Archive | June, 2017

SP True Stories: Payback for what the devil stole

22 Jun

(from a friend)

I was ordained into ministry in my early twenties.  During my ordination service, a woman come up and had a zip lock back of coins and a few dollars.  She said the Lord wanted her to anoint me with this small bag of money and said as long as I would serve the Lord He would provide for my financial needs.  She then proceeds to pour the bag of money over my head and prayed over me.  After the prayer time was over I picked up every single coin and dollar bill.  I don’t know how much money I picked up but I would estimate it to be around $25.00.  I keep it in a jar on my desk as a constant reminder of God’s promise of provision over my life.  I was tempted on many occasions to use the money when times were tight but each time I resisted the urge.  Over the past 12 plus years this little jar of money has seen me through many lean times yet His promise always came through.

I currently pastor a church in north central Wisconsin.  My jar of coins sits on my desk as a constant reminder of the everlasting promise of God over my life.  Unfortunately, the church was broken into over the Easter weekend and a small amount of money was stolen.  I came into the office on Monday to find my jar of money had been among the items stolen.  I was thankful the church had not lost much money in the burglary but I was upset that my jar of money was stolen.  I knew it didn’t have any magical powers but that was a tangible item that represented a history of God’s faithfulness in my life.  As I peered into the empty jar I noticed there was one penny stuck to the bottom of the jar.  I just shook my head in disappointment.

Around the same time my coin jar was stolen a friend of mine asked me to write a book endorsement for a book she was working on. I agreed and sat down one day and wrote the endorsement for her.  Several days later I received a thank you note in the mail from her with a check for $2500!  That’s 100 times what was stolen!!!  As I sat in shock reading the thank you note and staring at the check, the Lord whispered to me, “You may have lost your jar of coins but you haven’t lost My promise or favor over your life”

Several weeks later a member of my church brought a large bag of coins from his house for my empty coin jar.  My coin jar continues to sit on my desk full of coins and now contains a lesson that His promises and favor over my life are not something that can be taken from me.

God is Good All the Time!

— RH/WI

A Father’s Day tribute to Dad

17 Jun

I was thinking about Dad today.  He’s been gone about 14 years now, but his memory and legacy live on in the lives of the Hendrickson family… and the many who knew him.  So I decided to write a little tribute to him on this Father’s Day.  It’s about his ‘homeland’… the island world that greeted him when he entered this world.

Long Island is a 7 mile long island in the middle of the Mississippi River just below Canton, MO.  Three families lived on the island in the early 1900’s.  My grandfather and grandmother and their 5 children were one of those families.  The children’s daily trek to school involved rowing across a small river in the middle of Long Island, walking across Bullock Island, entering another boat and rowing across the main channel of the Mississippi, then walking 3 miles to school in La Grange, MO… and of course they had to follow the same path when returning home each afternoon.  The family lived there until Dad was 12 years old.  As you can imagine that created many stories that were told to the next generations.  The telling of those stories happened on countless occasions through word of mouth… and through a book that my father Jack Hendrickson wrote, entitled; True Tales from Mark Twain Land.

I can remember camping on Long Island when I was just a pup.  We had a 16’ aluminum boat filled with cousins and aunts and uncles and a boxer dog.  I think there were over a dozen of us in that boat. WAY OVER LOADED!  The water was only inches below the gunwales.  Everyone had life jackets but we all knew how to swim.  We rowed across the main channel and about 3 miles downstream from Canton.  Once there, we set up camp on one of Long Island’s sand bars.  Then we traipsed through the itching weeds and undergrowth and swatted myriads of mosquitoes with small leafy branches… all because we were on an almost religious trek back to ‘Mecca’ – the old home place.  The aunts and uncles told big stories that seemed bigger than life to us kids.  It was magical and high adventure.

Much later in life, Dad hired a fisherman to drop off he and my family at the North end of Long Island… then that fisherman returned home.  At the end of our adventure we were going to swim back to a landing on the Illinois side.  Dad told us stories as we walked down the island about a mile to the old home place.  He told us of the white gate… the screech owl… the escaped prisoners… the escaped circus bear… great-grandpa’s fatal fall out of the persimmon tree and if it hadn’t been for great-grandma the pigs would have eaten him, etc.  We walked down the dry bed of what used to be Bullock River and finally arrived at the mound where the house and barn used to stand.  Other than the mound itself, the only evidences of past civilization are some sizable concrete pieces of barn foundation.  Dad told of fun interactions with his siblings, butchering livestock, the cow falling down the barn steps and breaking its neck, rope swinging off of the house roof into Bullock.  He recounted swimming back across Bullock after rounding up the cows from the south end of Bullock Island… they’d catch a cow tail and let the cow pull them across.  Lots of mesmerizing stories that held us all spellbound.

He showed us a humongous sprawling cottonwood tree that was there when he was a kid… 60+ years earlier.  Somewhere over the years he brought a start from the wild rosebush that was near their home on the mound… and planted it at his home in Quincy.  In later years, I got a start of that same rosebush and it grows in my back yard to this day.  It’s vines are fairly unruly and it only blooms about 2 weeks out of the year… but boy is it fragrant!!!

Map of Long Island

Map of Long Island

After hearing all the stories about the old home place, it was time to return home.  We headed across the island to what was left of the old Tenvorde white house to cross the Canton Chute.  We had all been carrying life jackets for swimming back to the Ursa landing on the Illinois side of the river, which was about a mile downriver.  Our 3 boys, about 6 and 8 and 10 years old, were with us.  So Dad, Debbie my wife, the boys and I plunged into the river.  I told everyone that they had to swim like the dickens so as to make it safely around the head of Shandrew Island… otherwise we’d get trapped drifting down the wrong channel that would probably take us most of the way to Quincy!!!  Well, you probably already guessed… those kids soon pooped out.  So what was I to do???  It was going to be up to me to get those kids back across the Canton Chute channel.  So I took off my life jacket and shirt, tied a strap of it around my waist and then let the life jacket, straps and my shirt trail behind.  The boys had to grab any part of it and at least kick… AT LEAST KICK THEIR FEET!!!!!  A caravan of bodies was trying to cross that river.  So, I did back strokes the whole way as I towed them behind me like so much dead weight.  (I’ve swam across a channel of the Mississippi 3 times in my life.)  But guess what, we made it safely and perfectly to the Ursa landing, right where we had left our car.

That was the last time my family was on Long Island.  But just a few months before Dad died, I borrowed a small boat and motor.  I propped him up in cushions and made sure that he was as comfortable as possible.  He and I motored up Canton Chute and Smoot Chute to the head of Long Island… and there we began halfheartedly fishing… (neither of us were avid fishermen).  You see it wasn’t about making a great catch today, it was about spending quality time.  We lazily drifted, catching as many eddies as possible, all the way back to Ursa landing… several miles.  It was very touching for both of us…….. we knew this would probably be the last time he would see his beloved world where he began life’s journey and had lived so many life-forging experiences.  We talked heart… and easy… and tenderly.  It was a precious event in my life… to take a fading generation back to his ‘homeland’ and give him and his homeland the time and value they deserved… to allow time-honored golden memories to slowly emerge up out of the deep places of his heart.  We both knew we were having an epic and timeless encounter.  It satisfied his longings to be with his homeland… and it satisfied my desire to give him… and his life, esteem and honor.  No rush, no push, nothing in particular to accomplish except to be together one last time… near his precious memories.

I think we caught one or two fish that day… which we enjoyed back at the house that evening.

Reliving and retelling his early-years always caused Dad’s eyes to light up.  During his last 9 years before departing this earth, those wonder-filled Long Island memories inspired him to craft True Tales book.  Long Island had formed a boy into a man, and given a soul character, and that character and his God had held a life secure and unshakable in times of testing and shaking.  Less noble men would have likely shipwrecked… or at least capitulated.  I treasure those facets of his life-moorings that became inextricably woven into the fabric of his life.

One of his greatest desires was to pass his venerable values and principles on to the next generation.  Well… I think he did!!!  All of our family (my mother, my sister and her husband… my wife and our four children and their spouses) are passionate Jesus lovers, are involved in ministry (music and speaking), travel the world, and love to give Jesus away wherever we can.

Thank you, Dad!!  Great job!  A life well lived.  I’m so proud of you!!!

— MLH

 

 

Finding the Treasure – You!

6 Jun

Let’s start with this basic premise:  God made each one of us uniquely.  Are we in agreement?

But, if God made us unique, then why are we all so doggone the same?  We dress the same, follow the same trends, line up at the factories to do cookie-cutter pre-programmed repetitious jobs, etc.  Why is there so much stress and burnout?  Does anyone ever question why we’re so easily ‘herded’ into our trendy societal norms?

Maybe it’s because we’ve been ‘dumbed down’ to the acceptability of same-ness.   When we’re the same, we’re less trouble for the leaders of our society… on all levels; government, jobs, education… and even church.  For the most part, this is not ill-intentioned.  Rather it’s the best that our leaders have known how to do.  

But that same-ness will likely leave us feeling hollow and unfulfilled… like we’re ‘dangling’ out in the middle of a big world without knowing who we really are.

So continuing with our premise: If God made me unique, then because He’s good, He has a Heavenly grace to empower me to be ‘me’… and a ‘place’ that needs me.

Unfortunately, most people don’t have a sense of their unique identity.  They do the same stuff as everyone else, somehow hoping that they will find special meaning for their life.  And if they don’t find God’s design for them, that leaves them without the full empowerment of grace that God intended.  They end up receiving the general grace that “rains on the just and unjust alike” (Matt 5:45).  As saints our inheritance involves much more than just general grace.  So, my quest in life is to discover ‘who I am’!  If I find that… and walk in it, then my life will be graced to the fullest intent of God’s heart.

(This graphic depicting Heaven’s ‘Bank Vault’ of Grace can be found in my book entitled: Supernatural Provision – Where God Guides He Provides.)

In order to fulfill God’s amazing intentions for me, I’ve got to find ME!  Who am I?  What works for me?  If I could find out who God has designed me to be, how empowered would I really be?

Here are a couple easy questions to begin the discovery process.

Objective: To find out 1) when you felt most alive… and 2) when you have tears.  It’s likely that aspects of your environment are touching the some of the core values, motivations or passions of the real ‘you’!

Question #1.  What did you do in your life that made you feel most alive?  ‘Secular’/’spiritual’… it doesn’t matter.  All your senses were completely engaged…  Your passion was fully ignited… Kind of like the little boy just before Christmas… and just after Christmas.  All he can think about is that favorite gift.  You have measured many other things in your life against that ‘alive’ experience.  Now, the follow-up questions are:

Why did you feel most alive?  Were you with people… or alone?  Were you the plan-ner… or the servant.  Were you the leader… or the follower?  Were you the problem spotter… or problem solver?  Were you the visionary… or the do-er?  Were you the runner… or the stay-home person?  Were you supporting others… or were they supporting you?  etc…   Ask the Lord for more ‘why’ questions.  

Question #2. What makes you have tears most predictably?  (We’re talking about the good kind of tears!  Not tears of pain, sorrow, remorse, rejection, etc.)  Check another of my blog posts for more insights on the Language of Tears and how your tears can ‘prophesy’ to you.

What was happening?  What songs, what sights, what activities, what conversations, what topics, what relationships, what anointings, what Scriptures, etc.  When you answer this question, you’ll want to ask these follow-up questions:

Why did you identify this?  Were you with someone… or alone?  Do your tears involve being around people… or not?  What virtue is being highlighted or expressed?  What anointing is present?  What was the topic of the conversation… or song? etc…  Ask the Lord for more ‘Why’ questions.

Each answer to the ‘why’ questions will require another ‘why’ question… and so on.  Each answer will give clues to help define the essence of who you are.

If this makes as much sense to you as it has for me, you may want to literally make notes of each time you have these two experiences: 1) feel most alive and 2) have tears.  As you evaluate these repetitive occurrences, you probably see a trend that will help guide your life decisions.

Conclusion: Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard over your heart with all diligence for from it flow all the issues of life.”  So, if I’m going to stay full, tender and ‘alive’, then I must begin to make decisions that place myself in the fullest measure of God’s grace.  Note how this graphic Knowing Your ‘Treasure’/DNA (also found in my book Supernatural Provision) illustrates our hearts’ status, depending on how we make decisions.  Thus, it’s paramount that we find out who we are and pursue life accordingly.  

Over the years, I’ve talked through this subject with more people than I can possibly remember.   As we talk I usually scratch out simple notes on a coffee shop napkin.  Then of course, I give the notes to them.  Some have told me many years later that they still carry the napkin in their Bible to serve as a memory jogger.  This pic is one of those napkin notes.


I hope these insights will serve as another tool to help launch you into the powerful discovery of the unique YOU that God has made you to be!

— MLH