Monthly Archives: December 2019

Will the Church of the Nazarene Survive the Next Decade? Part II: A few Suggestions

I don’t want to be “that guy” who lists the problems (my previous blog) and offers no solutions. If the last post was the “gloom,” then think of this post as ways the Church of the Nazarene might avoid the “doom.” Here is my offering of what the Church can do to stave off the coming storm of less USA/Canada dollars to fund the global mission of the church.

Strengthen the local church. The local USA/Canada church is the backbone of the global mission funding (USA/Canada accounts for 94% of the funding of the global church). Everything rises and falls with the local church. If USA/Canada churches die, so will the global funding. Hence, the local USA/Canada churches need to be strengthened. Each church should have a mission strategy to reach its community. Instead of reporting what has happened in the past year, it is more critical that churches report a strategy for the future. Have they identified people they are going to reach with the gospel? How will they reach them? How can they be the best neighbors in their community and how will they be relevant to this generation? District Assemblies need to be constructed to strategize for the future, not memorialize the past.  District Superintendents will need to be more like Mission Strategy Coordinators and less like keepers of the status quo.

In a reversal of the local church trend of the ’80s and ’90s to sell off parsonages, districts should start buying parsonages. Use the sale of closed churches to buy homes (in small towns and rural areas) and apartments (in congested cities) then raise up an army of bi-vocational pastors who will live and serve rent free planting house churches. The 2030 USA/Canada church needs to have 1000 new house churches if we are going to survive. We need a House Church Revolution. Some of these house churches will fail, but many won’t. Ecclesiastical entrepreneurship should be encouraged (too often I’ve seen the opposite).

Greatly ramp up and invest in the on-line offerings of the Nazarene Bible College. Ecclesiastical entrepreneurship’s biggest short coming is theological confusion. So we will need to train these kingdom-building pastors to be Nazarenes.  Reduce the tuition and increase the advertising budget of NBC. Our traditional colleges could offer a no cost option to those going into pastoral ministry (possibly a 10% elimination of school debt for each year of ministerial service). If the emphasis will be on house churches in rural and urban areas, then we will need a low cost (no cost) option for those ministers-in-training, who are planting a house church and working another job.

Maintain a clear theological identity. Specifically, don’t change a word in Article 4 on the Holy Scriptures (we are not fundamentalists), but there is a need to re-write Article 10 on sanctification to a more readable, understandable and teachable statement. The message of Holiness is more needed today than ever. Our preachers need to preach it. Our people need to be empowered with the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It’s remembering who and why we are Nazarenes.

More international missionaries to the USA/Canada. An area of growth in the USA/Canada is cross-cultural ministries. Every district should have a cross-cultural ministries director and every district should subsidize (while it still can) cross cultural ministries/missionaries. The “browning” of America means the church should invest heavily in cross cultural ministries and pray in greater measure to reach the various ethnic groups represented on each district.

Emphasize the Nazarene Foundation. While the generous boomer generation is contemplating leaving a legacy and continuing the mission of God after they have been promoted to glory, the Nazarene Foundation is a necessary piece in maintaining our viability.  Even as members become a part of the Church Triumphant, their generosity in such a time as this may be vital in sustaining the church through the upcoming decadal challenges.

Reduce the General Superintendents’ travel schedule (i.e. making the GS presence at USA/Canada district assemblies biennial—like it is for the other regions). Allow the BGS to have more time for prayer, vision casting, donor generation and leadership development and less dollars and energy spent on the GS’s presence at every assembly and church anniversary potluck.

Most importantly, churches across the USA/Canada region (and the world, really) need to be in prayer. Pray like never before. The USA/Canada church clearly needs reviving—not simply for the spiritual well-being in North America, but for the good of the global church.

The coming decade will be by far the most challenging decade in the history of the Church of the Nazarene. Sticking our collective head in the sand is not the answer. Like when the weather channel predicts a major storm and people make necessary preparations, we too in the Church of the Nazarene, need to prepare for the coming storm. We must take a serious look at our failures in the past, the financial apocalypse that awaits us in the future if we do nothing and move on to greater efforts to build a strong USA/Canada church which can then bless our global brothers and sisters.

The Church was Jesus idea. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. The Church will move on in 2030 (if our Lord hasn’t returned). The question is will the Church of the Nazarene as it is currently configured have a viable voice in 2030?



Will the Church of the Nazarene survive the Next Decade? Part I: The Challenges

The upcoming decade could be a make or break decade for the Church of the Nazarene. 94% of the funding for the Church of the Nazarene comes from the USA/Canada church, but that region is in decline. As we move into the 2020’s, here’s my attempt to predict the future state of the Church of the Nazarene (Hint: It’s not pretty).

Disclaimers before reading:

  1. I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet. Unlike Amos, I am not even a fig grower.
  2. The new and improved (in many ways) Nazarene website has removed (or at least, I couldn’t find much of the) past statistical information– which greatly hindered some of this analysis.
  3. I am bad at predicting things. i.e. Every year I predict the Lions to win the Super Bowl. In other words, take the following for what it’s worth.

To understand and predict where the church will be in 2030, one must understand the current reality.

Pastors are old and getting older. In 2016, the Pensions and Benevolence Office published a graph relating to the age of the Nazarene Pastors Age in the USA. It listed 4,155 pastors (clearly there are more ordained and licensed ministers in the USA than 4155, so I am not exactly sure how this number was ascertained.). Of those pastors listed in in the P&B report, by 2030, 2,242 will be above the age of 65 (54%). Some of those ministers will still be preaching in 2030, but many, many will have retired or gone to their eternal reward.

Churches are smaller and giving is down. In the last decade, per capita giving is down in the USA church by 3.1% and attendance is down 5.8%. It appears that we are on the downside of a slippery slope. The numbers will accelerate as more churches close and members die off. In fact, the 2020 report may look rosy compared to the coming numbers in 2030. In other words, the situation is more critical than the current numbers indicate.

The church isn’t just getting smaller and giving less, look around any District Assembly in the Church of the Nazarene and you will determine it’s not just the pastors who are getting older. The church is full of old people. The greying and dying off of the faithful members of the 2010-2020 church, will greatly impact the 2030 church.

Many churches will close by 2030. A quick perusal and an educated guess of my district’s churches (Eastern Michigan District) would indicate that possibly half of the churches will be closed or on serious life support by the end of the next decade if nothing changes. I don’t think my district is atypical.

Closing Churches will help the clergy ageing crisis. Less churches means less pastors are needed to fill those churches. But the closing of churches will also affect the district budgets and more directly general church funding (WEF).

Districts will survive the next decade, only because the monies produced by the selling off the properties of the closed churches goes into the districts coffers. Giving to the general church will see a sharp decline (they don’t get monies sold off of real estate).

With less money from apportionments; less students in the marketplace; less loyalty of Nazarene students attending Nazarene institutions; a changing culture regarding Christian education; and the strong possibility of the changing of federal funding to Christian institutions, it would not be surprising if two or three of the Nazarene Universities in USA/Canada will not survive the next decade.

As the USA/Canada church shrinks, there will be a drastic reduction in general church giving (WEF) from USA/Canada (again 94% of the Church of the Nazarene comes from USA/Canada). This will mean drastic global changes will be necessary such as:

  • Less missionaries.
  • Five year General Assemblies (or General Assemblies done with video conferencing and electronic voting on the regions instead of gathering in one location).
  • Less travel for the General Superintendents and others
  • A leaner GMC staff from their already reduced staffing.
  • With reduced staffing and support available, the selling of the currently two thirds full GMC building and using the funds to sustain critical ministries.
  • Less monies available for the global regions, will mean less education institutions globally, less support for other projects and less funding for compassionate ministries. In other words, the regions will need to learn to survive with much less WEF funds available.

With the decline of the USA/Canada Church, the global Church of the Nazarene will face greater challenges than at any time in our history. I don’t want to be “that guy” that points out the problems and offers no help. In tomorrow’s blog, I will offer some possible solutions to help stave off the coming storm.



Hey Christians– the Most Important Bible Verse this week of Christmas is not what you think.

For those of us who will be seeing non believing family and friends this week at Christmas gatherings, our key verse should not be one the familiar Christmas passages, but 1 Peter 3:15. Some in our family might not know the Good News deep in their hearts. There will be plenty of people gathering caught up in the heated, divisive rhetoric of the day. Some will have no hope that things will get better. There will be those suffering from life circumstances. Others discouraged over so many things.  Hence for this week of family gatherings and seeing relatives you haven’t seen since last Christmas– 1 Peter 3:15 should be on all of hearts!

What does 1 Peter 3:15 say?  Glad you asked. Here it is: But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

Let’s be prepared to share the reason for our hope! But do so as Peter instructs with gentleness (Nothing argumentative. Don’t hit anyone over the head with your Bible) and respect– even if they disagree they need to leave the conversation knowing that you deeply love them.

May God bless you as you are prepared and are ready to share the reason for the hope that we have in Christ!

Crunching the 2019 Statistics in the Church of the Nazarene

Last week General Secretary of the Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Gary Hartke, released the denominational statistics for 2019. The report seen ( here ) glowed with the numbers– telling of the Church of the Nazarene’s increased membership among other things. But let’s crunch those numbers a little bit:

Good News: Membership is up! 2,616,741 (2019) from 2,579,243 (2018) an increase of 37,498 or a 1.45% and an increase of 34.5% since 2009. Praise the Lord!

Bad News: Membership in the USA/Canada region in down. From 628,339 to 621,278, a loss of 7,061 or 1.12%. Only USA/Canada and South America saw declines last year, and only USA/Canada has had a decline over the last decade (down 5.8%).

Good News: Average worship attendance is up. Hallelujah!

Bad News (maybe, could be, probably bad news): The Average worship attendance (unlike Membership numbers) was not given by region. The Average worship attendance increase is slightly lower than the membership increase (1.12% over 1.01%). It seems logical then that there would be similar attendance increases and declines in the regions. In other words, the USA Average Worship Attendance is probably down (and may be down significantly).

Good News: The number of professions of faith for 2019 was 111,777. The Bible says: “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10). So, if there is rejoicing over one sinner, then clearly there is much rejoicing over 111,777 professions of faith in 2019! Thank the Lord for the work of the church worldwide!

Bad News: The number of profession of faiths are down from the previous year (down 7,057 or 5.94% and down 19.14% for the decade). The number of new Nazarenes is also down (down 5.6% and down 16.24% for the decade). In other words, our mission to make Christ-like Disciples in the Nations is doing worse not better.

Good News: 72.4 percent of the churches reporting gave all or some support to the World Evangelism Fund.

Bad News: Key word in the above statement is “reporting.” The stated number of churches reporting was 20,409 churches, but there are 30,875 churches. Assuming that if churches do not take the time to report, are probably not taking the time to give to the WEF– the more accurate numbers of all the churches might look like this:
Churches paid in full: 23.3%
Churches that paid some of WEF: 24.5%
Churches that paid nothing to WEF: 52.3% (numbers are not exact because of rounding up)

Good News: USA/Canada Per Capita giving is $1,233.33 (up from $1,226.51 or an increase of 0.56%).

Bad News: Throughout the rest of the world the per capita giving varies from a low of $13.99 in Africa to a high of $232.22 (Asia-Pacific). Per capita giving in the USA/Canada is $1000 more than the next highest giving region and $1219 higher than Africa the largest region in the world. In other words, USA/Canada continues to fund the majority of the ministry and work of the Church of the Nazarene worldwide.

Conclusion: Praise the Lord for the new converts. Praise the Lord for especially working in places like Eurasia and Africa. But all Nazarenes should be in deep prayer for the state of the church in USA/Canada. The USA/Canada church is aging fast– losing in membership and attendance. As the USA/Canada continues to age and die off, giving will also decline. Yet the global church is extremely dependent on “grandpa” USA/Canada for its funding. You don’t need to be a math major or an expert in gerontology to tell you once grandpa is dead, the money well is over. For the mission of the Church of the Nazarene to continue worldwide, the USA/Canada must be alive and vibrant. The numbers indicate that Nazarenes worldwide need to be praying for revival for the USA/Canada church. Without a reversal of the USA/Canada attendance numbers (and eventually giving numbers), the entire church will suffer and cease to operate as it currently operates.

A Christmas Eve Invite

This Sunday is my last ugly sweater wearing sermon for a long, long time. If you’ve been around Central Church this advent season, then you know I’ve been wearing an ugly sweater to illustrate the Ugly Side of Christmas. Now I know why I don’t preach in sweaters (ugly or otherwise), I get a little too warm. My options moving forward are either lose the sweater or lose the style in which I preach. If it’s OK with you, I’ll lose the sweater.


On Tuesday, Christmas Eve, we will be about as far removed from the Ugly Side of Christmas as one could possibly get. As we gather in the sanctuary with 1600 to 1800 of our closest friends, holding a candle and singing Silent Night, it will be an easy reminder of the beautiful side of Christmas. I’ve been telling people Central Church’s Christmas Eve Service is the most beautiful Christmas Eve service is town and our most beautiful service of the year. It’s true!

When Jesus was born in the little town of Bethlehem, there was plenty of ugly all around. The busy town’s people unaware of what was happening in stable nearby, the sights and smells of a barnyard birth and soon Herod’s genocidal efforts—nothing would indicate that the world as we had known it was forever changing. God had come. He made his dwelling among us. Angels lit up the sky with majestic announcements, but (except for a few shepherds) nearly everyone missed the world’s most beautiful night.

There is plenty of ugliness in our world too. Watch the news out of Washington, Hong Kong, North Korea, the Middle East, along our southern border or so many other troubled places and you’ll see the ugliness and filled with despair. You might not have to look that far away. It may be that your world has been less than beautiful lately. Sometimes, it doesn’t take a lot to completely mess up the beauty of God’s hopes for you and your family.

That’s why our Christmas Eve Service is so important for you, your friends and family! Don’t miss it. In the glow of the candlelight, you will be able to remember that God has an answer to our world’s ugliness. There is hope! His answer is Jesus. As we gather Tuesday night, remembering the world’s original most beautiful night, we will also proclaim that no matter how ugly the world might seem, God steps in and makes “beauty from ashes” like he did on that silent night so long ago.

I love our Christmas Eve service. Please plan on coming. Bring the whole family. Invite everyone you know. Use social media. Text your friends. Tell your neighbors. Invite the cashiers, mail carriers and folks standing behind you in line. The neighbor’s dog (Ok you don’t need to invite the neighbor’s dog. Sorry Fido). But everyone else. You will be glad you invited them and you’ll be glad to be a part of the most beautiful Christmas this year!

Can Anything be Learned from the Growth Patterns of the Largest Nazarene Churches?

The list of the Top 100 USA/Canada Churches of the Nazarene in attendance over the last 20 years reveal the ups and downs of church life. (see stats below. I apologize for the uneven rows).

Only four of 1999’s top ten churches in attendance are in the 2019 top ten (Grove City, OH, Pismo Beach CA New Life, Bethany OK First and Lima OH Community Church). Three of those in the 1999 top ten now rank 52nd, 59th and 69th respectively. In 2009, there were seven Nazarene churches that averaged over 2,000 and one over 3,000 in morning worship attendance. Today, there are no Nazarene churches averaging over 3,000 in attendance and only four average over 2,000. Of those seven churches that averaged over 2,000 in 2009, one left the denomination and only two currently average over 2,000, both of which have declined in attendance.*

In 2009, there were 18 churches of the Nazarene over 1,000. In 2009, the number had nearly doubled to 35, but in the last 10 years the number of churches over 1000 has shrunk back to 25. Of the 35 churches that were running over 1,000 in 2009, 46% (16) are no longer averaging over 1,000 in attendance. Of the 18 churches in 1999 that averaged over 1000, seven no longer do.

That’s the bad news, here is some better news: Today’s largest USA/Canada Church (Lakeland FL Highland Park) was ranked 13th 10 years ago. In 1999, this year’s 5th ranked (Crossroads Community in Goshen, IN) and 10th ranked (Crossbridge Community, Ottawa IL) churches weren’t in the top 100 and the 6th ranked church (Oro Valley, AZ) was #97. 2019’s second largest Nazarene church (Fargo ND Prairie Heights) wasn’t in existence 20 years ago. While church attendance is down across the board in all denominations, there are churches that are growing, strong and healthy.

Are there any conclusions from these numbers? Some churches grow. Some decline. Some stay about the same. You already knew that. We also know growth or decline isn’t always an indicator of health. Like you’ve heard in every District Assembly at some point, “Numbers don’t tell the whole story.” But they do tell a story. Sometimes pruning (a slight decline) is needed for health and sometimes the least healthy can draw a crowd. There are several factors in determining the decline or growth in church attendance: Cultural shifts regarding church, declining or growing communities, older members dying off, younger generation not attending with the same consistency (if at all), leadership changes, social media impact, theological diversion in a church, etc. Every church’s decline or rise is as unique as their particular situation.

The real question is: What will happen in your setting large or small? When your kids or grandkids look at your church in twenty years what will they see? Will your church still be there? We need to pray, plan, strategize, develop healthy patterns and behaviors to ensure that our churches are thriving not just surviving or treading water in the years to come. It will take a renewal of relevant evangelism and a rekindling of the Spirit. Whatever your church situation (one of growth or decline), Jesus’ words are still true: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

*In full discloser, the church I currently pastor—Flint Central—had increased in attendance from 1999 to 2009 by 740, but declined from the 2009 to 2019 by 364. Flint Central was ranked 35th in attendance in 1999, 10th in 2009 and 13th in 2019.

Top Ten Attendance Churches in 1999
Church.                                          Att.             Members
Olathe KS College
                       2394.            2,739
Grove City OH
                             2242.            1,687
Bethany OK First
                        2,139            4,190
Denver CO First
                          2,066            3,048
Salem OR First
                            1,993           2,690
Pismo Beach CA New Life.         1,686              922
Community Lighthouse, OH
Inc./Heaventrain.                       1,546.             223
Nashville TN First.                     1,484             1,867
Puyallup WA                                1,475.            1,605
Lima OH Community.                1,468.            1,018

Top Ten Attendance Churches in 2009
Church.                                          Att.               Members
Grove City.                                    3,221.          2516
Bethany First
                               2,473           4771
Olathe College 
                             2449         3230
Yuba City Hope Point.                 2,251.           913
Pismo Beach New Life.               2,150.           855
Lima OH Community                 2,107.          1420
Gold Creek Community             2,003.          1739
Salem Fields Community          1,859.           871
Pasadena First
                             1794          1761
Flint Central                                 1,778.          1297

Top Ten Attendance Churches in 2019
Church                                       Att.           Members
Lakeland FL Highland Park.                2,572.            2158
Fargo ND Prairie Heights Community       2,313.             244
Grove City OH                                       2,289.            2876
Bethany OK First                                    2,166.            3695
Crossroads Community, Goshen IN.           1,834.            2500
Oro Valley
 AZ.                                     1,611.           1052
Pismo Beach CA New Life.                            1,578.             928
Lima OH Community.                                    1,532.           1454
Medford OR New Life                                    1,516.            1483
Crossbridge Community, Ottawa IL             1,511.             950

Thanks to Nazarene Research for the statistics (Uneven columns? Ugh! I am unsure how to correct the problem. Honestly I tried)

What person in the Christmas story (not including baby Jesus) do you have the most affinity?

I’d like to say, “I’d make a great Wise man.” A quick perusal of my high school science grades (the magi were astronomers) reveals magus (the singular of “magi” for those whose high school language arts grades weren’t so hot) wouldn’t be a good career choice for me.

Joseph doesn’t work either. Using tools and following directions are not my strong suits. Of course, Joseph excelled at those skills. My carpentry abilities are limited to an eighth-grade shop-class lopsided box. Moreover, I couldn’t find my way out of a one traffic light town like Otisville before GPS and turn by turn directions.

No way could Gabriel be my match. Every time Gabriel shows up his first words are, “Fear not.” No one has ever looked at me, shuttered and been afraid. No. One. Ever.

Zechariah seems like a logical choice. He was a priest, old, and told to be quiet. Me too. In one church, a guy who would shake my hand nearly every Sunday and say, “He**uva sermon, Father!” Ummm? Thanks? My greying hair indicates I should be a card-carrying member of AARP. Those who’ve wished me to be silent for nine months are too numerous to list. Even still, I’m pretty sure I’m not a descendent of Moses’ brother Aaron which would disqualify me from the priesthood in first century Israel.

My brother (and a few boisterous former church folks) think I’m best suited to be the donkey that carried Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. I’m not sure the Holy Couple had a donkey and besides mama always said, “older brothers and carnal members can be mean. Don’t listen to them.”

My maleness eliminates: Mary, Elizabeth, Anna or any other female types in the story.

The only choice in which I seem to be qualified is shepherd. Remember shepherding was not a great profession. Any knucklehead could be a shepherd (My only marketable skill is “pastor.” It wouldn’t surprise me if an aptitude test revealed “shepherd” as my next best vocational option). I’m not the type of shepherd who’d fight off lions and bears. Rather, I’m the type of shepherd who screams for help while hiding behind a rock. In other words, my rank in the shepherd’s union would have been apprentice shepherd, third class.

But even apprentice shepherds third class were included on the night Jesus was born. All shepherds heard the powerful Gospel message from the angels.

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:10-14 KJV

Later those same shepherds became the first evangelists of the good news. “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” Luke 2:20 KJV.

The shepherds did what I try to do every Sunday—praise God for all the things I have seen and heard. You don’t need a Master of Divinity degree to do that. Like the shepherds, all of us qualify as spokespeople of the Good News! Let’s sing, shout and tell what we’ve seen God do and heard what God has done.

An Important Lesson about our Christmases from Sinking of the Léopoldville

This week I officiated at the funeral of Joe Leyanna, a 93-year-old World War II veteran. His family told me how Joe had been grateful throughout his life for being spared when he missed boarding the Léopoldville, a ship used to transport troops across the English Channel.

On Christmas Eve 1944, the Léopoldville, a passenger ship prior to the war, was hastily loaded with 2,223 reinforcements for the Battle of the Bulge. An important fact you need to know, the Léopoldville was built to carry 360 passengers. You read that right, 2223 soldiers and crew were jammed on a ship built to carry 360 people. Packed in like sardines, many of the troops were from the 66th Infantry division—the Black Panthers, Joe’s division.

In the rush to get the soldiers to battlefront, the ship wasn’t loaded by unit as it normally would have been. Instead, as the soldiers arrived on the dock no matter their unit or division, they boarded the ship. I imagine, those in charge figured they’d sort it all out in France when the soldiers disembarked.

When not one more soldier could be crammed onto the ship, it sailed. There were an insufficient number of life jackets (remember the ship built was built for 360 people not 2,223 soldiers), and few troops participated in the poorly supervised lifeboat drills. The instructions were given in in Flemish not English. Still at 0900 hours, the Léopoldville sailed from Southampton as part of convoy crossing the English Channel to Cherbourg, France.  

The Léopoldville was within five miles from the coast of France when at 1754 hours a torpedo struck the starboard side of the ship and exploded. Some of the troops were rescued, but many were lost. Approximately 515 are presumed to have gone down with the ship. Another 248 died from injuries, drowning, or hypothermia. The U.S. Navy later announced the sinking of the Leopoldville had the second-largest loss of life from the sinking of a troop transport ship in the entire European Theater.

Joe missed it, because he and his sergeant had stopped to get a cup of coffee and a donut before heading to the dock.

The similarities between that Christmas Eve tragedy in 1944 and our Christmases 75 years later seem obvious. We jam as much as possible in our 24-hour days. We rush around looking for the perfect gift and expect the perfect gift in return. We disregard the warning signs and miss the point of Christmas. Like we are listening to a different language, we mindlessly fall into the cultural trap of believing that our level of spending indicates our level of love. It’s all a sinking ship.

Maybe our best preparation for Christmas is to be like Joe. Grab a cup of coffee with a friend. Relax. Stopping off at Donna’s Donuts for a tasty treat isn’t a bad idea either. Take time to be thankful for what God has done in your life. Be generous with others. Be mindful that our time on planet earth is limited. Joe had 93 years, last week I participated in a funeral of a wonderful man who didn’t wake up one morning. He was 58. Slow down. Pray. Listen. Love. Forgive. Share. In so doing, even when sailing through troubled waters, God will see you safely make it to the other side.