This is officially my 100th blog post. One thing that I have observed about some of the individuals in ministry whom I admire is that they rarely miss an opportunity to joyfully celebrate a milestone and give thanksgiving to God. Richard Foster, the author of Celebration of Discipline, considers celebration to be a spiritual discipline. I agree with him, so let's celebrate.
Obviously, my first words of gratitude and Thanksgiving must go to my Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave me a sharp mind, love for worship, theology, and spiritual formation, and the ability to communicate my thoughts about those issues in a way that people seem to like. Lord, I celebrate You!
I am grateful to my wife who loves to say that God Catfished her. She married an emergency medical technician that was barely a Christian and wound up married to a pastor, missionary, Bible college professor. She gives to her family from a seemingly endless supply of love and has never taken anything from me except for my name. I am grateful to God and could not do the things I do without her. Deanna, I celebrate you!
I want to thank Karissa Barker of the Gladly Blog, who challenged me to start writing a daily devotional and offered to set the whole thing up. She took my pictures, set up the website, and held my hand through the whole process. The layout of missionaryprofessor.com, the overall aesthetic and the little mountain and lake logo are all her creation. I would’ve done it a different way. I'm glad I didn't, because her way is so much better than mine would’ve been. Having Karissa push me in this direction was inspirational and healing in a way that I did not know I need to be healed. Karissa, I celebrate you!
I should also mention that Karissa’s husband, Pastor Colin, of Barker Barbecue fame, helped to convince me with the following questions, “Do you read the Bible every day? Do you have thoughts about what you read? I find the thoughts you share in our life group to be quite helpful. Why don’t you write them down and share them?” Colin is what I describe as a spiritual nephew. That means he's sometimes a spiritual son, but most of the time he is a good, Christian brother and dear friend whom God has used to ask me just the right question or to say just the right thing to keep me moving forward on more than one occasion. Colin, I celebrate you!
The idea for the 60 Second connection with Jesus format for my blog (Touching the Hem), was the result of reading book after book from the likes of Foster, Willard, and Nouen. I didn’t read them voluntarily, but under the direction of my doctoral program head, Dr. Gene Maynard. Studying with Dr. Maynard has been transformational. I have come to realize that I do not need Jesus once a day in a “quiet time.” I need him every hour. The hourly connection throughout the day is LIFE! Spiritual masters and mentors, I celebrate you!
I would also be remiss in not mentioning Tim, and Robin, who proofread my posts and make sure that I am aware of any mistakes the moment I sit down with my 1st cup of coffee in the morning to check my emails. God knows that this somewhat dyslexic fellow needs adult supervision and spelling revision. Tom and Rabyn, I caffienate yoo! ;-)
Between pastoral ministry, teaching at a Bible college, and some short-term, missions journeys, I now have 20 years of ministry under my belt. In that twenty years, I have often longed to be involved in something where it was clear that God was behind it all. Now, I believe that I am part of two things that God is behind and that more blessed opportunities are coming my direction. It is hard not to be excited, but I’m trying to just keep my nose to the grindstone and my eyes on Jesus. I am confident that He will surround me with the right people, and provide the right opportunities. School of hard knocks and irrational hope, I celebrate you!
For every person that has emailed me, texted me, shared a blog post, or given me a personal testimony about how this little blog has become a source of daily blessing, thank you. Telling a minister that they are a blessing to you is like telling an artist that you love their art. It tells me that I’m doing what God called me to do, and I am doing it successfully. Purveyors of blessing, I celebrate you!
Of course, without subscribers and readers, this blog would merely be an exercise in vanity, a fool’s errand. Thank you for reading, sharing and participating. I celebrate you all! - Scott
Touch the Hem of Jesus' Robe and Transform Your Life, 60 Seconds at a Time.