It is not often you get the privilege of taking a road trip with your almost-college-graduate daughter (Chaili has nine months left for her nursing degree at Trevecca Nazarene University). She went with me last time I was at Community Worship Center in Sandstone, MN a few years ago, and she has maintained some special relationships from there as well as her love for the peace and beauty of being near the water. So it was a very personal “dad” highlight and blessing to get to have Chaili with me again on this 1,000 mile drive each way with a few days in between in Sandstone. Though it has been a few years since being there, it was like walking into somewhere very familiar to us with so many people we have known so well over these years from the time when Sam Burch was the pastor here. Jason Best is now doing a great work of just preaching and pointing people to Jesus and the Word in this growing church. What an encouragement it was to see the new people and families who are simply being drawn by the Holy Spirit to experience and know Jesus at CWC.
I was encouraged to see this happening with new people this special place in Sandstone, MN --- an area of great need as are so many places in our world today. The presence of the Holy Spirit in these services was very real with some significant response to truth and renewal in the hearts of the people present. I suppose I might have been most touched by the sight of some of the young boys who were so attentive, listening, and open to Jesus in their lives. Young Elijah (7 years old) even offered me an idea for a new sermon! This is what we are all about --- passing the flame as Paul did for Timothy even while instructing him to do the same for others.
Shortly after this is when I came to Olivet as a new student. I had been a Christian for only a few months, and less than a year when I met Norman Bloom, who showed such great kindness to me and to my family. Over the years, Norman has continued to be the same loving encourager over and over again, and now through written correspondence. I am praying that the Lord Jesus Christ will be this through me in like manner across these years to come. One of the things Norman often says at the end of his letters is, “Heaven is getting nearer.” Indeed it is, and I want to live in that light as we are,
Running together in Christ,