Celebrating "I Do"

Two days ago was the twenty-third anniversary of the day my wife and I said, "I do" in Meeker United Methodist Church.  Standing there, I was nervous and she was beautiful. 

I'm no longer nervous, but she is still beautiful. 

Like my nerves, much has changed.  The two who became one have two teenagers and one soon-to-be-teen.  We live thousands of miles from where we began.  We don different hairstyles.  We prepare to pay for our daughter's college education while our own official degree-earning is long past. 

Like my wife's beauty, much remains the same.
- Our love for one another endures.
- Our commitment to each other does not waiver.
- Our desire to honor God with our love remains.
- We continue to date.
- She still makes me smile.
- I still cause her to laugh.

I wrote a letter to her for our anniversary.  In it, I express my gratitude for some of the many things she does because of her love and commitment.  In part, they are . . .
- Thank you.
- Thank you for keeping our relationship a top priority.
- Thank you for your example of godliness.
- Thank you for your love of the Word.
- Thank you for your kindness.
- Thank you for your thoughtfulness.
- Thank you for loving me.
- Thank you for growing your hair long.
- Thank you for shaving your legs.
- Thank you for your prayers.
- Thank you for your support.
- Thank you for all the things you do for me and the kids.
- Thank you for doing most of the cooking.
- Thank you for making sure our three know they are loved.
- Thank you for understanding that I have a motorcycle.
- Thank you for continuing to make mousse.
- Thank you for YOU!

If you're married, I offer you a suggestion.  Devote some time to writing your "Thank you" note.  Use the power of words to express your love and commitment to the one you love. 

Here's to anniversaries!  I hope yours is happy.


Thanks, Dad

Father's Day marked our calendars two days ago.  Perhaps you celebrated.  I did.  Each Father's Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the positive impact fathers make in our lives.  I am thankful for my father.  Specifically, I am thankful for my dad for . . .
- loving me
- encouraging me
- never giving up
- loving my mom
- supporting me
- his example
I am thankful for the times we . . .
- went hunting
- went to the gym
- raced across the street after church to the car
- listened to Willie, Don Francisco, and Roger Whittaker
- talk
- tour Alaska
Years ago, officiating a funeral for the first time, I mentioned that we each hold memories of the deceased - "some good and some not so good." 
True?  Yes. 
Well said?  Not likely. 
Even though the latter part of the statement was particularly true for that person.  I know I shouldn't write that, but I couldn't stop myself. 

I digress.  Back to my theme for this post.

Perhaps "not so good" applies to your memories of your father.  If so, that is unfortunate.  If that is your story, make good memories for others.  For your kids.  For your grandkids.  For the child next door whose father is AWOL.  For the child in Sunday School, Youth Group, etc.  For your athletes, students, band members, etc.

Since "good" applies to my memories, Thanks Dad!



Confident of the words he wrote, the psalmist wrote "the LORD takes delight in his people." 

Back up and read that again. 

Now, let that sink in.

In the context of that phrase (Psalm 149), the delight that God takes centers on the singing, praising, and dancing that His people offer to Him.  Certainly, such worship stirs the delight of our Lord.  He is pleased, also, with other actions.  The Bible tells us that God takes pleasure . . .

- in the well-being of His servants (Psalm 35:27)
- in broken and contrite hearts (Psalm 51:17)
- in those who fear (respect) Him (Psalm 147:11)
- in me (Psalm 18:19)
The most well-known verse in Scripture begins with "For God so loved." 

God loves and delights.

Notice the pair.  The phrase lifts the load a bit - "You're called to love people.  That doesn't mean you have to like them."  The callousness of such a statement shocks; yet, it comes in handy when dealing with a difficult person.

Remember.  God loves and delights.  That means that while God loves us, He likes us as well.  He likes us even when we are difficult people.  Truly amazing grace.


A Good Time to Think

- Soon, half of 2018 will have been lived.
- This month, my wife and I will have been married 23 years.
- This month will be my 17th Father's Day as a father.
- Four days ago marked my 10th anniversary serving Rabbit Creek Church.

- I have lived half of my life.
- I will double (at least) the number of years as a husband, father, and pastor.

Thinking about these numbers today, I am reminded of the value of reflection and evaluation.  Those who strive to live well their Ordinary lives do well to practice those sibling disciplines. 

To whom to assign credit, I do not know; so without footnote, I mention the well-known adage that many people live by - throwing darts and then drawing the target around the spaces they stuck. 

Ordinary lives don't require detailed planning in all areas, but some anticipation truly helps.  Here are some questions I offer as suggestions.  Ask them as you anticipate the "next half," next year, coming anniversary, etc.
(1) What is going well?
(2) Where can I improve as a _____? (husband / wife / father / mother / student / teacher / etc.)
(3) What can I try?
(4) What should I stop doing?

As you answer those questions, the "first halves," present years, past anniversaries, and the like will guide your answers.  Allow the past events to serve as fodder for tomorrow's moments.  As you answer, also remember these things:
(1) Matthew 6:34
(2) Proverbs 27:1
(3) 2 Timothy 1:7
(4) Proverbs 16:9

And in the words of Calvin (Hobbes' friend, not John) . . .
"You know, sometimes the world seems like a pretty mean place.  That's why animals are so soft and huggy."