Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Ridge Road Wesleyan!

The snow is softly falling upon my window sill and the weather people are telling me that more snow may be in the forecast for the days leading up to the celebration of our Savior’s birth.

We are nearing the six month mark since we crossed the mountain to become a part of your family. These months have been rich as we have gotten to know you and have served as your leaders, shepherds, and friends. The relationship that is being formed between us is from God, as He most certainly led us here, and He has been active in melding our hearts to beat as one for our church, the lost of our community and the millions of souls around the globe who right now live without the knowledge of why we’re celebrating Christmas or the significance of the manger in tiny Bethlehem. It is for them that we give our hearts and lives in communicating God’s love during this wonderful season of the year and it is for you that we labor tirelessly so that we might present you as spiritually mature followers of the Lamb before whose throne we all will one day stand.

These six months have been full of focused activity as we have sought and found God’s Mission and Vision for our church and as we have begun to embrace the five Core Values that guide us in the activities that fill our church calendar. We are sharing our faith more, we are inviting more, we are giving more, we are creating more, and we love one another more. All this so that Jesus will be seen in us, and that through us, He will touch Queensbury and beyond with His love. Thank you for all you’re doing to make our church a spiritual haven for everyone around us.

We will not be traveling this Christmas season. Rosalie is now a permanence resident of these United States and we would rather jump off Glens Falls Bridge in a straight jacket than travel to Canada again so soon. Our daughter, Naomi, will be with us from December 23-26th and we will thrill to spend time with her. Ryan and Sarah and baby Michal will be in Canada for Christmas as he is pastoring in Hartland, NB, and cannot get away. They will be flying out to Seattle in January to see his parents and to introduce our granddaughter to his side of the family. Dad and Nan will be with us Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and we’ll gather with other family members for dinner on the 25th.

For a man who spends his days and nights communicating with words, I find a lump in my throat as I try to find just the right words to share with you my deep and abiding love for what God has given us at Ridge Road. Your many thoughtful remembrances, your cards, your kind words of appreciation, and the hours we spend interacting with one another in ministry has made you much more than a congregation or job assignment to me. You are my brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and fathers, and friends - all because of the faith given us by God’s Holy Spirit that is being strengthened by the many experiences we’re sharing together in life. You are my joy this Christmas season and I am honored to be called “Pastor!”.

A Very Merry Christmas to You,

Pastor Dean and Rosalie Brown

Ridge Road Church: A Spiritual Haven in Queensbury and Beyond!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

7 Things You Don't Know About Me

I was surfing the internet tonight and came across a blog post with this title in the subject line. Thought I'd give it a try, too!

1. I really wanted to be a physician when I was a kid and read every single book I could get my hands on on medicine and how to become a doctor.

2. I sleep with my right hand underneath my pillow to prop up my head. Always have!

3. One of my favorite places/pastimes on earth is walking the beach at Whale Cove on Grand Manan Island and sensing how powerful God is and how small I am compared to the Bay of Fundy that stretches out before me.

4. I feel very close to my Creator when I sing this part of a familiar chorus:

Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down.
Here I am to say that You're my God.
You're altogether Lovely,
Altogether Worthy,
Altogether Wonderful to me.

5. I will cry in the car while driving alone whenever I think about my daughters, and how much I love them, and how grateful I am to God for their faith and trust in His saving grace shared at Calvary.

6. My father is still my hero - yep, after all these years!

7. I hold my breath and pray whenever I take off or land in an airplane. I'm really not afraid for me - but for the souls of the people who are on the plane with me. I wonder where they would spend eternity if something unfortunate happened to us.

There you have it. Did you know about any of these things before you read this post?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wake Up!

As is often the case, the first few minutes of my spiritual reflection time each morning is overshadowed by the feeling of being half asleep. I read scripture, pray, and then wait for the fog to lift.

This morning was no exception. The bed was warm, the morning still, and only the sound of the heating pipes expanding and contracting in the house told me that I was even awake. I pulled myself out of bed, got dressed, and turned on my Mac to look up for my online Bible. Here's what I read this morning:

"To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[b]of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."
(Rev. 3: 1-3)

Like a fisherman sailing on the ocean in the early hours of the morning in thick fog, I peered into this passage not really expecting to suddenly see a battleship message bearing down on my spiritual settledness, interrupting my quiet morning. But there it was: "Wake up!" (v. 2).

I don't know about you, but I have a good life. God has blessed me with so much and that feeling of being loved and cared for by my Creator sometimes make me a little lazy spiritually. I'm like POTUS who knows that Secret Service personnel are caring for my security and so I don't need to worry about spiritual hit squads trying to take me out of the God Game. This too often makes me sluggish and almost half-hearted about my pursuit of godliness. I don't like that about me.

So this morning served as a (ahem) "Wake Up!" call to re-engage with the Spirit and become fully focused on the things in my life that must matter most.

How about you? Are you awake yet?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Catch-up Day in My World

I've been away ten days so you can imagine the backlog of things left undone over that time period. So today has been a full day of catch-up for me:

*Process mail with administrative staff
*Email glaore
*30 phone calls to catch up with people I've not spoken to since going away
*Several Meetings
*Processing my Projects and Next Actions Lists
*Gearing up for the weekend that will be FULL of activity!
*Printing and processing Mission, Vision and Core Values work I did while on vacation and adding my Horizons of Focus to my planner for review and reference
*My joy today was interacting with a number of our senior citizens by phone. They have their own unique challenges, you know, and a call and a work of encouragement goes a long way!

I've been at it for about nine hours now so I'm going to take some me time to balance out a busy, Quadrant I-II day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 10 - We're Home!

I walked to the mail today to see if the immigration papers had arrived - no luck there! We decided to go out for breakfast before I left to drive the 12 hour trip alone. On our way out, we saw someone walking to the mail box. Could the mail have come in the few minutes we were at the house? I stopped, Ro checked the mail, and the papers from Montreal were there. Yes!!!!!!!!!

We left immediately for the border, she was processed within an hour, and we were on our way - I had a permanent US resident in my car for the first time!

It's now late, we're very weary after the long trip, but relieved that she is finally home for good. Thank God and thank you for your prayers for us. They made the difference!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 9 - Last Day in Canada

Today's weather has been the topic of conversation thus far: sunny and warm, then a freakish hail storm, then blue sky, then dark sky, then red sky, and then windy. Weird!

Rosalie and Ryan went to the postal box this morning - no papers! So I've decided to wait until tomorrow's mail (10 am). If her paper's arrive, we both head for home, traveling the entire way in one day. If her papers do not arrive, then I'll be making the journey alone. Whatever!

Looking foward to getting home on Thursday.

So today I'm doing sermon work, processing emails, and basically trying to get work done as I'll be a day behind and will need to hit my office seat on Thursday ready to fly.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 8

Spent a good part of my day with Mum, who is THE greatest mother-in-law a guy could have. We traveled to Grand-Sault to shop. Visited the mall there, too, which was small but well put-together, for sure.

At Wal-Mart, I wandered around while the girls shopped. I had people from the area watching me closely as I was obviously "from away". One fellow was particularly intrugued and kept passing by and staring at me to see who I might be. I later realized that my car, with NY Firefighter plates attached, was probably the reason for the attention!

No mail for us today - TOMORROW??