365/730/1095 Challenge

I did it! One year and 1095 unique things for which I am thankful. It was a great exercise which I may do again in the future. For now, I’m contemplating how I’d like to handle my next foray into recording areas of gratitude. Below is the original list from November 2009 through November 2010.

I’m attempting to find three unique things every day for one year for which I am thankful. This will total up to 1095 items at the end of the year. If you’d like to try this, you can try to list just one item or two items every day. Otherwise, feel free to follow along with me.

I’m grateful for…

  1. A personal relationship with Jesus.
  2. Betsy… ’nuff said.
  3. Quiet moments with Jesus and Betsy.
  4. Four uninterrupted hours with a covenant brother.
  5. Good health for my family.
  6. 3 John 4.
  7. Blessing two needy families with Thanksgiving food.
  8. A youth group that enjoys being together… and being silly.
  9. Collaborative dreaming with friends.
  10. Opportunities to stretch my creative “muscles.”
  11. Home-cooked meals.
  12. Children who excel at school.
  13. Missionary family members.
  14. Celebrating Christmas family traditions.
  15. A puppy who greets me with so much joy.
  16. Ahhh, quiet Saturday mornings.
  17. Hearing children laughing.
  18. Fun family outings.
  19. A church that feels like a family.
  20. Walks in the crisp fall air.
  21. Snuggling on the couch with loved ones.
  22. Networking-minded business associates in West Michigan.
  23. Our Michigan Assembly of God leadership team.
  24. Cable TV to watch football.
  25. My daily morning commute with my kids.
  26. New music from Switchfoot (on sale at Amazon.com).
  27. A date night to celebrate the first date night.
  28. An author from 100+ years ago who still challenges me today.
  29. Friends who agree to help at a moment’s notice.
  30. Donated pizza for our entire youth group… with some left over, too!
  31. Technology that helps me keep all my plates spinning.
  32. The wonderful family greeting when I walk in the door.
  33. One-on-one time with my son talking about the crucial issue of purity.
  34. Watching my dog frolic in her first real snow… hilarious!
  35. All A’s on my daughter’s first trimester report card.
  36. A spontaneous pizza/movie night with my folks.
  37. My daughter’s initiative to participate in a solo competition with her flute.
  38. My wife’s excellent performance in her graduate class.
  39. The opportunity to minister to a family in crisis.
  40. More people visiting our church… and coming back for another look.
  41. Opportunities to spend time with our missionary guests.
  42. Celebrating my son’s birthday (a little early) at the Skillet concert with his friends. Great memories were made!
  43. An unexpected and very generous early Christmas present.
  44. Time to reconnect with old friends and meet new a couple of new ones.
  45. Monday Night Football on the couch with my son.
  46. Clean water.
  47. Another child’s outstanding report card.
  48. Wonderful birthday celebration for my oldest son.
  49. A warm house.
  50. Football in the snow.
  51. Unscheduled time to hang out with a new friend.
  52. Back to middle school with my daughter for parent shadowing day.
  53. Safe travel through the blizzard.
  54. Listening to my wife read to our kids.
  55. Another snow day.
  56. An opportunity to do some more learning.
  57. The hospitality of a friend.
  58. A “flowing” worship team.
  59. Burned up burdens.
  60. A great Board.
  61. Heart-storming with a trusted friend.
  62. A nice place to live.
  63. Spontaneous date nights!
  64. Being able to use my old telecom skills to help a friend.
  65. A quiet cup of tea with my folks.
  66. Celebrating Christmas at the Cedar Springs Middle School band concert.
  67. Teachable moments that really seem to connect.
  68. Great energy in our Impact service.
  69. Three students who stepped into a relationship with Jesus for the first time!
  70. Wise counsel from a fellow pastor.
  71. God’s beauty displayed in wildlife.
  72. Great insights from my Impact teaching team.
  73. Another successful business outing.
  74. Betsy’s van trouble was easy to fix.
  75. Birthday celebrations for my favorite sister and my favorite Mom.
  76. Sleeping in (such a rare thing).
  77. Two unexpected financial blessings.
  78. A great dinner/evening with my fantastic church Board and their spouses.
  79. The creativity within the Church.
  80. Deeper connections with God among our congregation.
  81. A thoughtful, prayerful, encouraging friend.
  82. Heavenly inspiration.
  83. A morning hug from my kids.
  84. Watchful friends who have my back.
  85. My car hit 180,000 miles and it’s still humming along.
  86. A great Mom (who let me take her out to lunch).
  87. A family movie night, all snuggled together on the couch.
  88. A surprise visit from my favorite (and only!) wife.
  89. Going to the movies with my oldest son.
  90. A long after-dinner conversation with a great leader-in-training.
  91. Early morning quiet times when I can read/pray for a long time without any other noise in the house.
  92. Lunch with my boys.
  93. Beautiful Candlelight Christmas Eve service (one of my favorite services every year).
  94. The Holy Spirit waking me up in the middle of the nigh with “a word.”
  95. A white Christmas.
  96. The true gifts of smiles, laughter, love, family.
  97. Safe travel for our church family on snowy roads.
  98. A grateful look back at 2009, and a challenging, God-breathed vision for our congregation for 2010.
  99. Get-on-the-same-page meetings.
  100. Being associated with a business that puts customers ahead of profits.
  101. Seeing people recognize how to use their God-given talents in their church.
  102. The opportunities to see this world full of wonders through the eyes of a child.
  103. Friends more mechanically-inclined than me.
  104. Celebrating a friend’s birthday ice skating in downtown Grand Rapids.
  105. Watching two young men be Jesus to a wheelchair-bound man stuck on the ice.
  106. Picking up with an old friend as though the last time we spoke was yesterday.
  107. God’s favor on my job.
  108. Unity among the Body of Christ.
  109. Teamwork that makes a dream work.
  110. Friends who made a long drive to support us.
  111. A great evening fundraising for Latin America Child Care.
  112. A rare morning to sleep in.
  113. Technology which helps me study.
  114. A great on-field and off-field testimony from Tim Tebow.
  115. The Holy Spirit moved so powerfully in our service this morning.
  116. Great missionary friends who shared in our church and then hung out with us.
  117. Nice turnout for our first night of our week of prayer.
  118. An unexpected late Christmas gift.
  119. Working furnaces on a cold winter day.
  120. New ministry opportunities.
  121. Clean water.
  122. Hot water.
  123. An afternoon hot chocolate break with my best friend.
  124. New things I’m learning about prayer.
  125. Christians who seek good relationships and reconciliation.
  126. Young men wanting to be used by God… no reservations.
  127. Protection for a friend who hit a deer with his car.
  128. One-on-one ping pong time with my daughter.
  129. Prayer time and play time with my oldest son.
  130. More teaching opportunities for Betsy
  131. Creative sync today!
  132. Brothers who fast with me to see God move.
  133. A great break fast breakfast.
  134. Beautiful sunshine on a crisp winter day.
  135. A washing machine and dryer in my house.
  136. Positive, God-directed momentum.
  137. Teams at church coming together.
  138. More and more ministry opportunities.
  139. Accountability from a loving brother.
  140. Re-connecting with a long-lost friend.
  141. Students in our youth group who are so open to mentoring.
  142. God’s healing.
  143. People who help those who are “strangers” to them.
  144. A good grade in my class.
  145. A new time/place/way to pray.
  146. The chance to launch new ministers in new ministries.
  147. The “buzz” in our Impact youth service.
  148. Technology to help me find my way.
  149. The pop-in visit from friends.
  150. Opportunities to continue to court my beautiful wife.
  151. Volunteers who love to volunteer.
  152. Another class finished; another A grade.
  153. A (mostly) completed To Do list.
  154. The unity and excitement of our Impact leadership team.
  155. Lots and lots of KidZone flyers distributed.
  156. Special desserts!
  157. A generous congregation who gave to Convoy of Hope.
  158. First meeting with our Missions Committee. They l-o-v-e missionaries and missions.
  159. Great dress rehearsal for KidZone.
  160. Divine inspiration.
  161. Got to know a new friend better.
  162. An open, frank, growing-pains conversation with my daughter.
  163. The seemingly boundless energy of kids.
  164. Lunch with my Mom.
  165. Family dinner conversations.
  166. New business opportunities.
  167. Reconnecting with a business friend.
  168. A great kick-off to our “Be You” series with an outstanding guest speaker.
  169. Another opportunity to show the love of Jesus.
  170. More books to review (the stack is growing!).
  171. Skype!
  172. God’s second chances.
  173. The ability to play the keyboard and sing praises.
  174. The helpers for PROJECT:Smile!
  175. Friends that honor us by calling on us to help them.
  176. Betsy finally said “Yes” (to my new iPhone).
  177. Thunder & lightning that remind me how awesome is my God.
  178. Baptizing two people this morning.
  179. Great flow of the Holy Spirit in our service.
  180. More kids in KidZone.
  181. A young friend “growing up” into himself.
  182. An older friend reigniting in a new ministry.
  183. Meeting new people, and seeing them as God’s masterpiece.
  184. Returning home to the hugs of my family.
  185. Labore est orare.
  186. More opportunities to develop patience.
  187. God is using me as a mediator.
  188. Another full week of substitute teaching assignments for Betsy.
  189. Another great guest in “Be You.”
  190. Quick healing from a cold I was fighting.
  191. The “big proposal” is done and submitted.
  192. Talented children.
  193. God-given wisdom to know when to speak and when to stay silent.
  194. Love songs that echo my heart’s song.
  195. A faith-stretching leadership team.
  196. People who care about people… truly care.
  197. God’s anointing.
  198. Free tickets to the hockey game.
  199. Time getting to know my son’s friends.
  200. Heaven-touching worship.
  201. New souls in heaven.
  202. Rearranged schedule that got me on God’s agenda.
  203. Business leaders passionate about investing in inner-city ministry.
  204. God’s quiet, reassuring peace.
  205. Safety on snowy roads.
  206. Expanding business opportunities.
  207. Samantha’s growing talent on the flute.
  208. God’s wisdom and favor in what could have been very sticky meeting.
  209. People who trust me enough to open their heart to me.
  210. Unity among brothers & sisters.
  211. Being used as a peacemaker.
  212. Rapport with community leaders
  213. My kids’ amazing spiritual insights.
  214. Game time with my kids.
  215. A stay-home-and-play Saturday.
  216. Meeting new neighbors.
  217. Sharing Sunday breakfast with a friend.
  218. Technology that brings missionaries to us live from thousands of miles away.
  219. Unity among brothers and sisters.
  220. True mutual accountability.
  221. God’s perfect positioning for my life.
  222. God-fearing, biblically-informed legislators.
  223. Salt trucks and dedicated drivers to clear the roads.
  224. A quiet catch-up / work-ahead day.
  225. A great marriage.
  226. The State Department of Education moved “count day” so all our kids could enjoy a snow day safely at home.
  227. The big account finally came in!
  228. Another guest in our “Be You” series challenged us to pursue our God-implanted passion.
  229. A “get caught up” breakfast with an old colleague.
  230. God-directed steps: right place, right time.
  231. Our kids are old enough to leave at home alone (makes for a more enjoyable date night!).
  232. Enjoying Brandon’s creativity.
  233. 1-on-1 time with my eldest.
  234. Snuggle time with my dearest.
  235. Lots of reading time.
  236. Lots of family play time.
  237. Lots of cookie-making time.
  238. Seeing people “get it.”
  239. A meeting where teammates become a closer team.
  240. Sharing parenting thoughts with other parents.
  241. Laughter with a friend.
  242. An unexpected blessing: someone at another table picked up our tab for lunch.
  243. Giving piggy-back rides to giggling little girls.
  244. Hanging out with local pastors.
  245. Watching my children grow up right before my eyes.
  246. Opportunities to give blessings and to receive them too.
  247. The connections this blog has helped me make.
  248. Beautiful diversity in all God’s children.
  249. Another great night in our “Be You” series… we’re 5-for-5 on the great guest scorecard.
  250. Connecting with a fellow business leader who is also a fellow follower of Jesus.
  251. Iron sharpening time with my brother-in-law love.
  252. Getting some one-on-one time with our middle school and high school principals.
  253. Free things: sunshine, smiles, hugs.
  254. Getting to know a new friend.
  255. Good mental/emotional health.
  256. Collaboration which leads to synergy.
  257. Donuts 🙂
  258. Celebrating another family member’s birthday.
  259. Whoa, that was an incredible church service today!
  260. My “little” girl is now a teenager.
  261. A church family that rallies to help someone in need.
  262. The variety of talents God places in people.
  263. Favor from the mechanic.
  264. Truly profound insights into a Bible story from my youngest son.
  265. God using me to influence someone to make a wise decision.
  266. Good gas mileage for our vehicles.
  267. Attending a middle-/high-school band concert with my family.
  268. Invited to a wonderful lunch with very kind and generous people.
  269. A new family joining our church family… hooray!
  270. An intimate time of worship and conversation in Impact.
  271. New connections in the business field.
  272. Health insurance.
  273. Brainstorming and heartstorming.
  274. Salt trucks & snow plows.
  275. Cell phones & text messages.
  276. Laughter with our youth group.
  277. Long Saturday morning coffee/tea talks with Betsy.
  278. A good book to read.
  279. Corner bar hotdogs with Betsy and my boys.
  280. A musical reunion at Calvary A/G.
  281. The freshness of God’s presence.
  282. Watching young leaders stretching their leadership wings.
  283. A healthy, fun, cuddly puppy.
  284. To hear of a third-generation leader from my training.
  285. Waffles & a movie for dinner.
  286. Blessing a friend just by “being there.”
  287. Friends who pray for me and our church.
  288. Refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, freezers, blenders. So many conveniences I don’t want to take for granted.
  289. Chivalry in action.
  290. Vitale’s Pizza who donates pizza to our youth group once a month.
  291. Youth stepping out of the box.
  292. Perspiration + Concentration that leads to Inspiration.
  293. Connecting with our township supervisor.
  294. God’s amazing grace.
  295. My wife’s diligence in her classwork.
  296. The Cedar Springs community.
  297. Celebrating a friend’s birthday.
  298. Creative session with Harrison.
  299. Washing machines & dryers.
  300. Sunshine!
  301. Sonshine at church.
  302. The way everyone greets one another so warmly at Calvary A/G each and every week.
  303. The Holy Spirit’s unmistakable voice.
  304. A great brother!
  305. The boundless energy of youth.
  306. The empty tomb.
  307. Hearing how we can help support a new missions endeavor.
  308. Lunch money.
  309. Being able to speak biblical truths at the township meeting.
  310. The thoughtfulness of a friend to send me some timely reading materials.
  311. The counsel and encouragement of a been-there-done-that friend/mentor.
  312. Great, thought-provoking discussion in our first Spiritual Self-Defense class.
  313. Closed chapters that allow new chapters to begin.
  314. Daily instruction from the Holy Spirit.
  315. A wood-fired-pizza, running-through-the-rain, snuggling-on-the-couch date night with my favorite sweetie.
  316. An unplanned lunch rendezvous with the lovely Mrs. Owens.
  317. Betsy’s quick response to minister to a hurting neighbor.
  318. Quiet mornings alone with God.
  319. Exploring God’s incredible creation with Brandon.
  320. Hanging out with my two nephews.
  321. Wise counsel.
  322. Great lesson from the life of Andrew. It really hit home with our congregation this morning.
  323. A church Board that is the wind in my sails, not an anchor holding us back.
  324. More people asking to get plugged into ministry… cool!
  325. A great school for our kids.
  326. Tools to help us expand our musical boundaries.
  327. An opportunity to help a first-time author get some well-deserved exposure.
  328. Quick healing for my daughter’s flu-junk.
  329. Flexibility in Betsy’s schedule.
  330. Hearing great reports from our missionaries.
  331. Spring!
  332. Playing football with the guys.
  333. Another great Impact service.
  334. Easy access to the internet.
  335. Dr. Mark Sheldon.
  336. Ahhh, date nights!
  337. Lessons to be learned all around me. Everyday.
  338. Thankful that our church is so close to our house.
  339. Great night Rockin’ For Haiti.
  340. Spring snow which reminds me of Isaiah 1:18.
  341. Lots of one-on-one time with Brandon.
  342. Young leaders who take ownership of their ministries.
  343. Palpable excitement at church.
  344. Most of our tickets for our Conspiracy Easter drama are gone!
  345. Grace.
  346. Taco Bell coupons & lunch with a friend.
  347. Good schools with attentive teachers.
  348. A nowhere-to-go-Monday-night.
  349. Sneaking away for a quick coffee shop meeting with my lover.
  350. Sharing a conversation with a lonely man.
  351. The ability to exercise.
  352. Doctors, medicine & hospitals.
  353. Nurse Terry, who was so kind and attentive to Betsy.
  354. Celebrating Communion with our youth group.
  355. “By His stripes we have been healed.”
  356. Job flexibility that allows me to help others in need.
  357. Daily bread from God’s Word.
  358. Honest feedback that helps me improve.
  359. Good enough health to still “mix it up” with the kids.
  360. A fun night at the SportsXchange with our students.
  361. Sharing a word from God in a quiet setting with ready listeners.
  362. My own bed.
  363. Modern grocery stores.
  364. Ministry from a trusted mentor.
  365. A home that is a safe haven.
  366. Movies that open the door for deeper conversations.
  367. Betsy’s much improved back pain.
  368. Another band volunteering their talents to help at our next Rockin’ benefit show.
  369. Movie time with Brandon… How To Train Your Dragon was excellent!
  370. Ears to hear the symphony of birds singing in the morning.
  371. A nose to smell a fresh, hot breakfast.
  372. Eyes to see the amazing palette of colors in the sunrise & sunset.
  373. Beautiful 75 degrees… in March.
  374. Very powerful, emotional stories posted on my blog.
  375. Friends who speak the truth in love.
  376. Spring break for my kids.
  377. My brother-in-law love who is always so quick to lend a hand to anyone.
  378. Great dialogue about God’s tests.
  379. A great Good Friday service.
  380. The power of forgiveness.
  381. The old rugged Cross.
  382. The hard work of all our volunteers.
  383. Best attendance at Calvary Assembly of God yet.
  384. Eighteen (18!!) people invited Christ into their life on Easter Sunday!
  385. A growing reputation as a helper in the business community.
  386. Dark chocolate!
  387. Tennis lessons with Samantha.
  388. God’s perfect timing.
  389. Safety on the road in a heavy, heavy downpour.
  390. Testimonies that continue to come in from Easter Sunday.
  391. God placing me in the right place at the right time with the right word.
  392. Learning how to be more tuned into the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
  393. Pizza & game night at Impact… what a blast!
  394. The start of the Detroit Tigers’ season (ah, yes, hope springs eternal!).
  395. Real, heart-level communication.
  396. New internet friends who have found me through this blog, Twitter and YouVersion.
  397. Family get-togethers.
  398. Visiting with dear friends.
  399. Angelfood cake.
  400. Great post-Easter buzz/momentum at Calvary today.
  401. An incredibly supportive church Board.
  402. Another opportunity to mentor a young leader-in-training.
  403. Solid schools for our kids.
  404. The Holy Spirit’s help in remembering all I studied for my exam.
  405. The almost daily maturation I see in our kids.
  406. Dr. Jane Post.
  407. Opportunities to play outside with my family.
  408. New relationships with influential people in Solon Township.
  409. New customer connections via referrals from other happy customers.
  410. Rejoicing with friends with newborn twins.
  411. A challenging & encouraging word from Andy Lapins in our Impact service.
  412. Yet another big business opportunity.
  413. New, exciting plans for our Impact group.
  414. Betsy’s version of meals-on-wheels.
  415. Our country with all of her freedom.
  416. Pastors who sharpen me.
  417. Watching sports with my boys in the mancave.
  418. Sleeping in on Saturdays.
  419. The creative imaginations of my kids.
  420. My incredible parents who are always here for us.
  421. Positive momentum.
  422. The buzz created by positive momentum.
  423. Momentum, baby!
  424. Tastebuds to experience new foods.
  425. Seeing the love that motivates volunteers to give their time.
  426. Meeting a fellow Craig with the same heartbeat for impacting our community.
  427. Technology that lets me send “love notes” throughout the day.
  428. A sound mind.
  429. 190,000 miles on my car and it’s still going strong.
  430. God is Jehovah Jireh, my Provider.
  431. Easy access to delicious dark chocolate.
  432. Friends who pray for me.
  433. An employer who cares.
  434. Fresh, clean air.
  435. Watching my daughter encourage her tennis partner and her opponents.
  436. A heart which hears the Holy Spirit speaking.
  437. A lunch filled with laughter.
  438. Just hanging out with friends.
  439. Love that makes a house a home.
  440. Opportunities to earn another person’s trust.
  441. That contented sigh.
  442. A church family that feels like a family.
  443. Ping pong with friends.
  444. Discipleship opportunities.
  445. Opportunities to bless someone else.
  446. So many miles… so very few incidents.
  447. A reticular activating system becoming more aware of God’s voice.
  448. Good schools and good teachers.
  449. The way smiling at someone causes their face to brighten.
  450. Watching my kids become salt and light among their friends.
  451. Randy DonGiovanni’s investment in our Impact youth group.
  452. Coupons for Taco Bell.
  453. A little parking lot basketball with the guys before Impact.
  454. Meeting new neighbors.
  455. Being trusted enough that others feel safe opening up to me.
  456. A godly reporter writing about good news.
  457. Fruitfulness.
  458. Building trust.
  459. Learning patience.
  460. A fresh move of the Holy Spirit in our service.
  461. Teaching the “oldies” to the youngsters… and vice versa. 🙂
  462. “Chance” meetings that God ordains.
  463. “Being there” for a friend who’s “been there” for me.
  464. Reconnecting with some pastoral friends.
  465. The gift of empathy.
  466. Rev. Bill Leach’s leadership.
  467. Rev. Jeff Hlavin’s wisdom.
  468. The friendship of so many like-minded pastors.
  469. Bold, fearless brothers.
  470. The chance to be a blessing.
  471. The warming power of a genuine smile.
  472. Religious freedom.
  473. To be physically able to be active.
  474. The power of forgiveness.
  475. The music of the masters.
  476. A roof that doesn’t leak when it rains.
  477. Living in Michigan.
  478. Celebrating Mother’s Day with my Mom.
  479. Watching my kids celebrate their incredible Mom.
  480. The scent of a freshly mowed lawn.
  481. Freshly brewed hot tea to start the day.
  482. The convenience of a microwave.
  483. A soft couch.
  484. The incredible “green-ness” after the rain.
  485. Puppy kisses.
  486. Watching those who don’t have a personal relationship with Christ notice the power of prayer.
  487. Having two vehicles for our busy family.
  488. Seeing our youth group respond to a Speed The Light introduction.
  489. Those who serve the Kingdom of God in 1001 behind-the-scenes ways.
  490. The overwhelming response to our Bottom Blessing.
  491. Opportunities for my kids to be involved in after-school activities.
  492. The example of Ernie Harwell.
  493. Safety for Betsy in her car.
  494. Free football tickets.
  495. Introducing business leaders who should be working together.
  496. Easy access to educational institutions.
  497. A Saturday to just <ahhhh!> relax.
  498. Adding new “touches” to our church’s ministry.
  499. Rev. Jeff Kennedy.
  500. Alliance Master’s Commission.
  501. Watching Samantha enjoy her horse riding time.
  502. An honest car mechanic.
  503. The spiritual power in fasting.
  504. The freedom in forgiveness.
  505. All the Cha-chings! showing up on our Impact board.
  506. The opportunity to help someone else by giving blood.
  507. Time with my Dad.
  508. Chances to finish well and start fresh.
  509. New ministries with which to partner.
  510. Intimate family prayer times.
  511. The gift of marriage.
  512. The innocent joy of children.
  513. Little, almost unnoticed, blessings.
  514. Great response to our Community Impact.
  515. Two families becoming one.
  516. Laughing with Betsy.
  517. The power of Pentecost.
  518. Hanging out with new friends.
  519. Air conditioning.
  520. A wonderful decade of my youngest son bringing me joy.
  521. Soldiers who have sacrificed for me.
  522. Meeting new parents in our neighborhood.
  523. Our lost dog is found!
  524. That it was only a mailbox, and nothing more serious.
  525. The shining witness of a senior saint.
  526. Reconnecting with a friend-in-need.
  527. Business partners that are more than partners in business.
  528. Samantha is on the honor roll!
  529. When things really begin to click.
  530. Feeling God’s heartbeat for the city.
  531. A chance to encourage the vision that God has given a brother.
  532. My poison ivy outbreak didn’t get too crazy.
  533. I don’t have allergy problems year-round.
  534. Hanging out with the other May birthday boys.
  535. Productive mornings.
  536. The chance for my kids to hang out with their fellow PKs.
  537. Eating ice cream with some great missionary friends.
  538. Celebrating my birthday with my incredible church family.
  539. Celebrating my birthday with a quiet afternoon with Betsy.
  540. Celebrating my birthday with lots of new books and dark chocolate.
  541. Veterans who spilled their blood to secure my freedom.
  542. Wiper blades.
  543. Thunderstorms that remind me of the All-Powerful God I love and serve.
  544. Meeting those who care for “the least of these.”
  545. Partnering with pastors who truly “get it.”
  546. Hitting the Secretary of State office at just the right time (i.e. no waiting!).
  547. Working for an employer who truly cares about its employees.
  548. A translator who graciously helped me with my rusty Español.
  549. Great discussion on tests & temptations in Impact.
  550. Earning the trust of people in tough spots who ask me to pray for them.
  551. An anonymous “angel” who paid for my kids to go to camp this summer.
  552. Perseverance.
  553. Lawn mowers (both the machine and the person who uses the machine).
  554. The elegant beauty in a butterfly.
  555. The lifting power of a true friend.
  556. A colds that reminds me that I need to rely on God everyday.
  557. Burden-bearers.
  558. Blessing others.
  559. Godly men who are real men.
  560. Chilidogs.
  561. A new house.
  562. Fresh manna.
  563. A roof that doesn’t leak.
  564. Carpeted floors.
  565. Another successful school year has ended.
  566. Quality always trumps quantity.
  567. God’s blessing on quality leads to greater quantity.
  568. The instruction I receive from watching nature.
  569. Godly wisdom.
  570. Digging into God’s Word.
  571. Big trucks & strong friends.
  572. Comfy beds on which to sleep.
  573. Motrin 🙂
  574. The unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit.
  575. A church family that embraces (often literally!) visitors and guests.
  576. Housewarming with incredible friends.
  577. A friend who watches out for me.
  578. A friend who doesn’t let me slip by with less than my best.
  579. A friend who prays for me. Everyday.
  580. A working lawnmower.
  581. Meeting more and more people in Cedar Springs.
  582. Worship in the backyard with Impact.
  583. A summer job for Harrison.
  584. Revelation in times of seeking.
  585. Great prayer time to conclude our 24-hour Fast For Breakthrough.
  586. Police officers who keep us safe.
  587. Big shade trees.
  588. Walking barefoot through green grass.
  589. A great turnout for Alpha Family Center’s LifeWalk.
  590. The privilege of leading the prayer for our elected officials in front of City Hall.
  591. Samantha’s great showing at her first equestrian team competition.
  592. The great heritage my Dad has given me.
  593. The privilege of being Dad to Harrison, Samantha and Brandon.
  594. The opportunity to challenge the men of Calvary A/G to be good and unsafe men.
  595. Green grass that is barefoot-able.
  596. Shade trees with swings.
  597. The affirmation of my fellowship’s leadership.
  598. Being able to connect with more influential leaders in Cedar Springs.
  599. The passionate worship of our youth.
  600. The response of our youth group to our missionary guests (thanks, Steve & Trinia Pennington!).
  601. The power of worship.
  602. Christmas gifts in June.
  603. Seeing things again for the first time by seeing them through my kids’ eyes.
  604. Roses in my backyard.
  605. Bats that eat mosquitoes.
  606. Sandlot football with friends from church.
  607. Living in Cedar Springs.
  608. A basketball hoop on my driveway.
  609. Swinging on a swing.
  610. My predecessor at Calvary A/G.
  611. The medicine of laughter.
  612. Honest words spoken in love.
  613. Fa-Ho-Lo Camp.
  614. Securus Domus.
  615. Experiences which have bought me invaluable wisdom.
  616. Social media which allows me to keep in touch with friends and family.
  617. Playing our own made-up, goofy games with Brandon.
  618. Playing with a bunch of giggling kids during “Pause.”
  619. A mild Michigan summer.
  620. Great spiritual connections for Samantha at Fa-Ho-Lo this week.
  621. Harrison connecting with an old friend for a camping trip.
  622. Rapport with those in governmental leadership.
  623. God’s protection in spite of my ignorance.
  624. Agape love.
  625. Good eyesight.
  626. Another book publisher asking me to review a pre-published manuscript.
  627. Open, honest, constructive conversation with friends.
  628. A two-hour, uninterrupted camp debriefing with my daughter.
  629. The items we need for our July 4th service are on sale.
  630. The amazing flight of the hummingbird.
  631. I get to live in the land of the free & the home of the brave.
  632. Beautiful weather (although a little hot) for our outdoor service and picnic.
  633. Great response from our church family to make today’s service happen.
  634. The marvel of how the human mind works.
  635. Biblical insights that are “new” even though I’ve read that passage a dozen times before.
  636. Bike riding with Betsy.
  637. Dehumidifiers for a muggy Michigan summer.
  638. Hanging out with other Cedar Springs pastors.
  639. A great dinner with some of our church family.
  640. Breakfast with a young, emerging leader.
  641. Lunch with a seasoned missionary veteran who is still passionate for his calling.
  642. Great discussion with our youth on the meaning of “church.”
  643. Financial aid for Betsy to take her graduate classes.
  644. A summer job for Harrison.
  645. Junior football for Brandon.
  646. A chance to minister in the midst of a bug hunt.
  647. Surprise visits to bring some smiles.
  648. Ice cream with my sweetie.
  649. Enjoying the beauty of nature without leaving my yard.
  650. Time with friends who pop in.
  651. Playing baseball with my kids.
  652. Enjoying the ministry of a senior church leader who is still so relevent for today.
  653. God’s blessing on our church’s finances.
  654. Homemade chocolate cake.
  655. Living close enough to run home for lunch.
  656. The Holy Spirit giving me words to say before I even knew I would have to say them.
  657. Hanging out at the ballpark with great friends from Calvary A/G.
  658. The words on this blog are timely for people.
  659. Learning lessons so I don’t have to repeat them.
  660. A new dishwasher.
  661. Catching up with great friends like no time had passed at all.
  662. Truly being able to minister to a grieving family.
  663. Walking, talking, laughing with my family.
  664. Harrison is home safe & sound after an awesome week at Fa-Ho-Lo.
  665. Sharing Communion with “Grandma” from Calvary A/G.
  666. The red, white and blue proudly flying in front of my home.
  667. One-on-one time to catch-up with Harrison.
  668. Provision for new tires.
  669. Extended playtime with my nephews.
  670. New mercies every morning.
  671. The flowers that seemed to have exploded into bloom overnight.
  672. My message on worry really connected with many in our congregation this morning.
  673. Celebrating one year at THE greatest church. Period.
  674. A brother who is excited to invest his creative talents in our church.
  675. Watching a young lady truly overcome her past.
  676. Being able to give my blood to help others.
  677. Hearing a praise report from a friend for whom I was praying.
  678. An evening at home with nothing on my “To Do” list.
  679. The “pop-in” visit from folks in our congregation.
  680. Jelly Belly’s.
  681. Great brainstorming from our youth group on what they want THEIR youth group to be.
  682. Safety in the storms (literally and figuratively).
  683. Connections with others who give me a new paradigm.
  684. Friends who trust me enough to share their struggles.
  685. God’s peace that surpasses my understanding.
  686. God’s straight paths.
  687. God’s unmerited favor.
  688. Exploring downtown Cedar Springs with my family.
  689. So many amazing birds right in my backyard.
  690. A day of REAL rest.
  691. The powerful remembrance in Communion.
  692. Watching God move in people’s lives.
  693. Digging into God’s Word with friends.
  694. Singing some of the “oldies” with Grandma Boom.
  695. Neighbors who notice something different about Christians who truly love.
  696. A simple game of catch in the yard.
  697. Not every meeting is like that meeting.
  698. Being able to notice the development of the fruit of the Spirit in my life.
  699. Friends who love children so much that they’re adopting another little girl.
  700. God’s perfect timing.
  701. God’s perfect placement.
  702. God’s perfect direction.
  703. Opportunities to let my light shine.
  704. The memories that came flooding back while listening to some long-lost music.
  705. Grandparents who loved Jesus.
  706. A loooong, uninterrupted weekend with Betsy.
  707. Family and friends who are blessing us by watching our kids.
  708. Friends who are taking over the responsibilities at Calvary A/G this weekend.
  709. Blue skies.
  710. White sand.
  711. Lake Michigan in August.
  712. Hearing great reports of successful ministry while I was away.
  713. Ministry opportunities even while bug hunting.
  714. An early morning bike ride with my daughter.
  715. The freedoms we have in the United States of America.
  716. The chance to partner with ministries that help the most vulnerable.
  717. Working with other Cedar Springs pastors toward unity.
  718. Interacting with immigrants to American who truly love the USA.
  719. Brainstorming at Impact on how to make Impact even better.
  720. New music from House of Heroes.
  721. Rapport with business leaders.
  722. Betsy has successfully completed another grad class (so proud of her!).
  723. Living close enough to my kids’ schools that I can walk to school meetings.
  724. God’s protection.
  725. Living in a nation of laws and order.
  726. The “nudge” of the Holy Spirit.
  727. I was robbed, but it wasn’t that much.
  728. I was robbed, but only replaceable things were taken.
  729. I was robbed, but it was not I who robbed.
  730. I’m not afflicted by colds like this very often (ah-choo!).
  731. New tires to keep me safe on wet roads.
  732. Another book publisher sought me out to review a new book.
  733. A developing relationship is turning into a lot of new business for me.
  734. Helping others when they didn’t expect it.
  735. Good audiobooks.
  736. Sharing good news that makes someone smile.
  737. Sharing insight from the Bible that makes someone think.
  738. Sharing a book suggestion that helps someone over a hurdle.
  739. A neighbor who helped us paint our house.
  740. Kids who are happy to hang out at our house.
  741. A well to water our lawn.
  742. The girls had a fun day at Michigan Adventure.
  743. The beauty of a dragonfly.
  744. The wonder of big, fluffy clouds.
  745. The joy of the Lord that is my strength.
  746. An old-fashioned ice cream social.
  747. Watching our senior saints so thoroughly enjoy The Old Time Gospel Singers’ music.
  748. A new picnic table to add to the enjoyment of our backyard.
  749. Another author asked me to review a book for them.
  750. The building excitement for Sunday’s gathering!
  751. A. Maze. Ing. What a great service we had!
  752. Fresh fruits & veggies from a local garden… delicious.
  753. The comic relief provided by the squirrels in my yard.
  754. A ministry which is effectively ministering to women at risk in the US and around the world.
  755. Hanging out with a cool couple from Alpha Family Center.
  756. Getting to enjoy both of today’s meetings with my favorite bride.
  757. Lunch with my Mom outside in the sunshine.
  758. An unexpected opportunity to meet new potential customers.
  759. Dinner with a dear friend.
  760. Cellular phones.
  761. Brainstorming with another Cedar Springs pastor on how to reach local leaders.
  762. Discovering God’s handiwork even in the punctuation of Scripture (those “.s” and “?s” and “!s” mean something).
  763. An opportunity to counsel an emerging leader on his next ministry steps.
  764. Customers referring their associates to me.
  765. A comfy desk chair.
  766. Beautiful summer weather in Michigan.
  767. Yet another new business contact giving me sales work.
  768. Looking at old pictures with my mother-in-law love.
  769. A successful garage sale.
  770. A hard-working wife.
  771. A garage in which to park my car.
  772. The intimate presence of the Holy Spirit.
  773. Beautiful of corporate worship at Calvary Assembly of God.
  774. A green lawn to mow, and a mower with which to mow the aforementioned green lawn.
  775. Watching my sons enjoy their football experience.
  776. Watching my daughter enjoy everything about life.
  777. Wrestling with my kids.
  778. YouVersion for making the Bible so accessible.
  779. LifeChurch for freely sharing their creative resources with churches.
  780. Rick Warren’s sage and timely wisdom for pastors.
  781. Cookie-dough flurries on a hot summer afternoon.
  782. New music on my iTunes.
  783. A day in the car with the Detroit Tigers game on the radio all afternoon.
  784. Another door opener for new business.
  785. Cooler temperatures and low humidity.
  786. A great start to Harrison’s JV football experience.
  787. Ingenuity to help a customer find a no-cost solution.
  788. Betsy’s cream puffs.
  789. Dinner with newlyweds.
  790. Saturday morning tennis.
  791. A chance to read another manuscript of a pre-published book.
  792. The response of the Cedar Springs community to a hometown hero killed in action.
  793. Being UNITED in worship with other churches in Cedar Springs.
  794. A surprise visit from friends who live on the other side of the state.
  795. A pop-in visit from a beautiful family from our church.
  796. Meeting more influential leaders in our community.
  797. Favor as I presented an outreach possibility in our city.
  798. Watching leaders at Calvary A/G step out of their comfort zone.
  799. Good schools for our kids to attend.
  800. A laptop computer that helps me be more efficient with my time.
  801. God’s perfect timing.
  802. The simple joy of playing “football” with my dog.
  803. An indoor shower.
  804. Immunizations that protect us from disease.
  805. Favor in discussing a “touchy” subject with a new acquaintance.
  806. Pizza coupons.
  807. Gentle rainfall.
  808. Kind doctors.
  809. Understanding friends.
  810. Indoor plumbing.
  811. A nice afternoon to watch the Wolverines win!
  812. A comfy couch.
  813. Snuggle time with my kids.
  814. Being back “home” with our Calvary family.
  815. Genuine community.
  816. More leaders stepping forward to use their talents for the Kingdom.
  817. A labor-free Labor Day.
  818. Meeting new people in Cedar Springs.
  819. A handmade afghan from my sweetie that wraps me in her love.
  820. Dinner with one of Betsy’s classmates.
  821. A good first day of school.
  822. Fresh air to breathe.
  823. So many organizations in Cedar Springs that deeply care about our community and the people in it.
  824. Confirmation in others of where God is leading us as a church.
  825. The creative humor in our youth group students.
  826. Dreaming new dreams about how our church could impact our community.
  827. Hearing the greatest compliment: “You’re my pastor and my friend.”
  828. Time to study the Bible with our college-aged leaders.
  829. The leadership wisdom freely shared on the SEU Leadership Forum today.
  830. Friends who go the extra mile.
  831. Daily bread… every day.
  832. Umbrellas.
  833. A chance to support Gilda’s Club.
  834. New friends for my kids.
  835. Seeing the de-churched find a home at Calvary A/G.
  836. A right-on-time message from Steve Bradshaw.
  837. Chocolate angel food cake.
  838. Three new people making a commitment to invite Jesus into their lives. This never gets old!
  839. The graceful flight of a hawk.
  840. The endless palette of colors our Creator displays in His creation every day.
  841. A group of guys who likes to play basketball early in the morning.
  842. Nice dentists.
  843. Getting to know new folks attending Calvary A/G… I love our church family!
  844. Real conversations with real people. No games, no masks.
  845. Grocery stores stocked with fresh, affordable food.
  846. A chance to play the drums.
  847. God’s touch, medicine, and TLC to quickly heal my back.
  848. A comfortable bed.
  849. The prayers of my family for me.
  850. Consistent electricity.
  851. Functioning sewers.
  852. Paved roads.
  853. Access to institutes of education.
  854. Fruits and vegetables available daily.
  855. Insulation for our house.
  856. Friends who would take time out of their anniversary weekend to visit with us.
  857. Another person who invited Jesus in her life… this never gets old!
  858. Safety for a friend in a car accident.
  859. The ability to be able to bless some school children with backpacks.
  860. Strength for today.
  861. Bright hope for tomorrow.
  862. A friend giving their blood at MI Blood.
  863. The blood of Jesus which covered my sins.
  864. Winning the contest at my business meeting today.
  865. Bold students who showed up for See Ya At The Pole to pray.
  866. A gentle dog groomer who loves Grace.
  867. Regular garbage pickup.
  868. Betsy got a job!
  869. Harrison was honored for academic excellence.
  870. We had the opportunity to host the JV football team pre-game meal and get to know the guys better.
  871. Laughter that does good like a medicine.
  872. The beautiful hues as the leaves change colors.
  873. A family that enjoys singing along (very loudly!) to the music on the car radio.
  874. The opportunity to help at another fundraiser in Cedar Springs.
  875. Brandon’s football team won their first game.
  876. Having a Nerf gun battle with the boys.
  877. The intimate presence of God in our church service.
  878. The love our church family has for us.
  879. The love we have for our church family.
  880. A new friend who trusts enough to be vulnerable.
  881. Hurting people who find Calvary A/G a place of healing.
  882. Monday Night Football.
  883. A functioning washing machine (which seems to always be in use!).
  884. A functioning clothes dryer.
  885. Lots of warm clothes to wear.
  886. My blog allowed me to connect with a fellow bi-vocational pastor in Kansas.
  887. We have two vehicles to help us get everywhere we need to go (not to mention serving as a taxi service for our kids).
  888. Our kids are building solid relationships in their schools.
  889. The life of a saint lived long and lived well.
  890. That I don’t have to crawl around in 100-year-old basements looking for rats everyday.
  891. Libraries.
  892. Fall-fresh apples readily available.
  893. Walking around Cedar Springs for the start of the Red Flannel Festival.
  894. Listening to new music from a local Christian band.
  895. The excitement & community involvement in the red Flannel Festival.
  896. Young love!
  897. Catching up with old friends.
  898. The originality of the Holy Spirit in dealing with individuals.
  899. The power and bonding of godly men praying together.
  900. Sharing the joy with friends who just discovered they’re pregnant with their first baby.
  901. Paved roads.
  902. Fresh, tasty hamburgers.
  903. Well-stocked hospitals.
  904. The joy of “being there” for someone in need.
  905. A fair & impartial judiciary system.
  906. Another year of celebrating Betsy’s life.
  907. Friends who feel free to call me for prayer, for counsel, or just to say “Hi!”
  908. An iPhone that keeps me in touch with family and friends.
  909. The worship before worship practice even began.
  910. The delicious scents of autumn.
  911. A heater AND air conditioner that both work in my car.
  912. The camaraderie of Cedar Springs football fans.
  913. Celebrating the life of a saint who lived well.
  914. The chance to weep with those who weep & rejoice with those who rejoice.
  915. Little mementos that keep precious people in my memories and in my prayers.
  916. My Cedar Springs sweatshirt, so I can be representin’!
  917. Lots of choices of hot tea in the morning & iced tea in the afternoon.
  918. That I don’t have to work the concessions stand more often.
  919. A new member on our worship team.
  920. The power in our pre-service prayer times.
  921. Great response to our county-wide food drive.
  922. God’s perfect timing.
  923. “Indian summer” days in Michigan.
  924. Cookies & Monday Night Football with Brandon.
  925. People finding where their Lego fits.
  926. A slice of mud pie & great conversation with a fellow pastor.
  927. “Wounds from a friend that can be trusted.”
  928. Building excitement and cooperation for our Light The Night event.
  929. Police officers who are on constant vigil.
  930. School teachers who teach beyond the classroom.
  931. Fresh-popped popcorn.
  932. The passion of Jesus-loving youth.
  933. Books to aid in my learning and research.
  934. Politicians who truly stand up for biblical values.
  935. The fun journey of cheering on our undefeated JV football team.
  936. Double-insulated windows.
  937. A leaf blower.
  938. Living in a city that picks up our leaves.
  939. The smile simply from handing a Little Debbie treat to a 10-year-old.
  940. More first-time visitors at church.
  941. A church family becoming more and more involved in ministry.
  942. Piggy-back rides for giggling girls.
  943. A variety of warm jackets.
  944. The simple joy of a thank you note.
  945. Learning from mentors who lived and died 100 years ago.
  946. Having Betsy along on a road trip for work.
  947. A working vacuum cleaner.
  948. Kleenex and TP.
  949. Access to software to keep me productive.
  950. Netflix.
  951. Consistent electrical power.
  952. A tailgate party with our JV football team.
  953. Dollar stores.
  954. Harrison scored a touchdown!
  955. Creativity in ministering to hurting people.
  956. Fresh fruits & vegetables.
  957. Honest workers.
  958. Saturday morning breakfast with the whole family.
  959. The chance to my tithe.
  960. The overflow of giving offerings.
  961. Our experiences at church are always unique.
  962. Lower gasoline prices.
  963. Secretariat: what an incredible movie!
  964. Translators that assist me in my work.
  965. Pop-in visits from friends.
  966. “Fun size” candy.
  967. A secure house that can withstand the high winds.
  968. My laser printer.
  969. Family dinner conversations that go from profound to silly and back again.
  970. Time for a cup of tea with my honey.
  971. Private, intimate times of worship.
  972. The great reception our youth group gave our missionary guest.
  973. So many donations & so many helpers for Light The Night.
  974. Hearing of a friend’s successful spiritual journey.
  975. My son’s tough decision to finish well.
  976. The sunshine that comes through my office window at just the right angle.
  977. Warm clothes.
  978. A very hip, stylish Red Flannel Festival beanie cap.
  979. A gorgeous fall day for the whole family to rake leaves.
  980. The joy of surprising loved ones with something special.
  981. Football drills with my kids.
  982. The memorable impact of a simple “Hello, my name is” sticker.
  983. Watching our church family share Communion in small groups.
  984. Lighting the night!
  985. Lots of positive feedback from those who attended Light The Night.
  986. The rare opportunity to relax with a video game.
  987. People with skill to cut & style hair.
  988. Living in a country with free elections.
  989. Our soldiers, airmen, sailors & Marines who keep us free.
  990. My daughter made the cheerleading squad!
  991. Power windows & power locks.
  992. My sister who came to my rescue.
  993. Firefighters who stand by to help.
  994. The wisdom shared at The And Conference.
  995. Fun traveling companions.
  996. Clean hotel rooms.
  997. Fresh-fallen snow.
  998. An opportunity for my daughter to attend Youth Convention.
  999. I won a book at The And Conference.
  1000. Times to watch college football with my boys.
  1001. Hearing of my son’s servant leadership in his classroom.
  1002. Being able to have heart-to-heart conversations with my kids.
  1003. Brad & Leah Leach: church planters following God into the unknown.
  1004. Yet another guest telling me how accepted and loved they feel at Calvary Assembly of God.
  1005. The authenticity and intimacy in our first Next Level meeting.
  1006. Reconciliation between wounded friends.
  1007. The forgiveness of Christ to me, which enables me to forgive others.
  1008. Informative, fun & memorable conversations with my daughter as we walk to her bus stop.
  1009. Others in our community are beginning to recognize the growing involvement of Calvary Assembly of God in Cedar Springs.
  1010. The “Aha!” moments the Holy Spirit illuminates.
  1011. Healthy conflict and the lessons from its resolution.
  1012. My house is free of bed bugs.
  1013. Facebook’s ability to connect with others.
  1014. Twitter’s quick broadcasting power.
  1015. Being a peacemaker.
  1016. Being an encourager.
  1017. Being a counselor.
  1018. Our military veterans who put their lives on the line for our freedom.
  1019. The wisdom of our country’s Founding Fathers.
  1020. The Christian heritage of our country.
  1021. Another chance to bless the Cedar Springs community.
  1022. An opportunity to write for the Cedar Springs Post.
  1023. We could bless the “Shop With A Sheriff” program with a bunch of backpacks.
  1024. A wide variety of Diet Pepsi flavors.
  1025. Poets who cause me to think more deeply.
  1026. A great evening with new folks at Intersection.
  1027. Pasteurization.
  1028. Immunizations.
  1029. Refrigeration.
  1030. Feather pillows.
  1031. A comfy bed
  1032. Warm quilts.
  1033. A refreshing pause at Starbuck’s in the middle of a hectic day.
  1034. The Cedar Springs High School marching band performing for Veteran’s Day.
  1035. An honor guard proudly presenting Old Glory.
  1036. A great sermon to fill the time while I drive.
  1037. Educational podcasts.
  1038. Google Maps to keep me from getting lost.
  1039. The Van Andel Science Institute’s “Science on Saturday” program.
  1040. The McRib is back (the only think I like at McDonald’s).
  1041. BluefishTV and their cool video illustrations.
  1042. God-directed moments.
  1043. Cotton candy at church.
  1044. A church Board that helps me dream bigger.
  1045. A new connection to give more clarity to our vision.
  1046. Listening to the wind sing a praise song to God.
  1047. Quiet morning walks with Grace.
  1048. The Cedar Pub and Sue’s Kitchen in Cedar Springs providing a free Thanksgiving meal for the needy.
  1049. Cedar Springs Public Schools.
  1050. The En-Gedi Youth Center.
  1051. The Cedar Springs city officials.
  1052. The Solon Township Board of Trustees.
  1053. The Cedar Springs B2B network.
  1054. An (occasional) Amp.
  1055. Homemade cake.
  1056. The smell of a roast cooking.
  1057. Telling stories with our youth group.
  1058. Laughter around our family dinner table.
  1059. Celebrating with friends who found out they’re expecting their first baby.
  1060. Fresh, cold milk.
  1061. Oreos.
  1062. The opportunity to see an advanced screening of The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader.
  1063. “Donuts With Dads.”
  1064. A healthy number of platelets in my blood.
  1065. Healthy white blood cells.
  1066. The “Boverhof Bash.”
  1067. A peer who wrote about Brandon, “When I messed up on the monkey bars he said, ‘Good job’ instead of ‘That stunk.'”
  1068. The ladies of our church taking time to learn about Women At Risk International.
  1069. A church family who enjoys working together and playing together.
  1070. One-on-one time with Samantha having fun like scientists.
  1071. Access to vitamins & other supplements to keep me healthy.
  1072. God gave me children who are teachable.
  1073. God gave me children who can make quick attitude adjustments.
  1074. God gave me children who a such a joy!
  1075. My job gives me lots of opportunities to get some walking exercise.
  1076. A raincoat that works really well.
  1077. Cough syrup.
  1078. The creative mind my daughter has that allows her to reverse-engineer some really cool things!
  1079. Finding some Christmas music I wanted… on sale.
  1080. Good poetry.
  1081. Consistent cellular phone service.
  1082. Decorating for Christmas with my family.
  1083. The fond memories evoked by so many Christmas tree ornaments.
  1084. An opportunity to serve Thanksgiving meals to needy families.
  1085. Lots of food on the table and love around the table.
  1086. Football in HD.
  1087. Our cars have avoided accidents.
  1088. A clothes washer and dryer in our house.
  1089. A hot water tank that quickly makes the water hot.
  1090. A Saturday with nothing on my calendar!
  1091. Leftover turkey.
  1092. Homemade cinnamon rolls.
  1093. Ministry leaders who are so attentive to their responsibilities.
  1094. The faithfulness of our church family in their tithes and offerings.
  1095. The reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection every time I participate in Communion.

Making Choices

The unusual or out-of-the-ordinary always seems to grab my attention. So when I was reading through a long, long (long!) list of names in 1 Chronicles, I stopped when I read, “Their sister was named Hazzelelponi.”

My first thought: What parent names their little girl Hazzelelponi?!?

My second thought: Why does the biblical writer mention her? First off, there are scarcely any other women mentioned in these genealogies. And then to mention such an unusual name without any other commentary seems weird.

Her name is a compound of two words: to turn toward + shadows.

The Hebrew word for shadows can have two meanings: (1) The cool, protected place; or (2) Something which is transitory or short-lived. One positive definition, and one negative definition. Since all the other times this word is used in the Bible the second definition is used, we can assume that the negative usage is meant here too.

Since I doubt that anyone makes a decision to turn to the shadowy “dark side” all at once, Hazzelelponi made small choices day after day after day.

Small choices every day to rely in things that would not last. And now her history is nothing but a single line: “Their sister was named Hazzelelponi.” No descendants, no heritage, no legacy; just a footnote because of the small choices she made.

“There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.” – John Wooden

What choices are you making today?

Thankful For Difficult People

Yesterday we wrapped up our Season Of Thanks series by looking at how God sometimes sends difficult people in our lives to make us better. It’s when difficult people rattle us that we find out what’s really inside of us, so we should be thankful for their involvement in our lives.

With that thought still in my mind, I stumbled across a couple of tweets this morning which are good reminders of this thought—

Get In Their Way

It’s true that you should not get in their way when your friends are pursuing their dreams.

But if you are a true friend, you will get in their way when they are heading for danger. Setup roadblocks, wave flags, intervene, tackle them (if you have to) to keep them from hurting themselves.

As my good friend Josh Schram said, “People who speak truth into my life care more about me than about my feelings.”

If you don’t get in their way when they are headed for danger, you’re not really a friend at all, you are their enemy.

Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy (Proverbs 27:6).

Are you a true friend? Cheer on their pursuit of their dreams, and get in their way if they are headed for danger.

A Name Change

I was reading the biography of Jabez this morning. His whole life is told in just two verses, but what an insightful snapshot we get.

Here’s the part that stood out to me today: Jabez means one who causes pain or causes others to grieve. How would you like to go through life with a name like that? The Bible doesn’t give us the details as to why his mother gave him this name, but he seemed stuck with it. Everywhere he went throughout his life, people said,

“Hey, here comes Pain-In-The-Neck!” or

“You remind me of something bad!” or even

“Why don’t you do us all a favor and leave!”

Jabez wanted a name change, and God granted his request.

I wonder…

  • Do you want a name change?
  • Have people called you something unpleasant your whole life?
  • Do you beat yourself up with bad names (“I’m so stupid / forgetful / addicted!”)?

You can try to run from your reputation … you can try to change the way you think … you can try to act differently to see if people will treat you differently …

…Or you can ask God to change your name. God is in the name-changing business. And when He changes your name, it’s so much more powerful than when you try to do it.

When the Bible says, “Jabez cried out to God,” the root word means to encounter. Jabez encountered God. Jabez went face-to-face with God, and God granted his request.

If you want a new name, a new reputation, a new outlook, get face-to-face with God and He WILL grant your request.

I’m praying for your encounter with God!

The Gratitude Cycle

There are only two ways to take people: You can take people for granted or you can take people with gratitude.

If you take people for granted, you will probably end up losing that relationship, or at the very least that relationship won’t be very fulfilling.

But when you take people with gratitude, you can bring out the best in them, in you, and in your relationship.

Paul wrote to the Colossian church that every time he thought of them, he was grateful for them and he prayed for them. This is The Gratitude Cycle: being thankful for someone prompts prayers for them, and those prayers make us even more grateful for them, which fires up the Gratitude Cycle all over again.

In case you need help knowing what to pray for the people for whom you are thankful, check out Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. He prayed…

…for knowledge, wisdom & understanding of God’s will for their lives, and the power to live out that new knowledge of Him.

…for endurance—a virtue that never loses patience with, belief in, or hope for others.

…for patience—the ability to turn tough things into glorious things.

…with gratitude for them—especially with gratitude for who they were: God’s holy people.

Any time is a good time for us to be full of thanks, so make sure you are full of thanks for the people God has placed in your life. And when you feel thankful for them, be sure you are prayerful for them too.


Love this quote from C.S. Lewis—

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky.

Thursdays With Oswald—The Master’s Standard

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Master’s Standard

     Jesus Christ’s standard for the worker is Himself. Am I allowing His standard to obsess me? Am I measuring my life by His all the time? The one standard put before us is Our Lord Himself; we have to be saturated in this ideal in thinking and in praying, and allow nothing to blur the standard. We must lift up Jesus Christ not only in the preaching of the Gospel but to our own souls. If my mind and heart and spirit is getting fixed with one Figure only, the Lord Jesus Christ, and other people and other ideas are fading, then I am growing in grace. The one dominant characteristic in the life of the worker is that Jesus Christ is coming more into the ascendant. The motive is not a sentiment but a passion, the blazing passion of the Holy Ghost in the soul of the worker; not—“because Jesus has done so much for me,” that is a sickening, unscriptural statement. The one attitude of the life is Jesus Christ first, second, and third, and nothing apart from Him. The thing that hinders God’s work is not sin, but other claims which are right, but which at a certain point of their rightness conflict with the claims of Jesus Christ. If the conflict should come, remember it is to be Jesus first.

From Approved Unto God

Am I measuring my life by His all the time? Great question!

Am I?

Are you?

Thinking About Thanksgiving

What do you think of when you think Thanksgiving? Family? Football? Turkey dinner? Pumpkin pie?

For many people in Cedar Springs, their situation may leave them only thinking about these things, but never experiencing them. That’s why I was so excited to hear that two local restaurants—The Cedar Pub and Sue’s Kitchen—are teaming up to provide a full Thanksgiving meal for families in need. The meals will be served at Sue’s Kitchen.

Want to help? Here are four things you can do:

(1) Bake some homemade pumpkin pies.

(2) Join me and my family in volunteering at the restaurant on Thanksgiving. Meals will be served from noon until 5pm, so helpers are needed from 11am until 6pm.

(3) Tell needy families in Cedar Springs that a big Thanksgiving meal is waiting for them.

(4) Support The Cedar Pub and Sue’s Kitchen by making a donation for this meal, or by eating at their restaurants often.

If you want to help, or have more questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back in touch with you.

Little By Little

I’ve found a great group of guys to play basketball with in Cedar Springs. I love early morning basketball because I feel like it gets my day started right.

I have been playing with this group for a little over two months. Prior to this, I hadn’t played full-court basketball in quite a while, so when I started up again, it was amazing how quickly I was out of breath … and how many turnovers I had … and how off my shot was. Just a few months of not playing, and everything deteriorated.

But I hung in there. And yesterday it dawned on me, “Hey, I can run a little longer before I get winded. And my shot is getting a little better too.”

I didn’t see a dramatic overnight improvement. In fact, I only see real improvement if I compare my game in mid-November with my game in mid-September.

This is an important concept to remember in anything we do: little by little keeps you moving forward. The little steps you take every day add up.

  • Start with just 5 minutes of exercise, and slowly increase it.
  • Read a book for just a few minutes each day, then a few minutes more.
  • Pray for a couple of minutes before you go to bed tonight, then a couple minutes more.
  • Quit smoking for just an afternoon, then try an hour or two more.

Little by little you are increasing your capacity to do greater things. Don’t try for cold turkey or overnight success or immediate results. Little by little will help you get there.

Ready? What little thing can you do today?

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