Mysterious ways

Following yesterday’s offering, I came across a sermon I gave just over a year ago, which brings the power of the Holy Spirit into focus. It shows, among other things, how when we take that little, tentative baby-step forward to do God’s will, the Holy Spirit is right there to make things happen.

You can watch the sermon here.

One more thing — something this message also touches on:

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

— 1 Corinthians 4:5

Who needs Him?

In yesterday’s post, I wrote how we are blessed that God has placed us in this time and place, because we are the ones to carry His message — the Gospel — to this generation. And I also noted that God has given us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us and give us the words.

But if we know the Gospel, have a powerful personal testimony and a modicum of courage, why do we need to rely on the Holy Spirit?

Because we’re human, is why.

“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.

“And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.

“But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”

— Mark 13:9-11

Now, I believe that Jesus’ words about faith use extreme illustrations. For example, we may not be interested in shifting an entire mountain into the sea, but anything up to and including that act is covered by His declaration of what we can do if we have faith “as a mustard seed, and do not doubt”.

Similarly, we may not be hauled in front of rulers and kings and forced to defend the Gospel, but He says we need to turn to the Holy Spirit to speak through us in any situation up to and including that ultimate trial.

And frankly, any time we share our faith with someone who doesn’t believe (or we don’t know what the state of their faith is), we are, in effect, defending the Gospel. And the best One to declare the Word is the Word, Himself.

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;

“for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

— Acts 1:4-5

Now, at that time, the disciples would have been revved-up and ready to get out there and declare Jesus to the world: they had seen Him return from the dead, in the flesh, over the previous 40 days, with “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3); and Jesus is telling them, “Cool your fans – wait for the Holy Spirit.”

We, too, may be charged-up on Jesus and ready to spread the word, and that’s exactly the time when we need to take a step back and call on the Holy Spirit to take over.

We need the Holy Spirit to guide us and provide us with the words we need, because, being human, we tend to go overboard in the fleshly desire to be right. And not just to be right, but to be seen to be right. When that happens, we often try to prove ourselves right by proving the other person wrong, and if that fails, then by proving the other person inferior. Nobody wins, and the Gospel is lost in the shuffle.

What’s more, we may run up against adversaries who are a lot more formidable than we expect – you know: the kind who might say, “well, the Bible was written by men to control others” or “Jesus set Himself up to be a martyr” or “Allah, Jehovah, God — they’re all the same, right?” You may be caught on your back foot and not know how to respond. But the Holy Spirit — Who’s heard them all, believe me — does know how to respond — or even if you should respond.

Remember that it’s all about the Gospel. Jesus reminds us, in the midst of describing being hauled in front of potentially dangerous unbelievers, that first and foremost, the Gospel must be preached. That’s the important thing, and those adversaries are much stronger than we will ever be. That’s why Jesus promises to send us the “X-Factor” — the Holy Spirit — when we call for it, who tips the scales positively, decisively and eternally, in our favour.

We are never alone in this.

Blessed are our eyes …

Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see;

“for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.”

— Luke 10:23-24

We are seeing things these days that can be downright depressing. Climate change, wars, terrorism, diseases making a comeback or appearing for the first time, growing division and distrust among different groups of people; throw in the earthquakes in various places, and you don’t need to be an end-times wonk to recognize that these are things Jesus told us, 2,000 years ago, would happen.

Even so, it’s enough to make one yearn for the “good old days” and some, strangely, express a desire to “be like the early church”. There are times, too, when one just wants to lie back with one’s paws in the air and cry, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

But the first of those desires is impossible, the second is unrealistic and the third misses the whole point about why we’re here. All three distract from the fact that we are here, in the place and time that we are, because this is where God has placed us.

He hasn’t placed us in the time of the early church — I don’t know about you, but I could not have gone through what the apostles went through for the sake of the Gospel — nor in the days of William Wilberforce, or The Great Awakening, or at Azusa Street, or even as contemporaries of the young Billy Graham and David Wilkerson.

No. We’re here, now, and need to recognize that our eyes have been blessed to see the things going on that prophets — including Jesus — have spoken about for millennia, but didn’t see for themselves (except Jesus, but He knows everything). And if you consider the Beatitudes, being “blessed” is not all squirrels-and-bluebirds: it involves pain and hardship, tempered by the knowledge that God will carry you through if you turn to Him.

In this case, we are blessed to see these things for a number of reasons:

  • It proves Jesus’ prophecy
  • We are nearing His Return
  • We have our marching orders
  • God has chosen us to carry out those marching orders

On that last point, think of the scene in Major League, where Charlie Sheen’s character comes in from the bullpen with the game on the line and the manager slaps the ball into his hand and says, “You’re my man! Go get him!” Imagine God, doing the same thing with every one of us: “You’re my man (or woman)!” He says.

On top of that, God isn’t leaving us to do this on our own: He’s sent us the Holy Spirit to give us the words, the witness and the courage we’ll need to show His glory, to plant our seed, water someone else’s, and watch Him give the increase.

Is that blessing, or what?

The quintessential “safe space”

These days, we often hear about the need to provide a “safe space” for people: a place where they can Be Themselves and relax, without fear of being judged for the things they do.

Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.

And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

— Matthew 9:10-13

Jesus Christ is the quintessential “safe space”. The tax collectors and sinners did not chow down with Him because they were looking to be judged, told they were going to hell and generally reminded what scum they were. They didn’t need to be reminded — they had the Pharisees who could do that, no problem. They came because Jesus offered something different. He offered them light in their world, which was darkened by sin; ultimately, He offered them a way of living that was far better than anything they could have imagined themselves.

But the initial question was, why did Jesus sit down with them? He did, because He loved them and wanted their company. I wonder what the table talk was. Did they tell jokes? Did the people pour out their hearts to Jesus and tell Him their life stories? Were there tears? Laughter? Both?

Probably all of the above. The fact is, they found in Jesus that “safe space” because of His love and His light. He didn’t come to the table saying, “Right, you lot; a few ground rules here: you can’t say _____ or _____ and you can’t call someone a _____ or a _____ …” His presence alone made each individual feel they were wanted and free, and (going out on a limb here) if someone did feel safe enough to say or do something that hurt someone else, I believe that Jesus, rather than condemn that person, order them to apologize or send them for a “time out”, would have worked things through with them, so that everyone came out ahead.

Which brings us to the 21st Century and our assignment to bring Christ to everyone. Do we create a “safe space” the way Jesus did? Do we bring our love to the table, allow people to open up about who they are, where they’re from and why they do what they do? Do we forego judging people because, after all, that’s God’s job?

Dear young woman …

In yesterday’s entry, I referred to a woman in the Houston Chronicle series, “Abuse of Faith”, who said that her experience of being abused by a youth pastor led her to question whether God exists. “How could a loving God allow that person into His house?”

Dear young woman,

First, vile things were done to you by someone you trusted and had an aura of spiritual authority over you; but please, do not blame God or Jesus for that.

The fact is, God does not live in a house, but rather, in each of us when we
say “Thank You, Lord!” for what Jesus did to bring us closer to Him. People build houses of worship and allow other people into leadership. Wonderful, loving, caring, altruistic people are still the majority in that leadership — I know: I’ve met them and been taught by them. How does someone who goes on to commit vile acts get into a position of spiritual leadership? Maybe he’s a pretty good liar, able to present himself as a fine, upstanding man of God, while concealing his true nature.

Maybe he had a “history” and claimed to have repented. Because we are so keen to prove the redemptive power of the Holy Spirit, we desperately want to believe it, when someone says they’ve repented and that they’re no longer a “sin liability”. So people in charge wanted to make that guy a poster child for Jesus’ Blood, and in so doing dropped the ball on being “wise as serpents and harmless as doves”: we need to be just as cunning as the snake was in the Garden of Eden, and “harmless”, in that the dove represents the Holy Spirit, Who is wonderful to those who believe, but wreaks total havoc on the works of the devil.

And maybe God wanted to expose the cancer on the church leadership. The Apostle Paul writes,

God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting:

Being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality …

who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

— Romans 1:28b, 29a, 32

He “gave them over” to that mindset to expose them, and cause us to look to Him, rather than other people, for truth, love and abundant life.

What breaks my heart is that you, dear young woman, have been scarred by what was done to you. Praise God, He has also given you the strength to move past the hurt and recoup the “years that the locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). Don’t lose faith in Him, but trust Him to do that and bring people to walk beside you through this, and you’ll be surprised how He accomplishes that.

One more thing. I’m fairly confident in saying that the majority of SBC leaders involved in these revelations are also supporters of the current president of the United States. His policies, lifestyle and statements are completely at odds with the way Jesus calls us to live, from his attitude towards caring for God’s creation to his refusal to “entertain strangers”. Are not the public shaming, the ridicule, the damaged reputations, all cases of God, exercising His wrath on the “wolves in sheep’s clothing”?

Sex, churches, and overcoming the smoke-screen

“For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.”

— Mark 4:22

This past week must have been hell for leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Houston Chronicle released a barrage of mortar rounds called “Abuse of Faith“, a three-part investigative series, detailing incidents of sexual abuse by leaders and volunteers in member churches, preying on young women and girls in their spiritual charge.

Nearly 400 church leaders and volunteers. 700 victims, give or take. That’s a big number, even if you consider that we’re talking about leaders and volunteers in a total of more than 52,000 churches. It’s a big cover-up, too, and not just of the scandal.

A few months ago, I wrote about the “sexually immoral“, pointing out that those who live in sexual sin of any kind are condemned in the Word of God; I suggested that we should focus on leading those caught in similar sexual sin — that which we are personally familiar with — rather than point fingers at others. I wonder whether those who “stand for Jesus” when it comes to homosexuality are, in fact, creating a smoke-screen for their failure to address their own actions.

On top of that, is this not a smoke-screen for one’s failure to promote Jesus as the alternative to being driven by our personal desires, the only way to connect with God?

Don’t forget, we’re living in a time when more and more people reject the basic idea of God, so glorifying Him and declaring that Jesus is His Son doesn’t even get out of the starting blocks. Add to that the young woman in the video on the Houston Chronicle’s website, who says she now has a hard time believing in God, because she couldn’t understand how He could let someone like her abuser into His house, and you have a serious problem for those trying to reach non-believers with the Gospel.

After all, while people may readily acknowledge Jesus as a nice guy who said some groovy things about love and peace, they’ll balk at talk of hearing about God and salvation, repentance and redemption, because it’s coming from someone who’s “probably” just like those hypocrites.

It’s all the more reason why we, as Jesus Followers, have to keep our conduct, our words and our hearts above reproach, and keep glorifying God at every turn.

But don’t worry: the task may seem big, but

“… with God, all things are possible.”

— Matthew 19:26

Do you believe in repentance?

Is the a silly question? We’re Christians: of course we believe in repentance.

Right?

Let’s consider this. In Alberta, the organizers of a conference of teachers booked a convicted murderer to speak to them. He had gone through transformations while in prison — I don’t think they actually used the word “repent” — and it was believed he could offer some insights into what had made him rape and kill someone.

However, there were protests, and the organizers cancelled the engagement. I can’t help thinking that they missed out on an opportunity.

We could debate that angle for ages, but it begs the question, How much do we believe that someone has repented? And do we understand how God’s mind operates when it comes to repentance and redemption by Jesus’ Blood? If a person has sinned habitually and then claims they’ve had a breakthrough, how much do we trust them not to do it again?

The Bible is pretty clear, with what have become three of my “life verses”:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

The last one implies that once we understand and receive Jesus’ death for us, we’re not sinners anymore. But in practical terms, how quick are we to accept that for others?

Truly, in my own experience, I knew that I was a “new creature” around the time that I first said, “Yes Lord”, but there were those around me who wanted me to continue to pay penance of some sort. At least one made a campaign of telling others that I really wasn’t saved. In the words of Brian Houston, “thank God she wasn’t God”.

We might be justifiably skeptical: if someone’s wrongs have been particularly heinous or hurtful in our eyes, we might write off their profession of faith as a “jailhouse conversion”: are they just saying “all the right things” in order to avoid or shorten the consequences? Are they sincere, or merely devising how to be better at covering up their sins?

We’re right to question: Jesus tells us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, i.e. to use our discernment to determine if the person is sincere and then rely on the Holy Spirit — the “dove” that’s about as harmless to satan as a nuclear bomb — to decide how to respond. But we have to bear in mind that God has already cut the other person a break that we can never truly understand:

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

— Colossians 2:13-15

A former sinner (to get back to the teachers’ conference in Alberta) has a lot to give. Who better to share about their former mindset and the unspeakable joy of Salvation and “newness”, than someone who had personal knowledge of falling? And since we are not to take the Lord’s name in vain, a “false conversion” will be revealed soon enough.

As for ourselves, we former sinners have to make sure our own conduct — our words and actions — are “becoming” of someone who is new in Christ. The Word of God tells us we are new: we know we are new; and focusing on Jesus shows us the ideal to aim for. Others can be as skeptical as they like: sooner or later, they will see God glorified in us.

________________________

Further to yesterday’s post, about the Blood of Jesus, the idea that we have to ingest Jesus’ blood and flesh also indicates how the change in our lives has to come from within. Outward signs don’t cut it. Jesus berates the Philistines for being “whitewashed tombs”, where the outside is immaculate, but the inside is full of deadness. Taking His flesh and blood into our bodies ensures the cleansing is inside — and it’s the inside, our hearts and thoughts, that need it, so that our outside glorifies the Lord.

Don’t just marvel … drink up!

I got my first real six-string

Bought it at the five-and-dime

Played it ’til my fingers bled

It was the summer of ’69

 

— Bryan Adams “Summer of ’69”

In the movie, “Whiplash”, the young drummer is shown practicing a riff over and over again, stopping only to plunge his bleeding hands into a bucket of ice water.

In the documentary, “This Might Get Loud,” guitarist Jack White is shown in concert. In a close-up, we see blood streaming down his hands and arms as he plays.

Aside from the Boston Red Sox breaking the “Curse of the Bambino”, the 2004 baseball post-season is remembered for:

Pitcher Curt Schilling, winning Game 6 of the American League Championship Series for the Red Sox (in which the Sox came from being down three games to none to beat the Yankees), with what appeared to be a re-opening wound on his ankle.

We marvel at these displays of “The Red Badge of Courage”. Is it simply because these people are so dedicated, they’re willing to endure pain in order to succeed? Indeed, Schilling said afterwards that he didn’t feel pain in his ankle, so it’s not necessarily about the pain.

We marvel at the fact that their blood — their life — is being spilled in this pursuit. And why? To win a ball game, or to play rock or jazz. How much more, then, would we marvel at the thought of Jesus Christ, giving up of His blood, for something that would give Him no personal satisfaction at all, but is for the sake of atoning for sins we had committed.But it’s not just about atonement and Jesus’ blood, covering our sins.

There’s more to the blood of Jesus. A lot more.

“… unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.

“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

“For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.

“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

— John 6:53-56

Now, at the time, many of Jesus’ disciples got squeamish and decided He was a loony, just as if we were told to lick Jack White’s hands or slurp the blood out of Curt Schilling’s sock. But (thank the Lord for 20/20 retrospection!), we know that it’s a different thing with Jesus.

But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

“Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

— John 6:68-69

Jesus calls us to be like Him: living eternally, and living righteously on this earth. The only way to do that is not through outward signs and appearances, but to ingest Him into our being; allowing Jesus Christ to become integrated with our own DNA. That’s what Communion is about, isn’t it? Not just doing it to remember Jesus, but ingesting His blood — through the wine — and His flesh — through the bread.

As it is with growing up, building muscles or developing our bodies and minds, it’s a gradual process, but it’s what God wants for us, and Jesus willingly provides the means.

Whom are You addressing?

Yesterday, February 12, is celebrated as Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, so discussion, inevitably, comes around to a few highlights in his life: the Emancipation Proclamation would be one; the Gettysburg Address would be another.

The only known photo of Lincoln giving the speech was discovered in 1958, and two things strike me about it:

photo by Mathew Brady, of course

One, is that finding Lincoln in that crowd is like a game of “Where’s Waldo?”, only without the colors. I believe that is he, just on the right-hand side of the picture, hatless.

Two, is that, if you look at the crowd, you have to wonder how many people were paying attention?

Certainly, according to this article from the Smithsonian, somebody was listening: reporters covered the speech, editorials commented on it, and newspapers around the world re-printed it. But look at the people who were more than, say, 20 feet away from the president: they seem to be looking in different directions. Was Lincoln talking over the heads of his audience — literally, as well as figuratively?

More to the point, was Lincoln talking to them, at all? One comment I remember from high school is that Lincoln was speaking more to us, living over a century down the road.

I’m going to present to you something of a partly-baked idea: was Jesus doing the same thing with His teachings?

How much did the people of Judea cotton to the things He was teaching? How well did they know the laws and the prophets? Maybe not as well as the scribes and Pharisees did, or else they would have questioned the laws they were bringing down on people — the “burdens, heavy to bear”, that they would bind on people (Matthew 23:4).

But here was the Man who worked miracles in healing people, talking of things that turned all the previous thinking on its ear, and yet somehow, rang true. Adultery — in fact, any sin — begins in the heart and the thoughts, and when we bring the heart and the thoughts in line, then the sin doesn’t manifest.

How about the idea that we have to think “against the grain” when it comes to dealing with people who oppose us? Love our enemies? Bless the people who curse us? Raise ourselves to a higher plane than the holiest of people? Raise our righteousness to the point where it’s greater than that of those holy people? How is that not a burden that’s impossible to bear?

But the way He said it, people started to think that it was something anyone could do. But here’s the kicker: Jesus was not just talking to them, He was talking to us — even 2000 years down the road — and we have the advantage of having the laws and the prophets close at hand, thanks to the Bible. We have the advantage of seeing how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies and understanding the context of His ministry.

And how about this one?

“I am the bread of life.
“Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

“This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.”

— John 6:48-53

At which point, a lot of the people who were there at the time, got grossed-out and left Him.

But we, living now — and those who came before us, and didn’t have such strict rules about cannibalism and consuming blood — have the context with us. We have had generations to contemplate what Jesus meant: do you think Jesus didn’t know that words like those would shock, outrage and dismay people?

Was He talking over the heads of His audience? I believe He was — somewhat like Lincoln, whose audience at Gettysburg may not have been totally clued-in to what he was saying. But while on many occasions Jesus was speaking in ways His contemporaries could understand, His words would also reverberate for generations, so people thousands of years later would find their way to Him.

Does He know you? Oh, yes!

Yesterday morning, my Facebook feed carried the shocking news that a former radio colleague had died. I knew he hadn’t been well and had been in and out of hospital, but he was posting upbeat messages on Facebook last week. Then his partner posted the news this morning.

Mike and I worked together for the better part of two years at CKNW radio in Vancouver. He was considerably older than me, but we were both veterans in the business, and we would commiserate about the state of radio and the “good old days”. Sadly, I didn’t know very much at the time about his “previous life” in Toronto — I learned from other friends who had known him then, that he was very well-respected.

But there were times when Mike’s attitude towards the workplace got to be, shall we say, de trop. He would gripe about management, the lack of experience of some reporters, and the diminishing importance of the newsroom. None of it was new stuff, and I’m sure I contributed my share, too, but it did lead me to say to the Lord on more than one occasion, “Why have You put me here? Why do I have to work with this guy?”

As He so often does, He waited until an appropriate time before answering.

I was ministering at Rainbow Mission on the Downtown East Side at the time, and one of the things I was determined to do, was get a Bible into as many hands as I could. You’ve read it here before: read the book, and learn for yourself about Jesus!

So, sitting in my “nanny suite” I was renting in Surrey at the time, I looked at a stack of Bibles on the coffee table. They had been donated by the Canadian Bible Society, to be passed out. And I heard a prompt in the Spirit, “Give one of those to Mike.”

Immediately, I started to fight the idea. You know how it is, when you get prompted to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. What would Mike think? Would he think I was trying to convert him? Would he think I was going to make a “project” out of him to lead him — no, drag him — to the Lord? Would he take offence, thinking that because he was gay, I figured he needed to read the Word of God?

(NB: That would be Satan, trying his hardest to keep someone from obeying God and someone else from getting closer to the Word.)

I took a step. I grabbed a Bible and wrote in the flyleaf, “To my friend Mike. May this bless you in ways neither of us could imagine!”

I took it to work for our next shift. Our station was the “flagship” for a network of stations that had, to put it bluntly, taken a chainsaw to their budgets and the first thing to go was a local newsroom. I handled the local newscasts for Vancouver; Mike was in charge of the network newscasts.

That morning, I waited for an appropriate time, the Bible discreetly tucked behind my computer screen. People came in and out; the weekend beat reporter came in and got her assignments, chatted with Mike for a bit, then left. Finally, around about the noon newscast, which would be his last for the day, I took a deep breath and rolled my chair over to his workstation.

“I wanted you to have this,” I said, as timidly as I ever speak.

His reaction blew me away. “Thank you!” he said. “We have one around … somewhere … but I haven’t read it in ages! And look: it’s even got a ribbon bookmark!”

One thing I knew about Mike was, he was sincere. He genuinely appreciated the gift. I can’t speak for Mike, but I spent the rest of the day awash in a real sense of joy.

The next day, we were at work and our weekend reporter came in to pick up her assignments.

“So how was your birthday celebration last night, Mike?”

My eyes tripled in size — at least, they felt like it.

“I didn’t know it was his birthday,” I said to the Lord.

“No, but I did.”

Mike and I did enjoy a good working relationship — the “problems” I had with Mike’s personality were largely my problem. One day, we were talking about the tasks we had earlier in our careers, and Mike told me one of his — back in about 1960 or so — was to play the recorded religious program from “some English guy out of California who died a few years before.” I realized that was my grandfather’s show, still making the rounds of syndication.

When the station decided to purge its newsroom of experienced talent, Mike and I hung in there together on the six-week Prelude To The Inevitable (or “probation” as the news director called it).

When a person dies, you sometimes hear someone say, “Did he know the Lord?” That smart, I’m not. But this I can say: the Lord knows Mike, and loves him so much that He would make sure that His word was close to hand.

As He does for us all.