31 May 2009
Late last summer I was sitting in the intern office at The House Next Door in DeLand trying to catch up on paperwork, when Jessica Squires walked in the room, sat down, and we started to talk.
Jessica told me that after graduation she wanted to work someplace she could serve Jesus by serving others. We discussed how working as counselors, helping people talk about their lives, is for us and other counselors driven by their faith, an act of worship. It was that day, prompted by Jessica’s initiative, that the idea for Port Orange Counseling Center was born.
This month, most likely this week, Jessica will start seeing clients at Port Orange Counseling Center. If you get the chance, send her a message of encouragement. She is a great counselor surrounded by a supportive and authentic family.
. . . Father, thank you for the opportunity to help others. Father, we pray that you guide Jessica as she starts this new chapter in her life. Guide her, and be with her, that by her presence in the lives of others You are glorified. In Jesus name we pray . . . .
25 May 2009
Sergeant Nels Anthony Moller, “Andy” to the rest of us, was practically a stereotype with his naturally blond hair and blue eyes. One could have imagined him sitting on a surfboard near Ponce Inlet, serious yet smiling, waiting for the next wave to roll in.
Alas, I don’t know if Andy ever saw the Atlantic Ocean, let alone sat on a surfboard. Andy grew up on a farm in rural Idaho and worked there with his family before joining the Army. Andy was a farm boy who should have been a surfer.
Andy’s father called me from Idaho a few years after Andy was killed in Iraq. He wanted to know what I could tell him about his son. -- We were blocking the retreat of a Republican Guard unit . . . Andy was killed early in the fighting . . . We remember him for his kindness and compassion toward others . . .
. . . the last time I saw Andy before the night he was killed, Andy was comforting a younger soldier in our unit who was showing signs of stress. Andy was always helping people. -- The phone call ended and I couldn’t sleep for days.
The shortest sentence in the Bible is found in the Book of John, Chapter Eleven.
If one reads the chapter carefully it seems that Jesus was weeping over the pain Lazarus’ friends and family were experiencing because of Lazarus’ death.
Jesus Cries? He weeps with us when we are hurting? -- It seems that our God is a God of empathy, compassion, and emotion . . . who weeps for us and with us.
On Memorial Day I think of Andy’s father as much as I do Andy. My prayer is that those who have experienced a loss know that there are others who weep with them, including Christ.
Andy, I will never forget you or your father.
. . . Father, thank you for the gift of life. Thank you for Your tears that can cleans a hurting heart. Thank you for friends that comfort us just by their presence in our lives. Father, comfort those among us who have lost a loved one or a family member. Weep with us on this memorial day, and then dry our tears. In Your son there is hope, love and life. We cry out to You in Jesus name . . .
18 May 2009
This week I thought a lot about Matthew 11:28 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
This verse is often used to share Christ’s love with none believers. Many followers communicate beautiful stories about hearing this verse for the first time -- “I’m weary . . . I’m burdened . . . and I so much need rest.” –- The Holy Spirit has touched countless hearts with this simple message.
The last few days I reflected on the importance of this verse to those who already follow Christ.
The world is constantly pulling at us, often quietly, but always with relentless determination. -- The Lord often works through our friends. Last week I went through a period where I felt far from our Creator, so I went to pray with my friends Ray and Susan Kelley. It was the right decision. When we are following God’s will for our lives, we are God’s gift to each other. Ray and Susan’s prayers were a gift and a blessing.
Never forget that God loves you. That He seeks to walk with you. That you are important to Him. -- Pray for each other. Love and support each other in Jesus name.
. . . Father, Thank You for being a God of second chances. Thank You for being a patient and loving father. Command our spirits to seek out those in our lives who might be isolated and in need of compassion and kindness. We pray that You are glorified by our lives. In Jesus name we pray . . .
14 May 2009
Thank you Prayer Circle members. Your prayers are so effective and needed. Thank you for being a part of Port Orange Counseling Center through this prayer ministry.
Our request this week is that you pray that we never lose sight that Port Orange Counseling exists to serve and honor our Creator by serving real people with real barriers to their peace and happiness.
Jesus said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27). This week step forward in faith. Be confident. The Lord cares for and surrounds you with His love.
. . .Father, Thank you for life. We pray that you are glorified by our lives. When we stray from Your plan for our lives, gently move us back onto the path You would have us take. You are often a dramatic and awesome God. We pray in Jesus name that You amaze us with your love. In Jesus name we pray . . .
03 May 2009
The developmental psychologist Erik Erikson said that a person’s identity is formed by relationships. In other words, at the deepest level our self-concept is defined by how we stand in relation to those around us. As people pass in and out of our lives we change . . . who we are changes.
One of the best friends I’ve had in years, John Willneff, moved back to Maryland, Friday. John served on a submarine while in the military. Early on I think we recognized in each other someone else who has witnessed humanity at its worst and then experienced rescue, redemption by an incomprehensible love. Those who have been forgiven much love much.
Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39). When we surrender self-interest to Love and Truth, we enter into a relationship so profound the change to our identity is described by Jesus as a rebirth. We become something new.
My friend John drew people to him while in Daytona because he radiates Love to those around him and proclaims God’s Truth while doing so. I bet John will continue to do the same in Maryland.
. . . Father, thank you for the opportunity to love and serve people around us. Father, constantly remind us of the great paradox, the more we love others and take the focus off ourselves, the more we find purpose and peace, the closer we are to You. Father, send your angels to protect John Willneff, and send Your Holy Spirit to guide him. We cry out to You in Jesus name.