Archive for January, 2006

The Joy of being a MAN.

Well, today was one of those historic days for me. I thought about keeping this moment to myself and not sharing it with the two or three others who happen across this page by hitting the “next blog” button at the top right of the screen. A joyful bonding of a moment between father and son. Today my son went “potty” how a man is suppose to… Standing up. I had nothing to do with it. I just opened the door and said, “put the lid down.” He said, “No, I want to stand up.” The lid stayed up and the pants went down… to the ankles. (We’ll work on that one later) He took aim and “fired” away.

I must say his aim was very accurate for a three year old. At least 90% or more. It really didn’t matter, the fact was my son had arrived. In the early days it was easier to teach him sitting down. I wondered when the “day” would come. I had worried that having trained two girls I might somehow get it wrong… They still sit down. Not my son. Soon he will discover the limitless possibilities of where, “when nature calls,” he can find relief.

Today I checked my Calvin and Hobbes RSS comic feed…

THE FREEDOM! It’s beautiful.

I never shared this moment with my father. I’m glad to have shared it with my son.

Now I need to teach him to write his name… Oh the joy of being a man.

peace.
johno~

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When we all get to heaven…


Getting together with other Christians in Jesus’ name is one of the best things I get to do. Tonight we hosted our “New Christians” dinner and handed out Bibles with their names and date of “spiritual” birth.

They come from all walks of life. Pam is a daughter of one of our members. She was so excited to get her own Bible. It was wonderful to see her smile.

Robert walked into our building one Sunday morning because he had slept in late and missed Catholic Mass. Last year he lost his wife to cancer and has been overcoming deep hurt and loss. I can only say he came to us via God’s Holy Spirit. Robert started attending our meetings and one of our mens small group. He gave his life fully to Christ 12/31/2005. Robert is on the right

Another follower of Christ was not able to attend our dinner… Instead, he now sits at the masters table. Jerry Fox was not the kind of guy you would think would want to hear about Jesus. He was dressed in an all Camo outfit when I first met him. He didn’t have a job and he didn’t have a home. He was just “driven through”. However, he was driving through during an evangelism workshop our church was hosting.

Jerry and his wife Carrie had just met with a Pastor on the westside of the cascades and had accepted Christ as their personal savior. However, the Pastor had not shared the gift of baptism and the unity found in Christ death, burial and resurrection. “It pisses me off” Jerry said. Of course I was taken back by his choice of wording, but I realized he might not know any other words to use. (Considering what else he could have said, I was thankful he used what he did) He said the pastor had “lied” to them. He wanted to receive the gift of salvation and baptism.

Jerry seemed to have trouble staying out of trouble. He was high maintenance. Always needing something. All I could do was listen and share encouragement in Christ and His words. I tried to always be honest with him because he was honest with me.
Because of his honesty, his rough edges, some folks didn’t like him. They thought he was lazy and a bum. I guess they were right, but it still didn’t help Jerry change into the life Christ offered. It was then I realized that we as Christ followers need to stop telling people what they are and telling them what they can be in Christ.

last Sunday morning at the age of 39, Jerry had a massive heart attack and passed away. Jerry had a hard past life full of drugs and alcohol and only two years of the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

There are so many lives with stories of how God reached out and grabbed them. It’s a good thing Heaven is for an eternity… It will take a while to share the stories of how God brought victory to the saints in Jesus.

Of course the day is coming, and I am one day closer, when we’ll sing and shout the victory.

Peace.
johno~

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to the 99

I sometimes wonder what the 99 sheep did while the Shepherd went out to find the one that was lost. Did they even notice the Shepherds absence? Did they care? Did the Shepherd provide so much comfort they didn’t realize the one that had been lost? Perhaps they were just stupid.

In the past, I have talked about the opportunities we have when we are being lead by the Spirit. Tonight was a night like that. The funny thing is, I almost missed it. During our teen small group, we focused on lifting our lives to Jesus in song. In the final moments, I asked the students in attendance to break into two prayer groups. I told them to pray for friends, family or perhaps, personal spiritual needs. I tried to remind them of the Spirit who placed the seed of the Salvation in the belly of a young Jewish girl also offers Salvation to live inside us.

Having a wife, currently pregnant, I hear her grunts when the child inside her “kicks” or “spins”. Sometimes it’s a hand or a foot, sometimes it’s the butt. I know it’s not pleasant, however, I sometimes envy this. To have life inside you… I can only imagine.

Yet, I do have life in me. I do feel the kicks to my gut. I do feel the hands pressing against my insides and revealing something. It is Christ in me. ALIVE.

During our prayer time, the Spirit lead my friend, Steve, to that opportunity with his stepdaughter.

Though it has been a difficult battle for him and his family, tonight the enemy lost one and Christ found one. I was one of the ninety nine. I was gathered with the other sheep. To tell the truth, the grass was pretty good. The spot where I was laying was warm and I have to admit I was feeling unaware of my surroundings but taken care of while the Spirit reached out to the fallen lamb.

Her cry to Jesus was answered and she lost her life to death and gained her life in Christ. I was able to witness her death, burial and resurrection in Christ. It was great to once again find reassurance in the hands of the Saints of a living Savior. Thank you Jesus.

So to the ninety nine, one was lost, but now she’s been found. Thought you might want to know.

Pray for her this week. Her name is Lindsey.

peace.
johno~

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The Name of God.


I love the movie, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” Indy has been one of my heros since I was a boy. In the Last Crusade, Indy comes face to face with his own spiritual journey in his efforts to save his dad. Remember?

Professor Henry Jones: The Word of God.
Marcus Brody: No, Henry. Try not to talk.
Professor Henry Jones: The Name of God.
Indiana Jones: The Name of God. Jehovah.
Professor Henry Jones: But in the Latin alphabet, “Jehovah” begins with an “I”.
Indiana Jones: J-… (Steps on the wrong letter block and almost falls to his death.)
Indiana Jones: IDIOT! In the Latin, “Jehovah” begins with an “I”

IDIOT! I sometimes forget like Indy and have almost fallen to my death. I was just encouraged today by my friend Adam to consider what name do I really give God.

Here are some I have had to struggle through and be reminded of.

He is YAHWEH not “MYWAY”
He is I AM not “I THINK”
He is ADONAI not “ADD MORE FOR I”
He is EL OLAM not “PLEASE HOLD ON”
He is EVERLASTING not “THE LAST THING”

It’s hard to write truth. I am guilty of missing the Name of God. Father fogive me. I do seek to speak and live the name of God in my life.
What will you call Him today? What name will others hear you call Him?

peace.
johno~

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Holding the hands of Saints

What a day. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the office. Not since last year… Ha! OK, not funny, however, today will be one of those life changing moments for me. It is the “being lead by the Spirit” days.

I received a call shortly after arriving at work today, one I’m not accustom to receiving. It was a call that would have gone to the Minister, not the “youthdude,” had our minister been in town and not in Texas working on his Dmin at ACU. So, any calls default to the guy who wears a t-shirt that says, “These ARE my church clothes.”

It was a call from a wonderful Christian lady who wanted me meet her at the care center where her mother-in-law had slipped into a coma and was looking at the end of her faithful service to the kingdom here on earth.

I arrived within 20 minutes, which would have been sooner had I known where I was going… Who knew how big these care centers could be. Anyway, upon arriving, I found Betty at the side of Bernice’s bed speaking gentle words. Marlon, Bernice’s son was in the room also. I arrived in my “church” clothes and took off my hat and stood near the bed.

Bernice looked peaceful… Had I just been passing by I would have thought it was afternoon nap time. Marlon had told me that she had gone to sleep Sunday and had not awoken nor had she had anything to eat.

Betty asked me to take her place on the bedside next to her mother-in-law. I started to talk to Bernice. I told her who I was and that I had come to pray with her. As I spoke to her of her faithfulness to Jesus and how encouraging that had been to me. Her eyes fluttered, but they did not open. As I continued, I sensed she wanted to say something so badly but couldn’t get the words out. I placed my hand on her shoulder and prayed with her and I prayed for her.

When I finished my prayer, both of her hands slowly went up in the air! I put my hand in hers and she grabbed it and gave it a nice firm grip. She didn’t let go. Marlon, her son, grabbed the other hand and held it. For a moment I thought she was going to wake up and open her eyes. However, a few moments later, Marlon placed her hand back on her stomach. I couldn’t let go, her grip was still to great. I truly felt unworthy to be holding this faithful Christian woman’s hand in her last moments. It should be one of her children, not me. Yet, I didn’t let go.

I finally asked Betty to come hold her hand. Her grip gave away shortly after.

As I left the care center, Marlon told me the doctors guess her passing to be soon. I got in my car and sat for a moment and thought, “what a gift.” I held the hand of a Saint who will soon hold the hands of Jesus. I am not sure if I have ever felt that physically close to my savior. I wanted to return to Bernice and whisper in her ear, “give Him a hug for me.”

I can understand Paul when he penned, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

That afternoon, I met with a student who will turn 18 on Monday. He shared his struggles of not yielding his life completely over to Jesus. He said, “I just feel like, like I’m going to say yes to Jesus and then do something worse that will blow it.” I told him in Christ there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God. That is the beauty of the love of God. Grace. Reach out for Him and grab hold of Him because He is not far from you. Always.

When we returned to the building to pick up his car, I prayed and asked him if he wanted to pray, he did. I asked him if he needed to give his life fully to Christ tonight and die to self. He said yes. We called his parents, some family friends and my family to join in the commitment he would make to God through Christ. The small group gathered as Curt went into a watery grave and was raised up new in Christ. I could hear the echos of heaven and the shouts of victory from the Saints on the other side.

As our tradition, we closed in prayer… in a circle… holding hands. I realize, even more, how close Christ is… It is evident in the hands of the Saints.

Peace.
johno~

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First post this year.

Well, I know it has been a while since my last post, but believe me, I have not given up. As a matter of fact I have started a fun blogsite which will highlight one photo per week this year. Great challenge. You can see it at photography52

Well, I just returned from Nashville, TN. I was there attending the National conference on Youth Ministry and also had the chance to visit my sister and her father. What a great time. I was asked several months ago if I would teach a round table at NCYM and after much prayer decided to obey the Masters call. The round table was on ethics in youth ministry. As you guessed, not many attended my round table. As a matter of fact, my first session was me and my computer.

Anywho, one special moment came when I was browsing the vender booths… I came across “children’s Christian Homes” out of Abilene. I was thrilled to visit this booth and share a special story. (If you would like to know the full story, you can look in my October archives “Stories from the road”

For those of you who remember Whitney, I was able to tell the story of Whitney to one of the key staff persons at the children’s home. She told me she knew Whitney and was thrilled to hear how God was chasing her. She told me she would share this story with Whitney’s case worker when she returned.

The time of sharing we had gave me a sense that this story is not over yet. God is best… All the time.

I hope to be able to encourage more this year through the blessing of blogging. Just before I left for NCYM, I had a journey into the darkside of blogging. “MYSPACE” is very different than the wonderful things my friend Jason got me started in blogging.

One of my ex-students who left WA to return home to CA had posted a terrible site. She had lied about her age, the site was full of foul language, sexual content, and un-Godly photos. WOW! I was hit hard by this. However, I was able to get the site off the web. I emailed her aunt here in Washington and spoke to her father in CA. She is only 13. It broke my heart.

Just a reminder… Listen to your younger friends. Check out their blogs and encourage positive Godly things.

Peace to you all this New Year.
johno~

P.S. Jason, if you are out there… It’s been a while.

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