Friday, December 30, 2005

Goodbye 2005!

I know there's still a little more than a day left in 2005, but I am so ready for this year to be gone. On the other hand, if current trends hold, I'm not sure I'm ready for 2006. Since 2003 it seems that each successive year has been worse than the previous one. But at some point things have to turn around (I hope), so here's to 2006!

Here's a list of some of the bad things that happened in 2005:

  1. My wife lost her job toward the end of June, and she still has not found anything permanent. This has been a major problem because she has been the primary breadwinner in our family. (I didn't become a pastor because of the pay!)
  2. We dealt with car problems most of the summer. From July until September, the alternator belt on my wife's car kept breaking (once while traveling on the interstate). I'll spare you the details, but her car was out of commission most of this time and we had to take my car everywhere. Unfortunately, the A/C in my car doesn't work (why does my wife never have car problems in cool weather?), and the front passenger seat belt doesn't work (it's one of those automatic seat belts), so one of us had to ride in the back seat while the other drove. Her car also had a flat tire about 30 miles outside of town, and the jack was rusted shut. Of course the tire was shot and had to be replaced.
  3. Our computer died in July. Thanks to a timely insurance settlement check from a car accident in 2004, we were able to get a brand new computer. Had we known that my wife would still not have a job after six months, we might have skipped the computer or bought a cheap piece of junk.
  4. Our church's children's ministry went from thriving to dead almost overnight. The lady who brought most of the children decided that she could no longer attend services at two different churches on Sunday mornings, so she stopped attending ours to keep attending the one on the other side of town (even though her membership is in our church). In fairness to her, I probably would have chosen the other church as well, except I like our pastor better. ;-) Our children's director has offered to pick the children up (they didn't go to the other church with her), but they will not come with anyone except her. Then at this same time, the couple who brought the other children in our group (again, not their children) stopped attending our church to attend the same church as the other lady.
  5. The color on our TV messed up. The picture has a slight greenish cast, and blue doesn't come in. Watching the Colts-Steelers game a few weeks ago, the Colts jerseys looked burgundy.
  6. My wife's uncle died. He was the only one on her dad's side that the family was really close to, and his death was sudden. My wife had the extra burden of having to help her sister and brother-in-law with the estate. I was asked to read Scripture and pray at the funeral, then on the way to the cemetery the guy who preached the funeral asked me to do the graveside service. I had never done anything like that at a funeral; actually, I'd never even been to many funerals. So that was some unexpected stress.
  7. My wife has dealt with tightness in her throat since late 1998, but this year it got really bad. In the past doctors had not been able to figure out what it was, but now going to the doctor is out of the question financially. Then just about the time it started to ease up, her teeth began hurting.
  8. The sports world has been a disaster. The year started with the Steelers losing in the playoffs, then both the WKU men's and women's basketball teams lost in the Sun Belt tournament, the Lady Vols lost in the Final Four, the Braves choked in the playoffs again, the Titans were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention at the start of training camp, Tennessee didn't go to a bowl game, WKU missed the I-AA playoffs despite two stints at #1 in the polls, Vanderbilt missed out on a bowl game (despite beating Tennessee) because they lost to MTSU and Kentucky, and the Steelers let Cincinnati win the division!

Despite all these things, 2005 has not been a total disaster. Some good things have happened as well:

  1. We've had a real opportunity to experience the providence of God for an extended period of time. We've not missed paying any bills, we haven't had to do without any necessities, and we were still able to buy Christmas presents and a few extras along the way. We truly do serve a good and gracious God!
  2. My style and delivery in preaching finally reached a level that I am happy with. I now feel that I can engage people and not just lecture to them. Now if I could just learn to articulate clearly.
  3. We successfully rebuilt our relationship with a couple of good friends who had become upset with us about a year earlier as a result of poor communication. I had the privilege of officiating at their wedding this summer, and we are closer than ever before.
  4. Another Star Wars movie came out. I believe Revenge of the Sith was the best of all the Star Wars movies. And I also got all six movies on DVD for Christmas!
  5. We got a new computer. Now I don't get kicked offline every other minute!
  6. I discovered the world of blogging. I have met some wonderful people in the blogosphere (some of them in real life also), I have been challenged to think in new ways, and I have become more involved in matters that extend beyond the walls of my church. Now if I can just figure out a way to get more people to read my blog. . .

So overall, 2005 will not go down as one of the best years in my life; in fact, it will join 2004 near the bottom of the list. But I'm cautiously optimistic that 2006 will finish in the top 5.


Kiki Cherry said...

Hmmm....sounds like God may be freeing you up to call you out. : ) I know a great place you could go, especially since you are already a Steelers fan!!!!! : )

(Hey, I'm okay with shameless begging. We desperately need good pastors and some strong churches up here. We personally haven't found a place to settle yet, after two years!!! One of the main problems is that we are looking for a place that teaches the Bible (not seeker-friendly Christianity) and also takes the spiritual development of our kids seriously.)

One note--we like raising our support. After we got over the shock of having NO salary, we realized that Mission Service Corps is actually a great way to go. Raising support is not so bad. And the amount you raise is based on a worksheet that even takes cost of living into consideration. So we have not had to struggle at all financially.

But the thing we love most is our team of ministry partners. They have been an amazing blessing! We get emails, letters, phone calls and encouragement often, and they are constantly in tune with what is going on here in the ministry. They really PRAY for us, too, and for our students.

Just something to consider....... : )

By the way--the most incredible book I've read in a long time about Children's ministry is by Kathleen Chapman. It's called "Teaching Kids Authentic Worship: How to Keep Them Close to God for Life."

Another good Bible Study resource is Kay Arthur's "Discover 4 yourself" series for kids. It teaches them how to do inductive Bible Study. Great Stuff!!!! You can order them from her Precepts site, or even from Amazon.

There is also a really good kid's study on the names of God from (John Piper's stuff for kids.)

And some of the best worship music I've come across is from Sovreign Grace Music at

Also, for character development I would recommend the "FamilyWise" series, which comes in a kit and is easy for parents to use with their children.

And for leadership development, the best book I've found is Dr. Tim Elmore's "Nurturing the Leader Within Your Child."

Sorry to talk your eyes off. I'm kinda passionate about children's ministry.

Tim Sweatman said...


Thanks for the list of books and web sites! I'm always looking for good ministry resources.

I'm emailing you the rest of my response.

Kevin Bussey said...


I can relate to your year. I pray things go top 5 or better this year.