Reflections on my 25th Wedding Anniversary

On my 25th wedding anniversary yesterday, the word that stood out to me was shalom – the Hebrew word associated with peace and wholeness. We felt God’s shalom through our love and the love of the community.

While a popular cultural sentiment is “us against the world,” that has not been the story of our marriage. Our 25-year romance has been connected to community, as the love of our family, friends, and faith communities have made our story. Sure, there have been many times that Beth and I have retreated as two to heal from hurt or find direction as a couple, and this special relationship did make us feel like “us against the world.” Still, we have always stayed connected with our family and church, and these relationships have made us and sustained us. So, our marriage is a celebration of God’s design for marriage and a recognition of all the relationships connected to a long-term marriage. I write this not out of pride but of absolute gratitude for God’s grace. Every long-term marriage is a miracle.

I want to honor Beth for believing in marriage, believing in us, and believing in me. I love her more every day, and I cannot wait to see how God is going to use her in the years to come. I also look forward to many laughs in our future!

Update on Beth / “A Resurrection of Mission”

I recognize that most of my blogs recently have only been CIL service summaries with links to watch. These one-dimensional posts mainly resulted from the time I took off to be with Beth after she had a hysterectomy on April 11. She is recovering very well, and I am pleased about this. I hope to reengage with some writing as we move forward.

With this established, here are once again links to Sunday’s service. It was a blessing to teach after two weeks off. I love our church, and sharing God’s Word with such a great congregation is a privilege. Sunday’s message was titled a “Resurrection of Mission.”



The ups and downs of ministry, in 4 days

It’s been quite a few days – the highs and lows of being a pastor. We had an amazing men’s retreat, and it was a dream come true to see so many CIL men engaged in community and Christian growth. It was also wonderful to have my two adult sons voluntarily attend with me!

Some long-time friends and ministry partners with CIL Church lost their one-month-old daughter after her brave fight to qualify for a heart transplant. Beth and I were with the family during this process, culminating with a Celebration of Life service at CIL on Sunday night. There were many heavy and holy moments these last few days.

I am so grateful for the church and its consistent testimony of Jesus each Sunday. My soul needed this Sunday’s service, and I was particularly touched when singing the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”



Tammy Groves

We recognized another saint going home today during the funeral of the amazing Tammy Groves. I have not attended the same church with Tammy for over 16 years, but she impacted Beth and me as an incredible co-worker in youth ministry. In one of my most stressful times of ministry, she lifted my arms.

I mourn with Jeff, Daniel, Alivia, and the spiritual families from Cornerstone Church and Restoring Hope Church. She has heard, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Happy Valentines, Beth

We were fortunate to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Friday night when we took this picture. We had a great night!

A year ago, we had a peaceful Valentine’s dinner, not realizing 2020 would be the most challenging year of leadership our generation has ever known.

I could get through the last 12 months because SHE HAS BEEN THERE FOR ME. The song I chose for our wedding was James Taylor’s “Something In the Way She Moves.” The lyrics state:

I feel fine anytime she’s around me now
She’s around me now
Almost all the time

That song is a reality all these years later, and I am grateful.

I LOVE YOU, Beth, and I am so glad YOU ARE MINE. Happy Valentine’s forever!

Honoring Randy Visconti

I want to honor Pastor Randy Visconti, whose Celebration of Life service occurred today in Mesa, Arizona. He was the first pastor to give me a job, as I was his children’s pastor at Paola Assembly of God (Paola, Kansas) in 1995 and 1996. Randy was a great pastor, and he was very good to me. He gave me opportunities to preach often to the adults, which launched my ministry career. Under his and Jason Edward’s leadership, it was the first time I was called “pastor.” He always made time for me.

Two regrets:

  • I haven’t talked to Randy in years, but I always knew that relationship would pick right back up at some point. His unexpected death came as a shock and way too soon. So, don’t wait around to keep in contact with someone important to you.
  • We didn’t take a lot of pictures in the 1990s like we do these days. Regretfully, I do not have a photo with Pastor Randy. So, don’t bristle when someone wants to take your picture (Beth has been telling me this for years!).

I want to express much love to his wife, Dawn, and adult children Ryan, Kyle, Kirstyn, and Aaron.

See you in heaven, Pastor Randy!

Health Update

I continue to thank God for helping me get through my recent illness and allowing me to preach yesterday. In an interesting twist, I think the adrenaline and oxygen to project my voice actually made me feel better!

Also, words cannot express my appreciation to Beth Allison for her wisdom and care for me. I was a stubborn patient, and she was so caring. Here is one of the guiding Scriptures that encouraged me during this time, and I hope it inspires you today:

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.” – Psalm 27:13 (NASB)

The passing of J. Don George (1937-2020)

We lost a spiritual giant today, as Pastor J. Don George went to his heavenly reward. The loss was sudden and unexpected.

He was my pastor growing up, so he is the preacher I have heard more sermons from than any other person. But, he was more than a great preacher to me. He was a life-long example of class and professionalism. I learned so much about leadership by just watching his life. I also learned a lot about friendship by observing how loyal he was to friends. He was a good friend to me.

No one preaches like J. Don George. Here is a one minute clip from 2017 that will build your faith and bring a smile to your face.