Because of the goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have the privilege of enjoying special times of remembrance, worship, and celebration with our families this month. Today, more than ever, I am so grateful for my family and recognize each member as a gift from the Lord. Terrie and I will celebrate twenty-nine years of marriage this month. She has been a constant source of encouragement, counsel, and help in my life. She is such a wonderful help meet and a fantastic pastor’s wife!
Five weeks ago our oldest daughter Danielle and her husband Peter gave us our first grandchild—Camden Matthew! Although we have not been able to spend as much time with Camden as we would have liked during his first few weeks on this planet, we are already enamored with him and are so thankful for him. Peter and Danielle serve God with such zeal and love, and I am so thankful for their testimonies.
Our daughter Kristine and her husband Jon are also specially used of the Lord in my heart and in the lives of our family. Kristine has a giving love for people and an enthusiastic joy in serving the Lord. Jon is an excellent teacher, coach, and an encourager of young people in our ministry. It is a joy to watch them serve.
Our son Matthew is finishing his junior year here at West Coast Baptist College. Matthew’s growth in the Lord, interest in the ministry, and expository preaching have been such a tremendous blessing in my life over the last several months.
Then, of course, today I am so thankful for our son Larry and his dear wife Ashley. We look forward to every moment with them during the coming Christmas season. Larry is our oldest son, and, although he is only twenty-five, I am constantly learning from him and being challenged by his insightful comments. I have especially been humbled by Larry and the way he has been teaching me through the course of this battle with cancer. There are three things in particular that I admire about Larry:
- The grace of God in his life. Larry has an even temperament, and it is the result of the Spirit’s control and work in his life.
- Love. Larry has always been a loving and kind person. He does not seek out friendships based upon what they provide for him, but he is often delighted in finding people who simply need an expression of God’s love through him. I remember several Christmases ago when, as a bus captain, Larry spent his entire Christmas bonus to buy pumpkin pies for his bus kids. Just a few weeks ago, I recall Larry bringing kids from his public school Bible club to a West Coast Baptist College basketball game and treating them to dinner. Some of Larry’s closest friends are people who come from difficult and broken backgrounds, yet he delights in loving them and encouraging them. I admire Larry for his Christ-like compassion.
- Wisdom. When I am facing tough decisions or handling difficult church matters, I am amazed at how Larry often sheds wisdom on the subject. One of Larry’s closest friends is our Lancaster city mayor, who often tried to keep Larry in his law firm during Larry’s college years. He has said to me many times that Larry has the ability to see situations from various angles that help in making wise decisions. I value this in our family and in the ministry of Lancaster Baptist Church.
Yesterday, as Dr. David Gibbs was with Larry and me, he commented, “Larry, you are in God’s graduate school. I truly believe God has a plan through all of this.” I agree with Dr. Gibbs that He is working even now in Larry’s life.
This month will be somewhat different for our family, as we await a very serious and needful surgery for Larry. On behalf of our family, we ask you to remember Larry in your prayers throughout the day, many times in the coming weeks. We have received a diagnosis from the doctor, and we are thankful that Larry’s prognosis for recovery is very good. The pathway, medically, will be difficult, yet we are trusting in the Lord and humbly asking for the prayers of God’s people. Thank you for your prayers and concern for our family.
We wish you and yours the very best as we walk with our Saviour who was born in Bethlehem as God’s gift to the World.