
  2. Be participants in the community – If we are physically in the community but do not participate in the affairs of the community we will severely limit our opportunities to have people listen to us and trust us. Get involved in the community. Attend community events. Have a presence in community functions that allow groups to have a booth, a float, a banner, or whatever is appropriate.
  3. Partner with other community groups – Come alongside and support other groups. If you only participate when you can be in control you will not be viewed as a team player. If you are not viewed as a team player your community will stop paying attention. When they stop paying attention, your opportunity to make an impact disappears. When you support existing groups, and help them to do well, you will gain a hearing with those groups.
  4. Love your community – If you do not already have a love for your community then slow down and seek it. Spend time praying for the people in your community. Not nameless faces, but the real people in your community. Spend time out in the community and get to know people by name and story. This will begin to change, and charge, your heart.
  5. Appreciate your community – Frequently mention things about your community that you appreciate in your ministry gatherings, as well as things you are praying for in the community. (Thanks for that reminder Pastor Todd Keller.) In doing this you will raise the awareness of your people for the community and your community will take notice.
  6. Seek to know the real needs of your community – Don’t assume that you know the needs of the people in your community. Listen and ask questions as you move about in your community. You can even make an appointment to meet with some community leaders (such as the Mayor, School Superintendent, school personnel, Police, …) and ask questions. At this meeting, don’t tell them things, ask them about what is needed and how you might be able to help. Be sure to listen and take notes.
  7. Pray a lot for your community – Too often we plan and don’t pray. Too often we create strategies without taking the time in prayer to seek God’s guidance for these strategies. Too often we talk, and write, about praying for our community a lot more than we actually pray for our community.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. This is just a “let’s get started in the right direction” list. Making an impact is too important to be left to our assumptions and clichés. We need to recognize the need and then do all we can to make an impact in the communities in which God has placed. Otherwise, we are not being the church that we are called to be. When that happens, we suffer, the church suffers, and our communities suffer.

Tell me your thoughts and what you are doing to make an impact in your community.



Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was evidence that people pay attention to weather predictions. As for my musings …

-The weather forecast for days said that we were going to get freezing rain, followed by snow on Sunday. The start of this mess kept fluctuating between 9:00 AM and noon. They finally settled on it beginning at 10:00 AM. Attendance was the evidence that people pay close attention to weather forecasts, at least on Sunday mornings. Our attendance was low. The predicted weather came, but it did very little until early afternoon, so the morning drive was not a problem. Today is another story altogether with the ice and snow that came late yesterday. Many schools and other events are cancelled today.

-I have a graveside funeral service this morning at 11:00. It is a few miles out of town. Hopefully, there is no problem getting to the cemetery.

-We have another funeral tomorrow. The service tomorrow will be my 5th funeral in 6 days. I am not preaching tomorrow, but will be helping with the service. 4 of the services involve people connected to our church. Obviously, this has been a busy week with all those funerals and a lot of emotion as well. I don’t know if I have ever had to focus, and then refocus, so many times in a single week.

-Our worship yesterday went well, and there was a good spirit in the service.

-Yesterday I began a new series of messages. This one is entitled “What’s Your Why?” This series is seeking to help people get to their “why” for serving and living. If you only know “what” you are doing and not “why” you will have no passion and not much commitment. When you know why, you are more likely to be engaged, to be passionate, to give your best and to sacrifice. Your why is a big deal.

-Yesterday was the 3rd Sunday in a row with low attendance because of weather. The first was snow, then extreme cold and yesterday was the prediction of ice and snow. I am ready for a good weather Sunday.

-I messed with some people during my message yesterday. I regularly have a sermon outline in the bulletin each Sunday with some places for people to fill in blanks. I did not specifically say the words that were to go into a couple of those blanks. (I have been known to get going in a sermon and move things around.) That is a big deal to the personalities that cannot leave any blank empty. It wasn’t too long after the service finished when I heard about my misstep. Evidently my tech people were on top of it and put words up on the screen even though I didn’t follow the outline.

-The volleyball teams that I help coach are supposed to have their first games tonight. With school being cancelled today I haven’t heard whether the matches will still take place or not.

-This week I have 3 people having some significant procedures and surgeries taking place.

-On Thursday this week my church is hosting all the pastors on our District for a meeting. We hosted one a couple of years ago and enjoyed it.

-We had a significant problem with our van this week. I was first told that it was a transmission problem. First thought was $$$$$. Took it to a place that does that kind of stuff. Got a call from them, not transmission. 😊 Instead, it was a power steering issue. It wasn’t a simple thing, but it wasn’t devastating.

-I am amazed at how warm 20 or 30 degrees feels when you had a week of single digits with wind chills minus 20 and 30.

Here’s hoping you are able to stay warm and find a way to encourage someone else.



2017 was …

This past year was not just another notch on the handle of my life, it was a remarkable year for many reasons. Here are a few of those reasons …

-I preached 12 funerals, participated in a 13th and participated in the later spreading/burying the ashes of 2 people whose funeral I had preached. In all, I was involved 15 ceremonies honoring the life of 13 people this past year. That is both a highlight for the opportunity to honor and celebrate the life of some wonderful people and it was difficult in sharing the grief of those families.

-When the year began I was pastoring 2 churches and overseeing a 3rd. When the year finished I was pastoring 1 church and still overseeing another one. I chose to finish pastoring the second church at the end of August. I began that assignment with the idea of helping that church through some transition. My hope was that I would lead them into a new future. That did not happen. It became obvious that some in that church did not desire to move in the direction I am convinced they needed to go. Therefore, I made the difficult decision to leave that position. I am still at the church I have been with since January of 2014 and I am still overseeing another church who has their own Campus Pastor. I am loving my role with these two churches.

-2017 started poorly for me. New Year’s Day was on a Sunday, and I was brutally sick. So sick that I did not preach, or even go to church. It was the first Sunday morning I had ever missed because of illness in all my years of ministry. I didn’t even miss after I had back surgery. I had that surgery on a Monday and preached that Sunday with staples still in me. It wasn’t very wise of me, but I didn’t miss that Sunday. I was so sick this time that I couldn’t even get up and attempt to go.

-This past year had a lot of loss. Not all the losses were related to funerals. My Associate Pastor and family left for another assignment in October. We were not able to pay him full-time and he was working 40 hours a week at another job while on staff with me. He was offered a full-time position at a wonderful church (I must confess that I wasn’t thinking wonderful thoughts about that pastor or church when he left, but I understood.) It was a big loss and we are still scrambling to cover some of the areas he filled.

-Last summer was our denomination’s quadrennial meeting. Where visitors and delegates from all over the world gather in one place for inspiration, fellowship and business. It is always a great time of catching up with friends and making new acquaintances. Our time there was cut short due to a funeral. The time we did spend there was so positive.

-Our Vacation Bible School was a great success. Some children made personal decisions for Christ. The kids brought in around $1,700 for missions. Many children attended. Some families have continued to attend.

-Our children’s ministries have grown 2 to 3 times the size they were a couple of years ago.

-We were able to begin some regular youth ministry.

-I made several trips to visit my Dad. Unfortunately, many of them were prompted by his failing health. With all his health issues the decision was made for him to move into an Assisted Living location. The Lord blessed, and we were able to find a wonderful place, He is doing better now.

-My wife and I didn’t get all the vacation we had intended. However, we were able to get a week away in Florida the last week of May, thanks to the help of some friends. It was a wonderful time together. That sun and sand sounds good right about now.

-This year we have witnessed 30 people make decisions to accept Jesus as their personal Savior!

-We were blessed to get a better vehicle in the early part of 2017.

-My wife continues to serve in ministry as my partner and does more serving in our church than seems humanly possible. We also, celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary in 2017.

-Not being able to be with our son, daughter-in-law and their children is always difficult. But knowing they are following God’s call as missionaries in Africa helps to ease that pain. God’s hand of protection was definitely on them as they had to be in an emergency evacuation just before Easter.

-Spending some time with our daughters, sons-in-law and grandkids was so much fun. We just weren’t able to do it often enough. I am truly blessed with an awesome family.

-On Easter Sunday we saw 7 people accept Christ and 192 people worship with us. In December we witnessed 3 people accept Christ and we had 210 people worship with us on one Sunday. Praying for more and more Sundays like these this coming year.

-I continued to serve as a Chaplain at our local hospital at least one day a week.

-I began to help teach a class at the prison located just outside our community. The class is on fatherhood and I am teaching it with a couple of other local pastors.

-I also was given the opportunity to help coach volleyball with the 7th and 8th grade teams at the local school. I am really enjoying getting back into coaching volleyball. I love the opportunity to impact, and influence, youth in whatever way possible.

-There are many other things I could share from the year, but you have probably stopped reading by now so I will close this out.

-2018 looks to be an exciting and challenging year. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store this year.

Here’s hoping that you are excited about the possibilities around you as this new year begins.



Monday Morning Musings …

Happy New Year! It is -16 degrees outside as I sit here typing. Even more startling, the wind chill is -34. Good time to stay inside. Yesterday was a good day even with difficult weather and low attendance. As for my musings …

-It was a couple of degrees below zero when church started yesterday, and the wind chill had it feeling like -14 when people were arriving. What a way to finish a year and start a new one.

-Good news, our furnaces were operating well yesterday. More good news, the furnace at my house is working well today.

-When the attendance is significantly less than normal it seems to take a few minutes for everyone to get engaged in worship. The good news, once people got engaged it was a good time of worship.

-I have already been contacted about doing 2 funerals this week.

-We did have a visitor in our worship service yesterday. I did share with him that things looked a lot different than a normal Sunday and I hope he was positively impacted by the spirit in the service.

-On Saturday my wife and I drove 265 miles to get back home from our family Christmas gathering. The first hour of the trip was brutal with snow, wind, slick roads and traffic moving about 20 to 30 miles an hour below normal speeds. When we drove out of the snow we were battling salt and dirt constantly building up on the windshield. Our windshield washer fluid would not flow. We had to stop 3 times so I could clean the windshield with snow. We did make it home safely, but that trip was not my favorite one.

-I was grateful for a wonderful man in the church who cleared our driveway and sidewalk while we were gone. It was great to drive in and not have to get out and start shoveling.

-While the family here in the states was together, we were able to Skype for a few minutes with my son and family in Africa. It was great to see their faces and hear their voices.

-My thoughts and prayers have been with so many families in my church, and friends across the country, who have turned the calendar to a new year for the first time without a family member who passed this year.

-I have been spending some time the past couple of days thinking back on all that took place in 2017. I may post something about those memories later this week.

-As this new year begins our thoughts turn toward things we would like to accomplish this year. Make sure that part of that thinking involves time with God, time in the Word and time serving others. If you invest yourself in those three areas, you will have great memories when you reach the end of 2018.

-“To change requires a new beginning. But a new beginning is wasted unless you begin to act in a new way. What will you do with this new year?” This quote popped up from something I posted 5 or 6 years ago. Asking myself what I will do differently this year so that I can fulfill some goals I have in mind. What behaviors will you change this year?

-I won my Fantasy Football league championship!

-I am trying to figure out if I can make it through this day without stepping outside.

-My mind is not moving very quickly this morning. Maybe it is the cold, even though it is not cold in the house I know that just beyond these walls it is brutally cold outside. Or maybe, I am just tired. I think it is time for me to quit writing this post and start practicing typing and writing 2018.

Here’s hoping you stay warm today and that memories of God’s faithfulness will warm your heart as well.