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Finding A Spiritual Home. Jesus, Seattle, Olympia, and a rain forest.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 16, 2017 by gerilewis001

Road tripping across the beautiful state of Washington.

After visiting the Jimi Hendrix Memorial in Renton, watching a buddy in a pool tourny in Tacoma and chating with folks in Olympia as dusk became night. I paused for a night camping in the Olympic Peninsula, planning to continue along the coast via Highway 101. As I bedded down the rain a soft and constant drum beat to the majestic symphony of the night time rain forest. I commit ed myself to prayer and before long the first light of day. Rising and thanking the Lord for another day, I boiling a pot of H20 I dipped the wash cloth in the water/ The warm wash cloth steamed in the cool air as I applied the soap and water to my face. It felt great. As I boiled another pot of water for coffee, I changed my mind as to continuing along the coast.

I decided to head into Seattle. I am sure this is the Holy Spirit prompting me to fellowship and something I cannot quite put my finger on. I found myself on Jackson St. This area of Seattle I quickly learned is a traditional Black neighborhood. I stopped in to one of the the ubiquitous Starbucks on 24th Ave and Jackson St. Searching the internet on my phone, I located a church that I thought was interesting. Bethel Christian Church.

As I had a few hours to wait until the service began, I sat down at a large table and began to read the news paper. Before long, several locals sat down and began small talk. Sports and the like. Three Black and two White fellows. All of the men appeared to be in their 50s and in relatively good physical condition save one man who seemed to be in his 70s. He also looked to be in decent physical shape. We talked fishing, sports and music. The fellowship was quite wonderful. I learned Jackson St was in its heyday much like Central Ave in Los Angeles during the during the 1920s-1950s. An enclave for Black Americans. The area at this time a center for Jazz players, military on furlough and beehive of activity. As the hours elapsed I bid my farewells thanking the men for the conversation.
The Bethel Christian Church is only a block away from the Corner of 24th And Jackson St. It was a quick walk. I noticed many Muslims women and several men. I reflected on the bulletin board in the Starbucks. There were many flyers about refugee relocation. I passed a Masonic Hall which appeared to be converted to an apartment building. I got to admit my experience in the army and in Mindanao has prejudiced me towards Muslims. I get jittery and suspicious around Muslims. I have to confront my prejudice. Did I ask anybody if they were Muslim? How do I know if they are Muslim? So what if they are? Did these folks do anything to me? I remind myself what Jesus taught- Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. I most surely do not want this to happen to me when I finally meet the Lord Jesus. I correct myself and my attitude.
As I walk into the Bethel Christian Church I am given a warm welcome. Yet the look of mild surprise the saints cannot completely hide. I don’t think the good folks at Bethel have many believers such as myself walk in the door. Not that it really matters in my book or their’s either I believe.
The BCC Choir and Praise team sang wonderfully as did the musicians in their accompaniment.

Being Mother’s Day the welcome and sermon were given by women of the church. Sister Felicia Drain and Evangelist Donnell Davis both gave spirited and informative messages, encouragement and challenges to the saints. I immediately reflected on my encounters just 20 min prior to service. Bishop Tomas Davis recognized the City of Refuge Church (from my info card) and Bishop Noel Jones.

Thank you to saints and Bishop Davis for the Word of God and welcome! Thank you to Bishop Noel Jones, Elder Brock, Evangelist Lane, Minister Matthew Robinson and the City of Refuge for their ministry.

https://gerilewis.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/finding-a-spiritual-home-city-of-refuge-noel-jones-bishop/

http://www.bethelchristianchurch.org/

http://www.rainier189.org/history.html

Don’t Call it a knock out! Recovery. God & loosing a job and Jesus.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2017 by gerilewis001

7…8…he is getting up! That last blow was devastating folks! A gut punch that would have  leveled an elephant  followed by a right hand uppercut to the chin that snapped his head back like a rag doll! How is he getting to his feet? What am  I describing you may ask. Boxing? MMA, WWF? None of the above friend.Just another page in the story of my life. It’s probably not so much different from yours.

Lord knows I’ve had a difficult time with employment. It just seems my past continues to haunt me despite my best efforts. Damn this latest firing is brutal; correction big homie, despite less that 24 hours passing by, I am putting this incident in the recent past. Therefore this firing was brutal and not just for me. My mom took it really hard for one. furthermore ,when your immediate supervisor is tearing up and her supervisor, a tough old Marine is looking like he may cry,when your co-workers are upset about it you can bet your bottom dollar this was not your average firing. I made friends on the job. What went down you ask? It was a technicality, a misunderstanding, a crying shame is what it was, that a top-level staff officer could have made a favorable decision but rather let me dangle and twist in the winds of uncertainty. Well certainly uncertainty on my part. I am sure this staff officer had decided to ax me months or weeks ago. It was a case of me proving to him, I had not omitted or falsified records for a Veteran preference hiring. I think I did a job equal or better than Perry Mason could have in dissecting fine print and terminology to prove my qualifying under the wording of the requirements for the VOEA veterans preference hire. Regardless this fellow fired me. The really devastating part about it all is, I have done a superior job at my assignment and I was two days from my vesting period beginning. Two days…brutal blow. I could have folded right then and there. So they gave me the boot. Get out. Sorry it did not work out. The line officer was cut and dry, he did not even mention I had done a great job. I suppose he may have only one way of dealing with having to fire a good worker. In any case I hit the door for the last time in that position

The back story is, I love working for the Forest Service and similar agencies but USFS really was my pleasure and an achievement. I had been working seasonal and finally got on part full-time! I was so proud and happy to have been hired on. The financial security and benefits were the icing on the cake. When I left L.A driving up to rural Washington, I lived in my car and ate sandwiches and green beans out of the can, showering in parks and YMCA’s when I could get in for a free day. I gave it my all for the job. It hurt to be fired on a technicality, to add injury to the insult, the wording of the termination letter was accusatory, untrue, malicious and hurtful. It could have been worded differently, it could have taken into account my superior performance evaluations. It did not. A real punch in the face as the door slammed on my backside.

To say the very least, I felt like crying. I began going into shock over the loss.  Panic, all the worst case scenarios. By 7pm I was in the anger stage of grieving. I was fumed at the treatment I received. Today, I am moving towards acceptance and letting it go. It’s not easy brothers and sisters. I’m human. I want to yell at not only the people who clipped me but God also. Job argued with God, Cain was angry with God, Job’s wife told Job to curse God. He did not and neither will I  have faith something I cannot see will sustain and provide for me. I will be faithful. I know Jesus loves me. Yeah the bible tells me so, homie.

Well in any case for the moment un-employed again.

So here is where the rubber really meets the road in sobriety and faith. Sure I had been praying. Sure I have repented, paid tithes and alms and attended church faithfully .Sure I have done my best.There are times we will not understand why God has allowed these events to take place. What I did do that has allowed me to remain sober is,during the time of uncertainty as well as when things were hunky dory I prayed to God and with others, I attended church, I attended recovery meetings, I was of service to others, I stayed in touch and let people who have helped me recover from substance abuse, counsel me. Recovery is training. Just like a soldier or an athlete. You will react how you train in a crisies. What I did not do. I did not isolate, did not complain, did not whine, did not make excuses for my part in the affair. I did not pick up. I called my brethren and sistren in faith as well as recovery. I went to a meeting, I ate, I prayed, I accepted His will, I read the bible passage a friend suggested ( Luke 12:22-34) I got a goods night sleep.

What is different today? I woke up sober and healthy. I have a driver’s license and I am not behind bars. A roof over my head, food in fridge,  and a little money in the bank, a car that works, my health, friends and family. I did not hurt anybody else.

I’ve got a chance.

This is not easy. I am not going to lie and tell you this ability to process these events, feelings and information happened over night. These skills were taught to me.First I had to reach a point of willingness to allow a power greater tha myself to run the show.

I am not sure what today will bring but I am confident it will be ok despite it all. When counseling the students at Job Corps, I told those that had been kicked out and were being sent home, this is only the ending of a chapter in your book not the end of the story.  I am having to walk that walk myself right now. I’ve walked it in the past.

I’m off the mat and standing.

Not on my own but with the help of many. I want to take a moment to thank Jesus for sustaining and providing for me, My mom brother for supporting me, Sensei Butch Ishisaka for teaching me Judo and more importantly the gentle way , Minister Matthew for his counsel and support, all the saints that continue to pray for me , Sister Rene for her praying and support, The fellowship and friends of Bill W & Dr Bob, Jim Zenner (USC School of Social Work Vetrans Program) Ray Packard ( Packard Institute) , Professor Pete, Stewart Howe, Dennis Romero, Melva A (Salvation Army Veterans Employment Rehab in L.A). Just as importantly  Cheryl, Scott, Keith, Arron and Robin for their support during this stressful and sad occurrence  and Brad, Robin, and Scott at USFS Job Corps for hiring me on. I understand this was not easy on anybody. I did my very best.

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Luke 21: This is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.” 22Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.…

The little note? A newcomer passed it along to me several days ago. It in itself is a reason to keep coming back.

Thank you for allowing me to be of service.

Keep on Reaching Across the Aisle. Finding a Spiritual Home.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2016 by gerilewis001

I would never go as far as to say I was a leftist although I did read and Marx, Trotsky, Mao, and Lennon. However I also read Churchill, Adam Smith, and Schumpeter. Secular education as well as military I figured was paramount and the key to knowledge and freedom. However this very condition shackled me to the powers of principality. A carnal slave to the world of hedonism, egoism, substance abuse and material accumulation. As with many liberals, my thinking centered much on the fact of choice and will power. Pointedly I am afforded choice not by a divine gift from a Creator but rather choice is derived from intellectual reasoning and moreover desire. Unfortunately It took circumstances and personal disasters such as getting stabbed in the heart, shot in the face, tremendous heartbreak attempting to help a pornography performer (sex worker) from the sex industry, losing my estate and experiencing homelessness and the coup de gras losing my family and self-respect before I submitted to the will of God.

God has been faithful despite my rebellion and He has restored me. I have learned to be of service to His kingdom, to be repentant, humble and defer to His will not mine. Absolutely I am a work in progress as the Apostle Paul writes and testifies.
My spiritual journey has taken me litterly from the gutter physically and spiritually to respectability and spiritual awareness and enlightenment. My journey of recovery and discovery renewed at Venice Baptist Church my childhood church and has taken me to megachurch City of Refuge Apostolic Church to very small Seventh Day Adventist Church in Mindanao P.I to Church of Christ Yakima WA. All the time learning and serving the Lord Jesus. Currenty I am attending a very nice church in Yakima WA. The church congregation signs only acapella and old hymns. No praise team, or band etc. Which is quite a change from City of Refuge, as I was a member of Men of the City Choir.

 

 
https://gerilewis.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/mindanao-humanitarian-mission-3/
However I keep in mind, the Lord has moved me to this church to learn, serve and worship Him. So I am learning to sing acapella and old hymns. How did I find my way to Yakima and the Church of Christ congregation you say? Well just as a forn my way to the 7th Day Adventist Church Iligan Mindano and COR, it was the hand of God leading me along the way. Miraculous answer to prayer, that is how.
To begin I had been praying for the Lord to move me out of L.A (CA) and back up to the Northwest. Having worked with the BLM on the Deshutes river seasonally, I enjoyed the wide open space, people and in general freedom. The Christian worship base is extremely strong, and there is plenty of outdoor activities to take part in. I then got on seasonally with USFS but stationed in San Bernardino Natl Forest. That was tough duty and the hectic, brutal, overcrowding, legislation and high prices in L.A were literally squeezing the life out of me. I would pray out loud for patience and deliverance while in grinding traffic. Snarls so tangled and slow, tt would take 3 hours to travel 35 miles.
Finally I after applying for at least 40 USFS BLM and Natl Park gigs I got hired at FT Simcoe, WA. The location is very remote 50 miles on the Yakama Nation Reservation. While in L.A I began searching the internet for a church. I emailed 6 churches that seemed to be in line with my theocracy etc.coc

https://gerilewis.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/trout-creek-landing-deshutes-river-oregon/

https://gerilewis.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/oak-groving-on-the-san-seveine-ridge-san-bernadino-national-forest/

Only one pastor emailed me back. Pastor Jenson. Arriving in Yakima I slept in my car at Sportsman campgrounds and when Sunday arrived, I located the church and felt obliged to attend. The congregation is very nice and welcomed me warmly. Learning of my situation, one of the congregation, turns out lives in White Swan, just 15 min from Ft Simcoe. G, I am talking remote with a capital R. Ft Simcoe is at the end of the reservation next to Mt Adams. So Mr. Thomas and his wife invited me to stay as long as I needed to. Turns out they have a spread and being a bit on the downslope of life and having several surgeries each they could use a farm hand. What are the odds of this all coming together? Yeah man, astronomical. I am still on the farm as of yet. I will bless the Lord at all times because He is good!