Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Today is my son, Jonathan’s, 17th birthday! We actually celebrated it earlier when Joy was able to be home from college. Jonathan is a junior this year at Lititz Christian School. That’s right folks, in just about a year and a half he will graduate and Laura and I will begin to enter the “empty nest” phase of our lives. How bizarre of a thought is that?!

It has been such a thrill to watch Jonathan mature. You know, when boys are in Junior High School, you seriously wonder if they have it within them to mature...if they will ever get there. But, as time marches on and 7th grade turns into 8th grade, which turns into 9th grade, which turns into 10th grade, which then turns into 11th grade, you watch this amazing change take place and it is really cool to see. I am seeing my son mature daily…physically, athletically, academically, socially and most importantly, spiritually.

I am a huge sports fan and one of the thrills of my life is watching my kids play sports. Joy is finished with that part of her life but Jonathan is still active on the school varsity soccer team and varsity basketball team. I think when he graduates in a year in a half I will miss that part of parenting more than anything else. I really do.

Jonathan also is very dedicated to his guitar. He loves playing it and writing songs. He has recently shared with us that his desire for his life is to lead people in worship. I can begin to see that calling on his life as well. He is taking steps that direction through voice and piano lessons with Lisa McCoy. Lisa leads our Worship Choir here at Grace Church and fills in for Matt McElravy, our Worship Arts Director, when Matt is not leading worship.

Along with the key role that Lisa is playing in Jonathan’s desire, there have also been several other key people who have helped to lead Jonathan in this direction. Khyle Keener oversees the youth worship band here at church and has been very instrumental in helping to fan the flame of Jonathan’s desire in this area. Matt McElravy, who I mentioned earlier, is also one that encourages Jonathan. It is fun to see my son learning from our very talented worship leader here at Grace as he sits in the services week after week as Matt leads our congregation in worship. Bryan Nelson, our former Worship Arts Director here at Grace who backslid and moved to the same position at another church in Kansas (the backslid part was obviously a joke...unless Bryan is reading this, then I meant it!) also greatly impacted Jonathan. Bryan took time to show an interest in Jonathan and his love for guitar and music. Even now, when Bryan and I talk on the phone, he always asks about Jonathan and his music.

And then there are those who have invested time into Jonathan in a non-musical way. Our Director of Student Ministries, Doug Kegarise, has been used greatly by God in Jonathan’s life as has some incredible young men on our youth staff such as Jeremiah Kleylein and Nick Whitfield. I could go on and on but I’ll stop there.

How cool it is to partner with wonderful men and women of God to see our children mature spiritually. I thank God for my son and for those who impact him for Jesus!

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