I’m typing this article on the morning of my birthday. A friend called early this morning with birthday greetings and a poignant question. He asked, “What do you plan to do with the next year of your life?” Hmmm… of course, the operative word is ‘plan’ because I have no idea how life will turn out, but it did get my dream wheels turning…

In the next twelve months, I plan to continue working with the wonderful staff and congregation at First Baptist Greenville. We are a vibrant family of faith that cares well for each other and our world. I truly love coming to work each day, and I’m excited to see what another year of growth and ministry looks like. I plan to enjoy time with my children and grandchild. Our schedules are hectic and varied, but we always seem to find space for a call or visit at just the right time. Beyond work and family… I plan to assemble an R&B Funk band in order to hone, enjoy and share my new-found love for the bass guitar and the ‘old school music’ of my childhood. I plan to learn to surf. (Hey, it’s time.) I plan to run a triathlon in Hawaii for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. (Of course, that will require raising money for cancer treatment and research – another article for another day.) I plan to take another group of pilgrims to Israel. (I’ve had requests for a ‘summer trip’ so teachers and other school-bound persons can attend. It’s going to be a tad hotter, but we’ll give it a try if enough are interested.) I plan to take a much-needed sabbatical. This time next year, I’ll head to my haven on the west coast – the San Francisco Bay area – to finish writing two books with which I’ve been dabbling for the last several months. (Yes, I like to make sure my years are adventurous.) Before all of that, I’m heading to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with our senior adults next week, and then I’m attending our Blessing of the Pets Service on Sunday evening, October 1. (Be sure to bring your pet and bring a friend!)

Again, the operative word is ‘plan.’ I am grateful for the year past and every person I’ve met on the path. I’m looking forward to the year ahead and the companionship of those with whom I share it. Every day of life is a gift. Live on…

— Jim