Month: August 2017

Wild Haired Man From Minnesota

Wild Haired Man From Minnesota

“God has a very interesting way of teaching us the most valuable lessons in life. The following true story highlights a powerful lesson in humility.”


I believe the year was 1997; it was still early in our ministry journey. During that particular time, I was the pastor of 3 churches which were Emporium and Austin; both Free Methodist churches and the Gardeau Community Church; a small non-denominational country church which we reopened in 1996.


My Sunday routine was to preach in the Austin church at 9:00 am, and then hustle back to Emporium for an 11:00 o’clock service, followed by a 1:00 pm afternoon service in Gardeau. By the time I finished my circuit; I was often pretty spent and would just relax the rest of the day.


On this particular Sunday, I had preached on the topic of going the extra mile, and serving your neighbor . . .   And who is your neighbor after all . . . you know, the kind of preachy stuff, preachers preach.


Well, when I got home, I remember sitting on the back stoop of the parsonage; the smell of Sherri’s famous beef barley soup, wafting through the air. I remember whispering a prayer to the Lord; “please, I hope no one interrupts this quiet, peaceful afternoon . . . I just want to rest.”


Well, it only took about 10 minutes for the telephone to ring and it happened to be the cleaning lady down at the First Baptist Church. It was Anna, a very sweet elderly lady, who would straighten up the church following the Sunday morning activities.


She called; asking me if I could help her; it seems there was a man there who had stopped by the church, claiming to be almost out of gasoline. He was asking if the church could give him some gas money.


She went on to tell me that her pastor was away that weekend and she didn’t know what to do. So, not wanting to be disturbed on my “Sabbath Day,” I suggested that she refer this man to the United Methodist Church and Rev. John Spahr, who was also the treasurer of the Cameron County Ministerial Association.


I told Anna that he should be able to help this man with some money for gas. Anna hesitated a moment and said; “Well, okay pastor, I will tell him that,” and she hung up the phone.


It only took about a millisecond after she hung up the phone before the Lord kicked me squarely in the pants!


He said; “Rock, what are you doing? There’s an elderly lady, one block from where you are, talking to a man she doesn’t know who wants money from the church! Now go!”


Well that’s all I needed to hear, and I realized how un-thoughtful and self-centered I was; so I ran out, jumped in the car and sped down the end of the street, and when I got to the stop sign I looked over and I saw this man, with what I can only describe as having “wild hair” standing by a car gesturing towards Anna.


Anna was obviously waving goodbye to him as he climbed into his car with Minnesota license plates. I noticed as he was getting into his car that he fired up a cigarette; his dog looking out the window at him.


The man pulled away and drove down the street.  I became indignant and I thought to myself; here is a guy just out ripping off churches taking money from the Lord so he can just fill his gas tank, buy cigarettes and keep on bumming around the country! Disgusted, I turned the corner and went back home.


As I was parking the car in front of our house and as I was getting ready to get out; the Lord rebuked me again! Only this time he said; “Tell me Rock, who did you say that guy was ripping off?” I said; “Well, You of course; this man is just running around out there, trying to take money from the church, an easy target and I think it’s despicable.”


Then the Lord said this to me, and it was about to change the way I view people forever!


He said; “Rock, My pockets are deep and I will give to whom I will give and I will take from whom I will take and you are not to judge anyone in that respect. Do I make myself clear?” “Yes Lord;” I said, as I climbed out of the car.


My head was hanging low as I headed into the house; having been rebuked sharply by the Lord twice in the span of 20 minutes!


As I reached the front door, the Lord began talking to me again . . .  Oh boy!


He said; “Rock, this is what you’re going to do. Go inside your house and take all of the beef barley soup that your wife has made for dinner; yes Rock, all of it! You’re going to put it in a container, and you’re going to take the loaf of bread that your wife bought this morning for dinner too. Then you’re going to take it to this man and give it to him. Not only that; the money in your pocket; yes Rock, all of it, every last penny, you are going to give that to this man as well.”


So, quite flustered, I went into the kitchen and began to put the soup in a container and Sherri looked at me asking;“Can’t you wait just a few more minutes for dinner” and  I said; “No honey I can’t; I’m on a mission.


God has told me to do something and I don’t have time to explain, just trust me, I have to do this.” Sherri stood there and watched incredulously, as I poured all the soup into a container; grabbed a loaf of bread and hurried out the door.


I jumped in my car and rushed down to the United MethodistChurch to see if this man was there, but he was not. I drove to the other end of town, driving back and forth several times, looking up and down the streets; I couldn’t find him an anywhere!


I told the Lord how sorry I was, that I regretted how hard of heart I had been, and asked him to forgive me. I told him I would never let this happen again and so I began to head back to the house; thankful for the lesson, and also a wee bit thankful that I could still have the beef barley soup, which was still hot sitting next to me in the passenger seat.


As I was about to turn the corner onto the street where the parsonage was, God told me to pull over and stop. I stopped the car and the Lord said; “Rock, where would you go if you were in this town and you had no money, you had no food, and you were tired; where would you go?”


Immediately I thought about a big tree at the end of a street not far from the United Methodist Church. I would park my car under that tree because of the heat of the day, and the Lord said; “go there.”


I immediately turned around and I drove down to where that tree was, and there, parked under that tree, was an old beat-up car from Minnesota!


I pulled my car up close, got out and I knocked on the window. The little dog started barking, and the wild-haired man jumped up shirtless; quickly pulling on a T-shirt, and as he did, I noticed the whole left side of his chest was bruised badly.


He stepped out of the car looking concerned; perhaps thinking I was going to tell him to leave. I explained that a lady from the Baptist church had called me and suggested that he may need some help.


I told him that I was there to see if I could help in some way. I presented him with the hot soup and bread, and I told him that it was really, really fresh . . . and still piping hot! I also reached into my pocket and gave him the money I had, hoping that it would help him get a little further on his journey; wherever that was.


The man looked at me and he was so grateful; and with emotion in his voice, he told me that his mother, who lived in upstate New York, had passed away about a month ago;  he was trying to get to her grave site to pay his respects. He really thought he had enough money to get there, but now he found himself here in the mountains of Pennsylvania, only about 250 miles from this destination, broke and feeling rather hopeless.


He said he had been working in a lumber yard in Minnesota, and about 2 weeks ago there was an accident and a log rolled over him; possibly breaking a few ribs.


We talked for a while and I prayed for him. He was so very thankful for the food and the money and he felt he would be able to get to his destination.


I’m thankful for a God who loves me enough to take me to the Woodshed when I need to go there. I’m thankful for the God who loves people more than I do. He loves the outcast; the downtrodden; He loves the poor, those that are hungry, those without money; and He especially loves the wild-haired guys of this world!


The biggest take away from this encounter is the fact that as a follower of Jesus, all we have, all we own, is at His disposal. We must be aware of this fact; otherwise, we begin to think that somehow what we possess belongs to us and we will hoard it; selfishly grasping things that can be used for His purposes.


God wants to lift us up, so we can view life from His perspective; from the UP-SIDE! From there, we get a whole new perception of life down on earth. We begin to see things His way and we can then begin to live life His way!


So . . . when you see someone ripping off the church, or a stranger sitting by the road with a sign; be careful how you view them; God certainly knows the . . . rest of the story; perhaps you will be fortunate enough to learn it!


Matthew 25:38-40 (NASB)

And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’


Copyright © Faith Upside Down

Posted by onthesolidrock in Humility, 0 comments
A Chipmunk, Jesus, and Me

A Chipmunk, Jesus, and Me

I want to tell you a story about a chipmunk, Jesus and me.


It was one of those days where things just seemed out of sorts; to put it bluntly; “I just wasn’t feeling it.” It was especially bad that day because it was Sunday morning, and I was about to go preach a sermon soon!


Have you ever have one of those days where ya  just weren’t feeling it?  


I had questions that I needed answers to, and even though I was praying for it, I was getting nothing!


Emporium Outlook on South Mountain

Overlooking Emporium

So, as was my custom, every Sunday morning I would go up to this spot on the mountain overlooking our community to pray and seek God.


I jumped in my truck and headed up!


I recall standing there for a few minutes praying and not feeling like I was getting anywhere, and then I did something out of desperation.  I stood there, and in the loudest voice possible, I shouted out the name . . .  Jesus” . . . and I said it again as loud as I could . . .  “Jesus.”


I waited a minute or so listening, almost expecting that He might come out of the clouds and talk to me! I needed to hear from Him and so I shouted again as loud as I could . . .  “Jesus” and again . . . Jesus” and I listened for a reply.


As I stood there listening, I heard a noise; looking down I saw something rustling in the leaves, it was a little chipmunk, and it ran right up in front of me, about 5 ft from where I stood!


He stood up on his hind legs, looked at me holding an acorn in his front paws, chewing on it while looking at me. He studied me for about 10 seconds and took off, running down into the woods and up a tree.


I stood there and laughed at what I had seen and then it dawned; that little fella knew His Name! As I laughed, I looked up toward heaven and I said; “I think he knows your name.”


You can call me strange, but in that moment, I felt as if God was drawing very near; and He said to me; “He does know My name.”


 And then the Lord said; “I’m glad that you know My name too. I heard you calling out to me.”


 At that moment, the closeness of Jesus washed over me; and that day, which started pretty rough, actually turned out to be a really, really good day.


After spending some time with Jesus up there on the mountain, I couldn’t even remember what my questions were; they must not have been all that important after all; just being with him was more than enough!


If you ever find yourself having one of those days, and you just don’t know what to do; call out the Name of Jesus, do it with passion and wait for Him to respond . . . and don’t be to surprised if a few furry friends are watching!


The Bible . . . Book of Job 12:7-10 (NASB)

 “But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. “Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare to you. “Who among all these does not know That the hand of the Lord has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?


Copyright © Faith Upside Down

Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, 0 comments


Rabies is a life-threatening condition that causes thousands of deaths worldwide. It is caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system. The virus is transmitted via bites and scratches from infected animals.


History reveals the gruesome fate of those infected. They literally go mad and insanity sets in; some have even reportedly begun frothing at the mouth!


Hate begins and ends in much the same way. It usually starts with nips and bites from infected people, and if left untreated ultimately it will destroy the host leading to frothing of the mouth and death of the heart.


There seems to be an awful lot of frothing-at-the-mouth going on these days, a clear indication that the disease of hate has spread to the heart; I pray it does not affect you.


The only cure for hate is love and true love is only found in one spot and that is in the heart of the Man we call Jesus.


If you think you may have been infected by this awful disease, there is a cure, but the time to receive that cure is short, so don’t hesitate. Seek out this Jesus and he will administer the Cure and you will be set free and filled with love.


Jesus said concerning this generation . . . “Because of the increase of wickedness the love of most will grow cold.”


Let it not be said of you!


Copyright © Faith Upside Down

Posted by onthesolidrock in Holiness, 0 comments

Rock & Sherri’s New Website

Well, hello there! I have been pondering the idea of a website for our new ministry endeavor;  Faith – Upside Down” and have put it off long enough!


Over the course of the next few months, we will be adding content to this site and learning all the ins and outs of website development . . . I am quite clueless, but nonetheless willing to learn. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks . . . but it “taint” easy!



Posted by onthesolidrock, 0 comments