Category Archives: Answered prayer

My thoughtful son

I am a creature of habit…. it must be the perfectionist tendency that I possess. Everyday when I get home from work, I put my keys, wallet, and work ID badge in the same place, so that I do not forget them or lose them.  Friday was no different, I hung my badge up when I got home and did not think twice about it, until I was getting ready for church on Sunday afternoon (I had a early meeting prior to the evening service) when I noticed the empty lanyard without a badge.  I knew I had it when I came home, but did not have time to go on an exhaustive search for it.  I let my wife know that my badge was missing and that I would look for it later that evening.

As I was driving to church, I was attempting to re-trace my steps from Friday and at the same time I was praying that I did not drop my badge between the parking lot and my apartment.

I did not think about it anymore until I returned home later than evening and my son told me that he saw my badge hanging precariously from the lanyard and he did not want me to lose it, so he took the badge and placed it in my drawer.  That was very thoughtful of him and I thanked him for doing that!

If I had indeed lost the badge… it would have cost me $$ to replace it, been a hassle to get in each morning at work until it was replaced. It would have been a major inconvenience.  Thanks to my son Joseph for his thoughtfulness and looking out for his dad!

Momentous May gives way to June

Well, it is hard to believe that we are already two days in the the month June!  The year is almost half over.

May started out with some exciting events:  seminary graduation, time with my Dad, etc.  I am now typing this post on my new 15′ MacBook Pro which was a graduation gift from my Dad.  I am very thankful for this gift.  I did not realize how bad and slow my old computer is until using this one and it is lightning fast!  I am still trying to get use to the way Apple does things.  It is harder for me because I have used Windows for soooo long and I still am subjected to using Windows at work.  I did get a copy of Parallels to run a few apps that are Windows based that do not have a Mac equivalent (NotaBene, etc.) I still have to obtain a copy of Windows 7 which I should be doing in a couple of days.  I also need to take both computers in to the Apple store to have the data (music, pictures, etc.) moved from the old laptop to the new one.  I will then remove most of the stuff that is slowing it down and it will be a decent machine for my son who is 4 and uses the computer from time to time.  It will still be slow, but it won’t matter to him.

We are staying in our current apartment for another year.  We really wanted to move elsewhere but found out that there is not a lot out there in our price range and the few places that we did find, neither of us were agreed on them.  We would have had some challenges because of the reduction in either storage space or square footage.  What we did learn from this exercise is that we need to downsize.  So that will be a summer project for us!  Even though the rent has been increased by $50 a month, my goal is to pay the increase for the entire year ($600) before the new lease starts so we can pay rent at our current rate and possibly try to enjoy a small amount of the pay raise that I received last week.  I was able to negotiate a new refrigerator out of the deal since the one that we currently have in the apt is original with the apt building (1984-1986)

I have had the opportunity to do some preaching recently.  I had not preached since April because of a heavy seminary load and trying to get all of my academic work completed before graduation.  I hated to suspend my preaching, but knew that it was the best decision for that particular time.  I preached a week ago at Calvary Baptist Church in Cambridge, MN.  The pastor along with a good number of the church leadership were away at a convention in KY.  I was glad to fill the pulpit in the pastor’s absence (even though we have never met or spoken personally)  I spoke three times (Sunday School, AM, and afternoon service).  I spoke from 1 Peter 1 all three times.  This is part of an experiment that I am trying (see previous post) and so far I am really enjoying it because it really takes the pressure off of trying to decide what to preach when you are invited for a single Sunday.    I am preaching this Sunday in Cameron, WI for one service and then I will be back at FBC International Falls again on July 11th.  Thankful that the Lord has allowed these opportunities!

We are still praying and seeking God’s will regarding future full-time vocational ministry.  I am searching the usual websites for such opportunities.  If I was skilled in the area of music or a youth pastor, I could have a choice of a number of opportunities.  I recognize that I do not possess the gifts for either of those areas, so I will wait for the Lord to open the right opportunity.  I am also looking in earnest for a better secular job in the meantime.  I have been with the same company for almost eight years and I think I have reached a point where I cannot go any further.  I have watched my job function change drastically to where I have become somewhat of a robot due to a change in job functions.  I do not like being marginalized like I have seen in recent days.  Coupled with a  performance review that really did not provide me any guidance or career pathing, I have decided that it is time to find better more suitable employment until full-time vocational ministry is available.  I will keep working and looking.

We are hoping to take a family vacation this summer if we can find the time and if finances are favorable.

I was recently honored with a nomination to serve as a deacon in our church. I accepted the nomination and will wait to see if I am permitted to serve in such a capacity (election at annual meeting in a couple of weeks).

God is good all the time.  All the time God is good.

Letter received from SBTS…. and the answer is…

No

Well, not that bluntly, but I summarized what they said.  I knew that the competition at this level is tough and my grades were not exactly the greatest.  Working 40-50 hrs a week will have an effect in multiple areas of one’s life.  In reading about the process,  I remember seeing a paragraph which stated that grades were not the only factor in decision-making that they looked at the candidates complete record.  I thought in the back of my mind that my prior ministry experience, along with my current ministry involvement for the last eight years at Fourth Baptist Church and serving as Student Body President this year would have maybe helped, but alas, it was not to be.

I am not bitter or angry.  I am writing this to inform and as a way to help me process this “disappointment.”  Part of me was wanting to move to a different community and be involved in the life of a larger seminary.  Louisville looked like it would be a great place to live, it was definitely warmer than MN!

I am very thankful for the ministry of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,  even though I will not be a part of the student body,  I will continue to pray for those who serve there and for the seminary to fulfill its role in training men and women for ministry.

Graduation is 16 days away (May 9th) and right now I have no clue as to what I will be doing after that point.  We have some decisions that will need to be made now that this one has been made for us (so to speak).  Our lease on our apartment ends at the end of July, but here in MN for some reason most apartments require a 60 day notice,  so if they raise the rent too high, then we will be forced to move elsewhere.  This raises another predicament,  I do not want to sign a long-term lease (12 months) because then I will be limiting my opportunities for potential ministry by locking myself into an obligation for another year.  Renting month to month here is a joke because the rent is never stable, it will fluctuate from month to month based on market conditions.  Last year, they did not raise the rent and that was after I had told them that we would be leaving because of the increase.  They rescinded the increase, so I am expecting that they will stick it to us this year since they did not get the increase last year.

On the ministry front, it is not looking very promising.  I have been praying and scouring the internet for possible opportunities.  What I am finding is three-fold:  1) Churches are just not hiring because of the economy   2) There are a lot of opportunities for those who feel led to serve in either youth ministry or music (not gifted in either area)  3) Churches want someone with a ton of experience — even the smaller churches want someone with a minimum of 5 years of experience.   Well, I have more than 5 years of ministry experience both full-time and as a layman in the churches that I have been a member of, but not 5 years of pastoral experience.

I have more to write, but my Hebrew assignment is calling me….

An answer to prayer

I had to take a break from studying to share this answer to prayer.

Yesterday afternoon, my car would not start and I could not get the hood opened to even get it jump-started.  When I got home from work today (only worked a half-day in order to study for exams) I called AAA Emergency Road Service to see if they could help with the hood and eventual jump-start.  They sent someone out and they did not really try too hard, said that there was nothing they could do and they left.  I called two places and the first one gave me the run around and was very vague.  I used to do a lot of business with this repair shop when I lived down the street from them.

I called Luther Chevrolet which is not far from where we live.  I got a hold of Scott Fortune in their service dept and explained my predicament.  He asked where I lived and I told him and he said that he would come over to the apartment to get the hood open and help get the car started.  I was shocked.  I had never heard of such great customer service before.  Scott arrived and was able to get the hood open with two tries and told me what the problem was.  He also got the car started and said that it was flooded (I did that yesterday — my fault) I also asked him about a couple of other things that needed to be fixed and he told me what was involved.

I thanked him for taking the extra effort to come help me and asked him why he would consider coming to do this, he said, ” Its called customer service and that is why we are doing so well,  because of the service we provide to our customers”

A special thanks to Scott and Luther Chevrolet, for going way above and beyond what the norm would be in this situation.  They have earned my business and by doing what they did, saved me a great deal of money.

It helps to have the car running again, so that I can focus on my exams this week and not worrying about logistics related to one car, how to afford fixing a car, etc.  Praise the Lord for answered prayer!

If you need work done on your car, please consider patronizing the Luther family of automobiles in the Twin Cities area.