30 Days of Thanks 2014

I Love to give thanks.

Two years ago God planted the idea to take a whole month to focus on giving thanks instead of just the 4th Thursday of November arbitrarily set aside as Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong… a holiday with a focus on food and family set in the month when my favorite sport of wrestling gets started on the high school level and I have the opportunity to get in a bit better shape and try to impart some of my love of the sport and desire to see the next group of grapplers succeed… it doesn’t get much better than this. I pray you will find a blessing as you read and are encouraged to focus on your own days of thanks.

On November 1, 2014, I am thankful for my mentors.

November 1 is All Saints Day or All Hallows Day, is traditionally a Christian feast day that most tend to currently celebrate by feasting on all the Halloween candy the kids have collected (so they don’t eat too much of that sugary stuff that isn’t good for them) or feasting on the candy left over after we have shared with all the kids in the neighborhood who stopped by (no guilt here- you need to have plenty so you don’t run out).

But, I digress. I really wanted to give thanks for saints in my life, and one that comes to my mind first is Rev. Willis Nicholson.

Rev. Willis E. Nicholson

When I first met him I was just 23 years old and called to be the minister at the Zoar Presbyterian Church 6 miles east of George, IA. I was young and confident in my preaching (I had won many speech contests on the state level and placed nationally, and had great success in extemporaneous speaking and debate). However, Willis invited me to work on sermons together. He had no need to get together with me. He had been the Pastor at Lyon County First Presbyterian Church for 25 years and had a lifetime of experiences and stories to illustrate points from the Bible in his sermons.

I don’t know if he gained much from our time together each week, but I certainly did and my life and ministry is much richer as a result. I followed his examples of being a Pastor and when I left Zoar after 20 years it was because Willis had requested me to consider moving to First Presbyterian Church in Algona, IA, 16 miles from his home in Lone Rock, saying that congregation was in trouble and that I had qualities that God could use there. He proved prophetic and God richly blessed the time there.

I could go on to talk about Grandma Lilly, Engeline Klaahsen, Rev. Frank Elliott, Clarence Stubbe, etc. I am thankful for the multitude of saints who have touched my life..


  1. JoElla Miller


  2. David Rotich

    Hi, Dave.
    Thank you for your well blessed , chronologically crafted and reflective mentorship of REV Willis. This is surely the time to give thanks to God to have given you a chance to have a strong connection with Willis with whom his blessing is manifestly seen in your Pastoral works .It is our moment to lift our hands high up to praise God for giving us Mentors who shape our destiny in preparation for afterlife.

  3. Eugene DeHoogh

    Thanks for your Thanksgiving emphasis. It is good to count blessings although I don’t write them down or journal them as I should. The reading of the Psalms helps me in the Daily Lectionary. In the past week I checked out a book from First Presbyterian Library, CAN YOU STAND TO BE BLESSED?…INSIGHTS TO HELP YOU SURVIVE THE PEAKS AND VALLEYS by TD Jakes. I just finished chapter 3 “Delayed But Not Denied”.
    He has some interesting insights, and reminds us that God knows us and remembers us. I’m thankful for your e-mails and your insights. Gene DeHoogh

  4. Red and Pam Frankl

    Amen, I think it was great to also have been able to join the Irvington Presbyterian church in time before he retired all the way to also see what a special man. You couldn’t have gotten a better man to have stepped in and filled the pulpit when you were gone… And his wife came to our little church too. Having you and Judy in our life was our blessing too. Then Marcia Rich came and we just loved her so much and now we have Pastor Loren and Becky. Our family is just increasing so much… Thanks for all you taught us and our family about being a Christian Pastor Dave.

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