Jesus, unknown by most was invited to a wedding party (John 2). He was simply a likeable. Jesus was a people magnet. Jesus was known as a "glutton and a friend of sinners." Jesus loved to hang out and He loved to care for people because God so loved the world that He sent His Son.
Following Jesus is a life-long adventure.
July 7, 2018
My Father-in-love's birthday. He's been in heaven since July 2000. And then I think about my own Dad whose been in heaven since 1960. I know what it feels like to be fatherless. But I don't know what it feels like to have a father who is there physically but not emotionally. I've talked with many a man who wrestles with deep wounds because dad was drunk or dad was always working or dad just never showed up. What is the nature of your wound? What do we do as children? And early in puberty we begin to mask the pain; we stuff our feelings in all sorts of ways. God is not an option. And we find ourselves as adults with mixed up lives, mixed up feelings, mixed up behaviors and just kinda lost. So what do we do? We hurt ourselves. We hurt others. Often completely unintentionally but with great passion and seemingly addiction we act out of the wounds and the pain.
Fortunately my story is one of those with Divine intervention: a dream; a life-changing dream. Then five months later a friendship that leads to an audition with a Christian singing group to play drums. Then one member of the group, a church going Jesus follower offers his story to me, a non church going guy. And my life takes a turn toward healing and restoration. My life begins to be filled with purpose and friendship with Jesus and other Jesus followers. My wife today was in that group. We continue to make music 46+ years later with keyboard and drums and song. Today I carry a message as a wounded healer. Broken, deeply broken but with hope that changed my life through life with Jesus and a wife who loved me and encouraged me along the way and a scriptural principle that I want to share with you. You don't have to be a pastor. You just have to be willing to allow Jesus to change your life from the inside out and to be available to share your story with others. Here's the truth I believe will change your life...
God takes the lemons of our life (wounds, pain, loss, all of the worst stuff which we don't even want to talk about), if we are willing, and He makes "sweet lemonade". This sweet lemonade is for others who He so loves. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 reads, 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. I have found that offering "sweet lemonade" has such immense possibilities for impacting a life and actually two lives; the life of the one receiving the "sweet lemonade" and the life of the one sharing the "sweet lemonade".
Being pastor in Westlake, OH and the surrounding communities and leading the CrossPointe Community to pursue the Great Commandment and the Great Commission to "passionately love God and genuinely love people" has been a great joy in this season of my life for the past seventeen years. I'm blown away by what God is doing in our community and through our community. We are not large in number but we ARE LARGE in earnest caring and sharing (not perfect but in process). God is using a community to provide faith, hope and love that is life transforming.
The Holy Spirit empowered fishermen 2000 years ago to turn the world upside down with the message of Jesus Christ, His life, death and resurrection. TODAY, we are engaged in spiritual warfare battling for the lives of people God so loves. Some get it and some don't. We are not about becoming the next coolest church with the next greatest light show or greatest worship leader and taking nothing away from great worship leaders who I know have great hearts for God; but we're just going to be those fishermen as it were, with no church building, no worship band, no sound system, no light show, no nothing but Jesus Christ' life, death and resurrection to share. That's all we have to offer... JESUS. And I am here to tell you that HE has made SWEET LEMONADE in this man's broken life. HE saved me from a life without Him. Oh, Jesus, I'm speechless. Even though I try to write tonight, I feel so inadequate but you called me to be available (as you have called all of us to be available). Thank you, Jesus, for lives that are being touched by you. Thank you, for a community of imperfect people who have been saved and set apart for you to be instruments, tools for Great Commandment Great Commission work.
Let Your Holy Spirit flow in and through each Jesus follower to bring healing to our land; healing of broken lives, healing of angry lives, healing of dysfunctional lives, healing of lives longing for fulfillment and purpose. Have Your way, Jesus.
August 2018, Wild at Heart Boot Camp
After the session on "the father wound" John Eldredge and his team offered a prayer time for those who felt a deep desire to overcome in a personal area. During that opportunity I sought to meet John Eldredge so I stood at the side door hoping to connect. However, I found myself invited to take a seat for prayer. I didn't see John in the prayer session until I sat down and saw him praying with a man two rows in front of me. When he finished praying with the man, he walked up the aisle and made his way to me. I've addressed my father wound numerous times in the last 57 years. My father's death when I was eight created much dysfunction for my sister and I and I'm sure our Mother. John led me in a meaningful time of addressing 8 year old Nelson and his loneliness. I found myself shooting baskets in the back yard by myself. Always alone. Jesus came to me and told me He was sorry for my Dad's death. He then ushered 8 year old Nelson to me (adult Nelson) as I welcomed 8 year old Nelson to be with adult Nelson. An unusual experience but with a sense of removing a disconnect in my life. Thank You, Jesus, for your healing touch.
Four men traveled CLE to Colorado and back to participate with 450 men at the Young LIfe Ranch for four days. Along the way we dove into our hearts with the help of the Holy Spirit and a desire to be healthy and whole as men. The sessons included a teaching about "the father wound" and other topics explaining why we think and do what we think and do. One of the favorite parts of the teaching was video clips from some favoriate movies like Brave Heart; helping us to identify with the warrior inside each of us. After each session we shared in a covenant of silence (if you can imagine 450 men leaving a theater style meeting place and you could hear a pin drop) in order to connect with God about the focus of each session.
Thank you, John Eldredge and Ransomed Heart Ministries for this Wild at Heart Boot Camp experience. The four of us who traveled together met other men at his event whose lives were impacted similarly with a life-changing ministry of Holy Spirit. I would highly recommend a Boot Camp experience for any man. Check out Ransomed Heart Ministries at http://ransomedheart.com