Tuesday, January 25, 2011

God bless you Mr. President

Today Vicki and I attended the Get Motivated seminar along with 8,000 other people. Thankfully we got up early and arrived ahead of the crowd - before the doors were open. That assured us a great parking spot few had and also great seats for the day.

We had the opportunity to hear live Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell, Laura Bush and many others. It was a good day and an inspiring day. I didn't agree with everything each speaker said but I was blessed overall.

In my humble opinion the best speaker was Laura Bush. She actually brought me to tears. She told of how life changed for all of us on 9/11 - in particular for her and President Bush. It was moving and it helped confirm a long time belief I have held.

The Bible teaches us to pray for those in authority and to not speak ill of them. We have heard many people say lots of negative things about President Bush. For course none of us walked in his shoes and none of us fully grasp the immense weight of the office he held.

Now we hear others saying some awful things about President Obama. Some only want his failure and that truly breaks my heart. It feel especially painful when I hear this stuff from professing Christians. Obviously, Democrats and Republicans do not have to agree on all things political but how as Americans we could ever wish ill or want failure for our own President I cannot understand.

The former First Lady made the point when she expressed her personal observation that all our Presidents have been basically good and decent people trying to do the best they know how in this most difficult of positions.

Having grown in my perspective and being true to my faith I look back with a fondness and love for those who have served during my lifetime as my President. None were perfect but neither am I. I know that I would not agree with any of them totally and no one totally agrees with me either. But in this big American family they were and are my President.

Thank you Laura Bush for being the quality person you have always been and speaking such simple and plain truth today. Tonight my President will present the State of the Union speech. I'll be praying for him and wishing him well not just tonight but during every day of his service. God bless you, Mr. President and God bless America.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Celebrating 40 years

There will be some special celebration this year. In September Vicki and I will share our 40th wedding anniversary and in October I will turn 60. Both of these seem unreal numbers. But today was a special celebration as well. On the fourth Sunday of January 1971 (40 years ago) I conducted my first service as the pastor of a church. At times over the years I have mentioned the milestones regarding my years in ministry but it has never been celebrated by others.

Today my congregation had a special cake, lovely comments and Vicki has a picture board of past ministry pictures. The celebration itself was very unexpected but I must say very rewarding. 40 years is a long time to be a pastor. I hope I have learned and become better over the years. I remember so many mistakes - things I would have done differently if I had enjoyed the wisdom of years. But I know I have loved the church and done my best to serve it as best I knew how.

So we celebrated 40 years and started year 41 with no end in sight. I'm eating lunch this Sunday at my desk preparing for a service in our Garden of Memories this afternoon. There we will have a committal of ashes. Then tomorrow I will do what I've done all these years and start preparing for the next Sunday. My entire life has revolved around one Sunday to the next.

It has been an eventful journey with plenty of sorrows and joys. I feel the rewards have far outweighed the disappointments. Thanks to all the people who have given me the honor over these years to be called their pastor. Thanks to Vicki who joined me as my wife later that first year, without her I would have been a mess. Thanks to my children who never complained about parsonage life and who still support my ministry. Most of all thanks to my Savior whose honor it is to represent. For the years ahead I pray I will be found faithful.