Pastor Appreciation 2013

October is Pastor Appreciation Month, a celebration that might have been invented by pastors in order to get gift cards to middle-of-the-road restaurants, but probably not. Most pastors that I know aren’t in the ministry to be recognized. Sure, there are a few wolves among the shepherds, but that exists in every profession. Certainly, I am not writing this post in honor of them. I am writing it about Nelson Koon, my pastor.

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Pastor Nelson, as we call him, is the pastor at Wyoming Community Church in Wyoming, Michigan. Our congregation is small but needy, and has had our share of scandals and heartache. And despite the fact that Pastor Nelson is young enough to still be carded at the local theater, he has proven to be wise beyond his years in his approach to ministry and helping others.

pastor_appreciation_2013_02Wyoming Community Church is Nelson’s first church (and it is probably selfish of me to hope that it will be his last), having come to us shortly after graduation from Frontier School of the Bible. My wife and I started attending WCC a few months after Nelson took the helm. In fact, our first Sunday was Mother’s Day, just days after discovering that my wife and I were pregnant with our first daughter. And Nelson was there for us not many months later when we lost our first daughter. We were his first funeral.

pastor_appreciation_2013_03In the years between then and now, Nelson got married to a woman that he doesn’t deserve. My wife and I were supposed to be the master and mistress of ceremonies at his wedding, but we were stuck in the hospital due to the birth of our second daughter. He understood. We are thankful for the friends that he and his wife have become.

pastor_appreciation_2013_04And so Pastor Nelson, I appreciate you, you handsome devil of a pastor…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States of America. It is a day of eating too much, watching sporting events, and saying what we are thankful for. And since I overeat regularly without need for special day and I don’t really pay attention to sporting events, I will focus my attention on the third item.

I am thankful for my wife. She is better than I deserve or could ever ask for. Her work ethic is beyond reproach. Her smile brightens the room. And her sense of humor is perfectly suited to the sick things that make me laugh.

I am thankful for my daughters. They are pure delight and so worth the effort and the sleepless nights. I love being their dad almost as much as I love being my wife’s husband.

I am thankful for my job. Baker Book House is not only the best indie bookstore in the world, it is the best place to work in the world. For being a retail store, I have a standard schedule, good pay, and am surrounded by people whose company I honestly enjoy. Thank you Herman Baker for starting your wonderful store so many years ago!

I am thankful for my pastor. Pastor Nelson Koon helps the Bible come alive through his preaching and his lifestyle. Though this is his first church after Bible school, our pastor has maturity beyond his years and a deep understanding of the needs of his flock.

I am thankful for new opportunities that find me. In the last year, I started this blog, I was asked to contribute a chapter to a book, I am getting back to review books, I have a mutually beneficial advertising arrangement with a pizza shop in town, I got to be part of the committee that made decisions for the building project at my bookstore, and on and on. So many cool things have happened and I feel honored to be part of them all.

And I am thankful for you, my reader. I know that sounds cheesy but having people read what I write validates this crazy dream of mine to be a writer. Thank you and have a Happy Thanksgiving today!