December 9, 2009
Due to illness that struck me and my family over the past few weeks, this post has been a bit delayed. Stay tuned next week as I’m working on a study of the Incarnation. This is an assignment that was proposed to me that I gladly accepted. It is the best thing for my heart and mind to engage in reflecting on the divine nature of Jesus Christ because such knowledge inspires heart-felt praise. I have the privilege of leading my church family in worship through the Christmas season and I want to lead them to a place that I have been before. I’m like a scout going out ahead, exploring the terrain and then eagerly bringing others along to see what I have seen. And from there, we might just experience something unexpected and unseen together. Anyway, here are my reflections of Thanksgiving for ’09.
November 18, 2009
Next week is Thanksgiving and I have about a half hour left to consider what I am most thankful for before I head into the office. At this point in my life I am filled with indescribable joy and gratitude to the Lord. I feel deeply blessed by him in all areas of my life, in my work, my family and in my friendships. I return home after work each day to the blessing of a wonderful wife and a satisfying and full relationship where I feel deeply loved, respected and valued as her husband. Little did I know a year ago when I reflected on Thanksgiving that within Julie’s womb our precious third child was being formed, Benjamin Jackson Born! Given the tough circumstances Julie and I faced in 2008 (mentioned last year), I can hardly fathom this blessing that God had purposed for us and whom now I am enjoying daily. My little Benjamin is a highlight of 2009! And then take a look at Billy, handsome, kind, soft-hearted, a bit silly and an absolute delight to me. Watching him thrive as a boy socially, academically and spiritually is just wonderful. And my daughter Maria is getting cuter by the minute – a toddler now full of imagination, spunky and a bit feisty at times. My delight in my kids as their father was only heightened as a result of doing our Us Forever project. Of course my understanding of my Heavenly Father’s love for me has been deeply affected by that as well. I sense that I remain in the overflow – the fullness of His presence flowing in and through me.
When it comes to the ministry of adoptions, I am witnessing a work of God, almost weekly and it makes my heart overflow with joy. 3 weeks ago my friend Tim and his wife brought their daughter home from the Ukraine. She is a lovely 5-year old girl, running to me with her arms out for a hug! I think that as I write another friend Greg and his wife are awaiting the arrival of a daughter through adoption. Another friend Mike and his wife are about to adopt their 9-year-old son, most likely in December. I’m in the middle of yet another potential adoption as a family from our church is considering taking in an 8-year old and his grandmother. All of this is too beautiful to me and I’m pretty sure it is beautiful to God as well. For the time being, I am content with this role of being an adoption advocate, even though my heart will always yearn to take in other children.
At work I am blessed with a worshiping congregation who wholeheartedly sing their praises to God each Sunday. I have a wonderful planning team who help us use the arts to engage our hearts in worshiping. We are currently working on Christmas programming and that has been a joy! I have great musicians and friends whom I get to work/play with each week. I enjoy the pastoral role I have in caring for others in times of need, encouraging discipleship, spreading the wonder of the gospel, and celebrating what it means to be the family of God. I am grateful for my senior Pastor, Gary Inrig and the way that he is leading our church and teaching the Word. I appreciate his role in my life more this year than last and I appreciate our partnership in the gospel as he mentors me as well.
Yes, my gratitude runs deep and I recognize that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” (James 1:17-18 NIV) God, thank you for the life that you have birthed in me! It is very good. May my life overflow with thanksgiving and praise in every circumstance because above all else you are good!