Choosing to Lead

My parents are heroes in my life. I lost both of them at younger ages but I am grateful for the time I had with them and the impact they’ve had both on my life and the lives of others.

Over the years, I’ve met so many people who knew my parents and were affected by them in some way. Strangers come up and tell me stories of my parents loving service, strength to hold fast, and their effort to do everything with excellence and 100 percent heart.

I have even had people come to me and tell me how they disagreed with my folks in some way and how even then they felt like my folks were their friends.

My parents were willing to make hard, unpopular decisions. Not because they wanted to but because it was best and right in the sight of God’s goodness. Their heart was to put up the good fight for those who couldn’t help themselves like those in poverty or foster care, refugees, or hurting friends who needed an advocate.

My parents didn’t just take on a cause to take on the cause. They truly stood with resolve behind what they believed in.

When they were alive, I never understood how powerful the commitment to stand for what you believe in would have a lasting impact.

Allan and Sylvia Eide

I just remember them talking late into the night about the struggle of feeling like an island with no emotion left to offer because of untrue rumors, getting excluded in community circles, and even having hurtful things being said to their face because others didn’t agree with what they were doing.

Understand my folks were not perfect or rebels. Far from it. They just stood firm with hard decisions because of Christ because it was right and what is the point of something that is good if you don’t fight for it.

Remembering these characteristics of my parents is extra precious because there have been many times I have felt like I’ve been in some similar situations.

I’ve had to make some hard decisions regarding leadership positions I’ve been entrusted to. Like my folks I tried to make nothing in haste, sought a lot of counsel, and prayed through it extensively. I feel good about my decisions.

Yet every decision still involves trust and usually affects other lives.

I have tried to my best ability to be loving without vacillating on the choices that seem to be the best.

The hardest part is probably hearing information that is going around that isn’t accurate and knowing that people are responding negatively without having all the pieces to the puzzle in any of those situations.

It’s hard to resist the temptations of trying to control the info or attacking with self-righteousness to bring justice where I think it’s needed. Those never produce good fruit.

I am blessed with friends, colleagues, coministers who stand with me and are for me. Still sometimes you can feel pretty alone. It’s part of leadership and being committed to what you believe.

Maybe that’s one the reasons why the Bible talks about trusting in the Lord with all of your heart and leaning not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

It’s interesting that God talks about the heart in this verse when it’s the mind and all the “possible scenarios” of what people are saying or doing that fuels fear and hurt.

Is it because whatever a person speaks usually reflects what’s in their heart?

Is it because the heart is often the metaphor of where Christ lives?

Is it because the heart is how we describe our passions, our loves, and dreams, and God wants us to give all of that to Him daily?

Maybe yes to all three.

To be very open with you: those times are really hard and that’s ok.

When I’m in it, I don’t know who will like me and who won’t in the end. I might learn that I need to do things differently. I’m totally fine with that as long as integrity is kept.

I always want to see God’s Kingdom come and all involved see how much God adores them and loves them in this.

I also do not want to live in my wounds or fear and lean on my own understanding. I’ve always hoped that one day my children will hear from others about how their dad helped them or made a difference so they can be encouraged to fight the good fight.

Here is my take away…

I can’t lead and make choices and measure them solely on peoples agreeing with it.

I can’t make every one happy. Sounds cliché but it’s a reality.

I must, as best I can, try to stay keep a clear conscience before the Lord.

I must remember I may never get to see the fruit of my labor and that’s ok…

Why?

Because the second part of Proverbs 3:5-6 says “acknowledge the Lord in all of your ways and He will make your path straight”

I really want the straight path. I believe that’s what my parents were trying to show me.

God is good all the time.

Peder

Golf and The Church

I love the game of golf!

No secret to many of you.

I love the challenge of getting better, the competition, and the stories shared among friends.

No two rounds of golf turn out the same, and I especially love getting to play courses around the country I’ve never played before or are famous.

Unfortunately, I don’t play as much as I used to. A lot of circumstances play into why but I definitely appreciate every chance to play now more than ever.

It’s a game that tests the emotions, problem solving skills, coordination, and truly can expose your character good or bad. :)

It’s a fun moment when you make a long putt or hit a long shot that felt so right when you swung the club and lands close to the hole. It’s a game I hopefully can play a long time from now.

The worst thing I can do when it comes to golf is compare myself with other golfers.

Sounds kinda like a cute, simple thought but listen closely.

If I compared myself to other golfers, I would have quit a long time ago.

My brother Tom is a really good player. He beats me every time. I play with Tom more than I play with anyone else, and I’ve only tied him once.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to beat him some day. Beat him bad. I love him and he is my brother but oh I want to take him one time.

Tom and I golfing in Arizona

Tom and I golfing in Arizona

If I would have looked at his game then looked at mine and said I’m not good enough, I would have quit a long time ago.

Quitting would have saved me from a bunch of heartache, greens fees, golf balls, and emotional trauma.

But I also would have missed out on so many laughs. I would have missed out on being surprised in Florida by him and two other friends for a birthday golf outing. I would have missed out on so many good talks we have had about family, career, and life.

There are too many stories we tell from being out on the course that we did together that could never be told because they never happened.

I would have missed those things! All because I compared myself to someone else.

To the Christian Church, I make this appeal: please don’t compare your self to other churches.

Don’t measure your worth on how good you are based on how other churches are growing or their technology or what ever.

If you do that, you’re missing what’s going on in YOUR church.

God is doing things in your church that are not being done anywhere else!

Are you aware of that? Are you seeing them?

Set The Temp!

Sorry I missed last week. No excuse just missed it. Might be the weather in Minnesota. Kind of a bummer. It’s like we have become the state of one season: wet, dreary, and cold. I still have hope.

It makes me think of my approach to each day’s challenges lately. I will confess I don’t think I have been taking on my days very well lately. I have found myself feeling like I’m on defense a lot and not moving forward. It’s not an inspiring way to wake up.

It’s not a great feeling to go places thinking a battle could come towards me, what the environment will be and, in a some of cases, what are people thinking of me.

Is there any thing worse than wondering if the whispers are about you and are they good?

Fear creeps in and then crud…defeat.

I love sports. Watching, playing, teaching, but especially coaching. I think it’s a lot being a pastor. You are given a group of people to teach skills, teach plays, inspire, hold accountable, send out, tend to injuries, send back out, make in-game adjustments, cheer on, make substitutes, and all along try to equip them for something bigger than themselves.

Maybe it’s too simple of an analogy but for our conversation, it’s workable.

When I coach my girls’ team, I often speak about trying to be a thermostat rather than a thermometer.

The thermostat sets the temperature while a thermometer reflects the temperature.

As a player, you want your team to set the pace, tempo, flow, attitude of the game. You, of course, make some adjustments, but you really want to stick to your game plan.

If your opponent gets frustrated or takes cheap shots, you don’t want your team to do the same. You don’t want your team to respond negatively to refrees’ calls that don’t go your way.

Doing that you become thermometers because you are letting the other team influence how you play and what you do. A player who is a thermostat is not changed by her opponent. You stay to the course you have chosen.

Teams that stay thermostats get better, win more games, and walk away feeling they did their best.

Jesus says we are the light of the world! Not the mirrors of the world. Light changes how a room feels, what it looks like. A mirror just redirects whatever light there might be. If any light leaves, so does the purpose of the mirror.

What if we focus on being a thermostat rather than a thermometer?

That means when you get up in the morning you set the climate for your children rather than reflecting what they are like.

If your friends are crabby and gossiping, then you change that temp by getting their eyes focused on something else and not fueling the gossip with your own to be part of the group.

When you arrive at worship on Sunday, you become a worshipper rather than waiting to see if it’s your favorite songs or favorite pastor giving the sermon.

Didn’t Jesus say go into the world but not be of it? Thermostat or Thermometer?

Is it easy? Nope!

Does it always change? Not right away but I believe it will even if it takes a longer than you want.

Why? Because the Kingdom of God doesn’t lose.

The Holy Spirit who lives in us will not lose. If the Holy Spirit flows from us, it will do whatever it wants and it WILL be good! Because God is good!

It’s not about manipulation or being in control of people. It’s about living in the Kingdom of God which is all love, grace, truth, joy, acceptance, healing, and sanctuary. It’s about being Jesus to those who have forgotten or don’t even believe He is in the room.

You are that thermostat!

It’s not a calling because callings separate us into groups where some are and some are not. Instead it’s what Jesus made us to be in His death and resurrection: a thermostat.

I have to get better starting today. I can’t just try. In the words of Master Yoda “There is no try. Do or not do!”

That’s a thermostat.

Can you do?

Let me know.

God is good all the time!

Peder

Seatbelts

In the years I have been able to drive a vehicle, I’ve driven over 1,000,000 miles! It’s crazy. And I’ve flown over 1 million miles as well! I get tired thinking about it. The part of grace that overwhelms me is being accident-free in both forms of travel. (Yes, I really appreciate being accident free when it comes to air travel :))

I have been in a car accident though. I claim accident-free driving because I was 100 percent not at fault for this accident. It also showed me the dire importance of God’s word in our hearts and daily lives.

Let me explain.

As a newly engaged guy, I was driving a Mercury Tracer down a four-lane highway. It was snowing and the traffic was tight but still moving about 40 mph. As the highway curved, a Suzuki Samuri jeep going the opposite direction lost control and jumped the median.

I saw it coming and immediately locked my arms to brace for the impact. The jeep hit me and another car head on. It crushed the whole right side of my car, and we spun in our lane.

It took a second to sit and breathe, but then I was able to get out of my vehicle and check on the other drivers. All were good. The cars, not so much. All three cars were totaled.

It could have been worse. I remember thinking I was grateful for my quick reaction to brace myself before impact.

The next morning as I was getting ready I noticed something on my skin. From the top of my left shoulder diagonally across my chest was bruised and a rope-burn-type mark near my hip. I realized it was the mark from seatbelt where it had held me during impact in the accident!

I didn’t hold myself when the jeep hit me head on. It was my seatbelt. I learned later that trying to hold yourself during impact of a car accident is useless. It’s like sticking your arms straight out in front of you and run at a wall as fast as you can. Let me know how that turns out.

The thing is I grew up without wearing a seatbelt. I began to wear it when states made it a law. Then I made it a habit.

I really love that law! Because of it, I walked away from a pretty big impact with some soreness and bruising but that’s it.

My point is not to get into a seatbelt law good or bad debate. It’s more important than that.

It’s about why God says to meditate on Him and His Word all the time. It’s why He gave us Commandments to obey. It’s why he calls the Word a Living Word and that we need this Bread of Life every day. It’s why we want to make it a habit.

There are so many times in life that we cannot see what’s coming; we cannot prepare for impact. And even if we have that quick reaction, we cannot save ourselves.

This world is full of unwanted surprises, tragedies, pain, and hurt.

Jesus did not promise a life without hurt. He did, however, give us truth to wrap ourselves in: that He would never leave us, and if we put God’s Word in our lives daily we will know real living, even in moments of impact.

Maybe it’s time to create a new seatbelt habit with God’s Word?

Some how for you were you are taking in God’s absolute truth for the moments you see coming and the ones who surprise you. It can be really good for us to love the Law!

Buckle up! (spiritually speaking)

God is good all the time!

Peder

You Are More Than A Shiny Thing

I joke about how my kids can catch a glimpse of a shiny thing and lose track of what they were doing.

But lately it’s been their dad who’s having that problem.

The reason for my distraction changes all the time. It seems trying to have a conversation with me is trying to have a conversation in a restaurant with a bunch of TVs playing football games everywhere.

I don’t know why it’s been so hard to focus lately because the distractions have always been there and have never affected me. But now…

It’s has showed up with my children. They want to tell me something, and I’m only catching a part of what they are saying. Then I have to ask them to repeat what they said.

I’m definitely not liking that part of me.

They have a fun story to tell me or a question and I’m off in some other thought, my eyes off towards some else I think is more important. As they get frustrated, they might give up telling me stuff.

That makes my stomach churn. I don’t want to experience the day where they don’t want to tell their Daddy about the snow fort they built, how they made the cookies all by themselves, or how they need some feedback on a friend who is frustrating them.

I think about how Jesus picked up children the disciples wanted to keep away from Him. It when He said “Let the children come to Me for the Kingdom of God belongs to faith like this.”

There are so many theological pieces to this that are essential to our faith, but let’s look at the physical part of this moment.

He picked up the children and held them. He didn’t need to. He could have just gathered them around Him, taken a selfie with them, made His point, and shooed them on their way. After all, He was a pretty important guy with a lot of people needing His attention around Him. That’s certainly what the disciples thought.

Instead He picked them up.

I think that’s a crucial part of who Jesus was and even more who God the Father is. Remember Jesus said “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”

We don’t know all what Jesus said or did when He held the children. We don’t know how long it lasted, but we do know that Jesus, God Himself, physically held them.

He gave them affection, focus, held them and affirmed who they were in front of all the busyness going on around Him.

Why? Because they were His children.

Hey, are you reading this?

You are His child. When you go to Him, you get God’s focus, attention, and He affirms who you are to all of those around you. God is not distracted by “shiny things.”

He enjoys you, is proud of you and will never, never, never turn you away because there are ”more interesting things going on around world.” You are most interesting to the Abba Father.

Years ago I wrote a song about this moment and recorded it live at a youth conference. If you want to have it, you can download it clicking here. I hope you might find it a push for you to go sit and be held by Jesus. He loves it.

God is good all the time.

Peder

Lent and the Eide Family

As we enter this season of Lent, my family has decided to do something a little different.

Kinda…

The tradition is to give up something in the weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Something that may be taking your focus off of Jesus and basically getting more of your attention than the Lord. It’s a good time for believers to commit to taking something out of their daily living in order to get closer God.

This is a pretty simplistic description but it is a common approach. People give up certain foods, habits, social media, movies, etc.

The Eide Family

The Eide Family

My family and I have decided to make a music commitment.

Being a family that loves music (imagine that) and has a lot of different tastes, we’ve decided to treat it like food.

If you have had an illness, you’re told to drink lots of liquids or eat chicken soup.

If you are an athlete, you’re instructed to eat good proteins, fruits, carbohydrates, do heavy workouts and then light workouts, and replenish your electrolytes.

If someone has the stomach flu, you don’t encourage a trip to Taco Bell for healing.

If someone is trying to improve their physical body you probably wouldn’t suggest to triple McDonald’s intake with everything supersized.

I truly believe that when it comes to the heart and mind, we should take the same approach.

In regards to music, I really believe it’s a big deal. Bigger than we give it credit for.

Without getting into a 20-chapter research project, simply put, music is one of the—if not the—most powerful form of communication we have. It engages emotions; it reminds us of past experiences; it brings feelings and memories to the surface.

You can hear a song with no lyrics and it can move you to tears or excite your heart.

When it comes to lyrics, your brain remembers everything. Everything! Ever walk into a store and find yourself singing a tune you haven’t thought about in years and then realize it was softly playing in the background? Did you realize you know the lyrics of tv show theme songs yet you don’t have the song on you iPhone?

Music is powerful and your heart and mind know it!

With that as a backdrop, for Lent the Eide family decided to listen to only music that we call worship.

Style was not a determining factor. If the song has lyrics, they’ve got to be songs with scripture, hymns, modern worship, etc. If it doesn’t have lyrics, we must recognize the melody line from a hymn or modern worship tune.

It narrows down the playlist for sure.

Before some of you jump on the soap box of “Are you saying secular music is wrong?” or “You can’t tell me that all of today’s ‘Christian’ music is good for you” or “Are you trying to make your family into one of those ‘eyes covered up, fingers in our eyes motivated by our fears’ families?”

That’s not what we’re doing.

Instead we’re looking at what Philippians 4:8 says:

Finally brothers what ever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, what ever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if anything is worthy if praise, think about these things

What we put in our mind through our ears and eyes matters.

Do I condemn all “secular” music? No, I do not.

Do hymns and modern praise and worship fit Phil. 4:8 perfectly? Nope.

But is it closer to fruits and proteins for the mind and heart and a help in the direction of getting focused on the God’s presence? I would say yes.

Well see how it goes. I can tell you I’m ok with a little less Taco Bell in my heart and mind. J

Think it through.

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Or tell me what your family’s doing for Lent.

God is good all the time!

Peder

Snowmobiles and Signs

Living in Minnesota means snow. This year’s snow and temperatures are bad enough to make a polar bear look for a coat. I’m not really complaining, just enlightening.

A fun part of the winter though is riding snowmobiles. I grew up on it. I haven’t gotten to do much of it over the years. This year I found a snowmobile on Craig’s List and added it to our family. It’s an older, used one but it can get going, and it’s Ethan’s main thing!

Our neighbor saw our new snowmobile and invited me on a late-night ride through trail in our community. I put my gear on and with a couple of other guys, off we went.

It was snowing again (go figure). Watching the snow fall down in the beam of my headlight was fun. Since the trail was new to me, every turn was a new picture.

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photo credit: mercedesbbk via photopin cc

When you ride trails, you stay as group in case someone’s snowmobile breaks down, someone falls off (it happens), someone gets lost, etc. At night you keep an eye out for the taillight of the person in front of you and the headlight of the person behind you. If you can’t see the sled behind you, you stop until they come into view. If they don’t, you turn around to find them.

It’s like not leaving family behind.

The other part of riding at night is trusting the leader and the signs that mark the trail. It’s the leader who makes the turns that everyone else follows. If he is unsure, he stops so we all catch up and make a group decision. The bottom line is it all comes down to looking for the signs and trusting the signs.

On our ride home, we decided to take a different route than when we left. The snow was falling harder but we felt good about where we were going. We were looking hard for some specific signs to know where to turn. Understand these signs are small, orange signs with black arrows. They can be every 100 yards to every ½ mile apart. Somewhere we got turned around and felt we were going the wrong direction. We stopped a couple times to agree on where to go next.

Being off-course was a bit unsettling because we were afraid of being lost and running out of gas. Out on trail are gas stations unavailable.

We decided to follow the signs running along side a highway until we realized where we were: the complete opposite direction of where we wanted to go. Eventually we made it home and had a blast doing it.

Here is the part you need to hear: We were never really lost!

Sure we had gone the wrong direction but we were always following the correct signs. We only looked for snowmobile trail signs and not other kinds of signs because the signs we needed where snowmobile trail signs.

Listen my friends, so often we get worried about making the right decisions and looking for the perfect direction from God. I’m glad you want to do that as we all need to seek His face and His Will!

In God’s amazing grace and sovereignty, as we make choices in our lives, as long as our passion is for Jesus, He will keep us on track and bring us to where He wants us. He is that good.

They key is look for His signs, His word, His voice. And don’t take that lightly. God really has plans for you (Jer. 29:11-13) and they are good plans (Phil. 1:6)

Sometimes a different trail is just part of the adventure God uses to teach us about Him.

It was fun to figure out how to get back. The peace we had is always having the right sign in our sight even if it was a little different journey.

Are you watching the right signs today? Remember He is before you, behind you, beside you, in you, through you, and for you!

Watch the signs.

God is good all the time

Peder

Smile Because It Happened–A Vlog from the Metrodome

Ethan and I went to the last Vikings game ever in the Metrodome. So many memories in that building and now the Vikings are moving out.

We said good-bye to a stadium and are now saying good-bye to 2013.

(If the vlog’s not loading properly, you can find it on YouTube).

We’ve got a choice: cry or smile.

I hope you can look back over 2013 and smile because it happened.

And I hope you smile when you look forward to 2014 when you think about all that God’s going to do.

Happy New Year!

Remember, God is good all the time.

Peder

The Joy of Planning!

I love to create. I love to make new things. I guess it’s a part of why I love what I do. I love to write songs, create events, write devotions, blogs, basketball offenses and defense, dates for my wife, surprises for our kids, etc.

Right now we are putting the pieces together for the Wondrous Love Christmas Tour 2013.

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We have done Christmas tour for many years. Every year I am so excited to bring the music from our three Christmas projects and even some new surprises. My traveling crew is the best. The hosts of each concert are amazing and bless me every time.

Planning out the show for the evening is about each location, the avenue of communication using song and story, the presentation of sound and lights, the audience in attendance, the passion we want to share with, and, of course, being clear in what Christmas is about.

All of this to help people draw into the season of Christmas. I have so much fun planning and so get nervous each year hoping it blesses all the people who come to the concerts.

Have you ever thought about how excited God was to unveil his Son to the world? Think of the planning that went into it. The timing (perfect), the location (Bethlehem), presentation (angels, star, manager), the avenue of communication (Mary and Joseph), the audience (shepherds, sheep, cows), the passion (John 3:16).

I don’t equate my planning to God’s by any means but think of the point that God sending Jesus to be born was not a whim.

I love these verses in Ephesians 1. I use The Message because I think it really shows God heart about the “Christmas Plan.”

How blessed is God! And what a blessing He is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in Him. Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son.

God’s plan was not a duty or obligation. It was His pleasure. And what a presentation He gave us.

I hope to see you on Christmas Tour. More so I pray that you discover in a new way the truth of God’s amazing plan that was made long ago. It was about bring real Joy To The World!

God is good all the time!

Peder

Wondrous Love Christmas Tour 2013 Dates

December 3-Farmington, MN
December 6-Marion, WI
December 7-Racine, WI
December 8-Pewaukee, WI; Sycamore, IL
December 13-Wausau, WI
December 14-Grafton, WI
December 15-Grafton, WI
December 18-Fargo, ND
December 19-Grand Forks, ND
December 21-Hampton, IA
December 24-Englewood, CO

Find full event details on the tour page here.

The Runner vs The Skateboarder

I like running. I’m more inconsistent than I want to be but it’s a time when I can think without being interrupted. I ran track in high school, but it’s my wife, Sherri, who is my inspiration and encouragement to run, and she reminds me how great I feel after a run. Tired? Yep. Energized? Definitely.

I was out running on a beautiful Minnesota fall day when this kid with his flat-brimmed hat on backwards looking at his iPhone just cruised by me on his skateboard!

I was on the sidewalk and he came right into my peripheral vision on the street and eased by.

I actually felt myself pick up the pace (which feels slow now) to try and keep up with the guy, hoping to pass him.

He didn’t even notice me. He didn’t care. He just went on his way enjoying his wheels and music.

Lots of thoughts entered at that moment:

  • I’m so slow! What happened to my speed from days gone by?
  • That kid is so not getting a workout. The skateboard is doing all the work.
  • I’m gonna beat this flat brimmed, untied shoes, no care in the world boarder
  • I hate falling behind anyone. I hate losing!
  • I’m glad I don’t own a skateboard. I’m working hard. I’m better off than he is.
  • It’s not fair that I have to run and he doesn’t.
  • I’m embarrassed to be so slow; I hope he doesn’t remember me.
  • I’ll never get faster.

They go on and on.

I know, it’s not very Christian like.

But I’m being honest about what I was thinking because it made me think about how as followers of Jesus we compare our “faithfulness” and “strength” to people around us.

It’s not helpful to do this! 

What if I change a few words in my thoughts. Do you ever have thoughts like these?

  • I’m so doubting! What happened to my confidence from days gone by?
  • That person is so not trying. God is doing all the work.
  • I’ll go to to show everyone how I worship.
  • I hate falling in front of anyone. I hate screwing up!
  • I’m glad I not a lazy church-goer. I’m working hard. I’m better off than them.
  • It’s not fair that I have to struggle and he doesn’t.
  • I’m embarrassed to have questions. I hope he doesn’t notice my fears.
  • I’ll never get it right. I’ll never win.

I run because I get to run. I try to get in better shape. I may try a race. I really just want to get stronger, feel better, and take care of what I’ve been given.

Isn’t that a part of our faith and connecting with God and His presence?

We have each been given a certain measure of faith in accordance to what God decides (Romans 12:3). It’s not about comparing ourselves to each other. That takes our eyes of the prize (Philippians 3:12-14).

Our running is about OUR run!

God has laid it out and is excited to show Himself to you in new ways. Don’t feel defeated by the skateboard! In fact ask God to bless those who seem to speed on by that they would know the presence of the Father like never before!

This Thanksgiving, give thanks that you get to run, walk, or roll. It’s what God has made for you and He’s is excited to meet you in it.

God is good All the Time!

Peder