Sunday, July 18, 2010

Outstanding Job

I come away from this evening with a heart filled with gratitude. Gratitude toward a group of people who have linked arms to serve the Lord in little ol' Quincy, Illinois. This group of people never cease to amaze me. They have abounding energy and drive to do their best for the Lord.

We took a moment at a quarterly vision meeting to look back for just an hour to see what God has done through us over the past three months. We have seen people come to Christ, follow the Lord in baptism and step out and serve in amazing ways.

We just completed our second S.M.I. (Summer Missionary Internship). Our teens served in our church plant by supplying a full scale vacation Bible school. The teens did all the work from top to bottom. I am so glad that my daughters are able to be a part of our youth ministry. Pastor Jeff and all the sponsors that support and lead do an outstanding job. People like the Browns, Casulas, Baumanns and Andersons make it a very healthy and growing environment. While the Webels and Matt Cowman helped make the mission trip a great growth experience.

Our Childrens' ministry under the direction of Shane and Jen Wingerter has had an incredible summer. The Summer of Discovery is a one of the best home grown ministries that I have ever been associated with. The crew that serve along side them are faithful, talented and engaging. I love to see our children learn - and boy do they learn and enjoy it. I want to say thanks to all of them for all that they do. I am blessed to have had my children go through that ministry.

Our lay leaders do such a good job making the wheels role around here. From ushering to greeting, from finances to facility, from lock up to security, it is nice to have everyone play a part and do it so well with a joyful heart. Thank you deacons for serving in such an outstanding way.

Support staff is so important in a church and we have a great group that do that also. Our sound people, our visual team, janitors, lawn care, and office staff make it easy to keep pressing forward for God's glory.

Pastor Jeff and Julie and Pastor Mike and Keri give so willingly and sacrificially. Your impact on this place is immeasurable. I believe that God placed us here with many gifts and abilities to equip the saints for ministry. Thank you for taking Ephesians 4:11-12 seriously. May God bless your every effort in the coming days.

I guess I just want everyone to know that you do an OUTSTANDING JOB! I am blessed and privileged to be a pastor in this church.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

Okay... it finally happened....the inevitable!! This moment happens in most every young man's life and it is a right of passage, a moment of sheer delight, an event that is never forgotten. It is the day when they out-wit, out-play, out-think and out-perform their father. The moment in time where the goal that they have been working for for so long is accomplished.

This past weekend our family decided to take a quick overnight trip. We did not plan this - so finding a place to go on 4TH of July weekend was a challenge. Through a long and tangled process we tripped upon a resort in Iowa. (that sounds kinda funny) In the south central part of Iowa is a huge lake called Lake Rathbun. The state of Iowa has developed a beautiful resort and premiere golf course next to the lake. It is call the Honey Creek Resort.

We decided as a family to go up after church on Sunday. We would dine, golf, swim, shop and just generally chill out for the day. I think everyone enjoyed the laid back atmosphere and beautiful view. As the day was closing in on us, Matt and I began to talk about the golf course and how much fun we were gonna have in the morning. We faded in our room with visions of birdie puts and long drives.

Morning came and out the door we went with bags in hand and rain coming down on our heads. It wasn't gonna bother us. We had a premiere golf course practically to ourselves and nowhere to go and no time to be finished. It was just Matt and I for a special round of Golf.

The conditions were not the best but when you play on a course that could handle three inches of rain from the night before, you realize that you are on a pretty nice course. Matt and I battled the first four holes and were even going into the fifth hole. This is where his special day started. He beat me on holes 5,6,8,and 9 to finish the front nine ahead by four strokes.

He didn't say much other than, "are you keeping track of the score by hand?" See, we were in one of those carts that had a gps and a computerized score card. As we started the back nine, I thought to myself, no big deal he usually fades on the back or blows up on a hole." We went even on the next three holes and I even got one back. As the round continued he made shot after shot after shot. I realized at hole sixteen, I was going down and not gonna be getting up. Matt offically and convincingly had defeated his father - this old man - in a head-to-head golf match.

Quietly, he asked me for the score card as we exited the cart. He put it in his pocket and never said another word.