I’ve always loved the verse in Deuteronomy 28:2 (especially in the good ole KJV – I mean, if it was good enough for Paul & Silas, it’s good enough for me!).
The wording implies that God’s blessings will chase us down and overtake us – and tonight, that’s exactly how I feel.
Because I just took the last several minutes here at the end of the 59th anniversary of the day of my birth and read the postings on my FaceBook wall – each one of the birthday greetings from all 250+ of you who took time out of your day to brighten mine. I am a blessed man!
I was particularly humbled by the fact that I heard from at least one friend in each & every church I’ve ever served:
- members of the first youth group I served in Troy, Michigan (1972-1977)
- friends from the first church I pastored in Mt. Morris, Michigan (1977-1981)
- people from our time as missionaries in Cebu City, Philippines (1981-1984)
- folks I pastored in Dexter, Missouri (1984-1989)
- former members of First Apostolic Church in Tinley Park that brought us to Chicagoland (1989-1990)
- lots & lots of wonderful people from Christian Life Center (1990-present), including our
- Tinley Park campus
- South Bend campus
- Lisle campus
- Hispanic campus
- Davao City, Philippines campus
- and even lots of precious “ex-CLCers” who now live in several different states around the country,
- not to mention several of my fellow pastors & church leaders throughout the USA
- and even folks we’ve served in missions travel in Africa, the Mid-East, and Asia!
I still remember being a young teenager feeling a call to ministry in Jonesboro, Arkansas, even though neither of my parents completed high school – so to hear from all these folks who’ve been an important part of my life is, well, overwhelming.
God has been so good to me – so much better than I deserve. And He still gives me the privilege of serving His people. I’m thankful for EACH one of you. I love the TEAM He is surrounding me with here at CLC. And of course, I’m grateful for the faithful love of a woman who has been by my side for two-thirds of those 59 years (I’ll have more to say about her Friday when we celebrate 39 years of marriage).
As to your many wishes for my birthday, despite a full day of meetings at the office, my family did kidnap me for an extended lunch where I sat at a table with my wife, daughter, youngest son, his wife and my grandson, enjoying good food & their hilarious birthday cards – and my oldest son called from Canada while we were eating – so I’m not just blessed in ministry; I’m blessed as a husband and dad, too – and that’s even more important to me at this time of life.
Thank you. From my heart – thank you for being a part of the blessings of God that have overtaken me tonight. I love you all-