We all know that saying, “It was great to go; it was also great to get home.” As much as Olsie and I enjoy our annual trek to Florida, it does not take long to start to miss our church family at Lake. I don’t know if we all realize how special it is. Not that it is perfect by any stretch, but as modern churches go, on a relative scale and in the present moment, I would be hard pressed to think of any church family or culture the equal of ours. For that all of us ought to thank the grace of God. Some churches are bigger, but not better. Some churches have more ‘bells and whistles’, but not necessarily a better ‘frame or engine’. Some churches feature louder and more intense music, but really draw so many shallow souls for whom the Word of God is a big bore and ‘worship’ describes not engagement with God, but musical entertainment to fill the gap. I count my blessings that I am privileged to pastor a church where people care and truth matters, a people for whom in the main the attractions are those very virtues. Often when I am teaching (as others have remarked to me) the silence, the intensity of listening, is deafening. Do you have any idea how rare that is these days—especially after hearing the same voice for now 23 years? I am a most fortunate pastor to have sheep who actually want to listen and come to church Sunday after Sunday with a certain degree of anticipation to hear a word from God and bring with the ear a heart that aspires to conform to it. Oh, I know, that spirit is by no means uniform and never perfect, but what I recognize is that it is so different than what one finds in the average church these days. As I return, I just wanted you to know I am not only refreshed in body and mind, but also refreshed in gratitude for the church God has privilege me to serve and for His work in your hearts.