Support comes in many different forms.

My Honey and I just got back from a Car Show held in town. It was nice seeing all the old vehicles and old friends come out on a nice day for this event. Our kids and grand-kids who live local were there and that’s ALWAYS a good thing for us. I even took my short hairy kid Tekoa to work on his social skills and he did great.
 
This wasn’t just a run of the mill car show though. The car guys up here in our little rural community do those a couple times a year. There is also a big Rod Run annually that draws folks from all over.
 
No, this car show was to support a family whose little girl Anna has Leukemia. Anna is five years old and the oldest of three kids. Her parents are hard working folks. Her dad Ray works for the roads department and Stacy has always been a hard worker wherever she lands. She worked for us at our coffee house before she got pregnant with Anna. I was the one who officiated  their wedding. We’ve got history with these kids and it’s our privilege to support them any way we can!
Anna w cheese
The turnout for the car show was amazing. Our little community knows how to come together and support a good cause. A motorcycle club who were on their way to another fundraiser today even stopped by to lend support. One Hundred plus bikers rolled in and gave the family a check to help. It was an amazing sight!
 
Support doesn’t always have to come with crowds though.
 
Earlier this week I was called to a scene of a suicide. Part of my job as a sheriff’s chaplain. I sat with the widow for a few hours and asked her to tell me about her husband. She called me the next day and shared with me that during our time the night before she had wanted to tell me to just shut up and quit asking questions. She came to realize that I had helped her remember the good things about a man who deeply loved her and she thanked me for supporting her in that way.
 
I told her I was just winging it and God gets the glory for that!
 
Then yesterday I received support from one of my cycling buddies. I went after the hill again on our ride. This hill is a bear (that’s the clean ‘b’ word to use for this thing)! It messes with your head; short and steep for a good 3/4 mile at the nine mile mark of our ride. I had done it before but had to stop a couple times to catch my breath.
 
Yesterday as I was ascending this beast (another ‘b’ word that works), my buddy Mark was right next to me, encouraging and supporting me the whole way. If it wasn’t for his support I might have left the hill for another day.
 
As you can see from my words today, support comes in many forms, even more than I’ve mentioned here.
 
The real question is; Who needs your support today and how can you show it?
See, when you give of yourself to support others, when you need it most, someone is there to support you.
 
Go support someone today…and try not wearing socks when you do!
 

I have the faith to jump out of the boat, but do I have enough to walk on the water?

Mat 14:25-29 “Around three in the morning, He came toward them walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.”  “Come!” He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus.”

I admire Peter for his courage and faith to climb out of the boat in this situation. I too have been called by Christ to “Come!” into an area that seems to be very stormy and unsure right now.

Just over eleven weeks ago we sold our business to pursue the new calling God has placed in our hearts; Suicide Alertness and Intervention Training. My wife and I know this is what we are to be doing, we’ve heard the call and it has been confirmed. We’ve jumped out of the boat! OK, I jumped out of the boat and she has followed her crazy ‘dreamer’ husband once again!

Now almost twelve weeks into this new journey, the waves and wind are looking rather ominous! There is doubt that I can stay walking on the water, so to speak.

Mat 14:30-31 “But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I know that God’s plan takes His timing, and I see the unfolding of that plan transpiring…

But with faith comes doubt, just like Peter, I feel that sinking feeling and am crying out!

Jesus is saying to me also…”You of little faith…”

It’s a matter of who I am doing this for, this new journey and all. My Honey wrote a great post about this who, read it here.

I just need to remember that God has called me to follow Him, even if it is through stormy and uncertain seas, because with Christ, things work out…

Mat 14:32-32 “When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the Son of God!””

More manageable now…

Aaahhhh!

I was asked this morning how my life was going. My dear friend was referring to some of my recent posts on instagram and FB. I was able to tell her that my time seems much more manageable now.

You see, it has been almost two weeks since my Honey and I stepped away from the Coffee House we started from scratch ten years ago. It didn’t go under, we sold it to another mom-n-pop and wish them the best as they embark on the adventure.

Last week was the first time we were able to get away and just really do nothing in a long time. The kicker was when my wife said while filming me and my dogs on the beach, “This was Sssoooo worth selling the shop!”

Image

It was even better when on Friday morning SHE came up with the thought of extending our stay another night. We actually could do that and not have any problems.

This week begins our new schedule, we can only be semi-retired from business for a short time, after that it becomes unemployment and since we were self employed for so long, that option is not available to us.

Sure, we still have the ministry we are very much involved in, but our primary focus will be in expanding our Suicide Alertness and Intervention training’s. That’s what prompted us to sell the shop to begin with.

Next to God, Sierra Sun Intervention Care is our driving passion now. We became involved in suicide intervention and prevention for many reasons.

Because of my own thoughts and struggles throughout the years (check it out here) and the survival of my wife’s attempted suicide almost 20 years ago (she’s written about that too, follow the “my Honey” link above) – we are now devoting our time and efforts into educating communities to be suicide safer.

And we are willing to travel to do it!

If you do not have the resources in your area, contact us at sierrasuncare@yahoo.com and we will be glad to help or get you connected to a training in your area.

Suicide IS preventable!

You CAN be the link to saving a life!

Men, there is a problem…cajones…got any!

Guys, yes, this is mainly for you today. Ladies, if you know a man, please share this with him.

There is an old saying…”The first step is admitting you have a problem.” It comes from the twelve step program.

For a person with thoughts of suicide or one who struggles with depression and anxiety, I believe (again, this is just my two cents here) the first step is getting the cajones (ie; nerve, ba**s) to ask for help in admitting there is a problem!

You may think this too harsh, especially coming from a pastor’s point of view. I’m supposed to be a loving, gentle and caring individual who sits with you and tells you stories of puppy dogs and butterflies and how everything will be alright, right?

WRONG!!!

Let’s look at it this way…

Your house is on fire…I’m standing in the street…you are unaware that there is imminent danger…do you want me to quietly and gently tell you from the street in my best “counseling” voice that you are in trouble? Or would you rather I jump to action, scream my butt off to get your attention and get you and those you love out safe?

Well, there is another imminent danger for men…

The largest percentage of completed suicides in our country right now are men ages 45-85!!!

Let me repeat that…

MEN AGES 45-85 ARE COMPLETING MORE SUICIDES THAN ANY OTHER AGE GROUP!!!

Anyone ready to admit there is a problem? Anyone ready to join in with jumping to action and getting others to safety?

I wasn’t…not just a few months ago. Then I did because my world was coming apart.

WHAT? A pastor with problems? Say it ain’t so!

SORRY…the problems and struggles that those in the pastorate have are causing between 1400-1700 servants to leave the ministry every month!

Most of those in ministry leadership are men. Men are fixers. Men don’t ask for help. I didn’t want to, but I did. (Check out my journey starting here.)

Seriously, we men don’t even like to ask for directions, the GPS has been the best invention in recent history!

Men, if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, frustration, anger, loneliness, or anything else like that, admit it and ask for help. Talk to your doctor or health care provider.

And don’t just think that a little pill for E.D. will help. That will only give you a temporary “fix” to a deeper issue! That’s not being a true man. Life is NOT like the commercials!

So guys…MAN UP…admit there is a problem…get help…get some cojones…you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for coming by and hanging with this shepherd’s stance today and letting me rant!

Comfort Food; make sure God’s serving it!

Besides the need for hope, the need for comfort could be the greatest thing people desire. When we call certain foods “comfort food”, it’s an indicator of a deeper need to fill. Something food really can’t fill, but we try.

For a person having thoughts of suicide, food doesn’t even come close.

As a pastor I counsel with people a lot on the need for comfort through hard times. Often the question is asked, “Why am I going through this struggle?”

I’m a realist as well. I turn to passages like 2 Corinthians 1:4 when questions like this are posed to me.

“He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 

He, being God, comforts us, literally calls us near to Him during our pressure and anguish. Not to take it away necessarily. Look at what the verse says…”so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction”

So that we can call near someone else who is going through a struggle! So we can relate to them and draw near to them; help them. This can only take place if we are ready, willing, and able to help. If we have compassion.

For the person having thoughts of suicide, the need for someone to take the time to understand is huge comfort. The signs are not always very visible, but that person is sending out “warning flags” for help, they want to talk about it.

Recently a well know pastors son completed a suicide. This young man had struggled for a long time with depression and other troubles. His family had gotten him help from some of the top experts in the country. Yet he still became another who could not overcome his thoughts of death.

When it comes to a viewpoint on this situation from “the church”, I can only offer my own humble and personal opinion.

It is sad that another life ended in this manner, any life. And yes, it can even happen in “the church”!

Guess what, we are human too! Any human can have suicidal thoughts and without help can succumb to those thoughts. For them, it actually brings the comfort they are desperately seeking, even when it happens in “the church”.

This is not a time for “the church” to be silent though. It is a time for us to take what the last part of that verse says…through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Give comfort to those who are hurting because we are receiving from God the comfort we need. Don’t hold onto it. Don’t circle the wagons and become protective.  Rather become proactive and share it.

We, those in “the church”, are the conduit of God’s comfort to others. Let that marinate in your noodle for a bit!

You mean we are to put aside our feelings and attitudes about certain things, even suicide, in order to help others?

REALLY, put others first? What kind of wack-job thinking is this???

It’s Christ’s way of thinking!

My Honey recently had an experience in promoting the book about her attempted suicide where I was very surprised at the response. Essentially the point was that the publishing house would not publish a book on suicide at this time or maybe never, because “the church” is hurting right now.

REALLY? Isn’t one of the things Jesus called His church to do is help those who are hurting?

More on that next time!

That’s one shepherd’s stance for today, peace out!