The Great Financial Collapse – My April 16, 2022 Nightmare – By Thomas Koester

Belief in the empty tomb will strengthen you during the time of empty banks.

I had a very vivid and story-like nightmare last night.

I dreamt that I was driving with two of my youngest children. Traffic slowed to a stop. Civil unrest and pandemonium everywhere, on the streets and sidewalks.

I rolled down my window and asked what was going on?

Someone shouted:

“The banks are closing, and the ATMs won’t work!”

I immediately turned my truck around and headed to my bank, Wells Fargo. When I arrived, people were lined up in front of the bank, restless, panicked, and afraid. Nobody was prepared for the chaos; everyone just wanted to withdraw their cash. The police tried to control the crowd, but they too were concerned and worried about what looked like a financial collapse.

[In reality, I’m the well-informed type of guy. I’m like a watchman when it comes to political and financial news, but in my dream, I was taken by complete surprise like everyone else.]

I stayed at the bank for what seemed like hours, pounding desperately on the door, demanding our money. Finally, a manager poked her head out from behind the glass door, saying, “Sorry, we’re closed, there’s no money inside; please, please go home!”

I got back into my truck; my kids had fear and confusion written on their faces, saying,

“dad, please just take us home!”

Instead, I drove to our other bank, Umpqua. The manager was outside and politely speaking to the crowd. We all pleaded for our money, but she said, “There’s no money here.”

I stuck around until most of the crowd had dispersed. I asked the bank manager what’s really going on? All she knew was that she was ordered to close the bank.

I got into my truck, assured my kids that it would be alright, and started for home.

As I was waking, you know, that moment between dreaming and awakening, a thought scrolled across my mind, like a news chyron, during a televised breaking news event…

…The Feds Have Just Announced The Dollar Has Been Replaced With Federally Issued Digital Currency…

…Moments later, I heard Toni calling me down for breakfast.

I got up from bed, still sleepy, processing my dream, and wandered downstairs for a cup of coffee.

Toni was at the table, enjoying the breakfast just delivered to our beach cottage in Mendocino. I shared my dream with her and said it was an unusually realistic dream.

As a matter of fact; I had awakened a few times during the nightmare only to drift back asleep, stepping right back into the dream where I had left off! Typically my dreaming is abstract and meaningless, but not this dream, folks.

Several things come to mind…

  1. Our faith must be 100% in the Lord, and not in the world or in the world’s systems.
  2. We must get our finances and affairs in order. We must get out of debt and cease our dependence and addiction to credit.
  3. We must get our relationships with one another in order. We must not withhold forgiveness. We must become one people, one family, united in truth and faith.
  4. We must prepare for persecution and severe trials. (If I read any comments, “don’t worry, cause we’ll all be raptured,” please unfriend me).
  5. We need to walk in peace and confidence, being solidly in Lord now, or we won’t when calamity and pandemonium strike.
  6. This collapse will indeed arrive sooner than later, and without expectancy. Therefore, we must be prepared to shine brightly, holding forth the Word of Life.
  7. Belief in the empty tomb will strengthen you during the time of empty banks. “‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.'” Philippians 2: 14-16

The world is crooked and warped to this; there is no argument. To those who believe in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, we must prepare ourselves to shine among them like stars in the sky. We can only do that if we have an unbreakable grip on the Word of Life — The resurrected life of Jesus Christ.

I’ll say it again; Belief in the empty tomb will strengthen you during the time of empty banks.

Encourage one another while the lights are still on. Darkness is coming. Your day of shining is fast approaching.

The Power of Love – By Thomas Koester

When reading the title to my article, you have to be honest, right? I bet, like me, you immediately thought of the hit song by Huey Lewis and the News, or the movie, Back to the Future. Maybe the last thing you thought of is Christianity or the Church.

According to the Founder of Christianity, we as Christians are to be known by our love for Jesus Christ and one another. Matter of fact the world would know that we are his disciples by our love. But as you are well aware of, every Sunday morning we all segregate into our own favorite flavors of Christianity and tasty preferences of religious delights.

As believers, our doctrine and affiliations should not separate us. We are to be known by our love for one another, regardless of whether we agree or disagree on tenents of the faith.

Love for one another trumps knowledge, prophecy, and tongues. Love trumps Calvinism and Arminianism. Love trumps Premillennialism and Postmillennialism. Love trumps and destroys bitterness and anything that may divide us.

If Jesus Christ were to walk into our town of Copperopolis on any given Sunday morning, we’d all leave our Church buildings and gather where He is. He, not the differences in our denominations, is the focus. Jesus Christ is not a Baptist nor a Pentecostal; He’s not a Presbyterian, a Catholic, or an Independent. He is the where, the who, and the why we are followers. He is not a denomination, a religion, or a building.

Where is the Church of Copperopolis? Where is the Church of your town or your city?

Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd of one Church and one Body — we need to act like it and put aside our petty and religious differences. Let’s save our towns, county, and states and seek and save the lost. They are everywhere that we’re not.

We have to love beyond the borders of our denominations, beyond enforces of sectarianism and the supremacy of the elitists. Without Love, we have no authentic identity as disciples and no real gospel power.

Let the love of Christ Jesus compel us towards unity and love for one another. Otherwise, the world will be without a witness and the real Power of Love!

The Power of Inner Peace – By Thomas Koester

Inner peace equals outer peace. You can’t have one without the other. The world’s peace is fragile and flimsy. You’ve not been given worldly peace.

Jesus’ Gift of Peace

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.” John 14:27

It’s the world’s trouble and fear which makes you think that way. Closeness to Jesus, resting in his authority, his Holy Word, and abiding in the Holy Spirit (The Comforter) is how you have peace when the world and our Nation are in turmoil.

The world has its warriors. But you men and women are sons and daughters of The Most-High God. Heirs to Christ, and possessors of the Holy Spirit. You have no trouble like the world has and nothing to worry about.

I’ll say it again, you have no trouble like the world has and nothing to fear. Your Savior is the Prince of Peace, and he resides in you!

What can make your trouble troubling is when you forget that Jesus has made you an overcomer. Jesus never said if we believe and belong to him that we’d have no trouble. To the contrary, here’s what Jesus has said:

“I have told you this so that through me you may have peace. In the world you’ll have trouble, but be courageous—I’ve overcome the world!” – John 16:33

Your inner peace expressed outwardly is a greater force than sword or spear. If you have faith, trust, and obedience, your true enemies will know of your qualities well before you arrive — well before you pray, and before you speak. You will be known as God’s Peaceful Warrior.

“Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Ephesians 6:10

…And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Are You Adequately Covered? – By Thomas Koester

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103: 2

In my business, I assist people involved in wildfires throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona. I meet many people that have no idea of their homeowner’s policy benefits. They may be fully aware of their policy premium, but the important stuff, like proper coverage limits, what is covered and excluded, etc., they have no idea!

But when disaster strikes, unfortunately, that’s when many people find out that either they have no coverage or not enough. At that point, there’s nothing that can be done.

One client bought a home in Northern California, paid cash but didn’t purchase insurance. While out of state, a massive wildfire broke out; she saw the news that it was headed for her new community. She grabbed her phone and purchased a policy, paying 100% of the annual premium, and miraculously got coverage placed the same day!

A few days later, she learned that her new home was destroyed; the foundation was damaged beyond repair. All that stood was a lonely brick chimney. She immediately filed a claim under her brand-new insurance policy. The claim investigator accurately determined, based on the fire suppression team’s GPS locators, that the fire had destroyed the lady’s home before the insurance policy was in force.

My dear friends, don’t wait until the last minute to receive salvation through Jesus Christ. You, too, may find out that it was too late. His salvation is far more critical than proper and timely fire insurance for your home. Death can come in an instance and move faster than a wildfire.

Jesus can save your soul for eternity. He can supply far more benefits than Allstate, Geico, or Liberty Mutual. With Jesus, you’ll be sufficiently covered, no cancellation, no out-of-pocket cost, no deductible, and no premiums, as he’s paid the price in full!

God’s gift to you is to have faith enough to believe in his One and only Son, Jesus Christ; to believe In his Son’s life, death, and resurrection. All you must do is turn from sin and disbelief and put your trust, faith, and obedience in God and His Word. In doing this, your name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, whereby God’s policy for your eternal life is irrevocable and indelibly written. And God will never change the terms of his benefits, he’ll never back off from His promises.

To my believing friends, forget not all His benefits. I meet far too many Christians living life as though they were uninsured by God’s great love, mercy, and grace. The reason why so many of my Christian brothers and sisters are so heavily burdened by the world is that they’ve either forgotten God’s promises and benefits or because they’ve never read them or have been taught.

My brothers and sisters, there is no need to be depressed, worried, or to live in fear and dread. No need to doubt, lose heart, or be lonely.

Here’s Psalm103 in its entirety:

1 “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.

6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:

8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

15 The life of mortals is like grass; they flourish like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children -18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22 Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul…”

…and forget not all His benefits!

A Living Body or The Tired Minister – By Thomas Koester

“Here lies a faithful parishioner that never missed a Sunday morning service.”

Matthew 18:19-20

Amplified Bible

“Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them.”

When the Church comes together in perfect unity, we form an abode or a habitation for the presence of God. It is our connecting and unity that creates the Church and not a building. What fills the Church is, therefore, not sinners but saints, each filled with the Holy Spirit and the likeness of Christ. We know we have achieved this when we have unconditional love for one another and respect and honor for those who are our servant-leaders.

This is not about the perfection of both the saints and those who lead. It’s about perfect love and devotion to Christ and his teaching. When we are devoted to Christ and his ways, grace, mercy, and love prevail. When we focus on the failings of one another, and especially those who must give an account to the Lord for their servant-leadership, there is no abiding presence of God. Unity is thwarted, the glory of God departs (Ichabod), and we simply become a building of brick and mortar.

Christ will not fill a building, no matter how pretty or architecturally pleasing it may be. He fills his people and in a special way when they gather in unity of faith, love, and correct teaching.

When we have unconditional love and forgiveness towards one another, and when we honor those in authority over us who must give an account to God, Christ dwells in our midst. Even when our gatherings are as few as two or three and have no building to gather in, we are the Church.

The concept and identity of the Church, which by the way is living and active, is not summed up by Sunday services. The reason why Christ said, “where two or three are gathered in my name there am I in their midst,” is not meant to be concealed by a building or regulated by a 90 minute service, but to become a mobile spiritual habitation of the glorious presence of God and of Christ to the world, wherever we gather and however small, or large we are in numbers.

Stop “going” to Church and become the Church. Start loving, honoring, and preferring one another. Keep forgiving and loving one another as Christ has forgiven and loved you. Serve one another, as actually serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Do everything out of love and respect for the Lord. Devote yourselves to studying and reading the scriptures and practicing the presence of God within your own hearts and souls, so that you may become a whole and a holy people when you gather, and when the world sees your love for one another they will believe your message.

Ministry is not meant for the minister. Rather, ministers are to teach the Church to minister first to one another and then to the world. Our individual and corporate maturity depend on each person operating in the spiritual gift given them by the Holy Spirit. The gifts given by Christ to the Church are officers, such as apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers. These offices are to train and equip the Church.

The officers are not meant to do all the work but to empower the church to carry out the work of ministry so that we all may reach maturity. An immature Church is one who produces spectators, which only increase from transient, church hopping attendees that are only devoted to themselves, and introverted church programs.

To the immature church, tithes, gifts, and offerings are only needed for self-sufficiency and to sustain the ministry strictly for the ministered. The tragic reality is that many churches simply send 10% of their revenue from tithes to missionaries rather than sending out people on a mission. Jesus Christ didn’t die to create token churches. Churches are not meant to become cemeteries of dead saints, scattered in the landscape, or sitting in the church pews.

Did you know that recent studies have shown that sitting is more deadlier than smoking? Sitting around as Christians and as a church is deadly to our testimony and our future glory. An alive church is one that reproduces apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers. An alive church recognizes the expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven rather than the expansion of their sanctuaries. The alive Church sends people out and recruits new believers to take their place.

Time, talent, and treasure are outwardly focused on inwardly spirit filled saints, gathered with an outward, unified conscience of obedience and a call to mission impossible, rather than a mission for dead saints.

Letters in Red (said by Jesus): “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:18-20 (NKJV)

Become alive in Christ. Live life to the fullest in Christ. Aid and pray for your Pastors, and Pastors, train your congregations, and do not just preach at them.

Could you imagine if all churches became equipping, training, and sending churches?

I think Christ died outside the Temple, so the entire world would see his atonement and would know of his sacrifice.

I think Jesus wants the whole world to see his Church, also outside the Temple, outside of brick and mortar buildings, so all the world would see and know of his love.

We must become more than a location, more than a building on East and W. 4th Street. We must become a living body.

If not an active and living body, we’ll become nothing more and a pretty building with a tired minister of perpetual ministering to over-ministered people with no mission, landscaped with clusters of graves and headstones. The epitaphs will read:

“Here lies a faithful parishioner that never missed a Sunday morning service.”

That sounds a little, like the servant, who buried his master’s talent into the earth because he was afraid and so risked nothing. Matthew 25:14-30

God Reveals Himself In Our Suffering – By Thomas Koester

Sift through the things you are suffering, look for the nuggets of God’s presence

In the past, I have endured long days and even longer nights during physical and mental pain. I have written more and have done a great deal of editing on articles that I’ve written about pain and suffering. Each time I do, more memories and tears bubble up. But these are good tears because what was once tragic and painful is now becoming more of a blessing.

So, I’ve added more stories and more insight. It’s been the moments of reflection and remembering, coupled with new clarity, revealing the fingerprints and mastery of a loving Father-Hearted God. He took all my days of good and evil and is progressively revealing his artistry through all of it.

His color palette contains far more colors than “black and white,” which many cold and lifeless religions preach. He is an unlimited God, with colors of an eternal spectrum, yet to be discovered, and He’s a deeply intimate God, motivated with an ever-expanding Father-heart. His heart is filled with grace and wisdom. His love utterly humbles me, and, if you can believe it, speechless at His unconditional Grace and Mercy towards even a guy like me.

Thank you all for your prayers and kindness during my times of pain and suffering. I genuinely hope and pray that whatever you may be battling or struggling through that it too is woven into something beautiful, no matter how difficult or painful it may be. The more difficult your life may be — the more impossible for a solution or cure, the more grace will appear; for our God loves, absolutely loves to come through!

So then, in our weaknesses and fragility, we can boast all the more about God’s grace and that we’re co-siblings with The Great Overcomer, Jesus Christ. We are children of The Father-hearted God. We are vastly wealthy and greatly loved!

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thess 5:18.

So, notify your soul and your face too and show the world how great our God is, everywhere; from our sick beds to our busy offices and lives; from our living rooms to the dressing rooms of Macy’s and Kohl’s; in every shopping line, and especially at Walmart, For our God is a great God! He is worthy of our praise in all circumstances.

Just like panning for gold, sifting through sand and pebbles, sift through the things you are suffering, look for the nuggets of God’s presence during your pain and suffering. He is near the brokenhearted, the imprisoned, the poor, and those held in captivity.

He was with Betsie and Corrie ten Boom.

Betsie and Corrie ten Boom spent time in notorious Ravensbrück Concentration Camp north of Berlin for hiding Jews in their home during the Nazi occupation of Holland.

One of their greatest discoveries during their captivity was their thankfulness for the horrid flea infestation inside their barracks and in their bunks. God sent the fleas to keep out their Nazi oppressors, keeping them all safe from rape and torture.

God will reveal himself during our infamous days of suffering. Just like he did for Betsie and Corrie. We just need to train our minds and hearts on Him, just like a gold-panner, searching for the elusive nugget.

I can promise you this; His presence is more precious than gold, and he isn’t hidden or elusive; he wants to be found.

A True Leader – By Thomas Koester

A true leader is the first to repent, the first to seek forgiveness, the first to rise up after a fall. He is the first to extend grace to others because he’s the first to extend grace to himself. He simply sets a standard that others can achieve without the need for a diploma or a pinstriped suit.

True leadership is in training their own replacement…

A true leader is one who has learned the art of diminishment. He understands that if others are to increase that he must decrease, so he looks for others to promote, rather than himself. He restrains himself from being the source of revelation, but rather helps others find the Source.

He does not set his own life as a standard to follow. He knows his own life is plagued with imperfection and that leaders don’t always do what is right, that is impossible. Rather, his own humility points to the sufficiency found only in Christ and not in himself. He’d rather be clothed in Christ’s humility, than the successful garbs of religiosity.

A true leader refuses to sit on pedestals. He refuses the acclaim and the applause of men. He understands fleshly ascents will lead not only to his demise but to all those who foolishly elevate him.

So, he leads with humility, quiet strength, and fear only reserved for the Lord. The voice and message, which matters most to him are; “well done, my good and faithful servant,” rather than the flattery of men.

Being a leader is becoming a servant and refusing all temptation to be otherwise.

Men and women of these qualities appear rare because humanity always looks in the wrong places for such leaders. This is why the religious leaders and zealots of Jesus’ day, failed to recognize him.

Be careful following the “impeccable,” they may be fake and a phony. Don’t become captivated by their charisma, but rather by their character.

Be loveable and kind fruit inspectors of your leaders, measured only by the Fruits of the Spirit and God’s Word. Be fruit inspectors of your own lives first, otherwise, you’ll end up being miserable to yourself, and a misery to others.

The authenticity of a real person of God and a true leader is who they are after the crowds leave, and what their wife and children see of them when no one’s looking.

A leader is a servant, and a servant is a true leader.

Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite – By Thomas Koester

Early in 1998, my brother called and told me that my dad was dying of cancer and that dad was asking for me.

When I heard this, I was very upset. Not that my father was dying, mind you, but that he’d asked for me. I needed him all my life, and now, he’s asking for me?

“Tell Dad, I’m not coming!” I replied.

I have four brothers and a sister, and they all called me, urging me to visit dad. A week or so went by and I finally caved in to the pressure.

I first visited my dad in the Contra Costa County Hospital, as the VA in Martinez, California was short on beds. There he lay, in a bed surrounded by adjustable rails. My younger brother John was present, as was my mother.

My mom pulled me aside to tell me the seriousness of dad’s esophageal cancer. She said, “It doesn’t look good, I’ve researched the prognosis and he doesn’t have much time left.” By the time I had visited my father, he’d already had been battered by chemotherapy and every other treatment.

Cancer had permanently closed up his esophagus, and he could no longer swallow, but was fed through a feeding tube, which was surgically inserted through the side of his abdomen, and directly into his stomach. My father was so frightened and I had never seen him so fragile and helpless.

Since things did not look good for my dad, I called one of my pastors from our church in Danville, California, called “East Bay Fellowship,” which I was attending with my wife and kids. I asked if Pastor Allan Shrewsbury could come by and pray over my father, in hope that it would give him some comfort. Pastor Allan quickly arrived, praying with my dad, and confirming my father’s faith and trust in Jesus Christ, as his Savior.

It was getting late, and we began to ready ourselves to leave when I noticed tears filling my father’s eyes, along with the room filling with a sense of heaviness. It seemed as though this might be our last goodbye. I think the feeling of; “he may not make it through the night,” hit all of us at the same time.

Compassion began to rise within my heart. I leaned over his bedrail and gently kissed my father’s unshaven face. His prickly whiskers caused my lips to tingle. My brother John also leaned in and kissed our dad, as did my mom, and then we all tried to convince and reassure dad that he was going to be fine, as we slowly left the room.

As John and I walked out together towards the parking lot, my lips still tingling, I said:

“John, there is something strangely familiar about kissing dad.”

I continued:

“My lips — they’re still tingling!”

John responded:

“What’s up with you Tom? Don’t you remember when we were little kids, we’d line up in front of dad’s favorite chair and kiss him goodnight on his cheek, and he’d say with a smile,

’…Don’t let the bedbugs bite!’”

All of a sudden, memories, good memories came flooding into my mind. That gentle kiss on my father’s unshaven face was a key to my dungeon of despair and loneliness. All my years of anger, bitterness, and hatred; all my doubts and unforgiveness, all swallowed up from the tingly whiskers of my father’s unshaven face.

After that moment, I couldn’t wait to see my father. And I saw him over the next several months as often as I could.

Several weeks before my dad had passed away, a nurse came into his hospital room,
asking:

“Who is the executor and healthcare director?”

My father lifted his feeble arm and pointed over in my direction. I turned to see if there was one of my two older brothers behind me, but there was no one.

Maybe for some, this would have been an unwelcomed appointment, a burden, but for me, it meant I had my father’s complete and utter trust. The significance of my dad’s appointment was a paradigm shift for me, quite possibly one of my most life-affirming events.

Later, I learned that my father had consulted with my mother as to whom he should appoint as Trustee of his estate and healthcare. It was my mother who had agreed with my dad on his final choice. My sister, Laurie, was also named co-trustee. Simply amazing!

A few weeks later, my dad’s condition was worsening. His organs were beginning to show signs of shutting down. At this point, my brothers and sister and I would trade-off, each of us spending the night with dad alone.

Finally, it was my turn. It was October 7, 1998. I arrived shortly after the dinner hour. A nurse brought in a cot with a blanket and a pillow for me to sleep on. My dad and I talked for quite a while, mostly about politics, which was my dad’s favorite topic. Soon, it was lights out, which really never happens in a hospital.

As I lay there, realizing the significance of this moment with my dad, I knew if I didn’t say what was truly on my heart now, that this moment might be lost forever. You see, my father had never told me that he loved me. I was thirty-nine years old and my dad was about to turn sixty-nine the next day. I wanted so much to hear those words from him; no, I needed to hear those words from him — something in me was guiding me and granting me the courage to say what needed to be said:

“Dad?”

“Yes, son?” he replied

Dad … I love you!” I said cautiously.

Only mere seconds passed by, but it felt like years.

“…I love you too, son,” Dad replied.

I exchanged “I love you” with my dad, what seemed like all night long! I said those precious and life-giving words, which he echoed back:

“I love you too, son.”

All my hate and anger against my dad has washed away, and now for good! I heard the three most important words every son or daughter needs to hear:

“I love you, son!”

“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD
arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi 4: 5-6

The days of the “curse” were finally over for me. For a greater spirit than Elijah had entered that hospital room that night, the Spirit of the Living God had softened the hearts of father and son, and the mess I had made of my life became beautiful!

“His wrath, you see, is
fleeting, but His grace
lasts a lifetime. The
deepest pains may linger
through the night, but joy
greets the soul with the
smile of morning.”
Psalms 30:5

My dad, while broken with cancer, poured into me so much life and hope, and, in such a
short time! The man whom I had despised all of my life was my dad, with whom I just fell in love, but who is now leaving.

The morning did come, and with it, a smile and a “Happy Birthday, Dad!”

It was October 8, 1998, and my father wanted to get all cleaned up for his Birthday. He said:

“Tom, get my shaving bag, it’s over there, in that cabinet.”

“Here it is dad,” I replied.

“Okay, get my Electric Shave lotion and my razor out,” my dad directed, and then he asked:

“Son, will you shave my face?”

I know this may sound silly, but this was the most intimate moment I’ve ever had with my father. The very whiskers which tingled my lips and which softened the hardness of my heart, the very mouth, which finally spoke: “I love you too, son” was the face I was about to care for and shave.

“The deepest pains may linger through the night, but joy greets the soul with the smile of
morning.”

…and I shaved my father’s face.

That is why I would not change a single moment of my life. The pain is swallowed up in the sweetness of heartfelt forgiveness, and in the “I love yous.” For what had become broken has now been given, and the mess of my life now became beautiful!

Four days later, on October 12, 1998, my father passed away. There I stood, at his right-hand side, a restored and beloved son, loved and approved. As life was quickly draining from my dad, he looked up towards the ceiling, letting out his final breath; he smiled, his heartbeat stopped, and we wept loudly in the grief of our great loss. I then reached over my dad’s body and closed my father’s eyes.

He died my hero, triumphantly and bravely; he faced death and passed from this life into the heart of God.

“Death swallowed by triumphant
Life! Who got the last word, oh,
Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of
you now?” – I Corinthians 15:55

While this was both a painful and magical time for me, these events with my father were a new beginning and a paradigm shift for my present and future.

I can honestly say that God used the final moments of my father’s life to make me into a better man and a better father.

Letting my anger for my father go allowed love to come bursting in.

Becoming my father’s beloved son made it possible for me to believe that I could be God’s beloved son too.

I miss you, dad…

The Times Are Upon Us – By Thomas Koester

We’re living in the time of Joseph and Elijah. A time when it’s wise to gather and store. A time when it’s wise to trust the Lord for ravens and hidden streams.

The Hour is Late

Gather for your friends and family. Gather to be in a position to give and provide. Trust the Lord to guide you and marshal unexpected resources. Move closer to the Lord than ever before and be ready to tap into his presence.

Be ready to let go of life as you know it, and cling to the Lord. Bolt yourselves to God’s Word. Anchor yourselves to God’s promises. Dig deep into the Holy Spirit. Listen to the voice of your Shepherd. Discern and obey God’s commands.

The Years 2020 and 2021 were rehearsals for what lies ahead in 2022. A Great Reset is coming, and it won’t be pleasant. Prepare and train yourselves for endurance. Remember, our warfare is not against flesh and blood. Our enemy is unseen and entrenched in high powers and principalities. Therefore, remember to whom you belong and the might and majesty of our God.

Trust in God and stand firm in your calling. Heros of our Faith are watching. Angels are positioning. Demons are strategizing. Something is breaking out.

Remember, you are on the winning team, no matter what you see or hear. God is well pleased with His sons and daughters. Act like it and know it to the core of your being, deep within your hearts.

You were not saved for an easy life but were chosen and equipped to become Saints.

Superman – A Message For Pastors – By Thomas Koester

The Freedom of Being Real

Are you exhausted? Running on empty? Has your physical and spiritual odometer cycled over too many times?

If so, you may be a Superman Pastor.

Your identity and significance must be in your sonship and not in your pastorship. Being a son and a brother in Christ is far more relatable. Being relatable keeps you grounded, humble, and approachable. “Leaping tall buildings in a single bound, being more powerful than a locomotive, and speeding faster than a bullet,” is for Superman, not pastors.

“Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane… It’s… …No, it’s just Pastor Dave.

Just be a beloved son, shepherding God’s children. Let God do all that superhero stuff.

Never use your intimacy with God as a vicarious impetus for others to synthesize. In doing this, you and your congregation will both become lost and distant from God. People will hunger for your intimacy at the sacrifice of their connection with God.

Instead, teach them how to be intimate with the Father-heart of God until their Father-hunger for God surpasses their father-hunger for you.

Won’t this lighten your load?

Won’t this save your marriage?

Won’t this free you up to be your children’s daddy?

If not, maybe your cape is showing.

As some of you have retired or have left the pastorship, you may find yourselves lost because you’ve been trapped in a service and performance role with God and others. This was never God’s doing, but the writ of men and the corporate structure of many churches.

Did you know that the word “religion” actually means to “re-bond” with God? The Latin word comprises two parts, “re” telling again and “ligare,” pointing to bind or to bond.

We Protestants are constantly harping against other religions that faith in God is not a religion but a relationship. But, in tossing out the word religion, we’ve tossed out the significance of the word. Rather than genuinely encouraging and leading people into intimacy and sonship with God, they’ve learned by our actions as pastors and enter into performance roles, as presented by the World’s false religions.

So many pastors have lost their intimate bond with God because of the performance and service trap. So, they end up helplessly modeling burnout, depression, and, believe it or not, loneliness.

Many pastors feel they must keep up the “superhero” role at all costs; that is, they must appear spiritually superior and altogether when in the public view. And, if he’s incredibly talented, he will maintain this unrealistic role even in front of his family. Being a “Clark Kent,” or just a normal guy is too risky for the sake of his job.

What happens to a man when he calls his darkness light?

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your vision is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness! – Matthew 6:22-23

When a pastor calls his darkness light, he cuts himself off from God and others, and the duplicity becomes more and more costly. He loses his support from is family because the hypocrisy becomes unbearable.

If a pastor, and for that matter, any of us, satisfies our father-hunger with God and not with the ministry or titles, we will grow as true sons and daughters of God. It will therefore be the fruit of our lives, which will benefit others, and encourage them to bear their fruit by connecting to the True Vine, Jesus Christ.

The average pastor cannot maintain a pastor’s schedule, manage all the demands of human needs and interaction, attended meetings, weddings, funerals, and remain human. He’ll either suck it up, put on his cape and pretend to soar, or he’ll take on the humility of Christ.

A good and wise pastor will understand that his heart and identity is far more important than is superhero reputation and notoriety. His true strength is in allowing his humanness to be seen from time to time and not his cape.

In other words, take on the humility of Christ and the burden of Christ. Did you know that bearing your cross is a very public affair? Jesus bore the weight of his cross in public, and, at the moment where he had lost his strength, a simple man aided him and carried his cross for a distance.

Pastoring is not maintaining an Olympic-style dash from crisis to crisis, and it’s not meant to be a solo act. It’s teamwork; it should involve the aid of well qualified and faithful elders and deacons. After all, the ministry of the Church is meant for the Church and not because of the Church. By each of us, you and me, joining in the ministry, we will grow in our faith and collectively reach maturity in Christ as a healthy body.

A superhero pastor has no time for teamwork, it’s just easier and less complicated to do it all himself.

Since scripture has defined the Church as a body, the concept of real and healthy ministry is when the entire body functions together, when each member does its intended and gifted part.

When we act properly like a body, we can create a safe and healthy community where pastors can thrive within healthy boundaries. Maybe then pastors can cease leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

There is so much more to talk about on this subject. But, until then, pray for your pastors. Become more involved. Give them grace. Take better care of one another. Visit one another. Pray for one another. Support your pastor, and not just with financial gifts, but with your time too.

After all, aren’t we all children of God?

Only in DC Comics will you find a Superman.