Tag Archives: Love

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…

Advertisements

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….

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….

Derek Redmond in the 1992 olympics, His father raised him up

This is an earthly Father…. with a heart filled with such love one is amazed and brought to tears….

He would not be kept away from his son who was down, hurt and to weary…..

His son was hurt and his heart was burdened, and he sat there on the track until his father came…

His father who raised him up to continue his race……”You don’t have to do this” the father said… the son…”Yes I do”… the father “The we will do it together”

This earthly father carried his son until he got him near the finish line, then he released him to finish his race by himself on his own two feet. 

He gave his son the greatest gift that day… he gave himself and exemplary love….

He gave other fathers a great gift that day as well…. an example of how a father should be…

How much more will our Heavenly Father do for us…. in different ways.

He is all forgiving… all loving… perfect

He is filled with justice… our wrongs will be cured and our injuries will be healed.

Oh, there have been so many times when He was with me but there were only one set of footprints in the sand…

Those were the times he was carrying me… lifting me… being the air beneath my wings…

Raising me up so I can stand on mountains….

Calling me out of the boat to walk on stormy seas…

My Heavenly Father raises me up to more than I can be….

I’ve stood on mountains, I’ve walked on stormy seas, I been lost in abject wilderness,

But you raised me up Father….

I am strong when I am on your shoulders….

You raise me up to more than I can be….

Oh my Father…. You raise me up.

 

Feed my Flock…faithful hands….

These are the hands of God… because these hands are following his commandments… that the beautiful things we know about God can be made manifest…  that the true radical faith can be shown to be true… that we feel his pleasure when we are helping his least… when a thirsty child receives a cool glass of water… when an elderly widow doesn’t have to worry about rain leaking into her house… when a child lost in the world can find a place of love and safety….. Yes, these are the hands of God….
 
Because he put us here that through our hands his work can be done….
And these hands are doing just that….
 
 

Faithful hands

Is it the grand things that we would like to do?    Is it building the giant cathedrals and beautiful architectural masterpieces that is important to Jesus Christ?  What is radical Christianity?   If Christ were given the choice between a giant cathedral of marble and crystal… what would he choose?  I know what God would choose….  

Since 1974 I have been a youth worker in some way… some of that time was spent as a conductor working with young musicians…. some of it was spent as a teacher working way out of the mainstream and under the radar with kids who just didn’t fit in…  the vast majority of it has been spent in some kind of youth ministry…

In that time I have seen kids who could not study because they were hungry…. I have seen kids who were left alone in homes while their only parent was hospitalized… kids who were not reared at all… who did not now how to be …. in any sense… lost… without guidance… with no compass… Today even in America there will be hungry kids who needn’t be hungry… who needn’t be without good clothing… who needn’t be in dark, dank housing…   fatherless, motherless…  

    

   

 Thank you Lord there will always be people of faith….the radical Christians who truly imitate you…  like the ones of this church… who in imitation of you will get up in the middle of the night… to work.. to cook… to be sure that there are no hungry mouths if they can find them.. no children without food, without clothing…. without decent housing…To be sure that the elderly in the place the Lord has given them to minister have care… someone to check on them… someone to know if they have fallen… to know if they need food, or medicine, if they have a cool or warm place to live…. to be sure they have a roof that doesn’t leak…  

Christians who practice radical faith… real faith… the faith that insures that all those around them believers or not will be full of both food and the Holy Spirit… that those around them will know the mission of Jesus Christ… that those who may not know you will know that they are looking at people who love their neighbors as well as themselves… and who act on it…. that as far as it is in their power hunger will be banished, abuse will be stopped, loneliness with be destroyed, medicines will be delivered, love will be given…  

 The thing that young Christians want is a radical faith… that fulfils the real gospel as this church is doing… to help those who are weak, to feed those who are hungry… to stop pain when they can, to be sure that tears of sadness are replaced with tears of joy… that loneliness is replaced with love…  they have grown beyond the mindless activities that so many think kids want… what so many young men and women want is a real working faith… a faith that puts it on the line… that risks… that  

makes sure that the gospel has real meaning… these are young people who mean it… who take what God said seriously… who want to live a real life of faith… not an artificial, routine “religion” but radical Christianity focused on the  

Person of Jesus Christ and his true Mission… to bring souls to God.. and to take care or the Earthly needs of the people around them…  

to fulfil the two greatest commandments of the Lord God… To love the Lord with all your heart and because of that……….To love your neighbor as much as you love yourself….  

   

so that the love of God can be known… and felt… and real….

As a little child….

How can I approach him …. the bible tells me as a little child… and I think…

A long time ago when I was first learning to teach band I was an assistant band director …. low on the food chain…. I taught a second band and a groups of sixth grade musicians…

I’ve always walked the line between friend and teacher very carelessly… it’s just hard to ignore a kid… there was this one child… a drummer… a shy boy… who needed to talk often… I have always talked to my students… I never turned them away…. I had needed someone to listen when I was a boy…

One day this boy walked up to me with tears in his eyes…. I’m moving, he said.. I asked him how long it was going to be …. he said on Friday.

When Friday came he got through class looking sad…. then hung around waiting for the other kids to leave… he walked up to me.. barely in control… shook my hand and said goodbye… I walked him out of the back door of the band hall… As he walked away I told him to remember what a good kid he was and that he was going to be ok…

He walked away…. stopped …. and turned and ran back to me crying… he grabbed me around the chest and sobbed into my shirt.. “You are the only one who cares about me”…. I didn’t know what to say so I just hugged him back… Here was a child who saw something in me worthwhile… for some reason he connected to me.

Maybe at that point in his life he felt I was the only one in his life who cared about him… or more likely he was having a temporarily rough time. 

Either way I received his hug with love, forgetting and forgiving every time he had talked out of turn, every time he had been mischievous, every time he had made a mistake… those things just drifted away… all I knew was that this young boy had somehow come to see in my something worth imitating, something worth loving… and I received him in the way he came.  I felt such a warmth and love  for this child that I would have adopted him on the spot.  All the mistakes, childishness, and minor misbehavior was forgotten.  He also said “I’m sorry for anything I’ve done” through his tears.  And he got complete utter and total forgiveness.  If he had needed another home at that moment I would have adopted him. 

That is how our Lord works…. and what he means when he tells us to come to him as a little child…. we come without guile… running to him to tell him we did wrong and can he forgive us and we receive his forgiveness… without reservation… and from him we receive a home in his heart… we are kept close there… and he prepares another home for us in the future…

In coming to him as a child… we come to him as  someone who has nothing to give and wanting nothing but forgiveness and love… and we receive it…  and he holds on to us and holds us close…. forever…