After further review …

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since yesterday’s Catch and I believe I have a few wrongs to right. I’m not quite sure what got into me yesterday; it certainly wasn’t what I truly know or believe. First, I’m not as pathetic as I sounded. You don’t want the white-haired guy I pictured with the robe — the Reverend Doctor — speaking at Arnold’s memorial service; you want me. I’m the guy, and I’m the right guy. I know this probably more than anything I know right now. I’ve been in hundreds of situations like this before, enough to know what happens when the Holy Spirit kicks in with my gift. I know this so well, that no matter how well I prepare, I can’t wait to hear what I’m going to say.

Secondly, Christians are no different of an audience facing death than non-Christians. That’s because we’re all human, and I don’t care how much hope and faith you have, at the threshold of the reality, you’re not going to sail on through, or sail on by, without a doubt or a single “What if I’m wrong?” running through your mind. No one we know has been there. No one we know (except Jesus) has been back to tell us about it. Indeed, that exception is huge, and why we cling to Him, but we’re still all human. We aren’t spiritual automatons. We all need to be comforted. God knows this; He remembers that we are dust. That’s why He said, “Fear not,” so often, and “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.”

And finally, up until now, I’ve been content to know the new Arnold — the Arnold with faith in God. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I like the new Arnold; I’m friends with the new Arnold. I might not have known the old Arnold had I had the opportunity. He might not have wanted to know me. But it’s still Arnold, and I suddenly want to hear all the stories and appreciate all the friends, even the enemies. These are the people who will be attending the memorial service, and they know little or nothing about the Arnold I know. If I’m going to speak knowledgeably about him, I owe it to them to know about that guy too. That guy is also Arnold. The whole being, as is true for all of us, is loved by God.

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7 Responses to After further review …

  1. Yes! You are the guy! Boldness and love!

  2. Suzan says:

    I love the way you showed us yesterday how vulnerable we can be when we rely on our own resources. Today I hear the man so totally reliant on the wisdom and resources of God, the God who led him right where he needs to be. So beautiful and encouraging to all of us!

  3. Julio Jaramillo says:

    You did not sound pathetic, just the normal anxieties many experience before the spirit reassures that he is the one who gives the seed.

    Your words about the new arnold vs the old reminded me of this quote, I’m sure you remember where it comes from.

    “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”

    Your reflection about faith and comfort got me thinking. Even though we all need comfort after loosing a loved one, the comfort we get from the hope of heaven in christ is so much more effective than affection and empathy by themselves. I often find myself troubled by the current prospect of unbelieving friends and family, but there is always some joy when I miss those who died in Him. In the same manner, the words of assurance you can give to anyone who was close to a deceased believer are so much more significant, uplifting, and powerful than simple wishful thinking or remembrance. I have experienced this.

  4. John Fagliano says:

    You will be talking about an Arnold who was bed ridden and totally dependent on others. That right there will be an introduction to an Arnold a lot of them never knew. Then when you tell them of his rebirth, it won’t be so hard for them to fathom that Arnold could change. The key is for The Holy Spirit to convict people to not wait until they’re bed ridden to turn to Him.

  5. Mark D Seguin says:

    Dear Pastor John, I thought Tuesday Catch’s made you seem human.

  6. Sandie says:

    No apologies necessary! You showed us that no believer is above being knocked around by ‘the father of lies.’ You also showed how Jesus picks us up, dusts us off, binds the battle wounds, gives us a hug…then says, “Get back where you belong and have a right to be – because I earned it for you!”
    I think God cuts us more slack in some areas than we allow ourselves.
    Thank you for your humble honesty.

  7. hahimes says:

    John, For what it’s worth, I didn’t think that was a “bad Catch” – it was honest. You never have to be the one to “always have it all together”. None of us can be – yet how often we think we have to, how often we try to or we hide behind pretending that we are. You being vulnerable like that is a GIFT to all of us who care about you. OK – it may not feel like a gift to you, but it is. At least for me, it’s good to know I can pray for you and that it means something to you. My heart goes out to you when you’re feeling the way you were because I know how difficult, painful, discouraging that can be. And all the more reason to risk allowing yourself to be honest and to receive support and encouragement. Thank you for being real. May God remind you every day that you, too, have a special place in His plan that absolutely no one else can fill. The seed is planted, you water it, and the growth is God’s.

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