“Thank You God, and Thank You GraceWay!

I recently had the joy of celebrating my 80th birthday with my GraceWay family.  Looking back over 80 years, I’m grateful for the many blessings and challenges that God has given me.

I grew up in First Baptist Church in Dallas, where I learned very early the importance the Bible, and studying God’s Word 

I was blessed with over 53 years of marriage to my wife Elaine, who loved God and was very committed to his Word.  Marriage is a great blessing and a lot of work, but it will not meet all our needs, only the Lord can do that.

When we moved to Washington DC, we looked for a church with:

  • solid biblical teaching, 
  • friendly people, 
  • easy access to the Metro, and 
  • music that would not blast our ears off.   

That was a challenge!  Then one day as we were walking to the Eastern Market Metro station, we saw Deborah and Jodie playing guitars and singing.   They invited us to GraceWay.  To paraphrase Julius Caesar, “We came, we saw, we stayed.”   We found home!

“The most loving thing you can do for people is to tell them the truth.  I’m so grateful that Pastor Brad tells us the truth week in and week out!

Thinking back over some highlights and lowlights of the past several years, these come to mind:

  • When Elaine and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, GraceWay was there – with a wonderful party in our apartment building!
  • When I decided to write my first book, “53 Keys to a Lasting Marriage:  53 (imperfect) Years and Counting” It was a scary idea, but Graceway was there-  encouraging, editing, proofreading!
  • When I faced the most difficult decision of my life – putting Elaine in Assisted Living so she could get the care she needed that was beyond my ability,  GraceWay was there- listening as I reviewed options, pros and cons!
  • When I got COVID, GraceWay was there – mobilizing meals that I needed and prayinbg for me!
  • When Elaine moved to Heaven, GraceWay was there with support and an amazing memorial service.  (A copy of the program from that memorial service is in my first book.)
  • When I was getting ready to retire and mentioned at Supreme Prayer that I would love to hold my retirement party at the Museum of the Bible, (another scary idea) Deborah said GraceWay will have a veteran recognition service there on one Sunday in November.”  We were able to team up and do both.  
  • When I wrote and launched my second book “53 Keys to Leadership:  Empowering Others for Breakthrough Team Performance”, GraceWay was there, helping reach Amazon Best Seller
  • One of Elaine’s favorite scriptures was Ephesians 3:20-21. “And now unto him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory!”

In summary, three points:

  1. I encourage each of us to Invest our lives in God’s Word and God’s People and consider the question “How would you like to serve God when you are 80?”  
  2. When God gives you an idea, it will likely be scary.  Follow through anyway!
  3. When God gives you an idea, it will be so big that you can’t do it by yourself.  Work together!

In conclusion, I’m reminded of the story of the swamp frog who saw two swans flying overhead. When the swans landed, he asked them what’s like to fly.  They said “Oh it’s wonderful and the view is fantastic”.  The next day the swamp frog said to the swans “I have an idea. I have this long stick, and if one of you will clamp on one end with your beak and the other clamp on the other end, I’ll clamp on in the middle and with your help I can fly.”  They took off.  They were flying over the countryside and the swamp frog was enjoying the view.  They swooped down over a farmer who looked up and said “well look at that!  A swamp frog flying! I wonder who thought of that!”  The swamp frog said I did…..(as he fell to the earth)”  The moral of this story is “even an old swamp frog can fly if he doesn’t get care who gets the credit”.  Looking back over the last 80 years, this swamp frog has had the opportunity to do a lot of literal and figurative flying.  I’m very grateful for a lot of help from good friends like you.  “To God be the glory, great things he has done.”

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