Hard to believe but this is now my 10th consecutive year doing one of these posts. Even though I don’t blog nearly as much as I used to, this post has always made the cut and is always a great time for reflection. So with that said, here is the 2016 edition…
1. Jesus- Yep still #1 on the list. I am now of an age where I lived 1/2 my life for Satan/Gilbert/things of the world, and 1/2 my life for Jesus. Let me say this 2nd half has been way better. Not only that He would save me from my sins but that He continues to use me is just mind blowing. So thank you Jesus!
2. Lisa And for the 10th consecutive year, no surprise at my #2 pick. Not sure what I can say that I haven’t already said. Each year keeps getting better and better and we still hopefully have many years of life together. The thought that it can get even better is kind of mind blowing. There is no one I’d rather spend time with than her and that she feels the same about me is phenomenal.
3. New Building- The beginning of this year was devoted to the renovations of the building of the church that I pastor at. It was truly a labor of love by over 60+ volunteers. A special thanks to Mike Sellers and Brii Reichley for going above and beyond the call of duty! Here is one last link to give you an idea of how it all comes together on a Sunday morning.
4. All the People at Exponential These past 6 years have been a series of ups and downs trying to get a brand new church started from scratch. Many of the people who made the transition with us into our own facility have been with us now for years. During the tough times it would have been easy to give up on our hopes and dreams but you guys have stuck with us and now we’re seeing some great momentum as God is using us in even greater ways than He ever has before. It’s my honor to be your pastor…the best is yet to come!
5. My Family- From mom & dad to my sister and in-laws and everyone in-between, aunts, uncles, cousins and others, I have an incredibly loving and supportive family. I don’t get to see all of them as often as I’d like but when we do it feels so natural. I lost my grandfather this year and now only have 1 of my 4 grandparents still living. I cherish the moments I shared with each of them and look forward to creating new memories with the rest of my family during the 2016 holidays and throughout 2017.
6.John Gonzalez(Drewpeacoq8, Dancing Nancy)- John also made the list last year and as of that time he had been a Christian for just a few weeks. Wow what a difference a year has made! His hunger to grow in his new faith has been truly amazing. I had the honor of performing he and Brandy’s wedding not just once but twice (NC and PA) and our friendship grows on a weekly basis. Hardly a day goes by that we don’t talk with one another in one way or another and we continue to inspire one another in a whole host of ways. So thankful that God brought us together and that in just a few days we’ll be vacationing with John and Brandy once again.
7. Travel- Lisa and I have been fortunate but at the same time very intentional about vacationing and traveling each year. This year we spent 3 weeks out west and saw some pretty incredible sites…looking forward to seeing many more in the future.
8. New Car- Lisa and I have a philosophy that the sole purpose of a car is to get you from point A to point B and do it safely. Every financial guru will tell you that the worst thing you can do is to have a loan or lease for a vehicle since they depreciate so quickly. So with that said we run our cars until they are dead and the cost and time of repairs is getting to be too much of a burden. That point finally came with my car last week and so for the 6th consecutive time we’ve needed to purchase a vehicle we went out, negotiated a great deal and then paid cash for the new car. Immediately now we will start setting money aside each month that will be designated to purchasing the next new one…it’s an easy plan and long term over our lifetime will save us 10’s of thousands of dollars that we’ll be able to use in much better ways. So thankful that we got great financial teaching from Larry Burkett while we were still engaged and have followed his plan.
9. Playing Cards- When I was a kid I used to sit in front of the TV at night and not only watch TV but also play various types of solitaire games. Keep in mind this was before you could play solitaire on your computer since, THERE WERE NO COMPUTERS! 😉 Not only would I play them but I kept a notebook keeping track of all my results. For whatever reason even as a kid I was interested in numbers and statistics. Later during my teen years and early adult years, playing cards provided me a living as I performed as a professional magician. And now in my 30’s and 40’s, I once again find myself sitting in front of the TV at night not only watching TV but playing a game that relies extensively on math and statistics. Ironically enough now because of computers, I don’t actually need the cards anymore! 2016 has been yet another great poker year for me but not just from the financial aspect. The ministry that I get to do with and for players is amazing. Almost every week God opens up a door to help a player out from a spiritual aspect and the growth in many has been incredible. I can’t wait to see what a new year brings!