John 5:24

John 5:24…. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Grace… incalculable and eternal… for so deep in the heart of God we cannot really comprehend it…. Love as deep as space and time itself… limitless…

That the God of the Universe, the creator of all things, the Alpha and the Omega could look down upon me and say that if I simply hear his word and believe in God…Jesus Christ we have eternal salvation and will not be condemned….

And that upon my death I will pass back into life… This is one of the most profound statements in the bible…. on a par with John 3:16 that God gave his only son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. 

The heart wrenching simplicity of that revelation… That the eternal God…. loves each one of us individually… enough to have allowed his only son to pass through the horror of crucifixion in order that my soul can live on with him. 

Who am I Lord that I should merit such favor?  The answer is simple… I am no one…. no better than the next man or woman… much worse than some… yet that is the gift… The greatest gift of all times…

The little video I am going to post is hard to watch… as would have been the crucifixion… as you watch the anguish in the father’s face reflecting the torment in his heart… perhaps it will be put on a more human and, thus, understandable scale….

A worth of Sacrifice

Ordination…

There was a moment I had really wanted my mom to see…. though it was not to be in her physical life I know she has seen it through Heavenly eyes…. that day was the day I would be ordained in the service of Jesus Christ. 

That day came yesterday, December 13, 2010. 

I owe Him everything… His mercy… His grace… His forgiveness… above all his way back to God he has afforded me… for I do say with Paul, I am the chief of sinners…

Lord use me… let me follow you where you lead… let me hear your voice… your urgings… and give me the courage to do what you call on me to do… the words to say… the heart to love… the intelligence to honor you….

My best friend has this on his signature line for his email… Courage is when you are scared to death; but you saddle up anyway.

Lord I’m scared to death; but I’m going to saddle up anyway.  Lead me and teach  me Father.

One seed planted

Last Saturday I preached at a Men’s Breakfast for a church with which I work on an informal basis.

Lately, I have been wrestling with the idea of how one Christians idea can create change… real change… change that can move the world.

So, I wrote a sermon about how one could do such a thing…. kind of an audacious thing to do at 8 am on a Saturday morning to church members who have just feasted on bacon, eggs, biscuits, sausage, grits, gravy and plenty of coffee…. a sermon designed to rouse and inspire men who were comfortable, relaxed, happy… good men who do good things….

And so I started “Today I want to talk to you about changing the world”…. they gave me their attention politely… and listened….  I just wanted to plant an idea that one man can do something that can catch fire and change the world or at least your little end of it for Jesus Christ. 

Wonderful people, good Christian men all… and women…they were invited to this breakfast too…. listened contentedly….. around the room I saw a few furrowed brows… I hoped that meant thinking instead of dissatisfaction. 

I spoke for about 15 minutes…. good response… the pats on the back… then hand shakes… “good job Pastor”… “great message”….”you did good”…. I was pleased and disappointed.  Somehow I had allowed myself to think that i was gong to change the world that morning..  We stood around enjoying a great visit, good laughter, good prayer… then we went out separate ways….

“Father?  Was that really what you wanted me to talk about?  Was that message useful to you…. pleasing to you?  I left full of doubts…

Sunday morning…..

I walk into the sanctuary running a bit late because of another obligation I had at another church.  And when I walked in I heard my name. 

One of my good friends, a great man in the church was telling the church about my message and how it had moved him… I would never have guessed. 

We talked a bit later about some ideas he had…. he thought about the message and became more and more excited….

Father… maybe that was the right one… maybe I did say the right words…. how often inspiration seems so hollow until later…

Thank you Father for using that little 15 minute message to do something that may turn out to be wonderful…

One seed planted…. watered with the pure water of the Holy Spirit….

We plant the seeds, we sow the word…. and He waters them and raises them.  I am anxious to see what God grows from this one little seed.

Thoughts on the influence of one person…..

So many people believe they have lived lives of little influence.  But they are often so wrong.  One person or a small group of people can change the world.   And human hands can work miracles when serving Jesus Christ.

 

 

Look at the first Christian church in the world.  It was not made up of the rich, the famous, those of influence, those of importance… No… it was made of you and me… fishermen, tax collectors, woodworkers, potters, sales people, crafts people… young, old, beautiful, not so much…

But from that first church has grown the Christian movement… the effort to bring the gospel to the whole world…. because the first Christians had passion.. had an abundant and excited love for Jesus Christ.   They wanted everyone to know about him… these were not just people to whom miracles had been done… these were common everyday folks who went out and told the world about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I am thinking of a few friends who got together some time back.  They thought it would be a good idea to just set up a little booth with food, information, offered prayer, balloons for kids and a message.  They asked an apartment manager if they could set up in his apartment project where the demographic was quite poor… a place where many would say they were in danger.  But they decided to do it anyway…. the first time they set up they were amazed at the turn out… and the spiritual response… The Lord blessed their idea… So they continued… Now when they set up it is a production… lives are changed, souls are saved, medical care is given, counseling is provided and the world is changing because of their influence… just a few men and an idea….

I am thinking of a woman with a beautiful spirit, who decided that if she knew about it there would be no child who didn’t have school supplies… so she set out to get donations of school supplies for the local elementary and middle school… Again, she was shocked at the response of the community and the businesses… First, her local two schools benefited… then the abundance of the Lord started pouring in.. so that every Tuesday she and several other devoted women receive and divide school supplies… soon they had all their local schools needed.  Other schools heard of this and asked for help from the women.  So they branched out… now thousands of kids in many different places receive school supplies…

I am thinking of another person who took it upon himself to supply blankets to the homeless during the cold nights of the Houston winter….  the difference here is that this is a boy only 12 years old… he felt he had heard Gods word and decided to ask his parents to go to a local store and purchase basic blankets…  When they went to distribute the blankets they found that there were not enough to do around at all… the boy then started asking companies for blankets and friends for volunteer help… God blessed his work… now he distributes thousands of blankets every winter… lives are saved… lives are changed through the reality of the love of a little boy…

I am thinking of a person who decided that every senior citizen deserved at least a call a day… to break their loneliness… to insure their safety…. to insure they knew they were loved and cared for in their infirmity… he soon found he couldn’t do it alone because soon others suggested elderly who couldn’t go to church… now nearly one hundred volunteers work out of a church building with a phone bank built with donations calling to check on many, many senior citizens each day… the world has changed because of his good work….

I am thinking of a retired teacher who thought that the kids in her local school could use some math tutoring in the afternoon… Her first afternoon in the library was lonely… but soon one shy little boy came in… he needed help on his fractions…. the next day he brought a friend… then another and another …. The program now serves hundreds of kids in many schools and has raised test scores of students as well as the self-esteem of the kids because one woman cared.

These are all the products of one person’s hands…. one persons heart… one persons Holy idea that the Lord blessed immensely because all of them were done in His name and for the least of His children…

Never doubt how you can influence the lives around you..   God has given you all the power and ability you need… he equips those he calls….

Answer the call…. find something that moves you deeply… something that calls out to your heart… something that calls from within your soul… if you look into your heart, your soul and listen to the quiet prompting of the Holy Spirit your work will be blessed and will truly change the world…

Visions of Service … Power in choosing a ministry for everyone

Be Thou My Vision…  in a couple of days I am going to give a short sermon on “changing the world” to a Men’s Ministry Breakfast…

Yes, changing the world… can one man.. one woman… or one child to that… certainly…

Can “common” people do that… can you do that without million of dollars, without abundant and immense resources? … Yes, definately…

Look at the first Christian church in the world.  It was not made up of the rich, the famous, those of influence, those of importance… No… it was made of of you and me… fishermen, tax collectors, woodworkers, potters, sales people, crafts people… young, old, beautiful, not so much…

But from that first church has grown the Christian movement… the effort to bring the gospel to the whole world…. because the first Christians had passion.. had an abundant and excited love for Jesus Christ.   They wanted everyone to know about him… these were not just people to whom miracles had been done… these were common everyday folks who went out and told the word….

I am think of a few friends who got together some time back.  They thought it would be a good idea to just set up a little booth with food, information, offered prayer, balloons for kids and a message.  They asked an apartment manager if they could set up in his apartment project where the demographic was quite poor… a place where many would say they were in danger.  But they decided to do it anyway….  the first time they set up they were amazed at the turn out… and the spiritual response… The Lord blessed their idea… So they continued… Now when they set up it is a production… lives are changed, souls are saved, medical care is given, counseling is provided and the world is changing because of their influence… a few men and an idea….

I am thinking of a woman with a beautiful spirit, who decided that if she knew about it there would be no child who didn’t have school supplies… so she set out to get donations of school supplies at the local elementary and middle school… Again, she was shocked at the response of the community and the businesses… First, her local two schools benefited… then the abundance of the Lord started pouring in.. so that every Tuesday she and several other devoted women receive and divide school supplies…  soon they had all their schools needed so they branched out… now thousands of kids receive school supplies…

I am thinking of another person who took it upon himself to supply blankets to the homeless on the cold nights of the Houston winter….  the difference here is that this is a boy of 12… he felt he had heard Gods word and decided to ask his parents to go to a local store and purchase basic blankets…  When they went to distribute the blankets they found that there were not enough to do around at all… the boy then started asking companies for blankets and friends for volunteer help… God blessed his work… now he destributes thousands of blankets every winter… lives saved… lives changed through the reality of the love of a little boy…

I am thinking of a person who decided that every senior citizen deserved at least a call a day… to break their loneliness… to insure their safety…. to insure they knew they were loved and cared for in there infirmity… he soon found he couldn’t do it alone because soon others suggested elderly who couldn’t go to church… now nearly one hundred volunteers work out of a church building with a phone bank built with donations calling to check on many, many senior citizens each day… the world has changed because of his good work….

I am thinking of a retired teacher who thought that the kids in her local school could use some math tutoring in the afternoon… Her first afternoon in the library was lonely… but soon one shy little boy came in… he needed help on his fractions…. the next day he brought a friend… then another and another …. the program now serves hundreds of kids in many schools and has raised test scores of students as well as the self-esteem of the kids because one woman cared.

These are all the products of one persons hands…. one persons heart… one persons Holy idea that the Lord blessed immensely because all of them were done in His name and for the least of His children…

Never doubt how you can influence the lives around you..   God has given you all the power and ability you need… he equips those he calls….

Answer the call…. find something that moves you deeply… something that calls out to your heart… something that calls from within your soul… if you look into your heart, soul and listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit your work will be blessed and will truly change the world…

My Grandmother’s Words… Visions of God’s Glory

This week I went to the going home celebration for a beautiful grandmother….

And in that service as I listened to “Go Rest High On That Mountain”….

I thought back to the grace of my own grandmothers words…

I called her MaMaw…..She was a poet… 

I have come to realize that at my age I have come to only care about mountain top experiences…. one of the highest was listening to this poem by my grandmother which was read at her going home…..  just before I an my cousins carried the simple wood casket she wanted all the way to her final resting place…. across a red sand East Texas Road… to the old Magnolia cemetary…. overlooking a beautiful lake…

These are the words she wrote:

VISIONS OF GOD’S GLORY

The brightness of God’s Glory

No human Eye can See

But we can get a vision of it

in Every Flower and Tree

—-

The pear tree robed in snowy shite

A red bud clothed in pink

A dark green pine with yellow blooms.

All make me of God’s glory think.

—-

The gorgeous colored red bird

Against a sky of lovely blue

Is a vision of God’s glory

And of his love and mercy too.

—-

The lightening shining through the clouds

His wondrous glory shows

The rolling billows of dark clouds

When a storm is growing close.

—-

The rainbow shining after rain

The gleaming snow on mountain peaks

The blackness of the canyons depths

of God’s majestic glory speaks

—-

The Beauty of the sunrise

With it’s rays of precious light

the glory of the sun set

Bringing restful sleep at night.

—-

Yes! The visions of God’s glory

can every where be seen

The springing flower and singing birds

and Earth arrayed in lovely green

—-

The Heavens declare the glory of God

The firmament his works do show.

Night following day, day following night

Helps us His wondrous love to know

—-

How careful all of us should be

To praise his Holy Name

To seek His will each day and hour

His love and mercy to Proclaim

Aunt Nancy Vann

July 14, 1991

Copyright 2010, John J. McGeough

                                                                                                    

The peace that passes understanding…

This week has been one of the roughest from the standpoint of ministry I’ve experienced in a long time…

Two beloved members of our extended church family were called home…. One as a consequence of beautiful old age, the other because of a senseless mistake on a roadway on the part of another driver.  People were not only killed others were injured…  and one of our most beloved young men was missing for the greater part of a week…

Yet, a sense of peace filled the service tonight as Pastor tied up the frayed ends….. it was Pastors grandmother who died of old age… This was one precious woman very, very like my mother in faith and life.  My mother left to be with the Lord two years ago.   How can a Christian find peace in the death of a loved one.  You can when the loved one dies in the hands of Jesus Christ. 

The night before my mother died, she was fighting… she seemed to be struggling in agony… she could not stop moving… could not stop looking around her bed for what turned out to be me… my heart was breaking for her… she was blind so she could not see me in her Earthly eyes… in excruciating pain from every bone and muscle when she moved… but she could not be still… her moanings were to find her beloved son… me… and I was right there.. but she was still unsure….

The doctor in the ER had lost his own mother a few weeks before… He called me aside……

He told me “you may have to give her permission, she is fighting for you, her only son, her only child”.   Reflecting I realized the times she had expressed her concern for what I would do when she passed away. 

So my sweet mother struggled to live at 92 with her broken body for me….

A few moments later after a very intense but short prayer I went to her beside…. I had been up 48 hours…. I leaned over her bed, took her hand… she became calm and looked toward my voice with her blind eyes….

“Mom, if this is too hard, fly home… fly home to Daddy and Jesus… don’t worry about me, I’ll be alright… you’ve taught me everything I need to know….. Just fly home sweet heart if all this is too hard… I’ll be alright”…   I leaned further placing my cheek against her tear-stained and wet cheek…. I lingered there breathing the shimmering air  with her…. just living with her for the last time…. reluctant to leave even though she would be with loving relatives… so I could rest to prepare myself for the rest of the fight.  I then kissed her.  Let her hand slip from mine… when I looked down she had a slight smile on her face… I was suddenly filled with peace beyond understanding…

When I walked away from that room I knew that I had spoken to her for the last time in this life…  And I left my precious mother … the most important person in my life right then in loving hands and the hands of God….

The next morning as I was getting ready the call came.  The nurse told me that I needed to get to the hospital quickly.. I told the nurse….. “just tell me”… “please”…The nurse said your mom is almost gone… she has moments…. if you can get here quickly you may be able to see her alive… some may find it strange that I did not get into a big hurry… for I knew….

You see we have a small dog… a dog that mom loved to sit and pet…and the pup loved her…. as I finished dressing I heard her whining and barking… ..When I walked out into the living room Princess our dog was running in tight circle looking up, as if she looked up into someone’s face… then she rose up on her hind legs and leaned on something invisible… still… for moments…

“Mom are you here..”  I said through my tears, then peace began to fill me… an acceptance I couldn’t explain….. Princess dropped down and I felt wrapped in a warmth like a beautiful blanket as I stood there…. “I love you mom”…. then the feeling changed… I felt a warmth full of love.  Princess stood silently looking up… The love stayed…

I knew my mother had started down that beautiful roadway through green fields to Heaven… I started driving to the hospital and the cell rang…. It was my wonderful friend Connie… she said “She’s gone Honey, She’s gone”..  I said… “I know, she just came home to say goodbye”.   And I believe she did before she went off to heaven down that beautiful road…

When I arrived and looked down on her Holy Body… I knew Mom wasn’t there…..  I knew she was truly gone…. but the love stayed….

And over the next few beautiful sad days I had the peace that passes understanding… because of the Holy Moments God allowed me to share with my precious mother. 

I will have more to say about that wonderful peace in future blogs… God Bless you who are reading this blog… May you too know the peace that comes from knowing your loved ones are in the loving arms of Jesus Christ….