Pastor Jeff’s Full Blog Posts
In the letter Ephesians in what we call the 6th chapter St. Paul talks about the Armor of God and that we are to wear it constantly. Then he also says when we have done everything else we need to stand.
This afternoon I was at a Food 4 Less store and I was wandering around trying to remember past Cat food what we needed. Fruit , veggies, buttermilk …you know the drill without the list. (Well, most men know what I am talking about.) So there I am enjoying the air conditioner and really enjoying the cold air off the meat departments’ coolers, when my revelry in the realm of cool air is disrupted by a really angry voice and a whimpering response.
I really do know what it is about me that combination of sounds just upsets me no end. It started long before I was a Pastor in my teens I think. Maybe it is because I am first born and the defense of little brothers is ingrained.
So I start wandering towards the sounds. So here is this young man who is pushing maybe 21 years and here is this young woman maybe a little younger and with a child in the cart and the baby is crying and the young man is angry because the baby is crying . Now I have this line, a restriction for me that I will not physically intervene unless there is going to be violence. So I would allow the young man to rant and rave and stay in the background praying which once they know someone is watching they calm down. But if it begins escalating into him striking her the blow will not occur.
And so this young man crosses the line and he was not going to hit the infant to which he got a loud deep voice commanding “HOLD!”, followed by my presence next to the child.
The guy’s response was screaming, “BUT SHE WON’T SHUT UP!”
“She is afraid of you and since she can’t talk she is crying for help from God and now she has it. So you need to cool off. Go take a walk outside, smoke a cigarette, and calm down. AND then ask yourself this question: am I willing to spend the next 15 years of my life in jail for child abuse.” (Phil, I gave him your card I hope the number is still good. Phil is a friend of mine that helps guys who anger problems. He is really good at what he does.)
The Armor of God gives us the ability to stand in the face of the enemy. It is easy to speak a word and walk away but it is damn hard to speak against the Kingdom of Darkness and when it rises up to challenge your word to Stand Your Ground. I think it is in Revelation that it says that we overcome the enemy by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb and by not loving our lives even in the face of death. The standing part in Ephesians 6 is directly linked to the not loving our lives unto death part.
The end of the Food 4 Less story was that the young man gave the girl a hand full of bills and left to wait outside and the young woman I asked if I could pray with her and she said yes please and so we began to pray when two of her friends who worked there asked if they could join us and I said sure and so in the Isle where all the candles with pictures of all the saints and Jesus were there looking on we had a twenty minute prayer meeting. And the baby never cried once.
This morning I had a Time between Times experience where this person clad in and earth colored robe met me and bid me to follow them. We walked for a while in silence and then we came to a precipice. On the right there was a large window the size of a store front and on the other side were the homeless and folks with signs protesting everything and though I could not hear them I could tell by the strain of their faces that they were all yelling and screaming and making a racket to be recognized.
Now on the left side of the precipice there was another Window and it to was as large as a store front. But in this window there was no glass and before me stretched and endless coast line with the sound of the waves crashing into the shore and a stark white strip of beach which led up to deep forest lush and green and the air did fill my lungs and a great peace meandered through it all on a gentle breeze.
Then my companion turned and said,”Choose”.
Jesus once said: In the witness of two or three a thing is established.
So today I was coming home from the bank having cashed a small check. I was traveling down 92nd avenue and was approaching the Light on Holgate where I spotted this young girl under this huge back pack propped by a walking stick holding a sign asking for help. She could not have been more than 18 and her legs weren’t much thicker than those street sign pipes. I noticed she was a wee bit wobbly and I heard the not so still small voice of the Holy Ghost in my ear, encouraging me to pick her up.
So I pulled over and it did not take too much convincing for her to put the pack, which must have weighed at least 70 pounds, into the truck. Then off we went to one of my favorite haunts: the Maple Leaf Restaurant. Inside and sitting at a table Karen the waitress who knows my MO brings a Large glass filled with ice and water which the girl drains. 3 times. Then comes the menus and she orders and then she decides it is safe to tell me her name. Alexis. She is 19 and from Coos Bay. She had come up with her boyfriend to look for work but he split and left her for some other girl who had money and a car and so on and so forth.
Then in walks the Portland Police— one female and two male officers. They come over to me and ask what I was doing.
“Feeding her,” I replied. “Why?”
“Then what are you going to do?”
“I am going over to Mount Scott Presbyterian Church and get her a voucher for a shower and some clean clothes. Then I am taking her over to the Ascension Catholic Church and persuade my friend Father Bob to get her some temporary shelter and a bus ticket back to Coos Bay.”
“Why do you want to do that?”
I handed him my card and he flipped it back and said we don’t buy it.
Out of the back of the Kitchen, came the voice of Francisco Chung, the owners oldest son, “Well, you better believe it. Pastor Jeff does this kind of stuff all the time.” Following that came two more voices of regular customers backing Francisco’s testimony, followed by the waitress Karen and Maggie the dish washer.
Without one word of apology the three turned and return to their cars and left.
Alexis is at Ascension, clean, with fresh clothes, in their shelter, with a full tummy and a bus ticket to home and $30 from the folks at the Maple leaf for traveling money.
One plants one waters and God gets the increase.
In your church ministry, have you ever been in a situation like this? If so, let us know in the group Our Congregation and the Poor
Today I was out in North Portland and I had just finished reclaiming a friends yard with some mowing and trimming. I was all loaded up when a lady came and asked me to come to her house and mow her *front lawn.* The *front lawn* was about ten feet long and 5 feet wide. It has to be the smallest lawn I have ever mowed that I could remember and so I charged her $5 and that included and edging.
Turns out this lawn is the grave of her beloved German Shepherd. The lady is in her 80s and she is all alone. Her husband died 20 years ago both of her sons have also passed on. The Grand kids live on the East coast and all her friends have moved away or have died and she is just so lonely. It has been a long time since I have had one of these they talk and you provide the appropriate ew and ah. Soon I was inside her house and she was introducing me to her family in pictures. Then she showed me all the treasures she has accumulated over her 80 years.
I asked her if she was a church goer. She said she use to attend Mass at the queen of Peace every Sunday but then they stop coming to pick me up and…….I don’t know I am so frail I can hardly walk any more. I said if they would come to pick you up would you start going again. Oh yes yes yes and tears started flowing…….
Praise God for cell phones. One thing you can count on Churches for is that they very seldom change their phone numbers and so using a 6 year old church directory I made a call. One thing about the Catholic Church is that their priest love making house calls. So in less than 15 minutes Father Patrick was at the front door and the good father was well into his 70s and so Mrs Pochack was busy making Tea for the Priest and my self. I handed my card to the priest with the comment we both have the same boss. Father Nicholas just smiled.
Before I left Mrs Pochack was going to go to mass tonight and Father Nicholas was driving her and then he would arrange for her transportation to as many services and events as she would like to attend. In the end we prayed together and the Father said He would be praying for me to find more lost sheep.
I have a saying on my cards that I gleaned from a King Author movie which says:
“In serving each other we become free.”
In the scriptures it says “One sows, one waters, and God gets the increase.”
This a dream I had last night.
I found my self dressed in a medieval monks robe and sandals walking down this road. I was approaching what appeared to be a town. In the belt of my robe was a pouch and in the pouch were coins. Some were gold, some silver, some were copper and there wasn’t any writing on them to state their value.
I approached and Inn but they would not rent me a room. And soon I found that no place would give me lodging or would sell me a dinner. So I continued to walk. After awhile I came to a church building and went in but the Priest said I was not of their order and I would have to leave.
As I began to walk away and old man came to me and took me to this old iron gate and we passed through and wandered down this over grown path to another gate. Like the first and this opened to a another path that was like a tunnel except that the roof of the tunnel was the canopy of the trees interwoven together. This path went on for about a half of a mile and during this whole adventure the old man never uttered a word. Finally we entered into what had been many years ago a court yard. It was filled with statues of Jesus and Angels and fountains which had long since stop flowing. Across the court yard was the back side of a cement ramp and in the wall of this ramp was a small door on the other side of the door was this small room with a sloping ceiling. The old man turned and then in this very whispery voice said this is your home. Then he just turned into this sparkling form and disappeared.
In the dream I remembered that the little home was much bigger than it appeared from the outside and it was well laden with food and goods. I spent the next several weeks restoring the the court yard and soon the fountains were singing and the statues were reflecting the holiness of court’s meditative purpose. I then discovered under the cover of a dense vine another door and that it was unlocked but that the hinges were badly rusted and so it took some persuading to get them to surrender and allow me to open the door. After much cleaning and oiling and coaxing the door stiffly opened and then surprise surprise I was standing in the sanctuary of the church whose priest had turned me out.
The sanctuary was dark except for the shaft of light from the open door and there were these dark sheets hanging over all the windows blocking all the light. It felt like a tomb. I went to this sheet to touch it and when I did it detached from the ceiling some forty feet up and fell into a pile silently and this great shaft of light shone in and there was all these glorious paintings revealed on the opposite wall. I am not sure what came over me but I just began to walk the circuit touching the sheets causing them to fall and in a few minutes or so all the sheets were down and what had appeared as a painting turned into this majestic mural that depicted the birth, life, and death, and the resurrection of Jesus the Christ with the resurrection being shown on the alter walls.
Then the doors at the end of the sanctuary burst open and the priests poured into the room screaming “What have you done?” As I turned to speak the Old man manifested himself before me. The priest froze in their tracks with looks of abject terror on their face. The old man turned to me and said,” Thank you for fixing my court yard and for getting rid of the sheets. He then turned to the priests and one by one they all turned into a huge venomous snake and then they all turned into wooden poles which he gathered up and set ablaze and watched until they were ash which he gathered into a jar and placed a lid on the jar and then disposed of the jar.
The old man then turned to me and in the turning turned into into a very young man. Well he appeared younger than me……..30s maybe….. He spoke in a very clear voice, but like the sound of rushing river, and he said that my time was near but not at hand. I think he said that because in my heart I was ready to go with him right then and there. But he said he needed me to look after things for a while and to be sure encourage those whom I met along the path that I tread. Then like before He became all sparkly (not like glitter but… oh, I cannot explain it) and disappeared and I woke up.