Jeff’s Blog: My Top 10 List, Rain Makes #1

Here we are at the end of a holiday weekend; Thanksgiving. Can’t help but think about the things I am thankful for, here’s my top 10:

10. I’m so thankful that God had someone invent ice-cream. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough has to be a little bit of foresight into heaven! (seriously if you’ve never had it – run – don’t walk – RUN – to the nearest store and get some Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough!!!!!!)

9. For Thanksgiving itself – we all need an extra day away from the office now and then.

8. For the incredible team at Alive that I am privileged to work with – even with an extra day away from the office you guys rock – you still made a great weekend happen!!! (At least I didn’t put ice-cream ahead of you.)

7. Beauty. I mean the incredible beauty of God’s creation. We live in an awesome place! The mountains, sunsets, desert – all of nature is proclaiming the glory of the Lord. (Don’t believe me? Read Romans 2)

6. For my evening fires in my fire-pit in the back yard. Especially over the Thanksgiving weekend. I loved having all my kids (and all their awesome friends) sitting around the fire night after night telling stories, making crazy bets about dumb things we were all sure we had the right answer to, and making up wild games. (To all my neighbors, sorry we kept you up late every night this week – next time – grab a chair an pull up to the fire)

5. I’m thankful the weekend is over – I need to quit eating all the sweets we have around the house. Somehow Monday’s are always the right days to get back on track with my eating habits. (I guess I should go finish the pie that’s left over so I won’t be tempted next week)

4. Church Online – seems like we get use to the idea – but then someone goes and makes a faith decisions at church online like they did this weekend and I’m thankful all over again for how God is allowing Alive Church to leverage technology!!! Yeah God!

3. God’s Provision – a couple of weeks I felt like I was suppose to sell my Jeep (my kids are still mourning – me to if I’m being honest) next day a guy came up to me and said “I heard you were going to sell your Jeep and are looking for a beater with good gas mileage”. I said “yeah, feel like that’s what I’m suppose to do!” Then he gave me a 1999 Honda Civic – Cool! I’ve never driven a car that small in my life. (I had no idea how tall the drive through windows are at McDonald’s until I pulled up in my new – to me – Honda hot rod) Seriously – God’s Provision!!! (Hey anyone interested in buying a Jeep? )

2. My wife and family – I know that you think I’m saying that because I’m suppose to say that – but seriously, I’m not just saying it. And, it’s not because my wife or kids read my blog and I’m trying to score points. (I don’t think Kathy even reads my blog – but it you are reading it this time babe – I hope this scores me some points!) I’m genuinely grateful for my family. I have to put our Alive family in there as well! I love you guys and are so thankful to be your pastor!

1. Christ and the Cross. The older I get the more I see how hopeless my life was and that the path of destruction that I was on was devastating. When I was younger I think I always somehow thought I wasn’t really that bad off – I was wrong. I am so grateful for the Grace that my Heavenly Father continues to pour out on my life everyday. No puns in this one: my passionate desire to know Jesus and Him crucified is more intense now than ever and I pray that it will continue to grow. I remember coming into 2011 thinking I couldn’t wait to get out of 2010 and get a fresh start – boy did I? I’ve told several pastor friends – 2012 has been the hardest year in ministry in my life – so far! Yet, I wouldn’t trade one moment. God has stripped me of so many things that I was letting get in the way of my passion for Him. I’m sure there are many things that He still needs to strip away from my life for me to live as Paul said: “I am determined to know nothing among you but Christ and Him Crucified.” I know the year is not over, and there may be many more days ahead that bring rain, and that’s OK as long as it get’s me a little closer to Christ and the Cross. I’m not sure if the song in the video (Jesus Bring The Rain, Mercy Me) is my favorite (and has been from several months) right now because of what the last year has brought or because it truly is my prayer – but I pray it:

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain