At the beginning of the year, I was blessed with the gift of several days to retreat and spend time with God. During these days I felt the compelling invitation to jump back into the Gospel of John, to read again the great story of Jesus. I must confess that after only a few verses, I got stuck.
I was asked to give a talk recently on forgiveness. There was nothing new or special about it, as I have taught on the spiritual necessity of forgiveness many times!
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
I read this today and it hit me. The last thing Jesus says in the book of Matthew is one of the most important things we need to recall to thrive in ministry today: “I am with you.”
Today I am sitting here at my computer remembering a great man.
“Grandpa Peters” followed Jesus with his whole heart. His love for Jesus worked outward to include a powerful love for the church.
My entire life Pastor Russ or as we loved to call him “Grandpa Peters” was a solid fixture of faith and wisdom. He lived out life with the people in his church, preaching every Sunday, officiating weddings, and providing comfort at funerals. He was truly a “fixture” of the community, a man who lovingly noticed the lowly and invested his love – and more importantly the love of Jesus – into any who crossed his path.
Just a few weeks ago I had the honor of traveling to Chico with our Stirring team. Nathan led us in a day of reflection and dreaming about life, ministry, and Jesus.
After listening to each other we prayed and spoke words of life and encouragement. When my turn came one of the other staff members said, “Jim, you are not stuck!”
I love tattoos. For me, they are symbols of the journey that I am on with God and with family. They mark my life…telling a story of values and encounters.
When you think about it…we are all marked. You may not have tattoos to display your journey, but your heart surely carries the marks of a journey lived and marked by key events that shape your story.
Looking out from the top of a mountain in the Shasta-Trinity Wilderness, I am overcome by the amazing horizon. The view from up here is incredible! I keep looking at the map to find the names of valleys, river, hills, and mountains. Is that Castle Crags? I think that is Mt. Burney….am I seeing all the way into Oregon? My curiosity is fully engaged!