The Highland Church is in a horrible place for traditional Abilene "church growth." We're not near ACU, and we aren't in the growing area of Abilene. There are so many new stores and restaurants: Books-a-Million (hurrah! a legitimate bookstore in Abilene!), Red Robin, Jason's Deli, and a hundred other places on the South/Southwest side of town. But around Highland, there is nothing new. We are not in the right part of town. Location, location, location. But I'm so thankful we're here. I'm so thankful that we didn't move down to 707 years ago when it was considered. Because God is opening so many doors. I'm so thankful because of W. She lived across the street from our building and now, a few years after her baptism, is a vital part of this church. Though W. is mentally disabled, she is right at the center of this church. She arrives early on Sunday mornings to get coffee ready for her class. She greets everyone as they enter the building. She laughs (loudly!) at my jokes . . . and at other times. She "amens" loudly at the end of prayers. She is a truly amazing woman who is on fire for Jesus. I'm so thankful because of the Colonial Apartments. God put this vision in Maria's heart a few years ago, and now there is this partnership between Highland and the Colonial Apartments that only God could have brought about. If you haven't ever seen the Colonial Christmas Pageant at Highland (which this year is expanded to the Freedom Fellowship neighborhood), don't miss it on December 4. I'm so thankful because of the huge number of neighborhood people who are eating here at the Oasis meals on Wednesday nights. We started these meals as a chance for us to be together before the 7:00 assembly and classes. But apparently God had other plans, because there are as many nonmembers as members eating. It's a different environment, maybe not quite as relaxed as chatting with friends, but what an opportunity! (I know one reader of this blog who had an amazing opportunity to minister last week . . . if maybe she'll just share with us . . .) I'm thankful because some of the people I saw bringing sacks of groceries to the front of their church Sunday morning to share with others in need are people who at times need the church's assistance in making ends meet. Location, location, location. Ah, to be located in the middle of something God is doing. - - - - In case I don't blog tomorrow, please have a wonderful day. "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:16-18). - - - - It was so good to see Matt and Sarah Lynn Sunday morning. The church that they planted in Eugene, Oregon, is doing well. Their group wanted to pick one of the most unchurched places in the country and they found it. I wonder if the people going there have any idea that they have one of the most gifted worship leaders (SL) anywhere? - - - - I guess this will be our first Thanksgiving without Matt since he was born in 1982. Ah, the wonder of sharing your married children! For 27 years we've alternated holiday trips between Ohio and Missouri. How has that worked for others of you? Any other holiday sharing going on out there?