This day was a full day at the conference center. We started with church. Then Dr. Kleinig had another excellent session-"Access to the Father's Grace Finding Help for Ourselves and Others". What did I take away from this session? Who do I know that is spiritually crippled in my family, friends, and former church members? What can I do for them? Pray for them specifically. Make a list of these people and "take them to church with you each Sunday". The devil will continually be on our back-you can't even get all your family to go to church! You can bring yourself and others to the Father through the Son by the Spirit.
Then we had another session about financial strategies. Ram and I thought we are doing pretty well financially for the salary we have. We have no debt and are in a parsonage so we don't even have a mortgage. We have started to save for retirement. One thing I learned was if you have been working 1-5 years your goal is 6 months salary/More than 5 years your goal is 1 year salary/More than 30 years your goal is 2 years salary of emergency savings. Ram and I have worked on this and we are close to 6 months salary of emergency savings. But it was clear we need to work on this more and start with getting the whole 6 month salary saved first and then since Ram has been a pastor over 8 years we need to work towards the 1 year salary. We know it can be done with some serious work. Ram and I discussed our financial goals on the way home and came up with a "plan" for how we can work on our emergency savings some more.
Then we had a nice lunch that I've already mentioned chatting with Adriane the Lutheran Witness editor.
Then the wives broke off into small groups and had time alone with other pastors wives. I took a couple of things out of this conversation. 1. We need to work on having people over more. I don't need to always cook a big meal or have a perfectly clean house to have people over. Ram and I talked about this more on the way home and we are making a goal to have people over to our house at least twice a month. We always talk like there aren't "friends" here our age, but there are a few, plus we want to have the area pastors over more often and our church members too. With 3 churches it will be difficult to get all of our members over here-but we can invite a few couples at a time. Ram and I discussed that when we first start this our church members will be surprised since we haven't done this before, but after a few come then it will be easier. I think it will be good for our Lambs and good for us. Our plan is to have dessert or just ice cream with a few toppings-keep it very simple, but actually have people to our house instead of just talk about it.
2. The second thing I learned was when you hear yourself say "I'll pray for you", have the goal to already have prayed for them before you say that. When you receive that e-mail with bad or good news from your friend, pray for them immediately before you open the next e-mail. Then try to pray for them several times the rest of that day while you do your work around the house. If you do it several times that first day it will be in your mind to continue to pray for them instead of just praying for them once and forgetting.
Then we had church again.
Then Dr. Yahnke had a session for the wives about parenting and discipline. This inspired Ram and I to talk on the way home about how we could do better in this area with the Lambs. We especially want to work on nice manners and have a tone in our household of nice talking and working together. That needs to start with Ram and I doing a better job of talking to each other and to the Lambs because the Lambs will copy us. We have not implemented Dr. Yahnke's "discipline plan" but it was so nice to have an uninterrupted conversation with Ram about this on the way home. I feel that we are "on the same page" now and have noticed a difference about this since we got home from Doxology. The real test will be when we get back to a full homeschool schedule if we can continue it.
Next we had a banquet and they actually ran out of cheesecake so our table didn't get any! Other than that it was a nice meal and nice time to chat with new and old friends.
Then we had church again and a wine and cheese reception. I already mentioned that we had time to chat with Rev. and Mrs. Harrison. We were tired when we got back to the hotel this night and there was still one more day.