Marilyn Was Healthy!

Some years ago now, I was called out to serve Communion to a church member who was unable to attend services at the church I served.  She had bone cancer; her name was Marilyn.  After we discussed her grave condition and enjoyed the fellowship over the elements of Communion she made this remark:  “Pastor Mike, I feel sorry for people who don’t have what I have!”

“Yes,” I said, “You have hope in knowing Christ and others don’t know Him.”

“No, that’s not what I mean; it’s the cancer.  I know how much I need Jesus every day; others don’t know how much they really do need Him.”

I left that day, stricken by her bold and brave words.  Soon, I’ll be doing Marilyn’s funeral and I will share that amazing insight at her memorial services.  I wrote them down and kept them by my phone, waiting for the call that she had passed away.  Weeks later, I visited her at a low budget rehab facility where she was nursing a broken leg, the one with the cancer.  She had been at the hospital, stopped for lunch in their McDonald’s and caught her wheelchair in a floor drain, throwing her out on the floor.  That broken leg on top of everything else seemed cruel.

Marilyn’s remark was: “Wasn’t that a blessing, Pastor, that I broke my leg right there; I was already at the hospital!

More time and more visits and Marilyn each time was so caring and encouraging to me and to all those in the nursing facility.  She asked about my wife and children and grandchildren, then said: “Does my head look terrible up here where they took out part of my skull a few weeks ago?”  Her hair had grown in to cover the scars already . . . “I have a steel plate in there now.”  Marilyn was radiant, full of joy and peace as usual though nearing her departure from this world and her reception in Heaven.

Each time I went to see her, I shared how much her example meant to those who heard me tell her story.  One winter night I told her story to a weary missionary near the China border in Kazakhstan.  It inspired hope in everyone who could grasp the meaning of Marilyn’s insight and perspective.

After a couple of years of joy through suffering, Marilyn did pass away and I did her services and I shared her story with those who attended.  I have also shared her story with you to encourage you to be healthy like Marilyn was.  Do we realize how much we really do need Jesus in our lives?

Love

easter_There is no greater love than that a Man did lay down His life for his friends.

That’s YOU and ME!  And we are on the guest list for the big wedding reception dinner party.  RSVP!

If that doesn’t stretch your wildest imagination, He refers to us as His beloved, that is His bride!  Will you accept His proposal?

Christmas

Merry Christmas!

ChristmasChristmasChristmasChristmasThe best news ever: “unto you a Child is born”!

The simple, humble, needy and despicable could hear it.

The busy, the independent, the self righteousness didn’t notice.Christmas

Be wise; seek Him.

Listen for Him to speak His peace on earth and goodwill to men.

In the midst of perversion, abuse, greed, war, hatred etc. we have such a pure hope, such a gift of pure love, such a God and Savior!

Enjoy Him!  Draw near Him!  .  .  .  . and KNOW Him!

 

That Look from Jesus

IN EVIL LONG I TOOK DELIGHTour Savior

In evil long I took delight, Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight, And stopped my wild career.

I saw One hanging on a tree, In agony and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me, As near His cross I stood.

Sure, never to my latest breath, Can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with His death, Though not a word He spoke.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt, And plunged me in despair,
I saw my sins His blood had spilt, And helped to nail Him there.

A second look He gave, which said, “I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid; I die that thou mayst live.”

Thus, while His death my sin displays In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace, It seals my pardon too.

by John Newton, best known as author of Amazing Grace, less known as devoted sinner and slave trader whose mother’s prayers finally effected his return to the God of his boyhood.  Beautiful tune to this; look it up, hear it on the ‘net.

After the fire came the flood!

cropped-marquee-for-KULA.pngMany of you have inquired about the office burning down and others about the flooding of three Colorado rivers and some other tributaries and the general excess of water when we got more than 6 months of rainfall in three days.  I did miss one day of work due to the fire and then First Christian Church in Loveland gave me a space until such time as I could find a new place.  I stayed in their offices three days and then was given a very nice office suite, complete with nice furniture.  It was not much more than inconvenient when the floods cut off many of our roads for awhile.  Some roads, like Highway 34 to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, will be years in the rebuilding.  Many were less fortunate and had considerable or even total loss of property and yet others were affected by the death of neighbors and family members.  I volunteered with the Red Cross and the Larimer County Disaster Response Team where I got to meet many of the displaced persons and the emergency responders who were assisting with evacuations, rescues and public safety.  To God be the glory for seeing us through.  We should always be most grateful that He is simply with us.  Never ever will He leave us or forsake us, through the fire and the flood, literally.

My Office Burned Up Yesterday!

office fireHow do you handle adversity?

Surprises, tragedies, changes and losses really test us.  After all, it is only when we can’t figure things out that we can even try to use our faith.

In what ways are you trusting God for what you cannot see or figure out?

I walked a mile with pleasure; she chattered all the way!

Leaving me none the wiser for all she had to say.

I walked a mile with sorrow; and never a word said she.

But, OH! the things I learned from her, when sorrow walked with me.

 

Emotional Intelligence Self-Evaluation

white owl‘What you need now is emotional intelligence,’ was what China’s new president told a graduating class last month at their top tech school.
Now Bloomberg’s Businessweek tells us that Yale’s school of management has added a test of emotional intelligence to its admissions requirements.
And how’s your emotional intelligence?
Just as for IQ, there are several theoretical models of emotional intelligence, each supported by its own set of research findings. The one I’ve proposed — which has fared well in predicting actual business performance — looks at a spectrum of EI-based leadership competencies that each helps a leader be more effective.
Here are some questions that will help you reflect on your own mix of strengths and limits in EI. This is not a “test” of EI, but a “taste” to get you thinking about your own competencies:
1) Are you usually aware of your feelings and why you feel that way?
2) Are you aware of your limitations, as well as your personal strengths, as a leader?
3) Can you manage your distressing emotions well – e.g., recover quickly when you get upset or stressed?
4) Can you adapt smoothly to changing realities?
5) Do you keep your focus on your main goals, and know the steps it takes to get there?
6) Can you usually sense the feelings of the people you interact with and understand their way of seeing things?
7) Do you have a knack for persuasion and using your influence effectively?
8) Can you guide a negotiation to a satisfactory agreement, and help settle conflicts?
9) Do you work well on a team, or prefer to work on your own?
And the good news: emotional intelligence competencies can be upgraded.
Adapted from Dan Goleman, emotional intelligence researcher

Father’s Day

no sweat

This little guy is wondering just how much trouble he might be in once his dad realizes why his neck and back are feeling so warm.

It reminds me just how disgusting and offensive our sin is and yet how God loves us so much as to carry it for us.

Happy Father’s Day to you all and especially to our God and Father of us all.

Heavenly Father, I love You and I’m so blessed to be born into Your family.

Peace, Peace . . . when there is no peace.

Martin Richard Boston 41913Martin Richard asked for “No More Hurting People” on his Peace Poster.  Ironically, we have his photo with the poster as a memory of the tragic Boston Marathon murders and mayhem from April of 2013.

This blog title comes from the words of Jeremiah’s prophecy (chapters 6 and 8).

The fatal flaw in the human condition cannot be remedied by human effort.  Given a few thousand years of repeated human misery and violence, don’t we get it?  The root is SIN, as mentioned in an earlier blog on this site.  We need God’s remedy which is the Cross of Jesus Christ as an end to human failure and the gift of new life is ours, immediately available.  This involves dying to self in order to have His new life.  If guess that is why we hesitate to accept the miracle of new birth and stay in the security of our familiar muck.

What do you think is our problem?  Why don’t we ever change?

My Easter Song

easter_

The Story of Easter

By Mike Coen, 1969 to the tune of Bob Dylan’s Gates of Eden

This is a song about my Lord and what He has done for me.

It started 2000 years ago on a hill called Calvary.

There on a cross between two thieves He gave His blood for men

And the earth did quake, the veil did rend for Jesus.

 

His side was pierced and his body was laid in the tomb of another man.

They posted guards then they sealed the door, “let him get out if he can!”

And Judas, that betrayer, went out and he hanged himself in grief

But I’ll be up and around in no time at all said Jesus.

 

Sunday, three ladies came to the tomb at the rising of the sun.

They were bringing sweet spices to anoint their Lord, The Holy One.

On coming to the garden tomb they saw the stone had been rolled away

And a young man reminded them of the promise of Jesus.

 

That the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of evil men.

As the sign of Jonah, “be buried three days and then I’ll rise again!”

I have words to share that I can’t say now until you are made men

And I go to my Father’s side again said Jesus.

 

Brothers and sisters as we travel on this straight and narrow way,

Let’s not forget that to “ride that train” all will have to pay.

The shame and reproach of that rugged cross, I fear we all must bear

But it’ll all be fine when we shake the hand of Jesus,

It’ll all be fine when we hear “Well done!” from Jesus,

It’ll all be fine when we live FOREVER with Jesus.