Grateful for the Lord’s Kindness

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” James 1:2

Last Friday evening I was doubled over in pain for a few hours before a trip to the ER at FMC. By noon the next day, I was in surgery having my gall bladder removed.  I learned it’s perhaps one of the most common surgeries at the hospital.  I’m sure I’ve heard of others having gone through it before, but honestly you just don’t give it much thought until it’s your turn. I won’t bore the reader with the predictable descriptions of pain and the challenge of patience, waiting for my number in the ER.  What I simply want to say is how grateful I am for the entire event.

No, not the pain. Didn’t ask for or enjoy that. Yet, it’s what alerts the attention to take care of something before it worsens, so yeah, I guess I am thankful for that part of the story.

After the pain meds got to work and before I learned what the issue and remedy would be, I was amazed at how nice everyone was.  From the people that take your information to the nurse that begins the vitals and history.  The attendants in my ER room for several hours including the surgeon on call who kindly came in and explained what was going on how it would play out, the entire staff of people were spot on.  They were aware of me and the mess I was in. They expressed empathy while administrating professionally.  I experienced several firsts during the event. My first sonogram, my first actual hospital stay and of course my first meeting of the many different nurses, doctors, surgeons and others whom I don’t quite know the correct terms or initials.  All kind. All helpful.

As I lay there between ‘draws’ and resting, I thought of so many people working together to meet my need.  I doubt they all even know each other, but each had a role, and each did it well.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thes 5:18

The reason for this post is to say thanks. To thank God for a great doctor who recommended I go immediately to the ER without knowing what we were looking at. An amazing wife who took over all that night and the following week to make sure meds were taken and help me avoid the tendency to get going too quickly.  Grateful for my surgeon and her assistant, the day shift, the night shift, the ones I learned were new to FMC and the neighbor who’s been helping people for many years.

As a pastor I’ve spent plenty of time in the hallways and waiting rooms and bedsides of Flagstaff Medical Center, but as a patient, I must say I again was proud of my town, my people. First class care.

Two lessons learned:

  1. We all need each other.
  2. It takes all of us working together.

In addition, let me simply say a huge thanks for my Grace Church family for their prayers, cards, emails, texts, and the meals provided.  Very few are on my list of who to call on a Saturday to preach on Sunday. Thank you to my friend and colleague, Brian. 

I’m looking forward to joining with my people at Grace tomorrow.  Thank You, Lord for the experience and Your grace and favor in the outcomes. 


Honestly, social media, like Facebook have kind of changed how we see blogs. I get it. I do. There are many times I think, “Oh that would be a healthy thing to share”. But then I share a small snippet on social media, or I freeze between the options and write nothing.

I thought of that last week as I went to a funeral of a dear friend and mentor, then later that same day I learned of a young man (ok, younger to me:) that had suddenly passed away.

So, today, I’m jumping on just to ramble for a bit.

Today, my younger sister would have turned 60. She’s in heaven now, so 60 means nothing to her. We were always “twins for a week” before my next birthday changed it back to me being the older one.

Fall is funny that way. A time for birthdays and a time to celebrate the beauty of another changing season. I love fall because I can see the vivid colors and appreciate the final hope of mild weather. All that will change very soon.

Here’s a video the nice people of fb put together for me.


Just a couple of pictures from our new church campus site. Along with the guys getting the walls up, I noticed the HVAC team inside installing vents and all the goodness of HVAC. Good stuff. These guys were hustling as the weather was coming in for this afternoon’s snow. Which has now arrived!

March 1 Updates

Who chose that generic title? The thing about a blog is everyone can see how lame the author is in not posting for months at a time. I honestly think of updating with an occasional idea, but then a squirrel runs by and I can’t remember what day it is.

Here are some updates: All great, by the way!

Yesterday our school district followed CDC guidelines and REMOVED the mask mandate for Flagstaff schools! For this I am so thankful. It communicates a few key ideas: The pandemic seems to be slowing. The metrics are going in the right direction. Many people can return to in-person community that have been unable to join us at Sinagua for a variety of reasons related to masks. Everyone is welcome! For those desiring to wear a mask, please do so. We’ll continue to make masks available as it is still recommended. Remember, always be gracious towards each other. However, no longer a mandate!

This Sunday, at Grace we’ll give the total of our recent ALL IN: Refresh. It’s pretty great news. If you missed Sunday, go online to catch the service. You can also go here to renew or make a first time pledge towards our new church campus through ALL IN.

Plan on staying after church this Sunday and support the Indian Bible College as they prepare “Indigenous Tacos”. They are raising funds for a missions trip and we can help while enjoying a great meal together. Let’s blow them away with our typical Grace Generosity!

Enjoy a few shots over the past couple of weeks. More to come…

Snow was welcomed in Flagstaff last week, and it barely held back the work. Though snow is necessary in the mountains, the milder winter has been somewhat helpful for the project. (think: glass half-full)

Time to Celebrate

“Every week at Grace is important”

I really do believe this. Every week matters. Gathering together with our church family is a sacred and honored tradition taught to us in the New Testament and modeled through 2000 years of history.

In just under two weeks, Grace will have a special Sunday. It’s our 20th Anniversary.

On that day we’ve rented the beautiful outdoor Pepsi Amphitheater at Ft. Tuthill.  This is a great venue for a celebration like this. Truth is, the actual church service will be very much like every other Sunday at Grace over the past 20 years.  We’ll lift high the name of Jesus and show our love for God through Worship and teaching. The big difference is we’re meeting outdoors.  It’s a celebration!

We’ve been talking this up a bit lately, mainly so our church knows when and where to meet and what to expect. But yesterday morning I caught a whole new vision of what this celebration could look like.

On Sunday, I finished up a few messages emphasizing the core of our Community. We finished with “Love Your Neighbor”. I challenged the church to look for and jump on LYN Ops.  Opportunities to Love Your Neighbor! As I was considering my neighbors, it dawned on me that this upcoming celebration is the ideal opportunity to invite them to attend Grace.  Anniversaries are great, and I really do believe the Lord would have us stop, remember and give Him praise for our past. But what excites me even more is this – continuing to love our neighbors, welcoming people in our church and sharing with them the love of God through the Gospel story!

Think about it, what a great atmosphere to invite people that you’re praying for, people that you know don’t have a church home and people that may not easily come to a church service in a traditional setting.  Simply invite them to a “special outdoor service our church is having at the amphitheater with lunch included”.  Truth is, I’m not sure my neighbors care about an ‘anniversary’, why should they? But they may like the casual setting and gorgeous fall day in Flagstaff.

So, yes! It is a time to celebrate and invite!

New Staff @ Grace

Welcome Jason, Nicole, Hannah, Nicholas and Tyler Goodman

We are blessed to have Jason Goodman join the team as our Worship Pastor. Jason and Nicole have been married 13 years and now have 3 kids.  Jason served on the pastoral staff at a church in Tennessee before going to Colorado Springs to attend the New Life School of Worship.  We are looking forward to welcoming this family to Flagstaff and to Grace the first of August. Yep, that’s next week!

Winter Vacation

Not sure I’ve done this before, but I’m writing from my iPad to see if I can blog my way through some vacation highlights. We’re in Long Beach anticipating our week on a big boat with a few hundred people, ok, probably a few thousand. Looking forward to some extended time with Laurie, some good food and great sights. It’ll be great to spend the week with the Johnson family as they break us into this lifestyle of life on the sea.

Yesterday was an amazing day @Grace. I devoted some extended time to cast the vision for our church family for this new year. It was a great way to start 2012! I’m pretty sure the recorded sermon and brief notes are available on our website

This may be the last post for the week, or I may find time to stay updated. Either way, Happy New Year and have a great first week!

Honoring First Responders

On Sunday September 11, 2011 our nation will remember that horrific day ten years ago. A day we all remember where we were, what we were doing and that terrible unsettled feeling of ‘what next’. On that day our church will choose to remember by honoring those that serve our community as first responders. There are many issues and complicated layers of issues that arose from the events of 9-11. One positive note is that we as Americans were reminded how fortunate we are to have men and women who serve us by providing protection, civil rest, and even going so far as to put their lives on the line each day they put on the uniform. We are grateful.

On that Sunday at Grace we’ll pause for a few moments and say “Thanks”.
If you or someone you know serves throughout Northern Arizona, please come and be our guest on Sunday, 9-11-11.

Grace Community Church meets at Sinagua Middle School, our regular service time is 10 – 11:30am.

‘Twas the night before school…

First of all, I do realize that many have already started school. Humor me as I write this for all of our Gracers headed back to school this fall, or summer as it is.

Here’s my prayer for each of you whether you are in Flag unified, private, Christian, charter, or home schooled:

God, bless our kids.
Help them to grow and learn and laugh
May this school year be exceptional because each of them are
May each one know and see You as they study Your world
May each one know Your amazing love as they make friends and find acceptance among others
May each find joy in discovering who You’ve made them to be
May each one feel safe because they trust You and the plans You have for them
May they express grace and kindness especially on the days it seems undeserved
May they be bold in sharing Your story with others
May they be quick to praise You for who You are and how You are working
And may they never be ashamed of Your Son, Jesus!
May Your Spirit fill and guide them
God, use them to change the world
Bless them LORD, bless each one.