March 3, 2015: Just got back from the Tuesday evening Men's Bible Study at Calvary Church. I'm beginning to realize just how much I've missed over the years in failing to be regularly involved in similar opportunities. This class was and will continue to be beneficial in so many ways it's hard to describe them all.

Our teacher tonight, Jack Broadhurst, made a very thought-provoking comment. He said that, although we're all (all Christians, that is) saved and heaven-bound, those of us who have built a stronger, more intimate relationship with God will enjoy it more when we get there. That's a thought to chew on for a while!

I have to take a moment to thank the men who introduced themselves and made me feel welcome to the class. It's not easy being the new guy and not knowing anybody. While it takes years to build a strong, close bond with good friends, such relationships always begin with an introduction and a friendly smile. I don't know yet who among those class members may become lifelong friends, but I do know that genuine friendships start out in those simple moments of kindness.

The class tonight is part of a larger experience as we join a new (to us) church, which is a positive change in our lives. In many ways over the past couple of months, we've been challenged to dig in to the Bible, to re-examine what we've always said we believe, and to honestly evalate other beliefs, or perhaps the same beliefs stated in a different way. It's good to be challenged -- living too long without having our beliefs challenged is the beginning of stagnation.

Another challenge we face is to maintain, and continue to grow, those long-term relationships we've built over the past 30 years in our previous church home. We fully expect to be sharing heaven with those friends for eternity, so there's no reason to leave those relationships by the wayside now. It's more difficult, however, to build and strengthen relationships in the absence of time spent together and shared experiences. I'm not writing this to bestow wisdom about the solution to the problem -- only to recognize that it exists, and that I have to find the solution.