Search This Blog

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Believe

Good morning!

Now I believe! After three days of steady snow and over two feet of accumulation, Susan and I have now been welcomed to the northland. Yesterday afternoon, I even took the snow blower for a trial run. After discovering that the electric start wouldn’t work unless the machine was plugged into an outlet (a great way to bond with your neighbor), the snow blower fired right up. In no time at all, a beautiful, twenty-foot arc of snow testified that I was mastering this northern art. Yes, if you must know, this was the first time I had ever used a snow blower. I sold my snow shovel for $1.00 when I left Kansas! I even took pictures for those of you who might doubt.

While I was on my maiden snow-blowing voyage, my son-in-law decided to clear the two plus feet of snow from the office roof. He climbed onto the roof, shovel and all, and made a great deal of noise as he made a great heap of snow on the ground. He appeard to get great joy leaping several times from the roof and burying himself in the cold, wet stuff. I’ve never claimed that the girls married for I.Q.

Unless we have a gigantic heat wave, the likes of which Global Warming has never seen, I’d say that we are going to have (not dream of) of white Christmas. I add this for my Florida friends who will find the snow blowing picture amazing. This time last year, I was taking stress-free, fifteen-minute rides on my recumbent bike (in my shorts and T-shirt) while admiring palm trees and watching the mowing crews.

Isn’t God surprising? I read this morning (Swindoll) that God has more moves in mind for us than we could possibly anticipate. And all moves are not geographical. Many are attitude adjustments. Some mean moving out of our comfort zones to touch the lives of people we’ve never met. I suspect the days ahead are going to bring change, not only to Susan and me, but to you as well! May God give us grace to adjust with joy!

Pastor Paul

Monday, December 15, 2008

100-Day Goals - Part 4

Ninety days ago today, we boarded a plane that would bring us to our new home and ministry. We felt called then; we feel more so now!

I have now completed my goal of seeing all the churches and visiting with all the pastors within the first 100 days. On Saturday, the 13th, I rolled into Hague, a village that resembled a winter wonderland and met with Pastor Skip. The creek behind the church bubbled with joy, sharing my excitement as I finished what I had set out to accomplish. During these days I traveled over 11,000 miles, saw numerous deer and turkey, saw downtown Boston and Providence, and traveled up, over, and through four mountain ranges. I battled my way through several snowstorms, experienced -15 degrees temperatures, and purchased a couple of pairs of warm boots. And earlier, I saw the leaves turn to beautiful reds, oranges and yellows and marveled at the magnificence of God’s handiwork.

I have met pastors early and late, alone and with their families. I have seen some of the best territory on the planet and stood in churches that were built before the start of the Civil War. I’ve seen scores of antique tables, donated by who knows who—many of them buried in cluttered storage rooms, attics or basements. I’ve noticed that churches tend to fill up with “stuff” and spring cleaning is a must if we truly want to be ready for company. I have stood in basement after basement after basement. Some were well lit and well utilized, while others were “enter at your own risk”. I noticed once again that every youth area is a magnet for discarded couches and overstuffed chairs, and that most pastors have a messy desk even if they knew I was coming!

I have listened to the call of God on your lives; of sacrifices and miracles.

I’ve looked into the eyes of gallant men and women who serve God with hearts of love and hands of service.

I have heard desires for coaching and growth opportunities and sensed a dissatisfaction with ‘business as usual’.

I have cried over sacrifice and been frustrated over indifference.

I have smiled over victories and laughed at inexperience.

I have winced over misplaced priorities and fumed at poor time management.

I have been reminded again and again that everything rises and falls on leadership.

I have sensed a renewed interest and emphasis on soul-winning and have listened to stories of changed lives—and rejoiced!

I have watched prepared teams lead services expecting God show up—and He has.

I have begged God to keep visitors away until we have a chance to improved the image we’re putting forth.

I have listened to optimistic, faith-filled dreams.

I have heard excuses of why “nothing good can ever happen here”.

Now is the time to move on—
to plan for the next 90 days,
to set fresh goals and implement new ideas,
to grow—to grow together with my new team,
to live life together—and be better because we did so,
to strive to live life at the summit.

‘Living life at the summit’ is something that you will hear more about in the days ahead!

One of my favorite quotes comes from Jim Rohn and has been called The Challenge…

Let others lead small lives, but not you.
Let others argue over small things, but not you.
Let others cry over small hurts, but not you.
Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.