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The backstory: In 1997 … and again in 1999 … I was part of a singing group from Living Word Church and FBC Pelham, which went to Russia and Latvia on a mission trip. We worshiped and sang, on the earlier trip, at Church Emmanuel in Pskov, Russia, and then New Life Christian Church in Bauska, Latvia. anxiety attack treatment in er And I made friends in both, that are still online friends, to this day!

In any event, on the second trip, limited to the church in Pskov .. for a music conference … I flew to Riga a week ahead of time, and spent most of the week visiting friends there in Bauska. Then, on the weekend, I rode with Aivars Berlinski (one of my yet-today friends) over to Pskov for the conference.

The worship was led by a young man by the name of Alexander "Sasha" Medvedev, one of my still-friends, and an incredible worship leader.

He led from the keyboard and the service went on for several hours with him seamlessly leading worship. I was, and am still, quite impressed.

At the end of the service, Aivars came over to me and asked what I was doing after the service. I told him that my hosts had mentioned dinner at their apartment, at which Aivars seemed disappointed. I suggested he could come with me and the Stepanovs, and he said no, he didn’t want to intrude. I said nonsense … I am your elder so do as I say, and pointed out Mrs. Stepanov … the brothers’ mom … and said go check with her. significado de anoxia Of course it was OK, so he went with us.

So, in the Stepanov apartment for dinner was The Stepanov brothers & their mom, Sasha & his musical partner Dima, Aivars Berlinski, Jeff Hairrell … my roomie for the week (also a skilled keyboard man and classically trained singer), and me.

His funeral was held today at FBC Pelham. And a celebration it was! Two things about it were outstanding to me. One was that, after our former Pastor, Mike Shaw, spoke his own tribute to Jason, Natalie … Jason’s widow … gave a captivating eulogy of her own. And the joy of the Lord was all over it.

Then, our Pastor Daven Watkins gave what is best described s a sermon. And it revolved around Romans 8:28 … "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." And I think that those Followers of Jesus who were in attendance could really feel the truth of that statement.

We would all do well to view everything with an eye on Psalm 116:15 … which tells us that the death of His saints is precious to Him. And my personal goal is to view everything through as much of God’s eyes as I as I can appropriate …. namely: "What does God think of this?"

I think God smiled at what’s happened over the last 6 days. As in: From Jason’s first attack early last week, through the celebration at 2867 Pelham Parkway early this afternoon. It may take a lot of years to see all the good that will come of all this. anxiety attack meaning in tagalog But you cannot get any more certain than this:

For one thing, why would we want to get more people into our churches to become faux disciples who won’t even talk of their faith except in church? Wouldn’t we be better off making real disciples of the millions God already sent us, to make disciples? And if God sent them to us, for us to make disciples, why would He send us more if we haven’t done the job with the ones He already sent us?

Could it be that He has noted the production of millions of Christians who don’t know enough about our faith to initiate a discussion about our faith, with someone else we don’t believe to be a Christian? And could it be that He is now cleaning up the bride for that Wedding Ceremony-to-end-all-wedding-ceremonies?

I’ve taken to asking a couple of questions, of people. One is asking them to describe how they met their spouse. Folks are perfectly willing to do so, even though they don’t tell me everything they recall … what color shoes, etc … they had on at the time. The other question is to describe their homes. Again, perfectly willing to do that, even though they may not know everything there is to know.

When challenged about his faith, by the Sadducees, Peter said "… we cannot help speak of what we have seen and heard". And that seems to be what’s missing among SBC churches … people simply willing to speak of what they have seen and heard.

A lot of things make sense … reluctance to start such a conversation for fear we don’t know enough … misunderstanding of what it means to give a witness … the thought, with all the "plans" we teach … that there’s more we should know, etc … if we simply assume that truth of what, IMHO has brought the SBC to the recently-mentioned, but long-true conditions is behind what’s happening now:

Now, the tops were Formica, so we had to get some special primer so the new paint would adhere to the tops. God bless Peg … who has turned into a real computer/internet whiz … she found us some at one of the big stores that carry enough stuff to plan, build, finish, and tear down your house. Which is where we bought it.

The job was fraught with all sort of little wrinkles, but one day I’d finished the tops with a brownish-gray hammered finish, and the sides with the gloss black. Peg pointed out a couple of drips and runs on the sides, and I responded nobody would really ever see them, and besides, I didn’t even know where we would put them. She said that others would as we would probably not keep them.

I have to wonder if I am always mindful that what I do in the Kingdom work is not for me. And it’s not for the folks I am teaching or ministering to … it’s being done for Jesus. After all, the absolute best work anybody ever did, anywhere, any time, was done at Calvary … by Him … and for us.

There is such a plethora of witnessing "plans" floating around ….. so many books have been written inviting you to read them .. so you can witness without fear … that folks may be under the impression that there’s something else they need to know before they can witness properly. And that thought is simply wrong. The thought that there is anything to fear in witnessing for Jesus.

The one part of your salvation experience that no one can argue with is what actually happened to you. Joseph Garlington, IMHO, spoke well when he said "A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." As long as it passes the test of Scripture … hey, we don’t always get it right, you know … then you know what God has done in your life!

In my case, I know what happened when I was 11. When my dad reminded me of what I had learned in VBS … that if you believe in Jesus, you go to Heaven when you die … and I care not how many atheists line up to tell me otherwise, it would not change one bit of what happened to me then.

When we’re talking about witnessing about our faith, in church or Sunday School, I’ll frequently ask folks to describe their homes. anoxic brain damage prognosis We’ll usually hear about square feet, bedrooms and baths, siding, garages, all the usual things. After that, I’ll ask about nails, shingles, furnace BTU’s, feet of piping in the plumbing system …. stuff like that. Folks normally say they don’t know … my usual response is that I don’t know that stuff about my house either, and it doesn’t bother me that I don’t.

I recall a morning in Kindergarten, when the teacher had to leave the room for a few minutes. She asked me to lead the other children in counting from One to One Hundred, since she knew my parents had already taught me that. So I did, and I recall it was the first time I ever felt good about myself.

When I got back to the classroom, I gave the ribbon to the teacher to keep in his desk. As I was returning to my seat, a Girl named Audrey said something sarcastic, like "Awww … you’re giving you precious ribbon to the teacher so it will be safe, huh?" Walking back to my desk, I mouthed "Nyah Nyah Nyah" at her.

Well, my Dad always told me to never hit a lady, but if a woman ever hit me, she wasn’t no lady…. So, instinctively, I backhanded her across her face. She was so shocked that she stumbled back, hit the empty desk across from me, and fell head over heels into the next aisle.

On the plus side, if she’d gone out for the High School Gymnastics Team in 1952, she’d have had a head start on Backflips….. But on the minus side, 5 minutes after being formally presented with the big ribbon over there, we were both sent to the Principal’s office. anoxic tank design My first time ever, since I was really a model student.

It occurred to me that this was all a pretty good lesson to learn. So if you’re a poor lost soul like me, whom Jesus drew to Himself and saved your soul, don’t let anything the world awards you change or replace that realization. We may be referred to as priests and saints in Scripture, but we didn’t win that award … Jesus did. He’s just graciously sharing it with us.