Category Archives: Love

Remembering and Celebrating Auline Platt

Sunday, March 26, 2017 was a day of remembering and celebrating the life of Auline Platt in Albuquerque, NM. It started with a church service at Foothills Fellowship where her family gathered for worship. Songs of mourning and hope were sung, the church gathered around the family for a time of prayer, and Pastor Jesse Harden of New Creation ABQ (the church Foothills planted and the church the Platts attended) preached a powerful and comforting sermon from Romans 5.

At 3PM, some 600 people gathered to remember and celebrate Auline. It lasted 2 1/2 hours with one person after another coming forward to share about how Auline had touched their lives. There were lots of tears…but probably more laughs!

Below are links to everything that happened that day. May you be encouraged as you listen and watch, and may your heart be ministered to as you hear of all that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, did for and through Auline. To God be the glory!

MEMORIAL SERVICE VIDEO

MEMORIAL SERVICE AUDIO

SERMON AT FOOTHILLS FELLOWSHIP BY JESSE HARDEN

A very special thank you to the several brothers and sisters from Foothills Fellowship who worked hard behind the scenes to make this day special for the Platt family, the Foothills family, and the many in-town and out-of-town guests.

The Command to Love Trumps the “Do Not” Commands

I’m preparing to address the men of our church on Saturday about love, intimacy, sexuality, and friendship. It’s an area of deep concern for me as our culture equates intimacy with sex creating a culture where biblical friendship and the call for non-sexual same-sex intimacy (like David and Jonathan’s) has become unattainable. As C.S. Lewis put it, “To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it.”

Friends, celebrating, sunset, river bank

When studying this topic, one inevitably comes across the writings of those in the church who have a same-sex attraction but have chosen – out of obedience to God – to remain celibate.  Reading the thoughts of these men has been very rich and helpful for me.  One such man is Wesley Hill, an assistant professor of New Testament at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. About the topic of same-sex friendship, love, and intimacy he writes, “If we are going to say ‘no’ to gay marriage, we have to provide gay people with human relationships where we offer love, fidelity and mutual support.” I couldn’t agree more.

Hill goes on to say, “The Church in Corinth was one of the most difficult of the Churches founded by the Apostle Paul during his missionary journeys. He wrote more to address the problems in Corinth than he addressed to any other Christian community in the ancient world. Much of what he had to say to the Corinthians concerned adherence to the negative precepts of God’s law (including the prohibition of homosexual acts in 1 Corinthians 6:9). However, his letters to the Corinthians also contain perhaps the most moving statement in all Scripture of the primacy of the positive commandment to love.”

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul warns the church that if they don’t love others (enemies and outsiders included), then they are doing and have nothing. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

If we are going to passionately and with great conviction declare that homosexuality is a sin (which it is according to God’s Word), then we as Christ-followers must be the first in line to offer our homosexual friends the kind of deep, passionate, committed, and intimate love the Scriptures call us to give others. We must not just love homosexuals in theory but we must be willing to love them in practice. We must not tell them “no” without offering them the burning “yes” of our friendship, loyalty and love.

20 Years…and Counting

20 years ago today, Michelle and I were married in an evening candlelight ceremony in Milwaukee, WI. Here are some of the highlights (and low-lights) from that wonderful day:

Wedding Party_4

 
I forgot to shave. Although I was only able to produce a bit of unorganized peach fuzz at the time, it was awkwardly noticeable.

We walked the aisle in a quaint church in northern Milwaukee – where Milwaukee Brewers Hall of Famer Paul Molitor attended.

We both wrote our own vows and read them to each other.

The ring Michelle gave me was engraved with the words “I love you forever.” After about 10 years of marriage, I grew out of it and had to have it resized. Don’t laugh. Do you see how skinny I was?

A few years ago, it was stolen when our home was robbed. I wear a new one now.

Speaking of stealing… during the wedding, an old high school “friend” of Michelle’s stole valuables out of the purses of the girls in the wedding party.

Our kiss was perfect – not too short and not too long. Not gross at all. I use our kiss as the standard for all the weddings I do now.

Us_2When we walked out of the church, it was not as a family of 2 but of 3. Two-year old Emily was in tow. The only way we were able to keep her by our side during the ceremony was by feeding her a steady flow of Tic-Tacs.

Michelle’s father married us. His words were sweet, but his homily was bit long if you ask me…but no one has. He cried when he did Emily’s wedding, but didn’t cry when he did ours. Not sure what that means…

A friend and cello player from the Milwaukee Philharmonic Orchestra played a beautiful medley of hymns before the ceremony.

Our reception did not include dancing as we had just graduated from a Christian university where dancing had been prohibited. Legalism sucks. This is the one thing we regret about our wedding. Wish we would have danced.

Although legalism was rampant, my brother – and some of my good Christian friends – “made” me have a drink the night before. I had 2. A strawberry daiquiri and a rum and Coke. The guys wouldn’t let me finish my “girlie” drink until I had something a bit stronger. Thus the rum and Coke. I finished both…and didn’t feel so well. Those were the first 2 drinks I ever had.

After the reception, we met up with all of our friends at our little apartment, opened our gifts and celebrated until 3AM. No alcohol. Legalism, remember?

At 3AM, friends drove us from Milwaukee to Chicago where we caught an early morning flight to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We were exhausted, and both of us slept almost the entire way there.

Once we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, we……..

I really can’t go into detail on that, but here are some more pictures from the our wedding day:

Collage1

Collage2

 

 

The Tomb Is Empty!

Here is the powerful video I showed at the end of our Easter service yesterday.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWU0M99P5i4&playnext=1&list=PL83352B0E1738C8BC&feature=results_main[/youtube]

By the way, I did pay for and download the official copy…and it was in English!

Death Bed Confessions

deathbedAs a pastor, I’ve been invited to experience the final moments of several people’s lives.  Each time I walk through the death process with someone, it causes me pause and deep reflection.  It reminds me of my mortality and my absolute trust in the Lord for my life and breath.  It reminds me that my days are numbered.

I’ve been called to homes minutes after a troubled father committed suicide, minutes after a woman died in her sleep, and minutes after a woman accidentally overdosed on drugs.  I arrived at the hospital literally one minute after an older gentleman died after a long bout with cancer.  In all these situations, I did not experience the final minutes of these precious lives.  But, with a few people, I have experienced that moment when they take their final breath.  What a privileged position I’m in to be invited in by family members to experience their loved one’s final moment on earth.  It’s a sobering, spiritual, powerful experience.  Some have gone quietly; some have not.  But none have delivered profound final words so often seen in the movies.  But just because I’ve not experienced this doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

Recently, a user on social platform, Reddit, posed this question: “To the doctors nurses, police, paramedics etc. of Reddit. Did you ever hear a death bed confession and what was it? Did you feel like it brought relief to the person confessing?” More than 8,000 comments have been posted in response. None of them has been verified. User privacy is an important part of Reddit, but the community is also quick to police itself when fraud is suspected.  Here are some of the fascinating experiences users shared in response to this question:

Mayaseye: “When I first started as a 911 dispatcher I had a call come in and all that the person said was ‘Tell them I’m sorry,’ and hung up.  I knew right away what we were going to find when we got there. It was the worst feeling. I just felt so dirty that I was the last one to talk to this guy, and no matter how fast we sent help it didn’t matter it was just too late. So I guess he was confessing, but it just made me feel icky.”

Orange_Penguin: “This may not seem like much, but the last words my mom said to me before she died were ‘Baby, I’m scared.’ She wasn’t scared of anything – she was a paramedic for over 20 years and had practically seen it all. That was the most horrifying part about watching her die. In all the times she’d been forced to go to the hospital, I had NEVER heard her say that she was scared.”

Buddynacho: “My grandma went a little loopy before she went, but she left a voice mail for her best friend in the last days along the lines of ‘Maggie, it’s Deborah. I’m dying, and it’s a lot of fun! Call me back!’ ”

CopWithoutVest: “A call had come out of a shooting that had just occurred. It was in a neighboring division, but we were close so we decided to go. We were the first unit and there is a guy, shot right in the forehead walking back and forth. He is on his cell phone screaming and crying and asking his mother to please forgive him for everything he has done because he got shot and was going to die.” He posted later that he never found out whether the man died.

CommercialPilot: “My great-grandmother went to bed one evening and didn’t wake up for a number of days. Finally, 4 or 5 days later, she awoke, lifted her head, looked at her husband of 70 years marriage and said softly “I’ve loved you for 70 years now and I would do it all over again.” Then she looked at her daughter and said “Daughter” nodded her head, laid back down and died in her sleep shortly thereafter.”

CNN.com did an article about this.  You can read it here.  Or, you can go straight to the thread on Reddit.com by clicking here.

 

This Is The Way Love Is

In the 1980’s, Lou Gramm, the front man for the group Foreigner, cried out, “I want to know what love is!  I want you to show me!”   In 1998, the song was rerecorded by Australian singer, Tina Arena, and then in 2009, it was covered again by Mariah Carey.  Evidently, people still want to know.

In the midst of our culture crying out to know what love is, a band called The 77’s recorded a song in 1990 called “This Is the Way Love Is.”  Whether they meant to or not, the song seems to serve as a response to the cry of the culture.  They compare the way we – as humans – often love to the way God loves us.  Take a read…then take a listen.  It’s a good one!

THIS IS THE WAY LOVE IS by The 77’s

When I gave up, you held up
When I ran out, you filled me up
When I kept runnin’, you kept up
When I let you down you lifted me up

This is the way love is

When I couldn’t find the words, you understood
When I didn’t find the time, you were in no hurry
When I wouldn’t make ends meet, you tied them together
When I cheated you kept to the rules
Well, this is the way love is

This is the way love is
When it’s a one-sided double-minded mirror with no reflection

When I was keepin’ it in, you were givin’ out
When I was losin’ out, you’d let me come back
When I was holdin’ back, you were holdin’ on
When I was losin’ my cool you were keepin’ your love warm
Well, this is the way love is

This is the way love is
When it’s a one-sided double-minded mirror with no reflection

When I kept it all to myself like a miser holds on to his last dime
When I closed up myself like a desperate hand on a lifeline
Well I was bled, I was dried, all wrapped up in my pride
This is the way it is when you’re on the wrong side
Well, this is the way love is

This is the way love is
When it’s a one-sided double-minded mirror with no reflection

When I gave up, you held up
When I ran out, you filled me up
When I kept runnin', you kept up
When I let you down you lifted me up

This is the way love is

When I couldn't find the words, you understood
When I didn't find the time, you were in no hurry
When I wouldn't make ends meet, you tied them together
When I cheated you kept to the rules

Well, this is the way love is
This is the way love is
When it's a one-sided double-minded mirror with no reflection

When I was keepin' it in, you were givin' out
When I was losin' out, you'd let me come back
When I was holdin' back, you were holdin' on
When I was losin' my cool you were keepin' your love warm

Well, this is the way love is
This is the way love is
When it's a one-sided double-minded mirror with no reflection

When I kept it all to myself like a miser holds on to his last dime
When I closed up myself like a desperate hand on a lifeline
Well I was bled, I was dried, all wrapped up in my pride
This is the way it is when you're on the wrong side

Well, this is the way love is
This is the way love is
When I gave up, you held up

When I ran out, you filled me up

When I kept runnin', you kept up

When I let you down you lifted me up

 

This is the way love is

 

When I couldn't find the words, you understood

When I didn't find the time, you were in no hurry

When I wouldn't make ends meet, you tied them together

When I cheated you kept to the rules

 

Well, this is the way love is

This is the way love is

When it's a one-sided double-minded mirror with no reflection

 

When I was keepin' it in, you were givin' out

When I was losin' out, you'd let me come back

When I was holdin' back, you were holdin' on

When I was losin' my cool you were keepin' your love warm

 

Well, this is the way love is

This is the way love is

When it's a one-sided double-minded mirror with no reflection

 

When I kept it all to myself like a miser holds on to his last dime

When I closed up myself like a desperate hand on a lifeline

Well I was bled, I was dried, all wrapped up in my pride

This is the way it is when you're on the wrong side

 

Well, this is the way love is

This is the way love is

When it's a one-sided double-minded mirror with no reflection

When it's a one-sided double-minded mirror with no reflection