While perusing the world of Twitter, my attention was directed to a post by a well known preacher. In his post he challenged others to take the time to sit down and write out your own ways the Lord has blessed you during the year of 2012. I have found this challenge to be very worthwhile and meditative. It allowed me to really consider the ways my life has been enhanced and blessed richly by the Lord. I am sharing them with you in no particular order. I would also like to issue the same challenge to you. Spend time considering ten ways the Lord has blessed your life. May the Lord bless you richly!
“He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation”. (Psalm 24:5)
Birth of my daughter, Kenzie.
My daughter was born on June 22, 2012. She entered this world at 7:14am and weighed 7lbs 14 oz. She already demonstrates a sweet spirit and thinks the world of her big brother. She is currently sitting up on her own and has cut her first tooth. She also said her first word, “Bubba” while looking at her older brother. She is at a very fun stage, and I am enjoying every bit of it.
Hiring of my new co-worker, Cory Collins
I began working with the Keller church of Christ in May of 2003. I had the opportunity to work with a great man, Kyle Bolton, for 8 of those years. Beginning January 1, 2012, our eldership hired Cory as our new preaching minister. I had never met him previously so as you can imagine I was a little apprehensive. The Lord blessed me richly to have Cory serve as a friend, coworker, mentor, and brother in Christ. He and his family are some of the most God-fearing, compassionate, and loving people I have ever met. (Even if they are from Alabama J)
Stronger relationship with my wife.
I have been with my wife for 10 years now. We have experienced some mountaintop times within our life together, and we have also experienced some very troubling times. Susan is very patient with me as I continue to strive to fulfill my role as a loving husband and father. She is a wonderful Christian woman who never brings shame or reproach upon our house and is held in high regard by her peers. She constantly helps me when needed and supports me when I am not in need. I look forward to enhancing and making our marriage and relationship stronger as we raise two children in a loving home.
Stronger relationship with my extended family.
I am blessed to have been raised in a very close knit home. My family and I have never had any major fractions or disagreements. In fact, we really enjoy spending time together. Others have noticed the love and laughter in our home. Quite often we would sit down at the dinner table and have a few friends show up to eat. However, I feel that my relationship with my brothers specifically is possibly the strongest it has ever been. I find that my brother Matt and I connect on a deeper level now that we are both husbands and fathers. Also, my relationship with my youngest brothers, Chris, is strong now that he has graduated from college and is working in his career field. I know that families are constantly changing and evolving. I look forward to what the Lord will do within our family in 2013.
Work under a faithful eldership.
Unlike most of the members of our congregation, I find myself sitting, praying, and deliberating with our shepherds on a weekly basis. The role of an elder is a difficult but worthwhile task. These men devote much time and prayer in striving to fulfill their role as shepherds to the flock. Their passion for the gospel and for our “members” is evident. They don’t always hear words of affirmation and appreciation like they should. However, I know the Lord knows their heart and see the sacrifices they make in ministering to others.
Serve with hard working deacons and ministry leaders.
Recently, our congregation went through the process of adding eight additional deacons to work with our congregation. We have a great group of men who are excited and passionate about providing opportunities for growth, outreach, service, and fellowship within their respected ministry areas. I have full confidence in their abilities and desire to provide additional ways for everyone to grow in their faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ability to minister with families who love the Lord.
This quarter during our Wednesday PM Bible class, I am able to meet with the parents of our teenagers which compile our youth group. I am so deeply encouraged by their desire to raise children who are spiritual champions for Christ. There is constant discussion in regards to ways to evaluate and enhance our overall ministry to families and teens. These families are looking for Biblical truth to be presented in a loving way and in a way that Christ is demonstrated in their daily lives.
Better steward of His possessions.
I know this one may sound a bit odd, but I felt the need to share about some of the ways we are better able to serve the Lord financially. We recently (and finally) refinanced our home at a much lower interest rate. By doing so, we eliminated six years of house payments and still freed up $75 each month. By doing so, this has allowed my family to sponsor a seven year old little boy from China, while he acquires an education. There are a few other “little” things we have adjusted within our budget which allows us to invest more for the future.
More opportunities to preach, teach, and conduct worship.
I never dreamed of one day standing before a group of believers and sharing with them a portion from the Word of God. Unlike many of my peers, I was very reluctant to preach. I love teaching, studying the gospel with non-believers, and leading worship. I have been fervent in prayer to allow the Lord to help my confidence, effectiveness, and sermon delivery. I am still growing in my spiritual gifts but I am highly encouraged by the invitations to preach, teach, and conduct worship with other brotherhood congregations. Who knows, one day the Lord might make me a full-time preacher!
Watching my son, Connor, grow in his understanding of God’s Word.
One of the highlights of my day is to crawl into bed with my son and read the Word of God together. I make sure to simplify the Bible “stories” to his level and constantly review the characters with him each night. At the beginning, it was a bit frustrating and challenging, but I am beginning to see where the hard work is paying off.
“And opening His mouth He began to teach them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you”. (Matthew 5:2-12).