Tag Archives: thanks

Top 10 Golden Nuggets From My Pastor

24 Sep

Today marks my pastor and friend’s last day as lead pastor at our church after 18 years of faithful leadership.  I have been blessed in my life to have some wonderful, godly pastors, who have taught me so much by both word and example, who have encouraged and challenged me, who have invited me into their homes and hearts, but today I want to share with all of you the Top 10 (cause there’s a whole lot more) golden nuggets I think of when I reflect on the gift of Pastor Leif Holmes to the Church and to me personally.

1. The fruit of the spirit evident in my life is more important than the gifts demonstrated through me.  Am I loving, joyful, peaceful, patient (uh oh), kind, good, faithful, gentle & self-controlled?  God always cares about my character more than my performance.

2. He thought outside of his own demographic (the one I’m speaking of being, married and male) to ask me about what it was like being single and female in the church.  Then he listened and cared about what I said.  That genuine interest in my feelings and perspective on this issue was both new and immeasurable to me.

3. It’s ok to not be ok.  Like, how freeing is that?  Freedom to be real and not have to have it all together.  He reinforced what I know to be true but don’t always see in the church or myself.  Being right with God is much more important than looking right.

4. If you really care about someone, you hold them accountable when they’re off course.  Difficult conversations are not enjoyable but they are necessary.  A true leader is willing to have them because they care about their sheep more than their popularity.  I have seen him consistently and yes, with myself a time or two, willing to have a tough talk because he cares more about my well-being than whether or not he’s my favorite in the moment.

5. We are never done learning.  Pastor Leif has had me read more books over the years than any other supervisor, teacher or professor in my entire life.  He is a learner and wants others to learn and be equipped as well.  If you want to keep growing, you keep learning.

6. You have to know the word to use the word.  Picking up your sword to fight when under attack is much easier when the blade is sharp and you know what you’re fighting with.  You have to input it before you can have any output.

7. The true test of whether or not you love God is your obedience to Him.  He doesn’t ask you to figure it out, He asks you to be obedient.

8. God’s definition of what is good for me is usually not mine.  Ain’t that the truth!

9. God’s agenda is not for you to be happy and comfortable.  It’s for you to be godly.  Didn’t so much care for this one when it was said, but it’s the truth!

10. And when you told me, “Denise, God chooses to use you because of your weaknesses not in spite of them.”  Well, that has been a game changer my friend.

Pastor Leif, you are not to heaven yet, and I hope that day is a good many years off for both of us, but I do believe that God’s heart is in agreement with mine in saying “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

Thanks for all the golden nuggets and for being an authentic, imperfect, slightly goofy, often entertaining, dedicated, encouraging, supportive, humble and faithful leader.  Here’s to the next adventure God has in store for each of us!!

I Am Thankful…

22 Nov

There is a song that I sing quite often as my head hit’s the pillow at night, just before sleep comes (hopefully :-)).  I picked it up somewhere as a child and it’s stuck, it simply states, “Thank you Lord for saving my soul, Thank you Lord for making me whole, Thank you Lord for giving to me thy great salvation so rich and free.”  I without a doubt would say that this chorus captures what I am most thankful for.

I would also say that there are many times when I am guilty of focusing more on what I lack than the many blessings that my life overflows with.  This past week has been one where I’ve struggled with this greatly and so I decided to focus on what I’m thankful for, here’s what I came up with:

I am thankful for…His amazing grace

I am thankful for… His mercy

I am thankful for… my family, their love and support

I am thankful for…my friends, who are genuine and make life sweeter & richer

I am thankful that…God is not finished with me

I am thankful that…my feelings are not facts

I am thankful that…my Grandma gets to be with us to celebrate Thanksgiving for the first time ever

I am thankful that…this past year, two nieces were added to my life, they are amazing

I am thankful that…I live in the United States of America and enjoy its many freedoms

I am thankful for…the men and women who are serving this country and are a great distance from their families today so that I can continue to enjoy America’s freedoms

I am thankful for…hugs, they remind me, I’m loved

I am thankful for…laughter, the gut busting kind, it’s good for the soul

I am thankful for…music that touches the heart in a way that words can’t

I am thankful for…my nephews, who are each uniquely gifted & bring joy to my heart

I am thankful for…the gifts & abilities God has given me & the satisfaction that comes from using them

I am thankful for…growth, even when it’s hard & painful

I am thankful for…a good cup of coffee & even more thankful when it’s shared with a friend

I am thankful for…tears, they wash away the dust our hearts can sometimes collect

I am thankful that…God can take the hurt & pain in our lives and make it something beautiful

I AM THANKFUL…May thankfulness be on our lips and in our hearts, when we wake and when we lay our heads down at night, both on Thanksgiving day and every day of the year.

“Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens

I’m Rich!!

24 Nov

I guess you would have to buy a lotto ticket to win millions. I’ve never bought one, but I’ve had some fun thinking about what I would do with my winnings! It’s amazing how we can always come up with something that we “need” 🙂

Truth be told as a middle class American I am richer than 99% of the planet’s population and yet at times, I am not content with what I have, I am thinking of the new furniture I’d like to have or that handbag that is calling my name.  It is so easy for me to get consumed with “stuff” and it’s so stupid, cause you and I both know, “stuff” doesn’t matter, it doesn’t last, it doesn’t even bring true happiness, in most cases “stuff” just leaves you wanting some more “stuff”!

When I pause, to consider what is really valuable in this life, it’s not my “stuff” as great as it may be, it is people and it’s relationship.  It is time spent with them, it is laughter and tears shared together, it’s an honest conversation and an encouraging word.  It is the little moments that are the most big.  It is hugs and talks.

In this journey of life God has provided for me tremendous people who enrich my life and bless me in countless ways, people who love me, despite the fact that I’m so flawed,  people who support me, tell me the truth, challenge me and believe in me.  As I sit here on Thanksgiving morning, I am amazed as I think of those that God has put in my life over the years that have surrounded me with love, support and encouragement and as I see their faces in my mind, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and realize anew, I am one rich girl!!

I pray this Thanksgiving, you take a moment to give thanks to God for all he has blessed you with and more importantly for who he has blessed you with and that you would realize in a deeper way how truly wealthy you are!!  Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!

Learning To Count

17 Oct

I remember my dad saying to me multiple times growing up, “no child of mine is going to be an ingrate”! Is that even a word? Either way, I knew exactly what he meant and I knew that he also meant my attitude needed some adjusting and a little thanks and gratitude were in order. I would love to say that I now have this lesson down pat, but I regret to say, I still suffer from a less than pleasing attitude from time to time.

When the circumstances of life are tough and things aren’t going my way, or the right way, or the fair way, the way they should, you can see where this is going, what is the first thing I do?  Give thanks, Ohhhh, how I wish, but usually, I respond with things such as; worrying, complaining, doubting, possibly even throw an all out fit (very adult of me I know).

When these attitudes rear their ugly little heads, I need to learn to exercise my counting skills and begin to list off my many blessings.  As I begin to count…

#1 – God is on my team & loves me with an everlasting love (That’s good news people)!

#2 – I have wonderful family and friends that love and support me.

#3 – I have my health and many are suffering.

#4 – I have a job that allows me to pay my bills and many are unemployed and struggling day to day.

#5 – I have a roof over my head, food in my cupboards & a comfortable bed to sleep in and many are out in the cold with no place to call “home”.

and on and on my list goes….

And all of a sudden, my attitude has been adjusted and proper perspective is restored and I am grateful.  When I count my blessings, it brings peaceful perspective that allows me to weather the storms this life is sure to bring.  Lord, help me be quick to count because no child of your’s should be an “ingrate”.