Concerns of the Heart

Forgive me.  In my last post/blog I told you that I would be writing you less often, if at all, because radiation and exhaustion were taking charge.  When I wrote those words, I meant them. My energy level and ability are at an all-time low. However, despite this, I am burdened by at least two issues that concern me so deeply that I want to share them with you.  I share them out of deep and profound love for you.  If I in any way offend you, I am sorry. Blame it on medications, the tumor or me. I apologize.  Long ago I learned that the very strongest of people are not the ones’ who say whatever they think, or do whatever they feel like doing, but they are the ones who have the strength and wisdom to refrain from impulse. Now, as this one handed typist plods on, I break my own rules.

The first concern that breaks my heart is how so many people feel so unworthy, unlovable and unacceptable.  This last year and a half many of you have shared with me your own physical, spiritual and emotional struggles. I have been amazed by how many people feel inadequate, not good enough, unloved and unacceptable to God and to everyone else in the world.  Dear friend, God loves you just as you are and needs you.  God needs so much – so God’s son came to die for you. What more proof do you need?  Please forgive the unforgiveable and unacceptable in your life and turn the rest of your life over to God.

Each day of my adult life I have tried to do something to learn and grow and to become a little bit better person, then entrusting the rest to God. Some days I succeeded, most days I failed miserably. The good news is, that despite our imperfections, God still works through us.  Be kind, gentle, loving and forgiving, not only of others, but most especially with yourself.  One of the greatest spiritual teachers of my life, my Kenyan personal care attendant from the Mount Olivet home, has taught me that God can use you the way that you are – even when you are in a wheelchair and riddled with tumors. Let God love you. Love yourself and show your love of God by loving others.

This brings me to the second concern of the heart and is a bit more sensitive issue. I am sorry to offend you if I do.  Throughout my life, I and the people that I have tended to hang with have not been wall building kind of people – the statement itself contains great vanity. Lately, I see more and more walls being between really good, intelligent, well-meaning and faithful people. The walls are walls of fear – of people, theologies and ideologies that are different from us. When we become unforgiving, resentful and fearful, the other has won for we are allowing them to control us.

I have studied leadership my whole life.  This study has convinced me that spiritual leadership is among the hardest forms of leadership because we need to model the kind of world that Jesus envisioned.  The hardest part is that we are very flawed humans not divine. We are all sisters and brothers in Christ.  Call me naive and Pollyanna, but I believe God and Jesus got it right when they said, “Faith, hope and love abide but the greatest of these is love”. If you think that I am naïve and Pollyanna about this, I want you to know that I have been cursed at, had my job and even my life threatened over issues that seem less important.  The healthiest people that I know love well and make generosity and gratitude a life style.  Let’s love well and be the change we wish to see.

Having a master and not being in total control of life makes life more complicated. Let’s keep the faith, look upward, travel onward and be not afraid.

Love you,

Pastor Hogenson

A short health update…

During the last week in November I finished my latest round of radiation.  This second round was particularly exhausting. It could be that recovering from pneumonia and going through radiation at the same time or, as one person said, “Being thrown in a microwave every day” wore me out.  Experts tell me that, like the effects of a bad hangover, I may feel the tiredness brought on by being in the microwave for a few more weeks. Then hopefully I will begin to regain energy.  We have no idea if the treatments have bought me any more time or if they have been effective.  Time and God will tell. Thankfully, I survived this round of radiation with only one small infection and minor hair loss – pretty lucky.  The greatest blessing of the first time I went through radiation was that I was too sick to understand how sick I really was.  Now I better understand just how sick I am.

 Next week I will undergo a definitive MRI.  I don’t know when I will learn the results.  After time, prayer and processing we will share them with you. Blessings to you. 

I apologize that I cannot see all of you that I want to see.  Family time is increasingly more precious. Because I am me, and I still have so many people I want to see and things that I still want to do, I have over-booked my death!  Talk about poor time management!  As I write, God is chuckling, speaking to me and asking, “John, How is that working for you”?


4 thoughts on “Concerns of the Heart

  1. Your words were refreshing to hear today. I myself have really be trying to focus more on being more forgiving of others and myself. Prayers to you Pastor and your family…

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  2. Pastor, your time management is fine by me! You are awesome and thank you for your Leadership. You are a blessing.

    We love you,
    Sarah, Darren and Mya McNeil

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  3. John, how an you be so “on target” in you thinking and caring about others when you are so exhausted? God gives you such strength to sontinue to inspire all of us. Thank you for your messages in writing and speaking. I love you so very much. Jo

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  4. Pastor, your writings have ministered to me so very much. I especially needed to be reminded to love more and to know God’s love for me. You are a blessing to me. I am praying for you and your family.

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