Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a very unsettling day for me, with some good stuff mixed in. As for my musings …

-We shared communion as part of our worship and it went well. There seemed to be a good spirit during that part of worship.

-I was off in nearly everything I did yesterday. My message did not flow well. I messed up the order of worship we had agreed upon and that is just the beginning of the list. Not my best day.

-Our attendance was good yesterday and a new family was back for the second Sunday in a row.

-During our Sunday School/Small Group hour we had a lot of children and youth. We have had to create new groups for the children and youth because of our growth. The groups we did have were getting large enough that we needed to break them down further. What a great problem to have, it is a problem, but it is better than having groups with no one in them.

-Later in the day I prepared some pork chops for smoking. I was very absent-minded in my prep and set-up. As a result, instead of them being ready at 6:00 PM they were not ready until 8:00 PM. Not my best day. The good news is that they tasted very good.

-A group of guys, mainly from our church, gathered after church to eat lunch together and then to draft our Fantasy Football teams. Evaluating the team that I drafted showed that it was definitely not my best day.

-I am excited to begin teaching a class on Fatherhood at my church on Wednesday evenings. Unfortunately, there is currently only one person signed up for the class. It doesn’t begin for another week, so I am praying that several more choose to be a part of the group.

-Thursday was a good day. It was the first match of the season for my Freshmen volleyball team. We went on the road and came away with a convincing win. It is always good to get the first win of the season out of the way on the first try. This Saturday we are competing in a tournament out of town. It will be tough test for us.

-A few months ago, I thought I had my fall sermon series planned. Now, I believe I need to go a different direction, at least in the month of September.

-All my school age grandkids are now in school. Praying for all of them, as well as they 2 who are not yet school age. I have grandkids in 1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th and 12th grades, along with one in college. That is a lot of territory to pray about.

-Yesterday it seemed that there were many things at work to disrupt what God wanted to do among us. I confess that it got to me yesterday, it doesn’t usually, but yesterday was one of those days when I struggled with it all. Not my best day.

Here’s hoping you have a good day today, and that you see God at work around you.

 

Dennis

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Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a very different day. It was the week after a huge day of celebrating our VBS, which is often a difficult Sunday. As for my musings …

-We continued to celebrate as we studied scripture, Ephesians 4:11-16, and rejoiced that we have been chosen. Chosen to be a child of God, chosen to serve, chosen for a purpose, chosen to grow and to love and support others. We have much to celebrate and be encouraged by each, and every day.

-Our building looks bare now that all the VBS decorations have been taken down.

-Yesterday was the last Sunday before kids go back to school and many people were gone.

-We have many people who are currently recovering from illness, surgery or procedures and many who are awaiting test results. Praying for all of them.

-Last week my wife and I were able to get away for a few days. This time was spent with our daughters, son in laws and 5 of our grandkids. It was a wonderful time. We also missed my son, daughter in law and their 5 kids. We all rented a house on a lake. It was a great set-up and one that we will likely go to again.

-Because of vacation for a few days last week, my preparation time was shorter than normal, but it felt like I was able to focus more quickly with the time I had. Thanks to those who were praying for my shorter than normal prep time.

-Last Thursday was our 43rd wedding anniversary. Like many of them through the years we had other stuff going on that day. Good stuff, but other stuff. I had to some back home for a volleyball practice, so we didn’t see each other until almost 8:00 pm. We celebrated by playing some games with our kids. (We always play games when we get together.) It was a good celebration. Between coaching, church camps and church stuff we have had very few anniversaries where it was just the two of us. But we love our life, so it was all good.

-Yesterday our church honored our anniversary by giving us a card signed by most of the congregation with cash in the card. My church is great at making us feel special. In fact, they spoil us.

-Yesterday I acknowledged all the people who serve in any capacity in our ministries. I wanted the church to realize, and be encouraged by, how many people serve every week. I wanted those who serve to know that what they do helps us fulfill our purpose.

-This week volleyball season kicks into a more regular schedule of afternoon practices and very soon matches will take place every week. I am excited and looking forward to it, but I am certain I will have an adjustment period.

-This week another group of men will finish the Fatherhood course I help teach at the prison. This has been a great group and I will miss them when they finish. I will continue to pray for them and their children.

-In September I will lead a men’s group here at my church about Fatherhood. Not because I have it all figured out, but because it is too important to ignore. Much of the material will be the same as what we use at the prison. I am excited about this and praying that many men will participate. This will be for current fathers, future fathers and even grandfathers. This is a great opportunity to learn from, and build some support with other fathers.

-Here’s hoping that you will be encouraged today as you remember that you have been chosen by God to be in His family. It is your choice to accept or reject, but you have been chosen. Let that truth encourage you.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was an awesome day! So many great things took place and I don’t believe I have heard about all of them yet. As for my musings …

-Yesterday we celebrated our outstanding week of Vacation Bible School in several ways. In the morning during our worship the kids sang 5 or 6 songs that they loved from the week of VBS. There was a skit from 2 characters who were with us at VBS, the skit was a great summary of the week. My wife recapped the lesson where the gospel was presented, and several kids made the decision to receive Christ. We showed a video highlight of the week. I shared for 2 or 3 minutes and we gave each family a DVD that showed highlights from each night of VBS. It was a great morning. And, it was a great time of worship and celebration.

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-VBS went very well last week. It was one of the smoothest I have ever seen. We averaged 50 kids and had 61 different kids attend. We had plenty of workers and our volunteers did an awesome job.

-Yesterday, during one of the children’s Sunday School classes, 4 children prayed to receive Christ as their Savior. On top of that, 2 children who are already following Christ prayed for the other children as they accepted Christ!!! They are already participating in discipleship.

 

-We had over 145 in attendance for worship the past 2 Sundays.

-Last evening, we rented the city pool for an hour and a half for another time of celebration, and fellowship, for VBS. It was a blast. There were parents and siblings who do not normally attend who were part of the celebration last night. The weather was perfect as well.

-During VBS, the kids gave $969 in offerings. All this money is being given away to help kids and families in other countries, or communities. Seeing the joy on the kids faces, and hearing their cheers, as they heard how much they were giving away was inspiring.

-We collected school supplies in the month of July. Our people gave enough to fill 40 backpacks to help elementary students who might not have had supplies otherwise. These were handed out yesterday as part of backpack giveaway with several churches in our community.

-Another encouraging thing during VBS was that we had several teens who helped. That is significant because we haven’t had teens in the past. Now we have several, and they are serving.

-Yesterday we added a class for 5th and 6th graders. This is because our children’s workers have been doing such a great job in reaching children, and retaining them, that we now have enough of them for a class. They will begin a 5th and 6th grade group on Wednesday nights when our new semester kicks off in September. Last fall my people began mid-week ministries for children and youth. This was a new thing for us. They began with 1 children’s group and 1 youth group. In September we will have a preschool group, an elementary group, a 5th and 6th grade group and a teen group. My people are awesome.

-I am looking forward to teaching a class on Fatherhood this fall on Wednesday evenings.

-This morning my wife and I will head out to spend a few days with our daughters, sons in law, and 5 of our grandkids. It will be a great time. We will miss my son, daughter in law and the other 5 grandkids.

-Later this week will mark the 43rd wedding anniversary for my wife and myself.

-I enjoyed watching several people lead during our VBS. My role was basically one of cheerleader, and I loved my role.

Here’s hoping you find someone to encourage this week by cheering them on and that someone will cheer you on as well.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a very good day at our church and it kicked off what I anticipate will be an outstanding week. As for my musings …

-All our Vacation Bible School decorations and props are in place and the church looks amazing. There wasn’t much room for me to move around while I preached yesterday. We have a large wrecked ship, a large Tiki hut and several other items on our platform. It is awesome. The hallways are all decorated and there is even a tunnel to get into the story room. Makes me wish I was a kid again.

-We remembered, and paid tribute to, 3 of our members who passed away in this past year. It was a perfect day to do that because all 3 of them loved kids and loved seeing children at church.

-We had a special time of prayer specifically for all the VBS workers.

-We have over 40 people helping in some capacity this week. That is a phenomenal response from the adults and teens in our church.

-The theme of VBS is Shipwrecked and the purpose is to teach the children that God is a rescuer. My message yesterday was on the Promises of Rescue we have.

-There was good energy yesterday when the service began. It started with the theme song of VBS, then a skit that introduced what the children will be learning this week and it was great. We had some congregational singing and people were engaged. Our time of honoring our members who have passed was very special and the time of prayer was great. Our children were the greeters at all the doors today and they were the ushers during the offering.

-Our attendance was very good.

-We are rejoicing that we now have a new roof on the church and the parsonage. The timing was great because we finally got some rain yesterday.

-The weather has been very mild the past few days, which allowed my wife and I turn off the A/C and have the windows open for 3 days. That is unheard of at the end of July.

-We are still raising the money to finish paying for our new roof. The faithful giving of our people, and the wise stewardship by our church board, allowed us to have a major portion of it on hand before the project started. Now we have a few weeks to raise the rest.

-Missing my kids and grandkids who are serving in Africa a lot right now.

-Looking forward to spending some time with our kids and grandkids who are stateside next week.

-Praying a lot for some of the ministries, and groups, that we plan to begin after school begins.

-Last week was the finish of summer conditioning and open gyms for volleyball. This week is a dead week as far as contact with the players. In 9 or 10 days we begin tryouts and then regular practices. I am excited for that to begin.

-Praying that many children will come to faith in Christ this week. Praying some children will sense a special call from God for ministry. Praying that many families will be drawn to Christ by what they see and hear from their children this week. Praying for adequate energy for the adults who are serving in VBS this week.

Here’s hoping that you have some special times of prayer this week and that you sense you are being prayed for by others.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a good day for many reasons, the top one being that I was back home after a few busy days away. As for my musings …

-Our church is being totally transformed as the Vacation Bible School decorating has now spread to the hallways and is moving into many of the classrooms. The platform in the Worship Center is now completely taken over by VBS decorations. I love it. I had to adjust as I preached yesterday, but I love it.

-Our worship service went well yesterday, and the congregation was engaged in all parts of the service.

-The attendance was good.

-Yesterday evening my wife and I went out to one of the town’s beautiful parks and had a nice walk. It was great to be together with no appointments. The weather was perfect. We made this walk about 3 weeks ago and my wife couldn’t quite make it all. Last evening, she walked the whole thing and felt good when we finished. Fourteen weeks after double knee replacement and she is going strong.

-Thursday, Friday and Saturday I was out of town to help assess some prospective church planters. I went through training to be an assessor and then participated as one of the assessors. It was an intense and wonderful experience. There were five prospective planters and their spouses involved in this event. They were great people and I believe all of them will do well. I loved getting to know them and look forward to seeing what happens with their plants over the next couple of years.

-My 9th grade volleyball team finished their summer league with a .500 record. That is significant because we were playing in a league where the other teams were junior varsity teams with all, or mostly, sophomores on the teams. With summer schedules of vacations and camps, I only had my whole team for one of the weeks. It is great to be coaching again.

-Our grandson who is studying in South Africa this semester, finally got his luggage. When he arrived in South Africa his luggage did not. A few days later it arrived, but he had to begin with only what he was wearing on the flight and a little in his carry-on.

-This morning a roofing crew will be arriving to replace the roof on both the church and parsonage.

-Next Sunday we will introduce the theme of our Vacation Bible School and let the adults get a glimpse of what the children will be learning. We will also be honoring the memory of a couple of people from our congregation who passed away recently. It will be a great time of worship that will highlight how we finish life and the joy of life.

-The past two weeks have been very busy for me. I am looking forward to a week where I will not be traveling. I have many scheduled appointments, but it pales in comparison to the past couple of weeks.

-I purchased a barbecue/smoker 2 weeks ago and haven’t been able to use it yet. I am going to use it this week for sure, anyone hungry?

-One of the best things of being a part of the church planter assessment last week was seeing 2 or 3 of them gain confidence and discover something in themselves they didn’t know was there. It was exhausting, and it was exhilarating.

Here’s hoping that you will look to help someone discover something about themselves this week that will give them confidence.

 

Dennis

Monday Evening Musings …

It is now 5:00 PM as sit down to type this post. Yesterday was a very different day, because I was not at our church. It was a vacation Sunday, but not a day without responsibilities. As for my musings …

-I took a vacation weekend to spend time with our volleyball teams at a summer tournament. It was a fun experience, but it made for a confusing day for me. Not being at church always feels strange and being in a gym added to the strangeness. We had a good day and I am seeing some of the girls make great strides this summer.

-I was gone from church but my wife was there and gave me a great summary of the day.

-The lady who preached for me did a good job. She shared about her new ministry in a nearby town that is reaching a difficult area of that city. I am a big fan of hers and our children will be giving some of their VBS offerings to support her and this new ministry.

-My grandson made it to South Africa over the weekend, but as of this moment his luggage has not made it. That is going to make beginning his college semester a real adventure. Appreciate prayers of this situation.

-It was nice to be out of town for 3 days and my wife was able to be with me for most of it. She came back to where the tournament took place yesterday afternoon and we stayed an extra night. We needed some away time in a different setting. I love this woman. We headed home this afternoon, but for a little while it was just us.

-Our church building is being taken over by decorations for VBS and I love it.

-Last evening, I received an update about a recent prayer request that had me rejoicing and smiling with great joy. I love when people come together and agree in prayer.

 

-This afternoon I went to visit a man from our church that had some setbacks after a recent surgery. It was good to see him, spend some time talking with him and to pray for him. I came away from the visit encouraged.

-We are in the process of lining things up to have the roof on the church and the parsonage replaced very soon. Watching the weather forecast to line up 4 or 5 good days in a row.

-I will be heading to three days of training later this week. I will be learning how to assess church planters and how to encourage them in the process. I am looking forward to this even though I expect it to be an intense time of training.

-Though I wasn’t at church yesterday I did receive the prayer requests that were handed in on our connection cards. I keep them in my Bible and do my best to pray over them each day.

-This past week I took some time to marvel at the opportunities God is giving me to make an impact and have some influence with many people in our community. I am thrilled and humbled as I reflect on these opportunities. I am also filled with an overwhelming realization that I need God to be in control or my impact will have no meaning and my influence will be of no value. This is another reason that I know I need to pray more.

-I have received some encouraging words this past week. Some of them from people who have encouraged me in the past and one of them from someone who stepped out of their comfort zone to encourage me. Just another reminder of how powerful encouraging words can be for all of us.

Here’s hoping you seek to encourage someone this week and that in so doing you will be encouraged yourself.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday had many elements of a typical summer Sunday, as for my musings …

-There was a great spirit during the music and prayer time of worship. Then it felt like it went a little flat early in my message. Fortunately, it seemed that by the end of the message the atmosphere had rebounded some and the finishing music went very well.

-We changed our worship service order slightly yesterday. Maybe that had some impact on the up and down feeling during the service. I like to have the order of our worship changed periodically so that people do not just go through the motions because they know what is coming next. The danger is that people get unsettled by changes, so you must find the right balance for your congregation.

-Our attendance, for what is considered a second consecutive holiday weekend, was reasonable. It was down, but it was reasonable.

-My wife and I went for a walk at one of our local parks that has some lakes and some nice paved walking paths on Saturday. That is significant because my wife was not able to do that last summer. Now, less than 3 months after double knee replacement, she was able to go there and walk. We didn’t measure it exactly, but I am certain that we walked a little over a mile. That is a huge praise.

-My oldest grandson will fly to South Africa later this week to begin his semester of college studies abroad. I admire his desire to serve others and his willingness to be stretched in his studies.

-We begin our Vacation Bible School three weeks from tonight.

-Our weather was much milder this past weekend. It was about 10 degrees cooler and we received some much-needed rain last week.

-Today is my 11th consecutive day of going to our local hospital to serve as chaplain. Normally I serve 1 day a week. But the other 3 chaplains were all gone at the same time for a 2-week period. I agreed to help as much as I could. I have enjoyed getting to minister to some patients for a few days in a row. That is something I don’t normally get to do. However, I am weary and ready for the others to get back. They will cover for me a couple of times in the upcoming weeks.

-This weekend was difficult for me. I heard difficult reports about several situations from around the world and in the lives some people I know personally. I am not sure why some of it hit me as hard as it did this weekend. I spent a lot of time in prayer over the weekend about these situations.

-I have been spending some time working on the message plans for this fall.

-I am enjoying writing the posts about Secrets to get to 43 Years. Each Wednesday for a few weeks I am sharing a key factor, or secret, about getting to 43 years of a growing and loving marriage. In a month my wife and I will celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary.

Here’s hoping that you grow in your relationships and encourage someone else today.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a good day. There were some significant moments and some pleasant surprises. As for my musings …

-There were several people who committed to nailing some of their actions to the cross. The actions that they realized are contrary to living in the spirit. This commitment also includes not trying to pull these actions back in the future. Too often we make commitments and then when we struggle we seek to resurrect old habits and hurts.

-We had a reasonable attendance yesterday on what is considered by many a holiday weekend. When the 4th is on a Wednesday it seems that we have two holiday weekends. I was pleasantly surprised with our attendance.

-My grandson received his student visa on Thursday last week. We did a lot of rejoicing when that arrived. Then he (actually his mom) was able to reschedule his return flight and he flew out yesterday. He will be arriving in Africa a few hours after this is posted. Thanks to all who prayed for him and all these details.

-Yesterday I asked the question “Now What?” to the sermon from a week ago, which was the choice to live in the Spirit. We stayed in Galatians 5:16-26. This coming Sunday we are staying in that same passage and looking at keys to seeing the fruit of the Spirit in your daily living.

-It was brutally hot around here over the weekend and the rain that we were supposed to get yesterday missed us. We could use some rain.

-I am doing extra time as Chaplain at the hospital for a couple of weeks. The other 3 Chaplains are all on an out of country trip.

-The class on fatherhood at the prison had some very special moments this past week. Several of the men talked about regrets that have impacted their role as fathers. It was incredible to see, and hear, these guys share in such a vulnerable way. They went to specific things and choices they made. These were things that went beyond what landed them in prison.

-One of the men in our class was baptized over the weekend and he shared that he made that choice with the class.

-We continue to have 20 people, or more, show up each week to work on decorations and props for our upcoming Vacation Bible School.

-In the volleyball summer league this past week my team was missing a couple of starters and played very well. It was a fun night to coach watching some of them rise to the occasion and play so well. We won the match which is great, but the summer league is about more than winning. It is about learning some new things, learning to work together and for my freshman team it is also about playing at the high school level.

-My wife is approaching the 12-week mark since her double knee replacement surgery. She is doing well and was released from all physical therapy.

-In the midst of my grandson getting his visa, rearranging flights and getting him to where he needed to be I missed an important appointment. I only had a few hours warning that I needed to move my appointment to another time. In those hours I was serving as Chaplain and setting up the where and when to get to my grandson to my daughter who would take him to the airport on Sunday. I am sick that I missed the appointment and that I didn’t get a hold of the person I was meeting.

Here’s hoping you don’t miss anything this week.

 

Dennis

A Secret to get to 43 Years (#3) …

Another key factor/secret to making it to 43 years of marriage is Forgetfulness. Yes, I really mean being forgetful is a must for a lasting and loving marriage.

I don’t mean the I can’t find my keys, where did I park the car, have you seen my glasses or I’m sorry I forgot your birthday type of forgetfulness. Although all of those will happen with increasing frequency with each passing year. I am speaking of deliberate, purposeful and chosen forgetfulness.

Why would anyone choose forgetfulness? Because so many things that happen in a relationship, and especially in a marriage, are not something that should matter in the long term. Therefore, learn the art of forgetfulness for the things that should not matter in the long run. If you don’t learn the art of forgetfulness you will harbor bad feelings and then remind your spouse of these things long after they should be forgotten.

Who was right about the color of bathroom walls in your first apartment doesn’t matter in the long run. Who remembered the name of your first next door neighbor doesn’t matter in the long run. There are other things to forget, such as who said the first harsh word when your discussion turned into something of an argument. There are many things to forget.

Some might call this forgetfulness “letting it go”. That is fine, because you are letting something go and not holding unto it. I use the term forgetfulness because you must make a choice to let it go and the only way to really let it go is to forget it. The difficulty is our natural tendency to remember stuff we should forget and then to think about these things too much. To remember the hurt and forget about the help. To remember the labels and name calling and forget the sacrifice. For a lasting and loving marriage, we must choose to reverse that tendency. We must forget better.

If we don’t learn to forget we will hold onto every hurt and annoyance and then these things will pop up when we are stressed. When they pop up will we throw these past incidents into the current situation and create chaos. We simply cannot remember and recycle every hurt. The result of remembering and recycling the hurts is stress, bitterness, resentment and eventually relationship fatigue.

It is time we learned how to forget better and choose to remember the kindness, the sacrifice, the intent and help of our spouse. If you can learn to forget the small stuff and remember what matters most, you can have a lasting and loving marriage.

One last word on this, forgetting is not pretending it didn’t happen. To forget we deal with hurts that run deep early, so they cannot get rooted in our relationship. We share what hurts then and help each other not do those hurtful things in the future and we recognize that some things are just not that big of a deal.

Here’s hoping you remember the great things about your spouse and forget the annoyances that shouldn’t be a big deal, and that you don’t forget their birthday or your anniversary.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a good day, but a it felt like a letdown from last Sunday, not bad, just a letdown from the previous week. As for my musings …

-Our time of singing in worship went well and the congregation was engaged.

-One of the most encouraging things in worship yesterday was seeing some of our elementary children as they worshipped. We have the children in our worship service for all, or nearly all, of the music part of worship. Then they go to their own children’s church for a bible lesson. During the music it is encouraging to watch, and listen, to the children. They get into the music and they are truly worshipping. They are a great example for the adults of pure and open worship. They are not worried about what anyone else thinks of them and they are not concerned about how they appear. They just worship. It is not unusual for our worship team to be moved to tears as they watch they children.

-Still praying for my grandson’s student visa to arrive.

-It was nice to have some cooler weather for a couple of days this weekend.

-Our attendance was very low yesterday.

-After having family with us last weekend and then having such a good worship service with great attendance, yesterday seemed like a bit of a letdown. However, there was a good spirit and people were engaged right from the beginning of the sermon.

– On Friday I had to take my vehicle to a repair shop. As I was leaving the hospital from my time as Chaplain, something happened to the front end. I had trouble steering and there was a squealing sound that was increasing with each block. Fortunately, the auto repair shop was nearby. When I got out of the vehicle I saw that the front driver’s side wheel was leaning in a lot. I am not a mechanic, but I am pretty sure something broke. Not looking forward to getting the news from the mechanic today. Good news, our other vehicle is running fine.

-Summer conditioning and open gym with the volleyball program has been very good. I am getting to know them much better. I am enjoying it and looking forward to the season this fall.

-Our Vacation Bible School props and decorations are coming along well. We have had a good group of people show up every week to help. I love how VBS is a ministry that involves many people and how they work together and get to know each other better.

-On Wednesday I will have another post in my “A Secret to get to 43 Years”. This will be the third secret/factor shared in this series of how to get to 43 years of marriage. The responses have been good up to this point. I am posting on Wednesdays for this series.

-My wife is continuing to progress from her double knee replacement. We are approaching 11 weeks since the surgery. Now that she realizes it will be 3 to 6 months (leaning toward 6 months) before they feel like her knees, she is feeling better about everything. Yesterday, a lady who had the surgery many years ago told her that it was almost a year before she felt normal. My wife is doing great and doing nearly everything she wants to do, but after a busy day she has to take it easier the next day. Those days are much better than they were a couple weeks ago, but they are reminders that there is progress to be made.

Here’s hoping you make progress this week and encourage someone else to make progress.

 

Dennis