General

17 Sep 2020

Here’s Tony once again!

By |2020-09-17T02:21:58-05:00September 17th, 2020|General|0 Comments

Please…don’t forget him.

Please…keep on praying!

So I ran into Tony once again…at the Post Office.  If you’ll recall I talked with him last month about his housing situation.  He told me that he just had to hang in there while one person moved out of this “supportive housing” apartment.  And then he’d have to wait until the maintenance crew had time to complete painting  his apartment.  

Well, as far as he knows (what his counselor tells him) things are still on schedule for him to move in… but he’s still got at least a couple more months to wait. 

So keep on praying.  Tony has an amazing “heart” and a deep trust in the Lord.     

And oh yeah, someone stole his cane. 

Thanks for stopping by, Chris.  

10 Sep 2020

Are You “Hating” Your Life Right Now?

By |2020-09-10T03:36:43-05:00September 10th, 2020|General|0 Comments

What does that even mean? 

Struggling through life

What does that even mean? 

And is this a good thing or a bad thing? 



“The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”   (John 12:25, NIV) 

What does it mean to “hate” your life in this world?  For me, when I think of the word “hate” I get the feeling that I really do not want to do what I’m being asked to do.   It’s like it’s one of the “last” things on my list …. if I had the choice of how I wanted to spend it.   

So what is Jesus saying?  It’s like he’s saying, “Your life is filled with enough “purging” and frustrating situations, that you really cannot say that your life is a “joyride.”  Still, you hang in there, and face whatever you must face… but it’s really not easy at all… or what you would have chosen. “    

But the question emerges, “Why is it that you hang in there and do the best you can?”  I think it’s because we honestly feel that whatever “it” is that we are facing  at the moment , is something we ought to be doing whether we like it or not.  

And there’s another angle from which we can view what Jesus was saying.  It seems like Jesus is asking us to grab hold of one simple, but profound principle.  It’s like Jesus wants you to able to say, “I really don’t care about how my life turns out or how it appears to myself or to others.   All I need to do is to be faithful to God’s calling in my life in the “here and now.”  

In the Amplified Bible, this verse is rendered: [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.]

And here’s some synonyms from the Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus that I feel bring to life what Jesus was meaning in our contemporary manner of thinking about the word “hate” in this context.    It means to “have an aversion to, have enough of,  have no use for.” 

But the key to grabbing a hold of the further depths of what Jesus was getting at is revealed in following verse-John 12:26.  “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me.”   

You see this idea of serving entails “giving of yourself,” and not really caring how about great or not great you are in your own eyes or others.

Doesn’t sound so difficult, does it?  But let’s be honest… how many of us “jump” to being a servant?  Not many.

Reluctant servant

But Jesus is telling us, “Hey everyone, your life should be trying to follow mine as close as you can… and wasn’t I a servant to you?”   It’s like “your ministry” is whatever God is placing right before you each and every day.  That’s it. 

And so, maybe we shouldn’t so surprised whenever we find ourselves confronted with so many daily situations which can be frustrating and “purging” to our very way of life.  I guess it’s not surprising because this is where Jesus can be found… reaching out and serving the least and the last. 

But what if you’re the type of person ( I know I am!) who just can’t help being so worried about being noticed or honored for your service to the Lord?  Well, not to worry, for Jesus says he understands.  He says in effect:  “Don’t worry, my Father will be giving you his honor, his love , and his recognition.” 

Of course, he doesn’t tell us if any kind of honor or recognition will take place here on earth… or if we’ll have to wait till we join him in eternity.   

But that ought to be alright with us, right?

Still, there’s just a little more that we ought to be “occasionally” aware of?  And it’s the fact that we ought to be discovering that it’s only because of God’s grace, and mercy, and love that we’ve been able to “do anything at all” of value for him and his kingdom.  It’s him that been holding on to us all this time.

So what does all this boil down to?  

I’d say that the only thing that really matters is what God thinks.  That’s all that will matter when we stand before him. 

And so, if we’re humble and quiet and attentive to God’s guidance for  our lives, then we can have peace and not be so stressed out or introspective about how our lives may appear to others, as well as ourselves. 

And why is this?  It’s because God has chosen us (you or me) for this or that role in his kingdom… and who are we to question that?

Don’t you just “hate” this life?

Thanks for stopping by.  Chris.  

2 Sep 2020

My Covid-19 Scare

By |2020-09-10T03:31:57-05:00September 2nd, 2020|General|0 Comments

TURNS OUT TO BE FOOD POISONING…ONLY?  

WERE THERE ANY LESSONS LEARNED?  

So I recently returned from a trip to Wisconsin, and that Monday evening started feeling sick.  I went to bed not feeling so good, and ended up shivering, and shaking all night.  

In the middle of night, I began to think seriously about the possibility that I really might have been infected by Covid-19.   I even had a dream that confronted my status head on.  The dream said, “Hey Chris, what if you do have Covid-19… are you ready to go?”  

Finding myself this ill I began to examine my thoughts, and I thought of the apostle Paul’s reasoning in Philippians 1:21-24:  “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.  Yet what shall I choose?  I do not know!   I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”

I thought of my wife, Sandy, and my two sons and their families.  And then I reasoned that they would miss me and maybe, just maybe, God did have some more work (living for him) for me to do.  

Tuesday morning rolled in, and I was getting worse.  I was feeling just awful ,  hacking, and breathing hard.   Seeing this my wife said that we had better go over to our CCO shelter for a quick Covid-19 test.  So we did.  

In about an hour,  our friend Andrew called, telling us that we both tested negative.   But since he had seen me hacking, and breathing so hard, he advised me to go the emergency room to really find out what was going on.  

So my wife, Sandy, drove me to the emergency room.   I stumbled in and they started asking me the regular questions like “So why are you coming in, today?”  “And could you please show me your medical card?”  in the midst of my throwing up, and dry heaves.   About all I could do was nod my head… and then they gave a plastic throw-up bag.   

The medical staff was great.  They took me right in, and they gave me another Covid-19 test.  It was one which gave very quick results.   And in minutes, they were delighted to tell me that it was negative.  

It was then what was it that had “attacked me?”  I stumbled into the rest room to get some more relief  where they fed me with intravenous fluids, and checked everything else out and said I was fine.  

Getting together with the doctors and nurses, I figured that it must have been something I ate, i.e. food poisoning.  (I had stopped at a Subway on the way home from Wisconsin.)     

The doctor prescribed Zofran to help with my dry heaves, vomiting, and diarrhea.  

Once I got home and started taking this medicine.   And then things started to get really bad.  

Throughout the night, I couldn’t really sleep and I just kept on vomiting, dry heaving,  and having diarrhea.  

You know, time goes so slowly, when you’re feeling as bad as I was. 

Wednesday morning rolled in… and then things just ramped up to another level.   I was having nausea so constant and unrelenting that all I could do moan and groan– and loudly, all thru out the day.  

It was so bad that all  my wife Sandy could say, “I’m so sorry that you feel so bad.  You sound just like you’re being tortured.”  

Let me tell you it did feel like that making me  begin having  a lot of talks with the Lord.   I was asking questions like, “Why, Lord, why does this have to be so grueling?” 

Of course, I was crying out with an untold number of supplications which all boiled down to… “Please, Lord, please have mercy on me.”      

Then about noon on Wed., I had a brilliant… and also “humbling” idea.  I needed to send out an email to the community that I lived in for the past 45 years clearly stating that “Hey, guys, I’ve never felt so sick in all my life.  And so I’m begging you to “Please pray for me….right now.”

Within the next couple of hours, I noticed that there were so many  folks who had readily responded to my pleas.   And I had to ask myself, “Why was it so hard for me to ask for prayer? “   

 I felt the Lord speaking to me, “Aren’t you a part of this community?  Guess what, you have so many folks that would be happy to pray for you in all your misery, but there is one requirement, “You do have to ask?” 

Now, of course, I know this basic truth… and I’ve even believed it for the past 45 years!      

So what was the big deal?  I reasoned that I’d just fallen into that  just “cruising along spiritually” mode for the past few years.  In other words, I wasn’t going to ask for prayer from everyone and anyone… unless I was in a really, bad scary place.     

That’s when I noticed that was exactly how I feeling right then.   I was feeling  so bad that I didn’t care what anyone thought about me.   And I told myself that I would be “stupid” not to ask for all the prayer and mercy I could get.  I mean, what did I have to lose?     

Still, I continued feeling awful throughout the rest of that afternoon and into the evening.  And I forged on with my talks with the Lord.     

Some of those talks went like this: “Hey, Lord, I know you said that you would never leave me or forsake me, and you know I’ve believed it… but now, right now,  it sure doesn’t feel like it?” 

The Lord’s response:  He began by reminding me of the “oh so many people” that were in hospitals and prisons right now , and facing so much more pain and suffering than I could ever imagine… along with the truth that they’re misery was lasting a whole lot longer than a couple of days.  

My response:  I was prompted to pray “a little” for them.    And it made me think of how “little” I pray for others with any kind of real “heart’ or deep compassion for those who are going through such all-consuming suffering.    

I thought of the Psalms where David was “moaning  and groaning,” really crying out to God to deliver him.     

You bet, I hopped right on that wavelength.   I wanted this nightmare to end.   “Lord, have mercy on me…and why, oh why, does this have to be so  excruciating?” 

I heard the Lord whisper to me the Scripture in Hebrews which says, “The Lord learned obedience through the things that he suffered.”  (Hebrews 5:8) 

Me:  “What?  You mean, Jesus , himself had to “learn” obedience through the things he suffered?” 

Holy Spirit:  “Yes, that’s what I mean.”  

Me:  “So are you saying that since Jesus himself had to learn “obedience” by the things he suffered… why would I be exempt?”  

Holy Spirit: “That’s exactly, right.”  

And then a few more thoughts started to bounce around my head.  Thoughts like, “Hey Chris, if you’re really following me, well then, you need to listen to me, first and foremost, right?” 

Me: “Yeah, that’s true.”   

Holy Spirit:  “So when I hear you say you still want to be used by me, well then, I have a couple of questions for you. “Are you really ready to finish your race?”  “And if you are…are you still willing to give of yourself to me, to really serve others and continue to care about the things I care about?” 

Me: “Ah, yeah, I believe so, Lord. “

Holy Spirit:  “Well, that’s good.  But I just felt that I really needed to get your undivided attention.   And I did get it, didn’t I? “      

Me:  “Oh yeah, you got it, alright.”    But I still have question for you?  Why does all this sickness and disease “stuff“ have to be so torturous?”   

Holy Spirit:  “Hey, do you think I like it?  All this suffering, this pain… of course not.   But I did want you to see—ONLY A LOT MORE SO—that, guess what, you live in “fallen” world, and circumstances are not all that good for so many folks across this world.  And so, all I’m asking of you is to continue to stand with, and pray for, and care about, and serve, and speak up for the least.” 

Me: “Oh, alright…I think I get it.” 

Holy Spirit: “I mean, after all, you wrote your book, “Discovering Jesus in the Least,” and I’ll admit that you had some good stuff to say in it.  But I also believe that you know that if you hadn’t “hung in there” and served all those years at the shelter, well then, you wouldn’t really have much to say at all.”

Me:  “Yeah, I do have to agree with that.” 

Holy Spirit:  “So all I’m asking of you is to keep on going, keep on caring for the least in whatever way I put in front of you.   But there is one thing that you ought to have learned by now… your work will never make headlines.  And you should also know that that is perfectly alright.   All I’m asking you and your brothers and sisters is to shine a light in a dark, dark world.  And you are already have been doing that for many, many years.  You’ve been a part of your Jesus People community for so many years.  And they’ve been shining their “light” in so many ways , through Cornerstone Magazine, through Rez band and all the GRR records bands,  through the Cornerstone Festival, through  Lakefront Roofing Supply, Cornerstone Community Outreach,  and  through so many other ministries and services…too many too mention, and none any ”better“  than any of the others.  And so, all I’m asking of all of  you is to just keep on doing  the plain, simple, but  dedicated work that I’ve called you all to.”     

Me:  “Whoa! I think I’m seeing a little more clearly what you’re calling all of us to.”   

So what was the message that I needed to hear “once again?”  

Well, I must admit that I really do have to be honest with myself about where I’m at with the Lord ,now.   For you see after going into a sort of retirement from  our Cornerstone shelter world  (accelerated by Covid-19),  I did kind of  look forward to an easier, more laid-back life-style.   I even had thoughts like, “Hey, I gave it what I had all those years, and now I can sort of relax and just pray for my co-workers to continue on this amazing ministry.   I mean, we’ll never solve all the problems of the homeless… and didn’t Jesus say that the poor will always be with you, anyways?  (Matthew 26:11, Mark 14:7, John 12:8) 

But then I recalled two different interpretations of that saying.  The first was like Jesus was saying, “Hey guys , the poor will always be with you… meaning there will be always be poor folks in this world.  It’s just a fact.”    

But the second interpretation of this verse could be construed to mean that the “true followers of Christ” will always have “the poor” around them. 

I guess there’s much truth to be found in both interpretations.  

But then I had a few more thoughts flood my mind… like I was just so in so much pain (physically and mentally) that I just started to shed a few tears.  

All this this brought to my memory something that I had heard from a “Transformation Intensive” class that I had just recently completed.   Our teacher, Valerie McIntyre, had told us that we could even “pray for the gift tears”  if we wanted to during our intimate times with the Lord.  But she cautioned us to not “overly seek it” because if you were granted this gift, well then, it was truly a gift… and you weren’t “working something up” on your own power. 

My experience made me come to a place where  I believe the Lord did give me “the gift of tears” during this night.   I have to  freely admit that it was a gift… because at the time I really didn’t want to be shedding tears in the midst of my misery.   I just wanted this “thing” to be over.

But then I began to see a just “a touch more” of how much compassion for a lost and hurting world that the Lord was calling me to.  I mean, he’d always been challenging me throughout my last 45 years, and now he was simply saying that he did not want me to abandon that “calling.” 

It was like God was saying, “Hey, just cause some your outward duties have changed, that doesn’t mean your heart or your caring should “lessen” for the least of these.  On the contrary, it ought be continually expanding. And guess what, I’m still asking you to give “everything “ you have my purposes and plans”.    

Me:  So what ought my life look like now? 

Holy Spirit:  Hey Chris, if you feel I’ve led you all these last 45 years —well then, what’s got to you to think that I’m going to stop now?    Don’t worry so much.   You know like the Mark Heard song says, “Somebody told me that I worry too much.”  

Me:  Yeah, I guess I can see that.  I mean, Mark did have so much penetrating insights to life on this planet,  but I’d have to agree with that “someone” that both he and I “‘worry too much.”  

Holy Spirit:  So what, in heaven’s name, do you think I’m expecting of you?   Hey, here’s a brilliant idea… “Why don’t you just leave that up to me.”  Because if I’ve led you this far, you ought to know that you don’t have to “worry” that I won’t be doing my job.

It was about 9 PM Wednesday evening that some relief came…finally…and I started to take a turn for the better. And believe me, I was grateful… really grateful.   

So what now?  Who knows?  And did I really learn anything?  I’m not sure. Only God knows.  

But there is one thing I learned… and that is not to be “bashful,” or embarrassed to ask for prayer.  

Why is that?  It’s because you see I’ve just realized once again… that I can use all the prayer I can get. 

Just pray that I’ll make “use” of all the love and care and prayers  from  my brothers and sisters around me.  I was never meant to walk this road alone.  Pray that I keep being reminded of how much Jesus loves me… whether I’m doing well or if I’m hanging my head over a toilet.  

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