My son TJ is now about 17 months old (that’s almost 1.5 years for those of you who don’t have kids) and we were so excited about this Christmas.Â Amber and I held off on buying for each other to make sure we were able to get plenty for TJ — he’s still at the age where “the good stuff” is relatively inexpensive.Â
So we spent hours wrapping various gifts the last couple of days and had all these grandiose plans that he’d get to open some gifts on Christmas Eve and then the special stuff would be there today.
Instead, TJ was asleep by 7:30 last night.Â Not “napping” or taking a break — KNOCKED OUT!Â So ix-nay on the Christmas Eve gift opening.Â Then, today he did get the feel for ripping the paper off and opening stuff, but it took a while.Â Not to mention, he was very much focused on one gift at a time.Â All that to say this: he is again crashed and we still have gifts under the tree.
Please don’t misunderstand this as a complaint.Â We’ve spent the day trying to enjoy and savor every moment, because I have a sneaking feeling that this may be the last year for a laid back, take your time kind of Christmas.Â So we’ll open more presents tomorrow and just enjoy it while we can . . . . .
Here’s some photos: http://tommyduke.com/christmas/album/
I thought Sunday was an amazing day at Iron City Church.Â Here are some thoughts from the day:
- Our setup team is un-flipping-believable.Â I really think they get smoother and quicker every week.Â I also think one of the reasons for that is that I am doing less and less during the setup time, so they can save the time from having to go behind me and fix stuff.
- Amber and TJ (and Dena) got in a car accident this morning about 30 minutes before the service was going to start (see previous post).Â It was a rainy day in Pittsburgh and our car’s right rear quarterpanel now has the scars to prove it.Â Thankfully, no one was hurt.
- We had a full band on stage this morning.Â They really rocked the house with some updated Christmas faves.Â I will be stoked when we can gain a little more consistency in this area.Â If you play the drums or bass and live in the Pittsburgh area, shoot me an email, let’s talk….
- Jeff and I both announced this morning that the “little box” we put out for the last couple of weeks was filled by our peepsÂ with over $350 worth of gift cards and mass quantities of food that we gave to be distributed through North Hills Community Outreach.Â ICC peeps – now that I know what we’re capable of, just wait ’til ’08!
- Once I got over the shake-up of the car wreck and walking back in just in time for the service, I thought the message went well.Â I felt very comfortable and really had a great time sharing this morning.Â I wrapped up our Conspiracy series (from Isaiah 9:6-7), talking about Jesus’ role as our Prince of Peace.Â Good times.
- For those of you ICCers who have been out of town, be sure to check out the Iron City Church website to download the message MP3’s or you can subscribe to the ICC Message Podcast through iTunes.Â Here’s the link: http://www.ironcitychurch.com/downloads.html
- The crowd was low again (weather, illness, and holiday travel largely to blame), but I felt like the mood in the room was great.Â The church “conspired” to give a poinsettia to each family in attendance as a gift back for Christmas.Â
- I love Christmas, and the “holiday season” in general, but I’m just about ready for our people to get back in town.Â Next week is going to be another awesome Sunday with our Catalytic Pastor preaching a message called, “I Wish You An Unhappy New Year.”Â Don’t miss it!
- And don’t even get me started on what’s in store for 2008!Â The ‘Burgh had better hold on tight . . .
- Merry Christmas!
God is all about putting things in perspective and teaching meÂ on this church planting journey.Â Actually, just on the journey of following Christ He’s constantly teaching me things . . . if I’m listening and looking out for the lessons.
Today I had one of those lessons that I didn’t have to look very hard to find.Â I was milling around before church this morning, getting some things in order and – heads up for some pastoral honesty – worrying about HOW SMALL our crowd would be on a rainy, day before Christmas Eve Sunday morning in a 4 month old church.Â That was the extent of my worries – how many and which people would be there for the service – until Jeff caught me in the lobby and said “I thought you were already on your way!Â Here’s the diaper bag and my keys, take my truck, Amber’s been in an accident!”
Talk about a total shift in focus.
After a few seconds of Jeff briefing me about where they were and what they needed, I jumped in his truck and headed for the scene of the wreck.Â No longer were my prayers wrapped around who God would send to ICC for the morning service or how the music would sound or if I’d done enough sermon prep this week.Â My wife and son (and another good friend of ours) had been in an accident and that was my total focus.
About halfway to the scene I collected wildly running mind enough to spend a few moments in prayer before I pulled up.Â Thankfully, everyone was fine and the car now has a slight “badge of honor,”Â but it was a lesson in priorities.Â And it was a lesson in something else.Â
I was sharing a message this morning about how Jesus serves as our “Prince Of Peace,”Â and He spent the morning reminding me of how often I fail to allow His peace to reign in my life.Â As backwards as it sounds, I really think there are times when I would rather wallow in a pity party or let myself be worked into a frenzy than to live the victorious life I have available in Jesus – a life complete with a peace that “transcends all understanding.”
God help me to make a concerted effort to hand over my troubles and worries to you and let the Prince of Peace reign in every area of my life