Saturday, August 18, 2007

Currently Reading
Living Insights Study Bible
see related

Jasper Speaks:

So, life is hectic and that is why I have not updated much. No sign of it slowing (it is only going to get busier) so we will see how much I can keep up with everyone. Teacher week was okay. I was only required to be there Monday-Wednesday but ended up there Thursday and Friday as well. I think my room is ready to go (thanks to Jon, Kevin and Michele for helping with the hard parts!). I am a little stressed because there is so much more teacher accountability here. Some things about the View weren't so bad. The entire time I taught there I was only evaluated three times and never for more that five minutes. You could do your own thing a lot there. Here I will have to be more accountable and I guess that is good. You all know how much I LOVE being int he classroom but I know this is where God would have me for such a time as this.

I went to a funeral today. It is my third of the summer. All three were for young people. The oldest was 52. Today was the funeral of a friend from church Lashon Rhodes. She was thirty-three. Last Friday she got out of her car and started into her building to work and collapsed and died. We still don't know why. I didn't know her all that well and today's funeral made me really regret that. The stories that were told about her were beautiful. She was such a vibrant, Christlike person. She was a lawyer who was working as a probation officer in the city. Her friends and co-workers spoke of the joy that she ALWAYS displayed. What I remember most about her was that she always was smiling. Hers was a big, beautiful smile that really did make you feel better.

The funeral hit me in a couple of odd ways. They showed a slide show of her life in the beginning and I almost started crying immediately. I had only known her for about a year but "watching" her grow up before my eyes, brought me to a low point. Her youth was so evident. Her best friends sang "In The Garden". This has never been my favorite hymn by far but these ladies sang it so beautifully. Again, I was moved to tears.

Several people shared stories of her and the common theme was that she displayed "something special". I know that was Christ in her life. The hardest part for me was the final viewing. Jeff and I were sitting very close to the family. After the congregation had gone past the casket, the family went pew by pew until finally her parents stepped forward. Lashon was not married and moved back to St. Louis a few years ago and was living with her mom and dad. This is the first funeral of its kind I have gone to as a parent. My heart was breaking watching them say goodbye to their daughter. Final caresses of hair and straightening of her clothing and tear filled goodbye kisses reached into my parent heart and I hurt so much for them. When her father sat, he shook sobbing in grief.

One thing that I took away from the funeral however, was the certainty that Lashon had displayed Christ in an authentic and vital way. There were so many people there whose lives she had touched. When Pastor was speaking he highlighted that Lashon was the same age as Christ when He died. Pastor said that it is hard to think about such a young life being cut short, however, in thirty-three years Christ changed the world. He reminded us that in thirty-three years Lashon had changed many lives. He read to us from her Bible. He spoke from the highlighted sections that mapped out her relationship with Christ. As He read these words of Life, many shed tears but found hope in the same God that Lashon had lived for.

The whole day makes me sit in reflection of my own faith. Do the people around me who don't know Christ still see Him in me? Am I living an authentic faith that makes people sense there is something "special" about me? Will a Pastor stand over my casket one day and proclaim that God used me to change lives? I don't know that I have ever left a funeral with such a sense of challenge to live out my faith in a more real nature. Jesus loved me and lives in me and others need to know that not only from my position in the church and the words of my mouth, but in the joy I radiate that springs from a heat that is redeemed. God taught me that through Lashon today.

Although it seems rather petty in comparison, the deal we had on the house doesn't look like it will work out. The seller is being a pretty big nuisance as we are backing out of the contract. I think it will all turn out okay but God continued to close doors on this purchase and so, we think He is telling us to just walk away. We will know for sure in a week if there will be any repercussions to our decision on the part of the home owner and the lawyer he keeps talking about. Our people seem confident that we are VERY sure that the market is so bad in this area that this is NOT the time to buy. We are good with that. We were just waiting on resolution to our housing life and God gave it to us.

There are other factors contributing to my crazy life at the moment and some of you have been praying for me about them. It seems God may be narrowing His work and leading us to make a strong decision soon. Please pray for us as we continue to seek Him. I pray that in all I do that I, like Lashon, will radiate Christ wherever I go.

No comments: