Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Last Words to Cedarbrook

On Sunday I gave my "last" sermon - that is, the sermon I would preach if I knew I was going to die. When I closed I asked people to share THEIR last words for Cedarbrook. Forty five people responded (so far...I keep adding new ones). If you'd like to add your thoughts you can add a post at the very bottom or email me directly and I'll add it myself...

Thank you for the atmosphere of love and acceptance; growth and challenge; and worship and healing that we have experienced in your midst. It has been a breath of fresh air that was much needed in our lives. We have been blessed by the honesty, authenticity and humbleness of the people we have come to know at Cedarbrook. We look forward to seeing God work and move even more!

This church came into my life when I needed it most. God knew what trials I would encounter over the last few years. I thank him & Cedarbrook for helping lift me back up when I couldn’t do it alone. I can now be there to “lift” others and I praise God every day.

I really have enjoyed the past 2 months coming here. I got a divorce 23 April and have been blessed with a closer relationship with God/Jesus. God has worked through many people… Jesus has been carrying me through the deep water.

Healing upon healing, upon healing, upon healing. After 2 years at Cedarbrook, I ham barely recognizable. I can barely comprehend it. Very strong, very powerful, very real.

I look forward to coming here. I am facing my sexuality confusion by meeting with your prayer ministries. For the first time, I want to give my life to God. It’s scary, but I don’t have a choice. It’s the only way.

Thank you for inspiring me to live the life I have always wanted. I am connected with God. I am much happier since I have been coming to Cedarbrook. I enjoy Sundays. Thank you for being a loving and accepting church.

Yes – I pray Cedarbrook is ready for the next level! Thank you for amazing sermons and practical applications! Great things are happening and will continue to happen in Menomonie!

I never felt God’s love ‘til I got to Cedarbrook and now I realize I am a display of His splendor. You (Cedarbrook) have taught me to live intentionally, to make life changes, to live for Him, to love from the overflow of His love in my heart. Words can’t express my gratitude to Cedarbrook! Thank you, Remy, Christine, Jayne & Jane…to all of you sitting next to me!!

I am more on God’s track – deeper in His stream!

Please don’t build a building and become “another church”. As I leave, I ask this last thing. The mold that this group of believers broke will tend to reform if conformed to that shell. Focus on the eternal, not the building. I’ll see you on the other side.

The meaning of life has become deeper – the Spirit has been life-giving – time with people has been more meaningful.

This is the first series I’ve experienced at Cedarbrook. It has allowed me to reprioritize my life and change parts of my life that God has been trying to change for some time and I’ve been delaying hoping He’d change His mind. Thank you for helping me trust God in EVERY aspect.

I would thank Cedarbrook for giving me a joyous place to go on Sundays. Everything else and all the stress and difficulties of the week are put aside, yet faced and realized as I hand them over to God, if only for a while. Thank you for that gift of peace and acceptance.

Before I go, I need to tell you all how grateful I am for all the ways Cedarbrook was a blessing to me. Words just can’t express how much every song, every message, every smile, every kind word and every hug meant to me. You all accepted me at a tough time in my life, when you could have judged me. Many of you showed caring for me when you could have been indifferent. You prayed for me and held me when I cried. You helped me discover and get intimate with Jesus in a new amazing way. I had never experienced before. You helped to lift me to my feet again when I had gone down for the count, grow strong in Christ, find out who I am in Him, and believe in myself again. Always remember how precious you are to Jesus – each on of you. He can carry you through any tribulations in the world, and He will carry you into eternity and hold you in His arms forever. Love only Him and give His love to all.

I have felt completely accepted for who I am and have been embraced and helped along in all seasons of my walk here. Thanks!

Thank you for the joy – fun you’ve brought to my family’s life. We have loved the teaching, worship, opportunities to serve and incredible opportunities to grow through TPM prayer. Our lives have been enriched & strengthened in God here. We are so grateful!

You have changed my life in ways I never imagined. Thank you for your acceptance of diversity. Thank you for not judging people. My family values have always been strong but they are even stronger now. This church is awesome, and very community oriented. God bless you and the Cedarbrook family. I had a horrible experience at my church of almost 40 years. This church has made it FUN to come every week. My dad never went to church when I was growing up. It is so heartwarming to sit next to him and my mom every Sunday and see him want to go to church every week.

I have struggled with an addiction for the past 3 years after college. Although this road has been a tough one, I have truly learned how to love and appreciate all the people in my life. Most important, I have allowed God into my heart. Life is full of struggles, it’s how you handle what is handed to you that makes you the individual you are. I pray that everyone at Cedarbrook lives their life loving unconditionally, helping your neighbor, and living as though you only have 30 days to live.

I have been blessed by those who have selfless giving back to me much more than I deserve. Moreover, I have been blessed by the opportunity to serve others alongside loved ones.

Thank you for providing me the opportunity to reconnect with my faith and further explore the idea of always going deeper with God. Before I started coming to Cedarbrook I was just “going through the motions” of church and only calling on my faith when I thought I needed it. Now I am learning how to live in Christ in all that I do – and that has been a precious gift for me. Thank you!!

Inspirational books and topics stir peoples hearts; tickle people’s ears. The BIBLE deepens ones soul. The Bible is the foundation that can’t be rocked.

I want to say thank you to Cedarbrook for the good teaching and wonderful worship services. I’ve gotten my feet wet and am ready to jump in! Thanks!

Thanks for Cedarbrook Church. I feel like they are my extended family. Also thanks for our North Menomonie small group. What a life saved.

Just want to say thanks for offering this study and opening it up to the community. It has been a good study & good to look at how we are living our lives. Your talk today was very encouraging. It helped to see how we can bring heaven to earth in simple concrete ways. I loved the river picture.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 1:7

Thank you for allowing me to open my mind, heart & soul to the Lord and creating an environment that is safe to let my guard down and completely turn myself over to Christ. Cedarbrook truly makes me so “thirsty” for more…. I feel so connected to God and constantly seek more knowledge about myself as well as Christ and how I can continue to walk on his chosen path. THANK YOU. .

Enjoy the details! If there’s one thing I’ve soaked up from God, it’s that life & joy & beauty & peace & all the riches of God are in the tiny, tiny places: a baby’s smile, chocolate cake with thick frosting, holding hands, sunshine on your back, the still sleep of your children. God made every bit of it for us! Enjoy it & enjoy a deeper place with God.

I know that if Pastor Remy died today, regardless of what he thinks, he has touched many lives, including mine and our family’s. A lot of food for thought has happened to us at Cedarbrook.

Be real, rejoice. Although people pass on, life goes on and so does the body of Christ. So grow, build, carry on. Thank you! Lord bless you. God is awesome. Cedarbrook is great. Give. Keep following Jesus and reaching out to his people. See you in heaven, I’ve been returned to sender.

Thanks for saving my life! For the first time ever, I crave church & having God in my life ever minute of every day. Thank you!

Remy’s last words were very heart touching. Great job, Remy. You will be missed. P.S. Did Remy say who will now be our preacher?

Death? What death? It’s a transition. Sadly I can no longer attend Cedarbrook, but I wonder, maybe I can come down in spirit form and visit, and watch out when that great resurrection hits, what a reunion! Thank you for the aim and focus you have given me….

I want to be a part of this community of God that goes deeper. Thank you.

I have truly been blessed by this whole set of lessons plus small group. I keep thinking it can’t get better but it does. I do have at list I want to change and have done some – the rest will happen. Cedarbrook – keep being obedient to Christ. You’re great.

I thought the concept of 40 years on earth equals approximately one hour in heaven was neat. To be able to say, “I’ll see you in an hour or two” on your death bed seems a powerful message to your survivors.

Live for Him. Die for Him. Bring others to Him! Do not mourn my passing. Celebrate it.

The One Month to Live series caused me to take more Christ/religious risks. Also it called me to trust God in every way with everything I do. Also love more completely!!

God means freedom. I’m finding it easier to let go and really put God first and in control of my life. Wow! What true freedom! Praise God!

Thank you for welcoming my family and I. We found the home we needed to worship. You have blessed us more than we can express. I hope you will continue to bless other lives.

Live boldly and courageously!! Love completely: God & others. Leave a legacy.

Please Lord, bring my son & daughter closer. Like they used to be. Watch over my family when I’m gone. Bring them back to your Son, Jesus Christ. I’m going to listen online to your entire series regarding my last words to Cedarbrook. I’m so worried about a young woman that took her own life. I met her a couple times and please, dear Lord, comfort her family – it’s so sad. She never got over the trauma of being mugged or raped. Watch over a friend now who is in rehab – strengthen him, oh Lord. Be with my brother and his family with all they’re going through. Grant your healing power to him. And to the wonderful woman battling ovarian cancer, grant her your healing power. Pastor Remy, you are a great pastor and I’m so glad I’ve gotten a chance to be at Cedarbrook & will watch your sermons online, too. God bless you.

This series has been hard for me and yet very good, too. It’s putting my focus back where it was once – God first! I have been doing some real searching of my heart and pray that God would continue to restore my relation ship with Him and others.

Pursue knowing God’s Word more and more.

I have gotten closer to God and friends. I used to hate going to church; now I love it. This is the best church that I have ever been to. I have never been to a church that is sooo uplifting! Thank you! Don’t stop worshipping life & Jesus. You can bring heaven to us but I hope one day I can bring heaven to other people as well.

The first time I attended – I felt at home here. I had moved back to the area from Colorado and hadn’t found a church yet, when someone introduced me to Cedarbrook. I love the worship music. After that first service I attended, Jane came up to me and told me my worshipping that morning impacted her. It took me by surprise. I am in my own world when I am worshipping. Cedarbrook is doing great things. I’m happy to serve at Cedarbrook. Two years ago I was at a low point in my life, then I went on the first New Orleans trip. God, through Cedarbrook, brought me out of that low point. It amazes me when I look back at where I was and where I am now. I now live in Hudson after getting married in December. I’m sure we could find a church closer and maybe one day we will, but Cedarbrook is home for us. So thank you, Remy and Cedarbrook. This is an awesome church and we are glad to be part of it.

Thank you for showing me the loving God that I always knew existed. Keep showing others the way and never give up on anyone. I love you all for giving HOPE!

I have been attending your church since August 2007. And out of churches I have been to, Cedarbrook is the best. I look at life so differently now. I feel a change in me. Getting to know Christian people. And now I have a friend from high school who is a Christian who is back in my life again. I love the band, and I get the sermons. I went to Sunday school and I got confirmed, but stopped going to church after being confirmed. Then tried other churches over the years – but never paid attention. So therefore, I am learning all over again about God, and I get it now, more than ever! I honestly want a no regret life.

My time at Cedarbrook has been the loneliest church experience that I have ever had. I love to worship God here and like the teaching, but would like to get to know people better.

A poem by Allen Crow

Thank you with all my heart for allowing me to serve you right here.
These are the greatest moments in my life.
These treasured memories I’ll always hold close and near.

Just the opportunities to be who I am.
Thank you for warmly welcoming my family and me.
It has truly been a pleasure and honor to serve in the capacity I do.
Serving God and Jesus are the greatest blessings, would you agree?

From ushering to praying for you and this church,
To greeting and welcoming you coming through the front door,
From helping with chairs, helping where I’m needed and helping at Thursday’s Table,
These golden opportunities allow me to enjoy life to the very core.

These experiences I will always savor from now until my very last day.
Most importantly God and Jesus –
Thank you for creating all of your precious brothers and sisters and me.
Thank you for creating them to serve others in their own unique way.

Thank you also to the men and women of our nation’s military.
These precious people that have bled, sweat and gave their lives
To protect and serve the red, white, and blue-
These people are blessings – they’ve sacrificed all, and have paid the price
So we may praise and worship God and Jesus the way we do.

So if my days on this earth are numbered and my time of serving others here are through,
I just pray that I’ve made an impact here,
Part of a lasting legacy just a simple man offering my word of thanks
And to all of you, I just need to say “God bless” and “I love you

Monday, May 05, 2008

Day 30: Game On

Well, we made it to the end! Our month is over. Here is the final summary...

As Kerry Shook closes out his book he tells us that nothing ever great happens without passion. He says, If I were limited to only one thing that you would take from this book, it would be to ignite and restore passion to your life. If you only had one month to live, you would want to enjoy every single moment as the precious gift it is. And you would want to make every second count toward something meaningful and eternal, something that fulfills your purpose on this earth. The fuel for sustaining the one-month-to-live lifestyle over the long haul is passion. p. 222. Then Kerry tells us that there are four keys to passion: Love, Integrity, Forgiveness, Enthusiasm (LIFE).

Kerry closes out his book with these words...

One of the mysteries of life is that none of us knows when we're going to die. But it's a fact that we will die. "Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months" (Job 14:5). If we're willing to accept this and trust God with the end point of our time on this earth, then we can focus on how we fill in the days between the year we were born and the year we will die. We can make our dash an incredible adventure of discovery, joy, and purposeful contentment. We can live.

My hope for you is that this book has changed your life, that it has made you think about what it means to live passionately and purposefully like never before. My prayer for you is that God will use all that is true on these pages to inspire you to a new level of living. My challenge to you is to live every day as if you had on month to live!
page 225,226

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Day 29: Game Over

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie Ten Boom

Two paragraphs best summarize this chapter...

As I've emphasized throughout this book, embracing our mortality can liberate us to live as fully as possible. In Ecclesiastes, we're told, "A wise person thinks much about death, while the fool thinks only about having a good time now." (7:4). It's wise to approach life with an end in mind. It's foolish to ignore the inevitable. Thinking about wha't's going to happen when the final buzzer sounds brings a sharpness of focus to life. It helps us to live a more intentional life anto make every moment count. page 216

[Many of us] act as if we are going to live forever. We concentrate on things that seem really important to us at the moment but ultimately don't last. Our focus needs to be redirected to the things that will pass the test of time, and really there are only two; God's Word and people. The Bible says the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8). So when you spend time in God's Word - building your character, becoming more like Christ, learning the values from God's Word, and applying them - that lasts forever. You take that with you into eternity. The other eternal investment you make is in people. People live forever in eternity. So anytime you make a difference in the lives of others, it will last forever. That's why relationships are the most important thing in life. page 219

How much time do you invest in eternal things and how much time do you invest in things that last only now? What can you do this week to put more time into things that last?