For the past couple years I have been under the care of a doctor whose core belief was to drug you and answer questions later. When I would go visit him, he would start writing prescriptions even before I got examined. Even when I got the drugs, he would add a bit extra in. For example I had a gout attack last year and he gave me some Vicodin for the pain for a couple of days as needed for pain. He gave me 50 with a refill. Really?
Anyways, I went to a new doctor today. Like many new doctors there is a huge introductory time with forms and many questions. Good thing I brought my wife since she was able to put my medical history together. There would be some huge gaps in my story. This new doctor had some concerns with some of the medications I have been on and the follow up exams. After more than a few vials of blood were given up, an EKG, a lecture on my exercise habits, and a tetanus shot I headed home.
Then the hypochondriac in me came out. Wait a second… did he find something? Did he need to take all that blood? Why did an EKG need to be taken? Why do I have a ultrasound of my heart scheduled? It all ended with the thought that maybe he found something. Maybe he wants to confirm it before he breaks it to me. Am I on the downhill slide?
SLAP! That was the figurative head slap that my wife gave me to get me out of my funk. She had to explain to me that I was approaching the give Four- oh. That meant that my health care was hitting a different level. There were more that had to be done by marking the next decade in my life. Even those words stung. I was getting older and now I was being watched more closely by my doctor. I am guessing getting older is a part of life. In many ways it scary with the possibility of a major medical condition looming on my horizon. The thoughts of a life altering condition approaching…
While I don’t particularly like the extra probing, the end result is important. That preventive care is important. I know too many people that simply avoid seeing the doctor due to its inconvenience or lack of health care. I am thankful to live in a situation that it is provided for and praying for those that lack this right.
All in all to say… if even I can wade through all this, you can too.
As many of you that interact with in a day in day out level know, I sometimes have to take steroids. About ten years ago I began to struggle with my health. Often times during paintball practice I would come home with swollen joints with little calcifications under the skin. Over the course of time this became worse and began to affect my life. I was diagnosed with gout and several different forms of arthritis. The treatments ranged from pills to steroids to self injection pens. Needless to say it was not fun. My quality of life diminished as I struggled in movement and my weight ballooned. In the last couple years I have begun to really manage it and reduce my medicine. This includes steroids that I was taking every day to an as needed situation.
This past week I have had a flair up, thus the need for a steroid regiment. As the word today is “spirit” I took a picture of my pack of steroids. In Ezekiel 37 it reads:
37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the SovereignLord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares theLord.’”
The bones that were covered with tendons and skin but did not have life until the pneuma/ ruach/ spirit came into them. The body did not have true life until the breath came into it. My body sometimes breaks down and causes pain. It is unable to fulfill the purposes that it was intended. The elbow was so swollen and painful to move. That was until the steroids came and provided a medical intervention to my problem. Sure my elbow was there but it was unable to do what it was meant to.
Our purpose is much more than tour day in and day out lives. With the Spirit of God moving within us we are given true life… more than we can ever expect or imagine.
Now that I am actually ordained and got a job it is quite interesting to hear from some of the members of the APNC (Associate Pastor Nominating Committee). This whole process was very long and arduous from both sides. Me, in searching for a position and submitting over 80 PIF’s (Personal Information Forms). The APNC, received over a hundred applications in the course of six months.
At times I was incredibly frustrated by the process in searching a call. Why were they not calling me back? Why did I get rejected? What was I doing wrong? Now from this side I had the opportunity to see what a nominating committee went through. While I was struggling so were they. It seems like they were not arbitrarily tossing PIF’s out (as I felt sometimes) but were in fact prayerfully discerning who they were going to choose. Out of my conversation I realized there were several areas that concerned them about anyone.
1. Who really was this person?
As our PIF’s ask us several theological and church questions it does not truly reflect who we are. In fact, we can shape wording to both liberal and conservative congregations. In our references, we are told to put up to six references. These could be anyone. While many put Presbyterian contacts, how well do some of them know us. In fact, the APNC got the brush off from references more than once.
In the search to find the real us, they went online. It is not very hard to find me on the internet. I have a facebook, myspace (that I never use), twitter, linkedin, and blog. This does not discount the post such as denominational items that have me marked. As I searched my name on google and added PCUSA I am listed eight times in the first ten search results. Apparently I am pretty easy to find. In those search results one could get a very good idea of who and what I am; all the good, bad, and ugly. They even got a sense of my spiritual development and maturity in faith.
2. What is there experience level?
It was once told to me that I have to “put in my time”. That was that in order to move my way through the denomination and ordination that I would have to “do time” or serve wherever I was needed. Through my ten years I have served as an elder, elder commissioner, nominating committee member, presbytery council member, and a myriad of other committees. At times it was not necessarily what I wanted to do, but was slowly entrusted in what I wanted to do and be a part of. Too easily was we are in the ordination process we take our Presbytery as a necessary evil in that we have to adhere to the many policies and hoops that they want us to do, instead of embracing it and being nurtured by it. As I left my Presbytery I was giving a strong look because of the belief and trust the Presbytery had put into me.
As I was driving to Pasadena for class yesterday I had an epiphany moment. I can actually tell you where it happened. Cruising at 20 mph on the 118 Freeway near the Resenda Blvd Exit at 5:30 in the afternoon. Is that enough detail for you? It hit me that my life may be vastly different in the next twelve months. I will graduate from SFTS/SC in ten months, hopefully will pass the rest of the ordination exams in a month, pass the final certification from the Committee on Preparation for Ministry later this year, and be actively seeking a call. This is more than a little exciting but also leaves many balls up in the air that I will be juggling. Not only am I still on staff at Word of Life but need to complete an internship this fall. My prayer is that in the next couple of weeks that it will be wrapped up. This does not even include my Presbytery stuff that I am involved in which is the Chair of the Nominations, a member of the Presbytery Council, and Chair of the Lay Leader Training Institute Steering Committee. Did I also mention that I have a family and a wife that sometimes sees me?Anyway I was not trying to moan and solicit empathy. I know that all that I have gotten involved in was my own doing. As I look to the future I need to form an exit plan for some these activities. If all goes well, most of these activities cannot be left at a whim, but require long term leadership. I need to seriously look at some of the activities and begin to limit my involvement in them. This does not include the church which I serve, but the extracurricular stuff.This is an exciting time for my family and I. It seem that the long journey of the past several years is about to end, and it seems the world is our oyster in many ways. There seems to be different opportunities around us. We could move to Australia and watch the Aborigines, switch my major and become a Physicist like Donald, or maybe find out if it is possible to have an ordained call to a church on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. Is that a validated ministry of the PCUSA? The point is that I need to prepare for the next step in ministry while looking to the best interests of the ministries/ organizations/ people I serve. I seem to recall this from a class I had last semester, Supervised Ministry Seminar. While it focused on transitioning out of the internships we served, basic principles apply.By the way, anyone see my wife lately? How is she doing? Just kidding, I saw her this morning.
For years I have bought lottery tickets. Well spend a dollar here and there, usually only when the “lottery fever” hits. That is when it is above 150 million or so. The whole day until the picking of the numbers I fantasize about what I am going to do with it. A huge house? Yacht in the Mediterranean? My own Island? Who know. Spending that dollar gives me a chance to think of the possibilities. On that note I was reading an article about a billionaire in Orange County that gives millions of dollars away a year to various charities. On that note I put together a list of charities that I would support, if I could afford it. Note they are in no particular order.1.
Presbyterian Church Hearts and Hands Initiative– A stewardship campaign of the Presbyterian Church that focuses upon New Church Development, Church Redevelopment, and Missions abroad. It is a $40 million dollar campaign over the course of five years. It is what helps fund the church that I currently serve.2.
www.lifewater.org Provides safe water, hygiene, and sanitation needs to communities throughout the world.3.
www.wish.org Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has enriched the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work.4. Children’s Hunger Fund To meet the thousands of needs that exist in the world today, Children’s Hunger Fund utilizes an extensive network of generous ministries, companies and individuals who help transform children’s lives from hunger to hope.5. San Francisco Theological Seminary/ Southern California Initiative– Funding that allows for students to attend that are financially unable to. This is the fund that supports me through seminary currently.
In the last couple of days I got two individual letters that I believe are from God. It was word of comfort and encouragement. Maybe they can be for you as well.First one:Dear Sean,I prayed for you and Jennifer this morning. The Lord is with you, and I prayed that you would have a tangible sign of this. Isaiah 41:13 “I the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” (NKJV) He wants you to feel, and know that He has you in His grasp. You are out on a limb, but not without His grip.I read a quote today (she says it’s anonymous) from Ruth Myer’s book “A Satisfied Heart.” She says that someone said, “When God wants to do something wonderful, He begins with a difficulty. When He wants to do something very wonderful, He begins with an impossibility.”I continue to pray with you and am honored to do so. I also pray for Word of Life, and Ronnie’s ministry as well.Second One:Hello everyone, I think God prophetically gave me this word for many of you…you guys be the judge.NLT Philippians 1:6 And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:1 16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. Galatians 6:9 9 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. Your mess this week/month is temporary but God’s work and favor upon your life is going to last forever! We see corrosion, rot, satan, and other destructive forces eating away at different areas of our lives (nation, city, bodies, family relationships, houses, cars, church,dreams,etc). Sometimes we get discouraged by what we see and we slow down on the pursuit of our dreams and vision. However, God never stops at what He has begun in us. God is so faithful! He is faithful when we are not. God is working even now on perfecting His salvation in our life. The devil works on us, sin works on us, the economy works on us, fear-stress works on us, BUT GOD WORKS OVERTIME & NEVER TIRES OF WORKING ON OUR BEHALF!God’s Word for Many of You?: “I know your discouraged and anxious by what you seem to be losing, but I’m going to replace it with something that will actually bless you. I know you feel I’m not working on your situation but you will soon see I AM! I know that you feel your working hard for nothing, but keep on working hard and I will make sure that you get paid a harvest of blessing” You can be sure that your work will pay off because I never stop working for you!- God?
Today I am suppose to be in the second day of my weekend session of church history. I had class last night and all day today (Saturday). We ended up being babysitterless along with some other issues, and Jenn had to work so I had to take one for the team. I came home late last night. I intended to stay in Monrovia with Eric and dash to class in the morning. Instead I got home about 1 a.m. and have been drooling on myself all day.I could have very easily just hung out with my kids at home but decided to take them out and spend some time with them. Rather than time for the sake of time, more of a quality behind it. I took them for a walk down the beach and had some fun.