Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Flame Passes On

The Flame Passes On - Whiteheart

Fire on the arena floor
The swords are drawn, hear the lions roar
The coliseum laughs and shouts and screams for more

They tried to crush this mutiny
In a crimson tide of history
But when people have seen the truth that sets them free
The flame passes on, the flame passes on

Ran into Ben @ church yesterday. Ben's one of those guys everyone wants to be around. Great guy, loves the Lord, loves his wife, loves his baby daughter. Great athlete--played football @ USM as a freshman before realizing that wasn't what the Lord had for him. He's now a very effective minister of the Gospel on staff at my church. For another 4 weeks. After that, he & his family will spend some time w/ their families, & then head off for cross-cultural training for 2 months. After that, they are off to a rather difficult slice of the mission field populated by people who have yet to see that truth that sets them free. Ben & his family are heading out for keeps. They're planning to stay. He is very excited about it!

From the heart of the people
comes love for the people
Love that is burning strong
Oh from one to another
The dream of forever...
The flame passes on

Last week, I heard from my friend Mike. He & his wife used to live in Hattiesburg. Now...well, let's just say that by a long way, they don't live here any more. They are serving as missionaries in a largely un-reached part of the world. Word I get is that they are already having friends over for cookouts & such, despite having only been there a month or so, and despite a gigantic language barrier. They love where they are and the people they work with. I'm proud he's my friend who loves me and has served me very personally & directly. And I've been wondering who'll be my guest SS teacher when I'm out of town...

Because of them we know His name
So let's lift the cross, and do the same
An unbroken line of believers
building a human chain
And the flame passes on,
the flame passes on & on

Prayed with my friend Eddie at the conclusion of worship Sunday morning. He is one of those count-em-on-one-hand friends; I'm quite convinced that I could call Eddie at 3:20 a.m. & say, "I need you" and that about halfway over to my house, he'd wonder what I needed him for as he kept on coming. Eddie has prayed me through two bouts with cancer now, and countless other challenges that we share with each other in confidence, knowing such things will then be shared only with the Lord. I went to him & asked him to celebrate with me in prayer since he had heard the groanings of my heart through this phase of my cancer journey. He said "I'd be honored to, Mike Madaris." Later, he thanked me for coming to him. Whenever I hear the word "minister" I think of my friend Eddie pretty quickly.

From the heart of the people
comes love for the people
Love that is burning strong
Oh from one to another
This dream of forever...
The flame passes on

The closing prayer was offered Sunday morning by my friend Ronnie. He mentioned my good medical news. And choked up a bit when he did. Um...he wasn't the only one who choked up rt. then. Ronnie is a pediatrician, but he is also my teacher & mentor. I've not been in his class in years...but will always consider him my Sunday School teacher. Ronnie has forgotten more things about how God works than I know. He's very humble, which helps make him so very effective as a teacher and a minister.

Oh the light of ages illumines the pages
The words of an ancient song
Oh Faith is the fire that burns ever higher
And the flame passes on

I'm off just now to continue preparing for the classes I'll be teaching this summer. That's the main ministry the Lord has for me now. I'm also praying through some on-the-side things (ministry type things) that seem to be percolating up regularly for me these days. You see, I was well taught the things of the Lord by...wait for it...a veterinarian. He & his wife poured into Lisa & me for the better part of a year nearly 20 years ago. It was there in meetings with Johnny that I first heard that I have a ministry as a professor. I have never been--and likely never will be--on staff at a church. I am a cheap imitation of Johnny in terms of discipling others...but still I press on, as does he. And we pass it on. I hope he thinks that year was a wise investment; I certainly do!

Mothers to sons, fathers to daughters - everyone...Pass it on

Which always makes me remember a country girl from south AL & a country boy from central AL who first passed it on to me in the house in which I grew up. And of a poorly-educated country lady from central AL whom I knew & loved as she passed it on to that first guy I mentioned. And of her ancestor Abner, who passed it on through the generations. And of Hope Hull, who first passed it on to Abner. And so on..."the words of the ancient song" ring long & deep in my family heritage, for which I am so grateful. But I know people who do not share such a heritage, and the same song will echo through their descendants. A guy I listen to via podcast--a very effective pastor, mind you--said recently, "I come from a long line of alcoholic child beaters...apart from the Gospel, that's who I'd almost surely be."

I think those who faced the lions would be pleased to hear that their lives & legacies matter even today.

Grateful & humbled,


taterbugs said...

LOVE it! My hubby and I, too, were brought into the fold at TBC over at the East Campus by that SAME incredible loving couple. We share a love for our bulldogs and most importantly, the Lord. Aren't they just a really awesome duo? I pray to one day minister to others the way they did to us almost ten years ago. Thanks for sharing, Mike!

BrendaStrider said...

loved this post, Mike....just for the record, you have had immeasurable influence yourself on the Strider household. We are so very blessed to call you friend...and so very thankful the the Lord has provided physical healing for you so that we can enjoy your company for a lot more years to come...I still say that putting all these thoughts into a book needs to be one of those things that you plan to get've certainly got a gift!!

Stephanie said...

loved reading this...
you are loved, mike and i am still celebrating how God has worked in and through you.