Seeing The End From The Beginning (2)

January 29, 2011

by John Imler
John is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassador and author of It’s Never Too Late

Welcome back to my blog. I have been awayseeing the end for seven weeks due to a surprise summons from my Creator for a special meeting with Him. I invite you to go along with me as I recount this very real encounter at the age of 77.

It was 11:30 PM Saturday, December 11, 2010. There was a fire raging in my chest as I stumbled through the Emergency entrance of the hospital as Ruth parked the car. I blurted out “I think I’m having a heart attack!” An orderly pushed a wheelchair under me and off I went. Most of the next four days are only a series of snapshots of the events that took place.

One thing that stands out to me is that I seemed to be on this journey by myself—but I was not. Could it be that I was at the end of my life? Was it time for me to give an accounting to my Creator (Heb. 9:27)? Was this that meeting I just wrote about in my blog the previous Sunday beseeching all of us to keep the end clearly in view as we travel our journey from the beginning?

There are no snapshots of my wife Ruth or of my son and daughter and no recording of their voices. I seemed to be all alone. I recall the doctors telling of the severity of this summons from my Creator. After the final test the cardiologist told my family that they had found blockage at the three main arteries entering my heart. She said “It is a miracle he is still with us! His only option is a bypass.”

But it is I who must OK this procedure. Since all things of faith are personal, it was I who must determine if I would trust God for this procedure. For over 20 years I had maintained that I would not undergo surgery of any kind due to a history of strokes that require a daily dosage of blood thinners. My fear of being left an invalid and a burden to my family from another stroke was greater than my fear of death (at least up until now).

Since my return to faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior on March 18, 2008, it seems God has constantly asked me to trust Him more and more (www.faithrescued.com). Since that day I watched my consulting business disappear and then experienced bankruptcy.

In Matthew 6:19-21 the Master admonishes us not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth but treasures in heaven. In Matthew 6:28-34 He further instructs us to trust Him for everything. I was now at the time when I must trust Him for everything—including my very life—as the doctor indicated that I would not survive without the bypass. I responded with these words: “If I can trust God for the stint and the angioplasty, then I can trust Him for the bypass. Give me the paper to sign.”

I had also committed to trust Him no matter what was ahead. After I was transported to one of the leading heart surgery hospitals in the nation, the surgeon expressed his concern. They do not normally do bypass surgeries until the patient has been off blood thinners for at least five days. It had only been two days since my last dosage. However, sensing the urgency, he decided to proceed with an extra supply of blood available.

On Wednesday morning at 6:30 I was taken into surgery. After a delay of over four hours as they searched for viable veins to use for the bypasses, the surgery began and lasted until 4:00 PM. I ended up needing five bypasses.

Our Creator asks each of us to trust Him fully—not partially. I was not alone; my Master was with me every moment of the way. Sometimes it may be, as in my case, through the very valley and shadow of death. But He will reward our trust as He did mine when that trust becomes complete. The hymn declares: Simply trusting everyday, Trusting thru a stormy way, Even when my faith is small, Trusting Jesus that is all.

John welcomes your comments either below or email him directly at john@faithrescued.com

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Free Days At National Parks in 2011

January 17, 2011

jaimie_bruzenak

by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
as appeared on RV Home Yet?

Mark your calendars now so if your RV travels take you near a national park on one of these days, you can C de C tour Spider Rock take advantage of free admission.

The first ones coming up are January 15-17 for Martin Luther King’s birthday. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, announced the free days a few days ago in a press release. The other days are:

  • National Park Week (April 16-24)
  • the first day of summer (June 21)
  • National Public Lands Day (September 24)
  • the weekend of Veterans Day (November 11-13)

Camping in an NPS campground with tent or RV is not included however some concessionaires will have special offers and discounts. You can find them listed here. Check back. More will be added as the year progresses.

Many smaller national parks never have a fee. Or, obtain an America the Beautiful Pass and, for one fee, visit any national park on any day for 12 months from the day you bought it. It also gives you free admissions at other federal recreation areas. The Pass is a great value if you plan to visit many in the coming year. With 394 national parks there is a tremendous variety. Include them in your RV travels.

Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

Please add your comment below or email Jamie at calamityjaimie@gmail.com

reprinted with permission

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War Memorial Cross Unconstitutional

January 13, 2011

By Stephanie Samuel
Christian Post Reporter

(Photo: AP Images / Gregory Bull) Rev. John Fredericksen of Orlando, Fla., takes a picture in front of the war memorial cross on Mount Soledad Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011, in San Diego, alongside Burdette Streeter of San Diego.

(Photo: AP Images / Gregory Bull) Rev. John Fredericksen of Orlando, Fla., takes a picture in front of the war memorial cross on Mount Soledad Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011, in San Diego, alongside Burdette Streeter of San Diego.

The Circuit Court’s three-judge panel ruled Tuesday that the memorial cross at Mt. Soledad violates the U.S. Constitution.

Judges for U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decided 3-0 in the case of Trunk v. City of San Diego that the Mt. Soledad cross paying homage to fallen soldiers is unconstitutional.

Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Joe Infranco labeled the ruling a tragedy.

“It’s tragic that the court chose a twisted and tired interpretation of the First Amendment over the common-sense idea that the families of fallen American troops should be allowed to honor these heroes as they choose,” he expressed in a statement following yesterday’s ruling.

The California war memorial was erected in 1954. The memorial includes a Latin cross and six concentric walls holding black granite plaques engraved with the names and photos of war veterans. It was originally dedicated as a Korean War Veterans Memorial but now also honors U.S. veterans of World War I and World War II.

The memorial’s cross has been at the heart of a two-decade-long dispute. The cross is 29-foot tall and stands in La Jolla, Calif.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the city of San Diego in 1989 to remove the cross. The group’s plaintiff, atheist war veteran Philip Paulson, argued that the cross was a religious symbol and that its display on public land was unconstitutional. The Jewish War Veterans has also found fault with the cross’s presence and is also suing for its removal.

Prior to this ruling, U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns ruled in 2008 that the cross does not violate the separation of Church and State.

“The court finds the memorial at Mt. Soledad, including its Latin cross, communicates the primarily non-religious messages of military service, death, and sacrifice,” Burns wrote in his decision. “As such, despite its location on public land, the memorial is constitutional.”

However, on appeal, the judges overturned Burns’ ruling. Still, Infranco contends that the cross does not violate the Establishment Clause maintaining a separation between church and state. The cross has the right to stay where it is, he says.

“War heroes have earned the right to be remembered. The memory of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom shouldn’t be dishonored because the ACLU finds a small number of people who are merely offended,” he stated.

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Pastors Take Church On The Road

January 11, 2011

Amelia Hadley
Special to The Desert Sun • January 9, 2011
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Rev. Don Marienthal of Sky Valley Ministries begins Bible study at Sky Valley Resort mobile home park in Sky Valley with about 40 members on Jan. 5. Sky Valley Ministries serves residents who have second homes in the Coachella Valley or come to the desert in winter in their Recreational Vehicles. During winter Sunday services attendance can be as high as 600 members. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

RV’ers find salvation out on the open road.

Preparing for the rush of retiring, religious Baby Boomers — and their affinity for travel — pastors across the country are working to bring church to RV parks.

Out of the estimated 27,000 campgrounds in the United States, about 125 have embraced the trend.

Two are in the Coachella Valley.

“They love not having to leave their campground to go into town for a church service,” said Duane Careb, who created RVchurchesUSA.org in 2008. “Plus, people really enjoy learning about God in the setting of nature.”

More RVs are owned by Baby Boomers than any other group, according to a 2001 University of Michigan study commissioned by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. The generation also makes up the fastest-growing segment of the RV market.

Robert Ruesch, who founded Christian Resort Ministries in 2002, said RV’ers want “the peace of mind knowing they have a church-based support system waiting for them at their destination.”

Force Hall at at Sky Valley Resorts serves as a chapel for Rev. Don Marienthal and Sky Valley Ministries which serve as many as 600 residents on Sundays during winter. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

Force Hall at at Sky Valley Resorts serves as a chapel for Rev. Don Marienthal and Sky Valley Ministries which serve as many as 600 residents on Sundays during winter. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

Both men started their organizations to help out Baby Boomers who take to the road and want religion to come with them. They hook up RV resorts with pastors and musicians for church services.

“We’re a networking RV ministry,” said Careb.

At Sky Valley and Caliente Springs Resorts in Desert Hot Springs, attendance at Sunday services can be as high as 600 during winter months. Both have chapels, which is rare, Careb said.

Reverend Don Marienthal, 64, of Indio, is the senior chaplain of Sky Valley Ministry and oversees church services at both locations.

“My call to ministry is seniors; it’s where my heart is. They could be at the bottom of a coal mine or at an RV park, I just want to minister to seniors. It just so happens, there are a lot at RV parks,” Marienthal said.

Bible studies are on Wednesdays, hymn sings are regularly scheduled and Marienthal — along with three chaplains under his leadership — plan and conduct weddings and memorials.

Both chapels are nondenominational.

“In a park, you have a whole range of denominations, a blending of different positive influences in people’s lives,” said Roger Weber, who along with his wife, Wanda, lives at Sky Valley Resort six months a year.

“Having a nondenominational service every Sunday meets the needs of all the campers,” Weber said.

In 1997, the Webers bought an RV and began traveling throughout the United States.

They reserved space at the resort for one week.

They stayed for five months.

A retired accountant, Roger Weber now is treasurer of the Sky Valley Ministries board.

“The atmosphere is wonderful,” said Roger Weber, 78. “Having a church here is important to us.”

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I Resolve To Magnify Christ

January 7, 2011

by Dountonia S. Slack as appeared on BellaOnline
a contributing author on RVchurchesUSA

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Last year was challenging to say the least. It was littered with division, misunderstandings, unfulfilled tasks, heartache, disappointments, and attempts at “Christ-less, grace-less change” (David Powlison). As a result, my attitude was rank. My passion for Truth was viewed as anger/intolerance/impatience which made it difficult for others to see Christ magnified but me undignified.

The message and love of Christ is too important to be muffled by an instrument that does not resonate with the harmonious sounds of the truth in love, kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:15, 32). Therefore, Christians have a responsibility to play the music of the Gospel the way God composed it to be played – in unison with the entire Body of Christ so that the world may hear only Him. Changing the melody to conform to our preferences only leads to frustration, bitterness, and an obsession to be “right.”

Because God makes the whole body fit together perfectly (Ephesians 4:16 NLT), I long to be an instrument of praise that plays the notes gifted to me which magnify the Lord and overflow with love. I yearn to be in an environment where brothers and sisters in Christ live joy-filled lives that are pleasing to Him. And, I pray for authentic fellowship that disciplines for unconfessed sin, nurtures the community, and unapologetically shares the truth of Christ.

Accordingly, when I meditate on how God empowers us to accomplish more than we imagine (Ephesians 3:20), I am convicted by how much more I need to surrender to Him and submit to the Holy Spirit. The divine power of a Christian whose life is immersed in the spirit of peace with the brethren through humility, gentleness, patience, and grace (Ephesians 4:2-3) does more for the advancement of the Kingdom than a disconnected, anthrop-powered Christian armed with good intentions.

Our Sovereign Lord has every thing under control. His plan will be executed and His Will will be done. Therefore, there is no need for any of us to get discouraged or behave unseemingly when what we see (or hear) does not line-up with what God ordained. Our job is to worship Him in spirit and in truth no matter where we are and to be connected to a spirit-filled Body of Believers that preach and teach the Gospel in a God-honoring way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for another chance to fulfill what you called me to do. Thank you for the truth of your Word and the help and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Father, I pray that “more of you and less of me” be more than the empty words of a New Year’s Resolution, but the lifestyle of a renewed attitude that unifies and is inviting. Transform the cacophony of my words, both written and spoken, into a symphony of love conducted by you and built-up by the Body. It’s in the name of your precious Son, Jesus Christ, that I pray. Amen.

Dountonia is BellaOnline’s Baptist Editor

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