• Happy 2022!
• It’s already off to such a better start than last year — this time last year I was at the ER getting monoclonal antibodies and feeling really lousy with Covid.
• So, yeah, pretty much anything is better than that.
• But I’m coming off a week that’s way better than just anything… it was actually really pretty great.
• Christmas Eve was a fun change this year.
• First time I haven’t done the sermon — I did a kids lesson instead, which was really fun.
• The whole day was really fun, and I was especially proud of our team for pivoting so quickly with the Nativity Petting Zoo and the rain.
• Bringing all of it inside was a great idea and embodied the kind of culture we want to have.
• It reminded me of the prayer of dedication I prayed on the day we first moved into our current space:
You have blessed us far more abundantly beyond all that we’ve asked or thought.
You’ve given us Jesus, our greatest treasure and only hope.
In faith, we’ve trusted you as you’ve provided what we needed to build this building.
Now we ask that you might build us, your church, to be a faithful community of your kingdom.
Please use this campus for your glory in the generations to come.
May these windows be covered in thousands of tiny fingerprints.
May we spill coffee as we lose ourselves in laughter and conversation.
May balloons of celebration get stuck in the rafters.
May the waters of baptism overflow with new life in Jesus.
May many wedding rings be exchanged and many more wedding vows be strengthened.
May the grass be matted down with the joyful feet of youth.
May the carpet catch our tears of gratitude and grief as we mourn those who are entering your presence.
May the bread and the cup enable us to taste and see that Jesus is good.
May these walls hear desperate prayers, and delightful praise.
God, to you be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.
• The building is a tool, and so when it downpours on Christmas Eve, you bring the animals inside.
• Then Christmas Day was fun — everyone in our family got things they enjoyed and we had a nice time together (even though Hank came down with a cold)
• The week after Christmas was incredibly chill — lots of sleeping in (as much as you can with a 5 and 7 year old), reading, making plans for the next few months, playing NBA2K22 on Playstation, continuing our journey through the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the older kids (we’re up to Doctor Strange right now), and doing a few good workouts.
• It all concluded this past weekend with a number of great meals and getting to spend time with some extended family and some good family friends who were in town visiting.
• Both families we spent time with from out of town had actually given money over the years to help with our building project, and it was so much fun to show them around and for them to be there on Sunday experiencing a bit of what they gave for.
• Yesterday’s Ask Anything service was fun.
• In case you missed it, you can watch it here (if you click through to YouTube, you can see all the questions that were asked in the description).
• Somebody asked me beforehand if I was nervous, and I said “Yes!”
• I think they were surprised by my answer, but I thought, “How could you not be?!”
• It’s not that I was afraid, but I was nervous.
• We genuinely don’t know what’s coming — questions get texted in and our Care Pastor, Mark Andress decides what gets asked.
• On a normal Sunday, the back wall has a projector where the preacher can see what’s on the slide and the next slide
• But for some reason yesterday, we could only see the current question and not what was next (which was actually kind of fun).
• We always remind each other beforehand that people will remember how we answered and how we related to each other as much (or more) than they’ll remember what we said.
• I think that continues to be true.
• It was a fun day, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting back into the Gospel of John this Sunday.
• We’re hitting the homestretch and will have it all wrapped up just before Easter.
• To wrap up this post, I’m going to borrow from a thread from Justin Anderson, and a post a best-of / favorites list from last year that nobody is really asking for. 🙂
• Favorite worship song:
“Jireh” by Maverick City Music and Elevation — a huge reason is that my daughter, Abby, learned to play it and often filled our home with beautiful music.
• Favorite other song:
“Ain’t Worried Bout It” by Florida Georgia Line. This is a perfect end-of-a-hard-week song, and often made me think about how if I’m close with Molly, pretty much everything else will be fine.
• Favorite song I learned and sang to Molly in public at a Christmas party:
“Love Like This” by Ben Rector… also, she liked it. 🥰
• Favorite TV show:
Ted Lasso. We watched both seasons this year and it was a very significant topic of conversation with my RC.
• Favorite movie:
Pig. This year I went to 25 movies in the theater (it’s a bit of a hobby), and Pig was my favorite. It was such a surprise, so full of deeper meaning, and such a beautiful picture of grace (for a spoiler-filled review, check this out).
• Favorite SNL skit:
• Favorite book:
Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger. I shared a bit from this in a previous mind-dump.
• Favorite fiction series:
Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz. I read quite a few action/spy/assassin type novel series, and a friend told me about this one this year. The premise and character are pretty fascinating, and I think a few of these would make great movies.
• Favorite sermon I preached:
“To Whom Shall We Go?” (John 6:60-71) — this was the passage God used to bring me to faith, and it was a blast to preach it.
(honorable mention was my last sermon of 2021 on Communion)
• Favorite message I heard somebody else teach:
Not only is Jen Wilkin a wonderful Bible teacher, but this exploration of a little-considered biblical theme was really tremendous.
• Favorite verse on leadership I discovered this year 😆:
“Do I have such a shortage of crazy people that you brought this one to act crazy around me?” (1 Samuel 21:15 CSB)
• Favorite tweet-thread inspired by my list of 20 lessons on marriage (seriously, this is a great list):
• Favorite contest I won:
• Favorite restaurant I found in 2021:
Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House in Mesa. Amazing pork dumplings and noodles — unlike you can find nearly anywhere else.
• Favorite College Gameday moment:
• Funniest tweet:
• Favorite thing I bought for myself:
Dr. Squatch Pine Tar Soap — amazing.
• Favorite recipe that I discovered and make over and over again:
• Favorite podcast that I talked with people about the most:
The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill (Someday I might share more about what I thought/learned from this, but it was quite a ride)
• Favorite podcast that I’m so glad I heard about from Justin Anderson’s list:
Smartless. There’s a lot of swearing from these actor/comedians, but man is this show hilarious. Over the last week, I’ve bursted out laughing more than I can remember doing in a long time.
• Favorite performances that mesmerized our family:
• Well, that’s it… let’s have an amazing year!
• All of life is all for Jesus.