Monday, November 19, 2018

Cat Scan


Dear ones: 

I mentioned in this last blog that Dee and I would be seeing the Thorasic doctor today for the report on the latest cat scan.  Here ‘tis: 

The aortic aneurism has not grown since July.  It measures 6.1 cm x 5.9 cm.  Doctor’s words: "That’s big. It may or may not grow.  It may or may not be what takes your life.  If it ruptures you will be in terrible pain.  Call 911 immediately. There is no instrument,  nor “stent”  that can help with this particular aneurism, because it is an “ascending aneurism”.  (Coming OUT of your heart, and not going in.)  Surgery is an option, but at your age, not a good one.  There is no point in having further cat scans, but that is up to you."  (As of now I won't.)  

 I know where I will be and with Whom, for eternity.  When, as with you, the time of our departure is up to Him.  It’s kind of like thinking about the Rapture:   Plan as if the Lord were never coming.  Live as if he were coming today.

These scriptures have been impressed upon me:  Psalm 27:13,14:  “I know that I will see the Lord’s goodness in this present life. Trust in the Lord; have faith, do not despair. Trust in the Lord.” 

Lord,  may these loved ones experience your grace, mercy and love, especially, this season. 


Love,  Jo

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Whack!

 As Associate pastor to Ray Stedman, right out of seminary, the five men who elded were business men who commuted by train every morning to San Francisco.  Ted and Ray boarded with them, they laid out their Bibles to study,  then prayed for the men in their market places with whom they would share Christ that day. Often,  there were fresh reports of God’s moving upon the hearts of business people in the market places of San Francisco,  California. 

After three years, we moved to Bakersfield, 'way south, to pastor a small church that had been pioneered by a precious,  humble lady.  There were a handful of adults and lots of children. We inherited a mortgage and an elder board.  To say we experienced a climate and every other kind of change does not quite tell you what I am remembering.  I was pregnant with our third child, sick as a dog for months and it was HOT!  Eventually our beautiful little Deanna was born. 

 A few weeks later, at 6 A.M. in the morning our doorbell rang.  There stood the wife of the chairman of our elder board. ... sobbing.  I gathered her in my arms as she blurted out her story.  “He's been leaving the house early.  This morning I followed him.  He stopped at Goldie's house!  They're having an AFFAIR!"   (Wouldn't you know her name would be "Goldie"?)  E. moved into our Baby Dee's bedroom and there she lived while we prayed and found for her the perfect assignment for the rest of her life.  She joined the office staff of Overseas Crusades Mission in Palo Alto, California where her international family became her joy.   Did she ever recover from her broken heart?  That's a really tough one to get over. Is her husband in Heaven?  Is Goldie?  I don't know. 

There would be several more elder disappointments.  Boy howdy, WOULD there?  ...BUT,  people were coming to our little church as new believers shared the Gospel in their neighborhoods, on their jobs and in their schools. The Jesus Movement was on its way.  Ted trained some of the men for eldership.  Fruitvale Community Church on Rosedale Highway became the Happenin' Place.  Within a few years we sent out thirty or so new Christians into foreign missions.  We remained in that pastorate for fifteen years, then for financial reasons moved to a pastorate in Houston, Texas. The "Saga of Elder Boards" will continue in future blogs. We had much to learn about the Sovereignty of God.  At nearly 90 years old, I am still learning. Writing this blog is helping me connect some dots.

I will tell you this: The pastorate is hard enough,  without having to do your job, hindered by power-hungry, bull-headed,  adulterous, stingy,  self-serving men. They can break your heart and make you want to bail out of ministry all together.  ...but we didn't.  I still haven't. 

Suggestion: Read my dear friend Mike Loehrer's "Egoless Elders" and be encouraged and blessed.  Westbow Press

When my Ted would fall into bed, exhausted from an elder board meeting, I asked no questions.  I was flummoxed that he could go right to sleep. Finally, he told me how he did it.  "I image the face of the most frustrating elder on a golf ball, then WHACK it into KINGDOM COME!'' Some of you who read this blog had no idea that mild-mannered, gentle Ted Stone would do such a thing. When you get to Heaven, please don't tell him I told you.   


...and what about the once-little church in Bakersfield, California?  It covers a city block and from it a half-dozen other churches have emerged.  River Lakes Community Church continues to support people who train others to take the Gospel into the market places of the world.  Our dear long-in-Heaven Ray Stedman told this to Ted and me: "As I travel the world, encouraging young pastors I tell them about Ted and Jo Stone who went to a church where I thought nothing would happen, and IT DID!"  

Now, darlings,  go and make disciples.  Stay out of the chicken coop and fly with the eagles. On Monday my daughter Dee will take me to learn of the results of last week's cat scan. I will let you know.

Love,  Jo




Thursday, November 8, 2018

Waiting


Old age is hard.  Our bodies become weaker by the day. We are tired. …so very tired of the battle with the world, the flesh and the devil.  If,  during our life on this earth we have failed to fully believe and embrace the fact that the Blood of Christ has cleansed us from all guilt, shame and blame, and there is one sliver of dependency for our worth upon the way others treat us,  that’s the “sliver”  satan will wiggle through. 

 I came from a critical family.  Words of encouragement were never said.  I am not speaking of  :"flattery".   Result:  When I came to Christ the first scripture I memorized was Proverbs 16:7:  When a man's ways please the Lord He makes even his enemies to be at peace with Him.  You won't be surprised to read that my struggle all my life has been about people pleasing.  Being the wife of a pastor was especially hard for me.  One of the great joys of my life is encouraging all of you who labor in God's vineyards in this nation and around the globe.   

I can’t know what the motives are in someone else.  I wouldn’t bet the rent on whether I even know my own all the time.    I take refuge in I Corinthians 5:1-5.  Sometimes I read it through streaming tears.  God says He is saving those tears in bottles.  When we are with Him, I believe we will cry them privately, with just Him.   Won’t that be GLORIOUS? Over and over, in scripture we are reassured of how wonderful “glory” will be.  We used to sing a hymn about it.  Remember?

“ Oh, that will be glory for me.  Glory for me. Glory for me.  When by His grace I shall look on His face. That will be glory;  be glory for me.”

 There is nothing to compare that “glory” with on this earth; therefore God doesn’t even try. He simply tells us again and again, that despite the agonies we endure here,  in Heaven there will be absolutely NONE.  Ol’ black Ethel Waters used to say:  “God don’ waste no agony.”  That dear saint has been in Heaven for years.  Now she knows for sure that what she said is true.

Friday, November 9th I have a cat scan.  If the darned aortic aneurism had burst I would be dead.  If it is leaking, something besides surgery may be available. If we have never mastered “waiting"  before, we will have to get better at it.  I have become confused by having so many doctors and tests.  My own doctor of many years retired and it has been frustrating to find a new one that will explain what is going on.  Lots of you who read this blog are aged. You will understand everything I am writing. I am  still here to pray and listen if you want to call me.  Email me first and I will give you my phone number. 

 Much love for you, my fellow Pilgrims.    

 Jo

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Naked

Many of my generation would just as soon skip holiday gatherings. We feel three ways about still being here.  We don't know where we "fit" anymore. ...or if we "fit". ...or if we even want to "fit".


...and so it seems that I will be here for another holiday time.  Maybe I will see some of my beloved grandchildren. Did I know how much my grandma loved me?  Of course not. I realized many years later that it was probably her prayers that brought me to Christ. ...five years after she left for Heaven.

What do we really know about what God is doing at the time He is doing it?  The young think they know so much. Paul was cured of that. To the Corinthians he said: "For I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." 

I pretty much listen to pastor /teachers who have been in Heaven for awhile. …the ones who lived on the cusp of the “new morality” before it struck full force.  I picture some current pastors in a rowboat, paddling furiously as they see a tsunami poised and ready to roll at the crest of the hill.  From somewhere, I hear a worship team,  singing and beating the drums louder and louder, trying to drown out the gasps of the Christians who are looking toward the horizon.  Somewhere a TV blares with a preacher yelling: "The Rapture is coming!  Send money!  Buy my book!  I am the only one who has a fresh word from Gawd!  Oh, and send money!"

While the rant gets louder, I withdraw into my quiet place and hum an old Danny Kaye ditty::  “Look at the king, look at the king; look at the king, the king, the king.   The king is in the altogether, the altogether, the altogether.  The king is as naked as the day that he was born. " …and indeed, all  human kings are as naked as jay birds. … as are we all. …UNLESS we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ.  Amazing grace. I will never fully understand it until I see Him face to face. 

"For He hath made Him to be  sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."   II Corinthians 5:21. 

.....and a repeat from last week's blog:  "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."   Colossians 1:27. . 

...yet another:  "For by grace are you saved by faith, and that not of yourselves;  It is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."  Ephesians 2:8,9.

Oh, do vote. ...while we still can. 

Love,  Jo



Thursday, October 25, 2018

Christ in you


My Ted pastored three churches,  we were on the staffs of six other ministries and were part of three sending foreign mission organizations.  One of the three church sent out lots of missionaries to foreign fields.  Some of those are in their early and late 60’s, still bearing fruit that remains. Lots and lots of it. Today I am tracking one to Africa and two to Indonesia.  I can visualize the milling  crowds in the airports as these faithful warriors are deplaning.  ...exhausted beyond words, fighting their way through customs, heading for baggage claim,  praying that their belongings made it across the pond. The adjustments from having been back here in America for a short time are horrific.  Jet lag takes its toll on the human soul. Sleep patterns are broken and must be reset.  There is no describing the emotions of leaving loved ones behind, and pressing forward in a foreign land.   One of my dear male friends  always closes his communications with “Pressing on…”   Why do they do it?  They have to.  They simply have to.  They are called saints.  So are we.  …every one of us.

This little blog keeps me connected with all of our former ministries.  I remain on the board of Round Top Retreat in Texas.  Thousands of people come to that place of learning and refreshment every year.  Nick and Euphanel declare that Ted and I had much to do with the launching of that  reproductive ministry  If we did,   we didn’t  know it.  Yes, there are some who go there who will never lead one person to Jesus.  They will go back to their homes and wait for the next retreat. Many more are in the battle for souls in their market places and communities.  At Round Top they catch their breath and re-enter the fray. 

Do not for a moment believe that God is through gathering in the Gentiles.  Yes, I believe the Rapture is the next event on His time clock, but I do not “stand looking up”,  waiting for the trumpet to sound. I live in a gorgeous place.  No one moves to Bear Valley Springs that does not have a love of nature. …but “nature” won’t save them.  Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  How can they hear unless someone tells them?

I have been, once more, delving into the Book of Romans.  Oh, my goodness.  Romans 1 is grabbing me again.  Nobody has an excuse.  God has revealed Himself in nature.  Every human has a choice as to whether to find out Who did it.  Of course I know that I am “chosen”.  I  have known that since I came to Christ.  There is no way a farm girl from east Kansas could hear the Gospel unless God tracked me down. …which He did.   I don’t know who else He is tracking down here where I live. He will reveal to me all I need to know. …if I will just listen carefully to what people are saying.  …and not saying. …and earn the right to be heard.

 Every heart with Christ is a missionary.  Every heart without Christ is a mission field.  …so what’s His plan of evangelism?   We’re IT!  There is no Plan B.  “For it is Christ IN you, the HOPE OF GLORY.” 
 
Love,  Jo





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