Friday, November 6, 2015

My Last Post (at least for now)

This will be my last post in this blog. There are several reasons for this.

 First, as of 1 November I am no longer a Salvation Army officer.

Secondly, because of the address of this blog, I feel that to further write under the name "Progressive Salvationist" might not be in favor of The Salvation Army since I cannot speak on the Army's behalf. I'm still a soldier (member) of The Salvation Army.

Finally, I will continue to blog, but not in this particular format. When I start another blog, I will leave a link to it here.

Those few of you who have read my blog, I appreciate all of your comments and support (even criticism).

May God be with you and shine his favor on you!

Monday, April 20, 2015

I like you!

My son, Gabriel (who is 4 years old), is one of the most affectionate little boys I know. Of course, I'm biased in my opinion, but I sincerely believe he is the most sincere person, too.

Sometimes, without even knowing it, he can be profound. For instance, he often likes to say grace at meals. This is normally the formula he prays (or something similar), "Dear Jesus, thank you for this day and that we are all home." He hardly ever thanks God for the food, but I don't think that's the point.

He's glad that we are altogether as a family. When someone is not home, he prays that they come home soon.

Gabriel is not shy with his affections. He will often come up and without asking or prompting, he will give me a hug and a kiss. I pray that he never grows out of this phase. I do absolutely nothing to squelch the affection either. I give all my boys kisses and am grateful when it's returned, but I never force them to. Gabriel gives the affection back always.

Gabriel is sincere. Whatever Gabriel is feeling at the time, he let's you know. Just the other day, I special ordered a toy that he had been looking for, but had been unable to find. When it came in (three days early!), he was so grateful. He kept saying, "Oh, thank you, Papa! That was so nice of you!" Often times, he will come unbidden and simply declare, "I like you, Papa! You're the best Papa ever!" When he's feeling even better, he's upgrades my status to "love." However, when I am forced to discipline him, he is also not shy about letting me know how he feels about me right then and there. I take it all in stride, knowing that his love for me outweighs the discomfort he is going through with the discipline.

Finally, my son is profound and sometimes unintentionally so. Just the other day, Gabriel came up to me and told me, "God sent me to you so I could love you!" After giving him a big hug, he made me cry.

I have come to cherish the small unexpected gifts that come into my life. Gabriel is one of these. His profound statements of love have impacted me so much. I am grateful to God for him and cannot imagine my life without him.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

His Last Tweet to Me

Last week a friend of mine pointed out a tweet from a pastor in Memphis, Tennessee I was not familiar with, but it seemed like an interesting topic to engage this minister with. The pastor, Samuel Onwuchekwa (@SamOhhh) of the Fellowship Memphis Church had tweeted:

At first glance, this seemed to me to be a slight misconception. Those who had little or no knowledge of Christianity might, in my opinion, think that Jesus offers nothing to our life. I felt that Christ had come to give us life in abundance, not just the promise of a life in Heaven.

Thus began an interesting conversation. I tweeted back:

With that last tweet from Pastor Onwuchekwa, I decided to leave it at that for the time being. I had said what I meant. I also did not disagree with the substance of what Pastor Onwuchekwa said, but just how it was said. That, in and of itself, was enough.

A few days later, Pastor Sam's last tweet to me was being retweeted and favorited and quoted over and over again. You should understand something about my Twitter account. I rarely use it. I have few followers and I follow more people than people follow me. I am OK with that, too. I just thought I would engage a fellow pastor in a discussion of semantics.

I couldn't understand what was going on. Why in the world would Pastor Sam's last tweet to me be tweeted so much and so often? So I went back to Twitter and checked it out.

Pastor Samuel Onwuchekwa had passed away.

I was dumbfounded and quite saddened. I looked at Pastor Sam's last tweet to me. He had quoted from Philippians 1:21-25 (ESV):

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,

Was God preparing Pastor Sam for his final moments in this life? I do not know. I would like to believe so. Let me be honest:  I had nothing personal against Pastor Sam. I simply wanted to engage him in this discussion about life in Christ and our life in Eternity.

I sincerely believe that Christ had come into this world to show us how to live so that we may emulate him and have life in abundance. I also believe that death does not have the final word and that we have eternity with God as well.

Having served in Germany for 10 years, Philippians 1:21 is more poignant to me in German, which states:  Christus ist mein Leben und Sterben mein Gewinn.  This translates as:  "Christ is my life and dying is my gain (or victory)."

I extend my condolences to the family of Pastor Onwuchekwa and to the whole congregation at Fellowship Memphis. May God grant Pastor Sam eternal rest.