The year ahead

For the first time in years I stayed up to make sure 2020 was really leaving the building. It was a moral victory if nothing else.

The new year always marks a new year for me because it’s my birthday.

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2 places where my voice will be raised

There are a couple of areas becoming clear where I will do a bit more writing and start back in podcasting for 2020.

I will continue to lend my voice, small as it is, to supporting women in ministry. Leadership. Not just ordaining. Leadership.

I will continue to lend my voice, small as it is, to racial justice. There is so much I continue to learn in this arena and a couple of areas where I give my attention here in Alabama.

My 54th Year

The beginning of the year. The beginning of a new year for me. I open up my Bible to read Genesis 1 and I come past the title page. On that title page I wrote a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and it serves for my life goal in this year of 2020:

“Their hearts are fully absorbed in seeing God.”

This, I pray, would be the sum of my life. It’s not perfectly. There are times it’s not done well at all. But overall, I pray my life would be found to have a heart that is fully absorbed in seeing God.

Happy New Year.

Where I find my passions

Taking time to reflect on what is vital in life is important. We need to set aside time regularly to reflect on what drives us internally.

What brings passion to my life? What makes me want to get up and get at things in life every day?

Recently reflecting on what drives me right now, and rejoicing so deeply over what is going on in our church and ministry, I jotted down a couple of things that get me up every day.

  1. My family. Our boys are grown and gone. Two are married. We have one grandson. (Have I told you about him?) 🙂  And when I reflect on my family, on where my wife and I are in life, I am filled with joy. I watch young men do life and see what God is doing in them. I have wonderful conversations with my wife and enjoy much more time with her… and I am driven every day to pray for them. I am filled with joy every day seeing what is happening in their lives.
  2. My church. Our church has turned a major corner. We are in a new day that is magnificent. What is ahead is exciting and fun. It’s hard work. WOW! Is it hard work! But joy-filled work that will yield harvest for the Kingdom. We will see more churches planted. We will see the Spirit touch our city. I want my story to be “written” showing my deep love for the church where I get to pastor.
  3. My city. I love the Twin Cities. Winters drive me nuts (except for this last one), but it’s not all about the weather. It’s about the people. Where our church is… well, I really love that part of the city. I watch people do incredible things in that city. They work hard. They love people. They make the schools better. They make the city better.

I can wake up every day with a driving passion to help my family, my church, and my city thrive. The Lord has gifted me with these precious passions. Where I feel his presence and empowerment most is when I am doing something in those three areas. This is where I want my “story” to be known. This is where my passions lie.

The big 5-0

In a few days I will be 50. FIFTY. 5-0.

49 has been good. It’s been a great year.

Our family has added a daughter-in-law. We also celebrate our first grandson.

It’s been a great year.

Our church has made a big leap of faith, moving from it’s old facility into a new building and we’re trying to get all permits lined up to get a coffee shop built. It’s an intentional step to keep blessing our community and it has stretched us. God is bringing favor to us.

On this particular birthday, I am going to do something I try not to do very often, especially on this blog. I am going to ASK for something.

The coffee shop has been trying to gain some traction in funding to make sure we have every possible cost covered and then be able to add some nice things right from the start if possible.

For my 50th birthday, while I don’t ask for gifts or presents, I would like to impose on you and ask if you would give to the coffee shop GoFundMe project. It would mean a lot to me personally.

Make it the “FIVE” project, if you like. Give in increments of 5.

$5, $25, $50, $500… you get the idea.

It would mean a lot if on my birthday (January 1), there was a new surge in funding for the coffee shop. 2016 will be a year of ABUNDANCE. It will also be a year of HARVEST. Would you consider helping me get it off to a great start? Click on the highlighted link above and consider giving. As you give, also please consider passing along the link in your social networks.




The year of abundance… and hard work

There are two “words” the Lord dropped into my heart for 2016.


He has given these words for my family and my church. This will be a year of provision. This will be a year of harvest. So much has transitioned in such a short time. For our church, we are out of our old building and into a smaller space, changing up our model of ministry, and awaiting final permits to build a coffee shop. It is a year where the Lord stabilized us and has prepared us for harvest. In 2016 he is speaking HARVEST for us.

That is not set aside from the fact of HARD WORK. There is much work to do, but the more valuable work, as always, is the hidden work. PRAYER.

Today’s Gospel reading is from Luke 2. Two of my favorite characters in Scripture, and we know so little about them: Simeon and Anna. They are easy to pass over. Not only is there not much said about them… but add in the fact they are OLD, and it’s easy to miss their stories. Even in that day, who would pay attention to a couple of old folks wandering around the Temple court day after day? What else did they have to do?

But they gave themselves to the HARD WORK: prayer. Who else had “time” for that?

Through their hard work of prayer, the Lord rewarded them. On the day Joseph and Mary brought the baby to the Temple, the Spirit alerted them both, and the reward of their perseverance was placed in their arms.

I love the words God has given me for 2016. I also know the BEST route to the fulfillment of those words is the HARD ROAD. It is the road of prayer. When temptation rises up and tells me I need to “work” in another way (and there IS work in other ways) I need to hear the voice of the Spirit. There is time for physical labor and there is is a time for spiritual labor. We need both.

2016 will provide plenty of opportunity for BOTH types of labor. We cannot neglect prayer.

There needs to be a daily calling out. Then, for me, there are specific times of “going away.” There are also times of “giving up.” Through all of it I keep a constant list with me. (I use an app on Android called “PrayerMate”.) The list keeps me at the task of intercession. I keep the Word with me, especially the Psalms, so I can hear the call of the Spirit more clearly.

Daily, I wait on the Lord. I lift up needs along the way.

Periodically, I need to withdraw to pray in silence. That is the way of new power in my life.

Then, I also need to “give up.” Periods of fasting and prayer. Lent is an opportunity for me.

Through all of it, as I “work hard” in prayer, the Lord WILL bring HIS WORD to me: Abundance. Harvest.

Let 2016 be an amazing year of abundance for us all! May we most of all have the abundance of his presence!

It’s How You Finish

“To begin well is good, but it is not enough; it is only those who stay the course and finish the race that have any hope of gaining the prize.”
— F.F. Bruce



New year. New “resolutions.”

One key thought in making “resolutions” or goals is this: What gets put on a calendar gets done. That isn’t a hard and fast rule, but if you put it on the calendar, you make the commitment.

I have to THINK about what is on my calendar.

This new year has given me the goal of finally getting my body in shape. I have to plan. There were steps to take to get a gym membership and have that level of accountability in my life. I know what level of accountability keeps me on track.

Then, it’s a matter of getting it on the calendar.

THE QUESTION: How do you “get things done?” What helps you?