From North Dakota to New York City

What a blessing it was to recently celebrate my wife’s 50th birthday! As a pastor, perhaps in any profession and certainly in life, your spouse is your greatest attribute or your greatest anchor; your greatest blessing or your greatest barrier. I am thankful my wife is my greatest attribute and blessing. Prairie Heights Community Church has grown from a few people in our living room to weekly impacting over 2,500 people in Fargo and Bismarck. While the sole reason for that is through the grace and power of God, the number one “human” factor is because of the skill, leadership, partnership and commitment of my wife.

For her 50th birthday, we went on a trip to a part of the United States we have never visited. For two North Dakota kids to travel to Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City was incredible. We flew out to Philadelphia for NDSU alum and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’s charity softball game. Philadelphia is sure proud and supportive of that young man! My wife and I are as well. It was fun to wear NDSU clothing in Philadelphia and hear the comments it generates. The comment from our waiter was, “I love him as a football player, but I respect him as a man of deep faith even more.” We all have a platform to bring people closer to God or further away.

Here are a few other observations about Philadelphia. I heard more cars honking, in general and at me, in four days in Philadelphia than I have my entire life. Spending a few hours in the Independence National Historical Park walking the grounds, looking at the architecture and viewing the Liberty Bell through a window (rather than waiting in a very long line) is almost worth the price of the trip by itself. We sat on a bench in the park for 30 minutes soaking the history in, and I could literally feel the strength, commitment and faith of our Founding Fathers.

Our drive from Philadelphia to a New Jersey coastal city, Neptune City, was beautiful. I never imagined New Jersey being as wooded as that drive was. We read about a food court stop called “Planet of the Crepes” and decided to go there if for no other reason than it was such a creative name. And, yes, the crepes were outstanding! We also found the best cheese steak sandwiches I have ever had at Bruno’s Pizza and Subs.

Our first “official” date as NDSU college students in 1988 was a play at The Stage at Island Park. So, one of my goals for years has been to take my wife to a Broadway play. We finally made it, as we attended the Lion King. Wow, was that memorable and spectacular. Wow, was New York City entertaining, interesting, and fun. We have seen Times Square and other sites of downtown New York City our entire lives on television and in movies, so to be there live was incredible. We will remain at home living in Fargo-Moorhead, but certainly plan on visiting New York City again!

Life is a journey. Goals can be accomplished. Every day is a blessing. Marriages can gain strength and depth in love as time goes on. God is faithful. Eternity is real.

God bless you. See you next Sunday!