4 Reasons Why You CAN Make Hospital Visit to Someone You Have Never Met

Have you ever been called upon to make a hospital visit to someone you have never met? Spending a few… [more]

4 Reasons Why You CAN Make Hospital Visit to Someone You Have Never Met 4 Reasons Why You CAN Make Hospital Visit to Someone You Have Never Met

5 Reasons Why You Need to Prepare For Grief

One of the most helpless feelings you will ever experience occurs when someone you love is crushed beneath… [more]

5 Reasons Why You Need to Prepare For Grief 5 Reasons Why You Need to Prepare For Grief

He Never Looked Back

He never looked back.  He hugged his mother and me, told us he loved us, and walked from the car into… [more]

He Never Looked Back He Never Looked Back


4 Things to Remember When Fishing Seems Useless

“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”  But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at your word I will let down the net.”  And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.”            Luke 5:4-6  NKJV

(The term “fishing” is to be understood in this outline as a metaphor for “intentional evangelism” as indicated in Luke 5:10)

I.      Jesus Still Intends for Us to Fish!

    • His plan has never changed. 
    • His purpose has never changed.
    • His passion has never change.

II.   Lack of Results is No Reason to Quit!

    • The fish are not all dead. (Its not too late)
    • The fish still have the same nature.  (Sin is still the problem)
    • The fish are still catchable.

III.  Fish Because He Said So!

    • Your attitude toward fishing largely determines whether you will fish, not the size of the catch.
    • His word is more important than our ability.
    • Our obedience is the key.

IV.   You Cannot Predict What May Happen!

    • Where yesterday there was nothing, today may be a net full.
    • Where yesterday a friend was hardened, today he may be broken.
    • Today you may be the only Believer in your circle of influence.  Tomorrow God may use you to take an unimaginable catch!

He Never Looked Back

He never looked back.  He hugged his mother and me, told us he loved us, and walked from the car into sacrificial service without so much as a hesitation.  I, on the other hand stood gazing after him, wishing that someone would spring from behind a bush and announce, “You’re on TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes!”  No such luck.  That little boy who bounced through childhood like Tigger is now a hulking young man with a cocky, powerful stride, yet still possessed of a tender, compassionate heart.  In nine weeks the Army would leave its imprint on him.

Just six months later, my wife and I endured the same scene again.  Like some recurring nightmare we watched the broad back and powerful shoulders of my eldest son walk down the same path.  Their destinations would be different; Iraq and Afghanistan.  Their experiences; as far apart as the headwaters of the Tigris and Arghandab Rivers, yet each marched forward without so much as a glance to the rear.

I know that I am not the first dad to endure this life changing event.  I walked down this well worn path with my friend Russ not long ago.  His son, at the time, was counting down the final days of an enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps.  I knelt in prayer with him as Rusty left for Iraq. I rejoiced with him when Rusty came home safe and sound.  He assured me that he would in turn, walk that path with me.

The imprint on His son would be lasting.  Thirty years of woodworking would certainly leave a carpenter’s hands calloused and scarred.  Yet his touch was tender enough to comfort even the smallest child.  That young carpenter, whose birth caused angels to sing, now knelt in acute agony.  In that prayer of complete surrender, he made certain of the Father’s will.  He strode from the garden through the narrow corridors of a torturous night, arriving at Calvary bruised, bloody, and condemned.  He was scarred one last time; for me.

Oh what private pain must have pierced the Father’s heart as the hour of separation loomed near!  What indescribable anguish must have gripped Him who judges sin, upon seeing His son become the subject of judgment!  In that moment of selfless sacrifice, God’s own son embraced the cross.  He cried out at the stab of alienation from His Father.  He became my Savior.  From the manger in Bethlehem to the place of the skull, not once did he ever hesitate; he never looked back.

5 Reasons Why You Need TAWG

TAWG is the difference between spiritual strength and weakness.  TAWG can take a good preacher/teacher and make him something much more.  TAWG will largely determine whether you succeed or fail in ministry.  You can learn every preparation and preaching technique ever devised by man but if you ignore TAWG, you just failed.  Prepare both the message AND the man!  You prepare the message through study.  You prepare the man through “Time Alone With God.”

While in seminary, I attended a fellowship led by a very high profile pastor.  He was nationally known.  Though noted for his incredible preaching style and dynamic delivery, it soon became obvious that genuine TAWG was lacking.  I admit that I was caught up in that electrified environment.  For a time, it was an incredible place to be!  However, the height of excitement plummeted into sickening scandal.  That’s the thing about TAWG; you can come clean before Him, or you can be exposed by Him.

Allow me to suggest a few reasons why you should stop everything else you are doing and make whatever adjustments are necessary to incorporate TAWG into every single day. (Go ahead, retrieve your copy of God’s word and look up the passages indicated.  It will be a good start!)

1.  God is calling, “Where are you?”

Are you too busy for him?  Are you hiding from him?  Genesis 3:9-10

2.  God is the source of a Believer’s power.

If you are not living plugged-in to God, who is your power source?  Isaiah 40:31

3.  God is in control of your ministry, not you.

Can you reasonably ask his blessing on your ministry when your heart is far from him?  Acts 8:18-22

4.  God has established the laws of sowing and reaping.

You are included.     Galatians 6:7

5.  God has a habit of pulling back the curtain on your life.

It did not do the Wizard of Oz any good to say, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”  It won’t do you any good either.  Luke 12:1-3

 

Are there other reasons that come to your mind?  I’d love to hear them!

 

 

 

 

Basic Hospital Etiquette: What Should I Know?

photo courtesy of iStockphoto.com/Claudiad

A few years ago, I was hospitalized for a surgical procedure which gave me a whole new perspective on this issue. While I had already been practicing some of the principles introduced here, I became very aware of the need to further address the lack of dignity and privacy. Wearing minimal clothing, lying in a bed with unfamiliar people moving around, and needles, needles, needles, combined to keep me on edge. That doesn’t even account for the hospital room door that hardly ever stayed shut. I realized that I never fully understood these issues as a visitor.

By observing a few simple things, you can be the best prepared hospital minister your flock has ever had.

Always knock on the door, even if it is open.
      • Knocking conveys respect.
      • Knocking gives them a moment to prepare or cover themself.
      • Knocking conveys professional courtesy to medical personnel who may be in the room.

HIPAA laws have caused doctors and nurses to be especially careful when treating a patient or discussing medical issues in front of others.  If a medical professional is giving treatment, I usually step outside until he or she indicates that their interaction is complete, unless the patient requests that I stay.

Direct your attention to the patient.
        • Make eye contact and smile.
        • Avoid extended conversations with other people in the room.
        • Avoid glances at their form or affected area, covered or uncovered.
        • Avoid long looks at the medical equipment.
Stand relaxed and easy.
        • Taking a seat can often put you out of easy line of sight.
        • Relax. If you are tense, they will likely sense it.
        • Remember that you are here to minister to them.
Do not under ANY circumstance sit on the hospital bed, even if invited to do so.
        • There may be instruments or tubes hidden beneath the covers.
        • The patient may experience pain because of bed movement. (Ooops, I’m sorry, doesn’t fix it.)
        • If invited closer, step alongside the head of the bed to pray or converse softly.
If your patient is out the room, ALWAYS leave a card with a short note on the back.
        • Your kind note will be read many times over. Make it heartfelt.
        • If you do not have a card handy, ask for a piece of note paper at the nurse’s station.

By eliminating the social awkwardness already experienced by your patient, you have a greater opportunity to minister to them!  When they cease to be so keenly self-conscious, you have done your job well!  Set them at ease and then use your SLIPPR, as referred to in “How to Make a Meaningful Hospital Visit in 10 Minutes or Less.”

Please share your observations and critique!  We can sharpen each other!

Basic Training

Our children were reared in a setting that made regular changes of residence almost obligatory. It is difficult for a child to build lasting relationships when the friends they make today are waving in the rear view mirror tomorrow. For that reason, Donna and I were purposeful in knitting close family ties between ourselves and our children.

While my wife and I were dreading the departure of our son into military service, we were blessed to be present for an exchange we shall never forget. Our daughter, who was struggling much more than either of us realized, found a way to touch her brother’s heart. She accomplished it without any danger of retaliation or retort.

She found an edition of scripture produced especially for Army personnel. Its green leather cover bore his name imprinted in beautiful gold letters, beneath the seal of the U.S. Army. Inside she had highlighted an assortment of verses. The pale blues and yellows illuminated the favorite passages of many of his friends. As he silently leafed through the gossamer pages, occasionally stopping to read marked verses, she told him,

“I have the list of verses from your friends. I will be reading those verses with you while you are gone.”

It was all that I could do to avoid falling to pieces.

In that moment I knew that Donna and I had accomplished our mission. Our children love each other and they have each experienced the love of the Lord. Though we will not be present for many of the battles they will face, we know that they each have been through basic training and have completed it successfully.