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Friday, October 2, 2009

Tracking the changes

September 4th was four weeks ago -- the day I got the headache, took the helicopter ride, ended up in the ICU, scared a bunch of people pretty bad.

What has changed? I keep asking myself this question. What's different now than it was on September 3rd? And I keep not being able to answer it.

It's a little frustrating. Because I know some things are different. My attitudes about some things have changed, but I can't quite get hold of the difference. It's like trying to pick up a live trout with one hand. Part of the difficulty is that my days have changed. I haven't been back to work (at least not for more than an hour at a time) since all this happened. So I can't quite say how my attitudes toward work have changed. Until a couple days ago, I hadn't driven. If you're an adult, that will really change your life. Try it. So that skews my view of just about everything else. Julie has been able to take a lot of time off these last few weeks to be at the hospital and then home with me, which has been really good. (She's been just amazing through all this, and I honestly think it's been a lot harder on her than it has on me.) But that, too, is different than life B.H. (Before Hemorrhage).

So I know some things have changed, but it's tough to get hold of exactly how. One reason I'm looking forward to putting in some hours at work next week is so I can start to get a handle on measuring how things are different. It's a little strange because physically, I feel back to more or less normal. I don't get tired easily, and I have pretty good endurance for work, walking, whatever. Mentally I think I'm doing okay -- I don't seem to have any more neurological deficits than the people around me. (This is their assessment, not mine, so I am NOT being punchy. Much.)

The one change I've noticed is that I am more willing to sit back and let others do my work. It has been absolutely amazing to watch people step up at Central Lutheran Church for the Alpha ministry that I was going to lead this fall. I spent most of the summer putting structures and leaders in place for an expanded Alpha ministry and planned to spend September getting the details in place, assembling teams, etc. There has been an incredible groundswell of people that are putting in lots of hours and coming up with creative ways to lead Central's Alpha ministry. I've always said that Alpha should continue just fine if I got hit by a bus -- but it is quite humbling (and wonderful) to see it actually happen.

This morning in my devotions I read Luke 10. Actually I cheated; I read Luke 10 yesterday, and decided to spend a second day on that chapter, so I reread it this morning. There's just so much there. But the verse that really struck me was Luke 10:2 -- "[Jesus] told them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.' " I understand that verse in a different way than I did four weeks ago. There is an amazing harvest -- people who are seeking meaning, seeking depth, seeking something -- and they just need the opportunity to ask their questions, wrestle their issues. I met some of these folks in the hospital. Others have come to Central while I've been away, looking for just such an opportunity. I'm convinced God wants to provide that format, that safe place.

Praying for laborers means that those who have experienced God's love and power in their lives need to step up. Pastors are not enough. In fact pastors are often part of the problem, but don't get me started. Suffice it to say for now that often pastors need to get out of the way so the rest of God's people can do ministry. But too often pastors feel like they have to do everything, and the rest of God's people think they're called to observe.

Those who have met Jesus cannot be content to sit on their laurels and do little. There's a harvest waiting, and it's way more important than the tomatoes that froze on my vines the other night. This harvest is people, and without a chance to dig deep and be found by Jesus, they will continue to suffer the life they've been living, disconnected and disillusioned.

That's why I am so thankful -- far more than I can express -- for so many people who have stepped up with Alpha at Central. More, I'm convinced that this is one of the many good things God is bringing out of my brain hemorrhage. People are growing into leadership, into serving, into ministry in ways they haven't before. They're discovering new gifts, new abilities. People are being served far better than they were when I was leading. It's amazing to watch. I am humbled and so very grateful.

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