13 03 2015


Years ago while serving as a Youth Pastor in a church in Dayton, Ohio- my Senior Pastor Pete Schwalm gave me a great gift that I don’t think I would have ever grasped in the traditional classroom setting. He would every now and then take the entire Pastoral Staff of Fairhaven Church to the local Movie Theater to observe films that he discerned paralleled what we did as Ministers in ministry. One of the presentations that we attended together was a story called ‘The Doctor” starring William Hurt. In the Picture, Hurt plays a successful physician who is suddenly diagnosed with cancer and now must experience treatment from the position of patient! Needless to say, he quickly discovered that being on the other side of the clipboard was not the spot of strength!

As the one who was now ill, he had to endure the all business-like approach and non-personal treatment of so many of the medical professionals. When you are sick beyond your control, you become very vulnerable. And more than just the proper medications, you actually need the time and the touches from those you want to believe really care about you! But with no eye contact and the lack of any courtesy to even listen to you given, you end up feeling like nothing more than just another insurance number- and a burden that must be tolerated rather than a real live human being that needs to know that in the hour of need, they matter!

Seeing that movie all those years ago still has an effect on how I pastor my flock! I never want to feel like people are imposing upon me but that I consider it an honor and privilege to be able to walk with them in this ferocious valley of life. And I always try to correct and cut off others when they say, “I know you are busy Pastor,” I interject “Never too busy for you.” Jesus had a way of loving the lepers and treating children like royalty. I wish Believers would do more than asking, “What would Jesus do?” I pray that we would do what Jesus did!

Let’s face facts- the hardest seasons to trust God in is when you absolutely have no power or control to fix or change the circumstances and situations that you find yourself in. When you must wait on the Lord and be still in His Presence and humbly accept His timing and His tactics to remedy and redeem our lives is enough to push any of us to our limits! I found myself in the hospital over the last several days because I could not tame the virus or curb the infection wreaking havoc in my body. This has been such a hard time for me because I have been assigned a position where I must be put flat on my back! I don’t sit still and I am stubborn when it comes to following directions!

But two things I want to share from my journey. First is I have such a hard time with those fluffy and plastic “Positive Thinker Preachers” or the ones who spout from their pulpits that God always wants us healthy and happy and prosperous! Baloney! No amount of my ability to write down lofty goals and think happy thoughts is going to take away my inflictions and change my lot in life today. It is not up to the amount of faith that I have because I know God needs to only say the word and I could and would be healed. It cracks me up that some believers are doubting their faith at this moment and they are mad at their God today because their Lexus didn’t start or their first-class seats on their last flight were cancelled.  But we must come to God in our genuine brokenness and in all of our glorious helplessness and admit to Him our utter inability to change a thing. Life being lousy has not a thing to do with the fact that “God Loves You” and will make a masterpiece in the midst of the misery!

Secondly, I want to say “Thank You” to several Nurses and Doctors who treated me with genuine respect and raw compassion just when I needed it most! My Nurses Gail and Cindy made me feel like I mattered and they looked out for me and helped me do what I needed to do even though they both knew I didn’t want to be there or do it! My Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Eric Hansen is the absolute best and offered his ear and his heart and not just his excellence and knowledge. There are times that people aren’t impressed so much with your education and degrees- as much as they cling to your ability to sympathize, commune, communicate and be merciful and kind. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me more than the ten necessary minutes that satisfies your duty to me! You didn’t look to get out but rather you dove in to my swirling sea where I was doing more sinking than swimming! If you are a Doctor, Teacher, Pastor, Nurse, in Law Enforcement, a Salesperson or you do your work with human beings in any capacity- you need more than just the proper know how! I am begging you to put yourself in the shoes or even the “Hospital Socks” of the other individual. Answers are needed but attention is a must! We must never forget that no matter what side of the crisis we discover ourselves on!

So as I write this from my painful posture, I still look up and know that God is not finished with me yet and this bruised reed He will not break nor this smoldering wick will He snuff out. I anticipate that soon I will once again be able to jump and shout and sing and smile- even if it is not today. I pray my words will comfort someone who has been told a pack of lies that they are the cause of their chaos when nothing could be further from reality! Love has been and always will be the answer and the greatest gift we can ever give another is the promise made and kept- “I will be there!”



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