Thursday, July 31, 2008

Julie's grandfather

The death sentence we are under, sometimes seems heavy.

This evening as we gathered at Grandma's in the aftermath of Grandpa's death yesterday, Grandma was talking about their conversations together concerning dying.

I guess Grandpa had a tough couple of weeks lately. The last couple of days were especially bad, with pain in his feet increasing to the point where he was inquiring about having his legs amputated. And he had to wear a Depends undergarment for the past few days, and that kind of thing. Not fun stuff, getting old.

And so she told us tonight that they had discussed dying, and that he felt like he didn't want it to be very long if the pain he was in would continue. And she talked about not knowing when her time would be either, and wondered which one would go first. He wanted it to be him who would die first. It was.

This death sentence we are under is a horrible thing. I have to keep reminding myself that it is really God's invention to get us our of a corrupt and hurtful world, and into a warm and wonderful after life. Sometimes it seems like a sinister monster.

And I know this; it is a wonderful gift when a grandparent has made preparations for his family, letting them know that he puts his trust in Christ for salvation, and prepared himself for eternity. I have performed plenty of funerals where family members are left grasping at any little hope that their loved one would be in Heaven. It is such a painful place for everyone when that occurs.

But Grandpa was very clear that His faith was in Christ. I'll see him again.

I loved the old guy so much. He was so accepting of me, so much of a fan of my little life. I felt deeply loved and cared about by him and Grandma, and always looked forward to the time I could spend with them at Easter, Christmas, and other special family times at their home. he told me last year that from watching me on TV, I was okay. He said sometimes I actually kept his interest!

I loved his strong opinions, even when I deeply disagreed with him. Like last Christmas when we argued about who would be the next President. He was a Barrack Obama fan, of which I am very much NOT! Grandma told us to knock it off. I did. Grandpa didn't. He had a lot of (wrong things, I thought) to say about the subject. And my brilliant arguments didn't seem to dissuade him, much to my frustration. We got pretty loud (for the Myer house) before Grandma stepped in. In Stoltzfoos argument terms, however, it was strictly amateur noise levels. Grandma wouldn't like a Stoltzfoos family argument, I don't think.

Nevertheless, I loved him, even for the fact that he chose to get into it with me. It was fun, (debating a wrong person!). I wish I could joke with him that I am a little bit glad that Obama has one less vote now! He would laugh hard about that.

I even had a joke I wanted to tell him tonight. He often asked me if I had any jokes to tell him. He would listen to my jokes and laugh hard, then tell me two or three of his own, warning me that I couldn't use some of them in the pulpit.

I never had any grandparents, until I met Julie, and was adopted by hers. I appreciate them so much for that. Her family is a superb group of really fine folks that I admire and appreciate deeply. Grandpa could be very proud of his family, I think.

When I become a Grandpa, I want to be just like him. Except for the bad political ideas of course.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

a precious word from God

I guess summer always messes with my self confidence. Especially July, when it seems like 45% of my people are on vacation any given week. During those times, I watch the numbers and the feeling of being organized sag a bit.

And it messes with my confidence.

But this morning as I sat in church at Christian Life Assembly in Camp Hill, Pastor Wade spoke about being ready for battle. As he did, I felt the Holy Spirit seem to prod me, and tell me that this was for me, and He had some things He wanted to say.

Wade reminded us about Eph 2:6 God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms. Wade talked about a famous Ronald Reagan gaff, when Reagan, new to the most powerful office in the world, walked up to a microphone and, realizing that sound checks were not done, goofed with the reporters by saying "5-4-3-2-1, we just bombed Moscow", almost causing an international incident. President Reagan was not yet accustomed to being seated in a high place, a place of incredible power, where every word was scrutinized way too much because of the powerful office he was seated in!

Then the Holy Spirit reminded me that this word was for me- that He was raising up Freedom Valley, and even me along with it! He said that though we were yet unaccustomed to living in a place of influence that He placed us in, that He was training us to use it, handle it, and humbly live it out.

The Holy spirit reminded me that our success would not come through brilliant ideas that we came up with, or amazing strategies, or any of that stuff, valuable as it is. This would come through something easier and more brilliant- obeying His voice. The reading, the learning and growing, and all of that stuff, was just to grow our capacity to think the big thoughts He would give us if there was room in our heads to receive it.

This may not mean much to anyone else. But to one frightened leader who was in the midst of his usual self-questioning and wondering if he could come back from vacation and put the yoke back on, it was like a cold, fresh glass of water of a sweltering hot day.

He "saved" my soul July 16, 1972. But this is just one more time that He saved me yet again.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bike week in Gettysburg

Thousands and thousands of bikes are in Gettysburg every year for Bike Week. I hear that every hotel and campground is sold out months in advance. One biker told me tonight that they were told that nothing is available for many, many miles around.

That is why I put out the little signs "Free Camping for Bikers". And so far, 5 bikers showed up! They (the ones who showed up) said that many more did not come because they called and we told them "no alcoholic beverages".

All of these bikers told me that they heard about us from Battlefield Harley Davidson, which was nice. They were very happy to have a place to put up a tent and get some sleep.

It's an honor to host them. We have space and it seems like a no-brainer to offer it. Now, I wonder how I can use it for God somehow?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Sorting out the projects

Things on my plate that I should pray about (for days, each)

My daughter's upcoming wedding
The Armenia Pastor's training
Our building expansion plan
The feasibility study about expansion
Re-organizing staff positions for a better fit
The next teaching series
Catalyst meetings
The Harvest Cry-Gettysburg outreach with Johannes next June
The Signs & Wonders festival in 2010
Development of our training school
Development of our Sites

I am so glad the cycle ride is coming up, where I hope to have hours and hours to think and pray.

Tattoo Parlor Outreach Robbed and Vandalized

Two nights ago, our Tattoo Parlor outreach (In the Blood, Tattoos and Rock & Roll on East Carson Street in Pittsburgh) was robbed and vandalized. Everything of value appears to have been stolen, the rest savagely smashed or destroyed. The regularly scheduled Monday night Bible study that is held there, was turned into a crisis situation meeting.

This puts the Tattoo Parlor out of business, and shuts down the outreach. There is no insurance.

Our missions budgets are stretched to the max, but I am committed to helping. I have told Melisa Whitman-Leventry that we will help with $1000, by the grace of God.

I am asking my Heavenly Father (who is quite well off) to help us get the rest of the $10g needed.

Monday, July 07, 2008

leadership training in Armenia

So I got this leadership training coming up in Armenia. Pastor Karen Khachahtryan put it together and asked me to come and provide training for hundreds of Pastors there is basic church leadership ideas and principles. The dates are approximately August 17-26

I hope to do a lot of work in putting it together. I really want to be helpful to these hard working men and women, and to advance the cause of The Kingdom while I am there.

Brian Bolt is thinking about going with me. Perhaps Sam Masteller as well.

So many projects, so little time...

Friday, July 04, 2008

ideas for the next several summers

Two weeks ago, our outreach efforts culminated in 99 baptisms (that's the number as of this week). I cannot imagine a more exciting week.

Unless maybe ...

Johannes, Peter, and I had a lunch after the leadership training that Saturday morning two weeks ago. During that lunch, we started dreaming together about what more we could do to reach people next summer when they come back (June 18-21). And then we also talked about the year after that.

Next year, we would like to do a "Harvest Cry" event such as they do it Norway. This is a full fledged effort at reaching people through outreach events of every kind, including witnessing teams, flyering, mini-outreach events in various towns, prayer events, and so much more. Evening evangelism meetings would feature cutting edge cultural events, bands, and everything else we can think of to help people see God for who He is.

Then the next year (or year after if we cannot pull it off this soon), we would like to do a "Signs & Wonders" festival; the kind that results in numbers of churches being planted. and hundreds of souls coming into the Kingdom. We would like to share this with other church, perhaps some of which can adopt one (or more) of the church plants for their own, launching the Kingdom of God to a whole new level in our community. has listed Adams county as one of the few counties in the nation where we have grown in percentage of people attending church in the past 10 years. I wonder what would happen if we became one of the few counties where the church attending market share grew a lot in the next 10! Maybe it could spread to other counties or communities in the US!

They say "it can't be done" here in the US, like it is around the world in Johannes meetings. Maybe it can! But we might never know unless we try.

To pull this off of course, we will need a lot of things. We'll need to talk more about that as we march forward.