Learning from the death of Ben Larson

Well today learned more about seminarian Ben Larson, who God called home in Haiti.   The ELCA News Service posted an article on Ben and reported information from his wife Renee about Ben’s death. The article can be found at: He Spent His Last Breath Singing: Wife, Cousin Remember ELCA’s Ben Larson – News Releases – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The touching thing about the article was Ben’s behavior and attitude at the time of his death.  He was seperated from his wife and cousin.  He was clinging to a beam as the building began caving down on them.  In the midst of it all, he was singing.  The article reports that he had a sang the  words “God’s peace to us we  pray.”   Ben was singing praise to God, looking for His wholeness in the face of impending death.  He represented an attitude focused on God and his love and in the midst of immense crisis and face of impending death.  He focused on God, being separated from the wife he loved.  His death reflected God’s peace. 

Another important consideration in examining Ben Larson’s death was that he was true to how God created him and used his gifts up till the end.  He was created with musical talents and the ability to communicate God’s message in words.  He was serving others, building them up in understanding of growing in God.  He invested in God’s kingdom over.  He didn’t hold back, he did not just use what other people created. He actively used what God gave him and used those gifts to touch others with God’s love.  He did leave a little bit of his work behind on the internet.  He left seven songs published on a Myspace page including a worship song based on Psalms 30 . 

There is more information posted about who Ben  Larson was at his churches website: http://www.flcduluth.org/.  When you go to the church website, he hear Ben Larson singing varied songs, as they are playing four of his songs.  They also have a link to his obituary.   His obituary ends with a verse: I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will praise my God while I have my being. Psalm 104:31-33. As someone who only learned of Ben Larson due his death in Haiti, the little learned on the internet is that the verse sums up the man God created in Ben Larson.  He lived out the verse  till the end of His being in this life as he passed on to the next.  Personally, I hope and pray that what Ben has created becomes circulated amidst the church body as a whole, if his family and friends are able to find away.  In the meantime, take time to listen to what he has left and examine yourself to see if you are truly walking out and using what God has given you.   

As for Ben’s family and friends, may his Psalm 30 song echo in your hearts and mind and may God truly turn your mourning into dancing.  He clearly was a blessing and my life in enriched for learning of His love for God even unto death.  In fact, right now the thought that comes to mind is “Yet though he slay me, still I will praise him.” Ben did.  May the same be found true of us all.  

  

Video Selections: You Gotta Tell Somebody- Don Franscico

This is a video  of  Don Fransico signing his song written from Jairus’s perspective related to looking to have Jesus heal his daughter, instead he raised her from death.  In viewing and listening to the song lots of think about.  Do we limit God?  Does we only praise God when victory is acheived?   How deep is our faith?  Do we truly believe that with God all things are possible?    Do testify to God’s working in our life?   How would you react if you were a mouner? 

Gotta tell Somebody – Don Francisco
     

She kept on getting weaker as day dragged into day
The doctors gave no hope for her; she seemed to fade away
My hours were filled with constant dread; time became a knife
That slowly and relentlessly cut the cord of life

There was a teacher in the region then some of us had heard
That He’d healed the paralytic by the power of just His Word
So with hope again rekindled I went at once to see
If I could find a man named Jesus from a town in Galilee

I began to search the city and soon I saw the crowd
They were pressing in to touch Him and they called His Name out loud
But with the strength of desperation I pushed them all aside
I through myself before Him and from my knees I cried

“Lord, come and heal my daughter, even now she’s close to death
Her fever’s uncontrollable, she fights for every breath
But God’s given You the power; life is Yours to give
If you’ll just lay Your hands on her I know that she will live”
(She will live, she will live)

Well, He’d just begun to go with me when a face I saw with fear
Came towards me with the news I knew I didn’t want to hear
And although I tried to steel myself I trembled when he said
“Why bother the Teacher anymore, your little girl is dead.”

Then Jesus touched my shoulder and He told me not to grieve
The trembling stopped when He looked at me and said, “Only believe”
Then He sent the crowds away except His closest men
And they followed right behind us as we started off again

But we were still a long ways down the road when I heard the sounds and cries
Of the mourners and musicians as they strove to dramatize
My grief they had no business with beneath their loud disguise
My wife just sat there silently and stared through empty eyes

Then Jesus asked the mourners, “Why is it that you weep?
She isn’t dead as you suppose, the child is just asleep.”
It only took a moment for their wails to turn to jeers
“Who does this man think he is? Get him out of here!”

With authority I’ve never heard in the lips of any man
He spoke and every sound rolled out with the thunder of command
And in the sudden silence they all hurried for the door
Wondering what the reasons were they’d ever come there for

Then He called his three disciples that were with Him on the way
He led them and my wife and me to where our daughter lay
He took her by the hand; He told her “Child, arise”
And the words were barely spoken when she opened up her eyes

She rose and walked across the room and stood there at our sides
My wife knelt down and held her close and at last she really cried
And then Jesus told us both to see that our daughter had some food
But as to how her life was saved, not to speak a word…
Not to speak a word…

I got to tell somebody
I got to tell somebody
I got to tell somebody
I got to tell somebody
I got to tell somebody, got to tell somebody, what Jesus did for me
I got to tell somebody, got to tell somebody, what Jesus did for me
I got to tell somebody, got to tell somebody, what Jesus did for me
I got to tell somebody, got to tell somebody, what Jesus did for me

The beginning, finally.

Hello and welcome. This blog has been a long time coming. I have been felt read to start sharing and writing thoughts about the Church, the world, and whatever God puts on my heart for some time.  I have been negligent in following through with this call until now.

I have been negligent because I have been to wrapped up in distractions and self-pity over events in my life.  I put myself above what God was calling.  I had many excuses and many reasons why not.  I did not surrender fully to God.  And yet now I start.  Finally! Time to surrender!

So what brought me to this point of surrender?  Well, it was a wake-up call from God.  There has always been a part of me that has wanted to see God actively moving in people’s lives.  I yearn to see people healed of deep wounds and set free from bondage.  I want to see people brought into True peace.  In that  yearning, I ultimately was made aware of what is called the “Florida Outpouring.”

                When I first learned of it I tuned in, watched it for the duration.  First, I was glad to see people seeking after Christ.  However, as I watched I had several checks in my spirit.  I observed the “laughter” Mr. Bentley was exhibiting and it seemed to me a faked forced, laugh.  I watched Mr. Bentley take testimonies of miracles and saw him fishing and twisting for connection to the “Lakeland outpouring.”  The third thing of concern was he made a comment stating flat out “You’re going to give me all your money.”  It was a disjointed statement at the time, and I wondered about it. I believe soon after that he began speaking on “seeds of faith” giving, always a red flag for me.  His teaching that night talked about four levels of healing. Nothing seemed off regarding that teaching at the time.  However, in retrospect, it was all about receiving the “healing” and very little about surrender to Jesus, the Messiah.

                I had failed at the time to attend to the red flags. Sent emails out to some family and friends pointing out the revival and initially made some posts defending Mr. Bentley on a Christian forum.  I sadly sent a prayer request for my wife’s health to a pastor of the church sponsoring the event, because I hate how my wife has suffered and want to see her set free.   Well, I went to bed that night and woke up with a heavy feeling in my spirit.  I prayed to God about Mr. Bentley and what was happening and began to research further.  What I found was that Mr. Bentley was not serving Christ and was deceiving many. 

                In making me aware of the deception, God also made me aware that I had put much ahead of Him.  The chief of which is my own entertainment and pleasure. How I had not placed God at the top and that I needed to wake up and surrender to Him.  I needed to take my eyes off the things of this world and focus on Christ.  There were other parts of the wake-up call but in this initial post it is not the time to go into such matters, but God made it perfectly clear .

                In think God’s move in my heart is best summed up in the verses in Ephesians 5:13-16 “13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

            So now that you are a little aware of what finally got me here, blogging, let me share with you what I hope my posts on this blog will do.  First of all and most important is to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God come in the flesh and bring others to a place where they submit wholly to Him.  The second thing I hope to do on this blog is to shed light. I haven’t totally fleshed out what that means, but a key verse God has been directing my life with is “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and Glorify God in heaven.” Matthew 5:16  In time I will expand more on what shedding light means.  The important thing is for me to start posting and let God draw to the sight, those that we will. 

May God’s Grace and Peace illuminate your heart and may you be drawn in surrender to Him.

Timothy G. Blake, Peacebringer.