It Is No Secret

Though none of our family knew at the time, my grandfather was in Naval Intelligence during WW2. Trained as a radio engineer, he worked with a team of others to decode the Japanese military code. Their operation went by the name of MAGIC and because of those efforts our side was given a huge advantage during the naval battles in the Pacific. But as I tell my friends in memory care, we don’t have to belong to the CIA or any other intelligence service in order to hear from God. Why? Because it is no secret what God can do!

I hope you like this short video we recorded a few weeks ago with my friends. By the sound of their voices they certainly have discovered that they don’t have to decipher God’s code. His love for us in Christ was written plainly in blood on Calvary. All we have to do is return home to Him and with arms wide open, He’ll pardon you!

Back to Basics in Nursing Home Ministry

 Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly – 1 Peter 5:2 ESV

After a three week pause due to both my wife and I contracting this last form of Covid, I was delighted to get back visiting a couple of the facilities this week. The memory care wing of one home was open for business as usual, but the dining room where we normally meet at another was still closed due to their own outbreak. Thankfully with the aid of an n-95 mask and the kind guidance of one of the nurses I was shepherded to various individual rooms to visit. The experience was exhausting but rewarding and it brought me back to those first few years, when I either visited very small facilities or in private rooms of people in larger homes. It reminded me why nursing home ministry is important what really matters. Whether you are just getting started or are considering beginning again in nursing home ministry, the Apostle Peter gives us all some great guidance for how we ought to serve.

Shepherding – The people God sends us to, whether they are in a church congregation, a prison or a nursing home are first of all His flock. They are God’s sheep so how we value folks and the way we treat them begins with remembering who they belong to. Whether God is sending us to only a few or even just one makes no difference in the way we care for, pray for, and minister to God’s people.

Willingly – The key difference between under compulsion and willingly is what are the rewards and benefits. Showing up for work and punching the clock at the factory, the office or the store on Monday morning isn’t because we don’t have anywhere else to go. A day at the beach, fishing or out on the golf course would be a lot more fun, but we have these tiny things called bills to pay at the end of the month. So out the door we trudge, day after day and that is a good thing. But it isn’t what God has in mind when it comes to ministering to His people. There are some positions that should and do pay a decent salary in God’s kingdom work, but even for those in full time ministry, the paycheck cannot be the proper incentive for serving God’s flock. Whatever our position, we will give our best for God’s service when we do it out of the love God has put in our hearts for His children.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Eagerly – is the difference between – we can’t wait to get finished, and we can’t wait to get started in God’s service. Now, I love football and am so excited that the college football season is beginning this week. Watching the players run out onto the field at the beginning of each game is usually quite a show. The players run out onto the field with great fanfare and celebration. They are jumping and giving high fives and smiling to the crowd. They just can’t wait for the game to start! Is that the way we are heading towards the pulpit, the chapel service or the hospital visit? Of course, the needs we are called to meet are not always happy high-five ones, but the intensity and love of serving God’s people should be as equally motivating. We cannot wait to begin to encourage, pray for, sing to or even simply listen to people whom God has entrusted to our care. Now that’s back to basics and it is a blessing to be reminded that no matter our area of service, the crown of life God has promised us remains the same.

To learn more about how you can get involved in nursing home ministry you might consider checking out our new book on walking with God’s lambs.

Walking With Lambs is Finished!

I am deliriously happy to announce that our book project for the nursing home ministry is finally finished! After six months of writing and almost another six of editing and rewriting, the eBook edition is now live on Amazon! I am so excited. The book of Proverbs tells us that:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 NKJV

Hope deferred has been exactly my experience, since I began this project last summer. I was hoping to have the book done by Christmas. But that hope was deferred time and time again, but I am humbly grateful that here in August we are finally done! Yay!! One thing I have learned is that this project has been a team effort – and working as a team, needed far more time and patience than I had originally scheduled. My wife did some of the first edits, followed by my good friend Rob Keller who also designed the cover. After I trudged through their corrections, it was nearly Thanksgiving, and I handed the manuscript over to Sue Hyson for a more detailed edit. The final edit and formatting of the manuscript was done by our daughter-in-law’s brother, Winston Crutchfield who not only edited but also fixed my formatting mistakes and improved the older photos as much as possible. These people have selflessly given of their time for one reason – and that is to tell you the story of our many friends in long-term care. Though it is my hope that “Walking With Lambs” will prompt more people to take action in practical ways, I believe you can also just enjoy getting to know some of the wonderful stories of friends whom I have made over thirty-five years in nursing home ministry. Their stories have taught me more about life than everything I learned in college and Bible school combined! If you would like to check out the eBook version, the link is here –

Not Forgotten in Memory Care!

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Luke 12:6 ESV

People sometimes fail to visit friends or family members in memory care, because they feel helpless to do anything about their loved one’s situation. They are afraid they may say the wrong thing or wonder what in the world they can talk about. But when we step out in faith (i.e., go forward without knowing all the answers) the reality is often quite different from the perception. In today’s verse, the Bible reminds us that God remembers sparrows. In spite of the fact that the ability of sparrows to understand their creator is quite limited, He delights in spending time with them and watching over them as they live out their lives. Visiting a loved one in memory care is a little like visiting sparrows. Their life has not ceased at all: It is simply different. We need to leave behind our preconceived notions about what our relationship ought to be and build on what it can be. Like the words from the song, “Favorite Things”, we can discover a whole new world of the good things that can still be found. If you have someone you know who you have thought of visiting but have held off because of that struggle; here is a short list that may help encourage you today.

  • They may not remember your name, but they appreciate your presence. They may have forgotten the good times you shared, but they also forget the arguments and differences.
  • They are confused about where they are or how they got there, but they will joyfully tell you about little moments, you might have forgotten.
  • They might have forgotten how old they are but will be delighted if you come with a small cake and sing happy birthday for them on their special day!
  • Big expensive gifts will not matter much to them anymore, but you will be amazed at the joy a single rose, a card or a pack of their favorite cookies will bring.
  • They might not be able to carry on a lengthy conversation about politics anymore, but they will be glad to take time to pray with you before you leave. Take their hands, give them your time and then leave them in the arms of the Almighty. We may not understand why our mom or dad, brother or sister is in memory care, but we can know that they are never forgotten by Jesus!