The following is something my wife Leah wrote that I feel so many should read.
Which brings me to the the nine millionth drug I've tried....and I could have stopped trying a long time ago but I haven't. You see many have similar bottles tucked away in their medicine cabinets and feel so very alone. Others are scared to go get help because of the stigma or perhaps not even knowing where to begin. I've been in both those groups.
I didn't choose PTSD and all the things that come with it.I didn't choose my genetic makeup or the things that I endured as a child.
And I could wallow in that because in all reality - it isn't fair.
But if we slice it- it isn't fair to have cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, Down syndrome, narcolepsy, autism, tinnitus, cystic fibrosis.....legs blown off in war, blind, deaf, infertility, starvation, sexual abuse, spiritual abuse....I could go on.
So the choice. I choose everyday to overcome. I choose not to let my illness destroy my marriage and malform the souls of my children. I choose to cut off all the things that feed into my condition. I chose to not let it rob me of Gods calling for my life.
I long to not have to work so hard at living. But I do. So I run. Eat healthy. Have no Facebook. Blare preaching, God music, Gods word, God podcasts to drown out the thoughts that try to destroy. RUN from soul sucking negativity. Hang out with God seekers. Focus on the needs of others to keep myself off the victim track. Keep on trying the right meds that I can metabolize. Keep trying to find alternative treatments. PRAY. Go to therapy... Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Me and God have an understanding of the why?.... I've settled that long ago. My story may be your story too. Don't give up. You are not crazy. God will lead you to the answers that will write the story of how you overcame.
You can be healed- but if you are not- you can overcome. It's a daily choosing to link arms with God and fight. Do it. All those promises of abundant life, joy unspeakable, peace that passes understanding are for YOU too. They did not exclude you. Run the race. Running with u
Post by: Leah Arrowood
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Now this is loaded scripture...vague is the word that comes mind, as in there are a million and one opinions on what proper training is. Well, that is unless we practice Spirit lead parenting, not that I'm the author on that.
We usually parent like we've been parented and our parents parent like they were parented too...that was fun😉
If we were raised with a man made spiritual handbook, we tend to raise our offspring in the same manner.
As a potential control freak (working on not being one) teaching my kids to follow a list of rules makes me feel a whole lot safer. However, what happens when I am no longer around to make sure they are complying with my list, or what happens when they encounter a situation that I forgot to give them a rule for?
Teaching and allowing them to live a spirit led life is much harder for this mamma.
So how do I start?
First of all, I have to live a spirit led life myself, because after all, they are watching me and learning.
A spirit led life teaches us that pure motives and Godly principles will keep us where the list of rules no longer reach. Pure motives and Godly principles can't be put on but are a work that comes from within. (The title of my next post is: You can't strap on fruit"....but lets not go there just yet😊).
Much like a Spirit led life, Spirit led parenting takes away my ability to physically control all things kid related. It causes me to continually rely on God to give me the wisdom for each and every thing that encompasses the word "train" as is stated in Proverbs 22:16.
With all my heart, I don't want my kids to wake up in their late 30's and 40's and realize that I raised them in a cast, and then them have to, at that late age learn what it truly means to live a life led by God and not man. I want them to KNOW God.
This training will keep them when they are old- what better/safer way than that! The truth is that I don't exactly know how to do that, but then again that's good because God does! All I need to do is follow HIS lead.
Teach me Lord🙏🏻
p.s.- I have amazing parents so this post is not a knock on their parenting....this is simply a reflection coming from the Christian culture we are currently surrounded by and my earnest desire to be the parent God wants me to be💗
The Value in Pain
I stood at the side of her bed and wondered at the determination, the resilience, the commitment that was required for a human life to be born into the world. To this point in our married lives I think I would have arrogantly considered my wife lacking in the strength department. She seemed so frail at times so emotional. Boy how that paradigm shattered in the tense moments leading up to the birth of our first born son Zion.
This was painful, horribly painful yet she was not complaining. This was humiliating and hectic, stressful, overwhelmingly so, yet she refused to give up.
Then the moment happened that incredible moment when you hear the cry of your firstborn and as you weep for joy at the wonder of it all. Its at that moment, as she holds your child and calms its cries, as she gently whispers words of comfort with a familiar voice that you realize the beauty that comes from pain.
I learned a lot about pain that day as my bride became a mother. I learned that all pain is not bad. Sometimes pain is the path to the greatest things in life.
Please consider a few of the benefits to some of the pain you may be going through:
First of all pain reveals our inner character.
During times of pain, we have opportunity to learn things about ourselves we might not learn in any other way.
Second, pain reveals our humanity.
It reveals our desperate need for divine help. It may be in time of trial, when we feel like we are hopeless, that we really learn to trust in God, not ourselves.
Thirdly, pain produces compassion.
The fruit of pain allows us to comfort and sympathize with a personal passion we would not have without our own pain. As we suffer, we may learn things we can share with others who are going through similar difficulty.
Fourthly pain produces gratitude.
At the end of a particular time of pain, you may have a deeper gratitude for simple blessings.
And finally, pain makes victory possible.
Remember this: We not only suffer, we enjoy many blessings; we not only observe tragedy, we observe victory. Helen Keller said, "although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."
As we celebrate mothers this time of year may we all recognize the purpose and power in pain.
I pray God’s best for each of you and that you can embrace everything that He brings, knowing that the hard, painful stuff has value too.
The epitaph of a daycare worker
The crowd flowed through for hours sharing their condolences with the family, each one with a funny story or a touching memory to share. All it seemed dynamically impacted by the one who's now lifeless body lay before them. To the casual observer it would appear that this was a very important person.
My memory of her life started in grade school. She was a bit older than me but at the small christian school we attended in rural Southern Indiana I rubbed shoulders with her every day. I recall the countless times she was bullied. Kids teased her about her appearance, her speech, even her name. Children can ofttimes be exceedingly cruel. Even as a young boy I secretly longed to stand up for her, to put a stop to the punishment but I cannot recall ever doing so. As I write this it troubles me still.
She never married and she had no children of her own. She became a daycare worker in her twenties. Not the most glamorous job to say the least. With its little pay and long stressful hours it is so often times a thankless job but not to her.
She was not a beauty contest winner, she was not wealthy in monetary things, She was not a scholastic genius but she loved those kids.
Then the worst of news, the doctors told her she had cancer, aggressive cancer and it would steal her health. She fought it, she believed for a miracle but her earthly life succumbed to the disease.
Yet somehow through all the challenges she faced, through all the difficulties life had thrown at her, she had managed to do something that I think all of us with any humanity would long to do. Refusing to be marginalized by her circumstances, she lived for a divine purpose by caring and loving kids. She found the destiny for her life and she gave it her all.
Her kiddos loved her, the parents of those children trusted her, her coworkers admired her, all of us that knew her wondered at her resilience and her faith. I know heaven applauded her and welcomed her home.
So I write this to all the people, the struggling, hurting, broken people, the people who feel life has thrown you a curve, the people who do not see their life as important, for all of us with lost dreams and a since of failure, take a lesson from Elizabeth. Live today pouring your life out for others.
The most successful among us are not always the ones who stand at the front of the line, or that make a lot of money, or get the awards, or have the looks that turn heads. The greatest among us are the ones who find what God really created them for and then they take their life and pour it out for others.
And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me:
She Has No Defender
Author: Aaron Arrowood
As her tiny fingers stretch into the darkness
She feels the warmth of the atmosphere that swirls around her
She blinks her eyes and swims about
She listens to hear what have become familiar sounds
Her mother’s voice
A home she’s never seen
And a world she’ll never know
Her mind cannot comprehend the looming danger
Her life has no defender
Though she has committed no crime, has offended no one, has done no harm
She is despised
Less then human
She drifts to sleep hearing the beating of her mother’s heart; a sublime symphony that she has grown to love
All seems right in this sanctuary of God’s creation
But this haven will become her sarcophagus
She has nowhere to run
Nowhere to hide
She is naked before her executioner
She is defenseless
Sweet dreams are ripped away and her tiny heart knows fear for the first time
As pain engulfs her she would cry
She would scream
She would protest
But no one is listening
She has no defender
She with her soft blonde hair and darting, curious eyes
Is despised, less then human
Less then an animal
She is refuse
She has no defender
Is there anyone that cares for her
Where is her hero
Who will risk life and limb
Who will trade the warmth of a calloused conscience to take up arms in the sodden trenches of moral compulsion
A silent cry rises louder than the weeping of all the fallen soldiers of every war through all of time, and their grieving wives and children too
But reticent saviors are hard to stir as they count the costs and grow more accustomed to the tragedy with each passing moment
While taciturn heroes soothe their own souls
In her mind a melee of terror erupts with no words with which to quantify, comfort, or capitulate
She silently slips into another darkness
Her voice never will be heard
Her story will never be told
No monument will memorialize her tragic and untimely end
She has never known, nor will she ever be
She has no defender
Let us never forget the daily tragedy of legalized abortion. Let us be her defender.
Aaron Arrowood is an author/song writer, professional videographer, pastor and avid cyclist.
Aaron is on Facebook
God walked with Adam in prayer
God saved Noah in prayer
God Promised Isaac in prayer
God spared Lot because someone was praying
Nineveh was saved because of prayer
Moses saw Gods glory in prayer
Angels Protected Daniel in prayer
God walked in the fire with 3 Hebrew children praying
God gave Samuel because of prayer
God cleansed David in prayer
Gave the Prophets the message in prayer
The Lord took Amos in prayer
Jesus overcame temptation in prayer
And overcame his fleshly will in prayer
The Holy Ghost was given in prayer
Peter was delivered from prison in prayer
Paul and Silas where set free in prayer
John saw heaven in prayer
God called to me in prayer
I was forgiven in prayer
I was set free in prayer
I was filled with the Spirit in prayer
God healed me in prayer
God delivered me in prayer
I received my calling in prayer
I received direction in prayer
God changed my attitude in prayer
God changed my spirit in prayer
God revealed himself to me in prayer
God put my family back together in prayer
I got victory over the enemy in prayer
God will forgive us if we pray
God will heal our land if we pray
Revival fires will burn if we pray
Healing and deliverance will come if we pray
Our cities will be saved if we pray
Our world will be turned upside down if we pray
He will come if we pray
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4,5 NIV
The Bible has a lot to say about God, about His Nature and His personality. He is described as a holy God who is perfect, an all powerful God who can do anything, an ever present unchanging God who always has been and always will be, a God of wisdom and unlimited knowledge. Yet none of these defining characteristics moves the heart and stirs the soul any more than the fact that God is merciful. In fact some of the other qualities of God are kind of intimidating.
King David of the Bible who wrote a song describing God in all His many wonders said above all the things that are so great about God nothing compares to His mercy.
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endures for ever. Psalms 118:1 KJV
David had made some big mistakes in his life and had needed mercy. Maybe you feel the same way. I want you to know the God who showed mercy to King David will show mercy to you.
If there is anything you need to know about God it is this; no matter who you are or what you have done or not done in your life, He loves you and He will always have mercy on you.
Mercy for your past and the mistakes you and I have made.
Mercy for your present condition and what you are facing right now. Mercy for the unseen road ahead in your life.
Take a chance, what do you have to lose, let God show you just how much he loves you and how deep His mercy runs.
What should I do?
Thats the question your heart may be asking. So here is what you can do to experience Gods mercy in your life TODAY!
Be open and honest with Him. Speak to Him like you would speak to your dearest friend. Share with Him your deepest fears and darkest secrets and ask Him for His mercy and forgiveness. The Bible says if you do that He will immediately and without reservation show you mercy.
If we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.
1 John 1:9 MSG
Do it today! God is waiting on you longing to give you MERCY!
I believe most of us live with a paradigm about God. Consciously or sub-consciously we believe God has an agenda, a motive behind His relationship with us. I hope this helps to clear the air.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.
Why did God make us? I have heard and preached sermons declaring that He made us for worship. I have also heard and preached that He made us so that we would love Him. The angels couldn’t do this because they didn’t really have a choice. Let’s hold that question for a moment.
I know that God loves me. However, I have always put His love in the context of love as opposed to judgment. We were lost in our sins so Christ died for us so that we could/would love Him and do His work in the earth. So because of great mercy, He loves us in spite of ourselves.
He created us to give Him glory, right? I say, “no”!
Why does a parent adopt or have a child? Is it because they want a little human that will love them? Not primarily. Its because a parent has love to give! A child is the recipient of love that is in the heart of the parent. That is how we love our children even before we ever see them.
We are not a choir created to sing praise. We are the created objects of God’s affection.
It seems that I often worship to earn God. I worship to conjure up God’s anointing. I worship because of the fact that I am so rotten without His mercy. I sing and pray with the thought of Calvary ever before me. Living life with a debt that I cannot ever repay . If it weren’t for Grace we would be lost. Yes, that is true, but is that where God wants us to dwell. I wonder if the Prodigal’s father reminded him of how much he owed every time he turned around. Did he spend the rest of this life thanking his father, “dad I’m such a loser, thanks for letting me come back”?
I submit that the ultimate goal is a “no-black-book” love relationship. Calvary is not the object. Calvary was simply a way of allowing us to get back to Eden a place where God could show His love toward man. We were not created to praise, worship, give glory, or even to love. These are all worthwhile endeavors but I believe that our primary created purpose is to BE Loved by God.
I’m not talking about a “name it and claim it” religion of God as our slave. I am not talking about being spoiled children with our dirty little hand expectantly extended from morning to night. I am talking about allowing God to love us. He said it is better to give than to receive. Is that only for us? No! He would rather give love than to receive it. Yet we are so bound in guilt, shame, and sin that we are stuck in a perpetual Prodigal mode. We don’t feel worthy to be sons. We don’t feel worthy to be loved. No, God, I don’t want anything I just want to worship you. No, God. I don’t need anything I just want to give you some penance praise so I can ease my aching conscience.
That is not what God wants. How would you feel if you could only receive hugs from your kids but you couldn’t ever give one? What if you could only get gifts but could never see their eyes light up as they open the gift you’ve given them. I hate the statement about God being worthy even if He never does another thing for me. Is it true? Yes. But what father goes around with that attitude? God isn’t walking around saying, “Praise Me”. He is saying, “I love you”.
God always gives more than He asks of us. He asks us to be holy and He is perfect. He asks us to be honest and He has never lied. In the Old Testament He asked for Turtle Doves, and He gave His own life. So, what is the greatest commandment? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. I propose to you that the greatest commandment is a revelation of the premise for which God made us. LOVE.
Satan’s first lie to man was to distort the motive of God. To make his love tainted by a hidden agenda.
“He doesn’t want you to eat because if you do you will be like him.”
The truth be known man was as much like God as any creation could ever be. Yet he believed the lie and instead of being more like God he became like the devil. Full of himself, self-serving, self-indulged, plain old selfish.
From that time on man has been looking over his shoulder trusting little because of his own way of thinking. Surly everyone is after something right?
I have always had a twisted understanding of Love. It seems I loved who loved me, who was kind to me, who befriended me. I always loved to be loved or to gain something in return. Until I had a son. Zion changed everything. I now know the love of a father. I do not love that little guy because he loves me. I just love him. I do not take care of him, feed him, clothe him, change his dirty diapers & protect him because someday he will feed, clothe, protect and change my diapers. There are no strings attached. I do it because I love him.
The reason Leah and I had a child is because we had love to give.
Zion has become the object of our affection.
Phil, a student in my next step discipleship class asked a great question. We had been talking about the fact that God is all knowing, that He knows the end from the beginning and that God knew man would fall out of covenant with him, Phil asked “why did God make man the way that he did.” Why did He create something He would have to save?
I started to go into my spiel about choice and how we were made in a way so we could choose Him and love Him when all of a sudden I realized something I had never realized before.
God made man the way He did with a choice knowing well man would choose to disobey and He also created the rule that sin would be punishable by death and death alone and that the one who died to pay the price for the sin would have to be spotless.
He created a scenario were He himself would be the only one who could pay the price for sin because of His own regulations about sin and the sacrifice that could pay for it.
Why would He do that?
Jesus said there is no greater love than this, than when a man lays down his life for a friend. The greatest expression of true love. The mountaintop of love is dying for someone else.
This God we serve so desired to show His limitless love for us that He created before the foundations of the world a plan so selfless that it will take eternity to truly comprehend. As He hung on mount Calvary He would be fulfilling the perfect love as He died for you and for me. He could have it no other way. It is the clearest picture of His divine nature and His emotions toward us.
Love to spend. We were the objects of His affection.
I want you to understand this. God has no agenda other than your well-being.
Everything He has ever done has always been motivated by love.
This is the greatest mystery of the ages, this is the peak of divine revelation, God loves you. God cares about you.
To every spouse in a marriage that seams to be sinking I want you to know God cares
To every person who’s marriage fell apart
To those who have tried but cannot have children
To the single moms and dads who have to be a mom and dad to their kids
To every person who has to go home to an empty house I want you to know God cares
To those suffering with the lose of a loved one
To the ones who cant seem to make enough to pay the bills
To those who haven’t found their place in the world
To those who have a hard time making friends
To those who were done wrong by your friends
To those who trusted and your trust was broken
To those who suffer from depression
For those who were orphaned
To those who look in the mirror and do not like what you see
To those who have it hard or unfair and you don’t understand why
To those who’s kids no longer serve god
To those who have never known true love
To those who don’t get paid as much as they are worth
To those with cancer, sugar diabetes, heart conditions, and any other sickness or disease
To those who live in daily pain
To those who have done more than your share of sinning
To those who have regrets that keep you up at night
For those of you still struggling with addiction
For us who still make the same mistakes
For those who worry about tomorrow
For those who are still frightened by your past
For the ones the devil is attacking
God loves you, God cares about you
You may have had to buy a spouses love but you don’t have to buy His
You may have had to earn a fathers love but you do not have to earn His
He loves you and always has, yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever
If you turn away from him
If you fail him
If you love others more than him
If you stop loving him
If you blame him
If you disrespect him
If you choose the devil over him
If you hurt him
If you nail him to a cross again if you pluck his beard again if you spit on him again
He will never stop loving you
You are the object of His affection
For someone who grew up in the midst of Hair Rock pandemonium free tickets to a Poison concert was a promise of a really good time. But for a 30 something pastor who grew up in a conservative (but loving) home in the midwest, uncomfortable would be the best word to describe how I felt.
Should I go? Was this a compromise? What business does any believer have at a rock concert?
CC was a new convert in our church. A new convert with legendary hair! He was also a key member in one of the 80’s and even the 90’s most popular bands. Yet on Sundays he made the drive from the edge of Orange County up through the city to the San Fernando Valley to a little church in a modest building. My friend Jesse had baptized him in an apartment bathtub at the end of a men’s bible study meeting and now he was one of us, kinda…
He struggled on the road, as most of us would especially with a history like his but he was trying. He was giving his all to stay sober, to stay right with his maker, to be a responsible man.
He asked me to come and to bring my then pregnant wife to a local venue where they were to play. He wanted to have prayer before and to read some of the good book and talk about faith.
As we sat in his trailer before the show he shared his story, his struggles, his failures. He talked about being a father and what that meant to him and how he longed to finally be a proper example to his child. With tears in his eyes and a brokenness in his heavily accented east coast voice, he shared the inner secrets of his heart.
We met his band mates, who also were striving for a better life through sobriety with the help of each other and God. Then we were ushered to our seats for the show.
15,000 middle aged fans had come out that night. Many dressed in the same clothes they would have worn back in the day, with their hair teased out they were head banging and acting like they were having a good time. “Highway to Hell’ was blaring from the mammoth speakers and there was a sinking feeling in my gut, a feeling that I was way to far beyond the safe boarders of my sheltered existence. I did not belong. I was in enemy territory.
After some more modest bands opened the show it was time for the main event. Lights flashing, smoke bellowing, fans screaming and then singing perfectly every word to the hits of bygone days, past there prime rockers put on a show as I wilted further and further into my now very uncomfortable seat.
Then it happened… Without warning the lights dimmed and the crowd hushed as my friend took center stage and began to play a song that I finally did know and I began to hum along “…Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me…”
The devil took one on the chin at that moment. A rock and roll superstar with a history of bad behavior, addiction and selfishness, played on… The same guitar that had worshipped the spirits of darkness was now piercing that amphitheater with a melody of Gods redemption and grace. For a moment the breath went out of that building as God took the stage. How bold, how humbling.
At that moment I realized this was not just about a preacher being there for the new convert. God was using the new convert to teach me a thing or two about how BIG He was and how little I really knew. That he can use anybody and everybody anywhere. That relational evangelism (LOVE) is the way He has always intended to expand His kingdom and bring freedom, mercy, and salvation to the lost souls of this world.
That night I asked Him to forgive me of my pride and self-righteousness. I asked Him to teach me how to really change my world, I asked Him to give me the boldness to truly proclaim His love while I gave Him the freedom to use who He wants to use, whenever and wherever He wants to use them.
I asked Him to take my cultural blinders off so that I could see people as He sees people. Realizing you cannot truly know the heart of a person so put your energy into getting yours right.
If conviction and repentance begin the process of salvation from sin then I would say God saved this preacher (of all places) at a rock concert.
“I once was lost but now I’m found twas blind but now I see.”
I’ve heard it said that as a church if you reach for the ones no one is after God will give you the ones everyone is after. Yet as I consider that statement it begins to play on the part of me I am trying to kill.
I have gotten close enough to Christ to find that the ones no one wants are the ones he is after. Who I should want doesn’t really matter.
Jesus said that he had come for the broken people, hurting people, rejected people, spiritually poor & literally poor people and most of all for lost people. His coming had no ulterior motive he came for the forgotten of society not because it would help Him or return great dividends. Not because it would make him look good to the peace loving humanitarians or because he could have non-profit status he wanted them because he loved them.
We have been guilty of reaching to the less fortunate because it padded our Sunday attendance or it got us on the evening news or because we know God will bless us in some way. We have a lot of motives but many times they are anything but love.
I have met some of the most fascinating, experience rich people on Saturday morning at a breakfast for the less fortunate. I could write a book about Hank the comic genius from West Virginia who plays Hank Williams songs at the courthouse every day. I could tell you about Nina or big Mike and so many others who have touched my heart and changed my life for ever.
Gerard was in his early sixties when I met him for the first time. He had come to breakfast and as I sat talking to him I was taken by his easy conversation and willingness to talk about his past, the war, his family, life on the streets and even addiction.
He was a pure hearted person who had been sidetracked by circumstances and in an attempt to escape the memories he had become chained by addiction. Alcohol had stolen almost everything he had left.
He lived in a tent and spent his days dumpster diving pushing a large grocery cart through the streets laden with plastic bags full of recyclable materials. Stooped and sickly his ruby red face told the story of a life lived for a bottle.
But in the summer of 2006 something wonderful began to happen. As he sat on the 3rd row listening to a sermon on the grace of Calvary tears began to trickle down his puffy cheeks. With his head low he responded to the call of a man named Jesus by walking down to the foot of the cross. When he got there he felt the warm embrace of a savior that had given his life so long ago to secure this moment in history.
Just a few weeks later he was baptized in the wonderful name above every name rejoicing that a life already lived could be reborn. I heard him speak in a language he never learned in school as God filled his life with regenerating power. A homeless man was now the heir of an everlasting kingdom.
It was his custom after every service to come to the alter and find me and tell me how good I had done and to thank me for the precious word. On one of these occasions he came up to me and said “Pastor you did it again.” I said what did I do Gerard? He replied you set a fire under my butt.” I said “ I hope that is a good thing.”
It would be the last time I would ever see him. Later that week he was found alone in a back alley. The coroner said it was a massive stroke or heart attack brought on by a blood clot from a recent fall. Gerard had been complaining about terrible headaches but health care isn’t necessarily the best when you live on the street.
The leaders of our Compassion Ministries and A.C.T.S. programs found out that he was not going to receive a funeral service because his body had been unclaimed by any family. He would be put to rest in a small grave. So we decided to give him a going away party. We blew up a picture that had captured him setting under a Maple tree and we let all his friends on the street know we were going to celebrate the life and death of a good friend. It was my honor to get to eulogize this man I only knew as Gerard. As I shared what little I knew about his life I was overcome with emotion as I realized Gerard wasn’t homeless anymore.
Somewhere In the heavens above, Gerard is walking with Jesus on streets of gold. He is not slumped over, racked by pain, humbled by a hard life and his breath does not smell of alcohol.
He has a new body
He has a new home
He will never feel pain again
He will never be hungry again
He will never be cold again
He will never be alone again
Gerard isn’t homeless anymore.
His tithes wouldn’t buy an extra value meal at the golden arches. He never made a contribution to the building fund. But one thing is for sure his love for Jesus and the church blessed me like few people ever have. I would love to pastor a hundred people like Gerard.
You may never build a congregation of 1000’s you may never be summoned to the oval office to pray for a president, you may never receive any accolades or awards in this life but If your root of true love helps just one Gerard find Christ it is a life worth living.
God said the gospel was a net not a fishing lure. He did not want us predetermining for any reason who should be afforded the hope of “good news.”
This sums up our ministry quest at Chapel North. Proclaiming salvation for anyone, even nobodies.