Gather 5

As I write this article from the central part of United States I have had the opportunity to have a reprieve from winter. Yesterday was December 28th and the temperature was 60° in Branson. Obviously there have been multiple times I have traveled with Janet to warmer locations throughout our 30+ years of ministry. One of our favorite destinations is Phoenix, Arizona where we have attended the annual pastors and leaders conference at Phoenix First Assembly of God. Phoenix is a wonderful place to visit in January and February. I always found it heartwarming seeing locals bundled up in parkas when the temperature was only 55° outside and I would be wearing nothing more than a T-shirt thinking I was in some tropical climate. Part of the reason for traveling nearly 800 miles one way was to gather with family. Now it’s a lot better when you only have to drive 15 or 20 minutes to your relative’s home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, anniversaries or whatever special occasion you are celebrating. Nevertheless, there is something very special in traveling to unique destinations for the sake of celebrating some special event. As we enter into 2019 we all should think about where life will take us over the next 365 days. Just since last week we have had the need to gather in different locations because of events that take place in our life that we don’t expect. Our gathering in the Ozarks brought all of our family together for two hours. Now you might be thinking “you spent a long time in the Ozarks for just two hours of gathering.” The first half of the time we had the pleasure of gathering with Aaron and Katie and baby on the way (along with Tim, our youngest, and Janet’s folks Kirk and Marilyn.) Then in the middle of the week Matt and Lauren met us and Katie and Aaron had to leave to gather with her family in northwest Wisconsin. So, all of us were together for breakfast on Thursday morning. Even though it was for such an abbreviated time it was great to have Janet‘s parents and all of our children together in a unique location and open Christmas gifts together and just enjoy the time with each other. My final admonition of 2018 to you as you read this article is...do not miss out on opportunities to gather with friends and family, even with strangers, because you never know what the next day in life holds for each of us. The Scriptures are very clear about having the attitude of “the Lord‘s will” for life even as it relates to our daily activities we choose to pursue or to participate in. This is a great passage, “Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16 NLT. Janet and I are looking forward to those who will be gathering with us at our home in 2019. Yet at the same time, we don’t want to miss out on any divine appointments where God gives us the opportunity to gather with individuals who He places in our path of life. Happy New Year!

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