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Sober Start Posted 1.06.2017

The new year is now fully upon us.  Not sure what it means (no, I know what it means – nothing) but I start the year with two Saturdays of funerals. It is for me a good reminder of the frailty of life and of the importance of making each day in 2017 significant for the Kingdom.

 

The first Saturday held a funeral for dear Takeo Kingi.  I performed the wedding ceremony for him and Ida Porter-Kingi almost sixteen years ago.  I was talking with Ida this week and we both marveled at how it seemed like only a few years ago.  But Takeo was 91 (almost 92) and passed away between Christmas and New Year’s.  His passing had all the external marks of how we’d all love to go (when it is time).  He fell asleep on the couch watching TV. And that expression of peace never changed.  He led a fascinating life and he and Ida loved and cared for each other in the latter years of life.  And Ida’s faith in Jesus sustains her in the midst of grief.

 

Next Saturday I head up to Sacrament for Dave Britton’s funeral.  The circumstances are much different.  Dave was much younger and had a rocky end, pancreatic cancer does that.  It is a relentless enemy, which always wins. Dave, who came to know Jesus here at Peninsula, was a prayer warrior and a man of great faith.  Even to the end.  Christie and I are going up to provide some warm Peninsula hugs to Jean (his widow) and the family.  They were rooted here at Peninsula until just a few years ago, when they trekked up Sacramento.  The grandkids are there.  What can I say?

 

Maybe you were unaware (I had forgotten) that Dave came to know Jesus through his participation in a children’s Christmas musical at Peninsula.  It was the mid-1980’s and Joanna Nachef asked Dave to participate in the musical.  His role?  Santa.  Santa?  Indeed.  But the lines he memorized for that show got him to thinking. God used that musical to lead Dave to place of decision.  He needed forgiveness and he needed a Savior.  And he found both in Jesus.

 

I find it fascinating that God used a refugee from Lebanon to touch the hard heart of a city employee of Santa Monica in a church in Palos Verdes. With the role of Santa.  Really?  You never know how the Spirit will move and what tools He will use to change a life.

 

As I begin 2017, that’s what I’m thinking about.  How will God use us this year?  How will our commitment to daring faith change our community?  What will He use to bring people to Jesus?  It may take some creativity.  It may take stretching us a bit.  But I dare not limit God.

 

Look at the faith of Takeo and Dave.  Look at the faith of Ida and Jean. May their faith stir us to action for the cause of Jesus.  New year.  Fresh challenge.  Renewed hope.  It all lies before us.

 


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