New Year’s Eve 2009

Well…2009 is coming to a close and part of me feels this slight, little tug to write something profound to wrap up 2009; a kind of year-in-review with some final words of wisdom before the onslaught on 2010…

[“Profound”…what in the world is this part of me thinking…”profound”?]

In any case…here is my last post of 2009 (profound or not):

As I write this I am sitting in my most favorite chair in the world (a chair my wife despises…but that story is for another time).  During this time of the year I am on vacation…recovering from a busy Christmas season.  My wife is still working so we generally do not go anywhere, but that is fine…sleeping in and doing absolutely nothing is still good for my soul as I refuel for the drive towards Lent and Easter…after which I will take another vacation (this time getting out of town with my wife).

So as I sit here (refueling in my favorite chair drinking coffee) I find myself reflecting on the past year (funny how that happens when a year or anything comes to an end).  So listed below are my top ten highlights from the past year (in no particular order):

(10)Washington vacation – After Easter my wife and I enjoy heading out to the state of Washington (where I did my internship) and hanging out with friends and seeing the sights.  This year we did a lot of hiking and exploring new things.

(9) Losing 65 pounds – This took place from March through October in an effort to get into better running shape for 2010.  I have maintained my weight since then and am enjoying my new, healthier lifestyle.

(8) “The vote” – This is of course referring to the ELCA Churchwide assembly vote about homosexuality in August.  This is not a “highlight” but it sure is memorable.  It created a lot of discussion and soul-searching to say the least.

(7) Three weddings – Two of these were people from Salem and one couple is a friend of mine and Connie’s.  They were a lot of fun to do and be a part of.

(6) Release Time and confirmation classes – I have some really fun students this year.  They are active and willing to learn.  A highlight within this one is one of my Release Time students reading scripture at the Christmas Eve worship service.  It has been fun watching her grow up over the last few years.

(5) Christmas snow storm (“Winter Storm Eric”) – This was a little annoying but once again memorable.  I think this snow storm will be talked about for a long time.  The highlight here is that this snow storm caused us to slow down and therefore we got a chance to spend more quality time with family; celebrating.

(4) New patio and new bathroom – This was a long time in coming but we barely got these done before the church’s big 125th anniversary celebration (more on that coming later).

(3) Running – This is directly related to my weight lose.  I am training for 2 marathons in 2010, but the highlight here is breaking a 20 minute 5K and breaking 42 minutes for 6 miles…both very exciting for me.

(2) Salem’s 125th anniversary celebration – This was a fun weekend.  A lot of planning went into this and lots of people came out.  Many memories were shared.

(1) Five year anniversary – 2009 was the 5 year anniversary of my ordination and wedding.  The congregation planned a special recognition for me during worship (which I knew was happening but did not know details).  It was a very special time of affirmation for Connie and me.  After worship there was a reception and then after that Connie and I hosted a party for our wedding anniversary with our family; having a renewal of vows for all the couples.  A very fun and memorable day.

2009 was indeed an eventful year.  I made healthy changes in my life; had my call here affirmed; celebrated ministry milestones; and continued to enjoy people growing in their faith.  Many other items could have been added to this list…Praise be to God!

So as we close out 2009…blessings to you as you finish off the year and dive into a brand new year.  God has been and always will be faithful.  Hold on to that and enjoy the promises we have from God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Let’s see what God will do in 2010…

Happy New Year!


A change of pace

I have been taking a little break from blogging the last couple days.  This past week has been a whirl wind since “the vote” at the ELCA CWA.  Many of my posts and comments here have dealt with issues from the CWA (Churchwide assembly).  This will continue to be an important topic to think and pray about and discuss…but I need a little break to process.  There are some comments on this blog that I need to attend to and I plan to respond to those early this week…so I thank you for your patience.  I am also working on a plan to meet with parishioners in small groups to listen to their concerns and questions while I share more information about the ELCA.  I have yet to finalize details yet, but when I do I will be sharing this plan with you here.

These next couple weeks may continue to be a whirl wind for me though:
–Salem’s 125th anniversary celebration is just 2 weeks away…with much to do yet.

–Confirmation, release time and Wednesday Night Live is beginning in mid-September.

–My wife and I are in the midst of home remodeling…which we are trying to finish before the 125th anniversary (we are having an open house at the parsonage).

So there’s much to do…and with that probably much to blog about.  But if you see a little dip in postings from the past week you will know why.  As I say every year…September is one of the busiest months of the year for me (next to December and Holy Week/Easter month).

In any case (and as always) I thank you for your comments and for stopping by.  Your presence here is extremely important to me and to others who visit.  Your thoughts and questions cause me (and others) to think.  So thank you and God bless!


Monday morning check-in — Ramp project among other things

We are off to a great start on a beautiful and cool Monday morning.  Now I am praying for some rain because my lawn continues to turn the dreaded brownish color (and our crops could definitely use a drink as well).  But according to the “weather experts” (I always use that title loosely) we should get some rain this week.  Maybe I should be a weather dude; then I could say “there is a 50% chance for rain this week” and have a 50% chance of being right.  Not bad odds.

Ramp project
I know it has been a while since I have given an update on our ramp project.  So here’s an update…it’s done:

We still have some landscaping to do on the north and south sides.  On Sunday, September 14 we will be having a short dedication service right before worship.  The idea right now is to ask people to gather outside before worship.  I will then have a short litany and then “J” will cut the ribbon (her and her husband, “G” gave the money for this project but “G” died shortly after they gave us the money, but did express his wish for a new ramp .  “G” would be so happy to see this done…I wish he could be here).  I am not sure how the litany will go right now.  Does any have any suggestions of what you have used or seen used for something like this?

What’s next?
Next year Salem Lutheran Church will be celebrating it’s 125th anniversary of ministry.  So with that in mind we will be continuing to fix up some things around the church.  Our next big projects will be to repaint the sancuary and the Fellowship Hall.  We have a professional coming in to paint the sanctuary because of the high ceiling but we as a church will handle the Fellowship Hall painting.  After those projects we have some other minor ones to do to get ready for next year. 

But right now my frustration is that we are having a hard time getting people to volunteer to serve on a planning committee for this anniversary celebration.  I know people are busy, but this is a big deal for the church.  I wrote a newsletter article for September so that combined with my persistent president asking people hopefully will produce a committee.

[If you’re a Salem member reading this, please, please volunteer and share your gifts].

Training update
6 weeks and counting until the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.  Training is going well, but my wife is still a little nervous.  There are days when I wonder what the heck I am doing and then there are days when I feel super confident.  But either way, I know this is going to be a difficult race, but I am still looking forward to tackling this goal and accomplishing it.  God has been with me through all the ups and downs and I am confident God will give me the strength to finish the race.

Coming up…
(1) I am working on part 3 of my Ministry model vs. Business model series; a series talking about a new structure for my church council.

(2) Last week I failed to post a Coffee Shop Ponderings post, but I will be back with one this Thursday.

(3) This weekend I am heading to the LifeLight Christian Music Festival in Sioux Falls, SD with a bunch of friends.  It is a free festival with many big name Christian artists like: Micheal W. Smith, Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp and many more.  I will post more about this weekend and might even have some pictures.

With that I pray you have a very happy and blessed day.  Take joy in the Lord for He is good. 

Take care!