Pastor Jeff’s Full Blog Posts
Yesterday, Yvan and I went to the club to work out in the pool and I like to cook in the steam room for about 20 or 30 minutes, depending how much the bones are complaining. Then I sit and meditate as the body cools down and then into a shower and then the hot tub and then off to the shower room.
Shower rooms are a place where everything is literally laid bare. The facade of clothing is not there to protect you and neither are there any other ornaments. All your battle scars are there for all to see as are all your physical imperfections.
So it was here where 4 old veterans were filling the shower rooms with the aromas of various types of body washes and soaps. It was here where I was confronted by three Japanese men of another generation still haunted by the specter of a war long over. Between the three they mustered the courage to ask me if I hated them.
I told them about an encounter I had at a coffee shop with a man who had once fought with an army against the United States and how we became friends through the power of forgiveness and the blood of Christ since we had both become Christians later on in life.I then said that hate breeds bitterness and bitterness kills the one bearing it not the one we hate.
“So, no, I do not hate you, and I thank you for asking.” I told them that it was my hope we could become better friends.
One of the drawbacks of showers is that they do hide tears, but they do not hide smiles of relief when an old darkness has been dispelled by the light.
I have come to believe that we all have this anointing from the Father to us via the Holy Spirit. This anointing is like unto a pheromone that attracts those who are searching and those who are hurting.
So when I got into the advocates office at the VA there was one ahead of me and when she went in I was the only person in the room and I was reading a magazine. Then 4 other people showed up and before I know it I am listening and ministering to each one, each with a horrific story or stories that happened in or near Vietnam. One was on a flight deck and a cable broke when a disabled jet was landing and it whipped across the deck killing four out of five guys working and he was the 5th. Or the guy whose job it was to defuse enemy booby traps and one had a hidden delayed trip and the blast blew him out the door but killed 14 of his buddies. Another was a sniper and I could not make out what it was he did because of the crying.
So for about and hour and a half while the advocate interceded for the vet in her office the Holy Spirit held court. And in the end we prayed and then hugged, for we are brothers. Not because we are veterans, but because we have each walked through the valley of death under the hand of the living God and though we didn’t all find the Grace of God until we were on the other side, as it is written, He knew us in our mothers womb. So there in the waiting room of an intercessor the spirits of healing and forgiveness were unleashed and tears of joy were shed openly and freely. It did not stop with just us for the receptionist joined in for she was a widow at the age of 27 with a son– her husband died in Iraq.
Then the door opened and the advocate called my name and asked are you finished and I said yes and walked in and the door closed.
Ever wonder what it would be like to go from a middle class individual with hopes and dreams and visions, to a non being? One who occupies space and time but who has had all his or her hopes and dreams and visions ripped away and destroyed, one by one, until you become numb and purpose-deficient? Unable to even consider a different life?
Next time you see some one flying a sign pull over load there stuff into the trunk and take them out to lunch and have them regale you with their story. DO NOT Interrupt with your insights, just let them tell their story and really listen and then take them back to where they were flying their sign and grease their palm with some cash and go off and meditate on the story you just heard. Keep a box of tissues close at hand for you will end up in tears after the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of your heart.
An’ while I was at Freddies, searching out the best prices on hooks and such, there was this dad who had 3 kids– two boys and a girl– and their needle was stuck and could only utter one word: “Dad.” Over and over and over. Until I went around to find “dad” nose buried in a flat screen, texting.
I went up to him and tapped him on the shoulder and saw it wasn’t a text it was a game. He looked at me blankly and said “What?”
“Pay attention to your kids they have been trying to ask you something for the last 10 minutes.”
He threw up his hand and said, “They have nothing to say that is important that I want to hear.”
“And you call yourself a Dad?” I exploded. I turn to the kids and said, “You have my deepest sympathies.”
The guy says, “Hey, what do ya expect… Their mother divorced me and then dumps them on me once a month. I don’t even like kids…….why don’t you take them?” and turned to walk off.
“If I take them you go to jail. The police will contact Mom to come and get them. Child abandonment is a serious felony crime.”
Apparently Fred Meyer’s security was alerted because no sooner had the words left my mouth they were there with Gresham Police in tow. No one went to jail and dad kept the kids with a stiff warning from the officer, and I silently back away muttering a prayer for the kids and their dad.
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So I pay for the toys and I am in my truck munching on a York Peppermint Patty singing with my mouth full with the radio “Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’s song “All Ya Need is Love”. An older couple come to the vehicle in front of me and a struggle ensues because he cannot get the key to turn in the lock. Then, with a mighty twist, he breaks the key off in the lock. This results in a full-blown 70-year-old’s temper tantrum.
But then comes the real problem. Another elderly type gent comes and asks what the first man is doing to HIS car.
Yup the reason for the keys failure was it was the wrong car and on that note I had to leave, for I thought it was very poor form to break out in gales of laughter.
Well one of my projects is the creation of a forest around the meditation garden. I currently have a few dozen trees of different species now in different stages of maturity and some ground covers and some weeds. Most folks chide me for letting them grow but I have discovered that there are some varieties of finches and humming birds who have a taste for these weeds and it is fun to watch a bird the size of your thumb nail perch on the stock of these skinny little weeds and feed.
Yesterday was a bit of a scorcher and so today I was out early to water the new forest. As I was dragging the hose over there was a whole chorus of birds large and small and even a couple of squirrels sitting on the fence and up in the trees chirping and squawking with excitement. then I chose my sprinkler of choice and turned on the water and as I came around the Motor Home to see if there were any adjustments needed there was the whole crew preening and/or just standing and getting soaked. Even as I approached they did not stop and so after making sure I was getting the first 5 trees I turned and left them to their baths. I will let them have a good 20 minute soak for these trees are the youngest of the forest and need to develop their roots.
Ya know in the book of Romans in the first chapter around verse 18 it talks about how God’s glory is manifested through His creation, and I have noticed that if you take a human and deprive him/her of the basics they will revert back to a base form after a while. But with just the most simple thing like a shower and a kind word they can be transformed before your vary eyes and it is just such a miraculous event. In Romans 8 it says that the whole of Creation awaits with great expectation the revealing of the sons of God. When I set up the sprinkler and turned it, I was revealing my status as one of the sons of God to a portion of Creation and when I can provide a shower and some food and a kind word I am revealing my status as a son of God.
So go water God’s Garden, both the flowers and the weeds.