Are you impressed?

Thanks to a great internship with KIMT in 1999, I had the opportunity to stand on the sideline with a sports reporter for the Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions game on January 2, 2000. While I have been to NFL, NBA and MLB games before, standing on the sideline of a Vikings game has to be my favorite professional sports memory.

In fact, not only did I get to stand on the sideline and help that reporter, I got to go into the Vikings’ locker room after the game! I literally rubbed shoulders with Hall-of-Famer Cris Carter, my all-time favorite Viking, and got to hold a microphone in the face of Hall-of-Famer Randy Moss. I remember just being in awe of all of these superstars. No doubt I was starstruck.

Not surprisingly, though, none of those players ever hung out with me after that day. None of them invited me over for supper or came to my parents’ house for a visit. They continued their lives as if they had never even met me. Why? Well, because they did not and do not know me. We have no relationship.

Yes, I was quite proud of that day and have told many people over the years how I saw John Randle’s gargantuan arms up close and stood within a few feet of Randall Cunningham and Jeff George. I bragged about that day as if I had actually accomplished something, even though I had really done nothing of any significance.

Now, if some of those players had proceeded to visit me and become my friends, I would have really been able to impress people. Well, at least some people would have been impressed. It is highly improbable this will ever happen, though. Not only will I likely never see any of those players in person again, but they will likely never align themselves with me. They have no reason to do so.

Have you ever considered how amazing it is, however, that the God of the universe promises to be with those who know Him?! One of the names of Jesus the Son of God is Immanuel, which means “God is with us” (Matthew 1:23).

While you would likely be impressed if a famous football player regularly came to my house for supper, you are likely not impressed that God is with me all the time. He never leaves me, just as He promised. The reason this does not impress you is two-fold:

  1. I have done absolutely nothing to earn God’s presence. Rather, it is by His grace and mercy in and through His Son that I (or anyone) can know Him and experience His resulting presence.
  2. Experiencing God’s presence is available for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

So, while this ought not impress you that God is with me, you certainly ought to be amazed and in awe of the fact that God would choose to be with any of us, me included. We are sinful people incapable of getting to God on our own, and so He came to us. This is the Christmas story, and it is the exciting message of Immanuel we are going through as a church on Sunday mornings.

Are you impressed? You certainly are not and should not be impressed with me, but I pray you are awe-struck by God and His love for you.

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Slow down and look back.

Do you ever slow down in the midst of a crazy day to look back at pictures of fond memories? Google Photos help me do that when I get occasional notifications on my phone of throwback pictures to “Rediscover this day” from a previous year.

Today was one of those days. Several pictures from six years ago today, like those at the bottom of this email, popped up in my notifications. I could not help but slow down and look back at these fun memories with our children.

Then, I was reminded that this is really a great time of year to slow down and look back. In the busyness of the Christmas season, it is very easy to get distracted away from what matters most. So, slow down and look back.

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be starting a new sermon series on Advent: Immanuel, and I hope to challenge and encourage others to slow down in the present to consider God’s promise. Do not get so distracted by your everyday life that you fail to remember Who is in control and Whom you need to be trusting.

My messages are posted HERE on Sunday afternoons, but the most important message you can ever hear and respond to is this one.

Slow down and look back. Look back to the manger. Look back to the cross. Look back to the empty tomb. The One to whom we are called to look back is also the One who will come again. To be ready for the second Advent, we must look back to and embrace the first.

 

November 30, 2012 in Windsor Valley

Merry Christmas from the Drakes!

Trust in the Lord will all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Advent Season is here. The prophecies about the Messiah came true! “See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is with us’” (Matthew 1:23).

Merry Christmas! Our family is doing well, and we hope you and yours are doing well, too. A lot has happened in 2017, so here is a quick family update…

As you’ve likely heard by now, we are a family of seven! Our whole family, along with my mom and Marsha’s parents, went to China in May to adopt our son Micah. If you’re counting, that made five adults and five children. By God’s grace and provision, the trip went well, and there is one less orphan in the world.

Micah (age 2) is doing really well so far, as he has fit right in with our family in the seven months he has been with us. Bonding well with everyone, he loves playing with his siblings (who are all amazing with him), and is definitely a mommy’s boy, which we’ve learned is pretty standard for a 2-year-old. He has quickly picked up on the need to be rough and tough with three big brothers and a big sister who holds her own. We praise God for adding Micah to our family this year and can’t imagine life without him!

Noah (age 12) is in sixth grade and is really liking middle school life. He is learning to play the saxophone this year, using the same saxophone that his great grandpa Ralph Sorum used many years ago. Getting ready for the start of basketball season, Noah is also cheering loudly (and proudly) for the Minnesota Vikings. Skol! Most importantly, Noah is growing in his relationship with Jesus Christ and staying actively involved with our church family and the church youth group. He will be joining me and some other people from our church for a mission trip to Guatemala (orphan ministry and church outreach) this coming June.

Levi (age 11) is in fifth grade and is thrilled that he, unlike his big brother, still gets to have recess during every school day. 🙂 He is learning to play the guitar, and I’m hoping that he’ll one day help with worship music in our church. Also looking forward to basketball season and being a big Vikings fan, Levi does a lot with Noah, and I’m enjoying them more and more as they grow up. Professing faith in Christ and getting baptized in 2016, Levi is also active with our church family and is great with his younger siblings when not pestering them.

Silas (age 7) is in first grade, and even though he would much rather be outside playing than be in the classroom, he is tolerating school just fine. This will be Silas’ first year to play basketball, and we might have some difficulties convincing him that tackling opposing players is not the best way to get the ball. Thankfully, Silas continues to ask great questions about God and the Bible, and it is evident God is at work in his heart.

Zoe (age 6) is in kindergarten and is loving school, just as we expected she would. By far the most social of all the Drakes, Zoe doesn’t really know a stranger. She played soccer for the first time this fall and had a great time. Don’t let her friendly smile fool you, though, for she has a very competitive side that comes out on the field and hopefully will on the basketball court someday, too. Although listening isn’t her greatest strength when she’s in TeamKID and family groups (with our church), she is clearly learning and also asking some good questions about the Lord. We appreciate your continued prayers for Silas, Zoe and Micah to all have a clear understanding of the gospel and to respond in repentance and faith.

Marsha is continuing what I believe to be one of the toughest jobs in the world – being a stay-at-home mother. She never gets a day off and gets very few breaks, but she still loves her calling. Praise the Lord for all she does for our family at home and for our church family as a family group leader, TeamKID leader, nursery worker and prayer team member. She makes all of our roles so much easier and more fulfilling.

I have been the pastor of Richland Baptist Church in Kingdom City, MO, for a little over four years now. What a blessing! I love my job, and I love our church family! If you’re ever interested in keeping up with what’s happening with our church and/or listening to my sermons, you can visit MyRichland.org or get the free MyRichland app for your mobile device. Family pictures and updates, although infrequent, can be seen here at DrakeCity.com.

More important than a family update or Christmas letter, a right relationship with God is what we plead with you to pursue with all your heart this year. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Praise God for this amazing promise!

If you ever have any questions about what it means to have a personal relationship with God, please know that we would always be happy to talk with you and pray with you. There is nothing more important in this life (or the next) than making sure we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and walk faithfully with Him. Please contact us if you have any questions or prayer requests.

Merry Christmas and God bless you!

Merry Christmas from the Drakes!

November 2015Happy Advent season! Jesus Christ the Savior has come, and He will come again. Seek Him, trust Him and follow Him today.

I wanted to give you an update on our family, as is the custom this time of year. Of course, you can keep up with us on social media (Marsha and me), but isn’t an annual Christmas letter culturally required? Posting the letter online isn’t exactly “culturally appropriate,” but since we’re not sure if we’ll be able to send out a physical Christmas letter, this is my inferior alternative.

Marsha is still busy taking care of all of us. Between working with the kids’ schooling, doing ministry with our church family, working on creative crafts, cooking, cleaning and everything else she does for us, many must wonder if she ever sleeps. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for Marsha as my wife and the mother of our children. Without her, our family would be in big trouble. She is very gifted by the Lord with mercy and compassion, is a great listener, and loves being a blessing to others.

Noah David DrakeNoah is 10 years old and is an incredible answer to prayer this year. Early this fall he made a public profession of his faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and he was baptized in November. You can watch his short testimony video HERE. Noah is doing a great job in school and loves hanging out with his family, friends and church family. His strengths for which we thank God are his friendly personality, his responsibility, his warm smile and his constant willingness to help others.

Levi Jeremiah DrakeLevi is nine years old and keeps us laughing with his witty sense of humor. He’s a little more shy and reserved than his big brother, but he isn’t afraid to speak up when necessary. In fact, Levi does not give in to peer pressure easily and is a defender of the underdog. Although he is unafraid to share of his lack of love for school, he is doing a good job and likes recess most. Seriously, though, what nine-year-old boy does not? Levi’s strengths for which we thank God are his humility, his sweet personality, his compassion and his comedic style.

Silas Stephen DrakeSilas just turned five and is growing like a weed in a wet springtime. Although a little reserved and slow to warm up to new people, Silas is someone who is adored by those who know him. He loves making people happy and seeing people smile, and he accomplishes this with hilarious comments, funny faces and “being a worker boy.” Often willing to be a helper, Silas is an encouragement to others. His strengths for which we thank God are his sense of humor, his thoughtful personality, his willingness to help me do work outside and his creative imagination.

Zoe Lee DrakeZoe is our sweet little girl who is also tough enough to be the little sister to three big brothers. Not seeming to know a stranger, Zoe is extremely friendly and outgoing. She loves playing with others, dressing up like a princess, helping her mommy around the house, playing ball and singing songs. Zoe’s strengths for which we thank God are her vibrant personality, her sweet disposition, her courage to try new things, her empathy and her loving affection.

I am pastoring Richland Baptist Church and have been for a little over two years now. Serving our church family is an incredible blessing and privilege for which I am beyond grateful. Also, I love when my family gets to do ministry alongside me. Spending time with them, especially while serving others, playing outside, exploring nature or watching movies, is my favorite thing to do. We do greatly miss our friends in Turkey, but I had the privilege of visiting there in September on a short-term trip. Because of our love for our friends and the work there, I continue to send out short monthly prayer updates. If you’d like to receive those, please let me know.

While the Christmas letter typically covers the good things and the highlights of the year, we are the first to admit that our family is far from perfect. We need Jesus in our lives just as much today as we ever have before, so we appreciate your prayers for us, particularly that we will grow in our relationship with the Lord and be shining lights to those around us. Likewise, we pray you will walk closely with Jesus and seek Him above all else. If there are specific ways in which we can pray for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Have a merry Christmas, a happy New Year and a Christ-centered 2016!

Fall and Christmas Pictures

celebrating Christmas in Windsor Valleycelebrating Christmas with Grandpa Robbie and Grandma JoZoe supports adoption.Well, we’re still trying to catch up with life and get into some sort of a routine in the Drake household. Our kids continue to battle illness, particularly Silas, and we’re learning a lot about living life and ministry in Kingdom City. For that reason, DrakeCity has taken a back seat on the priority list and probably will for a while longer. Still, we wanted to let you know that we finally posted several pictures from the fall and from Christmas. You can click HERE to see all of them.

During this hectic and overwhelming transition, we know many of you have been praying for us. Thank you! God has seen us through the ups and downs, as always, and we recognize his control in all things. We’re thankful that even though we have been discouraged and felt beat down many times over the past few months, we serve a Lord who still loves us and strengthens us, despite our lack of faith and trust in Him.