Friday, December 31, 2010

Final Post For 2010

We are just about ready to head out the door to our church New Years Eve fellowship and I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of my faithful readers. I want you to know that I'm thankful for you and realize that without you there is no real reason for me to blah, blah, blah!

Thank you for putting up with my silliness and allowing my rants!

May you have a wonderful & safe New Years celebration and may God truly bless you in 2011!

See you then...

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lynn's BIG Christmas Surprise

Lynn got a really nice Christmas present from the family she has babysit for over the past 11 years. After much research and study between our friend Charlie and myself, this is what we settled on & she loves it:

Pastor Steve

Meet The "Big Bro"!

If you are a follower of my blog, you've probably seen comments from someone who carries the moniker of "Big Bro". If you have never put two & two together...this is my older brother, Roger.

At one time he was my bigger brother as well but due to incredible discipline he has now made me the "bigger" brother!

"Big Bro" lives in the south and was home to our Mom's for Christmas. Wednesday we took the opportunity to slip down to Des Moines and have breakfast with Dan, Maggie, the boys and Amy for Daniels birthday and then go over to my Mom's for lunch with my brother, sister (Jacki) and Mom.

It was so good to see Roger and get caught up, I have not seen him since July of 2009, I really need to go visit him at his home.

Love being able to have the flexibility to be able to run to Des Moines and know that my Wednesday responsibilities are covered and in very good hands! Thanks John K!!!

Here are a couple of photo's of my and my "Big Bro"!

Pastor Steve

Christmas 2010 Part 2

Well, the story of our Christmas continues ... Friday evening, Christmas Eve, Daniel and his family arrived with Amy in tow as well. It was so good to have everyone home safe and sound. After a snack, we all turned in, looking forward to what the morning would bring!

With the coffee started, the house began to wake up! The gifts were opened as well as the stocking stuffers. Everyone was just glad to be at the house and be together for this special day.

After breakfast, it was game time - Ticket To Ride, Imagine If, Phase 10 and Skip-Bo. While all this was going on I put the ham in the oven, a hickory smoked spiral cut honey ham - it was wonderful!

Great food, great fun and everyone home for the Christmas celebration!

Pastor Steve

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

The Christmas season has come and was filled with many activities for our family as well as I'm sure for yours.

Some of our key events:

Our churches Sunday School Christmas Program: This year our young people did a wonderful jobs with the material. Right now we have around 30 children in our Sunday School and the kids worked very hard with many long hours of practice, we are so very proud of our young people! A very special thank-you to all those who work behind the scenes to make this night a success! Following the SS Christmas program we enjoyed our annual soup supper fellowship with home-made chili, potato and chicken noodle soup! What a great day!

Christmas Caroling and our Candlelight Carol Service: On the last couple of Wednesday evenings our church family has had the opportunity to get together and sing. One of the highlights of the Christmas season is getting to go Christmas Caroling. Our stops are folks who have been recent  visitors and some of our older members. This is one of the highlights of our Christmas season! On the next Wednesday evening we held our annual Candlelight Carol sing. We got together and sang through out favorite carols, read through the Christmas story in Luke and ended our evening with the church family standing in a circle with candles lit singing "Silent Night" followed by a closing prayer. I have been a part of this service for as long as I've been in full time ministry and cannot remember ever being able to finish that service without tearing up. Love that song - love that service!

More to come!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

As Seen On Facebook....

Couple of good ones:

"If you are so concerned about the secularization of society, maybe the best response would be to tell more people about Jesus rather then make a list of which department stores to boycott."

"Was looking at my senior class photo from 1991. It was a big hair convention. C got a big laugh. I wonder how many of the girls still have their big hair. It's funny, I spent four years trying my hardest to impress people that I have never spoken to after graduation, and now can't even remember their names. What a waste!"

Pastor Steve!

Monday, December 20, 2010

As Seen On Facebook

Hey, Hey!!! This is a new feature, I'm calling it "As Seen On Facebook". These are humorous posts from Facebook and we begin with this:

"Only in Iowa can a successful after-prom fundraiser consist of selling raffle tickets for a drawing to win one half of a butchered and processed hog. Hey, whatever works."

Pastor Steve

Make Me A Blessing...

Last April we had an older gentleman "randomly" stop in for our Wednesday evening service. Since then he has attended just a handful of times. Friday afternoon we had the opportunity to have coffee at our local Denny's. We were able to spend over an hour just talking and I was able to encourage him in his relationship with Jesus. When we were finished, he told me how much he enjoyed our time together, that he was looking forward to church on Sunday and setting up another time for us to have coffee and chat again.

I received a phone call late Saturday evening that Art had collapsed after supper and had died. On Sunday afternoon I got a call from his Niece and we had a wonderful conversation. She told me that she had spoken to Art on Saturday morning, Art had mentioned to her our coffee time on Friday and how he was excited to be at church on Sunday and getting together later this week for another coffee break. I was so very thankful to be a blessing to Art just before he died.

"Make Me a Blessing"
Words by Ira B. Wilson
Music by George S. Schuler

Out on the highways and byways of life, Many are the weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife, Making the sorrowing glad.

Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love, Tell of His power to forgive;
Others will trust Him if only you prove, True every moment you live.

Give as 'twas given to you in your need, Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed,Unto your mission be true.

Make me a blessing, make me a blessing;
Out of my life may Jesus shine.
Make me a blessing, O Savior I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Games Children Play

I'm at a basketball game the other night visiting with a family from our local school district and they were telling me that when their daughter was very little that the Mom worked outside the home and the Dad was a farmer with livestock.

With Mom at work Dad would put the daughter in a backpack type apparattus and carried her around as he would do his farm chores. One of the many chores that he covered was the care and feeding of hogs.

If you know anything about livestock farming there are often time for whatever reason that a sow will die and need to be removed, to be picked up by the rendering truck. These sows are removed by hand or if they are rather large they may need to have a rope tied around them and be dragged with a tractor or skid-loader. Not always pleasant but part of the life of a farmer.

One day while the Mom is working around the house, the daughter come walking around the corner dragging one of her stuffed animals by the leg with a piece of twine. When asked what she was doing she replied as only a little farm girl could ... "I'm playing Dead Pig!"

I thought that was hilarious!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

(PS: All photo's are stock, that is not the little girl in the story!)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Bits & Balderdash - 12/08/10

Deer Hunting: I'm back after a very busy deer hunting season here in Iowa. This past weekend was our first shotgun season and I did not harvest a deer. Lots of time spent in the deer stand, in the timber and with very good friends.

Area-Wide Pastor's Fellowship Christmas Party: Monday night we (Lynn & I) hosted the North Iowa Area-Wide Pastor's Fellowship Christmas Party at our home. Great party with incredible food and the best part is the annual gift exchange which includes the opportunity to "steal" gifts from others forcing them to either steal from someone else or open a new gift! I think everyone had fun and I know that the fellowship was fantastic!

Sundays in December: Sundays in December at our church all revolve around the Christmas story. This past Sunday we got started by looking at those who missed Christmas. Now by saying they missed Christmas, I mean they missed the birth of Jesus. The three were the innkeeper, King Harod and all of the Jewish Religious leaders of the day.

Best & Worst of the Weekend: The Best of this weekend was deer hunting with Doug & Russ Farrell, really appreciate these guys and them letting me hunt with them! Worst of the weekend ... The weekend was toooo short!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve 

Friday, December 03, 2010

Old Friends / New Names

A good friend, Jim Wilhite, passed away last week. As is the case with visitations and funerals, you usually see folks that you have not seen for quite some time. While that is a topic for an extensive blog post, that is not the direction I'm headed with this post.

I was able to see a young man that was in our church here in Clear Lake as a pre-teen. Now he is a grown man and I feel old! As we visited I called him "Jimmy"; the name that I had always known him by. Realizing that no one probably ever called him that now, I apologized and ask him how he would like to be addressed, Jim or James or what.

He looked at me and with absolutely no inflection in his voice he said ...

"You may call me Officer McDermott!" 

My friend is a police officer and I will be kind in my reference to him! Good to see the McDermotts again, just sorry it had to be under these circumstances.

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Elijah Turns 2 Years Old

Birthday Boy in a Bag
We spent last Sunday with Daniel and his family for Elijah's 2nd birthday party. The whole gang was there, Grandpa and Grandma Cox, Grandpa and Grandma Gilliland, Great Grandma Coulter and Gilliland, and lots of Aunts & Uncles!

After attending church together, we all found our way to Dan & Maggie apartment for a birthday lunch of pizza and veggies.

After lunch, Elijah got to open his gifts. He was not too sure about the whole process but once he got the hang of it we were off to the races!
After the gifts ... it was time for cake! Maggie and Amy really went over the top on creating a cake in the shape of a tractor. Not just any tractor, a "RED" tractor! The Gilliland clan are farmers and the "RED" tractor is the tractor of choice and preference! So the only cake you could have would be a RED tractor cake! Check it out.....

The Tractor Cake
Everyone was really excited about the cake except for maybe Elijah!

Not Too Sure!
Well, the cake was great and the time together was fantastic! I love spending time with Daniel, Maggie and the boys!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve