A couple of weeks ago I quoted the following passage in a sermon “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17b-19

This Sunday I will be celebrating my Birthday … 29th of course! LOL!

This week I’ve been doing a little inventory of my life, thinking of important people along the way, as well as significant landmarks and milestones. My memory banks flooded with great memories of people, places and things that have left indelible marks on my life to this point. Yet, honesty requires me to tell you that there were painful moments along the way also.

One of those significant moments of my life started out as painful but these days are memories I absolutely cherish. As a devoted Mama’s boy, burned into my memory is the image of my Mother, James Ella Reid Finney, especially the days just before her death. This week I relived those final days, not with sorrow but with hope and joy at what she taught us even laying there in that hospital bed.

After a 4 1/2 year battle with cancer, her earthly days were coming to an end. She left us to be forever present with the Lord on a Monday morning at 8:22 am; however, on the preceding Thursday afternoon, she left us an enduring legacy of faith.

As her children gathered in her hospital room, without Daddy present, she said, “You all know that Mama is dying don’t you?” We all acknowledged that we knew. Then she said, “Be good children so that you can come to see Mama again. Now the only reason I’m holding on is that Daddy is not ready to let me go yet, but when He is, I’m going to be the with Lord.” A few days later, early Monday morning, I witnessed my Daddy saying to her: “I love you more today than I did when I married you 64 years ago. And I can never get over losing you, but I’m ready to let you go home.” With that Mama, said “Thank You.” She motioned for him to come close. He kissed her on the lips and about 30 minutes later she went to be with the Lord.

The tears running down my face as I write this are not tears of sorrow as they were years ago at this memory. Reflecting on these events as my birthday approaches 25 years later, they are tears of faith, hope and joy. You see, despite the final years of considerable challenge and personal stress, my Mama had most certainly been blessed with the power “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” I am who I am today largely because she passed that wonderful knowledge on to me. Ten years after her death, it helped me surrender control of my life to God with a clean slate as I changed careers to follow my calling into the full ministry when Covenant called me to be your Pastor in September 2000.

I’m reminded that someone once said that “If God is your co-pilot, then you are in the wrong seat!” Join us for worship at Covenant on my birthday this Sunday. The sermon will be “If God is Your Co-Pilot …” based on Ephesians 3:16-21.


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