February 27, 2011

Sunday February 27, 2011 5:00pm

It was so great to be with our church family today. I had the opportunity to share for a few minutes. It was so great to see everyone. It was also great to be with our Monroe campus as we celebrated our 2 year anniversary today. Awesome!

For those of you who could not be with us at Southbrook today, here is what I said:

Nancy and I are grateful beyond words for the outpouring of love we have received from this church. We have been blown away at the response to Garren’s unfortunate injury. And it goes beyond just this church. Churches literally around the world are continuing to pray for Garren’s healing. Students and faculty at Porter Ridge, Piedmont, and many other schools have banded together in the most spectacular way to show support and love for Garren. It has been truly amazing to be at the center of this kind of love.

Many have made comments about how well we seem to be holding up. Let me tell you - this is probably the most stressful and emotional situation I’ve ever had to deal with personally in my life. It’s not easy. Many of you have been in similar situations, you know what I’m talking about. From the minute this began, we started praying. We took Garren to God immediately, laid him at Jesus’ feet, and poured our hearts out to Him.

There have been a couple of very close calls along the way, Garren shouldn’t be alive today. The fact that he is alive is evidence that God does answer prayers. God orchestrated a series of events as Garren arrived at the hospital and in the days following that could not have been planned out by us. God is good indeed.

Life can change in an instant. You’re next breath is not guaranteed.

So how is it that we are able to hold up so well through all of this? I had one of the nurses ask me, probably about 4-5 days into this, if we were taking the time to grieve. She must have thought we were still in shock, or denial. I love questions like that, because it opens the door for me to talk about the One who is carrying us through all of this. If you’ve been following our story on my blog, then you are reading first hand what is going through my head. I don’t hold much back. I was able to talk to that nurse about Abraham and Isaac. God told Abraham to take his only son to the top of a mountain, to build an altar, and to sacrifice him there. Abraham obeyed, without question. God said go and Abraham went. I told her that we truly believed that God could and would use this situation as a way to point people toward himself. And just as Abraham was obedient, and willing to offer his son to God, we too had given Garren over to God many years ago. We want to be used by God through this situation as He sees fit.

You see, for years Nancy and I have spent time in God’s Word, regularly, and in prayer, regularly. Over a period of many years we have learned to lean on God, to trust His ways. This isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s not something you decide to do one day and it magically happens. It takes years.

I’m signed up to run my second half-marathon in a couple of weeks. I ran my first one in December. I started officially training in August. I put together a training program, and worked my way up to being able to mostly run 13 miles without stopping or passing out! But in reality, my training started years before that. I learned how to walk when I was a toddler. I spent years playing, running, doing things that kids do. I played sports in high school. I got into cycling, and running, and then built on that foundation to complete a half-marathon. Now, I’m continuing to build on that foundation, and hopefully will be able to run this one, maybe just a little bit faster!

The point is, I didn’t just wake up one day, decide to run a marathon, and go to the start line. I wouldn’t have made it past the first mile.

It’s the same with our spiritual lives. We have to spend years working on our spiritual health. It’s a process. It takes time. It means reading and praying when we don’t necessarily feel like it. It means taking whatever hardships come your way and thanking God, seeking Him in the midst of it, keeping your eyes on Him, on the end goal, rather than on yourself and your own selfish, comfortable desires.

Many years ago, when our children were young, we committed them to the Lord. We agreed to raise them in a Godly way, knowing that ultimately they were on loan to us. They belong to the Lord. When something like this happens, it rips your heart out.

One of the things that we have done with our kids from very early on was to teach them the Bible. I’m not talking about just church. Church is good. Get your kids involved in our children’s ministry, or student ministry. Get your kids involved in serving, and in outreach. But above all of this - talk to your kids about spiritual things. Talk to them about the Bible. Read your Bible to them. Pray with them. No matter how strange or awkward it feels, you can’t afford to put it off.

Joshua 1:7-9 says "...be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good successt wherever you go.8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

We’re in the middle of this family series. “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Pastor Rob has some tough things for us to hear today. He has some truths from Scripture to teach us, and if we will heed God’s word, we will be successful - not success according to the world’s definition of success, but success in God’s eyes. Success in God’s eyes is “Be holy, because I am holy.”

None of us knows when it could happen to us. Nancy and I have peace knowing that Garren has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Garren is learning to be a follower of Jesus. I had the honor of baptizing him not to long ago. If God had chosen to take Garren, I have no doubt he would be playing football with Jesus today.

You have to make sure that you know where you will end up if you die today. You have to talk to you kids, make sure they understand. Don’t put it off. You are not promised another minute.

God has chosen to leave Garren in our care for now. But that doesn’t make it easier. Our road is a long one. We can’t see around the next bend. We have no idea what our future or Garren’s future looks like. Thousands have prayed and are continuing to pray for Garren’s complete healing and restoration. And we believe God for that. But it will take time. It could take years. Nancy and I are learning more and more each day the reality of what that means.

As a quick update on Garren - Friday Garren had his eyes open from around 3pm until nearly midnight. As I watched him, I could see him trying to move his legs. Very small moves, like he was trying to bend his knees. So awesome to watch.

We covet your continued prayer and support. We are so thankful for each one of you. We are so thankful to be a part of a church that is learning to act like the body of Christ.

Thank you all - we love you.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

You guys are truly amazing!!! We have learned so much from you. The strength that you have and the love for the Lord is awesome!!! Thank you so much for continuing with your blog. God has chosen Garren and your family to bring people closer to him. To bring people who don't believe, to him. We continue to pray for Garren and you all. May God bless you and completely heal and restore Garren.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed seeing you today...we know how draining this "adventure" can be...we are really proud of the way(s) you are showing your trust and faith in Jesus..all of you...tell Garren our neighborhood played kickball today...not quite the same as his playing football, but is was fun...the ages of the children were from 5 to, well us in the 6th decade of our lives...after much wheezing, I (Sandy) made it to home base...we represented the geriatic group in our community!!! hahahahaha...Garren, you are doing so well...take as long as you need...do not give in to frustration...(think of all the chores you are skipping! Hahaha) We love you all...praying always, Sandy & Russ

Anonymous said...

It was so good to see you today! I love that passage from Joshua...actually, I often refer back to that Wednesday night series you taught on Joshua - victory through obedience. Thank you for being so transparent in the time and allowing us to see first hand what that can mean. We continue to pray and trust that God will be glorified.
Erica

Melissa Abi-Najm said...

I love that you are reminding us to continue reading the Bible to/with our kids ... even when it feels awkward. I have to remind myself of this all the time. Sometimes I read to them and think it's probably over their heads, maybe too much for them to process. What I CAN see is almost a visible foundation being laid for them. Something for them to draw back to in times of need ... that's what I pray. We've never met you guys, but we continue to pray strength and healing for Garren and your entire family. Thank you for your encouraging words for us parents ;-)

Kitty @ Four Little Toms and a Mom said...

I often tell people that the preparation for the storms in life come when the sun is shining. You and Nancy and your children are the role models for that lesson. I've been through two difficult storms in my life-- the first by myself with no preparation, and the second with God. What a difference. It was a decision I made after weathering the first storm alone that I will never be focused on this world and its circumstances for my fulfillment again, but I will train to walk with the Lord with my eyes focused on eternity. What a difference when that second storm came and like you, people asked how we did so well. It wasn't me, it was Him. God's light shines through you, Janeses!

Mike said...

I'm honored that you chose to end your message with a thanks to your readers. However, we are the ones that need to thank you! I am grateful that you choose to send your thoughts our way, that you choose to use your current circumstances to grow God's kingdom. Today in our lesson with the youth we talked about how when God calls us to step out and lead we should remember three things, prayer, courage and boldness! I continue to be amazed at how God is connecting everything that is happening to our everyday lives and experiences. Your testimony is inspiring to so many and leading many people closer to our Savior. We continue to pray for Garren and can't wait to see God's work be completed and the glory Garren's story will bring to God our father! It was so good to see you today at church and hear you share your story with us. My parents are in town this week and were very moved by the strength God has given you! Glory to God, Glory to God, Glory to God Forever!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

We are never promised tomorrow or another breath. This is truly the biggest reason I want to follow him everyday. I want to be ready...Iam ready. I want my children to be ready. How wonderful it is to know that our oldest three out of our five have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They are ready. And the two youngest are well on their way. They know the stories, they grasp the concept....we keep teaching, sharing& praying. Ritchie& I were discussing not too long ago how blessed we were as children to grow up in strong Christian homes with devoted parents willing & determined to teach us about the word. We pray that we can give our children this very gift. We also pray that when tragedy strikes us that will will all be prepared and have no need to panic. You, Nancy and the girls have been a true example of how we would like to be if we were facing an uncertain situation. Love the word, live the word, love the ones around you and always be ready to be an example and be used. You & Nancy have been a fabulous example to us all...we thank you.
we continue to lift up Garren...such an amazing, strong young man and someday, I can't wait to hear him give his testimony of his account. God's got huge plans for him! We've just got to remain faithful& patient!! We love you all!

Donna, Ritchie, Racheal, Katherine, Luke, Madelyn& Brady

Anonymous said...

Great to see you today. It was a great day at Southbrook Monroe and your whole family has helped it be what it is. Our prayers continue for all you.

Fred, Julie, Jackson

Anonymous said...

Good morning Janes family...today is supposed to be a hot one..praying that today more "baby" steps will come forth,,maybe some "toddler" steps, as we pray for Garren's brain to be restored...know that you are loved...Sandy & Russ

Anonymous said...

it was so good to see you in the pulpit on Sunday! I wish you could have shared the entire service! I KNOW we would have been blessed by it...and it might have been good therapy for you as well! Maybe soon! Your words are soooo encouraging to us! I am amazed at how God is using this as well. Morgan and I will miss our normal Monday visit today but we understand the schedule and will try to see you all soon.
So thrilled with Garren's progress. We are still praying. Please give Nancy my number and if you guys need anything...we are a phone call away.
704-492-1403
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wendypoovey said...

It was wonderful to see you and hear your message. What an amazing testimony from you and your family. Thank you. Know that God is using Garren and your family to reach so many others, especially our children!