Influence browsing by tag


April 22

Monday, April 22nd, 2024

“Thanks for the memories.”

A lot can be said when you see the eyes close or the last breath taken as I did when my mother passed. Or a friend. While I did not actually see this happen, I was there within 5 minutes of it. Last Thursday, my friend of 30+ years-my cycling buddy, my laughing buddy, my friend-finally lost his 14 year battle with cancer. But those 14 years were full!

Jim was diagnosed with cancer and was put through the ringer. Surgery. Chemicals. Chemo (which is chemicals). Holistic approach. More chemo. But those 14 years-as were the year before-were filled with skiing, boating, scuba diving, cycling, hunting, fishing-the list seems endless. He once took a whole winter and worked two jobs. One as a paper salesman which he could do remotely, and the other as a hot tub “fixer” in Utah. That allowed him to ski almost daily. 🙂 Jim truly lived life to the max. It was 2-3 short months ago the cancer specialist told him there was nothing more they could do because while on chemo he still developed spots on his liver. It was literally all through him. Even then he lived bravely.  I was able to drive the 150 miles to visit him every other week for 8 weeks. Last Thursday, which I figured would probably be my last visit, Jo and I were 5 minutes away from his home when Tina, his wife, called to say Jim had just passed away. 5 minutes! But now my reason to visit changed. It changed from reminiscing and encouraging my friend to consoling a hurting wife.

Jim would have wanted it that way. His cremains will be spread outdoors because, again, it was a picture of his life. The late Tim Hansel wrote a book called You Gotta Keep Dancin’ (@1985). Tim also live life to the fullest even after a mountain climbing accident led to a lifetime of excruciating pain. He closed out his book with this little ditty:

There is no box made by God nor us but that sides can be flattened out and the top blown off to make a dance floor on which to celebrate life.  (Kenneth Caraway)

Jim danced. Jim is dancing. He knew Jesus. “Thanks for the memories my friend.”

And now to you. What kind of memories will you leave behind?

July 13

Thursday, July 13th, 2023

INFLUENCE.  Someone has said, “Leadership is influence.” That is a big word which goes both ways. I Corinthians 15:33 says, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” That is true so I hope and pray that when people are around me I encourage them. I lift them up. I influence them for the good. Ultimately, I want them to consider Jesus-a follower of Him or not.

But sometimes it is the other way around and it comes when I least expect it. Yesterday was a perfect example.

At lunch time I met with a young man whom I have known for a little over 6 years. I met him and his young family when they returned from a traumatic time in South Sudan where they had served as missionaries. Their experience, while it had its good points, was very draining. Spiritually. Mentally. Emotionally. Physically. God, in His marvelous way and plan has brought healing. Next week he, his wife, and now three children (it was one when they came home), are heading to Nairobi, Kenya as missionaries. They are going to encourage other missionaries who are in the place they were. Their home will be a sanctuary for recovery and rest. His heart for God and for other missionaries shows God’s power in healing their hearts. I came away encouraged.

Then last night Jo and I took a young family (a young couple and their three children (5, 3, and a newborn) to the Mexican restaurant for a meal away from home. We figured they could use it. 🙂  (And I never heard Jo complain about eating out…ever).  They are a wonderful couple/family, obviously in love, and have two delightful children and one who I’m sure will be loved, smothered, and nurtured by mom and dad and big brother and big sister. Jo went away saying, “I like them. They are so real and down to earth.” I agree. She also said she never heard the husband talk so much. 🙂

It did my heart good to be influenced. As a pastor, I am the one who is usually expected to influence and encourage. And I tried to do so in both conversations. But it was also good to be encouraged by simple conversations and shared lives.

So let me ask you: who and how have you influenced people lately?

May 30

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

With yesterday being Memorial Day, we should have stopped to remember and be thankful for the men and women who served our country to preserve our freedoms. I hope you did.

I recently read a story that is all about remembering. I’ve been reading No Reason to Hide by Erwin Lutzer and he tells the following story:

Millions of mothers can be called heroes. One such is Sonya, who entered into an abusive marriage at 13, and later separated from her husband. She never did learn to read, but she was passionate that her children learn to do so.

She had two son, Curtis and Benjamin. Ben was 8, his brother, Curtis, was 10 when their parents divorced. Sonya worked 2-3 jobs at a time, leaving their small apartment at 5:00 a.m. to go to work, and not coming home until midnight.

When the brothers came home with poor grades, she instituted a strict change. She limited her sons’ TV time and they couldn’t go outside until their schoolwork was done.

Sonya could not have predicted her son Ben would become a famous pediatric surgeon. He performed the first reported separation of twins who were joined at the back of the head. He was an esteemed professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Ben Carson always paid tribute to his mother and credits her fervent dedication to him and his brother for their success.{Pages 230-231- Edited for space}

I wonder what Sonya Carson would think of today’s philosophy of allowing the schools to determine what a child is taught. The battle raging today over who should have the say over children-school or parents-is not one Sonya would have tolerated. I firmly believe it is the parent’s responsibility to teach our children, not the schools. The ungodly philosophy taught in our schools, and hiding it from the parents, or even in direct opposition to them, makes my blood boil. Okay…down from the soapbox.

I leave you with this today: we may never know the influence we have now, or down the road. But let’s make sure it is a good one.