Hijacked!

20131006_164332I was sitting in my window seat winging my way on a work trip, kindle in my hand, earbuds in with old southern gospel playing in my ears when the hijacker appeared. I don’t think anyone else noticed this interloper. He was benign enough. Was this a terrorist? An ideologue? Someone intent on my harm? No, the reason no one else noticed is that the hijacker was a song in my play list. You see, I was minding my own business reading when a song began to play in my ears that would hijack my thoughts for the rest of the day.

Lost in thought as I tried to finish a book I started months ago about the gospel my foot began tapping to an old friend, a song my mother introduced me to and one she requested sung at her funeral – The Uncloudy Day. As I cranked up the familiar melody in my ears and my foot began pounding out the beat to the point I was sure I was disturbing my seatmate on the flight I was transported back 16 years to the church where I grew up. It was not just any day I was transported back to, no I was taken back to the day my brother and I buried our parents. You see the only thing my mother had ever said about her funeral before she died was that she wanted The Uncloudy Day sung at her funeral so that is one of 2 songs we requested be sung that day. However this is not the memory that hijacked my thoughts.

No, the memory that arrested me at 30,000 feet was my memory of watching a man who loved my whole family dearly sing a song from a genre he hated just to serve my brother and I and to honor my parents. In my minds eye I was 20 once again, numb from grief, deeply desiring God to be honored through the Gospel being preached and that He be praised through the testimony of song, sitting on the front row in the meeting house of the saints and knowing as the first notes of this Southern Gospel staple hit the speakers that the only reason Brother D would be singing this song was because of his deep love for his Heavenly Father which poured out and overflowed in his love for me and my brother.

I remember watching his hands shake slightly as he took the mic from the stand and raised it to his lips to sing. I remember him fighting to keep his voice even as he began to sing and watching as his eyes closed so he could focus on the melody and the words so he could get through the song. Was this nervous stage fright in the face of the standing-room-only overflow crowd? 20131006_164518No, I had the privilege of watching him praise the Lord through song for over a decade at this point and it would have taken far more than that crowd to have rattled him. No, the shaky hands and those eyes closing were because D loves deeply and for whatever reason he had decided to love my family many years before therefore that love wanted nothing more than to “mourn with those who mourn”.

This choice D had made was not an un-costly decision. More than once one member of our family or another had caused him no small frustration, sometimes pain and more than a little confusion but he loved us anyway. Not only did he love my parents because they served with him in ministry and my brother and I because he served us in ministry, but D was one of our elders. He was charged with watching over our souls, a responsibility he took seriously and discharged with great joy. The only way D knows how to love and serve is with his whole heart. That is why he was one of the first ones to come to comfort my brother and I on that terrible Sunday morning. He did not come with many words but came with a hug that would not let me go as he sat next to me on the couch and cried.

So at 30,000 feet when The Uncloudy Day began to play my heart was overwhelmed and captivated with gratitude to God for D and for the privilege of being so deeply loved by him. Long had he preached to our stubborn hearts that we should strive to be “Jesus with skin on” and in that moment, like thousands before, as he struggled to sing a song he did not even like D demonstrated exactly what that looked like as he brought us into the presence of The Balm of Gilead who alone could bind our wounds and heal our hurts. I love you D!

 

 

 

Lessons from Cancer: The Crucible

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   “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:3–9, ESV)

My cancer treatments were all inpatient treatments due to the type of cancer I had and its aggressive nature. When you are relegated to a hospital room for weeks you have a lot of time to think and reflect. During one particular difficult hospital stay in which I was in intense pain, my thoughts were directed toward the truth that this suffering was going to reveal my true character. Oh how I desperately prayed that the nurses and techs would see the grace of God in me, how I begged God that I would have the grace and strength to not make their tough job worse. How I did on that front others would have to tell you.

However, during this struggle I kept thinking of a crucible. For those unfamiliar with this special vessel (as if I am some master smelter or something), a crucible is the specially constructed vessel used to test and purify precious metals. The master smelter will take the metal to be purified and place it into this vessel. Then the crucible is placed into the furnace to melt the metal into a liquid state. Once in a liquid state several options are available to the smelter to rid the metal of its impurities. One of the oldest is to take an implement and skim the surface of the liquid metal dragging the impurities out. Then the vessel is replaced in the furnace which causes more impurity to rise to the surface after which the entire process is repeated until the smelter is satisfied with the purity of the metal.

With this process playing over and over in my mind coupled with the knowledge that my pain and struggle was revealing my own character, I began to reflect on what spiritual value and truth I could glean, what did this tell me about God? What did the Word say about me in relation to these truths? What should my response be? One of the first things I thought of was that much like the metal in the crucible, I was being tried and tested. The genuineness of my faith was GOING to be revealed and how I desperately wanted the aroma of Jesus to permeate everything I did and how I feared that I would prove myself to be an unworthy servant. I wanted everyone to see the pure gold of the fruits of the Spirit but I feared that all that would be found was the lead of my evil heart. So I prayed hard that God would give me grace to bear up under this travail and if there is any praise it belongs to Him and He alone.

The second truth that I was reminded of is that unlike gold brought out of the ground and placed in the crucible, which has intrinsic value in and of itself, I had nothing good in me (Isa. 64:6-7). In and of myself I am a wretched rebel who of my own volition spurned the Law of the Righteous Judge, declaring war on the Holy One of Israel seeking to depose Him from his rightful throne as Lord over all of creation and all peoples. Because of that rebellion I was a rotting, bloated, lifeless corpse. Left to myself there was nothing to put into the crucible – I was nothing but impurities: there was nothing good in me.

The third truth is the corollary to the truth above, namely that any good that might come out of my life was the direct result of God’s imputation of Christ’ righteousness to my account (Rom 5:15-17). To have anything to put in the crucible to refine I must first be given it (Eph 2:8-9). God in His condescending benevolence, providence and mercy grants Christ’ righteousness to rebels like me. Does that meant that I have arrived? No, I am not yet what I will be but Praise God I am not what I was!

Finally, as I lay there in that bed I was overwhelmed with humble gratitude. Making it through each moment was not an act of my own power or ability but was in fact a gift of grace from a loving Father who chose not to rescue me from the flames, nor meant me harm in them but rather was putting His power and might on display as He walked in the fire with me.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor 10:13 ESV

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. 22 Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” ” Daniel 3:16-29 ESV

*emphasis mine

The latest from the Pauper’s Hovel

Well it has been a bit since I posted (OK since Oct 2011 but who’s counting). So I thought it might be time to give an update and begin to tell the new story through which the KING has elected I must pass.

One of the reasons for my silence about issues on the homefront has been the journey into foster care that the Lord began taking us in Dec of 2010. The confidentiality rules made it very hard to blog and not get myself in trouble so I didn’t. Needless to say it has been a journey of increased dependence on our Father God and a journey of emptying of self (that part is often not very pretty). We are currently fostering a sibling group that we are praying the Lord will allow us to adopt but for that to happen very God-sized mountains will have to be removed into the sea as you will soon see.

All other issues aside, the single biggest mountain we face in this journey is Cancer. In January I found out that I had cancer. Initially they thought and began planning like it was rectal cancer (very bad stuff and not much hope). “But God” being rich in his grace and goodness saw fit that after 2 biopsies, 1 attempt at a bone marrow biopsy and losing over 6 units of blood that they should discover that I DO NOT have rectal cancer but rather Burkitt’s Lymphoma! Praise God for Lymphoma! (Still bad stuff – see the 6 unit blood loss; but very treatable and highly curable).

Due to the aggressive nature of Burkitt’s the Doctors must be equally aggressive so that meant I spent most of last week in the oncology ward of our hospital. Each day has a regimen of meds so vile that no one can use the same bathroom as me for about 3-4 days AFTER they stop giving it to me. I have had 2 lumbar punctures, 1 bone marrow biopsy, 7 units of blood and more medicine than I have had most of my life. This journey will be at least 9 – 12 weeks and due to the frequent hospitalizations, immune compromise and fatigue I will be out of work on short term disability.  Needless to say, we could use your prayers.

It is my hope to not waste this suffering and to testify of God’s overflowing goodness and mercy in all of this. God is so good and he is good all the time! From the way far flung friends have sent gift cards and tender words of encouragement, to the way we have been surrounded by our church family, to the way my mountain of a man brother continues to tenderly check on me, We have been so richly blessed!

I will leave you with but one of the tender mercies of Our God. After being in the hospital all week, my doctor came into my room late on Friday evening for what we thought was just a regular round of checks before she went home. However, she had come to discharge me since my blood numbers were so good. There was one small issue, there was a medication that I needed which we had thought we had all arranged, small problem – it was not arranged. We tried every pharmacy we could think of and it was no good, the medication was special order and would not arrive until Monday. So it looked like we were going to have to make the 45 min car ride to the doctor’s office each day until the medicine came in. That is until God sent one of my dearest friends to my room in the midst of this madness and reminded him of a pharmacist friend of his. It was after hours and getting later but my friend tried anyway, by God’s providence the pharmacist was in the office late and as a specialty pharmacy had exactly what I needed. A few minutes, a few phone calls later and I had the medicine and was on my way home. God is seldom early, but he is NEVER, EVER late.

Thankful Thursday: My Brother

I thought I would start a new series here at the Hovel, one in which I single out something/someone I am thankful for and praise YHWH for his grace by telling a bit about why I am thankful. So here goes (fair warning it is a long one).




I am thankful for my brother. My brother is a mountain of a man in more ways than one. On the internet he is known as The Freedom Crusader and it fits him well. Though I am often confused as to what he is fighting for or against and on more occasions than I care to count I have found myself on the opposite side of the field of battle from him (that could be due to his penchant for playing the devil’s advocate) but one thing is sure: he is a man unafraid to enter in the fray no matter the cost. It is one of his most infuriating and endearing character qualities. In my life it has meant that on the one hand I have a ready gadfly waiting to goad me to deeper thought and study and on the other I have had the privilege of having one of the bravest defenders. For this I am very thankful.

I was reminded of one such time by the Crusader’s own Thanksgiving Day post. I will never forget one July day when the Crusader and I were down at my Uncle’s house unloading a stock trailer full of corral panels that had been used at a recent rodeo in our home town because it was almost my last. The trailer was filled wall to wall with steel corral panels that were 5′ tall and 12′ long. At first both the Crusader and I were outside the trailer dragging each panel out and stacking them in the barn. However, as the trailer began to empty it became necessary for one of us to stay in the trailer and hold the remaining panels upright while the other dragged the next panel out and stacked it. Being one that never shirked work and also being a bit protective of his  older brother, the Crusader told me to stay in the shade in the trailer and hold the panels while he moved and stacked each one in the barn. So in and out of the sun he went, muscles bugling, face turning red under the strain, sweat pouring off of his brow carrying each panel. I would start at the end of the trailer farthest from the door and would carry one end of a panel with one hand while steadying the stack with the other to help him get them out of the trailer and then I would walk back to the far end while he stacked his load in the barn. Everything with this system went smoothly for about the first 8-10 panels but no sooner had we gotten our rhythm down when everything went south.

I was in the trailer and had just handed one off to the Crusader, made my way over half way down the length of the trailer when the stack inside shifted and started to crash down on top of me. I turned and tried to stop the stack but it was too late. With a weight I had never experienced before the still massive stack of steel slammed me up against the side of the trailer. Suddenly the only thing keeping nearly 1000lbs of steel off of my chest was my arms and adrenaline. In the chaos I had hollered and the Crusader had come running  grabbing the end of the pile and pushing with all of the strength in his body. However, he was at a disadvantage because he had no leverage from the end of the pile but he threw his whole self into getting this steel off of me. We struggled valiantly for several minutes but we never succeeded in doing anything more than keep the pressure off of my chest so I could breathe. To make matters worse, due to the height of the panels I couldn’t wedge my arms between the trailer wall and the panels so all that was holding all that weight was his muscle and my fear. As the minutes wore on and the adrenaline wore off the desperation of our situation began to show in the Crusader’s face telling me he was worried that what I already thought was really true – I was in real trouble. As we prayed and struggled the steel kept bearing down inch by inch. We were out in the middle of the country over 20 years ago, no cell phone, no one to hear us scream and the nearest phone was at our house a 1/2 mile drive away with real help at least 20 minutes distant after that call. I finally asked him to go get help before we were both total exhausted and I had no chance, thankfully he didn’t listen to me (I never would have made it).

Instead the Crusader mustered up all the adrenaline that his bullriding body contained and with a mighty heave he raised the panels enough to wedge his own body in between the trailer and the panels. At the time I didn’t know whether this was better or worse, now instead of just one of us in trouble we were both in the pickle. Even with the new leverage for the Crusader all it bought us was time to struggle. Things looked bleak and I was spent so the Crusader did what he does best, he took the bull by the horns in a death struggle that would end in either his death or the defeat of his opponent. Summoning an effort born of true manhood in a heart that will not quit no matter the odds the Crusader took one look into the eyes of the brother he was determined to save and gave what can only be described as a heave powered by divine providence. With that push, a push that separated some of the cartilage from his sternum, by God’s grace the Crusader shoved the panels vertical, holding them while I scrambled by and then dove free himself.

While some might have (or continue to) question his sanity in a few of the decisions in this process, I could not be more thankful for the Crusader. His willingness to jump into the bite when the chips are down is just one of many reasons that the Crusader is one of the finest men I know and for whom I am very grateful. I never like being in a pickle, there is no one I would rather have my back than the Crusader – a truly faithful man in more ways than one.

My how time flies….

Today I received an email from Gary, a fellow foot-soldier in the battle for generational faithfulness, in which he asked me about my Dad and the role he plays in my life as I struggle leave a lasting legacy of faith in my children. As I began to think about my reply I stared at the date on my computer screen and I could not believe what my eyes clearly told me, 13 years to the day have gone by since the Lord called he and my Mom home to their reward. Man, how the time flies!

In some ways it seems like just yesterday and in others it seems lifetimes have flown by the white cross beside the highway where they were ushered into eternity. I often wonder what they would think of their legacy if they could see me now. Would they be proud of the man the Lord is trying to create in me or would they shake their heads at the mess I still am? Would they rejoice in the deliberate choices we are making to invest for eternity in our children or would they think we are full of nonsense like others around us now? There are a million questions without answers when you go down this road but it does not stop the mind from wondering, at least once a year.

As a man interested in generational faithfulness I try to write something meaningful each year on this day to proclaim the excellencies of the God who worked in and through my parents to shape them and thereby shape me. It has been my desire from the moment I heard that they were called to glory to “not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess 4:13) but rather to give glory to the Sovereign God who ordained before the foundation of the world, the number of my parent’s days and the valley for me that would follow them. Some years I have felt very eloquent, this year – not so much. The reflection time necessary to meditate deeply on the Word of God and what it says about this journey have been scarce. However, I do not want this day to go by without telling of the glorious deeds of the Lord to coming generation (Ps. 78:1-8). So allow me then to reprint my thoughts on this day from 2007:

(Originally printed August 2007 in a letter sent to a team of prayer warriors who, for reasons known only to themselves and God, choose to love and pray for this pauper.)

I pray that this finds you well and enjoying the bliss of the great favor of the Almighty who out of His great providence and beneficence elected to lavish His great love and blessings on you! Think of it for just a moment, the God Most High, King of All, Creator, Sustainer, Yahweh himself, obligated to no one, chose to make Himself known to you and not only known, but to grant to you unfettered access to Himself, His love, His care, His power through the sacrifice of Jesus the Christ! What an amazing truth!

Forgive me if I am waxing theological but I have been in a contemplative mood this week and I felt compelled to share of the greatness of my GOD! If you will indulge me, can I tell you of the wonderful work of God in my life? Some of you have walked with me long enough on this path following the Master to know my story well (and if you tire of hearing of my ranting, please read no further and accept my apologies for troubling you); some of you do not so let me share with you the glory of God! Some folks who have heard my story have looked at me as if I have accomplished something, as if I am somebody and I am compelled to set the record straight.

The historical story of this week in years passed will not easily be forgotten in the recent future for those of this generation, this is the week that Princess Diana died. The world pauses to remember her passing every year because she still captures the imagination of the West. This very anniversary makes this week and the contemplative mood it brings to me inescapable. Before some of you begin to think I have lost my mind and become a tabloid connoisseur, no my thoughts have nothing to do with the late Princess of Wales. My thoughts turn to another anniversary, one that is very personal to me, the home-going of two of the greatest examples of godliness I have had the privilege of watching, my parents. These two events are forever tied together since they happen a day apart, Diana on 08-31-1997 and my parents 08-30-1997.

It is hard to imagine that it has really been ten years since that defining moment in my life. What is ten years really? Is ten years only the 315,532,800 seconds; or the 5,258,880 minutes; or the 87,648 hours; or the 3,652 days which comprise the passage of the clock? In a very concrete sense our lives are bound by the unyielding march of time but must that define our existence?

There was a time in the early part of the decade that has passed where I was not sure I could make it through the passage of time. The pain was incredible, the loneliness crushing, the frustration of powerlessness consuming. I was not sure I would ever be able to contribute again because the smallest thing incapacitated me with grief, the words of my Mom ringing in my ears telling me that my name meant “Valiant Warrior” and all I seemed able to do was cower in the corner pleading with the God on whom I had staked all of my existence for deliverance and help.

Praise the Lord that His character is true, He is eternally faithful, He is completely good, He is perfectly loving and He had begun from eternity past to prepare the way for His work in my life through this dark valley of the soul. He was meeting my need before I knew I had one. From the details of my school experience which allowed me to spend more time with my parents than some of you will spend with your’s in a “normal” life time, to the financial convictions that Jesus had laid on my parents hearts that allowed me the freedom to grieve in a home that was paid for before my parents died. Even the intentionality of the parenting in our home that instilled in my heart from a young age the awareness of the constant presence of God and the rightful utter dependence we have on Him for all things even the material things. Every step was laid out to accomplish the will of our God in my life.

Does this mean that everything that my parents did was correct or good? No. As a matter of fact God used a misdirected attempt to expand my skill for wise living by my Dad in the final weeks of his life to teach me that I could not use my parents as my canon for life, their experience and wisdom had to be measured against Truth found in the Scriptures.

What this does mean is the story that everyone needs to know is the story of a God who is faithful and who has continued to deliver on His promise to “[cause] all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” I would have never chosen to walk this path, but I would not chose to not learn the truths my God burned into my soul about Himself either.

What did I learn from the hand of God in the past ten years? I learned the power of a faithful life when I saw 1500+ people cram into a church and overflow into the parking lot to honor a simple homemaker and a high school educated handyman. Heaven will only know the impact that final testimony of the gospel that my parents loved had in the lives of those who watched it walked out in a simple ordinary couple.

I learned that God sometimes uses a house-cat to be His arms of comfort in the dark of pre-dawn hours. (Why do we sometimes discount the miraculous way God will use every aspect of His creation to accomplish His purpose?)

I learned that I personally need the Body of Christ to operate as God intended. In the years that have passed I have seen the Body in it finest work as Christ’ representative on the earth and I have seen the church in its most broken and corrupted debauchery. God has given me a burning passion for the Truth which molds the Body into the image of Christ because I was carried by the Body when it resembled the Savior and I was wounded by the church when the cancer of sin destroyed the image of Christ within it.

I have learned what the scriptures meant when it says, “Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” (Gen. 24:67)

I have learned that God is in absolute control and He desires to work in an environment where He alone will be glorified. This requires us to be in a place of utter dependence which, while completely contrary to our flesh, is the place where God is nearest. God placed me in a position where He alone could carry me, He alone could provide for me, and He alone could raise me up for I was powerless. In that place of such broken impoverished spirit He began to teach me about Himself in a way that was unprecedented in my life.

I have learned what it means to be led by the Spirit in even the mundane things in my life. As I struggled under the mantle of manhood that was hastily thrown on my shoulders as my earthly Father went home, I was forced to seek the face of God as never before and I have had the joy of watching Him lead me!

What then is the point of this very long letter? First, the point is that I am thankful for the journey Jesus has carried me on for the last ten years. I am thankful for the wonderful heritage my parents gave me. I am thankful for the great privilege and responsibility of having godly parents, I have been richly blessed! I am thankful for the anchor of knowing God’s character that can only be forged in the fires of great pain. I am thankful for all of you! You have been tools in the hands of a loving God to shape and mold me.

Secondly, I wanted to give testimony of the greatness of God during times of great pain because some of you may be in the dark night of the soul right in this moment. The King of the Universe is not slack in His promises and He is working. It has taken 10 years and gallons of tears for me to see the joy and gratitude that will come from traversing the valley if we only cling to Him who loved us more than His own life, Jesus! Do not confuse love manifested with the absence of pain. Many times in life the most loving path is one of great pain. Love is manifested in that not only has Jesus Himself promised that He is with His children always but that He is also the sympathetic High Priest who lived here and experienced life’s incredible pain as a man which allows Him to intercede before God the Father for you as one having experiential knowledge.

Finally and most importantly, it is my greatest desire that God be glorified! He alone is the reason for any good thing in my life. He has sustained this servant and has more than sustained, He has richly blessed me. I am incapable in myself of producing some of the incredible evidences of His presence that I have seen come out of this journey. He alone is wise and good. I am nothing, He is of infinite value. I am powerless, He is Omnipotent.

There is so much more I could say about the glory of God in His work in my life but this letter is long enough. If you want to hear more, give me a call, we can take a walk in the park and I will tell of the greatness of God while we walk on the way. I am not sure why I felt compelled to write this but I could not rest until it was finished. I pray that God will show Himself to you today and I pray He uses His story in my life to His glory even in your life.

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

I love and miss you Mom and Dad!

Father’s Day – Part 2

I posted this a couple of months ago after a conversation with my Papa and I can think of nothing more appropriate than to repost it today:

“I love you with all my heart” – simple words but they come with a lifetime of impact. I am not sure I can describe what hearing these words from my Grandfather means to me. He is the Patriarch of our family. A man who has, as best he knew how, led us as he has followed Jesus. A deep thinker with wisdom won from a less than perfect life lived in the constant awareness of the presence of Almighty God who was working even the terrible things in his life for his good and God’s glory. A man who at close to 50 uprooted his household to follow the leading of God into a 15 year ministry in one of the hardest areas of the country. Only to be abused, beat up, maligned, and slandered by those he was called to serve. All the while he loved them, served them, wept for them, prayed for them and guarded their souls. He is a man who has modeled to us Christ-like love and sacrificial servant leadership for his bride for over 50 years. He has been a father to the fatherless in our family. He has passionately loved and rejoiced in each child with which the Lord God has blessed our family. Some of my earliest memories are of Papa lifting high in the air each of the Grandchildren, smile on his face and his deep rumbling laughter rolling out of his big heart. From the “secret” good-bye rituals he taught each of us grandchildren to his attentive ear he was quick to give each of us, he has spent his life communicating to us we mattered, we were special to him and he loved us. Even when each of us have been our sinful-selves, he has loved us and prayed for us. He is a 3 John 4 kind of man.

3 John 4

4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Lord, may I be a cause for Papa’s joy and not sorrow. Please allow me to maximize the impact of the godly heritage he is leaving us daily. May you give me wisdom not to squander the opportunities to learn from and be around him. Thank you for allowing me to be loved by such a godly man. In the might name of Jesus who is the Christ, Amen. 

Happy Father’s Day!