The Morning After

Yesterday was not a dream. It seems that the whirlwind that was my April 5 is now gone. Dad is sleeping more peacefully and soundly then he has in more that 2 weeks. The people here at the Gosnel House are great as they care for the families and patients alike.

There were quite a few people in here last night and I know that my father appreciated it.

The question “why us” briefly popped up in my head last night after I was left here alone with my Dad. The Holy Spirit quickly answered with, “why NOT you?” Darrin Patrick quoted Elizabeth Elliot yesterday when he said, ” God will not protect you from anything that will make you more like Jesus. ”

When we view every situation as good or bad, we tend to leave God out of it. When God’s grace shifts our thinking on these matters, we see every situation as not good or bad, but as an opportunity to give God more glory for what He alone has already done.

My father showed me the importance of daily communion with God. He showed me the importance of a local church body. He is currently showing me how to ” go out on top ” by taking care of the things to be cared for and not focusing on self. Up until his last coherent moment, he was trying to make sure Mom was taken care of.

In the world that we live in, it is not often that a man like me can look back at such a constant role model in his father. For that I am grateful. God deemed it necessary to be born unto Donald L Coldwell and I thank God right now for that decision of God’s.

I love you Dad. Soon you will be free of all disease and will be in your new body throwing the many crowns you have earned at the feet of Jesus.

Selah

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It Isn’t Supposed To Be This Way

In case some of you don’t watch what’s going on with my Dad. Here is what I just posted on http://www.psalm20seven.wordpress.com

In the beginning Adam & Eve enjoyed perfect communion with each other and with God. The idea of cancer, death, sickness, or mourning was not found anywhere. Sin entered into the picture fracturing all of creation, and we live with these consequences daily. It isn’t supposed to be this way.

But yet, it is.

Dad is at peace.

How?

Grace.

Even though sin crushed our world, causing pain and suffering, yesterday we celebrated the defeat of that death. Romans 6:9 states that death HAS NO DOMINION over Jesus. Titus 3:7 explains that we became heirs along with Christ BY GRACE. Dad and Christ are heirs. Dad was adopted to become a child of God and lives looking forward to his next level of inheritance – ultimate healing. Do I pray that God miraculously heals my Dad tonight? – YES. Do I also believe that God, not wanting to see his creation destroyed, sent his Son Jesus to live a perfect life and be killed for it? – YES. Do I also believe that God raised Jesus from the grave, miraculously defeating death and allowing my Dad to get a taste of that? – YES. When my Dad dies, no matter when that is, it will be miraculous when he stands face to face with his one and only savior. Either way it’s a miracle.

People have been making music since the beginning of time yet it was not until recently that this song was written and released to the public. The song is Worn by Tenth Avenue North and it has a few lines that are speaking to me these days.

I know I need to lift my eyes up, but I’m too weak, life just won’t let up. And I know that You can give me rest, so I cry out with all that I have left.

Dad meets with the hospice nurse tomorrow afternoon and we pray that they will be able to come up with a plan of action that helps him. Please take this opportunity to leave a note here. If you have been wanting to send a note of encouragement and prayer but have been waiting, wait no longer.

 

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Ed Stetzer – New England: New Research and Analysis on America’s Least Religious Region

This was recently published by Ed Stetzer and it speaks loudly to what many of us have been experiencing already. Join with me and pray for New England. Let’s not make this report merely eye opening but action inducing.

 

Ed Stetzer – New England: New Research and Analysis on America’s Least Religious Region.

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Church Planting Intern

In February of 2013 I accepted a position as a Church Planting Intern in Maine. This position is a one year contract where my responsibilities will cover a wide range of duties. Ultimately in the coming year I hope to catalog the year as I learn, study, and minister in this way.

The first book on my list to read this year was Church Planter by Darrin Patrick. This was a great primer to the seriousness and specific nature of a church planter. This book is divided up into three sections focusing on three aspects of a planter. The Man, The Message, and The Mission. Interestingly enough, it was the Preface that I remember the most. This is where Darrin details a prayer that he prays with his son that has me thinking of how I can pray specifically for my sons and daughters as they grow.

God, make me a man with thick skin and a soft heart. Make me a man who is tough and tender. Make me tough so I can handle life. Make me tender so I can love people.God, make me a man.

I want to create one for my daughters as well, frame them, and hang them in each bedroom. I have been challenged to be more purposeful in how I pray for and with my children.

Without going into great detail about every chapter I will say that Church Planter IS NOT a how-to book on plating a church. This is a gut check for any man looking to plant a church. It is a clear calling to the specific message of the saving power of THE Gospel of Jesus. At the end of each chapter there are very helpful questions designed to bring about introspection and in every case they worked for me.

As a CPI in Maine I do not feel called to plant a church right this second. What I DO want, is to help plant churches. This will end up looking like nothing I had planned, but I know that God has a specific plan for the coming year.

Please join me/follow me/encourage me as I take the next year and open my heart to God. Here is a promotional video for Church Planter from back when the book came out in 2010.

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Hiking in 2012

In 2012 I am going hiking.

“Brilliant post Don, absolutely brilliant!” Yeah I know. Here’s the deal. I started Bible college in 2000 because no other school would accept me. One semester into it, I wanted to be a pastor/teacher/student of the Bible. My life has been a working towards that goal. Every job I have had was a step towards that goal, not a place of ministry. Sure I shared the gospel with people I worked with, but it wasn’t ministry to me. My life has been the pursuit of vocational ministry and until recently, that was my calling. Well, I say calling but it was actually my idol. You see, anything we put as ultimate other than God is idolatry. I sacrificed my family at the altar of vocational ministry. I sacrificed my jobs at the altar of vocational ministry.

In Genesis 22:2 God calls Abraham to climb a mountain and sacrifice his love. His son that he had waited for. God promised that he would raise up a nation from his offspring Isaac, and then asked Abraham to kill him.

God is calling me to go hiking with my idol vocational ministry and kill it. This year I’m going hiking.

Here is the hard part.

He might not provide a ram in the bushes.

Sometimes it is easy to act when we see a picture in the Bible already. We hear preachers ask us if we are willing to give up that which we love the most and we always say yes. We might nod in the affirmative as we hear the Word preached, but it is only because we know how the story ends…Abraham didn’t end up having to do it. There was a ram in the bushes.

Some of you need to go hiking with me. Pray about it. You might not find a ram.

 

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You Can’t Out-Give God?

I read Malachi 3:6-12 and couldn’t help but wonder what I could take from that passage. There are clearly passages that should not be taken as word for word commands and others that can not be understood in any other way. Husbands are told to love their wives in Eph 5:25 and there is no wiggle room. David worshiped in his underwear…we should try to avoid that here in the US.

Malachi 3:6For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 7From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say how shall we return? 8Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say how have we robbed you? In your tithes and contributions. 9You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11I will rebuke the devourer for you, so it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. 12Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.  (ESV)

Can we take this passage to be directed at us? Is this for Israel and not Don Coldwell? Does this mean if we give, we get? This book was more than likely written during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah and we can bring a few things to the table as a result of this.

1 – This would have been written for the nation of Israel. Vs 9 states that the ‘whole nation’ is robbing God. The nation is coming back from exile and they have been robbing God for years and probably a while even here since we read that Ezra leads a revival when they get bogged down. The assumption is that the blessings would be national as opposed to individual.

2 – He isn’t talking about the US but is He speaking to the Church? If the Church is the new Israel then it is a bit of a different answer than if not. Hard-line dispensationalists would more than likely say that we are not ‘new Israel’ so therefore we can not claim any part of this passage. Our good friends who are a bit more reformed might look at us as the ‘new Israel’  so we need to take a quick peek which brings me to …

3 – I wonder why there were specific provisions for the poor if God is going to give us back more than what we give Him? If He is going to bless them to the point of having ‘no more need’ then why would there still be need? Is Malachi leading us to the new covenant of Jesus? It sure does point to Him but it is clearly OT in function.

In Luke 21 a woman is praised for her giving of her two copper coins. Her last two. We don’t get to see the next week of her life. Did she get a check placed under her door for the exact cost of the electric bill as s many stories would suggest? Did she end up dying of starvation for giving here only money to the church?

Is the tithe right or wrong? No.

Is this a promise that if I give to God, He’ll give me more? No.

In the end I think that the trite sayings that “You can’t out-give God” and “God’s shovel will always be bigger than yours” don’t end up doing people any good.

If we see what God has done for us every day and we can see and teach people to understand the gospel in a way that shows that we are already sitting in God’s shovel; we will then be able to give in a way that will not cause God to bless us but will allow us to see all the ways in which He already has.

How’s that for my 100th post?

-Cheers

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Old Years Recap and New Years Hope

Dear Friends and Family,
Well it seems we didn’t get Christmas cards out this year.  For one reason (or maybe 100 reasons) it just didn’t happen.  So lucky you gets our e-version of a New Years letter!

The past year has brought it’s share of surprises and excitement…and yet at the same time its share of sadness.
In March we celebrated Laurie’s one year anniversary from her aneurysm.  As we looked back over the prior year we were amazed at how far God had brought us.  We followed that up by celebrating 2 birthdays (Laurie’s and Eliza’s 3rd birthday) and then a trip to Haiti!  It was then that we got to meet and spend time with Djemson and Sophia.  We loved our time there and we miss them!  We also are amazed at how quickly Emma, Sam and Eliza have loved them, and how often they ask when they will be home.  They pray for them, talk about them, and draw pictures of them.
May brought about our ten year anniversary, but it was the middle of gearing up for Emma’s dance recital with practices!  We were very proud of Emma and the work she put in to her dance class this past year, and we look forward to this coming recital in June.  We were able to go away in June for a weekend for our anniversary, which was a nice time away.
June also saw the end of preschool for Sam, and the completion of 2nd grade for Emma.  Both did an excellent job in school and while they looked forward to the summer, they were sad to see the school year end.  We were able to fill the summer with trips to the library, stops at the park, lots of playing at beaches and lakes, a weekend camping trip and Sam’s 5th birthday!  We had a great summer of the kids being home.
The end of August brought Laurie’s first seizure.  We are thankful that she was in a public place with the kids and not driving (as was the original plan to just ‘head home’).  After a whirlwind week of doctors appoints she started Keppra and has been seizure free since.  In November she was able to resume her normal activities including driving the kids to preschool, running errands and more.
School started late for Emma thanks to Hurricane Irene, and she was very disappointed, but 3rd grade is going well.  Sam and Eliza are both in preschool this year ~ Sam goes 3 days a week and Eliza goes 2 days.  They like being at the same school and love their friends and their teachers.  We are blessed to have them!  September also brought Djemson’s birthday and Don’s birthday.  The fall also brought the beginning of soccer season where all 3 kids played.  It was a great fun season.  We also saw the completion of collecting every piece of paper for our Dossier.  We were excited to see that we have all those papers!
With the completion of the Dossier, comes the need for finances.  It has been weighing heavy on our hearts as yesterday was Sophia’s 9th birthday.  We miss our kids, and we long to have them join us.  In honor of Sophia’s birthday (and Djemson’s birthday in September) we are asking people to consider donating to our adoption fund so that we can send in our Dossier and the process really begin in bringing them home.  Our ‘timer’  does not start until our final payment is made and our Dossier is delivered.  Donations can be made at Sanford Institution for Savings, 254 Long Plains Rd, Buxton, ME 04093. Please make gifts payable to ‘Haiti Children’ fund. You can also use Paypal through Laurie’s website http://www.peanutbutterandfluff.blogspot.com/
We look forward to what God has for us in 2012.  If we had sent a ‘real’ Christmas card there would have been two photos included.  So we leave these with you. Love the Coldwell Jr Clan.

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