Monthly Archives: December 2017

22 Dec 2017

A God moment “Becky crossed the river”

By |2017-12-22T21:29:55-06:00December 22nd, 2017|General|0 Comments

My wife, Sandy and I have been through some trying times lately

First, this past November Sandy’s sister, Becky, passed away after a lengthy battle of rheumatoid arthritis and COPD.

She fought valiantly throughout the past couple of years, but finally succumbed on November 5, 2017. Her frail body just couldn’t hold on any longer. And she was released from her pain and suffering, which was not easy to endure. In fact, the pain and suffering got so bad at times that all she could say, “All I know is that I’m in God’s arms.”

We had a beautiful memorial service for her, and many hearts were touched by her courage, strength, and modest demeanor during her last years.

About two weeks later, we joyfully attended the wedding of my wife’s niece, Shannon.

Then we went home only to learn that Sandy’s mother had fallen and broken her hip in the nursing home she lived in. She was taken to the hospital, but then returned to the nursing home for palliative care.

A few days later, we received a call from my wife’s relatives stating that “Ma’s” condition was degenerating swiftly, so we headed back up north to be by her side.

We were travelling in our car, when we received word from Sandy’s brother, Tom, that Ma had come out of her drug –induced coma, to tell him that Becky “had crossed the river.”

Now what was so remarkable about this utterance was the fact that no one had informed Ma of Becky’s passing. You see, Ma had been in an advanced, stage of Alzheimer’s disease. So we felt that she wouldn’t comprehend what had happened to Becky, so we didn’t tell her.

And it was just a few minutes after Tom’s call that I had been listening to “Foo Fighters” and their “Sonic Highways” CD. All of sudden, on the song “What did I do?/ God as my witness” I hear Dave Grohl scream out , “I crossed the river finally…”

To me, it definitely felt like a God-moment. I mean, what are the chances of those two almost identical “messages” coming to us within a few minutes of each other?

Ma lingered on a couple of more days, receiving hospice care. She too had fought a long, hard battle. I guess you’d call it “a life well-lived,” and now she had arrived at the finish line.

Tom Johnson gave heartfelt eulogy for his mother. He talked about not only Ma’s servant heart, but servant actions. He talked how she selflessly cared for her husband, Hardrock, as well as her loving family.

The pastor also talked about Doris’s smile. It was a smile he said that shouted, “You are welcome.”

And when she went into the Homme Home, the nursing home for the elderly in Wittenberg, she just instinctively carried on her servant’s actions, pushing wheelchairs and helping her friends any way she could. And she could brighten up anyone’s day by telling you that she loved you… and that “You’re so wonderful!”

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15, NIV)

So RIP Doris Evangeline Johnson. I’ve been so blessed to know you… and I’ve no doubt that you’ve “crossed the river” as well. And now you are rejoicing with Hardrock and Becky.

Thanks Chris

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22 Dec 2017

Willow Creek comes to CCO

By |2017-12-22T20:10:17-06:00December 22nd, 2017|General|0 Comments

Christmas celebrations and the kids!

Cornerstone was blessed to welcome a large volunteer group from Willow Creek (a mega-church in the Chicago suburbs) this past Sat., Dec. 16. These beautiful folks were making their annual trek into the city to put on a wonderful Christmas “bash” for the children of CCO. This group, comes in like a small army, and simply takes over our dining room area. They come prepared with gifts, songs, food, games, face painting, gingerbread house activities, and much more. The kids and their parents have a fun-filled morning, and everyone really enjoys it. At times, it seems like organized chaos… but that is fine with us.

Because you know, there’s something about Christmas, celebration, and having a goofy, happy relaxed time that seems sit well with the least and our Lord. I guess they both like to “party.”

Still, it’s not like so many “parties” where folks are more interested in impressing each other and seeing what they can get from it. No, this is more about giving to those who truly know how to receive their gifts. And maybe that’s because they don’t receive that many… like a lot of us do each year.

Thanks Willow Creek. Thanks for remembering the children at CCO once again

Thanks Chris

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19 Dec 2017

On the Elevator

By |2017-12-19T09:43:03-06:00December 19th, 2017|General|0 Comments

Only by God’s Grace

I was on my way up to the 10th floor of our building to work out on my treadmill. It was a typical morning, with all that waking up to a new day requires. But I noticed that I was playing “ping-pong” in my mind a little more than usual. I was simply going over the pluses and minuses of a certain situation, and I was having hard time finding any kind of peace. I was attempting once again to come with the “correct” answer to the question at hand.

These types of struggles have been a part of my life—for ALL of my life To be sure, I’ve been blessed to experience a lot of growth in these areas of my life. To God be the glory!

But still, on any given morning, or late afternoon, or late evening, or anytime, anywhere, I can be confronted with my views, my conscience, and the question of “What exactly is the best way of processing and understanding this person’s actions or my actions… and how does God view the situation? ”

When the elevator stopped at floor 2, I stepped onto the elevator, only to be met by my brother Ed, riding up to 4th floor.

“How’s it going,” Ed inquired.

“Oh, I’m alright I guess,” I said. “But it’s only by God’s grace.”

“Amen,” replied Ed, with calm assurance.

His simple response–at that moment–led me to blurt out, “Do you really believe that it’s ONLY by God’s grace that we can keep on living… without going crazy?”

“Yes, I do,” Ed stated. “There are other ways [of trying to make sense of life’s dilemmas], but they don’t work.”

“Yeah, right,” I responded. “Hey, I like that. And you know what? I needed that reminder right at this moment.”

The elevator stopped at floor 4, and as Ed was stepping out he said, “Well, good. Have a good day.”

And isn’t that so true. If you attempt to live by the law, and absolute “cookie-cutter” equality in community or anywhere in life, you’ll go insane. You can’t do it! It doesn’t work. We’ve simply got to trust God with our very life and everyone else’s lives. We need to believe and trust that God is guiding us all. And our main concern should be on ourselves. Are we being being humble, and thankful, and generous? Are we really knowing that we never “deserve” this or that blessing? Can we simply be blessed by God’s graces and gifts to others, as well as ourselves? Can we really believe that God is in control, and that he really does have each person’s “best” in mind?

I think we can. I think I can. But only by God’s grace.

Thanks Chris

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19 Dec 2017

You’ve heard of Rosetta Stone, right?

By |2017-12-19T08:15:14-06:00December 19th, 2017|General|0 Comments

Well, this is Rosetta on stone!

I was walking to work the other day when I ran into Rosetta. She was a nice, humble sort of woman. She was just waiting for her bus. But as you can see from the picture —she had to sit on the cold sidewalk because our alderman had removed the benches that used to be in this spot.

Why? I guess it was to keep folks —who weren’t waiting for a bus–from hanging out on these benches.

But to me, it just isn’t right to punish folks like Rosetta. Don’t you agree?

Any comments?

Thanks Chris

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