When the caregiver goes down


I have written a few times about how I have been helping one of Marti’s co-workers with Women of Vision deal with services needed for her invalid husband. She has been her husband’s 24/7 caregiver since he fell last summer and a subsequent operation rendered him bedridden.

Marie is an amazing woman. Optimistic. Hard-working. Willing to put up with the most humiliating of tasks in caring for her husband without complaint. And bull-headed.

Well, one morning last week, the caregiver went down. She was walking her dog, a rather energetic large puppy, who took a leap and yanked her toward the street causing her to trip over a curb and take a tumble that ended in a broken pelvis. Now there are two down and suddenly 24/7 care is required for two people and I stepped in to be that person until she could find someone on a more permanent basis.

So here I am helping Marie in and out of a wheelchair (she cannot be on her feet) and wheeling her around while she instructs me on what to do for her husband, which alone is a full-time job. I told her not to worry about her caregiving job; I would be her hands and feet. Just tell me what to do. Suddenly I have a new take on what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Marie and my wife, in some areas, are cut from the same mold. Neither is very patient. And did I mention she was bull-headed? Marie’s five-hour wait at the hospital for an X-ray, the result of which was already a forgone conclusion, was unacceptable. She was ready to have me wheel her out of there in her hospital gown with no official discharge, and I would have, had not the doctor finally shown up to diagnose the problem which turned out to be exactly as she had already suspected — a fractured pelvis. “Nothing you can do but take these painkillers and stay off your feet for 6 – 8 weeks.” Thank you very much.

That was last Wednesday. I had just gotten the Catch out when I got the call. So I turned out to be the new caregiving resident at Arnold and Marie’s house until their son came to take over late Friday night. All along I’ve been thinking, I will work in a Catch edgewise and let everyone know what’s been going on. Well, I never found that edge. It was 24/7 care in the truest sense. I can hardly remember putting my head down on a pillow. Plus, whenever I got a chance to rest, I was icing a bad knee that decided to flare up at the same time I needed it the most.

It’s impossible to capture all that went on during those 60 hours I was on duty, except to grab a little of the humor. Did I mention Marie was bull-headed? Well not only that, she, like Marti, expects you to read her mind and know what she wants without her saying it. (Thank goodness I was used to this.) I was often chided for not knowing what I couldn’t have known, and to her credit, she almost always apologized for her impatience later when she realized that. It became a sort of standing joke. As did our initial attempts to deal with modesty which we soon realized had to be done away with in order to get the job done. There were some situations where laughter was simply the best medicine.

But by far, the best medicine of all was hearing these words out of the mouth of Marie’s husband, Arnold, as I was getting ready to leave Friday night: “Will you pray for me and Marie?” This, from a man who has been an atheist for most of his eighty-plus years, whom Marie warned me about trying to preach to because it would only make him mad. So I prayed. I have no idea what I said, but the Holy Spirit did. It was His moment. Now we have the joy of finding out where this is going to go. Pray for Arnold. He cracked the door open, and as far as I know, he left it that way.

For more on this last week, check out our church service yesterday. It was recorded live last night with lots of people commenting. If you haven’t been to our church yet, you really should check this out. Go to www.facebook.com/thecatch and click on the word “POSTS” under my profile picture.

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Business (not) as usual


After over two decades of working with world humanitarian enterprises and dealing with pressing global crisis situations, Michael McCausland has come to the conclusion that the greatest need in the world today, even here in America, is not food, shelter and clean water but job creation. The greatest need worldwide is for jobs. Give people the dignity of their own jobs and they will become self-sustaining and able to solve the problems of food, shelter and water without becoming dependent on handouts that rob them of dignity, creativity and innovation.

To help reach this goal, Mike has formed a training program for entrepreneurs called Leadership Institute For Entrepreneurs (LIFE) which incorporates a 5-day MIT Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. “Our vision is to train 10,000 successful entrepreneurs creating 500,000 new jobs within 10 years.” Michael is helping people discover who they are and what their gift is which leads to purpose and destiny. It’s what he calls “Identity-driven entrepreneurship.”

The training is all based on biblical principles without announcing chapter and verse. He calls it “Kingdom business.”

“There’s a big difference between a Christian business and a Kingdom business,” said Michael in our in an interview last night on BlogTalkRadio. “One has lots of ‘Christianese’ verbiage, the other is based on original design by God. You don’t have to use Christian words to share eternal principles.” And then he gave an example of what he meant by asking about the purpose of work. Most people would say the purpose of work was to make money to pay the bills. Yet we were ordained for work from the Garden of Eden. The purpose of work is not to make money, he said, it’s to use your gift to serve others.

“Do you have a gift? Do you know your gift is not for you? Your gift was given to you to serve others. By serving others with your gift we create this plug and play of humanity and community like Lego blocks … Instead of profit, we talk about fruitfulness. We redefine terms and then integrate them into a culture that values people — that tries to unlock their gift and their skill set. Then they can achieve their purpose. And then we talk about destiny being a team sport. Together we steward one another’s destinies within our culture.”

Do you see what he’s doing here? These are all eternal principles designed by God that work in the real world, but we don’t need to use Christian terminology to talk about them. We don’t need to wave a little flag that says this is a Christian faith-based leadership training program. Instead of talking from 1 Corinthians 12 and the Body of Christ, he’s talking from Lego blocks, purpose and destiny. He’s designing their whole strategy based on the kingdom of God without telling people. And to a person — believers or non-believers — they all agree that the principles are true.

Some will argue, “Well, you’re taking God out of the equation,” to which I would say, “No, God is everywhere; you’re just not announcing Him.” In time, people will find out if they want to find out, and when they do, it will have a greater impact than if you started with God and the Bible and Christianity. They will already be invested in the truth. They will know it works. They will recognize it as God’s design because that was the way they learned it in the first place.

“We’re talking about a movement, not an idea,” said Michael, “not business as mission but business is the mission. Ordained by God since the garden.”

Believe me, we’re all for movements. We believe we are at the start of the next great move of God in western culture. Tune into last night’s radio show if you want to find out more about why, and what you can do to get involved.


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Restless for a reason


She’s an emotional wreck. She feels useless. She has a number of unreached goals in life and she feels too tired to take them up again. Her life seems to be full of inconsequential busyness. She is sad. She feels she has lost a spiritual fervor she once had. She feels like she hasn’t accomplished anything of real value with her life. Her life used to be much more interesting and stimulating — full of theater, art, plays, trips to the museum. Even church doesn’t satisfy. The pastor gets too political and she doesn’t always agree with his politics. She’s lacking in purpose: What is she here for? She’s overloaded with pressure from things that need to be done, but none of these things are going to affect any lasting change in anyone’s life. She’s got errands and schedules that leave her exhausted, but in the end, what does she have to show for it?

So states an email we received this week from one of our most faithful members. It was a surprise, but not really. Many of us are getting to that stage in life where we are asking ourselves these and similar questions. What have we accomplished with our lives? Do we have enough time and energy to change what we might not like about our answer to that question?

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You can’t go back


So to complete the Father’s Day experience, it was the case of the two Papas at the ball game, sitting in the upper deck in the hot sun, trying to stay cool and root for the Angels, which, on this day, was a losing enterprise. Yes, Chandler is missing from this picture, but he is just not a fan of baseball and he has already endured a game this year for my birthday, so I decided not to insist on his presence for the Father’s Day version, especially since we already celebrated with our family the day before.

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I am a Happy Father Today


Dear Christopher, Anne and Chandler,

Thinking back on previous Father’s days, your handmade expressions of yourselves come to mind — little hands printed in clay,  painted self-portraits, and roughly drawn letters spelling ‘PAPA.’  And I smile. 

Almost every day I smile — recognizing the roads each of you are traveling clearly as expressions of who you are.  While I have often insisted on providing bumpers on your journey to prevent you from going too far off course, your wild ride has been all yours.  What Happy Fathers Days I have had.

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Solomon’s wisdom: How dumb can you be?


Have you ever wondered how Solomon, after having been given the gift of wisdom by God, could turn out to be so dumb?

As a young man, Solomon had been offered the gift of whatever he might choose when it came time for him to take over the throne after his father, King David, died, and it pleased God that he chose wisdom to rule as king instead of wealth or power that he could have chosen, so God gave him wisdom, as well as wealth and power. In fact, in his day, there was none wiser or wealthier. He was visited and admired by kings and queens of nations far and near. He was also awarded with peace during his entire reign, although all hell broke loose as soon as he died.

That was because in his wealth, Solomon also acquired over a thousand wives and concubines, many of whom were foreign women from the surrounding Canaanite nations that Israel had conquered — nations that God had ordered them to completely destroy and forbid them to marry. The reason for that soon became obvious. These women had their own idols from their own traditions that they wanted to continue to worship, so Solomon let them have their idols. He even built them shrines and joined them in offering sacrifices to these detestable things, and they became a “snare” to him. As a result of this evil, the kingdom was torn apart by his sons as soon as he died, and nothing was ever the same again.

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On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress approved the design of the original American flag, declaring: “Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

On Aug. 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman officially declared June 14 as Flag Day.


I almost cut my hair

It happened just the other day

It was gettin’ kinda long

I could-a said, it was in my way

But I didn’t and I wonder why

I feel like letting my freak flag fly

And I feel like I owe it to someone

     – David Crosby

I bet you didn’t know it was Flag Day today. It might have escaped your attention since it is not a national holiday. However, if you live in Pennsylvania you might be more inclined to know about Flag Day because it apparently is a state holiday there. I only know it because it popped up automatically on my Apple calendar and I made a mental note of it because I like to fly my American flag when I have an official reason to do so. I know that’s pretty silly since no one would stop me from flying my flag whenever I wanted, including every day of the year. But for some reason, I like to have grounds for flying the flag. I’m also typically forgetting to put it out on official days like national holidays and only remembering late in the day when it’s too late to bother.

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Who killed Jesus?


For our teachings in the Church at the Catch, we’ve been in the Book of Acts of the Apostles which happens to be Marti’s favorite book of the Bible. She loves the Book of Acts because it is full of just that: acts, or what she would call “action.” And since Marti is a woman of action, it’s fitting that she would love these stories of ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things because of the Holy Spirit in them. Which makes Marti wonder why we don’t see similar things happening among us, because we have the same Holy Spirit dwelling in us. To which I can’t give her an answer other than lack of faith, but that’s for anther Catch.

Something that hit me hard this time, however, was the fact that Peter gave two messages in the first two chapters, and both messages were primarily the same: You killed the Messiah.

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