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I've been writing so much for other projects that I haven't felt led to update much on here. This past month has been filled with papers & projects for schools, commissioning questions and fun projects at church.

I keep wanting to add up the number of pages I've been writing for various things. It's got to be over 50 by now. I sit down at my desk at home each morning, light a candle, turn on a space heater near by and go to town. It's actually been a fun rhythm. (Shh...don't tell anyone!)

Right now I am focused on two things. I get to preach at one of our Christmas Eve services this year. First time for that. I've been thinking a lot about what to say and not say. What God wants people to hear. The best way to convey that. Thinking about what different types of people who come to church on Christmas Eve might be going through. This obsession led me to mobilize our UMC Young Clergy group to host 30 minutes of prayer on Thursday, December 17. I'm looking forward to lifting up prayers for those who will attend and lead worship.

If you want to join in, here's the details.

The other thing I'm focused on is experiencing Christmas in a different way this year. We're going through Advent Conspiracy with our teens. I want to spend less on gifts and spend more time with people I love. But I struggle with the desire to still give a physical gift that represents that love.

I'm very excited to have my mom, dad, sister and her husband and one of my brothers coming to our house for a week during Christmas. When I moved out of Alaska, I didn't think we'd ever be together on Christmas Day again. It just doesn't happen in pastor's families. So I'm very aware of how special it will be for Aaron and I to experience Christmas with both of our families this year.

May God's decision 2,000 years ago be real in your life in a surprising new way this season.


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I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

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I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

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