Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hands-on, then hands-off

10:39 p.m. Today's project was to happily take part in a farewell party for Pastor Mike and his wife, my good friend Stephanie, and two of their grown children, son-in-law and baby granddaughter. Dave and Linnae were our gracious hosts in their lovely home, built by Dave, a contractor.

The gathering was lively, hilarious--plenty of stories about the peripatetic Pastor Joe of Calvary Chapel Foley (Alabama), and more than a few jokes about Mike's readiness to keep up with Joe, whose legendary energy and enthusiasm drive his 24/7 evangelism. Stephanie has us girls rolling with her plans for dealing with the snakes, mosquitoes and humidity endemic to the Gulf Coast region. I believe her strategy is  to not go outside after sundown for four months!  The fully-extended dining room table was weighed down by all of the food brought, and we thoroughly enjoyed our chance to "greet one another with a holy kiss" (Romans 16:16). Some of us attend different churches now, so we hadn't talked in person for months.

Highlighting the evening was our prayer time for Mike and Stephanie. We filled the large family room, where the two were seated in the center for a prayer of anointing them for the tasks ahead. Those of us closest to them laid our hands on them, and the concentric circles behind us laid hands on our shoulders, for an uninterrupted flow of the Holy Spirit. In this we followed the model of Acts 13:1-3, where certain prophets and teachers were gathered at Antioch:

As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul [Paul] for the work to which I have called them." Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.  

We all felt, and still feel, sad because we'll miss this beloved, dedicated couple , but we know that Pastor Mike and Stephanie have been called to come alongside Pastor Joe and Lorraine to minister to so many who do not know the Lord, or need to grow in Him. Many hugs, and praise to God were heard around the room after the close of prayer, as people recounted all that the McTigues' personal ministry has meant to them.

Dave heads up the transport and supply efforts for the Casa Del Pastor [House of the Shepherd] abandoned women's and children's home in Mexico supported by our church. He was telling me how Mike would smoothly facilitate all that he needed to lead a caravan of vehicles and people down south a number of times each year. The vehicles would always be ready to go. Dave said, "I told Pastor Mike one time that I needed $10,000 for supplies. He said okay, and it was done. I was able to carry out my ministry from there." I replied, "Mike did his part, then took his hands off, and let you do yours!" "Yes, and Ephesians 4:11-12 says, "the Lord gave us pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry."  I agreed, saying, "and there all are kinds of gifts and ministries.There's no need to micromanage people! Hands off!Let them do their ministries."

I then mentioned that there are times for a pastor to be hands-on, such as when I'd take distraught and desperate women up to the church office for help, perhaps with moving from a foreclosed house. Pastor Mike would put together a crew to take care of that need. Two years ago, Mike had persevered in helping a bedridden mother whose adolescent boys were getting out of control, for months, with my ladies' Bible study bringing in meals and cleaning. Mike actually went over to have a very firm and effective talk with the boys! (An aunt eventually took the family in]. He and Stephanie, our church's bookstore manager, had some hassles with Tate Publishing while ordering my book Galatians: An Exploration of Faith & Freedom, for the bookstore. But they persevered, for which I am grateful!

We said our temporary goodbyes at 10:00 p.m., so blessed and refreshed by the sweet fellowship.  May God go with you, McTigues!!

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