Cancer, Celebrations and Control

August 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Posted in encouragement | Leave a comment
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Cancer! The word no one wants to hear, especially if it is in regard to one of your
children. But that is what I heard from my oldest son. A few months ago now, we
had talked earlier in the morning. It was just a normal phone call. He had been
sick off and on and had lost some weight, but we didn’t think of anything
serious.

He had seemed to get sick more since being in the
Marines. We attributed it some vaccinations he got. But he worked out regularly
and was a part-time college student and a full-time police officer. But he kept
getting worse though he didn’t miss work. He had been to a VA Hospital where he
lives a couple of times in the last few months and didn’t seem to be getting
any better. Then one day another officer said he looked terrible and should get
another opinion.

So he called me to talk and ask about the church I
had just accepted a call to pastor the day before. During the conversation he
tells me that he is going to another doctor this morning and his neck is swollen
today. I ask him all the questions I can think of, plus his mom’s a nurse and I
know she will ask me some questions too. We joked about sci-fi movies and how
his neck looks.

Then he calls me back about two hours later and
tells me the doctor thinks he has an aggressive form of lymphoma. The doctor
wants to run some tests right away, not next week or in the future, but today and
tomorrow. My son told me that he told the doctor to give it to him truthfully
and that he isn’t afraid of the news. I pray with him and tell him that I love
him and that if I don’t see him again down here, I will see him in heaven. Yes,
we really do believe that and say that!

That night they confirm the aggressive lymphoma and
it is reconfirmed the next day. They want to start aggressive treatments as
soon as possible. I tell my wife and we pray and make plans to go and help him.
This was in early February. There is more to the story and that will come
later.

Celebrations! While the above is going on we were also making plans to move to a new ministry and
city; but the best was that our youngest son would be getting married. We moved
at the end of March and the following week we were in New York for our youngest
son’s wedding. We were glad to see how God had worked out all the details of
the wedding. Our daughter in-law looked beautiful and our son looked very
happy.

We stayed with our new in-laws and were glad to get
to know them a little better. The day before the wedding it rained most of the
day. The temperature was cold and nearby areas got snow. That may not seem like
much, but the reception was planned for outside their church. There was not
patio or tent. But God was gracious and the rain stopped and the grass dried
up. Everyone had a good time. The ceremony was very nice and we couldn’t have
been prouder.

We welcomed our daughter in-law into our family that
day. We are glad to have her. Some of our family attended the wedding as did
some friends from Massachusetts. It was a great day. We also got to take part
in a traditional Chinese dinner for a wedding. The food looked beautiful when
it came to the table and tasted great too.

We are looking forward to having another reception
later this year when our son and daughter in-law come to visit. When we came
back from the wedding we had a welcome service and potluck lunch at the church.
It was very well attended and we had a great time. There is more to this story
and it will come later.

Control! This is something that people usually have issues with. Since moving to our new
location a little over four months ago we are still in temporary housing. Most
of our things are in storage. We feel displaced and unsettled at times. We make
due and try to keep a good attitude. Sometimes we still can’t remember where we
put things. I almost have the location and contents of the boxes in four
different storage areas memorized!

We got our favorite coffee brewers together so we
can brew and review. Plus there were times I just missed having a good cup of
coffee. That will all change this week. We are still looking forward to being
in our own home and getting all of our stuff out. We are looking forward to
family and friends visiting. But we are not in control, God is.

God knew that a day after I said yes to a new
ministry that one of our son’s would be diagnosed with cancer. God also knew
that he would be too sick to attend the wedding of his brother. This same God
also knew what the weather would be like in April in New York on a specific day
and time. I had emailed and called friends and asked them to pray for good
weather and a dry wind to blow over the grass and dry it up. You have not
because you ask not. Remember, we are not in control, but God is.

God knows how much we would like to be out of
temporary housing and have our own place. “Be it ever so humble, there’s no
place like home.” Even though we have to wait a little longer and I don’t know
how little is little; God is in control. Through all of this our sovereign
Father God is in control. We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know
that He holds the future. We are trying to be joyful and give Him thanks during
all of this. Yes, there is more to this part of the story too, and it will come
later.

Yes, our God cares about the big things and the
little things in our lives. I don’t want to get too introspective, but I do
want you to know that I appreciate what God is doing. I appreciate that He is
in control. We haven’t always been the most joyful and thankful of Christians
during this time of cancer, celebrations, and control, but God gave us a
special blessing along the way. One of them was finding Korean food and a good
local coffee shop that roasts their own coffee beans. In fact the roaster gave
us some beans to brew and review even while we felt displaced.

In the coming weeks I will be posting more about
each part of this story. There is much more to tell about the cancer, the
celebrations and the control. Look for some book reviews, some coffee reviews and
some other articles as well. Thanks for your time and remember, “He who
sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may
show him the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23 NIV)

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill

(Romans 15:13)

Protect and Serve

January 27, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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To Protect and Serve

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”(1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

Being involved in ministry and leadership will be difficult. We need to get over that so I will say it again. Being involved in ministry and leadership will be difficult. There is no getting around it. But the Church needs us to faithfully stand in the gap. The world may not know it, but it needs us to faithfully proclaim the Gospel and make disciples.

We have to be on our guard because there are wolves that seek to harm the sheep. The wolves are clever, cruel and relentless. It seems they never rest. They change their plan of attack and they try to catch us off guard. Those of us in ministry and leadership have been given the responsibility of protecting the sheep. Believe it or not, sometimes the sheep do not appreciate the shepherds’ service. But good shepherds (ministers and leaders) protect and serve anyway.

It’s the middle of the week.  We may be tired. Protect and serve anyway. We may feel overwhelmed by our duties. Protect and serve anyway. We may feel underappreciated. Protect and serve anyway. Stand in the gap and pray, preach/teach, lead by example, care, visit and love the sheep. Our heavenly Father expects no less from His men that serve Him and His Church. He will help us protect and serve. We can accomplish the ministry He gives us because He will help us.

When we are tempted to whine or complain about our sheep or our circumstances I think we should stop and pray and give thanks to God for His patience toward us. We know our failings better than anyone else does. We know our weaknesses and the struggles both in our thoughts and lives. And God in His great mercy still gives us the opportunity to protect and serve.

Rise Up, O Men of God

By William P Merrill

1. Rise up, O men of God! Have done with lesser things;

Give heart and soul and mind and strength To serve the King of kings.

2. Rise up, O men of God! His kingdom tarries long;

Bring in the day of brotherhood And end the night of wrong.

3. Rise up, O men of God! The church for you doth wait,

Her strength unequal to her task; Rise up and make her great!

4. Lift high the cross of Christ, Tread where His feet have trod;

As brothers of the Son of Man, Rise up, O men of God! Amen.

Your ministry is needed. God will help you.

Redeem the time,

Bill  (a fellow-laborer)

(Rom. 15:13)

P.S.

If you know a police officer or fire fighter, pray for them because they put their lives on the line everyday to protect and serve. They may not know you are praying for them, but they and their families will benefit from our intercessory prayers. Thank you.

It’s Time

January 11, 2010 at 11:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It is time for me to enter the blogosphere. I have put it off for quite some time. I think that my age and experiences give me something to say. More importantly I think my personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has helped me through and taught me give me something to say. My hope and plan are to encourage my brothers in the ministry to stay strong, to be faithful, and to fight the good fight. Then I hope to encourage other male leaders within the body of Christ in a similar fashion. I also hope to encourage some men to quit making excuses and surrender completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and begin to serve in their local church. Finally, it would be a great joy if some men reading this blog came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

This blog will develop as I grow in both my ability to write (communicate) clearly what I want to say and my understanding of technology. My goal is to start writing weekly. I have been a collector of quotes for some time and will try to add to that page frequently. Since I read a lot I will post book reviews and encourage you to read and apply what you learn. There will also be a few links that I think are important. I’m thinking I may add a few other pages also.

I take full responsibility for what I put in this blog. To the best of my ability I will give proper credit and citation when I use someones work. Should you use something from this blog I ask that you cite me and give a link. As far as comments go, I will allow them, but reserve the right to delete any comments for any reason when I want to. I also reserve the right to block or not allow comments at any time for any reason. My personal material will be copyrighted.

 I truly hope that this blog will encourage you to press on with faith, hope and love; to faithfully do the work of the ministry to which you were called; and to be glad with the joy of God’s presence. Ministry is not easy and it is not for the faint-hearted. I hope this blog is a ministry to my fellow laborers. Take courage (heart)! God is with you and He will help you through each and every storm.

I truly hope that Almighty God gets glory from this blog and my life. I am still so grateful for my salvation. I am glad to live in such a time as this when opportunities for ministry abound. Redeem the time brothers, for the Lord’s return is closer than when we first believed. Let’s encourage one another to be found faithful.

(LORD, You will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us. – Is. 26:12 NKJV)

Be encouraged,

Bill  (Rom. 15:13)

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