1984. Sophomore year of high school. Mom decides to break the news to me that shes leaving our family. She reveals to me that Bob wasn’t my biological father. My biological father’s name was Miguel and lived somewhere in Los Angeles. My mom was Dutch. (Which I guess makes me Sputch?) You see Miguel was a Hispanic American. My step-father Bob was a farm boy from Cedar Rapids Iowa. Both of my younger brothers (from Bob’s side) and I were a bit different when it came to who had the better tans. You see sometime before my moms revelation that “dad” wasn’t my dad, (which I figured out by the way cool tan I had apparently gotten at the beach as a baby according to mom) the discussion between my brothers, their friends, and myself was whether or not I had been adopted. Was I surprised by mom’s news? Sure I was. Shocked. No. Relieved. Maybe. Fast forward. 1997. Bob dies due to complications with Alcohol. 1998. Youngest brother dies of a crystal meth overdose. 1999. Mom dies in a car accident in Palmdale. Apparently when mom left in 1984 she moved to Sunland, CA. For years I drove by her house and never knew she lived only minutes from my wife and I. What I remember most about those three or four years was not so much the loss and pain experienced in losing someone. Although it truly hurt. What I remember the most about those years of loss was being grateful that those within my ideal church through God’s doing protected me. Saved me. Loved me. Nurtured me. They didn’t give up on me. They gave me their lives. They lived out, 1 Thessalonians 2:8.”We loved you so much that we gave you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” When it comes to ministry and the ideal church I can’t help but think that my life is much more important to folks rather than my young naive attempts at being their pastor.

One of my favorite of hymns best summarizes what my ideal church modeled for me as a youth…And my prayer today that the people of God will one day sing…

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love,
At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee;
Take my voice and let me sing
Always, only, for my King,
always, only for my King.

Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages for Thee;
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold,
Not a mite would I withhold.

Take my love, my God, I pour
At Thy feet its treasures store;
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.



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