Monthly Archives: June 2014

 Greetings in the Lord,
 
I’ve thought a great deal about what my blog might say right before I head into surgery again….(It’s a hip replacement surgery, the 2nd in four months)….and this is what I’d want our church and the Church at large to consider every single time we make vital decisions…..Image
 
“GOD LOVES LOST PEOPLE THEREFORE, WE SHOULD LOVE THEM AS WELL” when I came across this story in a book called, Alternative Spirituality For The Third Millennium, written by Mike Riddell.  He tells this story…
 
“Vincent has met and fallen in love with a young girl named Marilyn.  Neither one of them was seeking a relationship, but the relationship is seeking them.  Swept up by their emotions, the two become deeply involved.  Marilyn, a prostitute, is not prepared to fall in love and is certainly not prepared for the honesty love requires.  She must tell Vincent who she is, knowing full well it will probably mean the end to their relationship.
 
“Vincent?”
Mmmmm
 
There’s ah….there’s something we need to talk about.”  Vincent replys, “Only if you want to, I’m perfectly happy just to sit here and look at you.”  “Sorry this seems like something serious, like the beginning of a Dear John speech, truth be told.”
 
Marilyn says, “It’s about me and what I do.”  Vincent responds, “Yeah, I was wondering when you were going to pluck up the courage and tell me.  Are you an agent for the CIA?  Sorry, I’ll shut up.”
 
She is totally absorbed in the remains of her salad, anything to avoid his eyes.  “There is no easy way to say this…I’m a prostitute.  I sleep with men for a living.  It’s a business.  I’m very professional.”  Time and silence have this thing they do together.  They make a chasm that has no bottom to it.  And there you are, standing right on the edge of it.  Aware that at any moment you may be falling and falling and falling, with no hope of recovery.  At the moment they are at either side of it, each consumed by their private terror.  She looks up at last from her salad.  Vincent is crying.  The tears streaming down his cheeks, and he is biting his lip to keep himself from sobbing.  He wants to speak but he can’t, all he can do is look at her beautiful face.  She reaches a hand across to hold his.  She is beyond tears, empty and bleak and barren.  Vincent is mumbling something, but it’s incoherent through the pain.  And then he begins to repeat it over and over again.  “I love you, I love you, I love you.”  It is the most painful thing he could have said.  Her tears are flowing.  They grip each others hands, and lean their foreheads together.”
 
Marilyn expected Vincent to reject her, to pull away from her, to have nothing to do with her.  I believe in a strange and touching way Vincent did what Jesus does with us.  He looks beneath the behavior, sees our longing, and loves us despite our past.  Maybe we expect rejection and condemnation.  Maybe we even deserve it!  But when we come to Jesus we receive grace and forgiveness and hear over and over again, “I love you, I love you, I love you!”
 
Living in His grace,
 
Rick

God’s Never Ending Love

Advertisements

Those Who Pack The Parachute

parachute

Hi All,

I’m getting ready to undergo my second hip replacement surgery in 4 months in just about a week. I have to tell you, it’s not the pain of the surgery that I dread (although I’m certainly not looking forward to it), it’s the recovery process…with knees you’re doing P.T. almost before the surgery is over…with my type of hip replacement the bone needs time to graft onto the metal replacement…so no movement, no bending over, no crossing your legs….lots of laying on your back….and just your back. I’m a type A personality, so this type of restriction and limitation drives me crazy. It’s not really a drive…it’s a short putt.

But I have learned through this first surgery and recovery, there are people who rise to help. There are individuals who see that for a period of time there will be some significant holes that need to be filled, and I am tremendously thankful for those individuals. I thought of these individuals as I read this story:

“I recently read a great story about Captain Charles Plumb, a graduate from the Naval Academy, whose plane, after 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam, was shot down. He parachuted to safety, but was captured, tortured and spent 2,103 days in a small box-like cell.
After surviving the ordeal, Captain Plumb received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and two Purple Hearts, and returned to America and spoke to many groups about his experience and how it compared to the challenges of every day life.
Shortly after coming home, Charlie and his wife were sitting in a restaurant. A man rose from a nearby table, walked over and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”
Surprised that he was recognized, Charlie responded, “How in the world did you know that?” The man replied, “I packed your parachute.” Charlie looked up with surprise. The man pumped his hand, gave a thumbs-up, and said, “I guess it worked!”
Charlie stood to shake the man’s hand, and assured him, “It most certainly did work. If it had not worked, I would not be here today.”
Charlie could not sleep that night, thinking about the man. He wondered if he might have seen him and not even said, “Good morning, how are you?” He thought of the many hours the sailor had spent bending over a long wooden table in the bottom of the ship, carefully folding the silks and weaving the shrouds of each chute, each time holding in his hands the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Plumb then began to realize that along with the physical parachute, he needed mental, emotional and spiritual parachutes. He had called on all these supports during his long and painful ordeal.
As a leader, how many times a day, a week, a month, do we pass up the opportunity to thank those people in our organization who are “packing our parachutes?”

Thank you to all those who packed the ‘chute,

Rick