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
I once was invited by a fellow chaplain to bring some music to the Veterans Home in our city. While we visited a bit after the service, he related to me the following story:
“Not long after I retired from the Methodist church a few years ago and began helping as the chaplain I met one of our congregants downtown. He greeted me pleasantly and asked how I was and what I was doing. When I explained that I was working here as a chaplain, he stopped me and asked, ‘That’s wonderful, but are you pastoring a real church somewhere?’ “To which I replied, ‘ And what would a real church look like Bob?’ “
The calling that God has given some of us to serve in long term care facilities is about shepherding a part of God’s flock, and it is as real as it gets! Here at “Walking With Lambs” we are committed to encouraging, equipping and providing resources for those who are also doing all they know to shepherd God’s lambs in the final chapters of their lives. One resource that we offer is a free weekly newsletter. “Sunshine Newsletter“, is a two-page devotional newsletter and is made available by four of us who write, format and distribute it to 8-10 facilities in New York, Florida and Ohio. If you would like to receive Sunshine Newsletter, you can contact me at Revpete51@gmail.com. You are welcome to copy or distribute this by print or by email its contents in entirety. If you would like to contribute articles, news or fun insights into long term care ministry, I will be happy to send you a copy of our guidelines. God bless and have a wonderful day!
“The problem with medicine and the institutions it has spawned for the care of the sick and the old is not that they have had an incorrect view of what makes life significant. The problem is that they have had almost no view at all. Medicine’s focus is narrow. Medical professionals concentrate on repair of […]
So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me please.” And he said to them, “I am Joseph whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” Genesis 45:4-5 ESV
Too often the unknown stories of residents in long term care are the wounds left behind by unresolved family differences. But the good news is that God isn’t finished with any of us yet. Remember that as a young boy, Joseph had a dream which got him into trouble with his brothers. Some of us probably think of Joseph’s life as a blueprint for success. We figure that if we can just stick it out like Joseph did, then one day we will get the great job, the big home or the perfect marriage that we always dreamed of. But the story behind Joseph’s problem was his father’s favoritism and because of it the hatred that his brothers had towards him. But then God intervened.
God’s dream for Joseph was not about his becoming rich powerful or successful. God’s intention was for Joseph and his family to discover that the greatest treasure of all was forgiveness and reconciliation. Though we can never undo our past, we can find a way forward by learning to forgive, accept and allow God to restore us. The separation of anger, distance or even death can be bridged because on the cross Jesus gave his life so that ours could be restored. This morning’s news is that no matter our memories of past hurts or sorrows; God can heal and through forgiveness discover His greatest purpose is love.
The original purpose of initiating New Beginnings was to offer a place for those interested in or touched by Long Term care. I hit the pause button for a while due to the lack of response however in light of new interest some people have shown I will be relaunching in 2020. Our overall purpose is to support, encourage and provide resources for those who are interested in nursing home ministry or whose life has been touched by long term care. I pray this short vireo will give you some encouragement and I wish you each a Merry Christmas as we pause to remember our Savior’s birth who came to be the Shepherd and chief Care Giver for us all!