Sunday, January 25, 2015

Reflections of 2014

             So, we are drawing to an end of the first month of 2015. I was sitting in the steam room at the Y.M.C.A. reflecting on 2014. The year has kind of been a blur to me. As I started recounting the year, there is little wonder to why.
            I guess I would have to start with the 16 basketball games that I officiated in January and February…that’s about 2 a week. Then also in February, my band (B. Andrews) did a fundraiser for their ministry. Boy, was that a lot of work, and a lot of fun! That’s when we found out that we were selected for a “battle of the bands” at a Universal Water Park in Orlando, Florida. So, we began booking a band tour to Florida!
            It was a long and snowy winter last year. The last day I saw snow in the ditches was April 14th!  We do a unique Lenten Ministry at my church. On Wednesday evenings, we get together for a family dinner and have an in depth bible study. We capped it off last year by having a representative from Jews For Jesus with us. That was awesome! I was involved in the Community Good Friday Service and for Easter Sunday, the men of our Church host a breakfast in between our early morning service and the regular morning worship! Whew! That was Easter!
            In less than two weeks after Easter Sunday, we were in Florida and played in 8 churches, 1 coffeehouse, and 1 water park in 14 days. While we were there, one of my sons, also a band member, was offered and internship as a children’s pastor at a Nazarene Church…and I’m Wesleyan! He took the offer and returned to Florida for the rest of the summer.
            I promised my sons that I would work on their house (with their help of course). So upon returning, I ripped out their bathroom. I wasn’t going to rip out their bathroom. I was just going to build them a custom shower. However, when I got into the job…well, let’s just say, I found a lot of water damage and pipes so plugged I was amazed they were getting any water at all! So, I tore out all the pipes too. I mean all the pipes…even to the kitchen!
            That is about the time that we did a tour into Michigan. We also have an annual “Pig Roast” that my Church hosts as a community outreach. Upon my return from Michigan, I found that the trustees of my Church had secured a mechanical lift so that I could paint the Church parsonage. So, I quit working at my boys’ house (with a ripped out bathroom and only running water to the kitchen) to paint the parsonage. Of course, when you paint there is more repair work than just painting! When I finished that job, the trustees were so excited, they asked, “Can we go ahead and paint the Church too…while we got the lift?” So, a couple of the men in the Church pressured washed the Church for me while I was gone to a camp for Abused and Neglected Foster Children.
            When I returned, I saw the pressure washing and it looked like some had scribbled on the Church. In fact, as I was checking it out, a lady passing by said, “It’s a crying shame that someone would vandalize a Church!” That was on Friday. Sunday the band left for a 14 trip that would take us out to Seattle, down to Los Angeles, back up to Sacramento, back up to Portland, over to Weippe, Idaho and end in Janesville, Wisconsin! When we got home, I decided to paint the Church!
            So, the race was on to finish painting the Church before fall settled in and you could not paint anymore in 2014. Instead of a painter, I became a paint “slinger”. I put it on as fast as I could. About this time, we took our final tour of the year out to North Dakota. We got to see Little Bighorn and the Fort where the 7th Cavalry was stationed. We also got to sing for Jesus!
            When we got home, I started working on the bathroom. I was summonsed to be a juror at a murder trial for 14 days. We had a big celebration for our veterans. My son came home from Florida, and got married! Basketball season started, so I started officiating games again. As the year closed out and the snow returned to Wisconsin, I closed the year, by holding the hand of an elderly person and the hand of a little 4 year old as they drew their last breath on earth. One week later, I tried to celebrate my Saviour’s birth.
            Trust me when I say that I have spared you a lot of details. There were more times that the band sang. There were other ministries performed that were not mentioned. There were other victories. There were some defeats.
            As I sat in the steam room, with faces, places, and memories meandering in and out of my thoughts, I searched for some meaning behind what I am trying to do. I mean, I don’t want all of this work, all of this stuff I do to be for nothing! I want to make a difference in people's lives! As I look back over the year of 2014, I ask myself, "Did I do that? Did I make a difference for Christ in someone's life?"

So now the Church looks real good. The parsonage looks sharp. The bathroom still isn’t finished. The band sounds better than ever! “Father, help me to remember that all of this stuff that I do is suppose to be about making a difference in people’s lives before they take that last breath. If this stuff that I do does not fit your purpose, then help me to get it out of my life…’cause I don’t have the time! In Jesus’ Name I ask…”