Posts Tagged ‘hope’

I’m illegitimate.

Just the other day I received an email from a single mother who thanked me for sharing about my life as a child who grew up with no father. Yes, I am illegitimate. A child of the 70’s which seems to be better than a child from the 60’s… or not. I was born and grew up in a time when women’s rights were coming to their peak. Women burned their bra’s in the streets and held up high, black and white signs for N.O.W. and equal rights… No wonder it could be easily overlooked that an unwed woman could give birth to a child and it not turn a conservative head. The time of “Leave it to Beaver” was gone and family dynamics were changing fast. There would now be sons and daughters who would grow up with no father in the home.My heart goes out to all the single parents I know. It is and never will be easy for a single parent fulfill rolls that God intended for both male and female. My mother had to be “all things” to my sisters and me growing up. Not only did she have to provide for us financially, she disciplined, cooked, nurtured, kissed our scrapes and bruises… She fulfilled more than was ever asked of her and she did the best she could.I learned a lot from my mother and I learned nothing from my father. Well, other than, “how not to be a father,” since he was never in the picture… but, there were other men who were. I’m not talking about the small handful of men my mother dated early on in my life. Yes, my mother dated and brought home a few candidates for us kids to meet and approve. None of them survived the premeditated assaults by my sisters and myself. These candidates never made it past the “black smoke” and our plans of destruction were as plotted and planned as D Day itself. It was bloody, literally sometimes and in the end, every name was crossed off as not good enough.No, the men I’m talking about are the men that I saw when my mother took me to church. Most of them were married and had families but they took the time to notice a little boy who had no father. I cannot list the countless men who exampled right “manly” or rather, Godly behavior to me. What I saw and heard in them was a life that was meant to be so much more. They took their time and pointed me in a direction and gave me a push. I imagine that some didn’t even know I was watching… but I was… I was watching and it shaped my life of what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do. It lead me into a relationship with Jesus. Now, that’s life.What about you? Have you been shaped by people around you? Have you watched or been thankful for someone who shared their story, pointed you in a direction and gave you a push? If there was ever a time for good examples and encouragement now is the time. Think about it for a moment… Do you know you are being watched? How are you living your life? What’s important to you right now?How you answer could change the world. It might of already happened. You might not know it was something you said or did, but it could make a difference in the life of one person and that’s powerful.The picture above was taken in a small village near the boarder Congo. In a culture where women take charge of children care, nurturing and such, I saw this man holding a sleeping child. I’m not sure if this man was ever held by his father, I never was, but what I saw shaped my life. I want to be a father who has the time to hold a sleeping child. To me there was so much peace in the father pictured above. I want to be that kind of father and I know his children and the children of that church will too. I don’t know if he even knew I was watching, but he made a difference in the life of a 38 year old fatherless child.Peace.Johno~

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What about all those people who didn’t know God?


Sitting over coffee, which is how I prefer to sit, I was listening to her say to me, “What about all those people long ago who didn’t know about God or Jesus? You know, the Aztecs, Incas? What about the little aboriginal boy in the outback? Are you telling me God is sending them to hell because they worship other gods?”Have you ever been in my seat? How’d you answer? How would you answer? Like a sizzling piece of bacon… might not be the best response.I’ve heard this same question from many my agnostics and atheists friends. It’s as if that question is carved into their thought like every public bathroom wall has carvings of phone numbers begging you to “dial for a good time.” I have to admit it’s a frustrating question for me because it involves people from long ago, that I don’t know and most of them, I’m pretty sure all of them, have been dead for quite a while. I often find it unfair to be placed in a judgment seat that has been reserved for the Creator of everything I know and don’t know.After a sip of coffee, (more like several gulps of coffee, two refills, 53 cries out to the Lord in prayer for help), I said to her, “why are you being so judgmental?” I think I caught her off guard. I believe her questions had been intended that I was the judgmental one.“I’m not Jesus. He is merciful and gracious in ways I can never understand and I find it uncomfortable that you would want me to tell you if these people, that I’ve never met, are in hell. So let’s not talk about them… let’s talk about you and me. Right here. Right now.”This is what we have to work with. Right here… Right now.There’s a story in the bible about Paul, the apostle, who spoke to a group of people that had worshipped lots of idols for a long time. They were from Athens, home of the Clash of the Titans, and among all their idols to their gods, they even had an idol noted to, “an Unknown god.”The following is a portion from the book of Acts chapter 17:22-31 CEV. Paul, starts right there by saying, “I see that you are very religious…” He doesn’t blast them by telling them who’s in and who’s out. He starts by calling them religious and he finishes by saying,

“Since we are God’s children, we must not think that he is like an idol made out of gold or silver or stone. He isn’t like anything that humans have thought up and made. In the past, God forgave all this because people did not know what they were doing. But now he says that everyone everywhere must turn to him. He has set a day when he will judge the world’s people with fairness. And he has chosen the man Jesus to do the judging for him. God has given proof of this to all of us by raising Jesus from death.”

I love how Paul doesn’t get all caught up in the “what about all those people who worshipped our idols?’ fiasco… (interestingly enough, he says God forgave all this because people did not know what they were doing). Rather, he says, “But now…”Since we are God’s children… Right here, right now… you and I are asked to turn to Him.I believe Jesus will judge the world with fairness according to His word… but in all fairness when it comes to judging, let’s not spend our time judging people we’ve never met.Peace.Johno~special thanks to Evolnosaj68 for getting me out of the candy bin and reminding me to blog from the heart. This was not easy to write about. I’m sure there are a lot of opinions on this subject. Let’s just remember that Jesus commanded us to, “Love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.”

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It’s been difficult.

To my friends and family. Thank you for your support and comfort over the last week after the loss of Lyle.

Lyle is a wonderful Christ like man who now lives the way we all were created to live, with God.

It’s been difficult this month. I’ve been battling a cold for four weeks now which seems as if it will never go away and I lost a dear friend, mentor and adopted father.

Last week I received a call from my friend Tonia, the daughter of Lyle. She told me that “dad” was feeling dizzy and passed out and that EMT’s were called and he was now in the hospital. A little shocked, I was surprised Lyle would let anyone drive him anywhere, let alone to a hospital so I knew it was serious.

Lyle is one of the strongest men I have ever known. His ritual, as a pear orchardist, was early rise work in the fields and if time permitted, to sneak off to the mountains for a “quick” hike. I’ve hiked with him before and at half his age, I’ve struggled to keep up. At 71 he was one of the strongest men I’d known and I had no sight of him slowing down.

I drove to the hospital and spent a few moments with him. He couldn’t turn from one side to the other without getting motion sick. Something wasn’t right. However, no one knew what was going on and the test hadn’t come back yet. Later I was told he had had a mild stroke and that it had damaged a nerve which was causing the motion sickness. I told him I would see in in the morning, we prayed, I called him a billy goat and said good bye.

4:35 AM my cell phone rang. I couldn’t get to it fast enough to answer it, however, my home phone immediately rang next. It was Tonia and she told me that dad had gone into cardiac arrest late in the night and that he had major swelling in the brain and was on a breathing machine. The family had decided to call everyone together and have the tubes removed and let nature take it’s course. I dressed and drove there as fast as I could.

I arrived and met Lyle brother Wyane and his wife. We found Brenda, Lyle’s wife, next to his side. I can’t tell you what was going through my head. Total disbelief. What in the world happened? I mean, this is not what a mild stroke is suppose to lead to.

Once the family was together, our minister showed up and lead a prayer. They removed the tubes and he stopped breathing but his heart beat for almost 10 minutes. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life. I still cannot believe it. Anyone but Lyle. anyone.

I’m finding peace. It comes in little places here and there. I’m not angry or mad at God. I’m sad. I never knew my father. Lyle was one more man placed in my life to show me how to be a good husband and father. I learned so much from him. He was fantastic photographer.

In his early days, he served in the United States Navy as an official photographer. He once told me a story of their ship finding a Russian military boat that had been separated from their fleet. The rescue was captured and recorded by Lyle. Later the story and some photos were released to the public and published in LIFE magazine. He couldn’t remember the date other than it being in the 60′s, so I google searched and found that they had been published March 21, 1960.

He was very humble. I know if I had been published in anything, I would mount and frame it on the wall. That wasn’t Lyle. But, I found a copy on ebay and bought it for him for Christmas. I know he probably thought, “I don’t need this, I have the originals.

Yet, he received my gift with joy.

He not only saw the beauty around him but he saw it in others. I can’t tell of all the wonderful things he did while on this earth but I wish I could. He knew so much about everything… William Wallace in the movie Braveheart says, “All men die, very few men live.” Lyle lived.

As I looked through his Bible, I found a lot of notes and study pages. One note with his scribbles gave a list of 12 things that started with the number 3… I guess he was keeping 1 and 2 personal.

3. Don’t be overly proud and puffed up.
4. Mourn your foolishness then correct it.
5. Be gentle and strong and caring.
6. Seek first the knowledge of God.
7. You receive what you give.
8. Be honest and true
9. Stop quarrels rather than start them
10. Better to be persecuted for good than wrong. (see Paul’s letters)
11. Make sure it is not YOUR personality.
12. The end result is what is important.

These statements best describe Lyle. He lived by his words. He cherished his wife, enjoyed his kids and had peace with his neighbor.

I am working with Brenda to create an Archive of his many photos. He loved nature and trees, but he didn’t worship them… He worshipped the Creator, Elohim.

Thank you Lyle. I am a better man because of your example. I know I can live life to the fullest because you showed me what it is like to life for Jesus, the Savior of mankind.

The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I came so that you might have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10

peace.
johno~

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It's been difficult.

To my friends and family. Thank you for your support and comfort over the last week after the loss of Lyle.

Lyle is a wonderful Christ like man who now lives the way we all were created to live, with God.

It’s been difficult this month. I’ve been battling a cold for four weeks now which seems as if it will never go away and I lost a dear friend, mentor and adopted father.

Last week I received a call from my friend Tonia, the daughter of Lyle. She told me that “dad” was feeling dizzy and passed out and that EMT’s were called and he was now in the hospital. A little shocked, I was surprised Lyle would let anyone drive him anywhere, let alone to a hospital so I knew it was serious.

Lyle is one of the strongest men I have ever known. His ritual, as a pear orchardist, was early rise work in the fields and if time permitted, to sneak off to the mountains for a “quick” hike. I’ve hiked with him before and at half his age, I’ve struggled to keep up. At 71 he was one of the strongest men I’d known and I had no sight of him slowing down.

I drove to the hospital and spent a few moments with him. He couldn’t turn from one side to the other without getting motion sick. Something wasn’t right. However, no one knew what was going on and the test hadn’t come back yet. Later I was told he had had a mild stroke and that it had damaged a nerve which was causing the motion sickness. I told him I would see in in the morning, we prayed, I called him a billy goat and said good bye.

4:35 AM my cell phone rang. I couldn’t get to it fast enough to answer it, however, my home phone immediately rang next. It was Tonia and she told me that dad had gone into cardiac arrest late in the night and that he had major swelling in the brain and was on a breathing machine. The family had decided to call everyone together and have the tubes removed and let nature take it’s course. I dressed and drove there as fast as I could.

I arrived and met Lyle brother Wyane and his wife. We found Brenda, Lyle’s wife, next to his side. I can’t tell you what was going through my head. Total disbelief. What in the world happened? I mean, this is not what a mild stroke is suppose to lead to.

Once the family was together, our minister showed up and lead a prayer. They removed the tubes and he stopped breathing but his heart beat for almost 10 minutes. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life. I still cannot believe it. Anyone but Lyle. anyone.

I’m finding peace. It comes in little places here and there. I’m not angry or mad at God. I’m sad. I never knew my father. Lyle was one more man placed in my life to show me how to be a good husband and father. I learned so much from him. He was fantastic photographer.

In his early days, he served in the United States Navy as an official photographer. He once told me a story of their ship finding a Russian military boat that had been separated from their fleet. The rescue was captured and recorded by Lyle. Later the story and some photos were released to the public and published in LIFE magazine. He couldn’t remember the date other than it being in the 60′s, so I google searched and found that they had been published March 21, 1960.

He was very humble. I know if I had been published in anything, I would mount and frame it on the wall. That wasn’t Lyle. But, I found a copy on ebay and bought it for him for Christmas. I know he probably thought, “I don’t need this, I have the originals.

Yet, he received my gift with joy.

He not only saw the beauty around him but he saw it in others. I can’t tell of all the wonderful things he did while on this earth but I wish I could. He knew so much about everything… William Wallace in the movie Braveheart says, “All men die, very few men live.” Lyle lived.

As I looked through his Bible, I found a lot of notes and study pages. One note with his scribbles gave a list of 12 things that started with the number 3… I guess he was keeping 1 and 2 personal.

3. Don’t be overly proud and puffed up.
4. Mourn your foolishness then correct it.
5. Be gentle and strong and caring.
6. Seek first the knowledge of God.
7. You receive what you give.
8. Be honest and true
9. Stop quarrels rather than start them
10. Better to be persecuted for good than wrong. (see Paul’s letters)
11. Make sure it is not YOUR personality.
12. The end result is what is important.

These statements best describe Lyle. He lived by his words. He cherished his wife, enjoyed his kids and had peace with his neighbor.

I am working with Brenda to create an Archive of his many photos. He loved nature and trees, but he didn’t worship them… He worshipped the Creator, Elohim.

Thank you Lyle. I am a better man because of your example. I know I can live life to the fullest because you showed me what it is like to life for Jesus, the Savior of mankind.

The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I came so that you might have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10

peace.
johno~

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POTW 02.14.2009

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My video for the holydays.

I heard about a man killed in a human stampede on “Black Friday” in Walmart, by people trying to get the deal of the day. I’m embarrassed to be human.

Shawn McDonald song called “Greed” (which has really challenged my thoughts this Christmas), inspired me to make a video using clips of Black Friday I found on youtube. I’ll probably get sued… it’s worth the risk to help refocus the mindset in America the Christmas.

Consider giving the gift of a goat this Christmas.

Peace.
johno~

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From Francisco

Receiving a letter from prison is not something I get in the mail everyday.  However, Francisco responded to my letter to the judge and it was a real encouragement.  

It’s cheaper for him to send several letters together and I wanted to share the following.

This is a letter to the church by Franscisco de los Santos.  (I have not tried to change any spelling or grammatical errors)

Dear Brothers.

Yesterday we had Bible study and we were talking about the fruits of the spirit and how when we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.  We are Bless By feeling all his fruits.  Well last year when I deside to leave to Mexico I had This weird feeling of emptyness that I couldn’t explain ever since I left.  Being like that I spent a whole year in Mexico and of course I started drifting away from Gods ways and the empty feeling I had started to become more notisible and I steel couldn’t figure out why I felt that way.  Well, for some reason I desided to come back to the US.  Knowing in the back of my mind that I might of get in trouble but I had this other feeling now plus the empty one. So up I went and of corse I ended up locked up now that it has being almost three months of encarceration, since the first day of Jail that empty feeling and desperation i have them no more.  I kind off knew why they went away.  but it wasn’t until yesterday that we were talking about the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and the fruits of the spirit that it came clear to me that empty feeling was because I pushed the Holy spirit away from me by not doing my Job as a Christian and I know the spirit was trying to get back in to his house (me).

 

Well the reason of this letter is toencourage you brothers to keep up in  letting the Spirit dwell with in us.  I’m a fairly new Christian but I like to think that I’m fulfilling Gods purpose for me in this earth.  Being like that it fills me with Joy to know that God is there at all times even when we are in our lowest moments, he is there to remind us how great is his mercy and love for us.  that he let his only son died for us at the cross we all know He didn’t deserve all the punishment he went through.  because of us but he chose to go trough it so we might believe in his promise. and understand he did it that way because we are so arrogant an foolish that as humans we always demand some kind of physical proof to believe and he knew that so he gave us proof of his Great love for us by diying in the cross.

 

Well going back to my point it is amazing how God works in the most misterious ways.  to fullfill his word.  I thank God for letting me learned that he wants me to be a member of his family and to be witness of his mercy and to give me proof of it by walking with me on this moments that probably aren’t the lowest cause I know he is carring me through it!

 

I have in mind most of you Guys have being Christians.  for way longer than me but if this letter help to keep encouranging you to remind faithfull to the Lord than I will know that I’m fullfilling my purpose and am doing what my Lord ought me to do as a brother in Christ!

 

I will ask u Guys for a favor….  to keep praying for me to keep my life in the Lords path sowe can se each other in haven.  God Bless you ALL.

 

Your Brother in Christ Francisco.

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What do you say?

Francisco Delos Santos

Yesterday I had a visit with my friend, Francisco. After our visit, I spent a few cruel hours working on a letter on Francisco’s behalf to the Judge overseeing his case.

The Judge has a discernment of 17 months… 53 months or 70 months, it’s his judgment.

If you could right a letter that might make a difference for a criminals sentence, what would you say? You don’t know me from Adam and the guy I’m talking about “looks” like a criminal.

A Judge who sees, daily, the worst of the worst, has heard every story, seen the tears of victims and has heard the screams of “loyal” citizens claiming, “it’s not enough,” “Let em rot in prison,” now reads a poorly written note from some guy he’s never met.

People become numbers… black is black and white is white.  What do I say?

 

To the Honorable Judge overseeing the sentencing of Francisco Delos Santos.

My name is Johnathan Thomas and I serve as youth minister for First church of Christ in Wenatchee, Washington and I am writing on behalf of my brother in Christ, Francisco Delos Santos.

Francisco and I met several years back during a community outreach sponsored by our church. At the end of our conversation, Francisco was asked a simple questions which caught him off guard. “If Jesus were to come right now, do you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you would go to heaven with him.” His response was surprisingly honest. He said, “I would be doomed.” The next day he became an infant in Christ.

Francisco and I developed a friendship that was honest. I understand what he has been accused of and do not attempt to argue statements or think I might have insight of matters placed in the hands of court officials. However, I am compelled to speak of the character of Mr. Delos Santos.

He is honest but scared. He is seeking, yet in need of a brighter LIGHT to his path. He is not perfect, yet forgiven. He is reborn and curious to know God. He LOVES his family. He finds strength in Jesus. He enjoys our Christian community.

God is working in his life and in Christ there is hope.

I imagine your Honor and the courts have read countless letters similar to this. Notes written by loved ones on behalf of those being sentenced. I would rather speak to the court in person, and share an amazing story of redemption, mercy and grace in the life of Francisco Delos Santos. Yet, I realize this story may never be told in the courts presence.

I understand I have no place to ask the courts favors or requests. I have no personal relationship with the court that would take into consideration my desires.

I do know this, “That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” and that God is very fond of you.

In your wisdom, your knowledge and grace, may you see a man standing before you who is loved as you bring his sentence.

Respectfully

Johnathan M. Thomas

I leave this letter in the hands of the court.

I leave Francisco in the Hand of God.

peace.
johno~

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