Monday, August 6, 2007

Love in Life, Love in Death

First of all, Judy, Skip and the rest of the Harrington Family, I love you.

Today is a kind of strange day, with a strange article for you. I contemplated writing this for the last several days but wanted to get things right before doing it. I still don’t know if I have it right, but will give it a shot.

The other day as my wife and I were talking at the dinner table we spoke some about the difficulties we are having financially. We are at the place where we realize the impact the ministry is having but also realizing the “church” in many ways just don’t see or care about the impact of the ministry we do. My wife stated she believes it is because if something isn’t up and in the face of many in the “church” they just don’t see the value in what other ministries are doing. We realized as we carried on this conversation with our son that the truth of it is, our rewards are not on this earth, they are in Heaven.

Over the last few years we have been involved in ministry we sometimes hunger and thirst over the things we gave up prior to going into full-time ministry. We miss things like being able to get your automobile fixed when it needs it, the relaxation that comes from a real vacation, the ability to go to a movie and have a nice dinner at a restaurant, what it feels like to take your kid shopping for school, and on and on with the little things so many people take for granted. Regarding the big things like an investment account or a retirement plan, forget it! We realize, we have taken, wantonly or not, a vow of poverty to be able to serve those the “church” and others don’t have time, energy, or supposedly the financial ability to provide for. Unfortunately, for those often hiding behind a computer screen, with a mental illness, an attitude where there are the unfriendly, and the uncaring out there who don’t care, and others often left out of the equation, many of us realize, there is a world wide ministry for many accessing the net that don’t end at the stroke of a key, but often with a face to face, or ear to ear encounter where real help and real love is shared. Hopefully that love is shared with the reality of the cross behind the various actions that takes place with a ministry like The Virtual Pew.

As my wife, son, and I spoke about this it wasn’t long before we were given a reminder of the value of the work we do. I had recently been asked to appear on an internet radio program, Living Saved with Reverend Kerrene. I had also recently posted the story of Anthony from a presentation I made in Fresno California as well as it had been posted by the church which hosted me. This despite many recent difficulties ranging from financial, to receiving an audit notice from the IRS a lot of things have been there to bring us down. Some of those things caused us to reconsider, rethink, and reevaluate the ministry we are involved in, as well as the difficulties in doing this ministry. It takes literally a minimum of 8-10 hours a day and has me receiving as little as $800 over the last month, from gifts and speaking, with expenditures of ministry of over $1,000. Not all months are like this, but unfortunately, more than not lately. It is one of the reasons we are going to be targeting Kansas, Oklahoma and a 250 mile radius for the next several months. We simply can’t afford to take the trips without the guarantees of income or at least having our basic needs met.

All of this has been going through our minds when something happened that caused me to rededicate myself to the ministry God has called me to. I begin to get more emails and contacts requesting prayer, help and a listening ear from people who are going through problems. This on top of the numerous contacts I already have on a daily basis. I have been reminded that the story of Anthony, the message of hope, and the reassurance that following Jesus is about more than what is presented within the walls of what many call “church” on a week to week basis. Not to say that those places aren’t important, they are, but to realize the “church” is not always the Church that Christ wanted her to be. I could go on regarding reminders of the need for this ministry I have had recently but will only say, that what we see in the “church” likely upsets and hurts Christ more than we realize because she has forgotten about her mission, and more importantly Jesus mission and passion of reaching people who were hurting and lost.

My attitude began to change as the week moved on, but on Friday, God really hit it home as to the importance of this ministry. One thing that many within the “church” had been critical of had once again shown me what God could do through a ministry like this. I was contacted by a dear friend, and dear family we had come to know through wrestling. A member of their family was in the hospital and was dying from cancer. The family requested I do the funeral that would be approaching. It is a sad time for this family, as it is for me and my family, but it is a time where I was touched because I was asked to share in something this important to this family. God continues to amaze me at how I, a kid who grew up in the streets can be asked to share in something this important.

Over the last weekend and for the remainder of this week and beyond I have the honor of spending time with Judy and her family in the hospital. I have had the honor to speak with Judy about her relationship with God and her soon upcoming time where she will be meeting God. It has been amazing to spend time with her, and her family, to be there to give some level of comfort, to pray, to remind them of the temporary nature of separation that comes from death, and of their own need to know and have the right relationship with God in order to spend time with their mother, grandmother, sister, friend and wife in the future. To be placed in a position like this doesn’t come from my own efforts, it don’t come from the efforts of others. These types of blessings come from God and God alone. I don’t know how one places a financial price on something like this. What is more important, the vacation with your family or knowing another family loves you enough to have you be a part of their life in this way? I know we are all made differently, but suddenly last week when asked to do this and then to be told by Judy that she wants me there with her for each of the remaining days of her life on this earth I was reminded, some things in life are worth more than money.

The truth is, life still isn’t easy, I have to find ways to ask God to bless the gas mileage between here and the hospital each day, I have to ask God to provide in other ways, but the sacrifices I make are worth it. Of course there were those who don’t think so, those who encouraged me to spend less time around wrestling, where family exists like in no other sport, but the truth is, those people are gone, not really a part of my life, while those I have the honor to serve, are still there asking me to not only have a part in their lives, but a part in their deaths as they move on to the next stage of life.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I have been asked to do a funeral twice now in the last month. Once while in Fargo and unable to return home, and now, while I am at home. I think if I had it to do over again, I would have found a way to leave Fargo to come home to spend with another family and friend who passed away that asked me to be a part of their loss. I don’t know, I don’t have all the answers. What I do know is I have been blessed in ways I can’t fully describe. I have the honor of serving those in their darkest hours.

My challenge for the reader today is to reconsider the things that are of value. Are the new car and the hours it takes to pay for it more important than the child at home you need to spend time with? Is the new promotion at work and the time it takes more important than the spouse who starves for your affection and time? Is the new carpet in the sanctuary more important than the souls within the church who struggle and so desperately pleads and begs for love, maybe even in non verbal methods? I could go on here, but it is time we start loving, even those who complain, who don’t understand, and who Christ loves so deeply. I can tell you emphatically, when you do that, you realize there are rewards more valuable than gold and more precious than anything you can imagine. At that point, you know your life has value and purpose, and maybe just maybe, touches someone so much they want to share with you not only in life, but in death.

I love this song, and even did an article on it awhile back. This was the first song I thought of when I was thinking of a video today for Judy. If you see the video below just double click on it, otherwise, just click on the link below.

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

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Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives.

You can visit and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
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Personal Furches Web Site
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Reviews With Mike
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