Category Archives: Mystery

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….

Days of Peace

 

Today was one of those beautiful days…. when He seems to be so close…. from the moment of getting up, walking outside to feel the wonderful morning air…. until now in the quiet early morning hours of the 28th… this has been a time when the very air seemed to shimmer with transcendent light…

I always write these entries in the very early morning of each day… it is ten minutes until three a.m. now… in these wonderful hours of the morning the world is quiet… at these times I feel very, very close to the Father… at these hours the veil seems especially thin…

In the last couple of days I have been so blessed… a couple of what seemed to me to be completely incidental things culminated in bring a good friend a measure of peace…  a measure of healing so needed… a continuation of the process that can take decades after a profound loss…

Though I don’t feel free to outline these things in detail in such a public forum as this…. I can say that this has been a time when you see the Golden Strands that God weaves which become our lives… indeed at such times I think I can hear the gentle working of the loom…

Never think that what you consider to be the most unimportant things said or done will not profoundly move someone else and fit into Gods plans for our lives…

I would have to write a book to truly explain what is in my heart right now… the events of so long ago set in motion forces, for lack of a better word, that would bring peace to someone though a series of event strung together like translucent diamonds strung on that Golden Thread…

God brought together strands going back forty years….

Let every thought you think be as noble as you can make it…

Let every word you say be as loving and kind as you can say them…

Let every moment be one in which you look beyond the external to the underlying meaning….

And know that every action creates ripples that may well not reach the far shore until years later….

And know that meaning can come out of profound tragedy that decades later will bring healing, relief, new meaning and peace to the lives of those who are still coming to terms with a life changing event…. and know

That the Father God is in control….

Living

On the last day of the school year in 2010 I survived what could easily have been a fatal automobile accident.   The engine of my vehicle was suddenly in the seat beside me throwing gasoline everywhere including on me.  I had to turn the engine off with the ignition key.  The vehicle I was driving was totaled.  I received minor injuries from the seat belt as well as a fairly severe knee injury from broken blood vessels.  There is no good reason the vehicle did not explode killing me in a fiery conflagration.  I was covered with fuel.  If the engine had ignited I would not be here today writing this blog. 

I’ve spent the time since there coming to grips with what happened.  I have been healing both physically but more spiritually and psychologically.  I do not pretend to have any clue as to why I was spared.  But, I am determined to use the time God has given me well. 

I have been forced to confront so much that has helped me grow in my faith.  This was a gift. 

I am thankful that I am alive to write this blog.

I am thankful that things seem to be working out financially.

I am thankful for everyday I have had since the accident.

I am thankful for, of all things, Facebook that has become both a ministry and a support group for me. God works in mysterious ways.

I am thankful for the kindness of so many friends and family.

I am thankful for the kindness of strangers.

I am thankful that people cared enough to make room for me in their hearts.

I am thankful that the things about which I worried and about which I was frightened did not come to pass.

I was thankful for the first few breaths of air standing soaked with fuel when I stepped out of a crumpled piece of metal with a hot engine on the front seat.

I am thankful that for some reason I was spared what could have been my fate on that day.

I am thankful for the year of teaching I spent last year with incredible teachers, administrators and kids. 

I am thankful that after a long period of being unable to write words are coming back to me.

I am thankful for the mystery that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for a young man who is named Aiden McGeough in Ireland who may be a relative.  He discovered me on Twitter.  His friendship lifts me up everyday.

I am thankful for Jim Lewis, the Men’s Ministry at Lakewood Church and how much they have done for me that will never know. 

I am thankful to the beautiful people of Cathedral of Praise Assembly of God and their loving acceptance.

I am thankful to the young people in my youth ministry’s who have given me a reason to go on.

I am thankful that I am here now and ready to write. 

Blessings to all….

not sure how this goes…..

Are we ever sure how this goes…. as I listen to Calling all Angels…I am so moved by the line “Are we ever sure how this goes”….

Walk me through this ….  Don’t leave me Lord….

They are leaves in a powerful stream…. kids…. just as I was….

What saved me … a mother who loved me beyond all reason… a father who had to leave far too early…  powerful men who led me when I needed a strong lead to follow….

  How do I help save them…. lost kids…. who have no idea they are lost…. or how lost they are…..

How do I communicate love to someone who hasn’t known love…. the true love that builds strong walls against the tide of darkness coming in so fast…. How can I know when I am right…. is it peace?   Is it logic?  Is it my own human reason…

Their youth is slipping away like a flower fading… the time when they might be malleable…. when change can happen… before habits are to hardened…. to much of their “person”…..

How do I tell them that the right choices will solve their problems when they don’t want to hear about the right choices…..

How do you learn to make the right choices about the small things…. and the eternal things when you have no real home…. no one who can really show you how to live? 

How do you instil vision?  How do you instil beauty?  How to you show what honor is? 

The greatest desire of my heart right now it to find the ways…..

So I think, and I pray and I listen…

I look to His example, how would He have done this?   What words would He have said to the kids in my classes…. and in my ministry….. Lord I need your guidance, your example and your wisdom… I cannot do this myself….

 

What He did was to courageously step into the teeth of the storm…. which is what I will do tomorrow…. and the next day….

To teach as best I can…. by example….. by love…. by building impenitrable walls when I have to… 

But, to follow his example I must…. because all these kids need Him….. Let him fill me…. 

Because I’m not sure how this goes…..

I’m not sure how this gods…..

Difficult days, difficult hours and sudden despair

I despaired today…

How does it happen… how have we failed to inspire so many of our young people to kindness, love, consideration and respect… why is cruelty cool in so many schools… why do so many young people actually hate… not a word I use lightly… today I think I saw it… today I saw young people who have experienced trouble themselves deliberately make life worse for a person who is trying to walk through the process of a parent dying… These are not kids in a youth ministry that I know of… nor are they in a church that I know of… is that why?  Is it the culture?  Is it parenting?  I need wisdom today…

I despaired today…. 

How did this happen… how did a once innocent child arrive at a place where as a young adult they cannot find compassion in their hearts… how is it that an intelligent, wonderful kid can say “I’m intelligent enough to get other kids to work for me so I don’t get in trouble”?  

I despaired today…

How can we have raised a generation for whom profanity is the norm…  How have we raised a group of kids who seem not to be able to look at any kind of future… how have we raised a generation of kids for whom revenge is a value, for whom class prejudice is understood to be normal…

I despaired today….

But above all that the thing that cuts me to the heart is that many of them do not see themselves as people with a future… they don’t see themselves as “good’… many don’t have any respect for themselves as people… today I was lost… I knew not what to say or what to do…  today I was so disheartened for them I almost wanted to walk away… the task seemed too big…

I despaired today…

But, I am praying for faith, for God to hold my hand, for the Holy Spirit to rest in my heart speaking to my mind so I will know what to say…

Father forgive me for today I almost gave up… Father forgive me for today I doubted my calling… Father forgive me for today I did dislike some of the kids for whom I am responsible… I know I will feel better tomorrow… I know you will heal me with sleep…. but Father I need your forgiveness and your love because today I could not love…  I was numb… I saw things today that disheartened me to the core of my being… Father take me in hand…. take me to the altar and heal me… Father give me fresh wisdom… Give me new eyes… fill my heart once again with love where it is now filled with indifference…

I despaired today…

Father I didn’t know what to say… I am devoid of advice and love… I am disheartened at the hostility I saw… And Father I knew not what to do…

I despaired today…

I know in my heart that love prevails… I know in my heart that example overcomes… I know that the imitation of Jesus Christ will heal, lead and stop hatred…

I despaired today…

Father let me imitate you… fill me with your love… fill me with your heart… fill me with your mind… for Father I cannot do this on my own… I cannot succeed without you…

Let my despair be replaced with hope… let my discouragement be replaced by courage… let my inability to speak to the problems be replaced by wisdom…

I am so thankful for my kids you have entrusted to me…

I am thankful that you are going to lead me…

I am thankful for your example…

I am thankful for the whisperings of the Holy Spirit…

I am thankful for this challenge so I can grow…

I am thankful that though I don’t know what to do today, you will teach me…

Weekends are for small miracles….

In a short while I’m giving a presentation to a youth ministry on giving blessings to others….  

Last night I watched the beautiful movie “Pay it Forward” which I will use as one of the illustrations.  I was stretching for the right words as I wrote the small sermon… It just wasn’t coming easily…. So I decided to let it rest to see what would happen….

This morning as I went to church I went through a Starbucks drive through for coffee… When I got to the window I tried to hand a gift card I had received for Christmas to the young lady…

She said… the guy in front of you paid for your coffee…  he said to either just enjoy your coffee or pay for the guy behind you… I paid for the guy behind me… There was a line of cars.. I would love to know how long it went on… I believe it continued at least through that line.

There are small miracles everywhere is you look for them… this one more obvious than most… I don’t believe in coincidence…  

The words are flowing now…. small miracles… great grace…  

Thank you Father for listening, caring and loving… and for small miracles you give us as shining gifts to let us know you are there… 

 

The debt of time allowed…into a new decade…

Tonight I look to the future and wonder…

What will be my mission in the new decade… what is He going to ask of me… what do I need to do to be ready…

In this that could be the last decade of my life on Earth…  help me make it count… help me fight the good fight…help me to have the courage to do that which is right… and good… and true…

I have been given so much… but have I given back enough… have I lifted up as many as I was given to lift up… and I wonder… what is this mystery that we live… a life for something… Oh God, how much time have I given to nothing?… How much time have I failed to use…

I remember a time when life seemed to stretch on forever… there was time for everything… there was time to accomplish all that you asked… and everything that I wanted… now that I am older I understand

the debt of time…

as we will be asked as were the men to who talents were given…. what have you done… and I despair a bit…

I am one of that fortunate generation who saw the passage of a decade that was also a century that was also a millenneum… the passage of a thousand years… 

But what of my 58…  and what of the next decade if I am allowed it…

I greatly fear making a vow… for I am human… 

I owe a great debt… a debt of time given… 

did I repay it in full…

did I bring the time back with nothing to give my Lord…  wasted time… lost life…

did I bring the time back exactly as it was given… saying Lord I took this greatest of gifts and I hid it and here it is as you gave it to me…

Or did i bring the time back with the debt paid, and with interest… with the Masters plan fulfilled… his mission accomplished… to hand him his incomparable gift of the time he has given me with a good report…

Can I not enter the next decade devoted to the idea of turning all my talents, all my wisdom, all my experience to his use… 

Can I not enter the next decade clean as the new snow… unblemished as drifts of the brilliant whiteness of the driven snow… as shimmering as ice….

Can I not live my live ecclesiastical…. worshipful…  thankful… as an example…

Can I not live my life in such a way that all around me will say I want that life… 

Father, I have to tell you that I am afraid… I feel weak… I fear being unable to do your incomparable will and the mission you give me for the debt of time I owe you…

It weighs heavily on my Father… Oh God…

I am thankful for many, many friends who stood with me in the last year….

I am thankful for the time I was given to minister to youth…

Thank you Father for the time I have been able to pray with people in church and in life…

Thank you Father for friends who seem to be finding their way…

Thank you Father for kids gaining new independence…

Thank you Father for kids who were stopped…

Thank you Father for 13 kids I was blessed to baptise in the new decade…

Thank you Father for sending people to me who could answer the needs of kids I could not answer…

Thank you Father for Charlie… who ministered to the broken kids… who held them up but told them how it was..who has always been there in ministry when I needed him… for so much… for his shoulder that I have made wet with tears…

Thank you Father for Diane who trusted her children to the ministry you gave me and who stood with me as a fellow minister… helping the girls so much… and the boys…. who loves with a love as pure as anyone can imagine…  

 Thank you Father for Cody who worked beside me in the baptistery… who was able to get to kids who were rational, kids of technology… who held me up at many, many times…

Thank you Father for Teresa…wife of Cody… a couple  I married… who was always there with that special insight…that wisdom that saw what needed to be said to a hurting kid…

Thank you Father for John and Lynda… who also entrusted their children to me… who helped in so many ways… and are now carrying on….

Thank you for KASE and Opportunity Academy and all the kids in them… even on the difficult days….

thanks so much for JoEtta Darby who leads with example… and whose friendship gives me strength…

thanks for the team of teachers with whom I work…

thank you for the school district that took me  back to work with kids who I love…. the ones who really need.

Thank you Father for giving me a band of brothers in the Quest Ministry who are real men of God…thank you father for true change that we have seen….

thank you father for Jim Lewis…my mentor in so many ways…

thank you Father for Joel Osteen another mentor and true servant of God

And for my wonderful friend Ronald Jordan and true servant of God

And for Pat my best friend in life, in ministry, in the service of God\

And thank you father for bringing Kenn back into my life, my best friend also…

Father I thank you that the ideas are going to come to pass in the new decade…

I thank you for the new kids who are in the ministry….

I don’t know what you will have for me in the coming decade… I just want to be able to accomplish it… I just want to serve you… and to bring

the debt of time allowed back to you with good interest….