Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Had A Dream - We Had a Dream

Last night I had a dream. Actually it was this morning right before I woke up. I was in this small house and there were lots of church people there. When I say church people, I mean people from previous churches and our Cowboy Church now. We were packed in this house. I went into the bedroom and made my way through the laughing crowd of people to take some pies and put them on the bed because we ran out of room in the kitchen. There was so much love in that place you could feel it. I was trying to hurry because I knew I needed to get to the church service when I saw a woman dressed in a very expensive, beautiful dress. She was someone I hadn't seen in while so I went over to hug her and when I did I knew her hug wasn't genuine. I kissed her right on the cheek and stepped back. Her beautiful dress had become wrinkled and ugly and it was too big for her. She was still smiling like, as the girls would say, "she was all that". I told her I had to go, and as I was leaving the room she was shouting compliments at me and she said "I can't wait to eat the cheesecake!" I don't make cheesecake, I make pies.
I walked out the front door and to my left was a young girl running my direction in the middle of the street. She was slender and she had long tangled hair hanging in her face. All I could see from her face was a tootsie roll pop stick hanging from her mouth. As she got closer, she slowed down and I saw that she was filthy. I looked down the street in the direction she was walking and saw a huge stadium packed with people. Kinda funny to me that I could see lots of orange in that stadium. That stadium was our new church. I was worried because I didn't think she would be able to find her seat because she was a freshman. Weird, I know. I felt a little relief to think that the sections of the stadium were numbered, but knew I needed to go help her find her way. About that time, a very overweight boy (I watched Biggest Loser last night) came running around the corner to get to the stadium. He was filthy too. We all started running to the stadium. Then I woke up. Pretty stange dream. Strange in many ways, but one specifically: I don't run.

About five years ago God gave Michael and me a dream. A dream to be in a place where hearts were fertile soil that we could plant His Word into. We hoped it would be with people who wouldn't go to a traditional church. We have been packing 200+ people into our quadruple wide mobile building for the last month and a half. Yesterday the bank here in Ennis approved our request for a loan to start building our church to hold all this precious family. Praise You Father! I wish I could tell you all the little things that have taken place in the last 6 months to let us know God was ready to give us our new home. When we first came here, Michael took off his watch and told the people we were now on God's time. We would not step out of that. Some people left because we didn't have a building on the ground as soon as they wanted. We HAD to wait on the Lord. I'm so glad we did. After Michael talked with the bank yesterday, he called to tell me the loan was approved and that the timing of everything was continuing to show that we are in God's timing. He said that the government had even lowered the interest rate the night before. Isn't it nice that the whole country gets to benefit from us building our building when God told us to!

I don't know the significance of the dream this morning, except the obvious. I do know the significance of the dream about five years ago. Thank you Lord, for giving us your dream and for letting us live it out in real life. As we go into the building time, protect us, guide us. My prayer is that we are here in this "dream" until You call us home! You are so good to us.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

One Final Rose

How in the world do you take 86 very colorful years of a man and condense it to under 45 minutes? That was the dilemma Michael faced as he tried to prepare for the funeral of our beloved Rex. This man had done, seen, and heard it all. He'd been all over the world, and brought that world to life for us who haven't stepped on other borders. We had only been in Chatfield a couple of weeks when one day we heard the doorbell ring and there at the door stood Rex with a dozen roses in his hand. Our house sits at the back of our 3+ acres, and he had parked at the gate and walked up the drive to welcome us to this place. He said people would always open the door to a bouquet of roses. He was right. I opened the door to those bouquets five or six times over the last two and a half years. There was even a couple of times he sent a bouquet home with Michael after the men's prayer breakfast on Thursday mornings.

I once told Michael that every Sunday morning Rex would hug me and tell me how much I brightened up the place. He kind of hesitated a minute then told me that Rex said that to everyone. He made everyone feel so special. Since about the middle of November, Rex hadn't been able to get out to church because the pain from his cancer was getting harder to bear. His front row seat was so obviously empty. About two weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon, I was in town and Michael called to say someone had come by the house to see me. I drove home and as I pulled in the gate, I saw a bouquet of roses up on the toolbox of Michael's truck. I knew it was Rex. His last outing. Always thinking of ways to make others feel special. The next time he got out of that bed was when the funeral home came to get him. His step daughter said the night before he died he said "I see him standing at the gate". They didn't know what or who he was seeing. I think I do.

Michael didn't use an abundance of scripture at the funeral. He didn't have to. Rex' life was the scripture. The night before the funeral, a friend of Rex told Michael of an outing that he took with Rex five years ago. Previously, Rex had told this friend that his grandpa was buried in a county east of us near a brush arbor. This friend told Rex that he had gone to the courthouse and there was no cemetery registered in that county, but he knew of a brush arbor out on a ranch. They took a day to see if they could find that cemetery. They found the brush arbor, walked up to it and Rex showed his friend where he sat, where they brought his grandpa in, and also told him that he had walked down that sawdust trail to accept Jesus when he was a small boy. This man was surprised because he had tried to talk to Rex about the Lord before and Rex never wanted to talk about it. Rex thought he could find the cemetery from where they were standing, so they got in the truck and headed that direction. The road had grown up with goldenrods. They slowly drove through, stopped the truck and looked over and saw the sign "Brooks Cemetery". Rex took his hat off, stuck it out the window and yelled "I'm coming Grandpa!, I told you I would come back!" He opened the door of that truck and started running as an 81 year old might run, with his bony arms a pumping, yelling, "I'm coming, Grandpa!, I'm coming!" Rex stood there telling his grandpa everything that had gone on in his life from the time he was a skinny 11 year old until that present day. His friend asked him if his grandpa was a christian man and Rex assured him that he was. This friend told Rex that if he would live like his grandpa had, he would see him again one day. When Rex was a young boy he had accepted Jesus, but like a lot of us, had wandered off the path. The beautiful thing is that Jesus never leaves us or forsakes us. After that visit to the cemetery, Rex found a church. He loved this cowboy church. He loved the people here. He fell in love with Jesus once again.

I believe with all my heart that when Rex took his last breath on this earth that Thursday morning, that his next breath going towards glory was shouting "I'm coming, Grandpa!, I'm coming!" I also believe that he was probably seeing his grandpa standing at the gate waiting for him. In the book "90 Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper, Don said when he died and went to heaven that the people waiting for him at the gate were not just family members and friends, but that it was the ones who had made a spiritual impact on his life. The ones who had led him to the Lord and encouraged his walk with the Lord. So the question I must ask myself is not "Who will be waiting for me?", although I know who those will be, but "Who will I be waiting for?" Will I be called for "Gate Duty" once or twice, or will it be more often? The way to determine that is how I live my life right here and now. Who am I putting into spiritually? Forgive me Lord, when I think I'm too busy to encourage or be there for someone who needs me. I pray that I make people know they are so special. Put a servant's heart in me, because I can't help but think that Gate Duty would be so sweet. Oh so sweet.

When the service was over at the cemetery, the big bell chimed seven times. Complete. Perfect. Rex heard it. He said he would. He probably had just told Jesus that He really brightened up the place.

His step daughter got a rose off the casket and gave it to Michael. "He would want her to have it", she said. One final, beautiful rose. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us Rex. Thank you, Rex, for giving us Jesus.

It is Rexford Marion Brooks, for Whom the bell tolls.