Genesis From 30,000 Feet…

We are currently in a sermon series through the book of Genesis. This marvelous book teaches us many things about man, sin, and a faithful God who overwhelms us with His grace and mercy. But in teaching through this book (chapter by chapter and verse by verse) sometimes we can mistake the trees for the forest. The video below gives to us a 30,000-foot overview of the entire book of Genesis, helping us to appreciate the grandeur of the Genesis forest…Enjoy!

Lessons From Prunes…

Yesterday evening, I received an unexpected life lesson from a bag of prunes. While drying dishes, I began to mindlessly eat from my wife’s bag of prunes. You see, my wife eats prunes from time to time, and I honestly thought she ate them for pleasure. Looking back, communication is key. I should have asked my wife over our 12 years of marriage why she buys and eats prunes, but, alas, that conversation piece never came up in our marriage. Anyways, never having tried a prune before, and feeling mighty adventurous, I decided to try one yesterday. They’re tasty! They really are. It’s like a small goblet of light sweetness! So, I had another, and another, and another, and another…You get the idea. I had a whole mess load of prunes. Come to find out, my wife does indeed eat these little tasty fruits, but not for pleasure’s sake. She has a definite end state in mind when she carefully selects a few to eat.

Now, I know what you might be thinking…”You’re 36 years old and you are just now realizing the dangerous effects of overeating prunes?” Yes, my dear reader, you are correct. I, David Paul Cotner III, was 36 years old when I discovered that only morons eat half a bag of prunes while drying dishes. But in my defense, I never had “the talk” about prunes. No one ever sat me down and said, “David, there are many fruits in this world. Most of them are mighty delicious, but be warned (dun, dun, duuun) about the prune…” Never got that talk. Apparently, all my friends have received that talk, but not me. I’m not looking for your sympathy here, just your understanding. Also, as a sidenote, a warning label should really be attached to every bag of prunes…Something to the effect of: “Eat responsibly. Overeating prunes could result in…”

So, I ate far too many prunes last night and paid a hefty price. It was by no means a medical emergency or anything, but I spent some quality time in my home’s bathroom last night. In the end, I got all cleared out AND I learned some valuable lessons from that deceitful bag of prunes…Sidenote: The “fruit of the Spirit” should never be depicted as a prune as I’m fairly certain that the fruit from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was a prune…Anyways, let me share some of my insights with you…

  1. Knowledge is key. A prune is a fruit that is eaten purposefully and strategically. I know this now, but I did not know it then (i.e., last night). Knowledge is key. Indeed, knowledge is key to all of life. Knowing who, what, where, when, why, and how is crucial as you walk through life. Therefore, ask good questions, read good books, and always pursue the knowledge of God. Yes, knowing who God is and what He expects from you will save you from a thousand sorrows and prevent you from wasting valuable time in this life.
  2. Moderation is wise. Prunes aren’t bad because I overate them. No, prunes are good and should be treated with respect. That is to say, prunes are a good fruit that should be eaten in moderation. The same is true with so many other areas of life. They say, “Everything in moderation.” I say, “Everything good in moderation.” No need to pig out on your prunes. Savor one or two and move on.
  3. Experience is good. I have learned a valuable lesson. To be sure, I’ve learned a valuable lesson the hard way, but I’ve still learned a valuable lesson. Experience is such a great teacher. It tells you what to do again. And perhaps more importantly, what not to do again. Yes, experience is a wise teacher that should be listened to and remembered. Indeed, we all make mistakes. But we don’t all learn from our mistakes. Let’s learn from our mistakes and turn mistakes into experiences that drive us further down the pathway of wisdom.

So, there you have it. Some life lessons from a bag of prunes. I’m grateful for some lessons learned. Also, my wife got a good laugh last night; and it’s nice to hear her laugh, even if it’s at my expense.

“God’s Mercy In Messed Up Families” by Jon Bloom

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to find an example of what we would call a “healthy family” in the Bible? It’s a lot easier to find families with a lot of sin and a lot of pain than to find families with a lot of harmony. For example, here’s just a sampling from Genesis:

  • The first recorded husband and wife calamitously disobey God (Genesis 3).
  • Their firstborn commits fratricide (Genesis 4).
  • Sarah’s grief over infertility moves her to give her servant, Hagar, to Abraham as a concubine to bear a surrogate child (Genesis 16). When it happens, Sarah abuses Hagar in jealous anger. Abraham is passive in the whole affair.
  • Lot, reluctant to leave sexually perverse Sodom, his home, has to be dragged out by angels and then weeks later his daughters seduce him into drunken incest (Genesis 19).
  • Isaac and Rebecca play favorites with their twin boys, whose sibling rivalry becomes one of the worst in history (Genesis 25).
  • Esau has no discernment. He sells his birthright for soup (Genesis 25), grieves his parents by marrying Canaanite women (Genesis 26), and nurses a 20-year murderous grudge against his conniving younger brother.
  • Jacob (said conniver) manipulates and deceives his brother out of his birthright (Genesis 25) and blessing (Genesis 27).
  • Uncle Laban deceives nephew Jacob by somehow smuggling Leah in as Jacob’s bride instead of Rachel (Genesis 29). This results in Jacob marrying sisters — a horrible situation (see Leviticus 18:18). This births another nasty sibling rivalry where the sisters’ competition for children (including giving their servants to Jacob as concubines) produce the twelve patriarchs of Israel (Genesis 30).
  • Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, is raped by the pagan, Shechem, who then wants to marry her. Simeon and Levi respond by massacring all the men of Shechem’s town (Genesis 34).
  • Jacob’s oldest son, Reuben, can’t resist his incestuous desires and sleeps with one of his father’s concubines, the mother of some of his brothers (Genesis 35).
  • Ten of Jacob’s sons contemplate fratricide, but sell brother Joseph into slavery instead. Then they lie about it to their father for 22 years until Joseph exposes them (Genesis 37, 45).
  • Judah, as a widower, frequented prostitutes. This occurred frequently enough that his daughter-in-law, Tamar, whom he had dishonored, knew that if she disguised herself as one, he’d sleep with her. He did and got her pregnant (Genesis 38).

That’s just the beginning. Time would fail me to talk of:

  • Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10),
  • Gideon’s murderous son, Abimelech (Judges 9),
  • Samson’s un-Nazirite immorality (Judges 14–16),
  • Eli’s worthless sons (1 Samuel –2-4),
  • Samuel’s worthless sons (1 Samuel 8),
  • David’s sordid family (2 Samuel 11–18),
  • Wise Solomon who unwisely married 1,000 women, turned from God, and whose proverbial instruction went essentially unheeded by most of his heirs (1 Kings 11–12),
  • Etc., etc.

Why is the Bible loud on sinfully dysfunctional families and quiet on harmonious families?

Well, for one thing, most families aren’t harmonious. Humanity is not harmonious. We are alienated — alienated from God and each other. So put alienated, selfish sinners together in a home, sharing possessions and the most intimate aspects of life, having different personalities and interests, and a disparate distribution of power, abilities, and opportunities, and you have a recipe for a sin-mess.

But there’s a deeper purpose at work in this mess. The Bible’s main theme is God’s gracious plan to redeem needy sinners. It teaches us that what God wants most for us is that we 1) become aware of our sinfulness and 2) our powerlessness to save ourselves, as we 3) believe and love his Son and the gospel he preached, and 4) graciously love one another. And it turns out that the family is an ideal place for all of these to occur.

But what we often fail to remember is that the mess is usually required for these things to occur. Sin must be seen and powerlessness must be experienced before we really turn to Jesus and embrace his gospel. And offenses must be committed if gracious love is to be demonstrated. So if we’re praying for our family members to experience these things, we should expect trouble.

Family harmony is a good desire and something to work toward. But in God’s plan, it may not be what is most needed. What may be most needed is for our family to be a crucible of grace, a place where the heat of pressure forces sin to surface providing opportunities for the gospel to be understood and applied. And when this happens the messes become mercies.

My point is this: if your family is not the epitome of harmony, take heart. God specializes in redeeming messes. See yours as an opportunity for God’s grace to become visible to your loved ones and pray hard that God will make it happen.

Video: “The Last Will Be First”

In our journey through Genesis, we have discovered a mini theme, namely, sibling rivalry. From Cain & Abel to Isaac & Ishmael to Jacob & Esau, siblings at war with each other is a constant theme. Indeed, as we continue to journey through this incredible book, we will discover that this pattern of sibling rivalry continues with Leah & Rachel and, eventually, Joseph & his brothers. Certainly, this sibling rivalry highlights the continuing consequences of sin, but is there a deeper lesson to gain from all these siblings at odds with each other? Yes, in almost every instance of sibling rivalry in the book of Genesis, the younger is favored over the older. The first becomes last and the last becomes first. The video below explains further…

Hurry Up & Wait

U.S. Army culture could be summarized in one sentence: Hurry up and wait. As a former Army Sergeant with two tours to Iraq, I can confidently tell you that this is truly an Army way of life. There is an expectation that you will quickly get to the right place, at the right time, and in the right uniform. And then…you wait.

Formation for physical training might be at 5am, but you won’t actually start running till 6am. You hurry up and wait. Formation for airborne ops might be at 6am, but you won’t actually fly and jump till 9am. You hurry up and wait. Formation for a briefing might be at 5pm, but you won’t actually get your briefing till 6pm or later. You hurry up and wait. You get the idea.

Who among us likes to wait? Not me. Waiting is hard. We want our lives to move with the quickness and adrenaline rush of a good 2-hour action movie. Alas, our lives aren’t a cinematic thrill. There is so much hurry and waiting in our lives.

Hurry isn’t actually a problem for many of us. It’s the waiting that is excruciatingly difficult. Hurry produces that dopamine rush. Waiting produces a dopamine crash. Hurry is exciting. Waiting is boring. Hurry is the high. Waiting is the low.

When analyzing the Christian life, waiting (more than hurrying) is commanded and encouraged. Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Lamentations 3:25, “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” James 5:8, “You also, be patient [or wait]. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” From Old Testament to New Testament, the children of God are exhorted to wait on God – wait on His timing, His will, and His direction.

At the time of this writing, I am currently waiting on the birth of my 5th child who is currently 6 days past due. My wife and I are eager to meet our new son face-to-face. There has been so much hurry in preparation for this child, but (for now) we wait. And waiting is good…Hard, but good. As we wait, we will choose to be strong in the Lord by trusting the Lord. As we wait, we will choose to seek the Lord by spending time with the Lord in His Word and prayer. As we wait, we will choose to see the goodness of the Lord by praising the Lord. I trust you’ll do the same in your time of hurry up and wait…

When Leaders Fall…

Nearly every week, we are bombarded with news stories of some leader’s “fall from grace”. It seems that we’re living in an epidemic era of faulty and fallen leaders who leave the rest of us frustrated and frazzled. Yes, it seems that everywhere we look, leaders fall…Religious leaders fall. Political leaders fall. Business leaders fall. Military leaders fall. It would seem that leaders everywhere are ripe to fall.

What makes these leaders fall from their positions of prominence and power? That list is endless. But sexual sins, financial indiscretions, and poor decision making usually top the list of why leaders fall from their places of impact and influence. Sometimes we shed tears when a leader falls, but most of the time, we just shake our heads and move on with life, thinking, “Another one bites the dust…”

I’ve been in leadership positions long enough to know this much: I too can fall and fall hard. No one (and I mean no one) is exempt from leadership failure by means of a moral failure. The Bible is replete with warnings to leaders everywhere…Prov. 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” 1 Cor. 10:12, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” The Apostle Paul was especially cognizant of his own bent towards destruction and failure as a leader. He wrote in 1 Cor. 9:27, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” I am quite certain that the great Apostle Paul was ever mindful of the fact that he was just a half-step away from going full-stupid and destroying everything.

So, the next time you read of another great leader’s fall, consider doing the following:

  1. Pray. Pray for the leader who took a “fall from grace”. Pray for the leader’s family as they grapple with sin and shame. In the case of an ongoing investigation into a leader’s failure, pray that the truth would be exposed, that justice mingled with mercy would prevail, and that repentance would come about.
  2. Evaluate. Evaluate your own life and leadership. Look for loose ends and loopholes that you’ve developed to escape accountability. Take more seriously the role that you’ve been given and resolve to keep yourself in check by following proper protocol.
  3. Remember. Remember that there is one Leader who will never fail us. He left his crown of glory for a crown of thorns. He left his throne of splendor for a cross of suffering. When human leaders fall and fail us, it serves as a sobering reminder that our ultimate hope is in a Leader and King who came once to redeem us and is coming back to rule and reign without scandal, without disgrace, and without moral failure. Indeed, His rule and reign will be perfect. How I long for that day. Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come!

2023 Committees

Many of you know and appreciate the pastors and deacons of PFBC. But did you know that we have so many other incredible servants out here on the prairie? Below are the PFBC Committee Members serving you and our church family this brand-new year. Please be in prayer for these folks as they serve our church family…

Audit Committee:

Darwin Carroll

Klint Gingerich

Decorating Committee:

Cheryl Bohn

Kendra Gingerich

Miscellaneous Positions:

Nursery/Child Care Coordinator – Heather Cotner

Church Librarian –Emma Diment & Marti Owen

Head Usher/Director of Security – Jerry Dunbar

IRBC Messenger – Pastor Tim

Food Fellowship Coordinator – Nancy Wilson

Perks of Being a Small Church, Small Town Pastor…

A small town has a way of growing on you. Now, I understand that the phrase “small town” means many things to many different people. From my perspective, Washington, IA is a small town with a little over 7,000 people. However, I’m fully aware that some of you out there would define a small town as comprising just one flashing red light with a few hundred people (or less). But I grew up in cities of 60,000+. So, from my vantage point, Washington, IA with a population of 7,000 is a small town. And a small town has a way of growing on you.

I remember when I first took the pastorate out here on the prairie. It was the fall of 2013, and I was truly excited at all of the possibilities in front of me. However, if I was completely honest, I didn’t really know how long I would stick around. For many years after I took this pastorate, my heart yearned to be in a bigger church in a bigger city. But God has a way of changing our hearts and causing us to love His desires for us.

A little over 9 years into my adventure out here on the prairie, I absolutely love it. I mean that…I’m not just saying that to be nice. This place has grown on me in so many ways. I love being a small church, small town pastor. Indeed, there are plenty of perks to being in my situation. For instance,

  1. As a small-town pastor, you get to do a little bit of everything. From preaching God’s Word on Sunday morning to making hospital calls on Monday morning, there is plenty to keep me busy. I officiate weddings and funerals. I perform counseling and administration. I prep for meetings and lead in meetings. I officiate the ordinances and help throw special events. I even help clean the church on occasion. I don’t specialize in any one area of ministry. I get the privilege of doing a little bit of everything. In fact, it’s kind of funny…In the church world, bigger is usually associated with better. But in the Army world (where I served from 2006-2010), smaller is usually associated with better. In the Army, the more elite the soldier, the smaller his unit or team. I kind of like that analogy. In some ways, it gives me confidence that my small church, small town ministry isn’t inferior to a larger ministry. In fact, in some ways, it’s better.
  2. As a small-town pastor, you get to watch people grow up. What I mean by that is usually the people I’m ministering to in a small-town will stick around for a long time. Many of them were born and raised here and have no intention of ever leaving. That means for those individuals who marry and have children in this area, they’re going to stick around for a while. Which means I have the privilege of watching their children grow up. I get to visit these new babies in the hospital, dedicate them a few years later, teach them lessons in our Wednesday night kids program a few years after that, and continue to watch them grow up out here on the prairie. As I watch, I pray, and ask for God to do a work in their lives that only God can do.
  3. As a small-town pastor, you get to engage more relationally with your community. In other words, you get to really know your community by really getting to know the leaders in your community. Because of the nature of the small-town I minister in, I’ve gotten to know our business leaders, law enforcement officers, funeral directors, real estate agents, attorneys, military veterans, and even our mayor. I get the opportunity to pour into these professionals, getting to know them personally and praying with them and for them. It’s a thrill to be walking around the downtown square and meeting people left and right that are simultaneously my neighbors and fellow community leaders.
  4. As a small-town pastor, you get to make a true impact. My heart often aches when I hear of pastors who bounce from church to church every 2-4 years. How can you get to know your people and make a lasting impact when you’re only at your church for such a short period of time? I’ve only been at Prairie Flower Baptist Church for a little over 9 years and, in many ways, I’m just now beginning to feel like I’m connecting with my church and community. I long for the day that I hit the 10-year mark. And then, once I hit that 14-year mark, I would have surpassed my predecessor and will be the longest serving pastor in Prairie Flower’s almost 170-year history. How exciting! But more than that, I just firmly believe that the longer I stick around this small church in this small town, I can make a difference in people’s lives. How? By consistently sharing the Word with them, praying for them, being there in their high points and low points, and loving and leading them no matter what…And one of the best ways I can love and lead my people is by joyfully committing to stick around for a while. And I plan to do just that. Why? Because a small town truly has a way of growing on you. I guarantee it.

2022 Lead Pastor’s Report

Dear members and friends out here on the prairie,

            2022 is now in the rear-view mirror and 2023 lies before us. I am determined to enter this new year with great joy. Why? Three thoughts: 1) We have good news of great joy that is for all people, namely, a Savior has been born (Luke 2:10-11), 2) We have a good task of great joy to make more and better disciples (Matt. 28:18-20), and 3) We have a good God of great joy who has promised to strengthen us with His joy (Nehemiah 8:10). I want to encourage you to walk with me into this brand-new year with great joy.

The Joy of Better Focus

            As I enter this brand-new year, I am committed to focusing on three main things. First, I want to focus on my relationship with the Lord. I want to reignite my relationship with the Lord by focusing on a better devotional life and prayer life. I also want to take more seriously my participation in Baptist Church Planter’s Leadership Journey that will fuel my knowledge and love for the Lord. Second, I want to focus on my relationship with my wife and children. I want them to get more and better time from me. I want to be more present at our family outings and events. Indeed, with my fifth child set to make his debut in just a few weeks, I want to be a better husband and father. Third, I want to focus on my relationship with you – my church family. I want to pray better prayers for you. I want to preach better sermons for you. I want to lead and oversee this church body in better and greater ways.

            Since these are my top priorities this year, I promise you that I will not take on any additional ministry responsibilities. Certainly, I must continue in my commitments to our State Fellowship as the Chairman of the Council of 10. Yes, I must still participate in my community roles as a Kiwanis member and Chaplain for the American Legion. But I will not be taking on other leadership roles or responsibilities for this year. This means that I will not be accepting “extra-curricular” speaking engagements at camps or conferences. This also means that I will not be taking part in special ministry events as a committee person or chairperson. For this year, I must take concentrated time to focus on my relationships with the Lord, my family, and church family.

The Joy of Last Year

            As I enter 2023 with great joy and a better focus, I’m also so grateful for last year and all that God accomplished in us and through us. Last year was truly a year of great joy for our church family. This past year, people were saved, baptized, and added to the church. Indeed, we brought in eight new members this past year. What joy! We were also able to host and participate in conferences, camps, and missions’ trips that saw much spiritual fruit, including young men accepting the call into full time Gospel ministry. What true joy indeed!

            Perhaps the best highlight for me this past year was my missions’ trip to South Africa with Willie and Sadie Van Der Molen. Our two weeks out on the savannah were simply wonderful. We were able to lead in a youth camp that Welkom Baptist Church (in Welkom, South Africa) hosted. We were able to preach, teach, sing, counsel, and lead in a variety of different events at this youth camp. Seeing a young lady come to faith in Christ and hearing of two young men saying yes to pastoral ministry truly delighted my heart and filled me with great joy. Thank you, Prairie Flower, for sending me and the Van Der Molens on this great adventure to the heart of South Africa.

The Joy of New Goals

            So, with 2022 and all of its’ highlights behind us, and with my firm commitment to be a more balanced Christian, husband, father, and pastor, here are my church goals for this brand-new year, submitted to you with great joy…

  • Preaching – In terms of preaching, my goal is to simply plow through the book of Genesis this year. We are half-way through this incredible book, but we still have a long way to go. I have purposely left out a lot of special speaker slots for this new year so that we can continue to meaningfully meander through this beefy book of Genesis.
  • Leading – In terms of leading, my goal (if the new church constitution is ratified) is to transition our leadership team (pastors and deacons) into two separate teams – a core team (comprised of staff pastors and potential lay pastors) and a deacon team (comprised of deacons only). Surely, things will be clunky for a bit as we get used to a new rhythm of life and leadership out here on the prairie, but this new form of distinct church leadership will be so good for our church family, resulting in better shepherding, accountability, and fellowship.
  • Overseeing – In terms of overseeing, I want us to declutter our lives and ministries. We need to begin to focus on a few things and do them well, instead of doing many things and doing them poorly. This will take a lot of prayer and evaluation on my part, but this year will be a brand-new year of me, and my fellow pastors, quietly assessing all of our ministries and determining where we can “cut the fat” to be leaner and faster as a church body. Why? Because “we desire to be a strong church that makes disciples for the glory of God.” This isn’t just a catch phrase for me. This is a reality to be prayed for and planned for.

With Great Joy,

David Cotner

Lead Pastor, PFBC

36 Random Thoughts For A Brand-New Year

In two days, it will be 2023. In six days, I will be 36. Yes, we’re about to enter a brand-new year and I’m about to be a year older. So, in anticipation of the brand-new year in front of us (and in pre-celebration of my upcoming birthday), I give to you 36 observations (in no particular order) about myself, life, and the Lord…

  1. I love Ramen noodles; and one package of Ramen is best cooked with a reduced amount of water (2 cups max). Add a raw egg over the noodles, and boil for 30 seconds, and you’re asking for a perfect sensation of Asian goodness in a bowl.
  2. Life is certainly hard, it’s harder if you’re stupid. Don’t be stupid.
  3. God is a joyful God who loves to give joy to His people. Indeed, “the joy of the LORD is [my] strength.”
  4. My favorite color is maroon (the color of fire and fury), but my favorite color combination is black and gold (the color combination of the U.S. Army and the Iowa Hawkeyes).
  5. Before I preach, I have at least two cups of coffee (pitch black, nothing added to it) and I listen to the song, “Well Done” by The Afters. Why this song? I always want to keep the finish line in view before I proclaim the finish line to my people at Prairie Flower Baptist Church.
  6. As my Dad frequently reminds me (and my other siblings), God is always good, there are no accidents, and pain has a purpose.
  7. I love to write. Writing allows me to clear my head, sort through my thoughts, and refine patches in my thinking.
  8. My wife is amazing. She cares for me, prays for me, and is loyal to the very end. Indeed, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” I found a good thing in Heather Cotner.
  9. The grand purpose of life is to glorify the Lord and to enjoy Him now and forever.
  10. I’ve only been stung by a bee once. I was a kid and had swatted a bee in the garage. I was curious and decided to go and pick it up to take a closer look at the flying menace. When I tried to pick it up, the bee’s stinger bit my finger and got lodged in-between my nail and finger. Don’t try to pick up dead bees with your fingers.
  11. Life is filled with both dark and bright strokes of color. Learning to paint with both colors is truly an artform.
  12. God has been better to me than I deserve. The longer I live, and the more mistakes I rack up, the more grateful I am that God has been (and will continue to be) merciful and gracious to me.
  13. I love to wear hats, but they have to fit just right. I don’t like boxy hats. The perfect hat (for me) fits snuggly on my head with no bumps or ridges.
  14. When I watch my daughter, Ann-Marie, perform her ballet, I’m literally moved to tears. She is naturally pretty clumsy, but when she dances, she is remarkably elegant and graceful. It’s beautiful to watch my daughter dance.
  15. God called me into the Gospel ministry when I was a young teenager. I’m now 9 years into my first pastorate. What a joy to be called by God, and Prairie Flower Baptist Church, into pastoral ministry.
  16. I am, by nature, a very serious, sad, and somber person, but my wife has the unique ability to bring out the fun, happy, and spontaneous side of me. It’s hard to get these vibes out of me, but she’s a pro at getting me to simply chill.
  17. Brothers are the best. I have two brothers, Steven & Samuel, and they’re literally my best friends. We text every day and when we’re together, we laugh, we talk, and give each other a hard time, but all in the best ways.
  18. Adopting Derrick was one of the greatest adrenaline experiences of my life. Flying out to Arizona, holding him for the first time…Wow…I don’t believe in magic, but meeting my adopted son was as close to magic in this life that I’ve ever experienced.
  19. My daughter Aurora is crazy…Crazy fun…She lives in the moment and is a hurricane of emotions, but she adds that spiciness to our family that keeps things interesting – very interesting.
  20. My oldest son, David, is David Paul Cotner IV. I have a not-so-secret desire that if he has a boy in the future that he will name him David Paul Cotner V. Wouldn’t that be cool?
  21. I love sushi. My favorite restaurant is Three Samurai in Coralville, IA. Check them out!
  22. On my bucket list are several items, to include writing a novel.
  23. My favorite outdoor chore is mowing grass. My least favorite? Shoveling snow.
  24. God is a holy God. That is, He is completely separated from sin and sinners. I can’t even begin to imagine a life without sin. What a day it will be when we hear the angels sing out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty!”
  25. The Bible is far from boring. Those preachers who bore people with the Bible need to either up their game or get out of the game. The Bible is fascinating. Preach like it’s fascinating!
  26. I don’t understand Maid-Rite sandwiches. The loose meat is weird to me.
  27. Coke is better than Pepsi.
  28. I don’t think I’ve actually ever experienced loneliness. I’m introverted by nature and like to be alone, but people are always wanting to be around me.
  29. Iraq was life changing for me. Indeed, combat zones will change you forever.
  30. Everyone has a unique story to tell, filled with pain and pleasure. Though introverted by nature, I love to hear people’s stories.
  31. Loyalty, coupled with humility, are traits I value most in other people.
  32. Life is like a box of chocolates. So, you can always expect a nasty salted caramel or two in the batch.
  33. God is a giver of good gifts, and He has given me so many rich gifts. Thank you, Lord!
  34. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
  35. Teamwork is best accomplished with everyone striving for the same standard of excellence.
  36. Jesus is coming back. May He come back soon! Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come in 2023…