What's good for ya

God, I have so many things I am thankful for, but I realize I rarely intentionally and actively thank you for those blessings in my life. Psalm 92 opens with the reminder that "it is good to be thankful to the LORD". Good for what? Good for who? I am convinced that it is good for me to be thankful. It is good for me to be thankful, and I am not so sure it is only good in the sense that a good person is a thankful one. I believe being thankful does me good.

So here is my heart and mind prepared to thank you for so many things.

Thank you for protecting my heart through my leaving the pastorship of SOLAS.

Thank you for Eric Waterbury, Jesse Peterson, Glenda Harr, Justin Wallace, Gary Tangeman, Ryan Masters, Grant Cox, Brandon Farmer, Nicole Farmer, Mark Shetler, Anh Powers, Dan Demuri, Tim Layfield, Jeff Koons, Steve Rodriguez who likely all are unawarely said just the right thing at the right moment when my heart and mind needed it most. This is YOUR doing.

Thank you for Tonya who has been a cheerleader who has been frustrated by frustrating things and also encouraging when it is most needed.

Thank you for the smiles and hugs of my daughters where I find beauty that points my heart and mind to you.

Thank you for statements and notes and "drop bys" from friends just to make sure things are good and okay.

God You are good. You are all together good. Surely goodness is to follow all the days of my life.

Praying for you/me

Reading Psalm 88 today after I have resigned from a ministry I have loved for 7 years has presented me a great challenge. Though the Psalmist never turns toward any real resolve in this Psalm, there is one phrase he repeats over and over throughout all his sorrow and lament where I find my heart's biggest challenge.

Over and over the Psalmist says, "I have called out to you every day, O LORD; I have spread my hands to the morning my prayer comes before you. I have cried out to you for help, O LORD."

Will I in this time, cry out to God each day? Will I spread out my hands to Him? Will my prayers come before Him OR will I wallow and mope and "try to figure it out"?

Today, I ran into a friend at the coffee shop and told her the news. She said she was sorry, and then she said she would be praying. I thanked her like I have everyone who said similar things the last week. But then she said, "No! I mean that. I WILL pray for you."

I stopped to look her in the eye and say, "I believe that. Thank you." (NOT that I don't believe others are actually praying for me, but her directed affirmation was helpful.)

This has me thinking and challenged in this time. I appreciate all the prayers people are offering up on my behalf right now, and I am truly humbled by so many great friends who would do this for me, but here is the challenge: I MUST PRAY...also! I must pray each day and extend my needy and shaking hands to God. I must cry out to Him every day.

My last open letter to my students: prequel

Today reading about the death of Elisha in 2 Kings 13 has given me a reflection for my heart at this very moment in my life. Just before he dies, the king over Elisha's people comes to him for a final blessing. In a moment involving bow and arrows and the prophecy behind it, king Joash does not react to the fullest potential he could have in regards to the future of the nation in accordance to what the King chose in that moment. In verse 19, Elisha is saddened by the King's response to pound the ground 3 times instead of 5 or 6 times because however many times he chose to pound the ground would be how many times his nation would overcome the attacks of their enemies later.

Here after my resignation as college pastor and going into the night of my goodbye reception I feel Elisha's sadness. One of the most troubling, dis honoring and truly heartbreaking things for me as your pastor of 7 years would be to hear and/or watch those I have taught and lead with all my heart go and not truly live out the things I have spent so much of myself to teach and invest in you.

I want to have the heart of Paul in some of his letters' openings to say to you months and years from now: "I praise God when I remember you. I am confident that HE (NOT I) who began a good work in you will perfect it. I have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love you have for one another. It is right and good for me to feel this way."

I pray and really hope NOT to feel like Paul's opening to the Galatians when he says, " I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who CALLED YOU by the grace of Christ, for a distorted gospel."

My friends and my SOLAS FAM, if I have truly had such a strong impact on you (as many of you have said), I want to hear and see stories proving that in the future!

All my heart and love is FOR YOU. I've always been for you, and I will always be for you. Grace and Peace!

All is grace!

Your pastor,