Archive | December, 2013

God uses difficulties for good

31 Dec

Many times I have quoted Romans 8:28 in times of difficulty … I believe God uses all things for the good of His kingdom.  That verse doesn’t mean that everything that happens to us will be good.  But can God even take the bad things that happen to us and use them for the building of His kingdom??  I submit this:

Over the past four years now (yes, it has been four years) I have learned much about NPH, dementia, and dealing with those types of patients.  What happened with my dad four years ago was not a good thing.  In fact, it has been a source of great struggle for him along with my entire family.  I would call it a tragedy.  But God has used that tragedy time and time again in my ministry.

Again, recently I found myself in a place where I could help a family dealing with a family member with short-term memory issues.  It it almost second nature to me now to be able to talk to someone who is struggling in those ways and be able to calm them down and help.  Is this an ability I would’ve chosen??  Probably not.  But God has equipped me and I will do my best with what He has given me.

God is able to even bring good results out of our difficulties.  Are there things in your life which He can use??  Are you willing to let Him?

Holidays can be hard

30 Dec

Here we are in 2013.  The Christmas / New Year’s season is almost over.  And it will be 2014.  Wow, how time flies!!

In all of the celebration and focus on joy, we cannot forget there are many in our midst suffering through difficulties this season.  Some dealing with sadness, loneliness, depression.   Some facing these holidays for the first time without someone they dearly love.  Some facing perhaps the last holiday with someone they love.  And we cannot overlook those who have recently suffered loss in the job markets.  And, admittedly, many of us fit in one or more of these categories.

What can we, as the Body of Christ, do for those who are hurting during such a time of celebration??  Maybe this is where COMFORT and JOY really come to play in the church, because there are several things we can do to help our brothers and sisters:

  • Pray!!
  • Be there for them!
  • Reach out and check on them!

As Betty Moore-Bell shared yesterday at Ebenezer, I cannot imagine how difficult Christmas must have been for the families of those two missing girls in Myrtle Beach this Christmas.  But I know I have a church family that would be there for me if I were in such a dark place during this season of light.

Who would EVER forget an anniversary??

5 Dec

I will never forget this date … December 5, 1993.  No, that is NOT the day I was married to Diana Lynne Duncan.  THAT date was December 5, 1987.  No, the 1993 day is a different date, and one that I will NEVER FORGET as long as I live.

We had been at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for a year and a half.  I was overwhelmed by my first Hebrew exegesis paper … I think it was on Genesis 22.  Hebrew was soooo foreign to anything I had ever seen.  I had worked and worked on this paper, trying to pull an “A” in the class.  I worked late on the paper that night.  When I went to bed, in the darkness of the night Diana said it:  “Well, I guess it’s official.”  That was all she had to say.  The tone in her voice let me KNOW I had messed up terribly.  And I scrambled to figure out what… Not her birthday, that was in June … WHAT WAS IT???  It took me a few minutes to wade through the clutter of Hebrew words in my mind to realize I had forgotten our 6th wedding anniversary.  WOW!!  I messed up big.  And we were in seminary, so we had no money with which I could buy my way out of this with a nice gift or an expensive meal.

Needless to say, it took YEARS to get out of that dog house.  And I will never forget that day.  And I will NEVER forget our anniversary.  So, every year now I tell her happy anniversary about a week early!!!

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!! I love you!!

The Good Things

4 Dec

Yesterday I got to do one of the things I really love doing about my job.  One of the good things.  I got to help a friend.  Specifically, a friend who is a seminary student and new minister.

I had an opportunity to sit down with this friend and talk through some issues and help him develop a plan of attack.  In the midst of all of the Tuesday things that had to be done yesterday, I got a chance to slow down and help someone.  That is always a good day!  Those other things are necessary, too:  Staff meeting, a little project on the physical plant, a quick trip to the hospital.  But, when I get to directly help someone who needs a little, that makes my day!!

Last week, a couple of pastors from Saddleback spent 90 minutes in a video conference with me and one other pastor (from New York City).  The entire purpose of this was for them to pour into us and our ministries.  I have always LOVED that about Rick Warren and Saddleback.  And it is nice to be able to pay that forward a little!!