You'll notice the title doesn't say "Meditations on the cold." Though it could. As I write from the warmth of my house, I only need look out the front window behind me at the winter wonderland or bleak frozen tundra (depending on one's perspective on cold and snow), to be reminded that here in the Midwest we are very much "in the cold." All our church services were canceled today due to the weather and poor road conditions, so here I am all dressed up with no place to go. Ok, so I'm not dressed up. But I do have a few miscellaneous thoughts
So it's been a good day. God is faithful. Genesis 8:22 "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease."
This past weekend, I was privileged to attend the visitation and funeral for Sean Gauley. There are many things I could say about the past weekend, and the funeral in particular. I commend to you what my brother has written as a wonderful reflection on those events. Seriously. Even if you don't finish reading this post; go read his.
Sean was an 18 year old college freshman who died from injuries sustained in a car accident while driving home from school for Christmas break. Besides being a student at Mississippi College, he was the son of Jim and RaeAnne Gauley; brother to 3 sweet siblings; an employee of Salsaritas; a young man who brought joy to those around him. (Must have learned something about that from his mom and dad.) His dad is a teacher and tutor and deacon who has lived and loved well. Sean was also a Christian; he loved Jesus and loved to share His love and shine His light to the people around him. From what I saw this weekend and have been hearing for the last month or so since the accident, Sean lived well and loved well. And the credit and glory for that go to the God that he served and loved; to the Savior who died to save him; to the Holy Spirit who lived in him.
What happens when a family who has lived well and loved well experiences great tragedy? Those who love and worship the same God come to their aid. Those loved by them rally around them. A church in Birmingham (where Sean ended up in the hospital) pastored by the dad of a Mississippi College student provided a place for the Gauleys to stay and provided food for them. Pastors, friends, loved ones from their home in Kentucky made the 5 hour drive from Owensboro to Birmingham to sit with them; cry with them; pray with them; remember with them; hug them; love them. People at home took care of their house and bills; Jim's responsibilities at the school were covered. The body of Christ functioned as the body of Christ! Salsaritas had a fundraiser day for the family when a percentage of sales went to support the Gauleys; they had their biggest day of sales in their history. Donations have poured into an account set up to help with bills and expenses.
And once Sean was gone from this earth, the outpouring continued. For four hours, a line of friends wrapped around half of the inside of a gym to wait to express love to the family on Friday night. It continued for another 2 hours on Saturday morning before the funeral. Some 750 people crammed into that gym to worship, to mourn, to laugh, to cry, to show love and support to the family. Nurses, so touched by the Gauley family's testimony during Sean's 27 days in the hospital, came to the funeral. From Birmingham. That pastor from the church in Birmingham was there. Students from Mississippi College came. Former students of Mr. Gauley came back. Another 450+ live streamed the funeral broadcast online. And that's certainly not everything, but I hope enough to give you an idea of how loved Sean and his family are.
The Gauleys and those who love them would be quick to remind us that we love because He first loved us. The power to live well and love well, comes from the Creator and Redeemer. And when we live such a life, full of suffering and sorrow as it is, we get to reap some of the benefits this side of heaven. I've seen the power of a life well-lived this weekend. And it makes me wonder.
Who will remember us when we're gone? What will they say about us? Who will rally around and support our families? What will it be like at our funerals? The answer lies in how we have lived, for whom we have lived, and the One who enables us to live and love well. Sean and the Gauleys, by God's grace, got it right. God help us to do the same.
My last post was about some of my favorite reads for 2013. Here's one about some listening material via podcast. First the podcasts and then some nerdy stuff for those interested in how I listen.
The World and Everything In It - Some of you are likely familiar with World Magazine. They are expanding their news gathering and reporting services and for sometime have been doing a daily radio news program. Just shy of 1/2 hour with a summary of the day's news and then some further in depth reporting on key stories. There's twice weekly commentary from Cal Thomas, interesting interviews, and some occasional lighter fare. They cover the legal docket - particularly court cases of which Christians should be aware; you'll also get regular updates on the stock market. As I someone else has noted, think NPR, but with a Christian world view. I rarely miss this one.
Wretched Radio - Todd Friel helpfully and entertainingly reports on (and often skewers) what's wrong in the broadly evangelical community. He also witnesses on air to students on college campuses. The podcast is an approximately 15 minute segment from a longer 2 hour daily radio show. Not sure I could handle 2 hours worth, but 15 minutes is good. HT: Emily Borkholder
5 Minutes in Church History - Just what it says. Stephen Nichols gives us 5 minute vignettes from the history of the church. Interesting, (obviously) brief, and informative. HT: Andy Lutz
Questions and Ethics with Dr. Russell Moore shows promise, but it's in infancy with only 2 episodes so far; worth keeping an eye (or ear) on. Looking for some good preaching? I haven't listened often, but Truth for Life with Alistair Begg is a good resource (and he has a sweet accent). I like baseball and so the ESPN: Baseball Tonight with Buster Olney podcast is fun for me. I've only just picked this one up during the off season and the episodes are few and far between; probably too much to keep up with once the regular season gets going.
Lot's of other good stuff out there too.
Some Miscellaneous Info
Many of you probably know this stuff, but here it is anyway. I use my android platform cell phone with the BeyondPod app. I search for the podcast feed from the app and add it right there on my phone. The app is set to update the podcast feeds early in the morning while I am sleeping and my phone is connected to my home network. That way I don't incur data charges when I'm out and about and want to listen to something. I already have the episodes downloaded.
If you drive an olderish car with the original stereo (like me in our 2001 vehicle), you might wish for a way to get your phone or mp3 player to play on your radio. My favorite new gadget, because the car stereo doesn't have a jack for my phone to plug into: an FM transmitter for my phone. Makes it nice to listen to my selections in the car instead of whatever happens to be on the radio. (I didn't pay $50. I paid $9 plus shipping. Looks like that deal is up today or tomorrow.)
So there are some ways to redeem the time and make good use of the technology available today.
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