Oh the weather outside is frightful...

I don't know why it is... but i actually enjoy weather that most people complain about. I remember as a child i would love to go out and play in the rain. I seriously would stand in the middle of a field and hold my face up to the sky, close my eyes and just let the rain or snow cover me. When thunderstorms came i would often open up my bedroom window and listen to the rain and thunder while i either sat there to watch or just kept on with whatever i was doing. Some of the strongest memories i have of my twenty two years in the National Guard are weather related. When i joined the Guard i enlisted as an Infantryman. With the exception of the first two weeks, and the last half of a week, we marched out range road to the field on Monday mornings and went in on Friday night/Saturday mornings. Many a morning brought a rain that we had to go ahead and do our PT and whatever else that was on the training schedule. Some examples... One night we had just made our bivouac and got to bed late (around midnight). I had fire watch from 00:30 until 01:00. At 02:30 my tent mate woke me up to tell me we were flooded out. I was still dry as my sleeping mat had formed a bowl, *lol*, but that didn't last long. For about 30 minutes we are running around digging out our drainage ditch, trying to keep all of our gear dry. It was a lost cause. Eventually our entire company, about 150 men, were all huddled around this little shack about the size of a phone booth (it was used to store the milk crates we used to form up the chow line) taking turns around a little can of sterno. That morning i remember my french toast was floating in the tray. *lol* The Drill Sergeants took us in to get dry clothes, etc. the next day, but we went right back out the following morning. Another early morning it was just pouring down the rain, and it was cold... about 45 degrees. Up and at 'em. PT's on running until the steam started coming off our sweats. The day we had to do a 20 mile ruck march it was raining (again). The entire company was up in our ponchos and all packed up. Right in the center there was one pup tent still standing and the two guys within refusing to come out. I thought the mob that had formed was going to rip those guys out because they feared the retribution from the Drill Sergeants. There was no need to fear as the Senior Drill Sergeant stepped up, assessed the situation and proceeded to grab the top seam of the two shelter halves and pull the snaps apart exposing the men and all of their unpacked gear to the elements. Out final field training exercise was cold! The first night those of us trained on the TOW system were slated to be the aggressors while the rest of the company would be the defenders. The first night i remember waking to a good coat of frost on my sleeping bag. When we went to chow the Company Commander and the Senior Drill Sergeant announced, "I need to volunteers... you... and you!" I was one of the two 'volunteers'. Me and my new 'friend' became the radio watch guys for the CO. Four hours on, four hours off, 24x7 for the week. But we had it made there... the CO had a stove in his GP small. 8) So we took turns cutting up firewood and monitoring the radio. But when you are in the combat arms weather becomes your friend. You train to live and maneuver in it. My first drill we had a 'fly away' to the Florida panhandle. I still remember my platoon mates telling me to not bother packing my sleeping bag... it's Florida. Yea, but it was January! I had never been so cold in my life as i had been that weekend. Crisp clear nights... i can still see in my minds eye the Milky Way. Awesome... I could go on and on. Serving on Flood Duty... severe snow storms... Hurricane Katrina. Some of the times i was cold, or wet, or both. Sometimes i was physically miserable... but i enjoyed the experiences - especially in hind sight. 8) The other night we had a surprise thunderstorm roll through and i was downstairs after we had all gone to bed... and the lightning lit up the room (we have a lot of windows). I would love to have a decent sized gazebo that i could just go and sit in during such storms... Sorry this is such a meandering rambling mess... but it is pouring down rain here... and my mind has wandered...


The church is not a small business

An internet acquaintance who writes the "Semper Reformunda" blog has a video titled "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Pastors". It was funny and thought i'd share it with you all here... While i enjoyed the video it brought to mind to me that the church is not a small/medium/large business. It cannot, nor should it, be run like one. I realize things like the Evangelism needs to take place. Outreach ministries to help those in need. I have even heard of church leadership being based on business principles (how many converts, how many church members, how many ministries, etc.), not by checking on the the overall health of the people that are there. Are the members of the church reading their Bibles? Are they seeking out ways to serve within the church or are they just attending on Sundays? What about the spiritual fruit within their lives? Is it evident? When a church focuses on ensuring that the body of Christ is fed and cared for the other things fall into place as much as God has given grace and gifts to that local body of believers. Not everyone can be a Billy Graham. Not every one can be a Mother Terresa. Not everyone can be missionary, inner city worker, or soup kitchen volunteer. It's not even possible for every church to be able to do all those things. Instead each church needs to seek to help the members grow in Christ, not to stay huddled in their own pews... and definitely not trying to push them all out to try and do it all themselves. Instead seek to develop each member in their gifts from God, help them get up and out doing what God has for them... and develop the ministries that can actually be supported within the framework of what God has placed there. Seek to expand as God adds, but also be willing to contract when the support has waned as well.


We interupt our regularly schedule broadcast to bring you a not so special announcement...

Today is a short day and it was a distracting weekend (i.e. not my normal routine) and so i've not taken enough time to come up with an adequate selection for my usual Monday Music contribution. I am sorry about that, but i hope the ramblings below will serve as an adequate diversion. For some reason, all last week i kept hearing the old Swedish Chef's (from the Muppets) theme song over and over in my head. I just couldn't shake it. So, finally, on Thursday night i jumped on You Tube and looked up some of the old videos from the Muppet Show. I pulled in my three beautiful children to watch with me. A chance for dad to share some precious childhood memories with my children. Well, apparently it has had a dramatic impact on DS2 (for those who don't know, he has Aspergers - a form of Autism) and he has been repeating the skits over and over and over... my beloved is not all that impressed. 8) I think we are going to be trying to NetFlix the old shows. For those that may not be aware, Comic Con has been going on in San Diego California. I am not much of a convention kind of guy, but apparently this has become a big deal for Hollywood to release all kind of movie information for the geeks out in the world like me. There are others... but here are two movies that really piqued my interest... The first one is call The Book of Eli, staring Denzel Washington. This looks a little more lively than The Road. I am still checking around to learn more about it, but any movie billed as "The Road Warrior of the 21st century" has my attention. *chuckle* Here is the trailer... I am a big fan Denzel Washington and of course the whole post apocalyptic genre so it looks like i will have not one, but two movies to look forward to in the next 12 months. The second movie REALLY has my attention... TRON Legacy... I have been semi-patiently waiting for Tron 2.0... Tr2n... but it was all rumor until the official announcement. From what i have seen i REALLY like it (so far). I geeked out when i saw the first movie... and when it came out on DVD i immediately set out to get my own copy once i knew about it! And of course i have been working on adequately indoctrinating my sons in the movie. I even spent what little spare time i had at Disney World (back in the Fall of 2007) searching for the official Tron pin! But alas it was a 'limited edition' pin so i had to wait until we got back home and searched e-Bay for it. but i found it by Jove! It is currently, and proudly, pinned on my lanyard for my work ID badge! Now, i am going to make a point to search for yet another one when we go back in the Fall of 2010. 8) Anyway, here is the trailer for the new movie... Ok, since these You Tube videos do not post when the blog goes over to my facebook page, i am off to post them to my profile. 8) I trust you all have been enjoying God's abundant and wonderful grace. May He fill each of you with a palpable awareness of His presence this day...


Roller Coaster Ramblings

The Tour de France will end this Saturday and i am pretty confident that Lance Armstrong will not be bringing home an 8th victory, and i am happy with that. When he announced his return to professional cycling he said his intended goal was to raise awareness of his charity "Live Strong" and he's been doing an outstanding job of raising cancer awareness. I was concerned that his own personal drive would cause a distraction between him and his Astana team mates, but when Alberto Contador took the lead and then made sure he stayed there this past weekend, i like how Lance is playing the team member. Everyone knows Lance has ambition and drive, but i am glad to see that he is not so caught up in all that enough to realize that he is a team member and he can still get his message out by helping his team and team mate win the overall Tour. Just to be completely random... i ran across this YouTube video of a marriage proposal at Disney World and thought i'd share it. Today there are a lot of news articles on how President Obama referred to the police who arrest a Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr, as 'acting stupidly'. This has brought to mind several recent 'altercations' with the public getting televised and not really showing the police in general in a very good light. I am not going to speak to all of the recent events, nor am i able to speak intelligently about the incident in Cambridge, MA. It is impossible to govern or police a citizenry without its consent. There is a time and a place to voice concerns about some actions - the time may not be when the officer has you pulled over, or he is confronting you (even in your own home). More often than not, if you work with the police in a cordial tone and attitude, you will be on your way much sooner. Last night my beloved and i went out to dinner. I was not feeling all that great so i ordered up a couple of blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup. Yum! My love got her usual roast beef with mashed potatoes and cooked carrots. Of those menu items the kids only like the roast beef so she likes to indulge and go out to eat so she can savor it. *lol* Speaking of spending time with my beloved, last night we put in the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice. We had started it earlier in the week (well, it 300 minutes long!), but i was not going to be denied last night! I stayed up until 12:30 just to finish it! What a goof i am, but i do really like that movie. I finally got to try out my new hat. It started to rain and i realized that i had left my windows open in my car so i donned it and took off. One of the few times i've regretted parking at the furthest point from my office building. But i love it already. Water resistant, light weight, vented and a nice wide brim to keep the sun off my neck and the my glasses dry. I continue to struggle with a fear of man regarding the letter i want to write. I've not slowed myself down enough to just pray through it and get the pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as it were). Please just pray that ultimately God is glorified with whatever takes place.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to [1] a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, [2] and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. [3] Follow the pattern of the sound [4] words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:6-14, ESV)


A funny thing happened on the way to church

Last night my beloved and i were supposed to enjoy an evening with friends coming over for dinner. Unfortunately one of our friends rolled her ankle (it looked like a small grapefruit), so we took the meal to their house. We ended up spending the evening discussing things of our church and our search for another church "home". One thing that kind of sunk in as i woke up this morning. The church is not a business. Too many times i am hearing things like "seeker services" or "but our numbers are up". Last night as i reviewed how things were being addressed regarding our current situation it just 'smells like' a business plan. I want to review some things and really look to see if the issue at the heart of it all was being addressed... sin. Too often 'difficulties' are dealt with in an indirect way. People turn to gossip and innuendo in the hopes that someone else will deal with the "problem". To my shame i know that to at least a small degree either i have, or my family has, been a part of this. Although there is now an effort to deal with the issue in an upfront manner, it has thus far been seen as nothing more than an inconvenience and/or a larger example of gossip run amok. I am not privy to the inner workings of the Deacons, or the Pastoral team so i am not really sure how things are being dealt with. There are concerns of mine that are not just personal preference, but i am not in a position to share them. Either learn how i am wrong, or being able to help another brother grow. Either way the body of Christ is edified and made stronger. Speaking of which, i have been downloading sermons from the church i had wanted before i moved to where i live now. It is a sister church to Covenant Life Church. Before i moved to where i live now i drove with my family 45 minutes from Frederick to Gaithersburg every Sunday, and twice a month for caregroup meetings. Covenant Life was the church i was saved into back in August of 1989 (back then they met in a High School auditorium). Eventually God placed it on my heart to write a note asking that the pastors of Covenant Life, and the team of Sovereign Grace Ministries, to consider a church plant in Frederick, MD. To make a long story short, and to also note that i was nothing more than perhaps a footnote, the church plant in Frederick took place after we moved away. *chuckle* Sovereign Grace Church of Frederick was born! Although my family and i were not able to attend there, i rejoiced in seeing the church being born for an area i had felt God give me a burden for (even if it was not a burden for me to be a part of). With all of the wandering my family and i have been doing in regards to our church home of late i began to download sermons from this relatively young church. Today as i was downloading this past Sunday's sermon (titled "The Atonement: Confidently Waiting for Glory") i decided to look up the directions to where they meet. I knew it was too far to go weekly, but perhaps some Sunday i could just visit... i found out they meet at the Tusorora High School... within sight distance of my old house! LOL God is awesome. Well to tie it together, lest people think i am a hopeless rambler, i have been considering picking up the quill once more to petition for yet another church plant. Obviously closer to where i currently live. I am struggling with the fear of man here. You might think the opposite is true, but i am concerned with how the letter will be received... what the readers will think of me (the two intended receipients thus far, both knew me once)... whether my request will be rejected or rebuffed. And yet this desire, perhaps a burden, has been felt by me since at least 1991. I know that sounds odd, but i have struggled and stumbled over my own pride and two feet. But by God's grace i have started an outline and will actually follow through with this...soon! Well, to wrap this up with a totally unrelated note... my new Tilley Hat arrived! Yippie! I hope to wear it very soon.


Rambling Music Monday - 20090720

Wow... i thought Strattera was supposed to help me cut through the torrent of ideas/thoughts running through my mind and help me to focus. But here it is, Monday morning and i've got a bunch of thoughts to throw out... This morning the alarm tripped as scheduled at 0545. Normally when i fall asleep this side of midnight i usually just turn it off and let the 0715 alarm pull me out of bed, but this morning i was unusually cognizant. I know... caught me by surprise as well. So, i shuffle on out of bed... pick up my pre-loaded gym bag, get my gym clothes on and hit the gym. Good news and bad news here... the good news is that my body seems to be responding to all of the exercise (sans the weight loss so far) and i am doing more cardio and more reps/heavy weight loads and i am improving my overall body. The bad news is this now takes a little bit longer in and i got to work at 0800 right on the dot. This means i am going to have to roll the alarm back another 5-10 minutes. *hahaha* Anyway, just as i was wrapping up my time on the ingenious torture device known as an elliptical today's song came on - on my MP3 player...
Take My Hand by Russ Taff I wanna walk with you You know we're all taught to be strong We're all taught to stand on our own But it helps to have somebody To hold on to We're all on the same journey To find the way home And I think we need each other If we're gonna get through Why don't you Take my hand And let's walk together It's a long road But we can walk it together Life's the greatest gift He gave And I want to share it with You Walk with me Every year I watch the seasons change But I'm never ready when people change You see, I've had friends That just drifted out of my life Cause I never took time But I do know this If they were standing here tonight I'd tell'em Take my hand And let's walk together Take my hand and try It's a long road But we can help each other He said "Love one another" We may not have tomorrow Lord help us to hold on to each other Life's the greates gift He gave And I want to share it with you Come walk with me Take my hand And let's walk together Take my hand and try It's a long, long road But we can help each other Hold on I know we're gonna find the way home
This was the song i chose to play at my wedding for my first dance with my beloved. I looked for a YouTube video for this song but i was unable to find it. I'm a sap, and i know it... i played it twice. 8) I'm such a sap that i really like watching Pride and Prejudice with my beloved. For the longest time i resisted watching that "girl movie". There were no car chases, no explosions, no shoot outs. What could possibly interest me in such a film!?! Well, sometime back my beloved talked me into watching the movie with her. This was before the theatrical release with Keira Knightly. I don't remember when we started watching this 300 minute marathon, but i do know that my beloved fell asleep and i kept on watching. I was so sucked in that when the first disc ended i got up out of bed and dropped the second one in and watched it until it ended. I deny all this in "man circles", but it is completely true. I really do enjoy that movie. As i get closer to my beloved's surgery in early August i am finding myself focusing more on spending more time around my beloved. Well, it's not like i was avoiding her before, but... for example. Saturday morning i awoke at 0730 (after forcing myself to go back to sleep at least once before that). The kids had friends over, and they are now old enough to fend for themselves for breakfast, so instead of running downstairs i just booted up my laptop and sat in the room and played my new Blood Bowl game. I am really liking that game in that i can play a whole round in about an hour. Having never played the full rulebook (bribing the refs, training programs for the players, potions, spell casters, etc.) before i've only been playing the "Classic version. Well, this weekend i started up the Redleg Boomers. A Human team that i started playing in the "Blitz" version if the rules which incorporates all of those optional rules. I don't intend to partake in such things as bribing the refs, but i want that option available for the AI. I played two games with my brand new guys. Being as they were all rookies i was happy to scrape out a tie in the first game (against another human team), and a 1-0 win against a dwarven team. If i ever figure out how to do a screen capture in the game i'll post a team picture. *chuckle* Speaking of Redlegs. My old Battery Commander has fronted a lot of money to order a small version of our old Battlaion colors (pictured right). I had to dip into my candy money, but i order one for me. Twenty two years in the military and the last nine were the most enjoyable to me. I joined the Artillery in August of 1999 and became a 'Redleg' the summer of 2000. Although i was only deployed once (Federaly) with them we (the Battalion) experienced four Federal deployments in that time and several state missions - one of which was for Hurrican Katrina. We had a really diverse array of charecters, but we became kind of like an extended family. Which is why i don't really mind that i am the main organizer for the 'Old Timers' breakfast get togethers. I am kind of bummed though. With my Beloved's surgery coming up... it looks like i may not be able to make the deactivation ceremony. But my priority is to her and for her recovery. The guys will be there when we have the breakfast gettogether in October. Ok... i've rambled on long enough. If i keep putting my rambling thoughts down i am never going to get this up.


Life's lessons

When i joined the Maryland Army National Guard back in 1986 i was not a Christian. My mother had tried to provide Christian influences in my life, but at that point that it had not taken hold. I was not on a good path. I rarely held a job for more than three months, i didn't really care about anyone other than myself, and i lived on the generosity of others. While the Navy tried to recruit me i bailed on them the night before i was to ship out ~ which was pretty typical of me back then actually, but for some reason i joined the Army National Guard. Although i had pretty much lived on my own since i was sixteen, i had always had some form of help in that someone else manged the household did a lot of the chores, etc. So when i shipped out to Fort "Beginning" in Columbus Georgia i was on my own for the first time. While i was not scared i was... concerned. I was not sure what i was going to face. At some point i saw this little plastic card (same size as a credit card) that contained a condensed version of the "Serenity Prayer":
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
I put it in my wallet and it remained there for many years after i graduated from the training. i feel in many ways it set a foundation for my adult life. I am a firm believer in personal accountability. I feel that just because a person is under-privileged, it does not give them a right to take or do things that are not theirs. I also know that i cannot stop some things from happening in the world. But if i get bent around the axle for worrying or complaining about things i have no control over, i will lose focus and not take care of the things i can control. Yesterday i stumbled across yet another piece of flair on facebook. I am unsure of the originator's original intent, but the following thought came to mind."Yes, but they develop character... no one makes it through life without them (scars), and we need to spend more time learning from them than trying to avoid them altogether ~ scars can, and should be, reminders of the experience and the lesson learned from them." When my beloved was pregnant with our first son we were sitting in church one Sunday, holding hands, when i felt her turn my hand over. I looked over and she was carefully studying my hand. I asked, "what are you doing"? She replied, "I am trying to see what i am in store for". 8) (I have quite a few scars on both of my hands, as well as on other parts of my body.) I almost snorted out loud. No one can prevent bad things from happening to ourselves, nor as parents can we protect our children from everything. Instead we need to take the time to learn and teach from such things. "That which does not kill you makes you stronger" is a valid statement if understood in this context. I have a two scars on my index finger of my left hand (just to limit this example). One is a pretty ugly crescent shape from where a pocket knife slipped from the box i was cutting open - but instead of cutting away from myself i was pulling the knife towards myself. When the blade sprung free from it's resistance (the cardboard) it coat my finger and filleted that bad boy wide open. What did i (re) learn? Cut away and always keep in mind how much force is being used. The second is on the very tip of my finger, but you can only see half of it. Why? Because the other half is underneath my finger nail. I was trimming the hedges of my landladies house when a bee decided to buzz me. Without thinking i swatted at the thing, taking my left hand off of the handle - but failing to disengage the motor on the trimmer. You can probably picture the rest. What did i learn? I learned that i need to be more mindful of the power tools i am using. To always disengage the motor when i am no longer paying attention. Sounds pretty simple right? And yet i continue to make mistakes over four decades on in my life (these two where when i was in my late teens). And these are only two examples of the many, many other scars i have. My point is this. No one gets it right all the time and sooner or later you are going to have scar to show for your efforts (both physical and/or mental). Some of those scars are not of your own making. Don't use them to make excuses. Use them to learn from, to grow with. You can learn a lot about yourself when you take the time to realize your limitations and then learn how to over come them. Here is the "Serenity Prayer" in full:

Full Original Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

I am eternally grateful that God bears the scars of the payment for my ultimate failures. I often picture myself standing before Christ on "that final day"... after i have He helps me compose myself and stand up after falling to my knees... asking to touch the scars on his wrists and side ~ just as Thomas did. What a lesson there is to learn there...


Music Monday - 20090713

This morning this song came to my mind in regards to my weekly "Musical Monday" offerings... In the presence -
In the Presence Words and music by Mark Altrogge As recorded on I Stand In Awe In the presence of Your infinite might I’m so small and frail and weak When I see Your power and wisdom, Lord I have no words left to speak In the presence of a holy God There’s new meaning now to grace You took all my sins upon Yourself I can only stand amazed And I cry holy, holy, holy God How awesome is Your name Holy, holy, holy God How majestic is Your reign And I am changed in the presence of a holy God In the power of Your glory All my crowns lie in the dust You are righteous in Your judgments, Lord You are faithful true and just © 1998 Integrity’s Praise! Music/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

This song has served as a personal reminder of where i stand before His throne. I recently read a story regarding three different 'elements' if you will. Temperature, Light, and Morality. The overall story was supposedly an encounter between Albert Einstein and a professor, but after a little research on my own i am confident that such an exchange - at least how it was presented in the story - never took place. But the concepts contained therein are reasonable. Absolute zero is approximately -460° F. If one was to remove all light from a room we could say that it was completely dark. And the discussion of good and evil. To cut to the chase God is absolute good. In Him can be found no evil. While it is impossible for Him to do evil, He has created beings with the ability to make choices, but unless one chooses absolute good things without exception one is no longer good. It is possible to remove heat until it ceases to exist (absolute zero), it is possible to remove all light (pitch black), and it is possible to remove all good (pure evil), but once it reaches a certain point it is impossible to get any colder, any darker, and more good.


Getting lost in rambling thoughts

John Calvin is 500 today! I am not sure where those who read these rambling disjointed thoughts on occasion come from (both physically and spiritually), but i have been made aware that today is Mr. John Calvin's 500th birthday today. To celebrate Ligonier Ministries is offering a book titled Living for God's Glory for a donation of any size (today 20090710 only i'm afraid). So, Happy Birthday Mr. Calvin! While the family and i were at Hershey Park this past Tuesday i learned two things. 1) I don't seem to be able to ride the roller coasters like i used to! 8/ and 2) Creed has gotten back together for at least one tour and album. I think i had heard that before but i saw a banner advertising their concert in Hershey on 9-August. While my beloved and i are not concert goers, we both liked them and their previous work. I have read on-line that there are concerns about the band whether they are Christians or not. While the band is not a "Christian" group, it has Christians in it, and the themes of their songs are akin to the typical struggles people have with their faith and beliefs. I would not listen to them if i were trying to worship God, but i enjoy their music while working out or cutting the lawn ~ so i will most likely pick up their new album when it comes out later this Fall. My church search is progressing. The first church we visited was recommended by co-worker who recently came to Christ. I have enjoyed his enthusiasm and seeing what God has been doing in his life recently. But as we attended i just did not get the "this is home" feeling. DS2 struggled in "Kids Church", and DS1 was less than enthusiastic. We did not do the "one and done", but tried it for a couple of weeks. Last week a friend from our care group suggested the church she and her family goes to (our care group has 'representation from four local churches ~ friends from college who all live in the area and their families). The message was from their new pastor and was enthusiastically given. While it was a good message there was something underlying that did not allow me to just settle in. Some further research into the church's doctrine and affiliation has led me to believe that, although we may visit for a while, we will not become members of the church ~ although we may attend for a while. Two nights ago while we were at the dinner table DS2 brought up a point made in the sermon. I do like that. But the reason for this rambling paragraph has more to do with a call "out of the blue" i received last night. A friend from Facebook (i say from Facebook because when he lived closer i did not get to know him all that well, but our wives know each other better) was telling me of a man who may have recently started up a church in our area. He didn't want to be presumptuous and try and influence either myself or the Pastor of this church, but felt led to share it with me. God works in mysterious ways and i thought, "why not" and have attempted to contact this Pastor. We shall see how God unfolds this interesting 'development'. In any event though, i am crafting up an e-mail to send to a few former Pastors of the church i was saved in to ask them to consider a church plant closer to where i live. Thank you all for your continued prayers. 8) Oh, and speaking of churches and pastors... Gunny, i am hoping to get out your way sometime next summer to play some Battletech... the classic version of course. I am still hoping to drop you a line sometime soon. Thank you again brother.