LIFE SIMPLIFIED!

15 09 2017

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It was seventeen years ago today that my Dad graduated to Heaven. I was there with him for his final moments on Earth. I adored my Father. He was my hero and friend and while I know that cancer was doing a number on his body, I still hated to see him go. People say that, “time heals all wounds.” I respectfully disagree. Time doesn’t heal squat. Time only reveals how big a hole in our soul that our loved ones leave behind after they are gone. I still dream of my Pop every night. I hear his voice in my ears and I see his face in my reflection. I long for the ability just to talk with him and be able to bounce off of him my daily plans and problems. What I wouldn’t give for ten more minutes to be together. There are moments when I know that eternity can’t get here fast enough.

 Why do we human beings take each other for granted? Why do we have to wait until it is too late to realize the measure of the treasure of what we do have? When will we ever get it through our thick heads that life is about people and not possessions? Why do we whine about all that we don’t have when we should be humbly worshipping God over every simple blessing that we have been given? Why do we miss the chance to dance while the music is playing? Why does it take us to get to the point of regret over all the open doors we missed going through because we were too busy banging on the passage ways that were clearly locked? If today is the day to be fully alive then it is of utmost importance that we don’t get bogged down by yesterday’s failures or overwhelmed by tomorrow’s future worries.

 When I was a younger man, I was always on the move. I felt like if I wasn’t constantly on the go, I was wasting my time. I am pretty much content now just to live, move and be right here in Cape May County. I don’t have to be a world traveler anymore. I don’t need to get my “City Fix,” like I used to. I was just driving to Camden over the weekend to do a Wedding at the Aquarium and the traffic alone made me long to turn around and come on home. I kept going and I am sure that Jeff and Heather were grateful that I stayed the course.

 I think I have finally learned that experiencing genuine joy is not so much tied to where I go as much as it is attached to who I am. And if my joy is anchored in the Lord then I don’t have to worry about anyone or anything taking it away. The joy of the Lord has actually become my strength no matter what I do. The joy of the Lord can even be expressed through my mourning and my tears. I have found his joy in depression, anxiety and dismal times. When I discover that my life is energized and fueled only by my relationship with Jesus, then as long as he ignites my light, my shine should never be dimmed. Everything on this earth comes to an end. Maybe that is why we are always restless and yearning and reaching for more. What if God was the more that we have always been stretching for?

 I have been married for 35 years. I have been in full time ministry the same amount of time. But I can tell you that I am not the same man I was when either of these journeys began. I look in the eyes of my wife and I consider myself beyond blessed by having such a beautiful woman by my side. I know I married way over my head. And I don’t ever want to let a day go by without telling Terri how much she means to me. I am also a different kind of Pastor. Ministry is only as meaningful as I am listening to the Lord’s voice so I may follow his lead. I have been guilty, as many of us have been; of telling God what I was going to do rather than waiting on him to point me in the right direction. And there are moments that I know God is in the midst and even though nobody else may ever know, I know that I am following in the steps of my Master.

 As a matter of fact, the holiest experience of the wedding that I just officiated had nothing to do with me at all. It happened at the reception. Heather and Jeff had taken the time to study dancing before they came together as husband and wife for their first glide across the floor. The song was a classic from Randy Travis called, “Look Heart, No Hands.” And it was just as if Heather and Jeff were the only two in the room. We had all disappeared. And in perfect steps, with the admiration and pride beaming through the eyes of these newlyweds, love was alive and well right before our eyes. I had tears in my eyes and a satisfaction in my heart that these two are so good for each other. I had not just performed a wedding. I had witnessed the miracle of God making two into one. I will never forget this as long as I live!

 My Dad’s most famous words to me were, “Show them Jesus!” Whether I was hanging out at home, off to school, going to work or competing on the ball field, my Father expected me to be like Jesus. I know how to show others Jesus because Dad showed him so well to me. Jesus knew how to make somebody feel like they were the only one in the world who mattered. Jesus did that for me and I want to do that for others. So maybe success can simply be summed up in this phrase, “He is like Jesus.” “She is like her Lord.” I feel like if I don’t miss a beat, I may very well have a divinely assigned front row seat to not miss life while it is occurring. Now go and do it slow, so that you won’t miss God’s daily bread prepared just for you, while you were planning your own menu!      


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