Dad: the final years

There is something transcendental about holding the hand of my father in his final days knowing he held me during my first days.  Just as I entered this world knowing as I was loved, protected, and cared for, I want him to exit this world with that same knowledge.

Many do not know my dad’s story over the past seventeen years. For anyone who knew him from before, it’s not what we would have expected.

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Dad: stories that shaped me

As I’ve realized my father is coming to the end of his life, I find myself feeling incredibly thankful he was may Dad.  I often shared with him that although the past seventeen years were difficult, they could never negate what a great father he was to me as a child, teen, and young adult.  Nothing could erase those memories and the slide show  is never ending as I sit by his bedside.   There are not words sufficient  to share them all but here are three that stand out.

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To my fellow white evangelicals…

To my white evangelical brothers and sisters in Jesus, this post is primarily for you.  Please don’t dismiss it.  I ask that you read it with prayerful humility as I attempt to write with the same posture.  This morning looking in the mirror I realized I am a white evangelical.  Although I did not choose this label, it describes who I am.  A caucasian of predominately European descent.  A believer in the authority of the Bible, the Lordship of Jesus, and our need to be reconciled to God through the sacrifice of Christ.  I never anticipated that a commitment to the scriptures and the message of Jesus would put me at odds with so many of my Bible believing brothers and sisters. But it has.

Years ago I visited the holocaust museums in both Washington D.C. and Jerusalem, created to remind our world of the horrors inflicted as Hitler’s Nazi regime  systematically killed six million European Jews between 1933-1945.  These places left a lasting impression- the exhibits, the pictures, and especially the stories of unthinkable suffering and persevering courage displayed so we would remember.  Why would the creators of these museums want these memories to become etched in our minds and hearts?  So that this will never happen again.

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4 actions steps to welcoming refugees:
  1. Open your home. Share a meal. Listen to their story. Make a friend. In almost every culture around the globe, the mark of hospitality is inviting someone into your home to share a meal.
  2. Pray for them. Pray with them. Trust God to show up. Many refugees come from religious backgrounds and will be blessed by you caring enough to pray.
  3. Respond to invitations. Eat in their home. Attend their celebrations. Get to know their culture. They’re identity will shift from refugee to neighbor to friend.
  4. Advocate for their rights. Speak publicly. Share the facts. Write to government leaders. Change often  require persistence and sacrifice.
10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. 11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. 12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
Proverbs 24:10-12


As some of you know on Monday I made a very quick last minute trip to GA to handle some Medicaid business for my dad.  His steady decline associated with dementia and cirrhosis meant he needs the end of life care only a nursing home can provide. The trip was about as exciting as it sounds- long meetings with nice people involving lots of mind-numbing paperwork.

Many of you know I grew up in a tight knit family and enjoyed an especially close relationship to my Dad. Much in our relationship changed during the past seventeen years as a wedge developed between me and him-the combined effect of affairs and alcoholism. Over this past decade I’ve watched the weight of regret and guilt slowly crush my dad.  Although I told my dad many times I love him and forgive him, a palpable tension continued between us. This wedge, the tension, and his spiraling spiritual, emotional, and physical decline has proven to be one of the greatest pains of my life.  I’ve seen firsthand you can choose to love someone, you can choose to forgive, but true reconciliation can never be forced.

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Blessing a brother

The name of our friend has purposely been changed and the name of his home country omitted for the safety of him and his family.

I met Pacifico five years ago while volunteering at the COTS Day Station, a warm place for people to come off the streets during Vermont’s frigid winters.  Kate, the peppiest of the COTS case managers, walked in the room and shouted, “Kevin you’re like a minister- right?” I quickly walked over and she continued,  “I have this guy who just arrived in my office.  He’s a pastor from Africa and doesn’t speak any English. Can you try to figure out his situation?”  And for the better part of an hour we used the modern miracle of Google translator to type between English and French.
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Equip Retreat 2016

vtcpequipretreatblank-01This weekend, January 29-30, we host our third annual Equip Retreat through Vermont Church Planting.   Forty church planters and potential church planters from across Vermont and the neighboring region are attending with Mike Breen from 3DM Movements leading our sessions.

This week I sensed God leading me to pray three specific things for this retreat.  Will you pray the following with me?

For God to remind us Jesus is worth the risks we’re taking and sacrifices we’re making.
For God to encourage us  as we share stories with other like minded guys.
For God to equip us with some practical tools for our ministry toolbox.

Thank you for your prayers and partnership.

Welcoming refugees: moving forward in faith

Since the Paris terrorist attacks I have not been surprised by the shift in American opinion over admitting Syrian refugees nor the corresponding political posturing that both feeds and responds to the fears of many.  What surprises me most is the response of many who identify as Bible believing Christians where believing we should welcome  Syrian refugees places you squarely in the minority.  Many of my brothers and sisters in Jesus agree  Christian churches are called to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in the midst of a messed up world and God desires Jesus-followers to live as ambassadors for Christ- representing His interests and not our own.   Many of us agree our lives have been redefined by who Jesus is, by His example and teaching,  and what He accomplished through His crucifixion and resurrection. We even agree following Jesus means taking His commands to heart- listening and responding to what Jesus taught. Unfortunately what Jesus clearly taught and modeled remains alarmingly absent from many of our conversations.praying-hands-on-scripture

One word that I’ve heard since I was a young child that defines how Christians should respond to Jesus and His commands is faithContinue reading

Welcoming refugees: moving beyond fear

The last few weeks have proven a trying time for our nation as we wrestle with how to best respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.  The discussion and debates have increasingly intensified since the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut.  Even within Christian churches we find a disparity of views on how best to respond with much of the discussion rooted in a fear being fed by both the media and politicians.   Most of us aren’t surprised by the idea that “fear sells” and our media (both conservative and liberal leaning) knows fear is good for business. Continue reading