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.
My youngest has been singing ever since gathered worship this morning. Power, power, wonder working power; of course it’s the Sean Dutton version not your typical piano/organ combo. It makes me happy to know that she is paying attention but it also is quite scary. You see, I am pretty sure that it the first time we have sung that song since she has been staying out with us before Sunday school. This means that she learned something after one hearing.
What does this mean for me? How many times has she heard me apologize to her after acting selfishly toward her? How many times has she heard me pray for our family? How many times has she heard me tell L that I love her? How many time has she heard so many of the things that will teach her more about the Gospel than any of the different versions of Daniel and the lions den. What she hears from my mouth regarding God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Church, the Gospel…all these things matter much more than buying her the newest kids Bible, or sending her off to Bible class, or even when she gets older – shipping her off to Youth Group. We sometimes think in terms that would label this as baby steps but in actuality they are the very steps that will be with you for your entire life. If you ever get to a point that you do not need to do this, you have actually retarded your understanding as opposed to strengthened your understanding. Live the Gospel in front of your children.
Why does she need to hear this from me? I am her father. This comes with great responsibility as well as the opportunity for great blessing. If you can’t remember the last time you apologized either IN FRONT of your child or TO your child; consider that a reason to go do it right now.
Being a parent is not able being perfect, it’s about sharing God’s grace in your life with your children.
There are many things that I would like to see happen in my life. Some are quite attainable with hard work (6-pack abs), while others seem a little out of reach (2010 VW Scirocco). Still I tend to think that with dedication and clear goals, I can figure out how things should work. When I come upon decisions to make, I get out the ole’ paper and pen in order to start my pro/con list. Seems pretty basic to do so, however I wonder if we use it in too many situations. I know that as for me and my house…we use it too much. Let me explain.
It is one thing to go over the finer points of a decision when you have the major decision-making ability in that situation: buying a car, renting/buying a house, taking a job…pretty straight forward stuff. What if you aren’t in the driver’s seat however? Without getting into a lot of details, it seems as though some things are happening in Laurie and my life that are changing the way we think about our time here on earth. Obviously the biggest challenge to our comfort was Laurie’s aneurysm. This was never placed on a pro/con list. I am pretty certain that the cons would have outweighed the pros and we would have taken door #2. Isn’t it funny how we try to make our pro/con list for things that we have no control over.
James 4:13-17 says: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”-yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this and that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
I had a long conversation with God the other day about everything I thought would give Him glory. I was giving Him my pro/con list as if I was unsure if He had forgotten anything. Really? I am trying to convince God that such-and-such would be good for everyone including Him? How often do you do that same thing? How often do you lay out a good argument for something to happen when it isn’t even close to being in your hands? I know that there is a responsibility to be prudent when we do have a say…but ultimatey it is all the same. We go to God not with a pre-planned offering of what are lives could be; we go to Him with an offering of what our lives are and then He does with it what He may.
Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me. I look forward to what God has in store for us in the coming years. Everything has been taken care of up until this point…why would it change now?
Merriam Webster defines coping as “to meet one’s day-to-day needs”. I have been approached numerous times in the past months with questions regarding how I am coping with the news of 1st my father’s cancer and 2nd, almost losing my wife to a burst aneurysm. If we look at the definition of what coping means…I guess my answer is that I am not coping very well at all. I am failing miserably at coping with everything in my life. God, however, isn’t having a hard time at all meeting my day-to-day needs. In his book You Can Change, Tim Chester says that behind every sin or negative emotion is a lie. When we choose not to trust in God we are believing a lie that something else deserves more trust.
Some dear friends of mine have been preaching the gospel to my heart through this time specifically with certain aspects of God that are summed up in that same book by Chester.
God is great so we don’t have to be in control
God is glorious so we don’t have to fear others
God is good so we don’t have to look elsewhere
God is gracious so we don’t have to prove ourselves
As my life seemed to be getting out of control I had a choice to believe the lie that God is not in control or I could rest in the truth that God is great. Thank God for men in my life who preached the Gospel to my soul and by the grace of God, enabled by Jesus’ death and life, empowered by the Holy Spirit I was able to believe that God is indeed great.
I have written and rewritten the first line of this post 3 times and I can not come up with a sentence that does my thought justice. On Saturday my bride of 8 years almost died. Next thing you know, she’s taking a stroll around the hospital. I am sure that God is doing amazing things both here in Southern Maine and in many other places. There are people recognizing their need for something more. There are people recognizing their need for community. There are people who are taking this opportunity to live their lives to honor our creator God in all that they do.
There are so many people who I have come in contact with this past week that I have never met and I am sure that I never would have met them had this not happened. There are people who have been drawn to the waiting room as if pulled by an unknown force. There are people who have been drawn to contact me who I haven’t seen or talked to in years. This is the work of the Holy Spirit who has been sent to minister not only to me; but to anyone who would humble themselves and realize that there is something bigger than themselves in control of everything.
I can not help but wonder how many people will end up being touched by this one occurence. In truth, I know that it will not be until Heaven that Laurie will fully see the impact that she has had on not only this community but others as well. This is where it gets tricky. We so badly want to lift up Laurie as a wonderful Mother/Wife/Person without recognizing where her help comes from. Milton Vincent says, “Outside of heaven, the power of God in its highest density is found inside the gospel.” The gospel is called the power of God in Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes and in 1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Nothing else is called the power of God except Jesus Christ Himself in 1 Corinthians 1:24.
When we realize that we are not center of the gospel but that God’s glory is, we can truly live in the power that is promised to us. We do not live for our own glory but for the Glory of God. We realize that it is because God first loved us that we even have the opportunity to love others. 1 John 4:19 says it plainly when we read – We love because He first loved us. I want to make it clear that the only thing you’ve seen when I don’t look stressed is God. You may think I’m handling it, that I am being a wonderful husband and father but I assure you that it is because of God’s grace and mercy that I am able to continue day-to-day.
I pray that you would learn about this gospel and seek God in all you do…ALL you do. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says – So, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. There isn’t anything you can do any day of the week that can substitute for getting involved in Christian community and seeking God in all His glory. There also isn’t anything you can do to disqualify yourself from Christian community. We are all sinners who need a savior. We all need to hear the gospel on a daily basis both preached to our selves and from others in community.
I would love to chat with you sometime about why this is so important to me and why it is the center of my life. Let’s grab a beer sometime.
I am sad. Sad because of what I am seeing. Facebook and twitter are lit up. Blogs everywhere, and especially in Maine, are dripping with hate. Words are used. Attitudes are held. Fists are tightened. Lines are drawn.
I wish I knew which way Jesus would have voted on Tuesday. As I stood there at the Hollis fire barn with pen in hand, I prayed. I prayed that I would be true to my conscience which ultimately is the Holy Spirit. I prayed that God would give me one last measure of wisdom before I connected the arrow. I was literally shaking as I left the booth. Did I vote in honor of Jesus or not?
I know that most if not all of you are sure that there was only one way that honored God. And I have close friends who either would have, or did, vote both ways. Yes or no. No or Yes. There were a lot of issues that pressed on my decision. How the law in question was passed, how the Church is treated in that law, whether it mattered one way or the other…does this law change my role as a follower of Jesus Christ?
What I am seeing now is cause for concern. When facebook and twitter glow with praise that ‘our side won’ I immediately thought of the people dancing in the street on 9/11. I know it is much different, I am not trying make a connection other than that is where my mind went. “Down with those who do not believe as we do!” I’m having a hard time finding where it is our job to create a nation politically, in order to save people. I realize it is our job as Christians to vote…but in the words of Ron Sargent…”Change lives not laws.” And before the other guys get all excited…could you please give us a status or a blog without swearing or accusing of hate and bigotry? Is that all you have? The hate that spews/flows/gushes…can’t think of a strong enough word here…is astounding. I’m sure no one will remember this the next time it comes up for voting…which I am sure it will soon. Speaking of the next time. I wonder if the wording will be as kind to churches next time it is written and passed? Makes me wonder if it was as bad as people thought…will it be worse next time? No ‘clause’ protecting churches?
May the grace of Christ cover us all.
This past weekend at Lead09 was quite a trip. I kept oscillating between happiness and sadness as I saw both who was there, and who wasn’t. Knowing what the Gospel can do in the life of God’s church, I was saddened at the faces that I did not see there. Some are faces I would not expect to be there; but are saddened none the less. However, as I looked at the crowd of people who had gathered in Auburn, Maine to rededicate their lives to Gospel, Community, and Mission; I was given Joy from the Giver of Life to see people striving to live on mission for God. Both Tim Chester (blog) and Jonathan Dodson ( creation project – church planting novice), while under the power of the Holy Spirit, proclaimed Jesus’ name and called us to a life of worship through putting off the old and putting on the new.
Most if not all in attendance have many years of church experience, but not much Church experience. We were asked to put off church as an event and put on church as Gospel played out in community for God’s mission. These aren’t brand new themes, however, the point of the Gospel is easy to miss when we are not focused on Jesus.
Some favorite quotes from the weekend are as follows:
The burden of mission is laid on God, while the blessing of mission is given to us.
Christ did not die for ad hoc individuals
The church will never outperform the movies and t.v.
Pot luck dinners are an institutional answer to a communal question
The answer is always squirrel
The key is beer and nametags
I look forward to Lead10 or whatever they call it next year. Maybe Lead 1 aught or Lead 1 nil or even Lead 1 love…either way I am looking forward to next year.