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.




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.



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.



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.



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.



Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a great day at our church and at our house. As for my musings …

-This weekend 10 or our 16 kids and grandkids were at our house. Our two daughters, both son in laws and 6 of our grandkids. The ones missing were our son, our daughter in law, and 4 of their kids. One of the grandkids who was here was our son’s oldest child. He is with us for a while as I have noted in previous posts. It was great fun. The house was full. There was a lot of movement. There was a lot of laughter and as always, there were a lot of games played. It was a wonderful Father’s Day weekend.

-Our worship service was great yesterday, except for some sound glitches while my son in law Seth was singing. We showed a couple of video’s honoring Dads, one was funny, and one was more serious. There was a good spirit in the entire service. I continued our series on relationships with a message about being an example of hope in our relationships. Our attendance was very good.

-We had a big Father’s Day breakfast at church in place of our Small Group/Sunday School classes. The food was good, and the conversations were lively.

-It was brutally hot this weekend.

-Still praying for my grandson’s Student Visa documents to arrive so that he can get back to his family for a couple of weeks before he travels to South Africa to begin his next semester of college.

-I am loving the praise reports I am receiving from people who are repairing and restoring relationships. This series on relationships seems to have made an impact on many people.

-I am planning on preaching a few messages on joy. I am observing many people who seem to have lost their joy. Or, maybe they don’t realize that they can live with joy.

-I will continue my weekly posts on “A Secret to Get to 43 Years”. Every Wednesday I am posting another secret/factor that has contributed to my wife and I getting ready to celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary in August.

-Many prayers going up for my friend Christian, and his family, as they arrive in Raleigh, North Carolina to plant a church. Excited for them and praying often for the impact they will have in that community, and beyond.

-Yesterday was the first Father’s Day that I haven’t had my Dad around.

-I am expecting it to be hot in the weight room, and gym, this morning for volleyball conditioning.

-Continuing to pray for many people who are struggling in family relationships. As I rejoice with the praise reports I have received recently, I am aware that there are many people who still need healing in their family.

-Yesterday’s attendance was very encouraging. Even with several out of town visitors, the number of people was encouraging.

-Personally, it was nice to have so much of my family in worship yesterday. We don’t get to do that very often.

-I am wrestling with some great opportunities that have come my way recently. I need to be wiser on how many things I commit to at one time. I am seeking to do a better job of moving more people into these opportunities and becoming their champion rather than trying to do so much myself.

-There were many things that encouraged me this weekend.

Here’s hoping you find encouragement in some unexpected places this week.



Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a somewhat odd day with some fantastic results. As for my musings …

-There were 4 or 5 people who made the decision to accept the forgiveness of Christ for themselves and embrace his salvation yesterday.

-There were more than a dozen people who admitted that they have someone in their relationships that they need to forgive, and they committed to forgiving that person. In some cases, the person they need to forgive is themselves.

-The fantastic results of our time of worship yesterday were encouraging and showed that even when things are not ideal God can still move people.

-We have had a good run of worship times recently, and most of those had great energy and a noticeable sense of excitement in the worship service. Yesterday was different. Yesterday it felt like a struggle from the opening note of the first song we sang until just before the conclusion of the message. Maybe it was the strange weather that saw a downpour, then some sunshine and then the threat of rain that finally resulted in rain that flooded many streets shortly after church. Maybe it was the low attendance. Maybe it was the fact that I was preaching on forgiveness in our relationships.

-Construction has begun for our props and decorations for Vacation Bible School, even though it doesn’t begin for another 7 weeks. That is because we do VBS big around here and because the theme this year lends itself to some big props.

-My wife continues to do well in her recovery from double knee replacement. This past week it seemed that she took a huge step forward in her recovery. Week 8 was a great week. She began to feel much more comfortable, not yet normal, with how her knees feel.

-Praying my grandson’s student visa documents arrive this week. It would be earlier than he was told they would come, but I am praying hard for it to happen.

-This coming Sunday I will finish our relationship series of messages. I have been extremely burdened for this series because of the large number of people I know are going through very difficult times in some of their close relationships.

-I believe I am going to preach a couple of messages, or more, on joy. I am seeing a lot of people who to have no joy in their life, or who don’t seem realize that it is okay to live with joy.

-For the next few Wednesdays I am planning to post about marriage. Specifically, about how to get to 43 years of marriage and have a loving and growing marriage. I am able speak to this because my wife and I will celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary in a few weeks. Each week I will write about one of our keys to reaching 43.

-I have been enjoying watching some of the spring college sports championships. I saw a little of the women’s track and field championship and the final race, which impacted the team championship, was awesome. Watching the softball world series and now the road to the college baseball world series, has been a blast. The sheer joy of the athletes and effort they give is great to see.

-I had some very meaningful conversations and times of prayer in my role as a hospital chaplain this past week. Some weeks people don’t seem to be all that receptive, but this week there were several who were very engaged as they shared.

-I am very encouraged by the current group of men taking the Fatherhood course that I help teach at the prison. There are many of them that are obviously looking to learn and apply the lessons.  That is not always the case. In many of our groups we have had several who were there to get a certificate but weren’t trying to apply the information. This group is openly engaged and already applying the material.

Here’s hoping that you are engaged in seeking to improve your relationships.



Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a difficult day for me. My mind was trying to process too many things and I had trouble staying focused when I was teaching in a small group and when I was preaching. That is not a good thing. I apologize to everyone for being so distracted. As for my musings …

-Yesterday during our worship time we honored, and remembered, five people who passed away in the past year. We presented members of their families with a framed certificate recognizing their loved one’s faithful service to the Lord and our church. I challenged the congregation with needs we now have with the passing of these faithful people. We need more to step up their prayer life, to help in VBS, in encouragement, and much more to continue the good works that these had begun.

-I heard some great praises of how God is working in some families to build relationships and of growing interests in the things of God. I also heard some disturbing reports of relationship strains that some are in the middle of.

-I continued the message series “The Hope of Relationships”. We examined the need to remember those we are in relationship with and to work at making sure they know we remember them. We cannot expect good relationships if we ignore our relationships, especially our relationship with Christ.

-Our attendance was down yesterday.

-On Friday and Saturday my wife and I were in another state where I was coaching a volleyball team at a tournament. I will be coaching at our high school this fall and this is a summer camp/tournament that they have gone to for the past few years. It was a great experience, even if we didn’t win as much as I had hoped. It felt great to be back in that role again. My wife did well with the travel (a few hours away) and going in and out of gyms and up and down bleachers.

-We have a great praise. We have asked for prayer for our oldest grandson and his student visa that is needed so he can study in South Africa this fall. His application was approved!!! It was approved on his first try. Now we wait for the documents to arrive. We are praying that they come quickly, we have been told it could take four weeks. We want them to arrive quickly so that he can get back to Africa where his parents and siblings are serving. This process has cost them precious time together this summer. Thank you for praying.

-Saturday would have been my Dad’s 90th birthday. On Sunday it hit me that this is the first time in my lifetime that I didn’t speak with him on his birthday. However, he is enjoying a much better birthday than he ever has before.

-Being out of town, sleeping in a hotel for a couple of nights showed my wife and I that maybe it is time to get a new mattress. When you sleep better in a strange bed, in a strange place, it may be time for a different mattress.

-My struggle with focus yesterday was a result of some burdens, also from me trying to fix too many things at once, of wrestling with some ministry vision ideas and a little fatigue.

-I am getting excited for our Vacation Bible School and it doesn’t begin until July 30. Some of the props, and decorations are beginning to be put together. A couple of the items will be too big to fit through our sanctuary doors, so they will need to be built in the sanctuary and they will begin working on them soon.

-Coaching this past week confirmed that I need to get in better physical condition and drop some weight. This will be some of my accountability by making my commitment to this goal public on my blog.

Here’s hoping you have someone that you can count on to hold you accountable and encourage you in a goal. If not, then be that for someone else this week. Especially the encouragement part.



Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday we experienced another great time of worship, unfortunately there weren’t very many people who were apart of the experience. On to my musings …

-Many people came forward at the close of the message yesterday, committing to work on restoring a relationship. We all have at least one relationship that needs restoration. We looked at the Word for steps to take to work on restoring a relationship.

-There was a good spirit in the service from the beginning to the end.

-Our attendance was very low on this Memorial Day weekend.

-Our oldest grandson is with us for a while. I love having him here, but I hate the reason he is here. He is going to do a semester abroad in South Africa this fall. It seemed that it shouldn’t have been a problem to get his student visa for this since his parents are missionaries in Africa. They have been for 5 years. However, he was told that he had to come back to the states to get this taken care of at the South African consulate in Chicago. He flew in this week and is gathering all the paperwork he needs before he can go to the consulate get this taken care of. Prayers are appreciated for this to go smoothly and quickly.

-I was very encouraged to see a couple of our teens come forward to commit to restoring relationships yesterday.

-It became official this week that I will be an assistant varsity volleyball coach at our local high school this fall. I am excited about this opportunity. It means some readjusting of our summer schedule, but I love coaching and working with young people.

-I was encouraged by two days that I spent in meetings this week. One of those days was being a part of our District’s Board of Ministry where we interview those who are moving toward being ordained. We also spend time working on the process we have in place for ministers. It is very important, humbling and exciting to be a part of this group. The other day was the Mission Strategy Team for our District. I get really jazzed about this one. We work on the mission and vision of our District. We get to hear reports, updates and the vision of our new church plants. We work on how best to share the vision and get everyone on the mission. I love spending time with a group that is so focused on the big picture and cares about each church and pastor. I love my District.

-Our church is now in “let’s get ready for VBS” mode. The first gathering of recruiting the volunteers took place this past week. Materials for the props are being gathered. You need to understand that we transform the whole building when we do Vacation Bible School, so a lot of materials are needed.

-As I watch, and listen, to my grandson going through this visa stuff I am impressed with his maturity and spirit. It is humbling to see how well he is handling it all. I remember shooting nerf hoops with him for hours when he was a toddler. I remember the little boy giggle he had that brought a smile to everyone. Now we sit and talk about world issues over a cup of coffee. I am proud of the Christ following, people loving, world changing young man he has become. There go those allergies making my eyes water again, this has happened a few times since I picked him up at the airport.

-My wife continues to do well in her recovery. The progress each week is a little slower now. That is because she made such great progress in the first four or five weeks that the improvement now is not as obvious. She is still a rock star with how well she has done with a double knee replacement.

-I spent some time a couple of days ago leafing through one of my Dad’s old Bibles. There was even a few of his message outlines in there. It was interesting to see what he had underlined and a few notes he had made. I am blessed to have had such a great example.

-This coming Sunday we will be remembering several members from our church who passed away within the past year. We have a certificate of remembrance and honor for the families of these people. It is a time to remember and celebrate those who have been faithful to the Lord and our church. It is always an emotional day.

Here’s hoping that you recognize how much you are loved by God and will share that with someone in need this week.



Monday Evening Musings …

Yesterday morning went very well. This morning however, did not go as planned, that is why these are Monday evening musings…


-Our Worship service was very good yesterday. The music went well, and the congregation seemed to be engaged and participating well. We honored a young lady in our church who just graduated from college. It was encouraging to see how she is maturing and growing in her faith and life. She graduated from high school just a few months after I came here to pastor. We had a great time of prayer. Even the offering seemed to be a moment of worship.

-The message was on repairing relationships as part of a series of messages entitled “The Hope of Relationships”. I received word from 2 people yesterday afternoon how God spoke to them and how they needed that message.

-Attendance was reasonable and has been up slightly for the past 3 months.

-We had 9 youth in our worship service yesterday!

-There is a growing sense of God’s moving in our fellowship, and in our community. Doors are opening for relationships and opportunities. A few more people seem to be burdened to pray intensely. There is obvious spiritual growth in some people. There is a renewed excitement. Some of the excitement stems from seeing children and youth growing in their walk with Christ.

-My wife continues to do well in her recovery. On Wednesday it will be 6 weeks since her surgery.

-My oldest grandson is having to come back to the states for a few weeks to clear up some of his student visa issues. While I am excited to see him and spend some time with him. I hurt for him as he is losing his summer with his parents and siblings and they are losing that precious time with him. Just another example of sacrifices that missionaries and their families make.

-I feel the need to set aside some time to make sure that I am doing what God desires of me right now. Recently, I have had a lot of opportunities come toward me. All these opportunities are intriguing and interesting. All of them are good things. I just want to be sure that I am spending my time on the best things that are available. That may mean saying no to some good things. I want to make sure that I am not chasing after so many things that I am fail at doing my best. I am not good at stepping aside for this type of evaluation. I love to evaluate, but I love to evaluate after I am doing. I need to get better at some evaluation before I even begin. Now to make the time to do this evaluation.

-My message this coming Sunday is on restoring relationships. It is one thing to repair broken parts of a relationship, but it is another thing to restore a relationship that appears to be dead. Prayer are appreciated as I try to get this important message across to the people of my church.

-I did some Facebook live with our service yesterday. I would like to do this every week. But I need to figure out some better logistics for the recording.

Here’s hoping you are seeing reason to hope in your relationships.