Easter Offers A New Beginning

Life has been a flurry of different activity here, with things happening faster than I can think to write them down or blog about them. Such are the dynamics of modern 21st-century life in the big city. Work has picked up, with school demands increasing as the semester rolls on. Working on a Master’s degree requires a lot of reading and an immense amount of writing. It’s hard to find a niche of time for non-academic writing, but I continue to try.

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Holy Week 2017 is well underway. I have had the opportunity to reflect on what has been an active ministry year thus far. It seems to be a season heavily focused on healing, particularly praying over people as they experience the hardships so often accompanying our lives. No doubt, there is a lot of hurt in our world. I’m not sure if it is more or less than at other times, but I am certainly more aware of it these days. Holy Week serves as a good reminder that God knows our pain. Jesus knows our hurts. The Holy Spirit prays on our behalf with groans and moans.  We live in a complex world. There are things we see and things we don’t. Things we understand, and things beyond our human comprehension.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 6:10–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Pain hits harder when it arrives close to home. We wish we could make it go away. But it’s there. Our pain draws us closer to God or in some cases, pushes us away.  Before his work on Earth was done, Jesus experienced great suffering. His death was a horrific one, as we imagine death nailed to a cross would be. But his story did not end with his pain, nor his death. Rather, his story continued past the hurt of this world to the glories of Heaven. In Scripture, suffering almost always precedes glory.

Whatever your hurt is today, know that I am praying for you. Maybe you’re suffering from the loss of a loved one or the ache of a broken heart. If the Tin Man knew how much a heart can hurt, perhaps he’d reconsider his desire to get one. I pray your pain, whatever it is, draws you closer to the Lord and that through your pain, you recognize your dependence on Him. For without God, I could not go on. But God has showered me with His abundant love and mercy, extending me the favor of His grace. On this Easter, I am thankful that God so loved the World that He sent His only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. Through Scripture, we know that Jesus is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.

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Embracing Monday

I am glad to be in front of my laptop writing and creating fresh content for this blog. It’s also with overflowing joy that I’m able to greet Monday morning focused on several opportunities to minister to people in need of a comforting word and a healing touch. Proclaiming the Gospel is something I am passionate about, as is my beloved wife, Terri.While the Lord has equipped us to go about this in different ways, employing a variety of means, the end result—reaching people for Jesus Christ—remains the same. Our heart’s desire is to see people come to know and grow in Christ. We love coming along fellow co-laborers, sharing our love for Jesus, and gratitude for the marvelous work God has done in our lives.

The past two and half weeks have been heavily focused on school. Being a 50+-year-old grad student has its challenges. On the plus-side, is meeting new people and getting to know a new generation firsthand. Millenials certainly are interesting. After having been in class with some 20-somethings, I have grown in my appreciation of them as a people group. They are value-centric, seeking to derive more from work than just putting food on the table. They desire to be valued and need to feel that their contributions matter. They aren’t all work and no play. For Millenials, work/life balance is necessary.

As a recovering addict, balance is something that has always seemed like a struggle for me. Spending all day with my head in the books, a laptop in front of me, working on a large, 13,000 + word research paper and then a huge research project mimics compulsive addictive behavior. Fortunately, studying does not lead me to be in handcuffs. But it has reminded me of who I once was and grateful for who’s I am today.

In my graduate studies, I have learned a lot about leadership and team development that I did not know, even after all these years both as a worker bee and as an employer of people. It has been an enriching experience for me. I am thankful for the Lord’s provision and for my wife’s support in this endeavor as we seek to be faithful in following God’s calling on our lives.

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Ministry has not been what we expected it to be. Honestly, I don’t know that either of us knew what to expect. We remain overwhelmed by God’s grace and the thought that He would use us to do His work. But He has. And we do. Through ministry initiatives like Operation Christmas Child and outreach programs like Union Gospel Mission, Terri and I have had the privilege of ministering to a mind-boggling number of people. We have had front row seats to seeing God at work. It has been an incredible journey thus far. With every passing week, this blog continues to grow and reach people that we would not have been able to reach in more traditional ways.

Tomorrow is Monday. I look forward to embracing the day and seeing what all God does through His work.

Go in peace.