Will You Listen?

Just completed ministering at Chambers Family Camp located near Corning, NY.

It was spectacular in that I saw many, many dear friends most of whom I’ve not seen for decades.

It was draining, not “simply” because of the genuine labor of preaching; but because of many one-on-one conversations.

Well…”conversations”…may not be the appropriate word.

I did a lot…a lot…of listening. Looking into the speaker’s eyes, focusing, and listening.

Conversations of course are confidential…but they dealt with sordid stuff.

Most of the folks expressed deep gratitude to me…and “all” I did was listen.

In a few cases the people said they couldn’t talk to anyone else..but when I shared about my own “stuff” they felt free to talk to me.

I’ve been told by some I am too transparent.

Doesn’t seem possible to me…

God help us to be real…whether we are “lay people” (how I hate that term) or vocational ministers.

I am whipped. I am burdened for these situations that were shared.

And I’m saddened because these folks had to speak to some dummy from Missouri rather than their pastor (though a few people who spoke with me were pastors).

Folks, let’s be the Body…not “only” to lost people, but especially to people of the household of faith.

Little Things Aren’t

I’m preaching a family camp in New York this week.

This morning I came into the dining hall very early to get the essentials – coffee, and time in the Word/prayer.

Had the place to myself until a teen kitchen staff girl came in…we greeted one another and then she began taking all the chairs off the dining tables…about 200 of them…

Yes, I thought about helping her, but did not.

But I did happen to spot her as she got a quizzical look on her faceĀ  as she looked under one of the chairs as she started to move it from the table to the floor.

She reached under the chair and pulled out a post-it note…

And lit up the room with a beautiful smile…

I asked her, “What did you find?” and she, still beaming, brought the note to me…here it is:

FRIDAY NOTE

And here she is:

FRIDAY GIRL

She doesn’t know who left it.

But I know her day is a lot brighter now…

And whoever put the note there did a HUGE thing by doing a “little” thing. And my guess is she will look at that note several times today…and will never throw it away.

Don’t let what you can’t do prevent you from doing what you can do.

 

Memory Sparked

A friend posted on Facebook a notice of a memorial service held at the First Baptist Church of Union Star, Mo.

It included pictures of the church…seeing them at 3.45am today sparked a memory that caused me to praise and thank God again that He is a good God who has pretty big sleeves – with a few tricks up them!

Not sure what year…1979ish maybe?…this happened…I was staying with my adopted sisters in Union Star.

Debbie Laffoon Long and I went for a long bicycle ride on a Sunday evening. Lost track of time and got back to town just in time for church.

I was more-than-a-bit sweaty and we debated going, but decided we would.

Sat down, pastor began the service…

As I remember a few hymns were sung.

Then the pastor came to the pulpit.

Stared at me (we had met that morning) for a moment or two. Initially I thought he was going to reprimand me for being in the sanctuary in a teeshirt and shorts…and rather smelly ones at that.

Instead he said something like, “The Lord has told me that brother Jack needs to preach tonight.”

It wasn’t a joke.

I don’t remember if I had brought a Bible or had to borrow one.

I have no clue what I preached.

But I do remember…with a grin and a praise…that a woman came to Christ that night.

Crazy.

And I hadn’t thought about that incident for many, many years until sparked by a posted photo.

Crazy.