Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ministry Update - June 2011

AN APPOINTMENT WITH DESTINY

An unexpected nurse came to my room early in the morning of May 12. Already awake, I had a sense of providence despite what was ahead. "You will be the first to receive an angiogram today. We'll get you at 7:30," she said politely.

I knew I had experienced a recent heart attack. I also knew that my scheduled procedure would determine the exact location of any blockages in my heart. Angioplasty and stents would then be used to open these passages.

My emotions were conflicted, as I was pleased to get the procedure done early but disappointed that none of my family would arrive in time. So there I was lying alone and silent at the Minneapolis Heart Institute in South Minneapolis. God plus no one. Strangely, it seemed appropriate. In my place of crisis, there was only one familiar face. Even as I lay helpless, on the edge of life and death, He would never leave me.

I began to consider how often angels are dispatched to help those in similar situations. As unseen caregivers, they have provided tremendous blessings to countless people. Despite this, I somehow knew that Jesus had decided to come to me personally. All I could say was "I want to give you my heart - my damaged, broken physical heart." Suddenly, I saw Him holding it and knew He had accepted my request. Overwhelmed with thankfulness, I said, "From now on, it only beats for you."

Soon the hospital staff arrived and I went in for the dangerous procedure. Amazingly, in Operating Room Seven, I had seven stents placed in my arteries. The operation was more extensive than anticipated but it was perfect. His heart was now beating in my chest.

Although I have served Christ for nearly forty years, the experience ushered me into a deeper level of union with Him. Ironically, I had given Him my physical life but escaped death's sting. As a result, I received a greater sense of my spiritual destiny on earth.

The next morning, I looked out the window of my recovery room and observed a surprisingly familiar church steeple emerging from the rooftops. I then checked the time and realized my Christian coworkers were having their weekly prayer meeting precisely at that moment. I then realized God had divinely orchestrated the time and place I would stay in the hospital. His love and the love of His servants just overwhelmed me.

When I was finally released from the hospital, I recalled something my daughter had shared with me a couple of months ago. While praying, she saw my life in the form of a book. This book had many interesting chapters but she was surprised to discover several blank pages at the very end. The Lord then revealed to her that they were extra pages He was giving me. Without my awareness of an imminent heart attack, God had already determined to extend my life.

By His grace, I am now able to expand my work as chaplain of Crow Wing County. I am able to continue to spread His Kingdom message through books and teaching. I am able to continue my ministry to my friends and family. I am able to complete God's will for my life!



WINNING THE HAND OF RACHEL

One of the greatest love stories in the Bible is revealed in Genesis 29. Young Jacob was smitten by beautiful Rachel and desired her more than anyone else in this world. Consequently, Jacob was willing to pay anything to have her as his bride.

Rachel's father, Laban, took full advantage of Jacob's love by demanding seven years of hard labor for her hand. Even at this steep price, the Bible tells us Jacob agreed because "they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her" (Gen. 29:20).

Besides the labor contract, Laban deceived Jacob by switching Rachel for her older sister Leah on their wedding night. The next morning, Jacob was shocked and saddened by the appearance of Leah. He insisted Rachel be given to him according to their agreement. Laban defended his actions by claiming their customs require the older daughter must be married before the younger daughter.

Despite the injustice, Jacob agreed to work another seven years for Rachel. As a result, she finally became Jacob's bride. The narrative serves as a wonderful testimony of a young man's deep and irrepressible devotion for the woman of his dreams despite unexpected hardships and obstacles.


Many Christians were once captivated by a beautiful Rachel. Perhaps she was a longing for renewal in our church, a dream of revival in our community, or a vision for foreign missions. At one time, this yearning transcended all other desires. We were willing to pay any price for her. Like Jacob, fulfilling the dream involved many years of hard work and sacrifice. Unfortunately, when we anticipated success, we often experienced discouragement, disappointment, and injustice. At that point, tragically, many of us did something we never imagined we would do - we decided to settle for Leah.

Rather than fighting on, we settled down. We took what was common rather than what was exceptional. We went with something more reasonable and obtainable. Our compromise did not fulfill the original dream but it became a safe alternative.

Ironically, Leah bore Jacob six sons while Rachel produced only two. Leah gave Jacob fruitfulness and abundance while Rachel died in the birth of her second son. Leah appeared to be the more productive wife for Jacob but she was still not the God-given dream - that could only be Rachel.

Is there a Rachel remaining to be won in your life? Has God given you a dream that is yet to be fulfilled? If so, don't lose heart. Don't give up. Don't settle for less. She is still worth the price. In our remaining years, let us pursue our God-given destinies for His glory and the expansion of His Kingdom!



The Clash of Kingdoms Coming to Amazon!

The Clash of Kingdoms will soon be available through many outlets on the Internet. We trust this expanded distribution will help others pursue their spiritual destiny and bring His Kingdom to this earth.