A Recent Flurry of Fun Experiences
Nanci and I have had a lot of miscellaneous activities in the last few weeks. In the previous blog I mentioned Stephanie's wedding. Here are some others.
We saw and loved Prince Caspian, the second of the Chronicles of Narnia movies. If you haven't seen it in the theatre, please do so. Don't wait for the DVD. It's a big screen experience, and box office revenues send the message to Hollywood that people want these kind of movies, and will come out for future Narnia productions (if made).
We also saw the new Indiana Jones movie, and enjoyed it. Nanci and I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark on opening night in the huge Eastgate Theatre in Portland in 1981. (That theatre is long gone—we saw Star Wars on opening night there in 1977.) But if you can only go see one movie, make it Prince Caspian. Indy is a fun movie, but it doesn't need your help at the box office!
The second weekend of May Nanci and I spent Friday evening with our old friend Carol Hardin over at Bryan and Faith Hardin’s, with Bryan's sister Natalie and her husband Chadwick. My job for the evening was to tell Bryan and Natalie and their spouses about their dad, my childhood friend Jerry, who died of cancer in 1992. I told stories about him, and we talked and laughed and cried until late into the evening. If you want to know about my buddy Jerry, see my blog from October 9. I also devoted a chapter to my friendship with Jerry in In Light of Eternity. That evening at Bryan and Faith's house was precious to us. Made me long for the great reunion.
Then the next day I spoke three times at Momentum, a wonderful gathering of over 400 east county high schoolers, at my home church, Good Shepherd Community. It was an awesome event. I did a main session that was Questions and Answers, then two breakout sessions that were also Q and A. The students asked terrific questions and we opened the Word together to find answers. A number of young people came to Christ and were strengthened in their faith that weekend. Every kid needs a strong youth group with peer pressure toward godliness.
I coach tennis at Barlow High School here in Gresham, Oregon. Our season ended in the last few weeks. I'm the singles coach, and our number one singles player, Kevin Sayson, went to state for the fourth year in a row, something that's extremely rare in our district. This was a great year of spiritual growth for Kevin. One of my jobs on change-overs was not only to coach, but to lead us in prayer that God would give Kevin grace, regardless of the results. God was faithful. And, though it was secondary to the spiritual aspect, Kevin made it all the way to the consolation round finals. Our first doubles team, Chris Warren and Alex Helm, also went to state, and the rest of the team did great too.
We won the district tournament and the league championship for the fifth year in a row. More importantly, God has blessed us with great kids and great parents. Our head coach and friend, Andrew Pate (coach of the year) and my friend and new fellow assistant Scott Anderson are great too, committed followers of Christ who love the kids. We pray for them together. Last week we had our end of the year party at Alex Helm's house, and it was a wonderful celebration with kids and parents. Talk about a team that really bonded. (After celebrating the district championship at Stark Street Pizza, the kids challenged the coaches to laser tag. That was a blast. I was Terminator. Don't mess with me.)
I can't tell you how many opportunities I've had to speak into the lives of guys on the team. I've prayed with our Christian kids and talked about the Lord with our nonchristian kids, and given them my books. We have great relationships and as some of you coaches know from experience, I can't tell you enough about what a ministry coaching can be. (I'm grateful that my son-in-law Dan Stump is a teacher and middle school coach at Ron Russel Middle School in Portland.)
Speaking of sons-in-law, last week we attended Dan Franklin's graduation, where he received his Master of Divinity (a pretty heady title if you think about it), from Multnomah Biblical Seminary. Our daughter Karina put on a gathering at the Franklins' to celebrate Dan's achievement. This pic includes Greg and Andrea Moffat and their wonderful kids.
Two weeks ago our daughter Angela and son-in-law Dan Stump moved, and of all places they moved in just up the street from us! The road immediately to the left of their house, not quite in the picture, is our road. On my bike, pulling my grandsons in a trailer, it takes less than thirty seconds to get to their place. (I will be getting a lot of practice doing this.) We're really thankful to have them so close.
Last Monday we had our annual board meeting. (Sorry I don't have any pictures.) We have a great board, and we thank God that our ministry has been able to give away 100% of the royalties from my books. Since the inception of Eternal Perspective Ministries in 1990, EPM has given over $4.5 million dollars in book royalties to ministries around the world to feed the poor and reach the lost and support all kinds of great ministries, as well as some to help facilitate the giving away of our books to people all over the world. What a privilege to give God's money back to Him! R. G. LeTourneau, inventor of the world's largest earth moving machines, gave away 90% of his income. He said, "God shovels it out, and I shovel it back; but God has a bigger shovel." (EPM note: through 2012 this number is over six million dollars in book royalties given away.)
David said in 1 Chronicles 29:14, "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand."
Nanci and I thank you, Lord, for your grace. And for all the recent blessings in our children's and grandchildren's lives, for the guys on the tennis team, our time with the Hardin family, for your amazing blessings to us at Eternal Perspective Ministries, for Stephanie's wedding, and even for a couple of good movies Nanci and I could enjoy together. And for our 33rd anniversary this weekend.
Truly, all good things come from your hand. We are deeply grateful.