Thursday, May 28, 2009
I am confident that Kathleen (Kay) Marsceau heard those words from her Master this afternoon.
We had been expecting her death at any time, for some time now. I am glad to report that time is one of the earthly things that is now irrelevant to her glorious state.
I look forward to joining a line of snot-nosed kids--many like me grown old--who will look into her face and thank her for using the
Wordless Book, for teaching the songs, telling the stories, letting us get a present from the Birthday Box, and, more than anything else, loving us to Jesus. Forty-seven years ago she was instrumental in leading me to put my faith in Jesus Christ.
I figure that when folk get to heaven, like all of their other infirmities their wrong way of seeing things instantly fall away. We were made to fellowship with our creator. This sin-cursed state in which we live is the unnatural realm. Heaven's air is the atmosphere we were meant to breath. Still from my perspective here below it seems that there will be some things my Mother-in-Law will have to get used to. Streets of gold and the other luxuries that surround the throne of God will be odd to a lady who was so thrifty she could have taught classes on the subject to the Scots. She always struggled, wondering what she had really done for Jesus. I can imagine that she will be neighbors with the widow who gave her two mites--marvelous examples of those who give all for the Lord. Her accepting the truth that her life was profound value is a truth that I'm glad she now knows.
She joins her husband, Rev. Eugene Marsceau, with whom she served in small church pastorates for decades. She will be reunited with her son, Gene', who died when he was just stepping into manhood. Her dad, who died leaving a wife and three daughters to live through the depression and the war, will embrace her, knowing the path on which he set his family was the narrow way that led to glory. Her mom, who raised those three girls and then joined one of them in missionary service will be there. Her Old-maid Aunts whom she loved as a daughter will greet her. And there will be HIM. "Enter into the joy of thy Lord."
Kathy was on her way to Charlotte to help her sister, who has been mom's primary caregiver these past months, when she received word of her mom's death. While we were ready for her to leave her emaciated body, she will be missed.
In keeping with the way my Mother-in-Law lived, and her wishes, the services celebrating her life, and home-going will be simple.
I do not have the details yet, but I know that her body will transported to Michigan where there will be a graveside service for the family and a public memorial service.
I will post this note on my blog. As further information is available I will post that there as well.
At this point we will appreciate your prayers.
Monday, May 25, 2009
I don't want to mess this blog up with a lot of blood and gore, so I'll simply say that our older son, Chad has been through a lot in the years since he left home. Kathy and I have always been confident that in the core of his being there was an attachment to God. Sometimes it appeared that Chad was running from that. On occasions it was clear that it was God's hand that kept him from going over the edge--various edges, actually. We can look back and see a trail of God's grace.
Yesterday, Chad was the guest speaker at Covington Bible Church. He told how he asked the question--first in fist-clenched anger, and then with submission, "God, I'm a good guy. What do you want from me?" Chad paralleled his experience with that of Asaph in Pslam 73.
Obviously, I am a biased observer, but my sentiments were echoed by a number of people who were there. It was a powerful message.
Bearing visible witness to God's work in my son's life, were his four children, not only present with him yesterday, but living with him full-time. His wife of less than a year, Tanisha, is another clear indicator of God's goodness. Tanisha is a Godly young woman, who not only loves Chad, but loves and "mothers" Christopher, Carrington, Madeline, and Kendal. Her coming into Chad's life, and Chad reopening the door for God to assume the place in his life that He deserves were processes that happened simultaneously. They are clearly inter-related. Again I am reminded of God's goodness.
Seeing our son at this point in his walk with God, enjoying time with his remarkably normal (from a Biblical standard) family was certainly great for Kathy and me.
I want to turn a corner here, though, because not only is Chad Kathy's and my son. He is a child of the church--the Covington Bible Church in particular. Not only did CBC provide him with a foundation that became that core that stayed with him through the dark years, but over the years numerous members of our church family have prayed for and encouraged Chad and his kids, and more recently Tanisha.
Many of our church family were kind enough to say things yesterday that helped us to maximize this "God showed up here" moment in our lives. I want to return the favor.
To those of you who:
- Encouraged Chad with emails, cards, phone calls, and letters.
- Went out of your way to visit him, or open your home and schedule to him when he visited Covington.
- Became aunts, uncles, and grandparents to his kids.
- Challenged Chad to come back to the roots that in his heart he knew were true.
- Encouraged his steps back toward the light.
- Put your arms around Kathy and me in the really dark times.
This was your time as well. Rejoice!
At Chad and Tanisha's wedding I was reminded of Pastor Bill Hybel's words, "The Church is this world's last best hope." At the reception I was able to Thank Pastor Kirk. He walked to Hell and back with my son, and had the singed hair to prove it. He was there on that day as the representative of of the Body of Christ to affirm two people doing what was right, and to challenge them to keep on. My brother-in-law, another pastor, who had, over the years reached out not only to Chad, but to his kids, and not only as an uncle, but as a pastor who saw the opportunity to shine the light in a dark and needy place, also took part in the ceremony. He emphasized the importance of family. Church and family always go together. Then there was the impressive display of unity by a number of the CBC family who drove 600 miles to attend Tanisha and Chad's wedding.
There are those who question the need for the church or a church. In this day of cable-TV and Internet, why should a group of people get together on a regular basis and worship, banding together to serve?
I hold up my son Chad up as exhibit one. Chad has interfaced with social-workers, lawyers, courts, employers, physicians, and schools. These institutions were helpful. There were individuals in these realms who went out of their way at critical times to help my son and his kids--and to offer help to others who still need it--but in the final analysis it was the church that made the difference.
In the right sense of the word I was very proud of my son, yesterday.
I was also proud of the church--my church.
Know that your labor is not in vain.
(PS: We haven't started posting messages online yet--If someone in our assembly wants to take the project on I'll be glad to talk with them--but we can send you a DVD of yesterday's message. Just write and let us know you want one. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Fred is seeking to establish churches in the small communities that surround Neuva Ocatapeque in Honduras.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Today's http://www.informz.net/pfm/archives/archive_781649.html was about the late Jack Kemp. I confess I mostly thought of Kemp when I was slaving over my income tax forms. His proposals for simplifying the tax system always look especially good on April 14 or 15.
I knew he was a conservative who shared many values with Bible-believing Christians like me, but until I read Colson's commentary I was not aware that Kemp was a believer.
Here is part of what Colson had to say about this his friend:
The pastor, Rob Norris of Fourth Presbyterian Church, [Kemp's pastor] gave the main message, from Job 14:14: “Can a dead man live?”It was one of the clearest expositions of Scripture I’ve ever heard, powerfully presenting the Gospel—and all this being listened to by most of the power establishment of the city of Washington. Some of the commentators afterward said that there had never been such an overtly Christian memorial service in the National Cathedral.
Colson goes on to add: "Jack Kemp’s life was his witness. God used the death of one of the great public servants of our age for perhaps the most powerful witness I have seen in Washington."
I was struck by Colson's unequivocal praise of his friend's testimony, Pastor Norris's willingness to take an opportunity to present the Good-news that many preachers pass up, and by the apparent lack of such witness implied by the commentators' comments about the overtly Christian nature of the service.
- All of us who know the Lord need to live our lives as witnesses for Christ.
- Those of us who are privileged to stand and speak for the Lord ought to make the most of every opportunity.
- And we need to pray for the spiritual condition of our nation.
I welcome your thoughts.