Return To In-Person Racing: Elizabeth River Run 10K

Ok, to begin with, I certainly expected to be blogging more than this at the beginning of the year. You know what they say about the best laid plans…..

Anyway, on Saturday, May 29th I ran my first in-person race since Thanksgiving Day of 2019. It was an awesome experience to run the 42nd Elizabeth River Run 10K for the third time, but the first time on this particular course. The previous two times that I participated (2017 and 2018) the race was held in Portsmouth, VA. This year, however, the race made its return to Norfolk, VA. Can I just say that running with strangers has never felt so good. It almost felt normal.

Let’s talk about the course itself. This was a point to point 10k. I have to be honest and say that point to point races aren’t my favorite as I’m not a fan of needing a shuttle either before or after the race (if I had my choice I would rather be shuttled to the start). This course would utilize shuttles to get you back to your car after the race (unless of course you chose to take a 3 mile walk back to the parking garage – I did not).

We started on the campus of Old Dominion University and ran about a two mile loop through the neighborhoods around the campus. As we left the campus we began to get a mix of paved trail and regular streets for the next 2-2.5 miles. This was the stretch of the race where we got some time to run right along the water including a trip across the Hampton Boulevard Bridge heading towards the Port of Virginia. The race finally would end up in a private park adjacent to the port.

Part of the section of the course along the water.

Now onto how I ran the race. Ten days prior to this event I experience my first ‘old man injury.’ As I was reaching for the shampoo in the shower, I apparently twisted the wrong way and wrenched my back a little bit. This led to me taking the next 4 days completely off from running. Then on race week I ran Monday – Wednesday (slowly) while walking on Thursday and Friday. I really had no idea how my back was going to respond on race day so I went in with a conservative plan and would get even more conservative if I needed to. I made the decision in advance to not get greedy if I was feeling good and just enjoy the race. The last thing I needed to do was set out aggressively and further aggravate the injury and throw off my summer training as I prepare to run the Bird In Hand Half Marathon in September. It also didn’t help that I went into the race carrying a good bit too much weight.

I run using the Jeff Galloway Run/Walk/Run Method so I picked a 1:00 run/0:30 walk interval to begin the race with. I would pull it back if I needed to. As the race started, I was pleasantly surprised at how loose I felt. My back wasn’t bothering me in the least and all in all I felt really good. I was shocked (in a good way) when the first mile ticked off right at 10 minutes. For that interval, a ten minute mile is pretty quick for me, but I didn’t feel like I was pushing. The adrenaline of race day is a double-edged sword. I would pay for that 10 minute mile during the final mile. Runners have a saying: when you bank time at the beginning of a race, you will pay it back with interest. Mile two would be a little bit slower (10:14), although I hit a bit of a log jam during this mile where the paved trail just wasn’t wide to go more than two-wide and I couldn’t get around some folks. No big deal. I told myself that would help keep me from doing anything stupid with my pace. Miles 3 and 4 are actually where I felt I settled into a pretty normal pace for that interval. I ran those two miles at 10:42 and 10:38. Fatigue started to hit towards the latter part of mile 5 (11:10). That would actually be my slowest mile. This wasn’t surprising as a large portion of that mile was the bridge crossing so it involved our only climb of the entire course. The total elevation gain for the run was only 102 feet, but when you train on pancake flat ground, even that can hit you if you’re tired. The final mile clocked in at 11:07 and my pace for the closing section to the finish was actually 9:32. That’s almost certainly because when I started to move into one of my walk breaks, another runner that had been in my vicinity for most of the race encouraged me to keep going and finish strong. Normally, I would have explained that this was my game plan and that I was fine, but to be honest, I was feeling the fatigue and that little push was much needed in the moment. My watch had my finish time at 1:05:29 and my chip time was 1:05:27. This would be my second slowest 10K on record, but I didn’t care at all. Given my back issues I would have been happy with anything under 1:10:00 and I came in well ahead of that.

My Garmin overlay of the course.

All in all this was a really good day. This race has always happened on days where it was already in the 80s at start time with the sun beating down on you. Saturday was overcast and mid 70s at start time. Now, it was incredibly humid, but I will still take those conditions over getting baked by the sun as in previous years. This year’s medal and shirt were much better than in years past. I feel like the Tidewater Striders did a great job of putting on this event with constantly fluctuating limitations and restrictions. For those not in Virginia, all of our capacity and distancing restrictions went away the day before the race. While this didn’t mean a larger than planned field it still made for a fun atmosphere both pre and post race. They still started the race in waves which honestly was a good idea even without any Covid precautions because it could have really log jammed in spots during those opening two miles if they hadn’t done that. I think I prefer the Portsmouth course for this race as we got more time along the water over there, but this was still a pretty course and I had a blast participating.

My Weakness. His Strength.

We don’t like to talk much about our weaknesses. It’s always interesting to me when filling out any kind of personal assessment, or sometimes even a job application that I am asked to list my weaknesses. That’s a whole lot of fun, huh?

Have any of you actually had the guts to write ‘I don’t have any.’ in that box? Yeah, me neither. The reality is we are all too familiar with our own weaknesses. They stare back at us every day when we look in the mirror. They show up when we are tasked with doing something that isn’t in our wheelhouse. They are there when our head hits the pillow at night and sometimes they keep us awake at night as they taunt us.

It becomes really painful when that weakness shows itself in a public forum. Has anyone ever experienced that? I know that I have on multiple occasions. The nature of my job puts me in front of a large group of people on a weekly basis and let me tell you, I’ve had it happen far too many times. It’s no fun and I typically will spend Sunday afternoon beating myself up over my shortcomings from that morning.

The amazing thing is that, it never fails that as I’m in the midst of beating myself up, I will hear from someone how God blessed them during worship that morning. If I’m honest, the human nature in me wants to look at them and say something like, ‘How in the world? Didn’t you hear that sour note or when I messed up the lyrics or one of any other myriad of things that could have gone wrong?’

Enter Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.

As Paul was dealing with his ‘thorn in the flesh,’ God reminded Him that His grace was all that Paul needed. He also reminded him that it was in the weakness of Paul when God’s strength would be seen in its completion. What an incredible promise for all of us. God can and wants to use our weakness to make His strength known to the world!

When I reflect back on my own situation, I have to remember that what I do as a worship leader isn’t about me at all. Sure, there is preparation involved and a genuine effort is made to have things done well. However, God doesn’t need me to be slick and polished in order for Him to show up and minister to people. He can use me at my worst, and still touch people. He can use me when I’m in pain while leading worship and my body just wants to be anywhere but on the platform to minister to someone. When I am weak, He is strong.

Perhaps in my prayers today I should thank God for my weaknesses (there are plenty of them).

Trip Report – Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Member Preview Day – March 13, 2021

Last Saturday marked the first theme park trip of 2021 for Carrie and I. We ventured to our home park, Busch Gardens Williamsburg for their Member Preview Day. This was still a limited capacity event and they broke the day up into two separate sessions, 10:00-4:00 and 5:30-10:30. We made reservations for both sessions and planned on a great day. It is safe to say that we certainly had that.

Typically our trips to Busch start with a pit stop at Chick-fil-a and then we are off on the hour drive to Williamsburg. This day was no exception. We were both blessed to find an extra little chicken nugget in with each of our 4-count chicken minis. The day was off to a great start.

We are on our way!

Now, this has nothing to do with the park, but it is a tradition for Carrie and I. We usually make our drive while listening to the soundtrack from Hamilton. Recently we have transitioned to listening to it on shuffle. Don’t ask me why, but if you are a fan of the show and you’ve never done that, you have to try it at least once. It is strange but so much fun.

We were in line at the parking plaza by 9am and they started letting cars through at about 9:20. After clearing the health screening, we were in the main park by 9:30. The entrance to Busch Gardens is the England section of the park and it is one of my favorite areas of the park. Since Member Preview was also coinciding with the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration special event, the entire park was decked out in Irish decorations which you will see in the photos as we go along.

After hitting the Emporium to make sure we nabbed the limited edition Apollo’s Chariot pin (which is huge by the way), we took that left turn out of England and headed towards Festa Italia to voyage to the sun on the wings of Apollo’s Chariot. This coaster had been closed during the Christmas event due to Pantheon construction, so we were very excited to get back on the original B&M hyper coaster. The ride has developed a little bit of a rattle over the years, but it still provides an excellent ride and the helix turnaround is a favorite moment for me.

Photo Credit – Randy Davidson (bgwphotofan on Instagram)
I love the back row rides. Carrie….not so much although you can’t tell from this pic.

After our group finished on Apollo’s Chariot, it was off to brave the Black Forest on Verbolten. I stopped along the way with our friend Markus to grab a ‘nerd shot’ or two of the new Intamin launch coaster Pantheon. Consequently, I actually didn’t get on this particular ride for Verbolten, but the Pantheon pics made up for it. Don’t worry, we came back to Verbolten later on.

After this ride, Carrie and I broke off from the big group. They were heading to get seats for a concert that we just weren’t interested in seeing. Ironically as we walked by Das Festhaus, we noticed that the stage show, Celtic Celebration, was starting in about 10 minutes so we decided to grab a quick bite and enjoy the show. This show was a tribute to the different shows that have run in the Abbey Stone Theatre over in the Ireland section of the park. We both absolutely loved this show. It lasted about 30 minutes and we actually decided to go see it again later in the day. If you are able to get to the park for the last week of the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, this show is a must see.

The outside of Festhaus. I was shocked to read reports on social media the following day that people thought the park was too crowded…..and they were serious.

After the show, Carrie and I went on a major hunt to grab a few more of those Apollo’s Chariot pins for some friends. We ended up all the way back at the front of the park and happened to see an employee bringing out more of the elusive pins while we were there. Score! We made the purchase and it was time for more rides.

As we were exiting England, an announcement came over the speakers that as a special treat for Member Preview Day, the B&M inverted coaster Alpengeist was opening. This ride was not slated to be running during this event and it just so happens to be my favorite ride in the park. You can guess where we were headed.

As we were passing by Griffon, we noticed it had essentially no line, so we detoured off into the queue for a lap on the park’s B&M dive coaster. This ride may be a one trick pony but it is so much fun.

Now it was really time to ride Alpengeist. This ended up being our longest wait of the day at about 30 minutes since we opted to wait for the front row. We could’ve been on the back row in less than half that time, but did I mention how Carrie feels about back row rides? Either way, this ride is running so good and has been for the last 3 seasons. It seems to be smoother and faster than it used to be. That’s never a bad thing.

So crowded. lol.

Before detailing the rest of the day, let me show you a few shots that I got from around the park.

I did manage to get that ride on Verbolten. I noticed this towards the end of last year as well, but the ride seems to be running just a bit faster and is certainly more intense in the building (or maybe I’m just getting older). That said, I have greyed out a couple of times in the show building.

Rather than detailing the rest of our day which was just some repeat rides, I want to share something that over the last 6 months has become one of my favorite parts of heading to the park. We have made some really great friends. I think of people like James (the mayor of Busch Gardens), Randy (bgwphotofan) and his wife Andrea, April, Carlos, Markus and others that are just too numerous to name. It was also great to get to meet Alaina (from We Were Inverted) and her boyfriend Austin on this trip. I do need to give a special shoutout to Randy as he is a phenomenal photographer and he is amazing at grabbing these in the moment shots. Check these out that he snagged of Carrie and I on this trip.

For me, the park is about time with friends and family. I absolutely love that I get to share my passion for riding roller coasters with Carrie and I’m still holding out hope that one day soon, Hannah will decide to join us for some coaster fun.

All in all, Busch Gardens Member Preview Day was a great time. We had so much fun riding and hanging out with friends. I’m sure there are many more trips to our home park in store this year, but it was great to kick off the year with such a memorable one.

Hope to see you in the parks sometime this year!

Thrills Coming in 2021

The year 2020 was certainly a very unique year for theme park/roller coaster enthusiasts like myself. The earliest a park near me opened was the weekend of July 4 (Six Flags America) and our home park of Busch Gardens didn’t open until late July. Our other home park (Kings Dominion) only opened for a few days in December. That said, we still made the most of the year visiting Six Flags America once to complete both mine and Carrie’s coaster credits for that park. Then while on vacation in South Carolina we made a trip to Six Flags over Georgia. Once Busch Gardens opened up for limited capacity events Carrie and I were there almost once a week up through December. All in all we still managed to have some good roller coaster fun during the year of Covid.

Now it’s 2021 and there are new adventures awaiting us. We have already made a trip to Busch Gardens for Member Preview Day (trip report coming soon), and there are several other parks I am hoping to hit this year.

Carrie’s coaster credit count is currently sitting at 72 and I am sitting at 129. One of our goals for 2021 is to get Carrie up over that magic number of 100 and I would like to get to 150. Here’s my plan to do that.

I want to take Carrie to Dollywood for a couple of days. If we get every credit there it will be a +8 trip for me (I already have Tennessee Tornado) and a +9 for Carrie. That would put us at 81 and 137 respectively. When Pantheon at Busch Gardens opens, that will move us to 82 and 138. Here are the other parks I hope to hit this year.

Kings Dominion – this won’t add any credits, but I need some time on I-305 and Twisted Timbers.

Knoebels – This will give Carrie a +6 (88).

Hersheypark – Carrie +9 (97) Me +1 (138)

Six Flags Great Adventure – Carrie +12 (109) Me +10 (148)

Dorney Park – Carrie and me +7 (116) (155)

Adventure Park USA – Both +3 (119) (158)

If our plans hold up, we should both hit our credit goal for the year and then some. Of course this is assuming that the coasters are all running on the days when we are at the parks (looking at you Lightning Rod) and that we can hit every coaster during our stay. It should be a fun adventure either way as I always love spending time with my oldest daughter riding the rides.

Speaking of Carrie, she was recently featured on my friend Patrick’s website, https://www.wewereinverted.com. If you want to go straight to the feature on her, you can go to this link instead, although I highly recommend checking out the entire site. https://www.wewereinverted.com/qa-carrie-growing-up-an-enthusiast/

Well, that concludes my series of blogs on 2021 goals. It took longer to finish up than I had anticipated but it is what it is. Stay tuned this weekend for my trip report from Member Preview Day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Winds of Change

Wow has it been a whirlwind of a month or so. Things have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to drop a blog in a while. Hopefully I will be getting back into a rhythm soon. But for now, I wanted to share a brief life update for those that may not follow me on social media.

In April of 2016, my family moved to Virginia Beach as I accepted the position of Worship Pastor at the Kempsville Church. We served there until February 7 of this year and had an absolutely incredible time there. We made great friends, had great experiences, and will always cherish those times. It made the decision to leave there very difficult for us.

However, sometimes, God has other plans. Without going into details as those honestly should remain private, an opportunity became available for me to make a transition to another church in the area. After many hours of prayer and multiple discussions with my then senior pastor as well as my new senior pastor, we felt that God was telling us that it was time to make a move.

Consequently, February 7 was our final Sunday at Kempsville and the next day, I began my new job as Pastor of Worship and Arts at Azalea Garden Church in Virginia Beach. While we do and will continue to miss our friends at Kempsville, we are confident that this transition was God-ordained.

I ask that you pray for us as we have begun this new adventure in ministry. God knows what is in store and we are excited to see His plan unfold.

Our new church home
My new office taking shape
Being prayed for by the church on our first Sunday

This One Is A Struggle

About a month ago, when I laid out areas that I had goals for heading into the new year, this was the one thing on the list that I knew would present the biggest challenge: creativity.

It may seem strange to think that someone who has a career that involves music would struggle with creativity, but it’s true. I really do. I tend to find the ‘formula’ that works and stick to it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make me a creature of routine and habit and makes change something that isn’t always the easiest for me.

I want to make a concerted effort to think outside the box a bit more this year. I don’t want to be content with continuing to do things the same way just because it’s how I’ve always done things. That includes in my music, in my relationships, and in my family. I don’t want to be predictable. I don’t know how successful I’m going to be with this, but it’s going to be interesting to give it a shot.

Do any of you struggle to think outside of the box? How do you get yourself to do it? Leave your thoughts below.

Reading: It Does A Mind Good

I truly thought that I would have finished these opening blogs of 2021 by now, but Covid decided to wreak havoc in our household. My wife tested positive last Friday and also was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia. Surprisingly, everyone else in our home tested negative although I’m pretty convinced mine was a false negative. My symptoms haven’t been nearly as bad as my wife’s, but I can tell you that this virus is nasty stuff. But enough of that stuff. Let’s get back into another one of my goals for 2021.

About three years ago I rediscovered my love for reading. Now I find myself always looking for good books to get into. I’m kind of a different type oof reader as I always seem to have at least 3 books going at once. Typically one fiction (I’m really enjoying the Disney Twisted Tales series – guilty pleasure I know), one history or biography, and one Christian living/Bible study book. I find that keeping multiple books going prevents me from getting bogged down if one of the books happens to be a difficult read.

My personal goal for this year is to read 30 books. I know that for some that number is small and for others that number seems huge. The important thing isn’t the number. It’s taking the time to do something besides sitting in front of a computer or television screen and engaging my brain. I have recently challenged myself to read books that will challenge me intellectually. What I mean is that I don’t want to read in my own comfortable echo chamber. I want to read some stuff that I may disagree with because I want to be able too intelligently engage with people who don’t think, believe, or see the world the way that I do.

I encourage you to discover the joy of reading if you haven’t already. Start by reading about some things that you’re interested in and then slowly expand your reading catalog. I promise you that you will not regret it.

If you have your own personal reading goals for this year, drop them in the comments below.

Taking Care of Me

Ok. I promise, this blog post is not as selfish as the title makes it sound. I had intended on getting this post out earlier this week and then things got crazy. I will refrain from addressing any of the craziness.

Pressing on, before I share with you what my fitness goals are, I would like to share a brief backstory that will hopefully divulge why this category of goals is so important to me.

As a freshman in high school, I was a whopping 5’1″ and had a pretty normal build. I maintained that build through my growth spurt (I’m now 6’0″) until I got to college. As many college students do, I put on the ‘freshman 15’ and then some. I developed poor eating habits and despite remaining relatively active through college, I put the weight on. That trend continued into adulthood. I never was overly concerned about my weight because aside from migraines which I have dealt with since childhood, I didn’t have any health issues.

Fast forward to 2015 when our world was rocked as we discovered on a Wednesday night that my wife had a brain tumor and on Friday morning she was in surgery to have it removed. (The tumor was discovered to be benign and Beth is doing great.) While that health scare wasn’t mine, it hit very close to home and got me thinking about my health. I hadn’t stepped on a scale in a long time. When I did, I was shocked. I weighed in at a whopping 298 and was wearing a size 46 waist.

That’s a picture that as much as I’d love to never look at again, it’s a reminder of where I never want to be again.

At the time, I was out of work which certainly wasn’t helping my self image. I was a two-sport athlete in high school and there’s one thing about playing varsity sports that I hated and that was running. Here I am, 36 years old and pushing 300 pounds. I had a street and a pair of tennis shoes so I decided it was time to start…..wait for it….running. It was all I could do to go 1/4 mile without feeling like I was going to die.

But I kept going. 1/4 mile became 1/2 mile which became 1 mile which became 2 miles. I was elated the first time I ever ran that enormous distance of 3.1 miles (that’s a 5k). I thought that maybe at some point I might be convinced to run a 10k but certainly there was no desire to run farther than that.

Well, a found a friend at church. Actually, I should say that he found me. He noticed my running activities on social media and wanted me to join him for a Saturday long run. His long runs were anywhere from 8-13 miles. I knew I wasn’t ready for that distance, but he decided to join me on some of my shorter runs when he could and he tolerated my snails pace all the while encouraging me to keep at it and keep stretching that distance. Well, the weekend before we moved away, I joined him for a long run and we went 8 miles. It took me an hour and thirty-one minutes, but I did it and I was so stinking proud. Suddenly, the thought of a half marathon was kind of intriguing.

I continued running and eating better and by January of 2016 I actually got down to 198 pounds. Yep. One hundred pounds in roughly eight months. My weight would ultimately settle in around 205-210 and I felt great. In August of 2016 I ran my first half marathon. Here’s a pic of me and my girls that summer at Busch Gardens.

I’m not in the excuse making game, but to say that in 2017 and 2018 life happened would be a gross understatement. In the spring of 2017 my dad was diagnosed with cancer and he passed away in July of that year. My mom was already not in great health so I was making a lot of trips back home to check on her, bring her down to stay with us for some time, and work on taking care of dad’s affairs. Then in January of 2018 my mom was found unresponsive in her home. She lived until March of that year but she was really never fully lucid again.

The stress of all of that coupled with the countless trips up I-95 brought back all of my horrific eating habits and by the summer of 2018, I was back up around 278. Not good at all. I got really serious about running again. I managed to drop about 20 pounds really quickly and in October of 2018, I ran my first marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival. I wasn’t fast. That didn’t matter. I was a marathoner and Beth was there to see me do it. If you want to read that full story, you can do so at the link below. https://charlestonheel.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/well-that-was-hard/

Well, here we are in 2021. I’ll be honest. Getting the rest of my weight off is still a struggle. I began 2020 weighing 254 pounds. At the start of 2021 I weighed in at 232.

January 4, 2021

Here are my fitness goals for this year.

  1. Get my weight back down to somewhere between 200-210 pounds.
  2. Run 1,500 miles (I’ve run 1,000+ each year since 2016 but have never hit 1,500.)
  3. If in person races start happening and I can find a half marathon that works with my schedule, I want to break the 2 hour mark for a half marathon. My personal record is 2:06:46 in June of 2017.
  4. Eat better on a consistent basis.

Well, there’s my fitness goals for 2021. I know this one was a little bit longer that the first couple of installments in this series, but I felt the backstory was really important here. Do you have any fitness goals this year? Drop them in the comments!

Family Matters

In this second installment of my 2021 goals series, I want to step inside the home….literally. I have been blessed with an amazing family. Beth and I have been married for 17 years this past November and we have two amazing daughters. Carrie is 15 and Hannah is 12. These three ladies absolutely have my heart and they deserve the best from me. This is where my family life goals come into play.

  1. Control my temper. I am a passionate person and an emotional person. That however is no excuse for the times that I lose my temper with my kids or with my wife. I have to learn to stop and think more when my natural instinct is to just react. My family deserves my rational persona rather than my irrational one.
  2. Value family time more. My oldest daughter is a freshman in high school and suddenly it is hitting me that she will be off to college in 3 1/2 years. Where in the world does the time go?? I will always cherish our multiple amusement park trips as father and daughter this year and look forward to several more over the next few years. Even with that said, I need to look for more ways to get as much quality time with both girls and of course with Beth. I absolutely love when Beth and I have date day or date night.
  3. Be a better leader. I know that my biblical role in the family is to be the spiritual leader of my family. That is a role that I have always taken seriously and will continue to do so. However, there is always room for improvement and this is something that as I approach my spiritual goals, this should naturally improve as well.
  4. Have fun and laugh. This past year has brought about so much unexpected stress and without a lot of serious and even anxious moments at home. I want to take the time to laugh more and have more fun. After all, we aren’t promised tomorrow so why not make the absolute most of today.

Well, there’s a snapshot at what I want to work on with my family this year. Do you have any goals in this area of your life? Leave a comment below.

2021 Goals: Raising The Bar

In this first installment of my 2021 goals, I want to talk about some specific goals that I have in my relationship with Christ. I know many that know me might say something like, ‘You’re a pastor. You should already be on top of this.’ Here’s the dirty little secret. Pastors don’t always have it all together. We are every bit as human as everyone else and, like everyone else, we have our peaks and valleys. I wish that more pastors would be honest about that part of their lives, but I also understand why many are incredibly guarded. There are many that relish the opportunity to launch an attack on any Christian with a struggle, let alone a pastor.

Ok. Enough of that little soap box. Here’s what I am striving to improve at this year.

  1. Consistency in Bible reading. I’m generally pretty good about this already, but there are still the occasional days that time gets away and I find myself in bed realizing that I haven’t spent any time in the Word that day. Simply put, that can’t happen. God’s Word is spiritual nourishment. Just like my body will not respond well to only eating a few times a week, my soul won’t respond well to not being fed regularly.
  2. Pray more. I’ll be honest. This is a spiritual discipline that I simply need to be better at. That isn’t to say that I don’t pray daily. I do. However, I often find myself praying and then as soon as I say amen, I’m on to the next task. I need to be more deliberate, more patient in my prayer life. I need to take the extra time necessary to not just lay out my prayer list to God, but to let Him talk to me.
  3. Be a better pastor. This one requires genuine sacrifice on my part. It’s so easy for me to have tunnel vision on Sundays. There are certain tasks that I have to either get done or make sure they are done and I find myself oblivious to anything or anyone else around me. While I have improved here, I still need to be better. Another part of this is having more communication during the week with the people that I pastor. This starts with our worship team as those are the people that I am with the most, but also goes beyond that to everyone in our local church.
  4. Share my faith more effectively. I have always been one that believes that your life speaks far more than your words when it comes to what you believe. However, that doesn’t make it ok to not share my faith when the opportunity presents itself. In today’s climate, the world is often openly hostile to Christianity, but the gospel still needs to be presented when possible.

Well, that’s my list of spiritual goals for 2021. Do you have any goals in this vein? Feel free to share in the comments.