An Inside Peek at Nursing Home Ministry

If you watch our little – not so professional video – and say, “Hey we can do better than they do!” then I will be delighted! There is no better time of year than Christmas, to share the love of Jesus through caroling and sharing time with our friends in long term care. Hey, this year we even had a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Santa along with their granddaughter elf! So, why not take a moment and join us as we follow the shepherds to Bethlehem and find Mary, Joseph and Jesus, just as the angels said?

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. Luke 2:14-16 ESV

Christmas Caroling at Nursing Home

This was the warmup for the real Christmas caroling with some of my friends that starts on Sunday. Of course, you can’t see our little group, but we had a nice mix of memory care, long term care and assisted living together for our music. It is nice at Life Care Center that the wards are separate, but the activities are mixed. I hope you enjoy our medley of Away in a Manger next to Jesus Loves Me.

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving at Nursing Home

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Oh yes, Thanksgiving is creeping up on us! I have read a lot of great posts about giving thanks, but people at the Nursing Homes which I visit take on a different viewpoint of the holiday. Very few will get to spend it with their family at a table filled with food. Most will get a few slices of turkey and gravy in the dining hall where we are meeting. Their thankfulness isn’t punctuated by football games, and they aren’t making plans to do Black Friday shopping. Instead, most of the thankfulness up and down the halls here is for a table that they will sit at one day with Jesus Christ. They come to these hymn singing times and either join in if they still can or just listen as the Lord lifts up their hearts to Him. Yes, we should be thankful for what we have received, but what lies ahead is so much greater and will last forever. Why not take a moment to close yourself in with God and picture His answer to your prayers before you receive them? Why not give thanks right now for what lies ahead, and then receive His peace which is greater than anything you can understand that can guard your heart and mind in Jesus?

Running Out of the Cage – Video

 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:43-44 ESV

Last week I posted the message, “running out of the cage” which I then gave at one of the nursing homes which I visit. If you missed it, I tell the story of a groundhog I had trapped in our garden and was trying to release him in the woods. It took quite a while, because the animal was so angry at me that he never turned around to see that I had opened his cage door. After giving the message on Friday I asked if anyone needed to run out of the cage of regret, unforgiveness or bitterness, and then we prayed. Then, while visiting with the residents, one man began to share some of the things that kept him in a cage. First, his wife and two daughters had been killed in an automobile accident. Then years later after remarrying, his second wife left him and now with his health deteriorating, he was left with nowhere to live but in a long-term care facility.

Often people who are not involved in nursing home ministry think that everyone there is either a sweet old lady or that they are too far gone to be worth our time. But the truth is that many of our friends in nursing homes are just like us. That unfortunate mindset reminds me of a time I visited a friend who was in jail. While we were just getting ready to end the visit, he said something like, “You know Pete, the only difference between us and the guards, is which side of the bars we are on.” The very same is true in long term care, it is just that their bars look a lot different. They are trapped behind bars of disability, age, neglect and discouragement. They may be invisible, but they can hold a person just as well as any maximum-security prison. The good news is that Jesus still visits graves and prisons. He is well known in hospital corridors and deeply loved nursing homes. But He doesn’t walk in on His own like He did when He was on earth. Are you trapped in a cage today? Jesus gave His life to unlock the door and it is standing wide open. Whenever we just stop biting at the bars and turn around then, just like Lazarus and my groundhog friend we run straight out to Jesus right now!