Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Turning 40

Last Friday I finally hit the big 4-0. With my birthday being in August, I was one of the youngest in my grade. It was a real pain when I was 15 and waiting all summer to get my driver's license while my friends were driving around and having a great time. I thought it was so unfair!

Well, the thought of turning 40 has sunk in over the past year when a lot of my friends hit that monumental mark. I haven't thought much about it. No deep ponderings about the meaning of life. Or seeing if I'm measuring up. Or wondering if life has passed me by.

However - it seemed that my turning 40 was a big deal to several other folks. The crowd at church threw me a surprise party Sunday afternoon. It was pretty cool how they did it. I had a meeting at the fellowship hall, and everyone showed up at the end of it. They brought in all kinds of snacks, a huge cake - with my 7th grade football picture on it, balloons and the like. I was like - wow! It did seem that most of those that organized the party were over 40, so it could have been a 'welcome to the club' kind of thing :)

The funniest thing was the shirt that they gave me. They congratulated me for being named pastor of the year for our church district. Then gave me a shirt with the letters POTY large on the front and small letters underneath saying 'pastor of the year'. That was cool! Several call me 'poty' now.
My sister got involved and made a slideshow of all kinds of pictures of me from age 1 to 40. Most of them were not very flattering. Most people were laughing pretty good. I imagine she worked real hard on it, and probably had a few laughs putting it together. It's a shame that she wasn't there to see everyone enjoying it. Maybe I'll post it sometime. (She needs to remember that she is older and reaches any BIG number before I do.)

To top it off - when I got home from the surprise party - a big 40 was painted on the grass in our front yard. Unless the grass really begins to grow, it may be there until spring.
It was great time - thanks to all who made it special!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wild Goose Chase

Here's a great book that comes out today - Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. The subtitle really sums up the book - Reclaim the Adventure of Pursing God.

Here's some from the introduction -

“Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit–An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’ The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit through life. I think the Celtic Christians were on to something….Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty also goes by another name: Adventure.”
Mark wrote the best-selling book In the Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Our Sunday School class read that book together and we plan on reading through this one as well. Mark is the lead pastor of Washington, DC’s National Community Church, widely recognized as one of America’s most innovative churches. NCC meets in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the city, as well as in a church-owned coffee house near Union Station. Amy and I (and the family) went to the coffee shop when we were in DC a while back. It's really neat!

You can read excerpts from the book at I have a copy of the book for the first two to email me at
Let me know what you think.

Monday, August 18, 2008

This Is Awesome!

I found this out yesterday after church. One of our 90 year-old members leaned over and told her son as she was leaving church that her car wouldn't start that morning and that she had walked to church. He promptly told her that he would give her a ride home. Awesome!

The next time some one gives some lame excuse why they couldn't make it to church . . .

Way to go Miss Teressa! You're my hero!

A Great Day!

Yesterday was great! Our teens and kids did great sharing from Youth Week and VBS. Both services had large numbers, especially the second where we had several folks standing in the back and in the foyer. We had a lot of guests, so hopefully some connections were made. If they do not have a church home, we'll pray that they find one (I'd like for it to be us!) It was a fun time.

A cool thing that we did at the end of the second service, we handed out ice cream sandwiches and nutty buddies to everyone. That was really fun. It was fun to see our guests relax and enjoy it. I heard "I've never been to a church that did anything like that". Cool!

Our baptismal celebration was awesome! We had 15 to get baptized! Wow! The weather was perfect. It was a great time. We stayed around at Dan and Ann's till dark, talking, laughing, eating and having a great time. What a great day!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Can't Wait Until Tomorrow!

I'm pumped up about tomorrow! This past week we had Vacation Bible School and Youth Week at Bagley Swamp. It was great! Tomorrow our teens will share about what God has been doing in their lives during our 8:30 am service. I know several teens that have had their lives changed this week, so I can't wait to hear what they say!

Our kids will be sharing during our 11am service. Last night as they were singing, I was talking to Ed, our sound guy. I thought that the voices were coming from the CD, but it was our kids. Wow! It's fun to hear the song, scripture, and biblical principles that these kids learn during the week. I know God is working in their lives as well. We also have something real cool that we are going to do at the end of the service that will probably "wow" some folks.

I'm most excited about our Baptismal Celebration that is happening tomorrow afternoon. We have over ten that will be baptized, declaring their faith publicly that Jesus Christ is Lord! Incredible! In usual Bagley Swamp style, this just won't be a baptismal service, it'll be an event. I can't wait.

Hopefully I'll be able to sleep tonight. I'll probably blow up tomorrow evening.

Last Week This Time, part 4

For the first time, I'm glad it's not last week. Last week at this time we were sitting in traffic trying to get over the Chesapeake Bay. We sat for over an hour waiting to get through a toll booth. Traffic went from four lanes, to 12 lanes, back to two lanes. What a pain! Luckily we stopped and grabbed lunch before getting tangled up in that mess.

I will say that it was a tremendous sight riding over Bay up in Maryland and in Virginia. It was incredible. Especially when you are riding on the bridge and can't see land . . . that's a long bridge.

Last Week This Time, Part 3

After we finished up at the White House, we knew that it was time to leave Washington. We decided at the last minute to walk to the World War II Memorial. The last time we were in that part of Washington, the memorial wasn't complete, so this was our first chance. It was a little bit of a walk, but well worth it.

Everyone was tired of walking, so I decided to be nice and walk back and get the van and pick everyone up. While I was one the van roundup, the rest of the family stayed and looked around at the memorial. I was glad they stayed back, they got some rest . . . and got to see Senator Bob Dole. What a nice treat!

Last Week This Time, part 2

Amy had done some checking, she's good with that, and we were going to be in Washington one of the two days of the year that they allow tours of the White House Garden. So . . . we got up early on Saturday, stood in line to get tickets at 8am, and then got on the White House lawn at 10 am. It was really cool. All of the familar sights, we were right there. A definate memory maker. The top picture is of 3/5 of us in front of the Rose Garden. The bottom picture lets you know how close we were.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Last Week This Time

Last week this time, we were in Baltimore, getting ready to go to the Orioles game at Camden Yards. Camden Yards is a great place to see a game! The weather was perfect - it was a great chance to get away and experience something new together as a a family. I have learned that one of my greatest reponsibilities as a dad is to help create memories for my family. I don't mean doing fake stuff, but rather doing different things so that my kids' only memories of their childhood is sitting in front of the TV. I'll share more of our memories from this trip later in another post.