On your mark… Get set… Go!
Are you ready for Christmas? Do you remember hearing the English folk song Christmas is Coming that is sung in a round?
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do.
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!
On Your Mark… Get Set…
It seems as if we are busy getting ready for Christmas, and while we are at the starting blocks waiting to “start Christmas,” we are already on to “Go! Go!! Go!!!” The tension between “Get Set” and “Go!” leaves us constantly wondering if we are coming or going! It’s a difficult concept to convey, but I think you probably understand because you are there too!
Throughout the year, 2017 gushed with that same tension for our family! Continuously we were getting ready and moving forward full throttle at the same time.
Proverbs 24:27 encourages us to make plans and prepare, i.e. lay foundations, before launching into building a structure.
Do your planning and prepare your fields
before building your house. (Prov. 24:27 NLT)
We embarked on foundational work during 2017.
Get Ready for Construction.
While starting our bathroom remodel in January may have looked more like building a structure, it actually enabled us to not be so distraught by our house as we moved to our primary focus. As with all construction projects, there were joys and frustrations. The finale definitely exceeded the starting point!
Get Ready to Minister to Christian Leaders.
Desperately Dependent Community incorporated July 2014 with the primary focus to engage and encourage Christian leaders to find Christ relevant to every area of life. Continuously we search for relevant statistics to point us to the most effective means and methods of ministry. So, when The Barna Group presented their ground-breaking research on The State of Pastors at Pepperdine University in Malibu, we knew we needed to attend. Of course, the January warmth and sunshine of California provided a wonderful backdrop for the perplexing statistics presented. Read our review on the blog post How’s Your Pastor Really Doing?
Get Ready for Adventure.
Many people asked if we visited our California daughter, Faith, when we went to the Barna presentation. No, not on that trip. But we planned a more extensive adventure in March to visit the family. We flew to San Diego to spend time with Faith and our grand-kitties.
Then on to Denver to play with our granddaughter, Myka, and visit with her parents a bit too!
When we landed back in Atlanta, we hopped into our vehicle and drove to have a major pow-wow with Melanie’s parents in Stuart, Florida. October 2016 our families began discussing the potential of a move for Luther & Liane (L&L). Surprisingly, for all of us, the decision was made for L&L to move to Chattanooga, Tennessee. All three of their children, and most of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren live in the state. It made sense, but difficult preparations lay ahead.
On-site house hunting happened at the end of April. The Chattanooga housing market is hot, so decisions were made quickly. Within less than a week, L&L signed a contract on a house in Ooltewah.
Get Ready for Moving.
Luther’s 87th birthday celebration provided a few hours of reprieve from the preparations of a second moving sale and packing. Charity, our Denver daughter, flew to Stuart providing moral and muscle support while she said good-bye to her Florida retreat. Although our original intentions were not to load a U-haul in July, Charity’s encouragement tipped the scales. With temperatures feeling above 110 degrees for days on end, Kirk and Charity packed a 15’ U-haul to the brim while the rest of the family staged a moving sale. Kirk and Melanie caravanned to Ooltewah to unload the first installment of L&L belongings. A friend delivered the second U-haul August 9th.
L&L planned to arrive in Tennessee shortly thereafter. But then came the announcement of Hurricane Irma. Since the house sale was not final, L&L felt obligated to ride out the storm while watching over their investment. When the news forecasted that the storm would most likely hit the east coast, it was too late for them to evacuate anyway. Dad boarded up the house, one final time, and they executed preparatory measures with what little was left in the house. All of their emergency provisions were already in Tennessee!
The howling winds wreaked havoc in Liane’s pristine garden/park, but the house emerged intact. Helpful neighbors came to their aid to dispose of the toppled 50’ pines and damaged coconut trees.
Exhausted, Luther and Liane arrived at their new home in Ooltewah September 21st. Woo Hoo!!!
Get Ready for Sabbatical.
On August 5th Kirk celebrated 15 years as Pastor of Counseling at Bayside Baptist Church. Because of our hectic year, we knew the 15-year sabbatical would not resemble the restful month we enjoyed during our 10th year sabbatical. Instead, this furlough began with Kirk’s major oral reconstruction surgery. More surgeries lie ahead throughout 2018 as well. But time away from the responsibilities of Bayside offered a welcome reprieve.
Get Ready for Celebration!
The United States enjoyed an unprecedented view of the solar eclipse on August 21st. Our area was very close to the prefect viewing stage of the total eclipse. But we only took a few minutes to enjoy the national celebration.
Thermochromatic eclipse postage stamps graced the invitations of Luther & Liane’s 60th wedding anniversary celebration. Because of the move, throughout the year we vacillated between venues in Florida and Tennessee for this monumental commemoration. Joyfully, family and friends travelled from far and wide to celebrate L&L on October 21st. Special friends and surprise guests definitely created a life-long memory for our family!
Our families’ celebrations continued when we travelled to Denver for Myka’s 2nd birthday, November 12th. Time to begin the terrific twos! Woo Hoo!!
Get Ready for Focused Ministry in 2018.
During the three years that Desperately Dependent Community has been in existence, Melanie labored full-time to lay foundations while Kirk juggled full-time employment at Bayside Baptist Church and the added responsibilities of DDC. On December 10th Kirk’s resignation was announced to the church. The foundations have been laid. Now it is time for both Kirk and Melanie to focus on the mission of DDCommunity.
Undoubtedly, inconceivable challenges await us. But because we are convinced of God’s calling on our lives, we move forward. Confidently, we believe that God, who began the good work within the people we ministered to at Bayside, “will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Phil. 1:6).
Get ready to Be Still and Go! Go!! Go!!!
Throughout this year we felt overwhelmed by the raging seas around us. Much like the children of Israel who stood at the edge of the Red Sea, we heard the Lord’s reassurance followed by His marching orders.
13But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
15Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! (Ex. 14:13–15 NLT)
I think I laugh every time I read that passage! The Lord’s response just tickles me! Scared to death, the people stood on the brink of potential disaster. Reassuringly, the Lord’s promises engendered trust. But then came the orders, “get moving”!
Wait! Wait!! Wait!!! How are we supposed to be calm and get moving at the same time?
There are times where we are to just “be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). But in that still time, we must also diligently pay attention for when He says, “get moving!” It is imperative that we know what is our part, and trust Him with His part.
Get Ready for God to Bless You.
Remembering the “Christmas is Coming” folk song mentioned at the beginning of this letter, we want to extend God’s blessings to you. Thank you for the ways you encouraged us this year especially! Faithful friends shone as bright lighthouses through our stormy way.
Not everyone in England could afford a Christmas goose. The song also talks about the charity of the Christmas season. Back in that time, beggars would hold out their hats for a penny from people walking by. If you didn’t have a penny on you, you could always put a half penny (pronounced ha’penny). If you didn’t even have a “ha’penny” then you needed some blessing because you were just as poor as the beggar!
Admittedly, the ministry of DDC requires additional faithful friends as we sail along. We value the many ways people give to the ministry. Click the link to Help Us Help Christian Leaders Help You. There are many ideas on how you can bless DDCommunity. Even beggars can be benefactors!
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Christmas Blessing to you!