Tag Archives: accident

Accidental Evangelism

I originally shared this in another setting several years ago. The events described occurred in October 2006.

My daughter Sarah and I were in an accident this past week.

It was Tuesday night and we were on our way to pick up my 2 year old son from the babysitter. Sarah, 16, for some reason had decided to sit in the middle seat in our mini-van, and I, of course, was driving.

We came to the spot on route 322 where I needed to turn left onto Thunderbird Road. There was a lot of traffic coming from the opposite direction, so I stopped and waited for them to pass. Another car came from behind, unaware that the traffic ahead of her had come to a stop, and she rammed into the rear of our van. She apparently had been busy with a cell phone or maybe the radio, because there was no braking at all… She just drove into the back of our stopped car.

Both cars are probably totaled… although the insurance companies are still working on that end of things. As for us, we had seat belts on and, other than a bit of neck strain and some soreness, Sarah and I are fine. The ambulance trip and a couple hours at the ER confirmed that. The girl that hit us had a few more injuries, but I saw her later as she was being discharged, so I know she too is OK.

All of that is merely background.

Because when I saw her, when she was being discharged, she came to my ER room (I was last to be discharged), she again apologized and then she thanked me!

I was blown away! She simply thanked me for “being so nice.”

It’s moments like that that remind me that God really is still working on me. Family and friends can tell you that there were times in the past when my anger would have flared up and I would have expressed that anger… in not necessarily kind ways. But it didn’t even enter my mind this time… I knew that Sarah and I were pretty OK… but this girl (and her car) had taken the brunt of the damage. I literally was scared that there was something wrong with her… and afraid she might go into shock (or worse) at any moment.

Other than a praise for safety during the “giving thanks” part of our prayer time, I didn’t really bring my experience into the sermon today. Instead, we focused on the Scripture text from Acts 16 where Paul and Silas have a bad day. They had been harassed by a slave girl with a demon for days on end, until Paul finally turned around and cast the demon out of the girl… which upset the slave owners who had been making money off of her ‘talents.’ Paul & Silas were hauled in front of the magistrates, were stripped, were beaten with rods, and were thrown into the inner prison, bound and in stocks. To me, that would really be a bad day!

Frankly, I imagine I would be somewhere between loudly protesting and whining, moping, and crying. But according to Acts 16:25, Paul & Silas were “praying and singing hymns to God…”

WOW!

The thing that caught my attention even more was the next phrase: “… and the other prisoners were listening to them.” And a few verses later, after a Divine intervention occurs, the jailer himself notices the godly behavior of these men of God… and asks them how he might have what he notices in them. He says “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And we read in verse 31, their answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…”

Paul & Silas, in the midst of a bad day, were godly. They prayed and they worshipped God… even in the midst of the ‘stuff’ of life that was going on around them. And everyone around them was noticing!!!

My pastor, right before I entered ministry, was Rev. David Bunnell, and I once heard him use an analogy of a teacup. He said that each of us are like a teacup… possibly ornate or ordinary, delicate or rugged, fancy or plain, small or large… but it doesn’t really matter what kind of teacup we are… it matters what our cup is filled with.

He then said that you can never really tell what’s in each other’s teacups… until your cup is bumped. When something happens that upsets you or messes up your day… then it’s like your cup gets bumped… and whatever is inside spills out a bit.

Many of us, when our cup’s bumped, have rage, bitterness, or sarcasm spill out. I’ve been guilty of this myself at times. But Jesus Christ offers us the chance to be ‘refilled’ by His Holy Spirit continually. You know this is reality when your cup gets bumped and people around you can see what you’ve filled your cup with.

This week my cup got bumped… and some of the love and grace of Jesus spilled out… But unfortunately that isn’t always the case. If it were a bigger bump, and more spilling occurred, I’m afraid the sludge and YUK that’s in the bottom of my cup might have spilled over too.

That’s why we need to make sure we’re allowing Jesus Christ to continue to fill us. It’s not enough to ‘be filled’ when we get saved and then we walk through life and the dust and dirt and debris of life settle into our cups. That’s why we need to be in a constant refilling, like a cup that’s attached to a garden hose… even if dirt falls into the cup… it’s swept away by the constant infilling from the hose…

That’s what I want. Not to be filled with Living Water or the Filling of the Holy Spirit like it was some one-time event in the past at which I can wistfully look back and remember. NO! I want to filled and refilled and renewed all the time… so the sludge of life doesn’t have a chance to settle in… and even the stuff that was already there is eventually washed away.

Guess I’ll know even better how that’s going the next time my cup gets bumped. How about you? It’s absolutely vital that we get this right, because as my week showed and Paul & Silas learned… the world around us will notice!

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When I see the blood… a.k.a. Passover

I took my wife to her doctor yesterday afternoon and as we got back into the van I cracked my head on one of the little doors hanging from the ceiling that normal people use for sunglasses. Impaled is probably a more accurate term.

When I finally was able to pull my hand away from the intense pain, Gay informed me that I was bleeding… in fact, profusely bleeding down the side of my head, neck, and onto my shirt. I put my other hand back to check and literally had a red hand.

So we traded places and she drove me across the street to the emergency room.

I learned a few things in the next 30 minutes:

1. The head is a VERY vascular area! LOTS and LOTS of blood!

2. Profuse bleeding seems to get you moved to the FRONT of the line in the triage area.

3. Even when the calendar says it’s the day of Passover, my wife still can NOT appreciate my jokes about “when I see the blood” people will allow you to “pass over” the line ahead of you.

The long and short of it is that I was treated, stitched up (four stitches… at the front of my ever growing bald spot), and the nurse and student nurse were cleaning up the blood from my hair and neck before registration was able to get back there and have me sign for treatment and ‘admit’ me to the ER. Literally three minutes later I was discharged and walking out.

Oh… and I was EXTREMELY cautious about getting back into the van to come home.

I’m fine… just embarassed… again!

Well, gotta go… today is the day the local men gather at the local restaurant for a 6:00 am prayer breakfast.

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Feeling Indigo… (AKA Not Quite Feeling Blue)

OK I guess I need to give an explanation about my last post.

After the shock of receiving the news of a fellow pastor’s death from suicide, I spent a lot of time thinking about what leads people to make that decision. For many, depression is a cause. Because of my time with depression, I realized that it has been the grace of God that has helped me through these darker times… because I’ve never considered suicide and cannot ever imagine any reason to consider it. And now that I am well on my way to healing… and very seldom experience the despair I once lived with… I believe I have even less chance of risk in this area.

But I also realized that there are many others (pastors and non-clergy alike) who do struggle with depression and are at risk. And I hoped that by sharing my story of how God has led me to sources of help and hope in the lifting of my depression, that perhaps someone might also have a chance to see that there IS hope! Because there IS help!

Unfortunately, some who read my post thought I was trying to give a ‘cry for help.’ I am honored and awed by the folks who’ve read my post and then have called to see if I’m OK. One even called my district superintendent to see if they should be worried about me. (Truthfully, I hadn’t even realized that so many read my blog!)
So, to summarize: I’m not feeling as blue as I used to. I’m a shade or two away from blue nowadays (thus the ‘indigo’ in my title of this posting!!) And you’ve proven my point that God really has surrounded me with some GREAT people who DO care. THANKS!!!

MEANWHILE…
On the way home from the funeral today, I was in an accident. I think it was my fault… but I don’t know. Either I fell asleep for a moment or I blacked out for a moment, but I crossed the center line and struck another car head-on, nicking the headlight of a parked truck while I was at it. I can remember the ‘crash’ part of it as the airbag deployed. NOTHING before that (other than driving down the road). For several minutes I just sort of sat there dazed… unable to think of what I was supposed to do next. Then, with help from someone outside, we got my door open and I got out.

We all walked away from the experience and, other than seat belt strain and bruising, I think I’m physically fine. Much better than the cars I’m afraid. My van (the one I just got after I was rear-ended by someone else in October, just a few months ago) is probably totaled. I’m certain the little red car I hit is a loss as well. The parked truck should be ok… with a bit of help.

Mostly, I feel embarrassed. And grateful that no one was hurt.

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