Today is my 55th!

There are so many things I could blog about today, but I will seize the moment and acknowledge that today is my 55th birthday! With Father's Day yesterday, and my birthday today, this has been a back-to-back double treat for me. I've been overwhelmed with a bunch of greeting cards and text messages from friends and family. Turning 55 must be a big deal or something! Tamisha and Tamara have called from Texas to wish me well. I'm expecting a call from Judd, my 4-year old grandson, any minute. (I'm going to see him later this week.) Last night, Erma and I celebrated these special days in my life at Sonic Drive-in. (We had already gone out for a nice Sunday dinner after church.) Let me explain. We were just sitting around the house, not doing much, and she mentioned that she had a craving for an Oreo Blast. You know what? She sweet-talked me right into it. It was either go for an evening walk or go to Sonic. You guessed it. By mutual consent, we yielded to the  temptation. What better way to celebrate an occasion like this than to sit in our vehicle at the local Sonic, with the windows rolled down on a summer evening, listening to the final round of the U. S. Open on XM radio? It just doesn't get any better than that! However, when we got home, Erma sort of took the edge off of the fun-filled evening by looking up the number of Weight Watchers points that exist in one regular-sized Sonic Blast. You won't believe it...16 points! That's more than half of my daily allotment. But, hey, it's my birthday! I figure 'll just have to run an extra few miles this week to work off those calories. The Life Church family was so kind to honor me yesterday morning. They presented me with money for a new watch of my choice. Somebody must have let it out that my old Seiko has finally given up the ghost. Maybe I'll go shopping for a Rolex. Just kidding. Besides, don't you know it would be a little challenging trying to  raise charitable contributions in support of an orphanage while wearing a Rolex! Earlier, this morning, I was surprised with a birthday party in the TCMM Dining Hall. Ken Burton, our Vice President, came into my office and asked me if I had just five minutes. He knew that I was getting ready to leave for Atlanta this afternoon, but said that he needed to show me something and offered some vague reason as to why we needed to go down to the Conference Room (which is accessible from the Dining Room). When we walked into the Dining Room, all of the staff members and children were there waiting on me and started singing, "Happy Birthday." What a total surprise! Actually, it's been several years since I was home for Father's Day and my birthday, as we are normally out traveling with the summer tour at this time of year. It was really neat to share these two wonderful days with everyone here. My favorite Father's Day card was from little Hannah Johnson, one of our new children here at the Mansion. It was a homemade card (those are the best kind) and it had these words: "Roses are red, violets are blue, Dads are sweet, and you are too!" And then it was signed like this: "Happy Father's Day - Bro. Jude." Bless her heart. We really haven't had a chance to get to know one another yet. If the Lord tarries His coming and allows us to continue to serve this great ministry, I sincerely hope that I'll be celebrating my 65th birthday, 10 years from now, right here at the Mansion. Erma and I have never been more excited about working for the Lord than we are right now. This calling is definitely our life's greatest challenge, but the rewards are immeasurable. I do want the next decade of my life to really count for God. With His help, we're going to make a difference in a great many lives and be a blessing to His kingdom.