Old Friends, Good Times

Well, here we are again.  The church was packed even with an overflow area for the celebration of another saint gone to be with the Lord.  George lived a life of faith and dedication to serving Jesus.  His influence was wide spread and his testimony never faltered.   As a couple from our house church slid in next to us unseen, the husband, Joe, leaned over and spoke to Pat in a low voice, “Hey good looking, you come here often?”  Before we muffled much laughter, I leaned in and said, “as a matter of fact, too often.”  Funerals seem to be in vogue lately.

 Such is the good-natured attitude when one is fully matriculated into paradise as the Lord calls their name to, “Come forth,” as He did when he raised Lazarus from the dead.  Funerals are the best family and friend reunions.  We encountered many friends whom we hadn’t seen in years.  At one point we stood with an almost complete former Bible study group (nurture group, we called it) of thirty years ago!

One dear couple, Rico and Roxy, stopped by our house before leaving town for some wonderful reminiscing.  In many ways nothing had changed except that the once young college couple were now grandparents!  Other than age, we picked up right where we left off.  One comforting thing about the Christian life is the constancy of our lives.   It is always inspiring to learn of the new ways God is working out His plans.  They are involved with Joni Erickson-Tada in delivering wheel chairs all over South America.  They have some “amazing miracles” stories that seem to be frequent in third world countries.  They both have always had a big heart for the Lord.

I must relay one “miracle” that blessed us almost as much as it did their team in Peru.  When they take the hundreds of donated wheel chairs and other devices to give away, there usually is some amount of adjustment or refabricating to do.  One hopeful, crippled, young girl athlete came and asked if they had a “sports” type chair for her to use in playing sports.  These are specially constructed for competitive sports.  While they told her it was a rarity and they probably didn’t have one, at least they would go through them and look.

After several workers spent time going through all of the chairs with no luck, they had to tell the young girl, sadly, they didn’t have one.  The lady in charge of that area told Rico, “lets go back and check one more time.”  Rico said, “we’ve gone through all of them, we don’t have one.”  The lady convinced him to go through them again since she felt led to do so.  You have guessed the ending, for up on another deck where walkers, canes and other devices were separated out, someone spotted something partially hidden.  They investigated and uncovered the “Cadillac of sports chairs.”  It was entirely misplaced and in perfect condition.  Needless to say, the girl was ecstatic and so thankful.  When they sense the heart of this ministry, many are open to receiving the reason for their work; the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I can see the Hollywood production now, where the music begins to build; the person looks up and sees the light glinting off of something in the dirt and dust.  The camera begins a slow moving in on the object as a beam of light shines through the roof flooding the brand new chair (no dust or dirt) in heavenly glory as the music crescendos to an emotional fever pitch.  There’s not a dry in the house.  Seriously, it is such a blessing to hear of the personal experiences doing the Lord’s bidding.

In hearing these stories, we all wondered why the United States doesn’t seem to be in step with the growth of Christianity.  In fact, according to these folks, South Korea has a larger Christian population than the U.S.  We agreed that the U.S. is a post-Christian nation that may be coming under the judgment of God.

Rico and Roxy are not the only one’s from our old days of “nurture groups” that have looked back and voiced a hind-sight perspective of the spiritual growth that took place during those years.  Others have commented that at the time we really did not fully appreciate being on the “forefront’ of experiencing God’s work in small group Bible study and fellowship.  There is something very basic and “New Testamenty” about that spiritual dynamic.  The “House Church” we have attended for eight years is but an extension of our old “nurture” group.

In talking about everything spiritual, Rico mentioned that in the past he was not only a student of the Bible and Christian theology, but had taken a special interest in the study of cults.  Walter Martin’s “Kingdom of the Cults” has been the definitive work on the subject.  Over the years he learned that few seemed interested in the subject, and in fact he often experienced less than favorable reactions from other Christians to the point where now he says, “I just keep my mouth shut!”  I sometimes feel the same way although both Rico and I have a hard time really keeping quiet.  We found very fertile ground as we exchanged almost identical concerns while we both “preached to the choir.”  Actually it was not just us guys, Pat and Roxy joined in to make it a team preaching to the choir.  I was pleasantly surprised that both of them were up to speed on the emergent church.  They were able to articulate knowledge and understanding that I find rare.

Well, enough of this boring account; I guess you’d a had to been there.  We, again, were blessed with the celebration of heaven and the connection with our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  Praise God for Old Friends and Good Times.

 

 

 

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