This past week was a tough one!  Through the years we all have people who cross our paths who have a lasting impact.  Sometimes those people are only in our lives for a short period of time.  Some of the time they cross our paths in a more regular way.  And then, there are those who impact our lives because of the amount of time we spend with them as well as the magnitude of the influence they have on our world view and daily journey.

This past week one of those people in my life made his journey home to the Father, far earlier than I was prepared to experience.  The most fitting introduction I heard this week of him was, "There was a man sent from God...and his name was John!"  John Crisp entered my life more than a decade ago with a passion to serve the Native American people with the truth of the Gospel and a demonstration of God's love.  John and his wife Mary, became very important people in my life and my families' life as we walked through this journey of faith.  John and Mary stepped into our lives as parental figures as well as partners in ministry. They have been a blessing and a vital part of the journey of faith for all of us.

This past week John had a stroke on Monday and lingered with us for a few days before going home to be with the Lord.  I recall kneeling at the foot of the bed in the ICU and hearing more than one time, the desire to have him just open his eyes and say something.  John was a quiet man of few words, yet when he spoke everyone needed to pay attention.  So, sitting there in the quiet of the room I simply wanted to say to him, "wake up, Mr. John, I need to hear you share some truth with me one more time."  Several times the idea that if John could just wake up and tell us what to do one more time it would make things all better.

As I pondered this thought Thursday evening after John slipped out of this world and into the presence of the Almighty, I began to feel the Holy Spirit remind me of this unique truth.  In the midst of the sinful nature we all are born within, the Lord calls out to us often to wake up!  His word of truth calls out to us in our darkness to open our eyes and wake up to the eternal truth of the Gospel.  As I continued to think on this truth the Lord then pressed in hard on my heart concerning the other times in my life I heard those words from Him.  For you and I both can recall times when we were asleep at the wheel.  The times in our lives when we have, for some reason, closed our eyes as if to steel a quick nap in the middle of this journey of amazing grace!  In the quiet of the moment the voice of the Lord breaks through the silence and we are shaken awake from the sleep we have allowed our lives to slip in to so slowly and quietly.

Just as I knelt at the foot of that hospital bed and wanted so desperately for John to wake up, the Lord calls out to you and to me to wake up!  Wake up from the sleep of your comfort.  Wake up from the sleep of your weak faith.  Wake up from the sleep of the lazy obedience we all fall into from time to time.  Yes, wake up is the very thing I need to do!  If I believe that God has allowed me to wake this morning and live then there is a plan for my life that He has that is a significant part of His plan.  I am still are still here...reading this blog, because He has something for you to do!

WAKE UP!  For the Lord is calling you and me to Pray for those who are in the field.  The Father is calling each one of us to Go to join the eternal efforts to share and show the Gospel.  The King is calling each one of us to Give sacrificially to assist, send, support and reach the world with the truth of His Word.

Sometimes those people who cross our paths are there to help us walk this journey through tough or difficult days.  The Lord brings people into our lives to help shape our view of the world and our understanding of His ways and His purposes.  God allows our lives to be impacted by people who cross our paths for the purpose of challenging our status quo and shaking us loose from the stagnant life that so easily entangles.  This past week I was reminded that just as the Lord brings these people into our lives, He also takes them away at His calling and in His time.  My responsibility is to trust!  Trust His heart, even when I cannot trace His hand!  Trust His purposes, even when I do not understand the reasons for the events of this life.  Trust His ways, even when the direction of this path.  So how do we respond...PRAY, GO, GIVE!

In His Grip,