For 5 years I was the pastor of Trinity International Church in Strasbourg, France. I created this blog with those people in mind. In mid-November 2018 I will become the Senior Pastor of Word of Life Church in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. The focus of this blog will therefore shift, but I pray that people from the blogosphere will continue to find it helpful wherever they might be found.
The churches' websites includes recorded sermons for those who are interested. Click the links below to access them.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

100 Things I am Thankful For

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash
It is Thanksgiving in the United States. It's a day for giving thanks to God for the many blessings he has given. Americans typically gather with family and have a huge meal together. We're a long way from family and will be spending Thanksgiving with some friends in Paris. France doesn't celebrate this holiday, and it will be good to spend it with some other Americans.

To celebrate the Thanksgiving, I thought it would be good to sit down and write a list of 100 things that I am thankful for. It isn't going to be thought out or in any order. It will be stream of conscious type of thing. I've lived a number of years and have much to be thankful for. It will be interesting to see where this exercise takes me!

Here is the quick 100 off the top of my head:
  1. Topping the list: Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. My wife, Janet, who for 33 years has cared for me in ways that still take my breath away.
  3. My son Daniel and his wife Becky. I love hanging out with them and watching them put their faith into action.
  4. My son Nathan. Loves Jesus passionately and follows him radically. 
  5. My granddaughters, Addie and Lou...who have their grandpa wrapped around their fingers. "What the grandkids want, the grandkids get" is my rule.
  6. My mom. She's my mom, that's why. She is one of the kindest people that I know.
  7. My dad. I miss him terribly. His laugh, his wisdom, and his way with people. Hardly a day goes by that I don't think of him.
  8. My sister, Kristi. She makes me laugh and keeps me humble. Everyone with a little sister knows exactly what I mean.
  9. My in-laws. Some people have difficult relationships with their in-laws. I am grateful that all my in-laws are wonderful people whom I love to get together with.
  10. Strasbourg, France. This is a beautiful city. It's like living on a movie set.
  11. Hot coffee.
  12. The incredible leaders of Trinity International Church of Strasbourg. What a great group of people!
  13. Worship music.
  14. The challenge of learning French.
  15. 2 bakeries around the corner.
  16. Walking paths just outside the door.
  17. The chance to spend 14 years living in the North Woods of Minnesota.
  18. Memories of loons swimming past in the summer and snow blowing down the lake in the winter.
  19. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area and the many trips with friends.
  20. Campfires.
  21. Fishing.
  22. Books. The books I have read and the stack of those I haven't.
  23. Skype. It makes being away from family bearable.
  24. Sunshine.
  25. Hikes in the Vosges.
  26. Exploring castle ruins.
  27. Tarte flambée.
  28. Creme brulée.
  29. Giggling children.
  30. Watching geese flying south.
  31. The crunch of leaves underfoot.
  32. The silence of the woods in winter.
  33. The Northwoods Revue.
  34. Debbie buns.
  35. Blueberry picking with friends.
  36. The "miracle of the chairs" after church.
  37. Potlucks.
  38. The C&MA family.
  39. Walks along the ocean.
  40. Freedom.
  41. High-speed trains.
  42. The sound of melting snow.
  43. The smell of a football.
  44. Walks around the lakes of Minneapolis.
  45. Balsam Store ice cream.
  46. Any ice cream.
  47. The experience of running marathons.
  48. Chess.
  49. The smell of turkey cooking.
  50. 24/7 Prayer.
  51. A well-worn Bible.
  52. Memories of Release Time.
  53. Greenway basketball.
  54. Little league baseball.
  55. Faithful friends.
  56. Warm sweaters.
  57. Flannel sheets.
  58. Fires in the fireplace.
  59. Blizzards (the storm).
  60. Blizzards (the ice cream dessert).
  61. Spiritual mentors. 
  62. Prayer partners.
  63. Answered prayer.
  64. The smell of a pine forest.
  65. Laughter.
  66. Strasbourg at Christmas.
  67. A vision trip to the Middle East.
  68. Standing on Mount Nebo.
  69. Airplanes.
  70. The people I know who follow Jesus to the darkest and most difficult places.
  71. The hidden prayer warriors...the heroes of the kingdom.
  72. Pastors I have learned so much from.
  73. The Christians that impacted my life when I was in university. You changed my life forever.
  74. A comfortable place to live.
  75. The smell of freshly mown grass.
  76. Chocolate.
  77. Holding hands.
  78. That it is impossible to skip and frown at the same time.
  79. The sound of ice coming off the lake in the spring.
  80. A musical family.
  81. The internet.
  82. Living in place filled with history.
  83. Walking Omaha Beach.
  84. Ocean waves. 
  85. Friends who fix cars and pull them out of snowbanks.
  86. Being American.
  87. Being Scandinavian.
  88. Photographs full of memories.
  89. Wood floors.
  90. Faded blue jeans.
  91. Chocolate chip cookies.
  92. The howl of the wolf.
  93. The feeling of paddling a canoe.
  94. The sound of rain on a tent.
  95. Wood carvings.
  96. Church bells.
  97. Sunsets.
  98. The way water reflects the sky.
  99. Northern lights.
  100. Popcorn.
Well, there it is. A completely random series of things I am thankful for that was written as quickly as I could type. Some silly and some profound. 

You will note that I didn't name many people other than family members. That was intentional. The reality is that it is the people in my life that I am most thankful for. There are so many that I was terrified of offending someone by leaving them off my list. For example, right now I am blessed by being part of an International Church. I have friends from around the world and I am grateful for them all! Before that I was the pastor of a church in Nashwauk, Minnesota. Certainly I am grateful for all the people of the church, but also the whole Iron Range community that is so close to my heart. Before that, there were other churches, employers, and schools where I formed relationships for which I am thankful. To name them all would create a much longer list. If you are reading this, know that you are certainly on the list of people I am grateful for!

Looking back over the years, it is easy to give thanks to the Lord for the many blessings that he has poured out on my life. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

"The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance."
Psalm 16:6


  1. This is a beautiful list. Thank you for sharing it. I would add "skiing in the mountains" :) Wishing you and Janet a wonderful Thanksgiving. Gobble Gobble, Noel

    1. Thanks, Noel! You are right, skiing in the mountains is a magical experience. There are few things more beautiful. Sadly, I think the last time I was skiing in the mountains was with you. That was a LONG time ago.