Friday, June 20, 2008


The current fluctuations in our still-growing economy do not make for another Great Depression, by any means (via The Best of the Web by James Taranto):
No Starbucks in Hooverville

How dire is America's economy? The Associated Press reports on how our countrymen are suffering:

"For Michelle Hovis, that means refilling her husband's used soda container from a 2-liter bottle she buys on sale for 98 cents. She tweaked his daily habit of buying a 20-ounce bottle when the price crept up to $1.39."
For shame. And then there's this:
And this isn't the worst of it: "Taxis, mocha lattes and sports cable packages aren't even options for those who are suddenly out of a job."
They were not an option for me, either, in the days leading up to seminary. They aren't now either. In fact, they never really should have been. They are all "treats."

I don't deny that there are plenty of folks experiencing economic hardship. There always are, but having to cut back on $4 lattes is frankly just an exercise in self-control, which is character trait generally in short supply in an economy and culture like ours.

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Monday, June 16, 2008


After months of prayer and discernment, I am excited to announced that God has called us to Jackson, Minnesota. It is there that I will be ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament and then installed as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church. The call was extended on June 8th, and I have not posted about it until now in order to give due notice to the congregation I currently serve in Portland, Texas. Our last day here will be July 31. After that, we'll be spending a couple of weeks moving, followed by a couple of weeks of rest and a visit to our new niece.

Jackson is a wonderful community of about 3,500 souls located in the southwest corner of Minnesota. As it turns out, the church is within my wife Sara's presbytery of Minnesota Valleys. We are happy to be moving to a beautiful town that is only an hour's drive east of Sara's parents, who live in nearby Luverne, Minnesota.

Here's a high-level map of the town:

View Larger Map

First Presbyterian Church is a small congregation of about 180+ members from all walks of life. Here's a picture of the congregation's building:

If you look carefully, you will see a bit of the two-story classroom building behind the church. The church office is there, as well as the primary conference room. The classroom building has a tremendous amount of potential. The rooms within are quite large can be easily customized as required for different events and activities. One of the rooms is devoted to food storage for a pantry mission program that operates throughout the week. The church also operates a community Clothes Closet for the in the same space.

Here's the sanctuary interior with its nifty curved pews:

A picture of Sara and me right after the congregational vote:

Over the next several days, I'm going to share with you how the Holy Spirit convinced us that this was God's call. I'll also speak more extensively about the lovely community of Jackson.

For all of you who have been along side me during this process, and who have prayed for God's will to be done, thank you. Your support and prayers have been a tremendous source of encouragement and strength for both of us. And a special word of gratitude is due to my amazing wife, Sara, who has prayed, cried, and searched with me. What a tremendous blessing it is, indeed, to be given such grace as I have received from God in my wife, my best friend for life.

Before all of that, however, all praise, honor, and glory be to Almighty God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - for setting me, a wretched sinner, apart for such a task as this, which can only be undertaken by virtue of His strength, power, and love.