Feeling my Age

Hi Friends:

I am not ashamed of my age, I’m 54! I will, however and take note, be 55 soon and very soon!!! (I am very pleased to remind you I “act” much, much younger of course!). Late last week I was at a local retail store and the cashier (who looked like she was 10 or 11) said “I gave you the discount” as she rang up my purchase. “Oh”, I said ever so pleased, “what discount is that?” And the little girl said “It’s our senior citizen discount for people 55 and over”. I just didn’t say anything else and thanked her and figured I am close enough to 55 I’ll take any discount I can get.

Go from this to my mailbox. The AARP folks are after me. You know, they wouldn’t need my donation if they stopped sending me all this junk mail!! I get something from them every other day at least, and I’m being totally serious! Unbelievable…..now they offer some good discounts when you belong….nothing wrong with the organization, it’s just way to much marketing for me. So I’m feeling my age today…..add to that it’s the Autumnal Equinox day today at 10:30 tonight we officially begin Autumn!

I love that season, it’s just the time to mark another change, another calendar change and life moves on at a rapid pace! No matter your age today, physically, emotionally, spiritually we have Good News! Our God is with us and loves us unconditionally, and age/time do not effect our God! In the Bible a verse says “A thousand years in your sight are like a day just gone by…” (Psalm 90:4). Enjoy your age today, you and I will never be this young again!! We don’t need to worry about the rest of our life and it is not up to us to answer all our questions about life…the who, what, where, when and how stuff is God’s. Let go today, friend, and enjoy this day! Tomorrow is all ready for us because God is there, and yesterday is forgiven and forgotten. Above all else, be yourself, you are God’s gift to the world!

Yesterday I was speaking with an “alumni” of our local INKY VDC. He said he hadn’t served in several years mainly because he didn’t know any of the guys anymore he said. He is older, retired and as we talked about VDC I could tell he was “done” with it. He said “Do you think it’s run it’s course?” And I said “No, God in Christ is still calling, still blessing, and still instilling the desire to grow as His disciples!” VDC HAS NOT RUN IT’S COURSE, OF COURSE!!! Burnt out alumni will always be there…..I don’t think I’ve seen him at Ultreya’s and he said he was not in any kind of reunion group. It encourages me to encourage you to reach out in your community! I hope and pray the local and national newsletters reach all our people. If you know of an address or email address change for yourself or another VDC person then let your local Secretariat know! And be aware, look around, pray, and a) always recruit people to come, and b) recruit alumni to come back attend a renewal weekend ( in INKY we offer a spot for a person to go through their weekend again), go to Ultreya, find a reunion group and to get involved.

Our God in Christ continues to guide, and bless our movement literally around the world! Keep on keeping on in your world, no matter your age!!! thank you for all you do to serve the Lord in our VDC!

Grace and Peace,
Pr. Doug
NLS Spiritual Director

On being “welcomed”

Good Day Brothers and Sisters in Christ! Decolores!

Messiah Lutheran Church, Brownsburg, Indiana celebrated 50 years of ministry yesterday. I served there from 2000-2005 and was one of several pastors who returned to a worship service and a luncheon. It was neat to be back and see so many old friends and dear people. As is often the case, a Sunday morning hymn lyric will stick with me all day. Yesterday it was a hymn called “All our welcome” and is a beautiful hymn about welcoming all who come to worship.

Isn’t it wonderful to be “welcomed” when you go somewhere?? Sort of like the Wal-Mart greeters? We have all been somewhere probably where we did not feel welcomed and it’s uncomfortable. We have signs in some of our homes that say “Welcome” and we have “welcome mats” and welcome celebrations. I’m not sure why we say “You’re welcome” after we get a thank you but I digress. According to dictionary.com the word “welcome” means “greeting”. Just greeting one another is all we need to do to welcome them and make someone comfortable.

When I see someone coming down the hall who I don’t recognize I will usually ask them if they need help or directions and I always greet them and introduce myself. You know sometimes this hospital environment is not very welcoming. When we ask a pilgrim to attend a weekend we are giving them the ultimate welcome from Christ. In fact, isn’t that what we do all weekend long? We make them feel “welcomed” and we greet them with handshakes, hugs, palanca, great worship, food and fellowship. Let’s be welcoming and invite someone to attend.

A line or two from the hymn along with the refrain:

“Let us build a house where hands will reach beyond the wood and stone;
To heal and strengthen, serve and teach and live the Word
Here the outcast and the stranger bear the image of God’s face;
Let us bring an end to fear and danger

All our welcome, all our welcome, all our welcome in this place”

We need not look any further than our brother Jesus who welcomed all who came to Him. Nobody turned away. No one “rescheduled”, it was Jesus spreading His arms out on the Cross to die for us and rise again for the ultimate, life giving, eternal welcome. Let’s share that today!

Pr. Doug Givan

Patience is a virtue

Brothers and Sisters in Christ-this is a weekly devotional thought I sent out to the hospital where I work as chaplain.

I went shopping for a battery this weekend.  Pretty boring, huh?  My grass trimmer do-hickey won’t last more than 3 minutes or so and my brother has offered me one of his batteries as a replacement.  But he lives 90 minutes from me and I don’t want to wait so I go out on my own.  I go to the local hardware store and the battery is $40 and I’m mad.  I’m not spending that on a battery when if I’m patient I’ll get one in the next couple weeks.  Meanwhile, I want to find it cheaper and my trimming is overdue in the yard!!

I go to two large “box stores” in my town and each have a battery like I need, but alas, they also are $40!  So we have in my town a little “Thrifty store” that looks like a cross between plumbing, building supplies and farm implements.  I’m not sure who they are trying to draw in but they only have an electric trimmer for $29 which I could do.  As I look at the electric trimmer I remember I’ll need a longer extension cord than what I currently have.  And of course, the 100 foot extension cord is around $10….sigh…I’m up to near $40 again and this time I’ll have to drag around a cord.  All I could picture was me out by the curb 100 feet and 5 inches from the house and not being able to reach the edge and waving to the cars that go by thinking “Look at that guy!”

So another great analogy to the spiritual life isn’t it?  We want what we want and we want it NOW!  Patience anyone?  Do you know the prayer for patience?  “Lord, give me patience and give it to me now!”  I talk about this with almost all the patients I visit….I ask them if they are a “patient patient” and it’s so hard.  Be patient my friend, all good things come to those who wait.  In my life how this works is to remind myself constantly to slow down.  I feel an internal “push” to get to the next thing, do the next job, move to the next moment” and I lose any kind of present moment happiness sometimes.

The Lord models this for us.  Just imagine all the people that begged for His time and attention…..but also notice how often Jesus went up the mountain, or away somewhere, to pray (Matthew 14:23 for example).  When is the last time you just stopped and prayed?  Or stopped to give thanks to God and name 4-5 blessings?  Have you ever visited the chapel for a little quiet time, or to download?? Try it today and be patient first with yourself and then with others and thank God that life is beyond our control!  All we have to do is follow….and wait!  That’s what I’m doing about my battery, I’ll be seeing my brother this weekend and the grass can wait!

Pr. Doug Givan