Yesterday, I had the opportunity to have lunch with Phil Olson. Phil is the pastor at Church on the Mall which meets at the Plymouth Meeting Mall. Phil was also a partner in ministry with my dad in Mt. Holly, NJ while my dad served at a church there. I happen to work ten minutes away from this mall, so it was convenient to hook-up for lunch. (I don’t know why we don’t do that more often.)
Phil and I caught up about friends from our NJ hometown. We shared about our families. And we prayed together. It was truly a blessing to be with this friend (even though he’s a big New York Mets fan).
Recently, Phil has been working as a chaplain at Cancer Treatment Centers of America one day a week. At first, this doesn’t sound all that strange, but Phil will tell you that this wasn’t something he had considered before this opportunity came along. Phil admitted that he didn’t have the training of most hospital chaplains. One thing that sets Phil apart from the other chaplains is that he is a cancer survivor. When patients learn this fact, they are more receptive to Phil. They relate to Phil, because he knows their pain. Obviously, Phil wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone – including himself, but he has realized that God can use his cancer along with his other “junk” to help others.
As our discussion continued, I was reminded that I have “junk” in my own life that allows me to relate to people on a different level. For example, the struggles that we have dealt with through my wife’s illness have given me (and our family) a deeper understanding and compassion for families that are impacted by mental illness. God can use my “junk” to help others and to draw me closer to Him.
As we concluded our discussion, Phil prayed for me using the following scripture from Isaiah 40:
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
I am thankful for Phil’s encouragement and the reminder that God can use our “junk” for His glory.
We’ve all got “junk” in our lives. How is God using you through your “junk”?
God’s word to me as I head to bed (from Psalm 62)…
1 My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
3 How long will you assault a man?
Would all of you throw him down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 They fully intend to topple him
from his lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.
5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend some time at one of my favorite job sites. While I was there, one of the facility engineers asked me if I could help his sister’s sister-in-law. Seems like an interesting requested coming from a trash mouth colleague. Instead of leaving the details for me to explain, here’s the information he passed out. (I contacted the organization today to get my free test kit.) I hope you’ll be inspired to help out.
I am sending this e-mail about my sister-in law to my friends in hope that you will pass this request for help to your friends. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate your help.
Eighteen months ago, my sister-in-lay, Myra, was diagnosed with a rare form of Lymphoma, a blood cancer. Three weeks ago, we learned she now needs a blood stem cell transplant from a donor. The doctors believe they can put her in remission for three months, which means we have a short window to find a suitable donor. Unfortunately, finding someone with similar DNA is pretty difficult. That’s why my goal is to recruit as many new stem cell donors as possible in order to give hope to Myra and others like her who are in need of a stem cell transplant. Currently, her doctors are searching the National Donor Registry for a match. So far there are no matches for her. You could be the ONE.
With the help of DKMS, the world’s largest bone marrow donor center, I am conducting an on-line donor drive. If you are not already in the National Marrow Donor Registry, please consider being tested. The screening is non-invasive and simply requires a prospective donor to swab their mouth with a cotton-tipped swab and to complete some paperwork. Your sample is sent to a lab, assigned a tissue type and then put into an anonymous National Registry. It is easy to request a free test kit on-line and have it mailed to your home. There is no charge to the potential donor for any part of this process.
I would greatly appreciate it if you could pass along this e-mail to any of your friends and family who might be interested in signing up to potentially save a life. You do need to be between the ages of 18-55 to be a donor.
I would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have about registering and the donor process. I hope that you will consider taking advantage of this amazing opportunity to potentially give someone a second chance at life.
For more information, please visit www.dkmsamericas.org
Many, many thanks for your consideration.
(Thanks to DKMS, I am able to get the testing at no charge. DKMS, a non-profit, is the only organization I found that will cover the costs of testing for the sake of saving a life. If you would like to make an individual contribution, you can do that on-line as well if you like.)
So what do you think? Seems like it’s at least worth checking out.