He Has Given Me The Ability and The Opportunity

#offeringthoughts

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Here at River of Life Church, we focus on missions. We understand the value of supporting missionaries around the world who spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We support missionaries overseas, as well as, domestically here in the United States.

Recently at an elders’ board meeting, the pastor suggested we reach out to the local schools to support those in need in our local community. Being Christmastime, I knew this was a good time to start such an effort.

We live in an area of affluence. The median house price and salary range is way above the national average. Although we have some pockets of low income and impoverished people, one traveling in this area would find them few and far between. Yet I knew, behind the walls of some of the finest homes in the area, people struggled financially and providing a blessed Christmas was out of the question. Partnering with local schools, the identity of those people can be protected. Schools know the financial situation of many because of the free and discount lunch programs offered to those struggling financially.

How do I know?

Not too long ago, my family, living in a very nice home in a bucolic neighborhood, struggled financially. I had been unemployed for about five years at the time. From the outside, you would not know. The yard was well-kept, the gardens weed-free and the curb-appeal was wonderful. I had plenty of time to do the work, unfortunately.

Inside, we struggled to put food on the table, keeps the lights on and the children clothed. I would work any odd job I could to raise some funds, but mainly we lived off the savings stored during better times and liquidated retirement funds enduring the double-whammy of taxes and penalties for early withdrawals. Several times, we refinanced the house to use the equity to pay the mortgage. A one point, we thought about selling the house and renting an apartment only to realize we didn’t have enough for a security deposit and a credit rating so bad, no one would rent to us.

I applied to many jobs with a 100% rejection rate. I even applied to companies such as McDonalds, Burger King, Lowes and Home Depot to work any kind of job to bring in some money only to be turned down. My education and experience precluded me from such jobs because they knew it was only a temporary job.

Finally, I was able to obtain a “job” conducting training. I was paid for the days I trained. The pay was minimal, and the employer was very crafty in deducting fees from the little they did pay. I traveled 100% the time, supporting the employer’s business using my personal credit card. Hotel and meals were reimbursed but after some delay. Despite the low pay and full-time travel, I was able to pay enough bills to keep from going bankrupt quickly.

My children were registered for the free lunch program at the local elementary school. At least they got a decent meal Monday through Friday. Dinners were pretty thin on content, but at least they got food. There wasn’t any room in the budget for extraneous expenses or purchases.

Christmastime was coming and as I sat in my hotel rooms night after night, I wondered what Christmas was going to be like that year. The years prior, Christmas was low on festivities and presents, but the children understood because I wasn’t working. This year was different since I was working and their expectations were higher. Not that my children wanted that much in the way of presents, but I could see they were more excited. How could I tell them this year was worse than the previous years because the savings and retirement funds were gone and the money I was making only paid for half of the monthly bills? I remember the night in that hotel room when I was literally being crushed by the thought of another year, when it is supposed to be joyous, being so disappointing for my children. I have never felt a worse feeling than being a father and husband who couldn’t support his family.

I hold a master’s degree in computer science. I developed software that millions of people used. I wrote hundreds of articles that helped shape the telecommunications industry. I was considered excellent at everything I did professionally. And yet, no one would hire me. The only job I could get didn’t even support my family. I shouted at the top of my lungs, “God, make this year different. Let it be a Christmas where my family experiences the Love of Christ, not just in words or a few songs, but in action. I don’t want to go to church, sing all those songs and put a smile on my face as if everything is just fine. God, we need a miracle.”

We received a call from my children’s school asking if there was anything we needed in the way of Christmas presents or food or clothing. My wife took the call while I was traveling. She said yes to all. When she told me about it, I could only gasp. She told me of gifts we had received, ones we could never have afforded. She described the wonderful food provided for a Christmas meal. And then she told me of the jackets we received. There was even one for me. It was a true blessing. I thought of the Christmas Carol story and how Uncle Scrooge finally learned the true meaning of life – doing for others.

I wore that jacket for years. It was my favorite jacket because of the story behind it. The day finally came to donate it to another needy person. As I placed that jacket in the box, I prayed over it.

I said, “Lord, I thank you for this jacket. I thank you for the way it came to me in my time of need and you heard my prayer (venting). I thank you it kept me warm all these years. I ask You bless the person who donated the money for this jacket that he or she receives a ten-fold return. I pray for the person who receives this jacket. May it keep him as warm as it kept me. I ask he receives it and Your Warm Love just as I did when I received it. May he come to know You are his personal Savior. And Lord, I pray You give me the ability and the opportunity to donate jackets, food and presents to those in need. Amen.” I sealed up the box and gave that jacket away.

In Acts 1:8, it talks about ministering to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the world. Since that day I gave the jacket away, the Lord has provided the ability and the opportunities to minister to Judea, Samaria and all around the world through the missions and missionaries I support. With the outreach to the local schools, I can now serve Jerusalem, my local community. The local school only needed 20 children supported for this Christmas. The pastor preprinted 20 envelopes. I ran to the front of the line. I wasn’t going miss my opportunity to give to that child in my community. May he or she be blessed. I pray he or she and the entire family know the love of Jesus this Christmas. I want them to know people, their neighbors, care about what they are going through and want to help. No condemnation. No judgement. No animosity. I want the father and husband to realize there are others who understand that feeling of failure, frustration, and self-doubt. I want him to realize he is loved by a fellow man and by Jesus Christ. I want that family to simply understand the love of Christ working through us to them.

Merry Christmas. Christ is more than the reason for the season. Christ is Christmas. God’s greatest gift to all mankind – His Son, Jesus Christ.


#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



A House Divided – Depends on Our Relationship with God

Here at River of Life, our tag line is “Connecting with God and with each other.” I’d like to focus on that a bit today. Our relationship with other people is solely dependent on our relationship with God. In Mark 3:25, Jesus warns:

And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

In case you are not aware, our country is divided in almost every facet, every perspective. I am not getting political because the problem is not political, racial, gender-based or ideological. It is spiritual. We Christians are to be the bridge-builders to everyone. We have the greatest gift through Jesus Christ, yet we have let satan dominate in every area of division.

Our society has lost the concept of grace and mercy toward others. Instead, we demand our rights. We become offended. We anger easily. Rather than humbling ourselves under God, we boldly stand in pride and demand others bow their knees to us. As a people of this nation, we are so steeped in pride, we don’t know Who Grace or Mercy is. For many, grace and mercy are concepts. But Grace and Mercy is Jesus Christ shining through us.

II Chronicles 7:14 states, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Let me ask you a few questions. Where do we learn about Grace and Mercy? Where do we learn we are the bridge-builders? Where do we learn about the Love so great, He washes away our sins and leaves us clean, pure, grateful and gracious to others?

We learn it here at River of Life Church. When is the best time to learn? All the time. When are we most impressionable? When we are young and still forming our opinions of life.

Today is the third Sunday of the month. It is Building Fund Sunday. Help us build that expansion so we can serve more children, teach them the Love of Jesus Christ, help them understand how to bridge the gap to others and to equip them for the life ahead.

Let us humble ourselves, get out of our pride and indignities and build pathways to those we disagree and make this a better nation.

It is our relationship with God that will determine our relationship with our fellow neighbors.


#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



Christianity: Religion or Relationship or Both

In a recent Facebook post, my friend Tim McClain discussed the following meme:

#offeringthoughts

He posted it. Here is my response:

If you look at the religions of the world, they are a set of rules and regulations. Christianity is not rules and regulations. It is grace and mercy. Therefore, I can’t see it as a religion. Christianity is about Jesus Christ. Other religions are about “God”, so to equate Christianity as a religion about God brings it down to the level of other religions. It is so much more. It is God’s embodied life in the form of man, dying for man and rising again from the dead to prove Jesus is the bridge between God the Father and broken man.

If you don’t like the term relationship, then use something else. Name me one other God or god who has a relationship with his/its followers. Name me one other god who came to his/her/its creation and sacrificed himself/herself/itself for man. Name me one other god who rose from the dead. Jesus even said it is about relationship. It is not about rules and regulations. Jesus fulfilled the Law and broke the rules and regulations placed upon the back of humans. It’s not about Do’s and Don’ts. It is about the love God/Jesus Christ has for you and your love for Him. That is relationship.

I don’t have a “religion” with my wife or fellow humans. I have a relationship. I don’t have rules and regulations for my marriage. I have the love that guides and dictates my behavior. That love provides the grace and mercy that makes the marriage and other relationships work.

We see the divisiveness in our society today because people have lost the concept of grace and mercy, forgiveness and going the extra mile, and not harboring wrongs against them. Rather, we immediately become offended and hold onto the grudge rather than following the example of Christ, or even on the Cross, stated, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Christianity is about relationship. Relationship with God. Relationship with fellow man. Don’t be Stupid.

Tim provided a solid response showing the opposite view:

When we go to church, as a body we worship God. We sing praises to Him, we pray to Him, we listen to His Word preached to us, we give back to Him monies from the abundance He has provided to us to further His work and to care for the poor, we partake of the Sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. These are all religious acts, therefore we are practicing religion. The visible church and our religious practice there is how God grows us in the grace He has provided so that we can have a personal relationship with Him throughout the week. The concern of the meme is that many people who want no part of the visible church will say that since they have a personal relationship with God, they don’t need church or religion. But there are no lone ranger Christians–God has designed us to work together in the church as a religious body. The fact that much religion is false and wrongly focused on ritual and attempt to please God by works is not a legitimate reason for being anti-religious, any more than we should be anti-marriage because some of them wind up in divorce.

I believe both points as valid. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



Eulogy to a Father

My brother-in-law of 46 years passed away last Saturday after a fight with Parkinson’s disease (I never want a disease named after me – not a legacy I’d want). Although he wasn’t famous, his impact on his family, friends, work colleagues and community was great. Not loud or boisterous, flashy or outlandish (ok, he had his moments), his consistent and steady manner steered his life. Here is his son’s, Mark, heartfelt eulogy. It is every father’s wish to hear these words from his sons and daughters.


My Dad lost his battle with Parkinson’s on Saturday. To all those who have reached out, thank you so much for your thoughts and kind words. He will be missed by all. He was the best.

Dad,

I guess our time together has come to an end. I always thought that it would end much differently. I always thought that we would have more time that you would be a really cool grandfather and take your grand kids to hockey practice and Penguin games, just like Papa did for me. I guess God has other plans.

I am very thankful for today, I am thankful that you are free of your body. I am thankful that you no longer have to suffer in a body that fails you. I am thankful that for the first time in 15 years that you will be able to move however you want free from the shackles of your disease. I realize now how much of you the disease took and how much we all miss you, the old Mikey, the one before Parkinson’s. Man I miss your smile, the way it would light up a room, your corny jokes and your love and vigor for life.

You once told me that you had a hard time knowing that God loved you. I hope that you are feeling his love today and how amazing it is. I hope that he wraps you in his arms and you feel a peace like you never thought possible. And Dad I never doubted the god loved us, I can’t help but look back on our time on this earth together and see his many blessings and love everywhere. Just look at all of the perfect days we had together, we weren’t that good, or that lucky, but we were that blessed.

  • Sunrise at Yosemite
  • 5 Goals 5 different ways
  • 41ST NHL All Star Game
  • The day we caught our Salmon off the dock in Owen Sound
  • Foul Balls at Fenway
  • Winning the Quebec Championship

The memories of these days and others have been so thick these past couple of days since you have passed that I feel as if I am there all over again, that I can reach out and touch you, that time is standing still so that we may have just one or two minutes together.

On the eve of Nora’s birth, Mom asked me if I was scared. No, I responded, I was the furthest thing from scared. Excited was more like it. The reason I wasn’t scared was you Dad, you gave me all the tools and confidence in the world to be a father. You were a great role model and teacher. As Nora begins to grow up and I continue to ask myself what I want to do as a career, I realize the only thing I ever wanted to be was Dad, because you made it look so cool. There was a smile and a confidence in you that only came out when you were with Em and I, we know even though you never spoke it, that your greatest joy and happiness came from being with us and with Mom. Nothing in this world was better than that for you. I know that it always hurt you a little bit to be away from us on business, but you always made us feel that we were the most important things in your life. Those feelings rubbed off on me, I wanted to feel that joy and that happiness, and until Nora was born I couldn’t even fathom what that felt like, but now I understand, now I understand how full they make your heart, how much greater your love can be for someone, how much they change your life. It breaks my heart every day that my kids will never know the father who raised me, that you will never meet your grandson, but I promise you, they will now all about you, who you were, what your values were and what you stood for. How can they not, those are all so much a part of who I am that it will be impossible for me not to pass those down to them. I will probably tell them so many times, that they will roll their eyes and be sick of hearing it. Thanks for giving me all the tools to be a great father and a good husband Dad, this may be the greatest thing you ever did for me.

You have taught me so much and you continue to teach me even in death, you reminded us of our own mortality, that all of our time on earth is precious and we never know when we will be called back to God. You reminded me to treasure every moment, because you don’t know how many moments we have left. I found a copy of a letter you wrote me almost 20 years ago, yesterday in your desk, it is a message that will withstand time.
“You have been blessed with many gifts and I know that God must have something very special in mind for you. Keep close to god and true to yourself. Balance that bravery with humility where necessary. And most of all, enjoy each day….” Thanks Pal, I needed that, and you were one of those gifts I was blessed with. If I can be half the man you were, I will consider it a smashing success.

Well buddy, I guess we know go our separate ways, with nothing but the memories of each other to keep us company until we see each other again. My hope for you today is that somewhere in heaven there is a road just like Little Sewickley Creek, and that it is a cool fall day with a slight drizzle, just like you like it, perfect running weather. As you make the right off of Beaver, and you start up that hill, I hope your legs start to feel better than they ever have before, that you throw off 15 years of disease and discomfort and you have the run of your life. Enjoy that run Mikey, you deserve it. Soon enough you may look over and there I will be on my BMX bike, peddling my butt off just so I can hang out with my Dad on a Saturday morning and we will see each other again.

I LOVE YOU AND I MISS YOU.

Mark

What becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
Maybe

-Jimmy Ruffin


#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



A Cup of Water: Chi Alpha

Mark 9:41 – For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

As many of you know, I am an adjunct professor at Penn State Abington. Last Monday evening, as I was setting up for the class, one of my students approached the lectern. She said she needed to keep her phone on during class and immediately burst into tears. She said she had just learned her best friend had tried to commit suicide. Her friend’s mother had called and said she found her in her bedroom, wrist slit trying to die. The girl was in the hospital as the student and I spoke.

It has been almost 60 years since God was booted from the schools. It’s been those same 60 years where we have extracted God from our society. Over that time, God and his teaching have been attacked and shunned from most public places. We Christians are looked down upon as intellectually inferior breeds of misfits. Someone recently declared the Bible as the most ridiculous and irrelevant works of fiction of all times.

Let me ask you. Over those 60 years, what hope is being offered to those in need? What are the anti-God people giving in place of Jesus Christ? They say was are supposed to simply love one another, but how can you love someone if God doesn’t exist because God is love?

Chi Alpha is a ministry to college campus helping students experience the hope given by Jesus Christ and love of God. Last month we highlighted the work Rachel Almeida and her work through Cru. This month, let’s watch a video from Dr. Phil McLeod who is working through Chi Alpha in the Philadelphia universities and colleges.

Chi Alpha Video


#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



Acknowledge God and He’ll Acknowledge You

#offeringthoughts

Yesterday, my wife Cindy and I went to the Museum of the Bible with some of the other folks here at River of Life Church. I was most impressed by the ancient scrolls some dating back to 1200 AD and some artifacts dating back to years before Christ. The antiquity of these relics and God’s preservation of them, especially His Word, is truly astounding.

On the ride back, we watched the movie “God’s Not Dead” Part 1.

One of the lines that struck me comes from Matthew 10:32

“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.”

One of the ways we do that is through our giving of tithes and offerings. We see an example of this as Abraham returned from battle. Abraham was not a warrior. He was a shepherd. He knew he did not win the battle, but the Lord used him to overtake the enemy and bring the spoils home. During his return, he meets Melchizedek, King of Salem and Priest of the Most High God. Here is what the Bible says.

Hebrews 7: 1-3 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.

God uses us to do His Will in the earth. It is not our talents that win the battles or shares the good news. Although He gives us our talents and skills, it is God working in us and through us that brings about His Will. He gives us the ability to earn money and works through us to produce for our employers. We need to acknowledge that through our giving. As we give our tithes and offerings, think about your skills, talents and abilities. They are God-given gifts. Acknowledge them as such and His working through you.


#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



God is Greater Than Our Limitations

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Mark 16:3 And they (Mary Magdelene, Mary mother of James, and Salome) said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?

As these three women approached the tomb, not knowing Jesus Christ was already risen, they wondered how they would be able to get into the tomb to anoint Him for burial. The tomb was sealed with a huge bolder. Too big for them to move.

In Jessie Comrie’s sermon last night, he made the point it is not about our abilities, but God’s ability. He said, “You provide the do, God will provide the ability.” You provide the do, God will provide the ability.

Today is the third Sunday of the month. It is Building Fund Sunday. We have already mentioned the upgrades we need to make to our building to continue supporting the vision God has for us. Notice the order of things. God provides the vision. We need to act on the vision. The vision comes to pass. Noah didn’t start building the ark when he saw the waters rising. God told himto build the ark and Noah built the ark, then the waters came. Moses didn’t wait for the people to be ready to leave Egypt. God told Moses the vision, Moses went to Pharaoh, then the people left.

God has given a vision here. Already we are seeing the growth in the children’s area. We a busting at the seams. We have a vision of an expanding the building. We see the overflow of people. Our online viewership is up. People are coming. We need to expand.

We have a boulder in front of us. That boulder is the cost of the expansion. Who will move that boulder? We act. God provides the ability. Who will move that boulder for us? God provides the ability. We will move that boulder.


#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



The Tithe: Our Receipt of Our Level of Trust

I would like to build on Fred’s testimony from last week. Fred testified how he finally got a house after 13 years to the month of selling his last home. He mentioned he bid on several houses and looked at many more. What he didn’t mention is what he said to me each time a bid fell through or a house did not meet their needs. He would always say, “I am trusting the Lord for the right house at the right time. He will get us the house we need.” I paraphrased his words.

Fred and Jody were trusting the Lord for a house.

My question is, “Why could Fred and Jody trust the Lord for such a need?”

In Luke 16:10, Jesus concludes his story about a certain rich man with a not-so-scrupulous steward. Jesus states: If you can be trusted in the least of these things you can also be trusted with much.

You might recall the story where a rich man had a steward. A steward is a person who manages someone else’s property and money. In this case, the steward was skimming from his master. The master called the steward to account for all the money and property. The steward became scared and to cover up his mis-deeds, he called all the debtors to the rich man and shaved down their debt. He did that so the books would balance and the debtors would befriend him when he lost his job.

The entire story revolved around money. Jesus concluded his story saying he who is trusted in that which is least would be trusted also in much. Jesus basically called money the least thing to be concerned with. The greater the concern, the greater the trust level must be. Jesus was saying if we can trust Him with the least, our money, we can then trust Him with greater things.

Jesus wants us to trust Him for our money and livelihood which He calls the least, so we can trust Him for the big things in life, such as houses, health, healings, and so forth. How many would agree with me that trusting God for money is one thing, but we kind of choke when it comes to cancer, retirement, jobs, etc.?

Let me use an illustration. I have here three invoices from Home Depot which represents one of my projects at home. These receipts remind me of several things:

  1. The inventory of items purchases and the amount of work I bought myself.
  2. The amount of confidence I have in my abilities to do with those materials I said I would. The invoices amount to a little over $13,000. How many consider that to be a large amount of trust in my abilities?
  3. These invoices also remind me of the level of trust my wife has in my abilities to do something with those things I spent $13,000 to buy. Do you think for one moment she would let me spend that kind of money if she didn’t trust my abilities?

Cindy had to trust me and my abilities to do something with the material purchased. I have a receipt proving her level of trust. If she can trust me in that area, can she trust me in greater areas of life?

You may be wondering what does this have to do with tithes and offerings?

At the end of each year, River of Life Church provides me with a receipt of my giving for the past year. This recent reminds me of several things:

  1. It lists each donation. It also totals my contributions. Each year, the first place I look at is the total contributions.
  2. It shows me the confidence God has in His abilities to do what He promises. Didn’t He say, “Give and it will be given back to you, good measure, press down, shaken together and running over shall be given back into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38). Didn’t He say He would never leave me nor forsake me? (Duet. 31:6). Doesn’t His Word say through the Psalmist David, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Ps. 103:2-5)
  3. It tells me how much I trust God and His Faithfulness. I compare my total to the previous year. If the number is greater, I have proven to myself I trust God more this year than last year. AND, it tells me the level of trust I can have in His promises.  If I trust Him in my finances, I should be able to trust His other promises of healing, housing, jobs, etc. Right?

I have a receipt of my trust level.

To what level are your trusting God? Look at your receipt. Is it 2%? Is it 5%? Is it 10%? Is it more? If you are trusting Him in your finances, which is the least, Jesus says we can trust Him in the greater things.

Fred and Jody tithed. That opened the door to trust Him for a house.

Where is your trust level? Look at your receipt.


#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



A Wall Built by God

Nehemiah 6:15 – So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.

Today is Building Fund Sunday, the third Sunday of the month. I think of Nehemiah and the impossible task that lay before him. Jerusalem was in ruins. The walls were completely destroyed and the gates were unhinged and burned. Nehemiah, as you may recall, got permission from King Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem to make it inhabitable again.

While Nehemiah was trying to rebuild the city, his enemies constantly tried to stop him. He armed his workers with swords and spears in the event a battle ensued. Imagine placing stones and mortar while keeping an eye open for the attack of the enemy.

Today, we have monumental task of expanding our building here. I don’t see it as a project to expand our building footprint, but as a bastion against the kingdom of darkness. By teaching children about Jesus and his Love, we are building for a brighter tomorrow. We are putting up that wall against darkness, sin and hatred. We are equipping them to be the future leaders and missionaries that will bring others into God’s Kingdom.

About 20 years ago, I served in the nursery and toddler room. During that time, I didn’t appreciate the magnitude of that service. Today, four of the twelve children I watch and taught then are serving in the ministry to their generation. Twenty years ago, I built unseen walls against the kingdom of darkness. Today, we need to expand our physical walls to equip more children with the Gospel of Jesus Christ so twenty years henceforth, we will continue to buttress against the attacks of unbelief, hatred, fear and ungodly things.

Enemies are constantly throwing rocks and attacking us. We may be hit with doubts or sickness or busy-ness or whatever. We may be distracted by the many things that capture our attention. As Nehemiah constantly reminded his workers, we are doing this to the glory of God and not for us. We need to prepare the future generations.

The vision is set before you. Will you join me in providing the facility to raise up our future, Godly leaders?


#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



A Letter to a Dying Friend

This post is very personal in nature. Life dictates we must pass through death in order to enter the eternal presence of God. It is a sobering time, one of massive reflection for me. What will it be like? Absent from the body, present with the Lord, as the Apostle Paul stated.

Over 25 years ago, I witnessed my father pass from life to death to eternal life. I saw the decline in his physical body. It shook me to my core. I was speechless. There was so much I wanted to say, but the words caught in my throat. I tried but I chickened out. I just couldn’t seem to push forward. I missed the opportunity to verbally say how much he meant to me.

Now, I have another dear friend in a similar situation. Short of a miracle, he is just a few short weeks before he passes into Glory. Praise God, he knows his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and his eternal destination. Well, I decided not to “chicken out” this time. I wanted to tell him my innermost and deepest thoughts toward him. Once again, the words could not be uttered through my mouth. I wrote him a letter. Something he (and his wife) can keep. With his permission, I have placed the letter in this post.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your sacrifice and surety for our future.


Ralph,

Blessings to my brother in Christ and all praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

It is times like these words escape me and emotions overwhelm me. I would prefer to say these things verbally, but I know since they are of such a personal nature to me, I would not be able to do so. Therefore, I write these thoughts, so I can clarify them and say what I need to say.

In life, we must accomplish only two things. Jesus put it this way:

Matthew 22: 36 – 40:

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Ralph, you have exemplified these two commandments. As I have grown to know you, I have always been struck by your abilities in this area. You have greatly impacted me and others around you. The interns we engaged this past spring where equally impacted.

One thing I keep in front of my eyes is the legacy I leave behind. Since we are fellow drummers, I will use drumming as a metaphor.

We don’t just walk to a different beat, we are the beat. We set the pace and keep the time. While others can do it without us, there is always something missing without the reassuring beat of the drummer. I’ve seen your steadfastness, not getting overly anxious or off-tempo as life hits you time and again. Your steadfastness in the Lord is expressly noticeable. I don’t know what pace you go in your private time, out of the limelight, whether it is frantic or slower paced, but publicly, you are rock-solid. Your trust in the Lord is evident whether times are good or times are bad. That display of trust shows even if it is not acknowledged. Others see it. I see it. Christ sees it.

As drummers, we add color and syncopation to life. Your quick humor and hearty laugh light up the room. You brighten those around you and make all feel welcomed and comfortable. Quick to add a story or affirm someone else’s, you show your love for Christ and for others through your words and actions. You freely hug and touch others in away they feel comforted and loved. I am a person who does not readily accept hugs from just anyone. Yours was always welcomed. As I told you, my love language is touch and I carefully guard that because of the inappropriate behaviors it can easily lead me into (but definitely not with men – whew!).

As drummers, we are rarely in the limelight, but in the background supporting the rest of the band. Your willingness to lend a hand (accept around power tools – that would result in a different way of lending a hand) and serve others has not gone unnoticed. Jesus was a servant and a leader. You exhibit the same trait – willing to serve others and step into leadership positions as needed.

Occasionally, we drummers are spotlighted while doing our solo riffs. It’s times like these where we can strut our stuff, show off a bit, and just let loose. I got a peek of it the day you attended our Toastmasters meeting. It was good to see you in action. I wish I could see more. I have seen it when you make a point in a conversation. Your wisdom and knowledge of the Word is evident and it comes through.

Ralph, I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know if you’ll receive your healing in this life or shed all diseases in the next. One thing I do know for sure, Jesus Christ is waiting for us on the other side of this life. Jesus and many others – the ones we have personally led to Christ and the many more we have invested into through our giving and prayers will welcome us with the greatest of joy. If you beat me there, I’ll come looking for you when I arrive. If I beat you there, I’ll be watching for you, brother. We’ll have a great reunion and a time of rejoicing. I don’t know if we’ll recount old times or just make new ones, but either way, it will be a joyous occasion.

Let me close with this. In this life, I have many acquaintances – people I know. I have few friends, people I really like and trust. But I will say, there are less than ten people I love as a brother or sister – my immediate family and a very select few. You have earned a place in the most inner circle. You have impacted my life more than you can imagine and more than I ever suspected.

I don’t really know a good way to end this letter. I’ll simply say, I love you and I’m praying for your peace above all else.

David A. Zimmer
Your Brother in Christ


#offeringthoughts

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