There are many blessings of ministry as a pastor. One of those is to be with families with new babies. In the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to be with two families who welcomed a new member to their family, as well as pray before surgery for an infant. Each one of these are doing great.
What blessings do you find in ministry?
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We enrolled our son in Kindermusik and Nicole takes him to class each week. A couple weeks ago they learned something that was new to me.
Relaxation is a learned skill. It is not something that we are born knowing how to do.
I recognize in myself a tendency to not allow myself to relax. It was encouraging to me to discover that relaxing is a skill which I can practice and improve.
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1, NIV).
I love the vivid description of seeking God. Thirst is powerful in a land where there is no water. I aspire to seek God in this way, but I know that it is not true for me all the time.
This weekend I had the chance to witness the baptism of my niece, Jenna. Also, my brother asked if I would be a godparent, which I am honored to be. It was a great blessing to share in the day. The waters of baptism are a sign of God’s grace and quenching of our thirst for God.
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One of the Kansas Leadership Center’s Civic Leadership Principles is:
Our own defaults, how we would usually or unconsciously react or intervene in a situation, can be significant barriers to making progress on the issues we care about.
There is a lot to be said for this principle as well as the others in the list, but today I wanted to focus on the final part of the sentence – “making progress on the issues that we care about.” I have realized that this is universally applicable.
Everyone wants to make progress on the issues that they care about.
It may be:
- Foster children in the community
- A new worship service
- Development of one’s children
- Creating an effective committee structure
- Living into God‘s dream for one’s life
- Availability of clean drinking water
What issues do you care about and are you making progress on them?
I am spending time with family this week and am taking time away from the blog for the rest of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy a few popular posts from the recent past:
My Father and Son
Father’s Day is celebrated across the globe to honor fathers and celebrate fatherhood. This is the Father’s Day for me when I celebrate the reality of being a father myself. Our son is a great gift and it is fantastic to celebrate with him.
In addition to this being my first Father’s Day as a father, I want to honor my own Father, Mark Conard. I am proud of him and appreciate the care and love that he has for our entire family. Thanks for being a great dad!
The past few days have been full of baby preparation and family time. My parents traveled from Hutchinson to be with us for Hutchinson. Nicole’s parents and sister were planning to be here as well, however they were not able to make it due to a death in the family. We were blessed to be able to spend time with family.
With my parents help, we were able to get the baby room painted, furniture arranged and baby items sorted. We have a rocking chair on each level of our home and even managed to get to Cedar Valley Forest for a Christmas tree. It is a little mind boggling to consider what has happened over the last few days.
We are getting ready to finish up several more classes at the hospital – Newborn Care, Infant / Child CPR and Breastfeeding. Packing a hospital bag and we will be about as prepared as possible.
Over the next few weeks, Nicole and I will have a chance to be with both our families of origin to celebrate. I want to share a few family traditions that I remember from growing up and some that continue today.
- Kris Kringling – A tradition in my family where we drew names at the beginning of Advent and did nice things for that person throughout the year. A few days before Christmas we would have a meal with special food – especially lil’ smokies and cheese curds – in which we would guess and reveal which person had been doing nice things for us throughout the season.
- Lighting the Advent wreath – For as long as I can remember, we have had an Advent wreath in our home and would light a candle each Sunday using the Upper Room Devotional as a guide. Nicole and I lit the fourth candle this past Sunday.
- Grab Bag – In addition to drawing names to give gifts among siblings and cousins, a grab bag would accompany the event. You might know this as yankee swap, dirty santa, white elephant, or some other variation. This is often the most anticipated part of the gathering. Here’s a tip: throwing in a bag of M&M’s makes nearly any worthless piece of junk an intriguing possibility to keep.
- Program Piece – Before you can receive your present, you would need to perform a program piece. When I was growing up, this was most often a musical number – piano or a few times trombone. My brother, Jonathan, is known for his magic tricks. Nicole and I are working up our program piece for this year.
The bottom line is that it is great to be with family.
Will you please share some of your family Christmas traditions?
This weekend, Nicole and I are traveling to Plains, KS to celebrate my grandpa’s birthday. There will be a big gathering of my aunts, uncles and cousins. The fun will include a garage sale, an amazing race, cookout at the lake, singing special music in worship and birthday dinner at the church.
This will be the first time that I have been back to Plains since last summer when my grandma died.
It will be good to celebrate and see family. I am looking forward to a long, meaningful and fun weekend.