Search

Bro. Danny's Blog

Random Thoughts From A Former Pastor's Perspective

Happy Valentines Day!

For the past couple of weeks my bride has accused me of ‘nesting’. I, of course, have vehemently denied the less-than-masculine label she chose for my recent activities.

“There are just a lot of things I need to get done”, I would answer.

“Uh-huh”, she would respond with the lift of an eyebrow. “You’re nesting!”

As usual, she was correct.

I awoke to an early morning call from Minnesota.  My little brother called to offer words of pre-surgery encouragement.  We chatted for a while and I felt better for having had the chance to talk. Then, it was off to the races to finish my ‘nesting’.

Before I do, I want to update the folks with some good news about that girl of mine.  We visited Dr. Speed (the radiation oncologist) for the first time yesterday.  He has developed her treatment plan and she will receive the first of 36 treatments on February 26.  That was pretty much what we expected.

The good news for us was the way Dr. Speed responded to the charted report of her post-chemo scans.  “We very rarely see results as good as yours.”, he told my bride.  “Your cancer responded exceptionally well to treatment.”

While we know that does not change the long-term prognosis, I am becoming much more optimistic about the long-term prognosis. I know for a fact that the reason she has responded so well to treatment is because so many powerful prayers have been offered on her behalf.  I know for a fact those powerful prayers will continue.  Therefore, I think optimism for the long-term is warranted.

Teresa has been able to step up and lend a hand to the folks at Dr. Cooper’s office lately.  She has always been appreciative of the opportunity to work with the gang from time to time but now the chance to give back a little is much needed.

Her friend and fellow dental assistant, Kim Humphreys, began treatment for her cancer this past week and must necessarily be out of the office on the days that chemo knocks her off her feet.  It blesses my lady’s heart to be able to step in and return some of the support she has received from all the folks there.  And I am sure it blesses Kim to have a supporting friend who has been where she is.  Please remember Kim and her family in your prayers.

Teresa and I will head to Association Office in a little bit where a group from some of our churches will meet us for a time of focused prayer.  This will be the second such ‘lifting up’ for us this week as our home church held their own prayer service this past Sunday.  I really can’t wrap my head around the extraordinary number of people who are daily bringing the Green family’s medical and spiritual needs to the Throne Room.  I feel as though I have an army at my back and know that, in a very real sense, I do.  A simple “Thank you” could never adequately express the gratitude we both feel so we are trusting the Lord to express that for us.

 After the prayer time, my lady and I will head to Little Rock where we will spend the night at the “Baptist Hotel”.  We check into the hospital at 5:30 tomorrow morning so being on the grounds when we awaken will be a big help. 

I may post again this evening or tomorrow morning but if not please know we covet each of your prayers greatly.  Remember to pray for my bride and our children in the coming days.  Ask the Lord to guard their hearts during this time.

 

 

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall”

20171208_184426

February 5, 2018

Everyone has heard some form of the old saying, “When the devil knocks you down, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in the fight.”  Or maybe your favorite is a more spiritual version that goes something like this, “When the devil knocks you down, just trust in Jesus to help you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in the fight.”  Of course, the really spiritual among us will affirm this rendering, “When the devil knocks you down, just hand it all to Jesus and He will pick you up, dust you off, and give you more strength for the fight.”

Friday was not a day during which I could truthfully say I exhibited an unquestioned belief in either version.  That day I broke…

Two days prior, we were given the hopeful news that, barring any unforeseen complications, my upcoming surgery could be all the treatment I need to become cancer free.  The procedure is long and the recovery requires a week in the hospital plus continued healing at home but, considering the alternative, my family and I are happy.

The awesome beauty I married has also received some much-needed encouragement.  The scans are clear, the source tumor gone, her ‘glory’ is beginning to show, and she is getting to work at her favorite dental office from time to time. 

To be sure, there have been many “knock-downs” during our several months long adventure and each time I was able to apply one of the above versions to the situation and get on with life.  Each time I could be the strong spiritual leader for my family and especially for my bride.  This time I could not… more correctly, I did not… Instead, I broke.

Ironically I had relished the opportunity to honestly share with dear friends that remaining faithful to my Lord and joyfully at peace with our circumstances was not that difficult.

“I don’t know how you and Mrs. Teresa can remain so positive and upbeat all the time” they would say.

I would truthfully respond that when I consider all that God has already given me, being positive is not that hard.  If He were to do nothing else from this moment forward, He has already showered me with more blessings than anyone else on earth!  All I need to do is think of the bride I shouldn’t have, the kids (and spouses) who are absolutely remarkable, or that perfect grandbaby.  Or I can think of my extended family who have always been ready to jump in and shoulder our burdens or support us in our hours of greatest need.  Who has ever pastored as great a church as the one I did or ministered so joyfully among the greatest Association of churches like I do?..

And what can I even say about the dear friends who have stood by our side since all the ‘knock-downs’ began?!

I wish I could say that last Friday I once again picked myself up, dusted myself off, and got back in the fight but I didn’t.   I broke… I had myself a good-old pity party. I let my lady see that…  Only God knows the shame I felt (and still feel) over my weakness.  

As my bride so eloquently reminded me, “I am supposed to be the one to tell you to curse God and die (see the book of Job for scriptural reference) but I will never do that!.. You are a preacher… you should know better!”

She is correct as usual.  I should know better and, in all honesty, I do. 

The Lord and I have talked a lot since Friday.  He reminded me that “to whom much is given, much is required”.  And, once again, He has picked me up, brushed me off, and given me more strength for the battle.

Thank you for your continued prayers for that girl of mine.  Despite the good news of late, we know that her struggle is ongoing and your support lifts her up every day.

Every Once In A While, The Lord Requires That You Practice What You Preach…

So, my wife has cancer.  But she also has the greatest support group on the planet!

Once again the bride of my youth is in awe at the outpouring of love and support since last we posted information the doctor had shared with us. She said, “The thought of all those prayers going up for me is not even something I can comprehend”. Then she said, “Those that bring the most comfort are the prayers for complete healing… those just give me such hope…”

We both want you to know that every prayer is precious to us and, more importantly, ‘well pleasing’ to the Lord we all love. (So don’t you dare stop!)

We received mixed news from our visit with the oncologist yesterday.  Our family and friends being who they are, we know you will want to be kept up date so you can know how to direct your prayers.  There is no way we can call or even text all of you so we will try to keep you updated here.   I will probably share a short post on Facebook from time to time with a link to this spot for those who want more info as Mrs. Teresa feels appropriate.

Dr. Sneed shared that her particular cancer is not curable. Of course, that is never what one wants to hear but that is what our Lord has given us.  (Plus one never accepts that any disease is incurable where our God is involved!)

My love meets with the surgeon next week to have a port inserted.  Chemo will begin shortly afterwards and will consist of two rounds after which Dr. Hagans will perform surgery to remove all the cancer that he can. Hormone treatment will follow for the foreseeable future.

Teresa’s cancer is of a type less common than most and does not respond as predictably as one would wish. The good news is that   treatment could hold the disease at bay for what Dr. Sneed calls ‘an extended period of time’ (maybe 7 years or longer).  The not so good news is we won’t know how well the cancer responds until it starts to respond.  So that, I pray, helps you all know how to direct your precious prayers in my brides behalf.

Gonna head down to Church Camp in a bit. Have heard God is already doing His thing during the Worship services and through the preaching and teaching of His Word. Please lift up all who minister that Word this week!

Will post more when we know more

p.s. Working with a really old computer as both of my’good ones’ are at camp so give us a day or two to get the blog updated and all typos corrected!

Let Me Tell You About My Jesus And Some Of His People

Twenty three years ago, the Lord called a young, untested, would-be pastor to lead a small, struggling, congregation in an equally small semi-rural town in Arkansas. Because they didn’t know any better, the small congregation accepted the young man as undershepherd and made it their mission to turn this new ‘ministry project’ into a person God could eventually use in His kingdom-building process.

The Lord led both undershepherd and congregation on many adventures during those twenty-three years. Often, the young man would stumble in implementing a ministry or misread the Spirit’s instruction on a certain matter but each time the congregation would patiently help the young man find his way. In time the young man and the congregation began to work as one body, rightly dividing the Word of the Lord and making a great impact on the small semi-rural town.

Together, with Jesus leading the way, the young man and the congregation saw their ministry expand. People began to come from outside the small semi-rural town. Interestingly, as the Lord brought more and more people into the congregation, the young man became older and wider (yes ‘wider’ not ‘wiser’). Apparently this was something God could work with as the congregation continued to grow and impact her town and the surrounding area in a very positive way.

A new church was started, The Lord provided more worship and education space, and a new parsonage replaced the old to accommodate the addition of another child to the young man’s family. It began to look as though God just might let the man (formerly known as ‘the young, slim, man’) remain with his perfect congregation until time to retire or He sent His Son to take them all home.

But, as is often the case, the Lord had other plans. He called the man (formerly known as ‘the young, slim, man’) to another ministry. The man and his lovely bride, while still loving the congregation and happy where they were, knew the time had come to make room for the congregation’s next young man. The man knew that what Jesus had done in those amazing twenty three years was only the beginning of His plans for that special group of believers.

The man and his bride were very much at peace with the move into the new ministry. The only hesitancy came when the bride thought of the home she had occupied for almost 17 years. “I just thought we would be more ‘stable’ at this point in our life.” she said. “Yet here we are in our mid-fifties and we don’t even own a house…” The man (formerly known as ‘the young, slim, man’) reminded the love of his youth that Jesus has always more than met their needs and He would most certainly do so again.

So the congregation was told of the coming move and the man asked them to consider the possibility of he and his bride purchasing the home they had occupied for so many years. But the congregation had other ideas. After much prayer, thought, and discussion, the congregation gave that beloved home to the man (formerly known as ‘the young, slim, man’) and his lovely bride. The man has still not found words to adequately express his love and appreciation to the congregation.

Now let me tell you how Jesus showed Himself to the man and His lovely bride through this extraordinary gift.

Two days after the gift was given, his lovely bride came to the man (formerly known as ‘the young, slim, man’) and said, “God spoke to me today.”

“Really?”, the man said. “What did He say?”

The lovely bride paused and with tears in her eyes said, “He reminded me that if you had not answered His call to ministry and left all we had to go to seminary, we would have paid off our house this year.”

The man (formerly known as ‘the young, slim, man’) wept…

All that the man had ‘given up’ to follow Jesus and serve the congregation had been kept by Jesus in a way the man and his bride never suspected. And at just the perfect time, He returned it all through the generosity of the congregation.

Career Or Call?

“I do not believe God would have me leave my family and friends, spend 3 years in seminary and then call me to a church running less than 500!”

Those words, which were personally overheard at one of my conservative denomination’s seminaries, still haunt me almost twenty-two years later.  That the six or seven others gathered around that table whole-heartedly agreed only made/makes it worse.  That some, if not most, of those same people are leading or on staff at some church today is a thought I do not wish to contemplate.

That shocking statement is evidence that even twenty-plus years ago, the concept of ‘The Call’ was beginning to disappear.  Even then, one could sense that becoming a minister was less about being clearly and undeniably beckoned and more about a natural progression from youth group, to Christian college to seminary where “I will eventually discern what career path God is leading me into”.

Today we hear young men say, “WE have been lead to pastor God’s Church”.  These are generally the same young men who proudly announce that WE are pregnant.  Really?

I will be the first to say that my wife is the main reason the congregation has tolerated me for so long. I will also be the first to say that she is a gift from God who knew, before the foundation of the world, I would need the perfect pastor’s wife.  That being said, my perfect pastor’s wife will be the first to say she was not called to pastor the church.  Her spiritual gift, like every Christian’s spiritual gift, is something special and powerful and essential to building the Church but the gift is not the Call.

As I understand it, (Remember, my thoughts are not inerrant nor infallible!) the Call is not conditional. One is called as an individual to an individual, often, sacrificial ministry.

For instance, the Call was for Amos to leave his orchards and preach to a people who did not want to hear. It was a Call for Isaiah to leave the comforts of the king’s court and live the life of a prophet (tradition says even to martyrdom!)  Peter was to leave his nets and trust God for his sustenance.  To sometimes have his family accompany him and at other times not.  It was a Call for John to leave the life of the ‘well-connected’, preach the Word wherever God chose to send him, and endure any hardship the Lord chose to send his way for the sake of the Gospel.  The Call was for Saul to change his name, leave the lime-light and family affluence, and engage in bi-vocational ministry for the foreseeable future.

Today, the Call is apparently issued to a group of people whose ministry is to educate those whose ministries have become irrelevant, teach the saved (and the lost!) how to worship, break the trap of the old traditions, and point out the out of touch. It is the call to make every church a suburban church, and reveal the anointing that only comes when one preaches from a stool, with an iPad, while wearing shorts and backwards facing ball caps… especially if the audience is middle-aged, blue-collar, rural leaning… you know, like Jesus’ earthly family was…

There, As Patrick Wayne said in the movie, McClintock, “I said what I said, and I’ll stand by it to the death”.

The Pastor

Have you ever wondered what role the bible actually  prescribe for the pastor?  Is he to play the under-shepherd with complete charge over the sheep?  Is he to be the equivalent of the CEO for the organization known as the church? Or perhaps he is to be the servant-leader so often held up as the example but so seldom described in any definitive way.

Some desire a strong pastor to lead the church aggressively against the gates of Hell.  Others prefer a humble pastor who is willing to lead the church wherever she decides she should go.   Still others want a pastor with a vision for the future while others want to enlighten the pastor as to what that vision should be.  And everyone wants a pastor who always tells people what they need to hear but never offends in the process.

Most especially people want a pastor like Jesus… Meek (except when He’s throwing people out of the Temple or calling them ‘vipers’ and such) Undemanding (well, except for that ‘take up your cross’ thing) Always willing to compromise for the sake of unity (except He never did!).

Well…

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑