Irecently sat down with a yellow legal pad on my lap, a pen in my hand, and a quest in my mind. I tried to list every single blessing in my life from the past year. Needless to say, my first page filled up in no time.
As I look back over 2010, I am reminded of how
“the Almighty blesses…with the blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, [and the] blessings of the breasts and of the womb.” (Gen 49:25)
Looking over my list, the best part is seeing how God blesses in every single area of life. Before I look to 2011, I thought I would share some of my personal highlights of 2010. Here are just a few.
The birth of our third child: Josiah Wilberforce.
It’s hard to believe that he’s nearly 12 weeks old now. I love to see him smile and giggle when we have “Daddy time” together. I didn’t know it was possible to love another child as much as I love the first two. It is.
Having my first article published in Preaching magazine.
Though it was much earlier this year (March/April), seeing my name in a published work was a huge accomplishment for me. I suppose the real blessing is that my unsolicited email did not get caught in the editor’s junk folder. Whew!
Paying off our student loans.
My wife and I started 2010 with one major financial goal in mind: pay off the looming student loans that hung around our financial necks like an albatross. By reprioritizing our budget and cutting out all the frills for several months we were able to pay of $14,000 of debt in about 6 months time.
It wasn’t easy, but it was sure worth it! It feels good to know that Sallie Mae can’t repo my diploma any longer.
Celebrating another year as the pastor of the greatest church family in the world.
December 3 marked the start of my fifth year as the pastor of FBC. It’s a joy and a privilege that keeps getting better and better. Thank you! Thank you!
Watching Sam mature from a preschooler into a full-blown “schooler”.
Sam became a kindergartener this year; which means Rebecca became a kindergarten teacher this year. It’s fun to see my oldest son grow and learn, because it means that I am growing and learning as a dad, too. Good times.
Making new friendships inside and outside of the church.
2010 has been a year of new friendships for me. If you had asked me in 2009, I would have probably told you that I had plenty of friends. But God, in His infinite wisdom, thought that I needed a few more. I’m sure glad He did.
Through our church Koinonia gatherings, my seminary cohort, and a few pastor friendships that I’ve developed, God has been sharpening and encouraging me through the lives of others.
Putting up with the inconvenient annoyance of having my parents living nearby.
The joy of having my parents settle in the ‘Burg!
Honestly, I do love having my parents close by. It’s great!
Watching Jeremiah play on his first sports team.
For those that don’t know, Jeremiah is our high-energy go-getter. If Chef Boyardee made a recipe out of Jeremiah’s DNA they would have to call it “Testosteroni.”
He’s got a body and a brain made for athletic competition and he loved playing his first year of soccer at the YMCA. (I was especially proud that he still played after the trauma of watching Sam break his arm in soccer practice. What a trooper!)
Discovering the English Standard Version for my leisure Bible reading.
If the NIV(with its readability) and the NASB (with its accuracy) had a child, it would be the ESV. (Come to think of it, that’s a weird analogy.) Anyways, the ESV is a balanced Bible translation that I discovered this year for myself. I’ve been reading through it leisurely this year and, so far, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a reliable, easy to read version for 2011.
Refinancing our 30 year mortgage into a 20 year one at such a ridiculously low interest rate that our payments barely changed.
Saving more money and time. Need I say more?
Having to start an 8:30am worship service because of attendance needs.
While it means an earlier Sunday morning than it used to, it’s a sacrifice well worth making. Since we started the service just after Easter this year, it’s grown from 50 to nearly 80 on average. I hope 2011 brings us more church problems like this.
Ok, I know that I’m probably behind the times on this, but I had to wait until my old DVD player died to justify any kind of upgrade. Well, a few weeks ago the old set bit the dust (maybe it was that screwdriver I jabbed into it. Shhhh – don’t tell my wife.)
While I’m extremely excited about the quality of Blu-ray DVDs, I am not so elated about their price. For that amount I could just rehire the actors to perform live.
Finally finishing my rhyming catechism.
This has been a labor of love that took a year and two months. While I’m still working on some of the introductory material, I hope to have it ready to share with you by early Spring of 2011.
Handing a Bible to a B—– man.
(B—- = Our unreached people group in Nigeria.) Though it happened in January, this is a blessing I still have not gotten over yet. Now, I long to see a Bible passed from the hands of a B—- man to another B—- man. Disciple-making is the goal.
What are some of the 2010 blessings in your life? Whether you actually write them down or not, I would encourage you to take time as this year winds down to count yours too. It will humble you and remind you of how gracious and generous God is towards us.