Willohroots


Light at the end of the Tunnel
Tunnel through the rail road fill at 7 tubs.

Tunnel through the rail road fill at 7 tubs.

I have been going through some tunnel times.  I seem to be much better at getting a second interview than I am at getting a job.  I am sick of being broke, church giving is down, it rains a lot, my aches have aches, and I am generally miserable.  Worst of all i spent a lot of time this week with Johnny.  Johnny was my assistant Fire Chief for about 5 years back when i was Chief.  he saved my rear  in a figurative way a couple times, and I think God used him to save my life once.

The reason spending time with Johnny put the icing on my depression cake is that he has become a practicing alcoholic.  johnny is 7 years younger than I, but now he looks 10 years older.  his hands shake, his face is lined deeply, his legs can hardly hold him up.  His dad died of alcohol in 73, his pretty younger sister dies about six years ago, same thing.  I love this man, and just know he is on the way out.  I have tried praying, preaching, and invites to AA.  Without a Damascus  road experience he will go the way of his family.  I don’t see John often, but every once in a while, in the dead of night he will stop by, drunk as a skunk and smelling worse, to reminisce and wake me up.  It only happens two or three times a year.

I was with Johnny because he called me Wednesday,  his mom had passed away.   He needed his Chief.  I was with him as much as I could be.  We went to the funeral Mass at The Holy Redeemer.  His mom was a  strong Catholic, but it didn’t take for John.  They have a new priest, and I enjoyed[90%] of his homily. Their beautiful building with its vaulted ceilings is a lot different from, Dayspring’s drop ceiling plainness.  I hear they are going to sell it, and as much as I would love to preach there, i just don’t see that happening. Very Christ centered.  I stayed with him for the burial and the little dinner after. We sent over a ham and some buns, it is about all I can do.  I can’t reassure him, or promise reunion, he is not a believer.  he told me that this existence is Hell.  His theology is really wrong, but he is strong in his disbelief.

Anyway,  the Godlessness of the situation brought me to a dark spot.  I have to watch my self.  I have been really depressed in the past, and if I let my Gospel armor loosen, and if I do not take care of me and walk closer to God i can get so down i can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I took a hike with son in law Mark,  [Eutychus to us] , and took some pictures and walked the blues away.  It lifted me, may you enjoy.  These are from the Seven tubs Recreational area in my home County of Lucerne.

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The tree tops of north East Pa. The colors are coming in.

The tree tops of north East Pa. The colors are coming in.

Looking out to the Blue Ridge Mountains , across the Susquehanna valley

Looking out to the Blue Ridge Mountains , across the Susquehanna valley

One of the Seven tubs

One of the Seven tubs

Markus Eutychus, excellent hiking partner!

Markus Eutychus, excellent hiking partner!

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So how can you stay depressed with such natural glory around?  How can i be down when God has taken me through the tunnels of cancer, and pain, and paralysis?   Do I think God retired?  Am I silly or simple enough to think that He who started a good work in me will nor complete it?  Being around people who have shut out God really runs me down, being around God and His works is my prescription.  Hope you like the photos!



The Church as seen by a Ret. Vol. Fire Chief

 

It has pleased God to provide much of  my training needed to pastor Dayspring Bible Chapel in fire-halls and in fire service.  My leadership skills with volunteers [ still needing much improvement] , my teaching style, my counseling and discipline abilities were all honed in Fire Service at Mt. Zion Bicentennial Fire Dept.  To me this makes biblical sense.  Moses was trained as a shepherd,  Nehemiah in a king’s court, Luke in study to be a physician and many more examples.  God is a master of cross training.  

Moving from Fire Service to His Service I  have noticed a lot of  comparison points where churches fall far behind firefighters.  One area not lacking is technology. Churches use PowerPoint and email and websites, burning DVD’s of services and using audio visual aids with cutting edge science.  This is an area in which I admit Dayspring is far behind.  Other areas in the visible church could learn much from your local fire department, and my suggestion is we emulate or at least learn from America’s Bravest:

  • Mutual Aid,  one company calling and receiving assistance from others
  • Member Retention,  recruiting is fine, but keep what you have
  • Leadership Hierarchy, know who is in charge of what
  • Buddy System,  a pair beats high card every time
  • Personnel Accountability , know who is where and their condition
  • Member Utilization,  everybody works for the common good
  • Pre-Planning,  prepare for the worst, think ahead
  • Bonding in powerful life relationships
  • Community Service,  cat in tree, pool fill, non fire service calls
  • Effective Mobilization, calling out the troops in time of need
  • Fellowship in leisure activities,  work hard, play hard
  • Emergency Reaction,  no committee decisions on an alarm
  • Training,  the only usable personnel are trained personnel

Take a look at the picture above. A college age woman is using a Dry-chem portable extinguisher on an imaginary fire.  She has been able to hold the extinguisher, feel it’s weight, hear the sound it makes when it discharges, see its range and operate it in a safe environment.   She has no doubt been taught the mnemonic,P.A.S.S.   Pull Pin, Aim , Squeeze, and Sweep.   Imagine how her success at reducing property loss and mitigating a hazardous situation has been improved by this training.  Experience has taught that well meaning people without training have failed miserably in using hand held extinguishers.  More than one person has dropped a CO2  extinguisher in panic at hearing the loud roar it made when used.  Many frightened people have not pulled the safety pin, and strong men have broken many handles squeezing with all their might against the safety pin.  The extinguishing agent does no good against fire if not directed at the base of the flame from the proper distance.  
For the cost of a refill, $38.00, this woman has been made into a firefighter who could save millions of dollars.  No doubt she sees now what area the tool covers, and now understands how big a fire may be combated with this device, and has been taught when the battle is worth fighting and when to bail out.  An extinguisher in the hands of a trained person is a firefighting tool. An extinguisher without training is a red can on the wall that pleases insurance companies and  is usable only as a door stop.  

At church and in His service we fight the very flames of Hell.  How much training do we provide?  Pastors have seminaries  [I have deep rebellion issues on this one that I will get to later] , Lay leaders have conferences, but does the guy or gal  in the pew get training?   Training applicable to real world scenarios?  It just does not seem so. Here is a great read by Willohroots commenter Michael Bell, found on the Imonk site where we met.

“As noted earlier, before the age of 24, most of those who will leave have already left, whether they be Catholic or Protestant.”

Mike points out What is happening, here is my take on Why: They are untrained.  Putting a firefighter in a position of danger without proper training and equipment is a recipe for disaster.  Best case scenario, he will quit the service  feeling he is a coward and a failure, or worst case, he will die.  The church is too often presented as an island of comfort, a refuge from a world of sin, a safe society where sin is presented as “their” problem and we claim to have overcome.  When a young adult is loosed into a world of all nature of sin the flames are too much and the options are either to beat  a hasty retreat or be consumed.  There are some time honored training methods available to us, and we need to teach and preach them if we are to succeed. Here are some areas that we need to address:

 

  • Witnessing,  not tracts, not acting plastic, but sharing Jesus in a real and meaningful way.
  • Confronting sin face to face, retreat is not the only tactic.
  • Preparation for condemnation from the world , it is going to come, be ready, your professors [most] think we are crazy.
  • Real world issues are not black and white: divorce, sex, drugs,etc,  must be understood – not simply condemned.
  • History of the Bible and the Church, in truth, warts and all,  knowledge is power and many of our youth are powerless.
  • Evils of the Church,  we are His bride, but we have messed up a lot, from crusades to defense of slavery, the truth is good to know.
  • Denominational Distinctives,  we do things differently, get used to it.  Sure ,’we are right and they are wrong’, but God forgives [whoever we are].
  • Sin.  Sin is fun in the short term. Admit it and do not fear, we face nothing alone, He is there.
  • Forgiving, forgiving , forgiving

 

The church has a choice, to be a a life raft floating on the sea of society, tossed by the waves and adrift, or a surf rescue society, trained people with a mission deliberately putting ourselves in harms way , with purpose and mission , to head out into danger for the purpose of rescuing the lost and drowning.  We can be strictly a social hall, offering a nice place to have fellowship, or with training and the weapons provided by God,  rolling out with a higher purpose, saving the lost from the flames that never die while keeping each other as safe as possible in a hostile environment. 

We were saved to serve, not sit.  Our service cannot be done without preparation.  Next post,  Training.  What say you? Are you trained?  Have you been to some good classes?  Share, we all need to keep sharp.




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