Wednesday, November 25, 2009

20 Things I Am Thankful For

Here are some of the first things that come to mind when I ask the question, "What am I thankful for?"

1. Salvation. I've been following Christ for over 25 years, and the journey gets greater all the time.

2. My wife. Kim and I have been married for over 15 years. What a blessing she is to me.

3. Our children. We are so thankful for Grant, Andy & Emma Grace.

4. The Bible. The very words of God, written down, passed down through the generations, preserved so that I might know Him better and follow Him.

5. Our church. I am so thankful to serve as pastor of Lake Placid Baptist Church. Wow. Eight years go by fast!

6. The Adirondacks. The mountains here in Lake Placid and surrounding communities display the creative glory of God. Thank you God for making them for us to enjoy!

7. My parents. My parents are godly, loving, sacrificing, encouraging and just wonderful.

8. My parents-in-law. Kim's parents likewise are a huge blessing to me/us.

9. North Country Ministries. I am so thankful that God allows me to be a spiritual encouragement to athletes from all over the world through NCM.

10. Prayer Partners. Thank God for all of you who pray for us!

11. Bible Studies. It is so exciting every time I sit down with a group of people to read and discuss God's Word, and then to talk about how we are putting the Bible into action in our daily lives.

12. Athletes, Soldiers and Farmers. In 2 Timothy, Paul uses these three examples to show what it's like to follow Christ. Read the Bible and see for yourself.

13. Football. OK, maybe it's not very spiritual, but I like football. And if I can get some of those eye-black things that Tim Tebow has, I can write Bible verses on my face too.

14. NY Yankees. World Champs. #27. Go Yanks.

15. Facebook and Twitter. My two favorite social networking sites. Good way for me to keep up with friends (Facebook) and also other info that I'm following -- news, thoughts from leading pastors, sports, more (Twitter).

16. Solitude. It's wonderful to be able to sit and be quiet, just to pray and think about God, and to reflect on the Bible and on how I see God at work in the world.

17. My Blackberry. I appreciate being able to send and receive prayer requests from friends immediately, being able to find information quickly, and being able to respond to emails in a timely manner. I like that I can read the Bible on it, and a ton of other things. Oh yeah, you can call people on it too. Thanks, Eddie, for the Storm. Glad you and Rob didn't like it. ;-)

18. Friends & Family. The great thing about friends and family is that even if you don't get to see them for a long time, or put them as #18 on your list, they are not offended and you can pick right back up where you left off last time you saw them. They are always there for you.

19. Food and Water. Thank you, God, for providing the food and water that we need. Help us to help people throughout the world get what they need.

20. The United States of America. Yes, our country has its problems. Yes, our country needs prayer. But I am thankful for the USA, and I am thankful for the soldiers, police officers and others who protect our nation. And I am thankful for the freedoms and blessings we have in our nation. May the people of our nation turn their hearts toward God and turn away from sin.

Feel free to add to my list. There are so many more things I could have written.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Serving at the World Cup Bobsled and Skeleton 2009

On Nov 16-22, about fifteen different people from North Country Ministries (NCM) served at the World Cup Bobsled & Skeleton races in Lake Placid. Some were from Lake Placid Baptist Church and others were from New Hope Baptist Church (Watertown, NY). We helped out at the race in a variety of ways, and gave away scores of goody bags, hand warmers and NCM cowbells. The weekend was a blessing in a lot of ways. Here are some of them.

Eiko Nakayama's red and white sled displaying her faith in Jesus Christ:
Other blessings included getting to catch up with friends that I only see a few times each year. These are the guys and gals who put on the World Cup bobsled & skeleton races all over the world. It's great to be able to help out as a "scabbard slugger" or as the "chief of acetone control" or whatever else they need me to help with.
A video crew from the North American Mission Board came in town for a few days to film us at the track. It was great meeting Tony, Pete & Tim. They tell me the video will be posted on the web in February 2010, right before the Olympics begin. I'll keep you posted. Speaking of videos, Stephen Colbert was there on Sunday to film a segment for his show that will air in February too.
Another cool thing: USA bobsled driver Erin Pac decided recently to put a North Country Ministries sticker on her sled to display her faith in Christ as she slides. Check out the picture:

Here's another encouraging thing that happened. Some of the bobsledders and skeleton athletes did not get to compete this weekend because of injury or other circumstances, and yet their encouraging attitudes were a blessing to me and others. "Praise You in the storm," as Casting Crowns would sing.
Also, those who did compete did their best. Some won, others did not. But the testimony of the Christian athletes was powerful. Check out the websites of Brock Kreitzburg, Erin Pac, Jesse Beckom and John Napier. You will be encouraged.

One of the most exciting parts of the weekend was on Saturday when John Napier, who was recently baptized at Lake Placid Baptist Church, and who is a courageous follower of Jesus Christ, won Gold Medal for the World Cup 2-Man Bobsled Race! His team didn't stop there. They also won two silver medals (4-man bobsled and bobsled/skeleton team competition) on Sunday! Below you will see a picture of John's baptism, then a picture of his sled, then a picture of him letting our son Andy try on one of his medals!

The Bible tells us to give thanks for all things. Thank you, God, for all the blessings you gave to us during the World Cup bobsled & skeleton. May God's Holy Spirit continue to move among the bobsled & skeleton athletes of the world!