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A week ago when I was overseas Kirk Kaiser and I were talking about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and how we would spend it. A few from our team asked, "what is Thanksgiving?" It reminded me that we have a great privilege in having a nation founded "under God." How cool is it that a whole nation stops to give "thanks"! At the same time that I had that thought, it was crowded out by the concern that, as a country, we are losing our moral foundation. Sunday, both Ben Stears and I, will be sharing some about the Pilgrim's story. It is very inspiring. What spoke to me the most was that they came to America on a mission to establish a nation based on God's word. If you ever doubt that just Google the Mayflower Compact. Their happiness and ability to give thanks was a byproduct of living on mission not their primary destination. As I give thanks today I remember that when I choose to follow Jesus I find the other things that bring me joy on the journey. I'm giving thanks today for my precious family which grew this year by a grandchild, Evelyn. Jeremy and Jesi were so blessed when there was a safe delivery and a healthy start for Evelyn. We added a couple of new nephews who married in, Brant and Mason. My brother Brad became a grandfather when Ley and Hannah had a new baby named Dinah. And many of you know my Mom is engaged to Randy Curtis. We are happy for them! That's a lot for which to give thanks! I love Indian Creek Community Church. I have the great privilege of hearing life change stories regularly. I'm often moved to tears with gratitude when I see the struggles and faith expressed that is required to grow through difficulty. This year we've been praying for three of our friends diagnosed with cancer. All three are getting good reports and my heart is thankful. I believe the best years are ahead of us at the Creek. I am grateful for Ben Stears and Steve Southards. It is a joy to lead them and I do all I can to set them up for success. We have a new lifecycle ahead of us and it will be good. I can hardly wait. I'm thankful for Belinda, my faithful, spunky wife who challenges me and encourages me at every step along the way. We are enjoying this chapter of life. Being a grandparent is awesome! We love to find ways to partner on projects. We both feel called to write. Belinda assisted me as I completed a new book this year. It is titled: backwards: Created to Live SENT. We are giving it away this week at Olathe and on the 9th of December in Gardner. You can find it on this Web Site or at Amazon, Kindle or iBooks. And there is so much more, the list could go on and on. I do want to say thanks to some of our partners in ministry like Healthy Growing Churches, Project Partner, the KC Coalition, India Gospel League and MACU--our lives are so much richer because we work together. We are blessed with a TON of friends. We value the many unique relationships God's provided us. It is hard to imagine what happier might look like. And just think, it came as a byproduct to following Jesus and living by His word. I want that for my country and I want that for you.

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