41. I am thankful for Sunday Mornings...

I have always loved the church family--or in my case, families. I was telling someone yesterday that the reason my local church means so much to me, is because this group of people (wherever it has been) is my "real" and "primary" family relationship base. Sunday mornings are the normal "gathering time" for the family, and I'm always delighted to be included.

I have almost always loved Sunday School. With few exceptions, I've always been involved in the Sunday School hour...and it happens at 8:30 a.m. at The Moody Church for me (www.moodychurch.org). There is a second Sunday School hour at 11:30 a.m. after morning worship....but I am an "early riser"--and so I do the 8:30 a.m. session.

I love being with God's people. I love seeing folks who are gathering in, greeting each other, and coming to worship Jesus!

I love shaking hands, hugging necks, laughing, crying, and sharing. I love the "touch" of people who genuinely care about me...and touching those people that also mean so much to me in so many ways.

I love the great congregational singing...the marvelous organ ministry of Dr Paul Satre, and the phenomenal piano ministry of my close pal, Scott Griffin. I love water baptisms, baby dedications, the public reading of the Scriptures--which we do responsively in our Sunday Morning gatherings...

I love the PASTORAL PRAYER....this is probably my "favorite" part of the Sunday Morning worship gathering...this is when my "earthly shepherd" brings the needs of the whole church to the GREAT SHEPHERD on my behalf...there is just something about hearing my pastor "pray"...that strengthens and blesses my soul beyond description.

I love Sunday Mornings.

40. I'm thankful for "Skills"...most of the time...

My great friend, Dr Jackie Johns (www.jackiespeaks.blogspot.com) recently honored (and humbled) me by writing about his thankfulness for me. It was a very entertaining post, humorous, thoughtful, historical, and well....

I'll get right to the point: Cooking is not my only "skill" or ability--or at least I hope it's not my only skill/ability. But that seems to be the thing that always "rises to the top" when someone asks about "Phil Hoover."

Example: A very close friend of mine at The Moody Church was introducing me to someone new the other week. We were making pleasant talk, when my friend told the 'new person'--"Oh yes, Phil is a marvelous cook....make sure you get an invitation to his place some time soon." I grinned, and was heartwarmed...for a few minutes....But then I started thinking, "surely I can do other things OUTSIDE the kitchen....surely I can. I served in the Air Force, I attended Seminary, I have some decent musical skills, and I consider myself to be an intelligent being....is COOKING going to be my legacy with all the people who know me?"

Well, for now it will be.

The Executive Pastor pretty much confirms this. My friend, Dr Hutz Hertzberg, once told me, "Brother, we have musicians, and theologians, and teachers galore in this church....They are a dime a dozen...but NO ONE can run a kitchen like you can...you are the BEST in this church."

Where is God in all of this?

Jackie Speaks: I am Thankful for my Friend Phil Hoover

Jackie Speaks: I am Thankful for my Friend Phil Hoover: "There are friends and then there is Phil Hoover. I first met Phil in the mid eighties. David Horton was the Minister of Music and I was the ..."

39, I am thankful for Men's Fraternity...

Yep, going on SEASON THREE, "The Great Adventure", I am deeply involved with the Men's Ministries of The Moody Church, a program called "Men's Fraternity" www.mensfraternity.com

This is, WITHOUT HESITATION, the very BEST program for men's ministries that I have ever encountered. As you will see on the website, it is VERY ENGAGING...

And the men in this "adventure" are THRILLED that I'm involved also....

I'm the "Kitchen Chief" every Thursday morning. I'm always at The Moody Church by 5:15 EVERY THURSDAY morning (without fail) when "MF" is going strong. I'm the guy who decides what the other 75 (give or take a few, here and there) will have for breakfast every Thursday morning.

I'm the guy who makes sure all the food is ordered, prepared, served...and most importantly that GALLONS of COFFEE is available...I would not ever face these men without CAFFEINATING them first!

We are having our "Man-sized, MONSTER" breakfast this morning (I'll be at the church at 4:45 AM with several others arriving shortly thereafter to help with the preparations.) So the menu will be:

Homemade Biscuits with gravy
Scrambled Eggs
Homemade Hashbrowns
Fresh Fruits
Fresh tomatoes
Orange Juice

Ya'll come!