I have so much respect for our head pastor. This is a little bit about him and more about the walk of sanctification and the way we become more and more transparent as we grow closer to Jesus.
Once in a very long while in the church body, you meet a person with a discernible aura that displays the presence of the Holy Spirit. Usually this person is older – the walk of sanctification, the way we walk ever closer to Jesus and are conformed to His image takes a lot of time and a lot of pain. Not always, but usually. That aura makes you sit up and take notice, and it begets respect.
If you think of us as lanterns on a hill, and all our “stuff” in this flesh, the old nature, as glop on the lantern, the more that gets cleared off, the more clearly the light shines. This is one of the things I care about – getting the glop cleared off my own lantern, and helping women clean up theirs. We need our lives to be a witness. Our alignment with God needs to be crystal clear. There’s a lot of stuff that can glop up a lantern. Some of it we think is good, some of it we know is bad. It’s glop anyway.
It’s important that we shine out. The world is dark. We need to be lights. We don’t need to be about us, we need to show off Jesus. Every one of us has a facet of Him that we’ve been particularly given to show, we need to get after it. No. We need to get ourselves out of the way and let Him do His work through us. It’s not us who shine – it’s Him.
But anyway. I ramble. It’s … you’ve met them. The special ones. The ones who have been shined up. And it is a blessing to be near them, because you’re reminded of Jesus. Plain and simple, the presence is felt.
Pastor Mike has always had the aura of love. You know that man loves you. He has a strong gift of shepherding, and he cares deeply for his flock. It’s always been this way. He’s been through the Refiner’s Fire a few times… and this latest bout. DUDE.
So, he’d been out for almost three months. His kidneys gave out on him. (The doctors are continually surprised by his insistence on breathing, this isn’t weird). He went in and out of hospital a few times over the course of those months. He had a pulmonary embolism at one point. Lost 25lb. (In the above pic, he’s 94lb). He was hoping to do dialysis through the intestine, so he could be mobile, but he’s not big enough (and has had too many gut surgeries) to sustain the liters of liquid around his waist, so now he’s doing regular dialysis 5x/wk.
So, you know, they took out the gut tube on Thursday. He thought they’d just yank it out – no, it was proper surgery, anesthetic and all. That didn’t stop him preaching tonight. Nor will it stop him tomorrow, two services. They put up a chair last week (when he came back initially). This week he looked at it, informed us that it was his parachute, put there on the insistence of his wife and a few others, and that he wasn’t using it, unless he fell down, in which case we could pick him up and put him in it.
This, my friends, is what you call “being poured out to the Lord”.
You don’t see it much now. Maybe you never did. But these are the people that you stand for, that you curtsy to (or bow). The emotion of respect is usually very mild. Not in these cases. It is almost overwhelming, the amount of respect I feel for my pastor right now. HE COULD STAY HOME. He probably should stay home. No one would blame him. Not a single person.
I don’t know what the next months will bring, but I know I’m watching God at work. And the thing is – you always are watching Him work. It’s a miracle that any of us draw breath. But when you’re with someone like Pastor Mike, you KNOW it.
Not everyone who has the aura of holiness is like Pastor Mike, hanging on a miracle thread.
But when you’re with any of them, any of the ones who really SHINE for God, you can feel something more than ordinary.
Our world is full of mud and lies and garbage. We don’t have much that’s real. Too many of our “holy” men are about as holy as what I use to fertilize my rosebushes. But that doesn’t mean it’s not out there.
Someday……….. maybe, that can be me. I think that it’s okay to want to be one of the lights. Not all of them are in as much pain as Pastor Mike. We’re all SUPPOSED to be lights. It’s a dark world, folks.
Get out of the way so God can shine.