35 Things I'm Thankful For

Tomorrow is my 35th birthday (hint, hint) and while today is Thanksgiving I thought I'd match the two up and share 35 things that I'm thankful for this year. I'm just rolling these off in no particular order.

  1. My parents - godly, wise, sacrificial servants. They work hard for the glory of God in very difficult places. I'm thankful they've been faithful to every call God has placed on their lives; child-rearing, South America, Malawi, Zambia, Liberia. They are unsung heroes of the faith.
  2. My wife - Stephanie, my best friend and life-long lover. A gift of grace I could hardly deserve.
  3. Allison - my brilliant little girl who brings smiles to my face and joy to my life.
  4. Ethan - little buddy who helps his daddy laugh.
  5. My grandparents - both sets believers, both sets have had godly influence and example in my life. I am grateful for God's generational mercies on my family. May he continue to show more grace.
  6. My in-laws. I have the best ones in the world! Godly people who give my kids a double-set of faithful grandparents.
  7. My church, Journey the Way. Gospel-centered, missional, doing work! Love it.
  8. Fourteen Gospel Community leaders who love Christ, shepherd the flock of God well and lead by example. So thankful for these men.
  9. The Porterbrook Network - I am so grateful for a network of leaders all over the globe committed to theological and missional training in context. The team in Sheffield, England are superstars to me.
  10. Chad Pearce - see above about Journey the Way, but this guy is a motivated leader who works his tail off for the sake of the church. Oh, and he can preach too!
  11. Kevin Larson - invited me to come with him to Japan, ended up being an instrument of God to help motivate me to launch a new global missions initiative next year. More about that to come.
  12. Josh Carrillo - one of my best friends and a brother I deeply miss. I'm thankful for a friend like Josh who shoots straight, loves much, prays hard and encourages me the way he does.
  13. Chris Bauer - the steady, calm, wise influence of Chris still helps me along today. I hope to match his wisdom as a pastor one day.
  14. Paul Ortlinghaus - I feel bad for forcing Paul to start reading the Institutes of the Christian Religion with me two years ago and only making it through the first two books. Paul's the faithful friend who sticks with me through it and continues to call week-in and week-out to pray and chat. This year we'll get it done Paul, right?
  15. Gospel Centered Discipleship - namely Brad Watson, Jonathan Dodson and recently Brandon Smith. These guys are in my corner when it comes to writing and they've published my articles (even the campy bad ones) and are publishing my book. Super kind and generous guys.
  16. The Journey the Way lay elders - These men work long, hard, big jobs. Then they humbly give and serve a local church. Their leadership is unmatched in my mind and they constantly are pressing the gospel in on our lives.
  17. Meals on the table. We haven't gone hungry this year. God is a faithful provider.
  18. Espresso to Go Go. More specifically Warren and Ann. They open up a business that for me is more like a family room. I love this place and these people.
  19. Lane Harrison - my Gospel Coach. He's had a tough year on his hands with me. There are months when I feel like I'm coming to him more for therapy than coaching. He keeps pressing in and pushing me forward. I am grateful for that grace!
  20. My home. It's old. It's a lot of work. Yet I love it and am thankful God provided it to our family.
  21. My brother Brian. He told me a few things that would be dumb for me to pursue. He was right. He speaks truth and loves me much.
  22. My Fitness Pal. Yes I'm thankful for an iPhone app. Yes, it's helped me stay alive this year.
  23. Logos Bible Software. Another app. Another really helpful tool to allow me to engage the Scriptures better as a pastor/teacher.
  24. California. You may be the wackiest state in the union but somehow you're my abandoned home. Much missed.
  25. Carlos Griego - church-planter buddy in New Mexico. I random text him questions and prayer requests and all sorts of wacky stuff. He still loves me. Wacky.
  26. Storyville Coffee - best. roasted. beans. evah!
  27. Steve Sakanashi - church-planter buddy working to see the gospel advance in Japan. Helping me develop aforementioned global mission initiative.
  28. Santa Rosa Bible Church - more and more I am grateful for this church and the 8 years that they let me serve them. I'm a better leader because of them.
  29. Classical School of Wichita - when your daughter comes home from school and first starts talking about character and gospel related issues, that's a gift.
  30. The Gift-Givers - There have been a multitude of people that have graciously helped our family out in many ways this year. God's provision is through his people, and we are grateful for you!
  31. Baker Street Solutions - for giving Steph fun projects to work on from time to time. She loves it.
  32. The Handy Men - guys like Kris Wheeler, Jeff Endsly, Jonathan Chapin, Jonathan Nuss, Matt Wild, Jesse Rodriguez and a few others have give some man-hours to help me do stuff around the house I have no clue how to do otherwise.
  33. Chocolate. Dark.
  34. My bro-in-law, Andy. Smart dude who encourages me in Christ and how he leads his family. Plus he single-handedly recommended the best book I've read this year.
  35. Jesus. More specifically the Jesus I've met in the pages of the New Testament again this year. Patiently, graciously, courageously calling me to take up my cross and follow him. He laid down his life, so I can lay down mine. Keeping showing me more Lord!