I am deliriously happy to announce that our book project for the nursing home ministry is finally finished! After six months of writing and almost another six of editing and rewriting, the eBook edition is now live on Amazon! I am so excited. The book of Proverbs tells us that:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 NKJV
Hope deferred has been exactly my experience, since I began this project last summer. I was hoping to have the book done by Christmas. But that hope was deferred time and time again, but I am humbly grateful that here in August we are finally done! Yay!! One thing I have learned is that this project has been a team effort – and working as a team, needed far more time and patience than I had originally scheduled. My wife did some of the first edits, followed by my good friend Rob Keller who also designed the cover. After I trudged through their corrections, it was nearly Thanksgiving, and I handed the manuscript over to Sue Hyson for a more detailed edit. The final edit and formatting of the manuscript was done by our daughter-in-law’s brother, Winston Crutchfield who not only edited but also fixed my formatting mistakes and improved the older photos as much as possible. These people have selflessly given of their time for one reason – and that is to tell you the story of our many friends in long-term care. Though it is my hope that “Walking With Lambs” will prompt more people to take action in practical ways, I believe you can also just enjoy getting to know some of the wonderful stories of friends whom I have made over thirty-five years in nursing home ministry. Their stories have taught me more about life than everything I learned in college and Bible school combined! If you would like to check out the eBook version, the link is here
As we grow older we may begin to feel useless, unneeded and alone. God gently takes our hand and gives us His full attention. When Jesus sees us, He does not see uselessness, but a life, well lived and well-loved. God, who is never too busy for us, challenges us to slow down, sit down, and visit with Joan or Jim today! They need our encouragement!
Thursday Morning Sunshine is a revised version of The Sunshine Newsletter which three of us who are involved in Nursing Home outreach publish weekly. Our writers are Pastor Janice Burnett, who is a Nursing Home chaplain in Western New York as well as my friend Rob Keller who is both a graphic designer as well as the writer of some of the devotionals. Our free publication goes into about 9 different long term care facilities in Florida and New York. Each We purposely are not copyrighting the material so as to make it freely available to as many people as possible. If you know anyone in the long-term care community including, staff members, family, residents or volunteers, please feel free to either contact me for future issues or copy and share our weekly issues with people you know.
God Loves You! By Peter Caligiuri
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16 ESV
Marie* wants to see you in the cafeteria after the message” they told me. As I went in to sit with Marie, she began to cry and took hold of my hands saying, “God hates me!” Marie suffers from Parkinson’s and that afternoon she was so depressed that she hadn’t come in for our song and prayer time at her nursing home.
She felt isolated from the world outside because no old friends ever came to visit, no family came for her birthday or Christmas. But there was still good news to share with her that afternoon – “God loves you Marie! Because the Bible says, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” I told her as I struggled to communicate the love of Jesus in a way that would touch her at that very moment.
As we head towards the holidays this year, remember that just as God has not forgotten Marie, He has also not forgotten you. He has not left you alone. You may not be the richest person in the world, but if you know Jesus as your Savior then you have the best hope in the universe because you have received God’s gift of love and His promise of heaven. Now we need to remember that there are people named Marie or Betty or Bob or Joe all around us. They need the hope that only God’s love can give and in the same way that He has helped you to hope, why not pass that hope of Jesus along to them?
The most thrilling thing about heaven is that Jesus Christ will be there. I will see Him face to face. Jesus Christ will meet us at the end of life’s journey – Billy Graham
Every Christian who keeps looking up, stretches their heart’s capacity for Heaven – Joni Eareckson Tada
Thanks-Living by Pastor Janice Burnett
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 KJV
Many years ago a friend and I travelled to New York City for a wedding. One night on a whim we decided to treat ourselves to dessert in a restaurant in one of the World Trade Center buildings. The driving directions to get there were fabulous; we arrived with no problem. We enjoyed our dessert and cup of tea – that is all we could afford! Then it was time to drive back to our hotel. Little did we know that the way out was different from the way in. We didn’t have a map, and this was in the days before electronic GPS directions. Yes, you guessed it – we got very lost. Late on a Saturday night we ended up in parts of town that were – well, let’s just say we didn’t belong there.
This would be one of those circumstances where living and breathing with a thankful attitude doesn’t sound normal, does it? Can you think of other situations where you wouldn’t naturally feel very thankful? Go ahead and name them. God and our friends are not put off by our honesty. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, he told them, “In everything give thanks!” in other words – LIVE THANKFULLY!
Wow, notice the absolute words related to an action on our part – Evermore – Without ceasing – Everything. I guess that we cannot shy away from God being definite about this point! Not sometimes – when we feel like it or when things are going great. It is true that we need to remember to be thankful when good things happen and throughout our average daily life. I know I do, and this is a reminder not to take anything for granted.
Also, to be thankful in the sad, scary or painful times goes against what we feel like doing. Yet, not only is this God’s will, but it is healthier for us to live grateful lives. Remember our trip leaving NYC? Yes, we made it out safely, obviously. This was with help from a couple of helpful people and God’s provision of safety. Not to mention that or one-hour drive going in took three hours for us to get out! We may have forgotten in the thick of the moment to be outwardly thankful, but you can be sure we thanked God each time we met helpful people and especially when we had reached our hotel! Let us set a goal to think and live more gratefully in the midst of our circumstances! And, let us get practical and make a commitment to thank God OUT LOUD for three specific things every day!
Sunshine News – It may be hard to believe but we are only six weeks from Christmas! I am excited to say that this year our small prayer group has helped with the purchase of over 50 large-print Christmas Devotional books to give to residents at the three communities which I visit. I would love it if someone could come when we give these out and are also in need of people to help sing Christmas carols. If you can help let me know. We have song books and will sing easy traditional songs. I would also ask if you could to pray that God would provide one or two other volunteers to help throughout the year. If you are interested we need help with serving communion, singing, visiting, writing for the newsletter and filling in when I am away. Have a blessed week all!
For more ideas on Nursing Home Ministry, you might find this 2021 edition of New Frontiers in Nursing Home Ministry a helpful resource. This is available on Amazon in both a print and eBook format.