Tag Archives: love

Death

When-Death-Becomes-Optional-602

Death can be fearful, simply because we have to physically deplete in order to physically ascend.  That can be degrading, because you either watch someone you love go downhill fast, or you watch yourself do so.  If you know Christ, you ascend and have a new body and a forever eternity.  If you don’t know Christ, well then, you will also physically deplete unto death, but your eternity will be on the opposite side of eternity; that place called, hell.  One of the most spiritual places you will ever be, is next to a person who is close to this thing we call death.  It happens in a home, a hospital room, or even next to someone in an accident somewhere in life.

Some couple of years ago, I drove up on an accident in our little downtown city.  I arrived to gaze, but also to sense the surroundings in my own spirit and see if there was something experience and being in the moment could teach me.  Blue lights, red lights, ambulances, fire trucks, policeman, crying people, and finally, a person lying in the middle of the street covered in a white sheet, with his motorcycle nearby.

You could feel the energy no longer on point because he had desisted, depleted, and deceased.  I began to wonder…who is this person, where are his family members, does someone care, where is he in the eternal spectrum, why tonight, I wonder what those who know him are doing right now, how will they react seeing an officer knock on their door, and lastly, how does God work in death.  I felt a sadness as I drove home.  That person probably had no idea their life would end on this night.

I am being convinced that many believers, including me, vaguely care about the eternal destination of others, outside of ourselves.  As a pastor, many of us through the years have cared, if, it meant being “on the list” or to get the accolades, or to grow our church, but most of that caring was simple selfishness and what the scripture calls, “wood, hay, and stubble.”   We still care but we don’t!  You know what I mean.  We want to care, but we don’t exemplify caring because we go about our busy lives trying to make it through, pay the bills, get it all done, count how many we have in attendance on Sunday, while ceasing to live with the end in mind.  The opposite extreme, is when we truly and authentically care…no feeling like this and people can sense you, smell you, and tell, if you really care.

Let me try to help- “On mission” is simple…live with eternity in mind, everyday, every hour, every minute, every second.  Make decisions this way, move to a new city this way, speak to a person in this way, consider your day of worship in this way, love your children in this way, educate yourself this way, love others this way, preach/teach this way, risk this way, travel this way, and most of all, obey God in this way. We make it all too complicated. Trace the maps in the Bible- Paul just went to the next best place in obedience.  We must do the same!

When you live life in obedience, your life will have counted for others, for yourself, and for those who come behind you and remember your life.  THIS, my friends, is the way to take the immediate “sting” out of death for yourself and those that love you.  Life is hollow without living for something and someone that will outlive you, your children, your grandchildren, and all of the ages.

Last November, I sat in the ER wondering why I had one pupil much larger than the other.  I was diagnosed with two dissected carotid arteries in my neck.  This can happen from turning your neck quickly through manipulation, accidents, sneezing, etc.  It’s very strange but real.  What that did to my mind, immediately, was it raced my thoughts of what could happen to me over the next few seconds because we did not know if there were blood clots, blockages, leaks through the arteries, etc. etc.  It was very vague. Death crossed my mind.  It was peaceful, however, I felt that I had much more to do down here.  My conversation with God was, “You know I have not reached my God-given potential yet.  You know I have some dreams for your kingdom that I have not had a shot at yet.  You know, you know, you know…..”  Ultimately, it was not a sad state for me, except in thinking of those I would leave behind, too soon.  World class doctors were orchestrated to my side.  I had no idea who they were then, but because of them, I am fine today.  We now have a friendship, and I sensed authentic concern from these top rate physicians…in other words, they truly cared.  Money or prestige was not on their radar, at least from my discernment.  In fact, my doctor would care enough to call me multiple times over the Christmas holidays while he traveled and would ultimately give me his personal cell phone (hmm, might be a word to professional pastors).

One thing I know for sure, is that in the times I have been really close to God in one on one communication, I sense Him, I know Him, I hear Him, and He shows me His love.   In fact, the greatest theology in the world is LOVE!  Shortage of love- yes, from human to human…no, from supernatural heavenly father to his children.  Right now, trust, start over, and step out, whatever it is you are contemplating!  We conquer fear of death by repeating “fear not” 365 times a year and believing it!  Live now so you can die well!

Silence

Seasons are funny things.  God may be speaking or He may be having us just sit back and wait.  It’s hard for any of us to wait…especially when we want God to use us and we believe He has something big in store, however, what if God has used us in the mightiest way ALREADY?  Are we o.k. with that?  It should be fine if that is so!  He will always use us, but in different degrees.  If our focus is on the magnitude of use rather than the moldability of the use, we will be disappointed at certain stages of life.  God NEVER stops using us, IF, we are available!  His choice of scale never deifies His love for us!

Death Details

Death is a funny thing.  To our family, that know Christ, we often mention it and the fact that no one who loves and lives for Christ is upset with the thought of dying.  In other words, it has a very positive outcome and resemblance to us in the Craven home and extended family.  However, in thinking about it, as you look around at family, we all KNOW that it is inevitable one day for ALL of us, but nobody really talks about it and there is no real need to.  I guess my wonder, sometimes is, how do each of us feel deep down inside? If we knew we were dying soon, how would our demeanor change?  How would we act and react? Would any one of us be scared?  Would we be able to live with passion in the time we had left?  Or, would we just shut down, be totally torn apart and dysfunctional?  One thing about family is, you don’t want any of them to hurt.

And so, it is nice to know that family might feel and say something like this, before and after: “Don’t ever wonder how I feel.  I am about to soon go on to my eternal home.  I will miss you all, but this is the next step, the next stop, and the destination we’ve all been looking forward to. It’s why we’ve lived our lives for something bigger than ourselves.  I will miss making new memories with you all, but with every fiber of my being, I have loved the ones we’ve made, the fun times, the big family gatherings, the laughs, and the joys of living life with you, but I’m fine…I’m ok…I’m just taking an early flight…you are coming later and I’ll see you there.  I’ll still be with you in spirit everytime you get together and everyday of your life.  I know you will always be thinking of me too.  So, that’s a win for all of us.  If there is any regret at all, it will be that we can’t talk verbally like we always have, but, that, too, is for a short season.  As you continue to talk to God everyday, He’ll give me the message, and I will SEE you soon. Bring as many people as you can with you…it’s unbelievable here.”

For those closest to me, I don’t like to think about it, but it is REAL…it lies dormant today, but comes alive one day.  I encourage all of us to prepare our minds today.  It will make the journey much easier.

“Not yet, Lord, too much to do for you here.  We continue to work hard for you.  Lots of people to reach; give us some more time.   We are loading up as many as we can!  Love you!”

We’re Aware @ Origin

Oftentimes church and church people are so judgmental.  I’m one of those that has been around church all my life, but have been rarely impressed.  I can even remember when I was younger and going, I was often bored to death.  I knew there had to be the real, authentic, and transparent Christ-followers and churches out there, but it was rarely found.  One place I did find it was Metro Bible Study at Mount Paran Church back through the 80′s.  It impacted my life.  It was alive with real people doing real life together, failures, victories, and all.  You know why it worked for so many: Transparency and authenticity, no haughtiness nor judgmentalism, but truth spoken in love, and acceptance of people right where they were in life.

If we’ve somewhere talked along the way or you are finding this blog because one of our team has shared Origin Church with you, you have finally discovered a group of people who love you just like you are and know this: We exist for far away from God, agnostic, atheistic, religious, good, unsure of a belief system people who just haven’t seemed to gel in a church of any kind.  You don’t have to change for us!  We understand you! This thing at Origin is all about one thing: Relationships! We believe God has this big and great plan for your life and we’d like to help you discover it. We get where you are because a lot of what you don’t like or are unsure about, most of us have been too at some time or another.  We don’t have all the answers!  You’ve got questions, so do we! We’re on a journey of discovery!  Listen, you could literally come, enjoy the vibe of the environment we have created, meet new friends, feel at home, and never, ever “get-it” about this thing of Jesus Christ, and we’d still love you, befriend you, want our families to be close, and never miss a beat in doing life together.  That, our friends, is the truth!!  We’ll prove it to you!

One of our greatest desires is to serve our city and add value to it, hoping that service will launch an initiative that explodes around the world for the care and concern for others.  Hey, we’re not yet in a position (financially speaking) to help others; we’re launching a new church.  But, we’re doing it anyway.  We’re a partner for another church launching like this in Las Vegas, giving away to our city at Christmas parades and Haunted houses, searching for ways we can give of ourselves to the school systems in a mentoring role to students without fathers, and it’s only just begun. The people that make up the launch team at Origin Church are giving, unselfish, servant-hearted people who join with me in desiring to be a part of love, “crazy-compassion,” and meeting real needs.  Jesus spent more time meeting physical needs than He did doing anything else; that’s us!

Happy Thanksgiving!

An old gentlemen once sat around the long thanksgiving dinner table staring at his large family and said, “Look to your left and right because these are the people that will love you and be there for you, all your life, unconditionally.” Nothing more important than family!  We have one that we’re very proud of!  Hope you do!  If not, make yours that way, starting right now!  If you’re single, know that God has a big plan for you to experience this kind of love…you are not alone.  Use this time to get so happy with just you and Him.  If you’re married and just existing, God has ways…you hang in there!  Make a list today of every single thing you are thankful for.  You’ll have a different perspective on life starting tomorrow!