What is Christmas About to me?

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By Pastor Jeff,

I asked this question on Facebook recently and received answers that I pretty much expected, “salvation, the greatest gift, and  God’s love”  these are answers I agree with wholeheartedly. Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

I must let it be know that I love Christmas, though the commercialism of it can be sometimes overwhelming, but even with that I can smile at. Since my grand kids came along my love for Christmas has grown as I get great joy in finding out what gifts they would like, the shopping for; whether on-line or in the store I find exciting, and then seeing the joy on their faces as they open their gifts.

I love that we have the opportunity to share the gospel as it seems people are more open to the message of Jesus Christ coming into the world to save sinners, who I am chief.  John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” becomes a powerful verse at this time of the year.

With that I must say that the last and this years Christmas is different in many ways for in the fall of 2018 I lost a good friend and my eldest son passed away, then this past January my youngest daughter also passed on after a battle with cancer. This of course has devastated me as I’m sure many before me that have gone through similar instances have. The interesting thing is that I don’t feel sorry for myself but have become more aware of those around who Christmas or any holiday, birthday, anniversary that has become hard to face.

I’m aware that though I still have that joy since I have hope in Christ Jesus, others don’t, and even those that do can struggle immensely. I understand that pain even with this hope and I realize that some will go through depression, anger, sadness that many can never understand. I become more sensitive to those and though I love this holiday I have learned the hard way that we can’t just brush people off and ignore the real hurt that is going on in their lives. 2Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

To those that are going through tough times, who are hurting, who are mourning a loved one, I want to let you know that you are not alone, and God loves you and is with you in these times. Knowing this is what kept me and still keeps me going even though there is a great hole in my heart!

If you don’t know this God who loved you so much that He became a child, lived, suffered, died, and rose again so that we may have a hope beyond this corrupt world, I encourage you to find a bible believing church. If you are a believer and still are having a hard time, I also encourage you with the word from Apostle Paul in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” This life is temporal and relatively short but we will have an eternity to spend with Jesus Christ and our loved ones who have become Born Again.

This is what Christmas means to me this year!

My prayer for you is of comfort, hope, peace, and even that you may find joy this Christmas season, God Bless you!

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Uncomfortably Numb!

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By Pastor Jeff,

I was and still am a little a fan of the Rock group, “Pink Floyd” who did a song in the 70’s called “Comfortably Numb”. Sometimes we welcome numbness when we are battling depression, sickness or disease, and even tragedy we welcome numbness.  It’s a kind of a defense mechanism to help us deal and sometimes avoid dealing with things around or in us. This can be helpful if you do eventually allow some of those feelings come back, are able to face them, and get resolution from it.

Being unable to feel pain may sound appealing, but it would be extremely hazardous to your health. Pain is, for most of us, a very unpleasant feeling, but it serves the important evolutionary purpose of alerting us to potentially life-threatening injuries. Without it, people are more prone to hurting themselves and so, because they can be completely oblivious to serious injuries, a life without pain is often cut short. There is in fact a disease called, “Congenital Analgesia” which has disastrous results for those who suffer from it such as severe burns, cuts, biting of their tongues and so on. Leprosy also can leave to nerve damage which can lead to broken bones, cuts, burns as well.

So what do I mean by “uncomfortably numb?” That is the best way I can describe about how I have felt since the passing of my daughter. I’m forever grateful for the 37 years I had with her and know we will meet again but since her passing I have had the range of grief, sorrow, depression, and now numbness. Isaiah 53:3, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” This I know, that Jesus has been with me all the way through this process and His presence has been a immense comfort to me. I really don’t have a clue how a person can get through things in life without Him. I’m also aware that the numbness I have is not something that is beneficial to the Kingdom of God for Christ tells us in Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” 

So this numbness that I have is becoming uncomfortable but I also want to hang on to it for if I have to endure any more sadness it would be almost impossible to accept it. As a christian though it is imperative for all of us to open up our arms and hearts to anyone that God puts in our path. It’s not easy but staying numb to those around us will only cause hurt, brokenness, lack of love for others, and even affect our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I know there are many others out there that have had tragedies similar or even worse that our family has but if we are to be effective witnesses to our lost and dying award we must step out of that numbness and surrender our wills and lives to Jesus.

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When Words are Not Enough!

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By Pastor Jeff,

Deuteronomy 31:6,“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” This promise is repeated in Hebrew 13:5-6, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

As our family is dealing with the loss of two loved ones in a period of less than 15 months we have heard the statement repeated several times by people, “I don’t have words” or “I can’t even know what your are dealing with”. This is true as the old Indian saying goes, “walk a mile in his moccasins.” which is plain to understand that you can never feel or understand what another person is going through unless you have experienced the same thing. Even then can be difficult to comprehend as we all react to things somewhat differently based on our faith, relationship, and age.

This saying, “When you can’t look at the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark” comes from the movie in Alice in Wonderland, I had purchased a T-shirt with the phrase and had wore it to a interview from a local newspaper not thinking that a couple months later it would express my thoughts of today. It has been difficult and may never happen for at least me to go back and continue my life as it was before. It’s hard to be in a  group and discuss the things that once mattered to me. I even told people close to me that I need to be just left alone, that I had no interest in talking about it, but I know through it all that Jesus was there not telling me it will be alright but sitting with me holding my hand, handing me tissue to wipe the tears from my eyes (figuratively).

Listen, Jesus no matter how you feel, what you are experiencing, what you are thinking, in the greatest hours of despair, Jesus is there! Don’t always expect Him to speak words in your ears, to shake you, to even hug you, but know He is there, trust that!

It’s been very difficult in seeing any good of the tragic loss of my son and daughter and when I shared my daughters legacy in our church the scripture that God gave me is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” To be honest I don’t feel good about what happened, I do Love God with everything in me and I do believe I am called for His purpose. But the good I can’t fathom, it hurts way to much at this point in time to think that, but I do believe it. Maybe all that will come of it is that I will get to share my story how no matter what has come my way, I can stand, even if my knees may be weak and wobbly, I will still stand, and if you ever find yourself not able to look at the bright-side I will sit with you even in the dark!

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A Time to Weep!

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By Pastor Jeff,

It’s been a while since I have done a blog mainly because I was in a very sorrowful state for the past two months as we were preparing the passing of my wonderful daughter. It is still very hard to believe that she is not with us in this present world but I know without a doubt I will see her soon.

John 11:35, “Jesus wept” the shortest verse in the King James Bible and probably one of the more popular scriptures used in sermons today. I find it amazing how men try to make it out to be something more than it says. We all are aware of the circumstance of this event in which Jesus’ good friend Lazarus has passed away. Jesus when he arrives He is met by Lazarus sisters Martha and Mary who are obviously grieving over the loss of their brother and why Jesus did not come immediately and heal him before he died.

John 11:33-34, “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.” Many have tried to read something into this as Jesus was weeping because of their unbelief or lack of faith that He could not of only healed Lazarus but could of raised him from the dead. Once again I don’t think anything should be added to this scripture to further dramatize the emotion Jesus shared with those there.

Jesus wept, something every person on this earth has done one time or another, we cannot place Jesus on some pedestal that excludes that He was both God and man. Jesus felt emotion, Jesus is not above feeling our hurts, Jesus is not a God that is not acquainted with our grief. The Bible tells us differently, Isaiah 53:3-4, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

The last few months have been extremely tough on my family and me. I can count on one hand the days I have not grieved and shed tears over the loss of my daughter. It has been said the average person generates 1.4 ml. of tears a day, I have surpassed that by 20-100 fold. I lay in bed many a night crying before I fall off to sleep, I have had dreams in which I have been weeping and wake up weeping. I weep for my granddaughters who will grow up without there mother, I weep for her husband who will go on with life without his helpmate, and I do weep for myself over the thoughts of going on with events, celebrations, holidays without her, and I miss her so.

Jesus wept, and that gives me hope of a God who knows and shares my grief. I know one day joy will return in my life but today like Jesus did, I weep!

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The Peace that Passes…

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By Pastor Jeff,

It’s been a while since I had a chance to post a blog and I must say its been a very busy past month. My wife, a few friends, and me took a well deserved vacation down to the Creation Museum/Ark Encounter for a Pastor/Leadership conference. I also took a three day training class in Green Bay WI for becoming a Chaplain for the Rock County Sheriffs Dept. which I consider a great privilege.

So as I write this I am also thinking on my Son, Jeffrey W. who our family lost unexpectedly exactly one year ago today. Last week was also the one year anniversary of a good friends death, Russ, as well, so you would think I would be relating about how awful I am feeling. Not So!

Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” It has to be one of the worse events that any parent could ever endure in that he or she has to bury a child and I will not minimize the pain that comes from it. It’s been said that time heals all wounds but a situation like this will never heal completely nor would I want it to. Jeff was my son, I loved him and would gladly of traded my life for his.

I also have come to the point in my life that I desire to completely surrender to the will of God and the great part of that is that Jesus is there to help us in the rough times, Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 

At times I must admit I feel guilty that I do not feel that horrible ache in my stomach that I have had at the beginning of all this. It’s not that time has dulled the pain or that I did not love my son or my friend. It’s only by the love of God and His peace that I can face this tragedy head on. This brings me to the thought of those who go through tragedies like this without Christ in their lives; I really don’t know how you can. No wonder people head to the bottle, pills, or even commit suicide to run from the pain. I implore you to seek Jesus Christ and draw to Him as close as possible, for that is the only true way you can get peace during these times!

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