When I think back over my life, I am blessed to see the hands of God showering me with the extravagant generosity of God's love and God's purposes for me.
I see where the goodness of God showered me with individuals who walked with me for a season. I can still hear Dr. Ray Harrison, my pastor at Brandon First UMC, who confirmed me at age 9 and who stood by me as the Board of Ordained Ministry in Florida deferred me on my first attempt at ordination. God placed Ray in my life for so many years to help me keep the faith and to never give up. I know that Mac Brantley was placed in my life to give me opportunities to believe in myself and my gifts; having him as a Senior Pastor while I served as his Associate was a great training ground. Then to be blessed again as Mac was my District Superintendent; he pushed against the traditions, askin why and beginning new avenues of ministry for the office of Superintendent. He gave me freedom as a pastor to push the limits and to ask why as I forged new paths. Chuck Hodges was and is a true gift from God. Chuck has kept me humble and has reminded me to be myself all through this ministry. I should never take myself too seriously, but instead I should laugh and enjoy the journey.
The generosity of God was poured upon me when Sally said yes to my proposal 30 years ago. She has blessed my life in so many ways. She stands by me in this ministry that we have shared together. With her came a loving mother and sister and brothers who have called me their own. So extravagant has been the generosity of God to give me titles like Uncle Dana and then Daddy! There is the sign of God's goodness for sure.
You know, as I reflect on the extravagant generosity of God, I realize I have been drowning in his loving kindness as he has blessed my life with the likes of Dale who has been a truly best friend and brother, kicking my backside when it is needed and giving wise counsel in the face of joy and of struggle. Or the likes of others like Bill, Ralph, Kate, Glenda, Billy, Tim, Katie, Sue, Terry, Molly, Teresa, Leah, William, Pam, Robert, Allison, Scott, Laurie, Joe, Gary, Carol, and so many others.
I have never been worthy of such excellent people in my life. While some are truly saints in the stands cheering me on from the sidelines, God has also filled my life extravagantly with modern day saints all alive and pushing me to be the best I can be for this extravagantly generous God we serve.
I am healthy and I am breathing. I get to serve the greatest district in the Conference, and I get to serve as spiritual leader for some the most awesome pastors and churches in United Methodism. I'm so humbled to be your DS.
I AM MOST BLESSED!! Because God is an extravagantly generous God.
When the going gets tough, my sisters and brothers, stop, Stop, STOP ... and breathe... and reflect on the extravagant generosity of our God toward you. Count your many blessings (Don't just sing about it ... start counting them!) and see what all God has done for you by surrounding you with Saints and sinners as well as with the opportunity to serve God in this day and this season.
Wow! I'm overwhelmed.
Thank you for being a part of God's generosity