What’s New?

July has been a very different month.  I have just returned from two weeks of vacation.  This week will be devoted to concentrated study before I return to work on August 1.  So what’s new?

What’s new?–vacation 

We had a great time!   Charlotte and I enjoyed a week of being together with our daughters and son-in-law in the Smokie Mountains.  My favorite part of that trip (besides just being together) was white water rafting on the lower Ocoee River with a wonderful guide.  I am ready to go back.

What’s new?–reading 

During the last few two months, I have read:

I am still working on a wonderful book by Tim Russert, Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons.   Russert’s book is funny, sad, and on occasion leaves me with a lump in my throat.  A good read!

What’s new?–software 

I have begun using Visual Mind.  This is a piece of software that enables a person to "mind map" or visualize what you are thinking.  This software originates from Norway.  I have been using this tool quite often during the past two months. 

What’s new?–messages 

In August, I plan to preach through much of the Gospel of Mark.  Yes, I have preached most of Mark before.  However, I am reading it afresh and have really enjoyed thinking through Mark’s message.  In particular, I am thinking about his message regarding discipleship and its implications for today.  Soon, I will also begin a new series on prayer in a class I teach on Wednesday evenings.

What’s new?–prayer 

Each morning during July, I have been reading from Phyllis Tickle’s prayer book, The Divine Hours.  I have found these daily readings to be such a helpful discipline.  In particular, I like this line from "The Concluding Prayer of the Church." (Read each morning).  "…Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity…"

What’s new?–odds and ends

Last week, I enjoyed a tour through a furniture manufacturing plant in  Mississippi.  (Owned by a long time friend).  I came away with a greater appreciation for factory workers who do their work with great skill and speed. 

A few weeks ago, I spent some time in a Greek Orthodox bookstore in Dallas.  Very interesting.

Had good conversations recently with three people who stretch my thinking.  For many years, I have been blessed by conversations with ministers, business people, etc. who will allow me to ask questions regarding a variety of subjects.  These lunches, coffees, etc. have been so helpful.

Finally, it was so good to see long time friends this past week.  Yesterday, our family went to the Cross Point Church of Christ in Florence, Alabama where we saw a number of people who were a part of the church I served years ago in that same city.  It was so good to see these people.

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6 thoughts on “What’s New?

  1. Jim I am delighted you had a refreshing vacation. Sometimes that is just what the Doctor ordered.

    My family has gone downt he Ocoee river too and it is challenging. Phyllis Tickle is a favorit author of mine and I know you are being blessed by her.

    Thank you for reading my blog when there are so many good ones out there.

    Bobby Valentine

  2. Ocoee River brings back a lot of memories. We’ve done that one a couple of times. Vacations are wonderful, but I always enjoy coming back to the “normalcy” of life. Besides, for years our “vacation” has been going back to AL to visit with family and honestly, that ain’t a vacation!

  3. Greg,
    You are right. Going to see family (as good as that may be) is not quite vacation. We have tried to do both in recent years and probably enjoy both vacation and family more as a result.