Thank you so much for your thoughtful birthday greetings. It means more than you could know. The world of Facebook has changed the way we do this, hasn’t it? But I rather like it. I know I can interact with more people who mean so much to me. I say again, with utmost sincerity, Thank you!
A birthday reminds me of life: a natural life and a new forever life in Christ. My identity is no longer shaped by my first natural birth, but a second supernatural one. Thus, I praise God for Christ, for a family who follows Christ, for dear friends, saintly colleagues, beloved students, and precious parishioners (once I am your pastor, God may call me to another part of His field, but I gather you in my heart like a bouquet of colorful flowers from the meadow and never let you go; so I don’t say “former parishioner”). There are, also, those who share their sentiments from afar. We are most appreciative and hope that the Word of the Lord preached, taught, or written in music ministers the life of the risen Jesus in you.
I dedicate this day to the Christ who plucked me from the pit of life without God and gave me hope and meaning, to know a life in Him with purpose. And I cling to this passage this day:
Galatians 2:20-21—I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
I have faced some health challenges over the past few years that I trust have shaped me to be more intentional in ministry to those who suffer. I hope so. I am much better (thanks be to God and thanks to my wife and son and our family). Your prayers have been effectual unto life and ministry.
Thank you so much for your kindness to me in writing and sharing your note, reminding me of the Savior who never lets us go.
Mike (and Mae)