A short update about what’s been going on in my life, … plus some church reminders at the end of this.
As you know, our family “travel team” made a very fast trip to South Carolina two weekends ago to be present at the graduation of my son, Andrew, and my son-in-law, Jason, from Columbia International University. Andrew graduated cum laude with a BA in Humanities and Bible. He loves to express himself through writing and is looking for ways to utilize that gift in his future. Jason received his M.Div. degree in Bible Exposition and is quite a good preacher. He and Emma, as you may know, are in the early stages of application with South America Mission about the possibility of serving the Lord in South America, quite possibly in Lima, Peru. These were the third and fourth of my children to graduate from what — in the days Diana and I were students – was called Columbia Bible College. Graduation there is always a beautiful event ; a setting that directs a person’s every thought back to the Lord of the Harvest who is sending out workers into His harvest field. The speaker this year was Dr. John Stumbo, President of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, a solid, missionary-sending denomination of churches.
The family “travel team” was made up of my four kids from Hermann, myself, my mother, my mother-in-law, Diana’s sister Lori, and our nephew Tanner. Two cars – one a “fun” car, and one a “boring” car. Which car do you think mine was ? Both cars had fun in their own ways, but the other car (not mine) had more food in it, I think. I enjoyed conversations with my mom and mother-in-law – many memories, plus when you’ve experienced the loss of a spouse you share a unique and lifechanging experience. I enjoyed conversation with my nephew Tanner on the way home, as we discussed theological questions and tried to put together the correct sequence of End Times events, according to the Bible. We were joined in South Carolina by my daughters Annie and Betsy ; our good friends and mentors Steve & Debbie Doggett ; Steve & Debbie’s daughter Julia, and Julia’s daughter Sophia ; Jason’s parents, Ted & Geri Harms, from Ohio ; Jason’s two sisters and his two nieces, also from Ohio. Along with some college friends of Andrew’s, we were 27 for lunch Saturday afternoon following graduation. I was reminded of what a wonderful extended family I have.
Of course, the highlight of the weekend was my grandson Hudson who seemed hardly ever to be without a smile on his round little face. He is enjoying life ! I had bought him a 9-month one-piece St Louis Cardinal outfit so he won’t forget where his loyalties lie. Emma and Jason are great parents, and Emma could – like her mother – write the book on how to get a baby on a schedule.
We hardly had time to unpack our bags from the trip South before most of that same team, along with my sister Nancy, came back together a couple days later for Billy’s graduation from Hermann High School. Billy has worked hard in his classes this year which included a college-level Anatomy & Physiology class, Physics, Advanced Chemistry, Spanish 3, and Calculus. His interest as he heads into college next fall – Music. Where did these kids get their interest in fine arts and humanities ? One of the other high school parents recently texted me pictures of Billy at the junior/senior prom last month with (both ?) his dates. Hmmm.
Sticky Group Year-End Fun
I had the joy of joining two church Sticky Groups for year-end fun this month. The group I normally belong to had a barbecue one evening at which we were all present, including kids. The food was out-of-sight … barbecued brats, potatoes, chips with two or three delicious homemade dips, a cold cucumber soup, bread pudding, and more ! What sweet times we’ve had this past year sharing our hearts with each other. Last weekend, I joined another Sticky Group for a ride in a stretch limo all the way to Boonville, Missouri, where we visited the farm where the Budweiser Clydesdales are bred. Again, lots of fun, lots of laughs, and some big and beautiful horses.
As you know, I’m seeking God’s leading for this new chapter of my life. I’m in need of vision and goals, along with renewed spiritual energy to accomplish them. Three goals I wrote down while I was away are the following :
Rewrite my ordination paper. I have a doctrinal paper that I wrote 20 years ago and which needs some refreshing. Pastor Jeff did such a good job at his licensing council a couple weeks ago, and I enjoyed being a part of that so much, that I was inspired to spend some time working on my own paper. I look forward to that and trust it will be an exercise that sharpens me for future ministry.
Paint and repair the house where needed. It’s still a goal of mine to get our house painted this summer. This old house has been very good to us, … even if a bit leaky during the cold, windy days of last winter. My office/bedroom was painted by missionary friends visiting from France … 14 years ago (!) and still looks almost as good as new. It’s the exterior of the house that needs attention.
Learn how to write a book. I would love to be able to put some of my thoughts and experiences into a book some day, … but, frankly, I don’t know the first thing about writing a book. I’ve had some unusual and interesting experiences in my life ; I would like to distill the lessons from those experiences and perhaps use them to encourage others somehow.
What are your goals and hopes for the summer and for the remainder of 2014 ? It’s a joy to see you responding to the call to use your God-given gifts and abilities to serve God and other people. Several of you continue to respond to our 301 class and the SHAPE interviews you’ve been a part of. Thank you ! Forward momentum is continuing into the summer as VBS begins to take shape, a men’s chorus is organizing (See Alan Traub if you’re interested), plans are being formulated for a 2015 missions trip, and ideas for growth in our youth and young family ministry are taking shape. Thank you for serving. Thank you for taking seriously the 301 (“Discovering My Ministry”) course and principles. Let’s continue to implement principles from our recently-concluded 401 (“Discovering My Mission”) course too ; many people who are new to Emmanuel need to fall in love, not with a church, but with the Savior, and need to make a decision to trust Him personally.
We are running behind on finances at the church. That’s not all that unusual at this point in the year, but it doesn’t have to be that way either. Let’s consider digging deep and giving generously to the Lord’s work this summer and possibly starting off the fall ministry season in really good shape. Pray with me about that, would you ?
It was a joy to have members of the VFW and the ladies auxiliary with us in church last Sunday. Mary Owens organized that, … but you were also there as the Body of Christ to serve and welcome and love. Thank you. It was a great service.
I believe this coming Sunday’s service and message will be a hum-dinger as we finish out the book of 2 Peter with talk of the Lord’s return. It would be a good day for you to invite a friend who might be curious about what the Bible says about the End Times. After all, Tanner and I got it all figured out in the car on the way back from South Carolina !