- I've been busy. Since my last post we've decided not to sell our house. Lauren is keeping her job at Presby-Dallas. I still have a long commute and it is such a blessing.
- I never thought being forced to drive at least an hour a day would be a good thing, but I've really enjoyed it. Thanks to podcasts (thank you Matt Chandler, John Piper, Andy Stanley, etc) my drive time is consumed with some incredibly challenging teaching...most of the time. Not that their teaching is lacking, sometimes I just drive in silence. The beauty is I have at least 60 minutes to prepare/decompress every day that I go to my office. It's a good thing. Church is not all I think about. I don't bring much work home (except the days I use the dining room table as a study desk) and my wife and son get to experience a more "even-keel" husband and daddy. Before, I drove just over a half-mile to my office. Most mornings (if I didn't hit the elementary school traffic) I was at my office in a shade under 2 minutes. On cold mornings, the car wasn't even warm by the time I pulled in the parking lot. Definitely not any "thinking time" during that commute. On top of that, coming home did not allow me time to decompress enough to leave church stuff at the office. I was usually upset that I hadn't finished whatever tasks needed finishing or worried about the meetings and unreturned phone calls of the day. I can honestly say it wasn't fair to my family...and I see that clearly now.
- I'm the happiest I've ever been...doing exactly what I was created to do. Not to say I've not been happy doing ministry these last 10 years, but I've finally found my "niche." And I like it...alot. It's hard - there are differences of opinion, wrestling with vision and providing leadership, trying to plan a budget and recruit volunteers - nothing that any other uni-staff Senior Pastor would not experience. I just didn't expect it...but I love it. It's a challenge everyday. Sometimes I just stare at the challenge in disbelief, i.e. How the heck am I gonna do that? Sometimes it gets no second thought, i.e. That's finished and it was easy... All in all, I'm satisfied. God has given me a clear place where I can exercise the ideas that have been rolling in my head.
- I'm not afraid...before I was afraid to share my opinion. I'd been "shot-down" (yeah, in a church no less...) so many times, I just quit talking. Not normal, at least not for me anyway. I quit giving my two cents, sharing what I thought about the way things were going...and nobody was the wiser, except my wife and maybe a few unsuspecting coworkers. I've had 2 chances in the last fews to let my opinion be heard. I shared it, even though extremely difficult and it required some "force" in one instance, and it was well-received. It's good to be recognized as someone with a valuable opinion. It has taken away my fear...I like that.
- I still have so much to learn. I hope I can say that when I'm 80. Every day I realize that 9 years of college/grad school was not enough. I think I've learned more in 95 days as a pastor than I did in 9 years of school. But there's still more...I hope I catch all of it.
- Above all, I want to be found faithful. I officiated the funeral services of my oldest church member earlier this week. She was 97 1/2 years old and lived a full life. She cooked meals for senior citizens when she was 85 years old. Knitted afghans for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren into her 90's. She was sharp in her mind and able-bodied until a fall broke her pelvis 2 months before she died. When she fell, she told the doctor she was ready to go "home" to be with Jesus. That she had served her time here and served it well. I agree. Ask anyone who knew her and she was faithful. To her Lord, to her family, to her community. She was faithful. I want to be like Nellie Trail - faithful unto death.
That's it for now, I guess. I hope I'm not so consumed that it's another 4 months before you hear from me again. I doubt it, with the election coming and all. There'll be plenty to talk about, I'm sure...until then
grace and peace - sb