Author Archive | Jerry Rose

The Ministry of Mentoring

One of the things we talk about in our book Significant Living: A Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life is mentoring.  As we get older we have an opportunity to use our experience, knowledge and maturity to make a difference in the lives of the next generation. But it’s more than just an opportunity, it’s a serious responsibility and you need to understand what mentoring is and the commitment it takes to be a real mentor. John C Crosby, an author and politician in the 30′s and 40′s said, “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” I like that, it pretty much sums it up.

Here are some things to know as you consider a mentoring ministry. (And it is a ministry.)

  • Determine the commitment you can make and the amount of time you can devote to a mentoring responsibility.
  • Choose your choice of a mentee carefully to be sure it’s a person who will be comfortable mentoring.
  • Ask questions and establish what the person wants from you.
  • Establish expectations early on so that you will both be on the same page.
  • Make sure the person is willing to accept your counsel and is willing to be accountable.
  • Don’t be offended if the person seeks counsel with someone else.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask tough questions. It is usually the tough questions that will make the biggest difference.
  • Build a relationship of mutual learning. There is something to learn from everyone we meet.

I think you can see that mentoring is a responsibility that requires a commitment of time and relationship and should not be taken lightly. But it is also an incredible opportunity for intergenerational ministry that can be offer fulfillment and meaning to your life and to the person you are mentoring.  So why wait. Get started.

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Shining Sun After The Storm

What do you do when the sun is hidden and the storms are passing through?

I’ve had a lot of those times in my life.  There have been times when it is so dark that it was hard to believe the sun was still there. I remember when I was diagnosed with colon cancer. It came out of nowhere. No symptoms, nothing, just in for a checkup with no clue that anything was wrong. I was stunned and at that moment was on the verge of emotional collapse.

I can tell you in that moment the sun was hidden and a storm was raging. I have to confess, my faith was weak and I needed assurance that God was still there and I could trust Him. That assurance came from my wife Shirley. We sat down together and she looked me in the eye and said, “The thing I have feared the most coming into our home is cancer. But now it is here, and it’s not that big of a deal. It’s not too big for God and we can still trust Him.”

It wasn’t just what she said. It was the look of confidence in her eyes. They weren’t just idle words to her. She meant it and it took hold with me. The storm was still raging and clouds were still there, but the sun was also there just above the clouds. And when the clouds passed over we would feel the warmth of the sun again.  The thing that was most important amidst the storm was that no matter what happened, in life or death, we could still trust God, because through Him we have been promised eternal life.

I don’t know of anything more important than knowing there is a divine power who knows you and loves you and is concerned about what happens to you. God is not just a universal God whose concern is limited to universal matters. He knows you personally, intimately and has a plan for your life.

I like how the Psalmist explains it in Psalm 34:17-18, “The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues them whose spirits are crushed.” That is personal and it is an expression of personal concern.

The colon cancer was twenty-five years ago. Since then there have been other storms, but Shirley and I have come to understand that even in the worst of the storms, the sun is still shining and it will soon shine on us again.

I would like to hear about your experiences.  And whatever you do, keep showing up.

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True Treasure

There is a legend about a rich gold mine, in the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix. It’s called the Lost Dutchman mine and was supposedly discovered around 1892, by ironically, a German prospector named Jacob Waltz. No one knows the location or even if the mine actually exists but that hasn’t stopped over 8,000 searchers with visions of a vast treasure of gold from heading to the mountains. But the Lost Dutchman Mine is still lost.

A definition of treasure is “something of great worth or value” or “something stored up.”

Treasure is important to all of us. It’s human nature to desire the security that wealth seems to afford.

For example, the retirement income we spend years accumulating is something of value or worth to us and could be considered “treasure”. But there are other kinds of treasure. When my daughter started dating, to her chagrin, I took the young man aside and explained to him I considered my daughter a “treasure” and that I held him personally responsible for her treatment during the date.

The challenge of treasure is our attitude toward it. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 that our earthly investment is perishable, but our eternal investment is rock solid. The point He was making was that our spiritual lives are much more important than our temporal. It’s true, we don’t take it with us.

As a kid our family didn’t have much so today, having enough for the present and the future is important to me and I have to be careful where I put my trust. But I’ve come to realize my greatest treasure is my relationship with God and the promise of eternal life.

The balance is to understand that good Christian stewardship is living a moderate lifestyle with positive financial planning, but knowing that our ultimate security is in Jesus Christ.

Thanks for joining me and whatever you do, keep showing up.

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Life Is Fragile

A little over a year ago I went for what I thought was a routine medical checkup only to find out I had a 75 % blockage in the main artery in my heart and could have dropped dead at any time. I was stunned by the news because I had no symptoms and my blood pressure had always tended to be low and I had passed all my past tests with flying colors. A heart problem had been the least of my concerns.

With a painless Angioplasty, the placement of a stint, a day and a half in the hospital and a couple of days rest, I was back to normal activity. Coronary disease is incurable but with responsible lifestyle choices including a proper diet, regular exercise, stress management and medication I can expect to live a long, productive life.
There are a couple of reasons I’m sharing this with you. First, don’t be too macho to have regular checkups. Avoiding regular checkups is just plain dumb. Even if you are not feeling bad or having obvious symptoms, checkups are still very important. They can save your life.

The second reason I’m sharing this is because the experience helped me to understand, again, how fragile life is. There is not an insurance policy in existence that can assure you of another day of life. It’s important to take good care of yourself and plan to live a long time, but the rest is out of your control.

So here’s a question you really ought to think about.  What would you do differently if you knew you had one month to live? Would you ask forgiveness of someone you had offended or hurt? Would you forgive someone that had hurt or offended you? I would hope you would make sure you ask God’s forgiveness and accept the salvation He has provided you.

There is a tendency that when people know the end is near they to want to clear their conscience and get closer to God. That’s a good thing. Bitterness, unforgiveness and unresolved conflict are a sure path to misery. It is a death of its own. So don’t wait until you think you’re going to die to learn to live. Learn to experience the peace of God that passes understanding.

Thanks for joining me and I’d like to hear from you. So let me know what you think.

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Cecil The Alcoholic

God can use uncomfortable situations to teach us lessons… even a situation involving a homeless alcoholic.

I met Cecil on an alcoholic rescue run one night with my pastor. Pastor had a heart for alcoholics so there were always two or three attending church. If they didn’t show up for a couple of weeks he went looking for them.

That night we were in one of the sleaziest neighborhoods in Dallas. That was my first trip with pastor and I just wanted to get out alive. It took three beer joints before a friendly bartender told us about a flophouse hotel where we could probably find Cecil.  The place was awful with the smell of urine so strong my nose burned. That didn’t slow pastor down at all and after checking out a few dingy rooms we found Cecil, naked and passed out on a bed with a dirty sheets. It was not a pretty sight. Pastor finally got him awake sat down beside him, talked and prayed with him before dressing him and taking him home to dry out.

During the next few months my wife Shirley and I made it a point to get to know Cecil. He was in his early 70′s, missing a couple front teeth and really pretty rough-cut. The years had not been good to him. But the more we got to know him the more we liked him and Sunday dinners with Cecil got to be special for the Rose family. He was like a grandfather figure to us. The change was remarkable.  After years of alcoholism, he stopped drinking and he thrived on the TLC he got from the church family and us. The new Cecil had love to give he never knew he had.  He laughed, talked, played with the kids and after all those years of pain he was finally living the good life.

Cecil’s dream was to have his own room at the local retirement center. It took a few months but we finally managed to make it happen.  A bunch of us were there to celebrate the day he moved in. It was a simple room but to Cecil it was a mansion. Sitting in his own rocking chair he declared it the happiest day of his life.  Two weeks later I got a call from the retirement center and was told that in the middle of the night Cecil had gone to be with the Lord, the Lord he had met just a few months before.

I learned some things through that experience. I learned what Jesus meant when he said, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” I learned that my pastor was dead serious about ministry and it wasn’t limited to a pulpit. He had a heart for forgotten, discarded people and he was willing to go to some dark and ugly places to find them. Just like Jesus did.  My pastor made a big difference. Cecil taught me that people have worth no matter how far they have fallen. God loves them and He expects me to love them.

God may well put a Cecil in your life someday and when He does accept it. Perhaps it could be one of the best things that will ever happen for both of you.

Thanks for joining me and whatever you do keep showing up.

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Remember To Forget

How would you like to live a rich fulfilling life with peace of mind? Silly question… of course you would, we all would. Well listen carefully, because I’m going to share one of the most important keys to achieving that life-changing goal.  It is in this simple statement. “Remember to Forget.”

It came from an important mentor in my life, Dr. Louis Rawls. Dr. Rawls was an early Civil Rights leader, Chicago Pastor, member of our board, and the father of  Lou Rawls the Jazz singer. He was a man of incredible spiritual and moral character and I learned a lot from him, including “Remember to Forget.”

A couple of years after Dr. Rawls joined our Board of Directors, he was caught up in an ugly scandal brought about by people he had trusted with leadership.  He was later vindicated, but it became a major media event and for a time it looked like his reputation was down the tubes. It was probably the deepest valley of his life. After the storm had passed I asked how he felt about it and about the people who had caused him so much pain.  I was surprised when he said he’d forgotten it. It was hard for me to understand how he could forget something like that with people trying to destroy him.

He went on to explain that he intended to live a long and satisfying life and remembering things like that weren’t compatible with that goal. Every time those thoughts come to mind he said, “I remember to forget.”  He didn’t say he didn’t have the thoughts. Only that he remembered to forget. Incredible.

The Apostle Paul said the same thing just worded a bit different. In Philippians 3:13  “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”   He didn’t want the unbearable weight of regret, bitterness and anger to weight him down. The Apostle Paul remembered to forget. So did Dr. Rawls and when he died at 97, he was a peaceful, godly man.

We all have things that are tough to forget, hurts, regrets, but the bondage of the past can rob us of any meaning life in the present and future. Is that where you are? Well maybe its time you started “Remembering to Forget.” God will help you but you have to cooperate, and it doesn’t happen in one day. Every time the devil throws the past at you, remember your commitment to “Remember to Forget” and put it out of your mind. After a while it will get easier and easier until one day you will “Forget to Remember” it.

Thanks for joining me and I would like to hear what you think. And whatever you do, keep showing up.

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The Golan Heights Problem

What would you do if you had a neighbor that not only didn’t want you on the block, but was determined to tear your house down and kill you.   And what if they made it clear that making peace was out of the question, contrary to their goals and objectives. You would probably be pretty sensitive about it and do everything you could to protect you and your family.  Now ask yourself, if a few blocks away there were some other neighbors who wanted you to make peace anyway and suggested you give up your front and back yard just to show you were serious.  You would probably think they weren’t terribly interested in your welfare and tell them to stuff it.

Well that’s about how it is with the president wanting Israel to do a peace treaty with Hamas and by suggesting they go back to the Israel 1967 borders just to show they are serious. Pardon my grammer, but it ain’t gonna happen.

Here’s why. Masses of Palestinians and Syrians have stormed the Israeli Border fences in the Golan Heights trying to force their way into Israel. At first it caught the Israelis by surprise and a few cut through the fences and got in, but now they’re prepared and they’ve made it clear they’re  not going to allow a breach. They are perfectly within their rights to make that decision. Anyone trying to get through does so at their peril. Ironically or maybe on purpose it happened on the anniversary of the 1967 war and is reportedly a ploy by Syria to take the attention away from the uprising in their own country.

The head of the UN issued a statement expressing his concern for Israel’s response for violating its borders, but the UN Security Council’s attempt to produce a statement on Syria’s killing of hundreds of its citizens in the internal uprising has failed.

What would happen if Israel gave the Golan Heights back to Syria?  To quote Yogi Berra, déjà vu all over again.  The current conflict is evidence enough that nothing would change.  Israelis living in the Northern Galilee would once more be at the mercy of their avowed enemy and the United States or the UN has not and will not be able to solve that problem. So the best thing for Israel is not to allow themselves to be pressured by the outside, but rather to deal with it the way they have had to deal with it in the past. That is from a position of power.

Thanks for joining me and whatever you do, keep showing up.

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In The Way Of A Dream

Do you have a dream that seems so impossible that you are ready to give up on it? Well don’t. I heard a story about a tourist in a small town where a number of famous people had been born. He said to an old timer, “I heard there have been some big people born here.” The old timer responded, “Nope, all babies.”

We all start small don’t we? It’s the same with big visions. They usually start small and grow. You may be surprised to know that the first suspension bridge across Niagara Falls started in 1847 with a kite and some string.  It was eight hundred feet across the river and experts at the time thought it was impossible to span that distance. At first they didn’t think of something as simple as a kite and string. Here’s what happened.

The kite was flown across the gorge and the kite string was attached to a tree and the river was spanned. That simple. Then a light cord was attached to the string and pulled across. Then a heavier cord was attached and pulled across followed by a rope and finally a wire cable. Work on the suspension bridge began.  It wasn’t sophisticated and that’s probably the reason the idea hadn’t been tried before. But the amazing thing is that such a simple solution was able to solve such a complex problem. I’m sure there were scoffers but it was the best idea available at the time and most importantly, it worked. The result was a bridge that furthered positive international relationships between the United States and Canada. A big dream with humble beginnings.

So often dreams lie dormant because the dreamer can’t find a place to start.

When my daughter Vanessa was nine she showed an interest in horses and I had always had a dream to own a horse. Shirley reminded me, accurately, that we couldn’t even afford to buy a horse, much less pay the boarding fees and the other related expenses. I understood the financial realities, but I also understood that a dream is only possible if you pursue it.  I found a place for Vanessa to take lessons, and I begin reading magazines, visiting stables, meeting horse people and asking questions, learning everything I could about horses and the horse market. In general I was “putting myself in the way of a dream.”

It was about a year later that I found a nice horse we could afford and the owner threw in the saddle and bridle as part of the deal. We still couldn’t afford a boarding fee, so I went to the owner of a small farm with a horse barn, and worked out a deal for a much-reduced boarding rate. However, in order to secure that rate, Vanessa and I had to paint all the horse stalls and do general cleanup.

What looked like an impossible dream wasn’t impossible at all. It just needed perseverance, creative thinking and hard work. The dream grew and it brought my daughter and I closer and I’ve had horses ever since.  The point was that the “perceived reality” that we “can’t” happened to be a false reality.  Impossibilities are usually not impossible at all, just varying degrees of difficulty. And most of the time there are creative and sometimes incredibly simple solutions to those problems, like a kite and string or painting a barn.

Here are three essential things you need to know about achieving a dream.

1. Don’t let go of the dream

2. Take time to think about it every day

3. Find a place to start regardless of how simple it may seem

4. Work as hard as necessary to achieve it.

Thanks for joining me and whatever you do… keep showing up.

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A Healthy Marriage

Do you know that a healthy marriage is important to good health in general? Maybe as important as exercise and good diet. But a good marriage doesn’t just happen. It takes commitment to a good relationship. Communication is the key to a healthy marriage. Shirley and I have been married 43 years and there are some things we have learned that can help.

We met on a blind date.  I lived in Dallas and was visiting some friends in New Orleans who set us up. After a couple of dates I knew she was the person for me and by the end of the second week I asked her to marry me. She said yes and six months later we were in a church on the edge of the French Quarter in New Orleans. And here we are forty-three years, three children and fourteen grandchildren later, still together, still in love and still learning.

Now understand, I’m not saying it’s been perfect or easy. It hasn’t. We both carry a lot of personality baggage and we still deal with it.  There are collisions.  But in spite of the flaws we have a good life together. And there are some things we have learned along the way that can be helpful.

We’re committed to the long haul.   Not just the marriage, but to our relationship. From the outset we agreed our marriage was for keeps. But that takes commitment to a good relationship. Otherwise marriage “ain’t going to be fun.” More like a prison sentence.

Since Shirley and I were in it for the “long haul” our focus has been how to make that a happy “long haul.” That means being willing to change. Lets face it; if you’re not willing to change you’ve got a problem, especially in a marriage.  Shirley and I tend to be strong willed, so we would rather win than change. The key is being concerned enough about the other person’s needs that you’re willing to accommodate them. Communication is the key to a healthy marriage.   That’s change. Change for us has not only meant a better marriage but it’s made us better people. But it’s an ongoing process that we’re still working on.

Another thing we do is work on just staying close. Without a lot of TLC a marriage can become stale and couples can start drifting apart.  Shirley and I are very busy people and we’ve got to be intentional about staying close. So there are some simple things we do. For instance, ninety-second hugs that can happen any time day or night. Probably the best of all is the double recliner in the family room. That’s where we hang out together. We talk about the present and the future. We read, watch movies or just hold hands and relax. But we’re close to each other and in touching distance. And we always share a bag or two of popcorn.

Well that’s our story and we’re sticking to it. But I can tell you that working on a strong marriage is the best investment you will ever make and you can start right now.

Thanks for joining me and let me know what you think.

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Arleen Ocasio Trampling 1st Amendment Rights

Either Arleen Ocasio has a problem with God or she’s just following the orders of the Veterans Administration. There’s got to be a reason she has so blatantly trampled on 1st Amendment rights of two veterans organizations and the National Memorial Ladies.

Ocasio is the Director of VA National Cemetery in Houston, Texas where the Memorial Ladies of Houston attend up to sixty funerals a week, offering condolences to families of the deceased. In many occasions they attend funerals in honor of older veterans who have no one to attend. The veterans groups provide volunteer honor guards at the funerals.

According to reports, Ocasio and other cemetery officials have instructed the veteran groups to remove prayers from its burial rituals and have forbidden them to say “we ask that God grant you and your family grace, mercy and peace” to the families at the end of the 21 gun salute. They told the National Memorial Ladies of Houston that they could no longer include “God Bless” in their condolence cards or speak a religious message to veterans families. And finally, Ocascio shut down the cemetery chapel and is using it for storage.

It’s hard to believe that Ocasio or the Veterans Administration could possibly think they could get by with that kind of disregard of 1st Amendment rights. Maybe its not so hard to believe in the anti-Christian environment we are confronted with today. This has been going on for sometime, but after a pastor was forbidden to say “Jesus” in a funeral he conducted it hit the fan and now the courts are dealing with it and Ocasio is being shut down. That’s good, but she should have been shut down the first time it happened. There are calls for Ocasio to go and I agree. I don’t like to see anyone lose their job, but she’s a bad fit for director of the VA National Cemetery and she should be replaced with someone who has a better handle on 1st Amendment rights.

Thanks for joining me and I would to hear what you think. But whatever you do keep showing up.

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