Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happiness of Happenstance, Upon a Day of Joyous Birth

Oh, happiest of days

This is not

Joyous, yes

Happy of happenstance, no

 
 

For one whose birth

this day holds

Half day across

inter-national dateline

World still

turning round and round

Nearly half century

of beloved, now gone

Joyful gratefulness presses on

Fleeting happiness ever eludes

 
 

Oh, but what flowers could so bloom

For now in the winter of such a one's discontent

To behold the fruit bearing forth of union's progeny

To gaze upon blazing, beauteous glory

Of being blessed with raising blessings

To be held, captivated by such beautiful ones nesting

Abounding with grace amidst wounded emptiness, vacancy

Still may content with hope to be

In plenty and in want, in any and every situation

Yet may persevere in faith to move forward

No matter come what may, whatever circumstance befallen

Out of such ashes, beauty arises

 
 

So happiest of days

Though this may not be

Always and forever precious moments

In time will they be

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What's new?

"What's new?" "Anything new with you?" "What new thing is going on in your life these days?" These are among the greetings I sometimes hear people say upon seeing someone they know that they might not have seen in awhile. Shopping around Christmastime, browsing at post-holiday bargains, going to the theater, visiting a museum, or maybe stopping by the gas station and/or convenience store, we may inevitably encounter friendly acquaintances with whom we've not caught up recently and utter a query along these lines.


 

Indeed, what is new with you? I'm interested to know. But why? I wonder... Is it natural curiosity? Am I being nosy for some reason? Is it interrogatory hubris, hidden arrogance under a fa├žade of compassion on my part? Do I really care? I suppose some, if one were to probe inwardly, honestly, may not, really. It's just something to say for the moment in order to eventually pass the time on to the next thing that you're actually on the way to do. Each wants to only briefly acknowledge the momentary interruption, yielding instead, to the presiding purpose of our predetermined progression for the time at hand. And so we might humor one another with surface conversations for the sake of exchanging niceties and exercising customary manners.


 

Then again, what if there truly is something in us yearning to discover something fresh and new that would enliven things a bit? What if there was even a remote possibility that something radical, however small it may seem at first, was happening in another person's life that could come to mean the world to us? Could it be that some of us, if not all of us, deep down inside are looking to find a new event—a new experience—that brings fresh joy and fills our hearts anew to overflowing? Not merely a distraction, but a welcome intrusion is instead wanting, waiting to be embraced by us in our very presence. Is it just coincidence, or might there be an underlying theme—an ongoing current throughout humanity's existence which resonates with a deeper truth about who we are and who we are becoming along life's journey? Perhaps in the process, we are being given the opportunity to receive the very precious gift of having a companion along the way to share, if but for a moment, that we are not alone on the road of life and that we are blessed to be able to experience mutual encouragement on the way.


 

As we enter into and embark upon a new year of proclaiming hope, peace, joy, love and life in the light of Advent shining through the ages, our sensibilities and notions of living out our lives in faith are challenged once again to break forth from the drudgingly dreary doldrums, yet also beautifully cheery snows of winter, toward the ensuing, burgeoning brightness of spring. The experience of Revelation as relayed by John through his writing down of the last book in the Bible has one verse that echoes, in my mind, throughout time and space: "Behold, I AM making everything, all things new!" (Revelation 21:5)


 

Upon all of creation's history, these words from The Word reverberate with resounding resonance through the millennia, impacting our continuance and condition in the here and now of the new millennium. Our state of being, whether we are aware of it or not, is greatly affected by the truth of this continually occurring event in the perpetual providence of divinity. The apostle alludes to this in somewhat similar vein when the Pauline writer addresses the saints in Colossae regarding Christ's supremacy that in Him all things are being held together up to this very moment and beyond. (Colossians 1:17) Nothing happens apart from the goodness and steadfast faithfulness of the One Who is holding all of this and every one of us together. As Paul also wrote to the saints in Rome, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Likewise, the prophet in Isaiah (43:19a) tells us, "See, I AM doing a new thing! Now it springs up! Do you not perceive it?" Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is!


 

Ancient words, eternal words from the everlasting Word give us glimpse of eternity. Whether we are reading the daily news or encountering neighborly conversation, the normal, regular routines of our lives can afford us the opportunity to gaze upon the glory of God in Christ through our current circumstance or present situation. Cultivating an awareness of the very holy presence of God, even and maybe especially in seemingly ordinary, mundane activities can help us, like a little child, enter into the wonder of the heavenly realms. Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come, here on earth, as it is, in heaven.


 

The next time you come upon a friendly encounter in which you find yourself saying, "What's new?" you might consider, as you may be prompted in spirit, that you are in the midst of a holy occurrence—a precious moment in sacred space as you willingly engage in the gift of conversation with mutual encouragement for the journey ahead. Indeed, beloved ones, may you and yours experience such blessings upon Christmastide through Epiphany and beyond for the New Year at hand.


 

With the Wind of the Spirit,

Pastor Rex Espiritu


 

P.S. And, oh, say, by the way, what's new with you? :)


 

The Rev. Rex Espiritu serves as senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church, New Castle, Indiana

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Feast for Souls on Occasions of Community Celebration in Spirit

Dear friends, it was wonderful to be part of celebrating a Thanksgiving meal in our family of faith as many in our congregation sat at tables together this past Sunday at First Presbyterian Church, New Castle, Indiana. We have such beloved folks with big hearts for serving one another in the Lord that I have to say, I am filled to overflowing…. My tendered heart is full from such magnanimous generosity poured out among and upon us that I feel remiss in not having more said about it.

 
 

Some may be familiar with The 5 Love Languages from the New York Times bestselling book by Dr. Gary Chapman that speaks to how we may have love shown, one to another. Among five key categories found from his research, Dr. Chapman espouses the following to be universal and comprehensive. We all may primarily identify with one of these: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

 
 

I have found that for me personally, at times, I seem to have differing love languages for showing as compared to receiving love. For example, I may tend to give gifts as a way of showing love to a loved one, but not necessarily experience it as much in receiving gifts for myself. What speaks love to one, may not be primarily taken as love by another. My late beloved wife, Melissa's primary love language was, without a doubt, Acts of Service. And if I didn't know any better, I would suggest another sub-category for our congregation to have as a primary love language to be that of Serving Meals.

 
 

Our recent efforts over the past year of providing meals as gifts to serve and enjoy being together with people in our larger community is telling and worth sharing. While ministers may converse regarding what they sometimes refer to as the discerning and development of one's pastoral identity, I might identify and relate this conversation piece as speaking to a particular church group's congregational identity. In this vein, I would name Serving Meals as evidenced fruit borne of an apparent, distinctive attribute of our identity in the body of Christ in Henry County. This, I believe, is part of our love language with, in, to, for and through community. It is certainly worthy of further exploration and possibly increased validation with words of affirmation as well as in quality time spent together in dialogue and conversation over meals served unto one another in love.

 
 

In such settings over meals together at table with others, with respect to and of one another's stories… There is power in the telling. There is comfort in the sharing. There is relief in the giving. There is healing in the receiving. These are among what I consider to be fundamental outflows of God's love made manifest in, through and among us in this fellowship of faith. Even as it's said that the family that prays together stays together, we could say the same of the church that serves and fellowships over meals together staying together.

 
 

Here I am reminded of a verse from the Psalms (68:6a) in which the Psalmist proclaims, "God sets the lonely in families..."

 
 

One tradition that Melissa encouraged us to adopt early on in our family life, which I must confess has not been observed as much in some recent times, was to seek intentionally to invite someone outside of our family into our home for a holiday meal. As I recall, we started this practice some time prior to one New Year's Eve early on in our marriage. We would pray to God for the Holy Spirit to lay upon our heart and place in our mind a person or persons whom the Lord would be pleased to have us celebrate and share a meal together with that might not necessarily, ordinarily have other plans at the time. We would always find our Lord faithful to answer that prayer with such affirmation and confirmation in the process that it became a hope-filled, mutually fulfilling endeavor for all present in the set apart occasion.

 
 

As we reflected upon the ministry, proclamation and celebration of Word and Sacrament with Holy Communion on Sunday prior, I am encouraged to exhort us, beloved, to renew our devotion in the Lord together concerning these things as we contemplate further the Lord's leading into the near and better future God has in mind for us. Might the Lord our God have you and me, our families in this season together celebrate along with others over a shared meal in our homes sometime during the holidays? Someone, or some ones, possibly outside our conventional circle of friends, whom the Lord may be pleased for us to share in the blessing of God's grace….

 
 

May the Lord add to our number those who are being drawn by His Spirit to fellowship with us and help us rediscover and grow in the knowledge of who we are and Whose we are, becoming ever more so

 
 

In Christ,

Pastor Rex

as it was

so much love
when first met
rekindles treasured memories
caught again aflame
passion set blazing
one another blessing
God with us
so now journeying
on life sharing
our beloved daring
to behold caring
in our hearts
Lord, evermore carrying
world without end
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Passages Along the Journey in Faith

"When I thought of an art gallery…" he said, "…I imagined a world where life and death existed together. My hope is that the world might look a little different after entering and re-emerging from this space." --Lee Ufan, a Korean-born, Japan student, Europe worker, world artist whose museum in Naoshima opened this year and whose works can be seen in harmony with architecture and nature

 
 

Upon re-reading these words above quoted in an article I read from an inflight magazine en route to Seoul this summer, it occurs to me that I myself have been in a sense through a gallery of sorts in which life and death exist together and by which we are re-emerging in time and space with re-formed perspectives. My view of the world is looking different now than it ever has before. Words appropriated from Scripture come to mind: "Love is stronger than death!" and echoing from the first question and answer in the Heidelberg Catechism found in our Book of Confessions: "Our sole comfort in life and in death is that we belong wholly to the Lord our God." With Word and Spirit in, through and upon us, we persevere in prayer to the glory of God.

 
 

A number of folks in our congregation have endearingly asked, not just how I am doing these days following my father's and my wife's passing over the past year, but how my family's faring, and specifically, how are the children. For the most part, considering how much we've endured, my children are doing remarkably well, academically and otherwise. Each has moments when waves of emotion may come and go, though overall, we continue to feel and know God's grace carrying us through. We are thankful to have my mom (their "Lola") with us in the aftermath of our loss. The love and care we have experienced together as a family of faith in compassionate community has been very heartening for us, even especially now in hindsight of the last several months. It is with a deeply grateful heart that I write to you in these weeks leading up to the end of the church's liturgical year.

 
 

As I type, we approach the end of a fourteen hour flight from Chicago to Abu Dhabi en route to points of interest in India where I and eighteen other fellow pastors in the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program are embarking on the culminating study tour of our inaugural fellowship sponsored by the Lilly Endowment. These are among the same ministers who have sojourned with us in the midst of a very challenging ordeal, providing gratis pulpit supply, prayers and much support during such trying times. Along with other clergy spouses during our voyage to Mexico a year ago, Melissa and I bonded with these treasured colleagues in ministry. While I was not entirely sure just a few months prior whether the Lord would have me go on this trip that had been planned over two years ago (given what my family has been going through in the nine months leading up to it), I believe that in honoring the covenant we made with one another in our fellowship, this will be yet another transformative experience for us, much like my family's pilgrimage to the Philippines this summer was spiritually. As such, in my absence, I am pleased to once again welcome to preach for our Sunday worship services at the end of this month the Rev. Dr. Bob Hunter and the Rev. Dr. Rose Niles through the generosity of Lilly Endowment, Inc.

 
 

The fact that I am led of the Lord to travel apart from my family at this time serves as indication concerning where we are in the journey of God's healing grace through the ongoing process of grief. Though we may have come far to this point, we have yet a ways to go. I have informed church leadership in recent months of a number of counseling opportunities afforded to me and my family in this season of ministry. We are currently on a waiting list with Brooke's Place in Indianapolis. This is an organization that provides grief support groups for families with children, free of charge. There is much high regard and good reports about the work of this organization. Their philosophy of care resonates with respect to carefully directed attention tailored especially for children. In addition, I have begun the first of six free sessions over the next six months with a licensed counselor as part of the benefits for ministers of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). While this benefit is also available to my college-aged dependents, they also have counseling available to them on campus.

 
 

It is remarkable for me to try to comprehend what the Lord has done in our ministry together at First Presbyterian Church, New Castle, Indiana. I am experiencing now a greater freedom in the Lord to venture anew in fresh, renewing ways for the mission and ministry we have been called to accomplish together here. Please keep on keeping on praying more and more increasingly so for God's revelation and for the Lord's revival among us yet to be and already being manifested in our midst. I know this is not me, but the Holy Spirit working all things for good. May we all be lifted up in the Lord's presence to greater heights for God's glory.

 
 

In Christ,

Pastor Rex

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Debt of Gratitude in the Light of God’s Grace

When something or someone dear and precious is taken from us, especially with regard to a significant and abiding relationship, a deep and profound sense of loss can be experienced that influences and affects the lens through which we see, perceive or comprehend our current circumstances. We cannot help but to not have any situation we might encounter from that point on become somehow understood in the wake of such an event as seminal as that in our life's journey.

Even, and maybe especially, events leading up to and prior to our experience of loss can be seen in a new light. It is as if blinders that we had not been aware of previously had been suddenly removed and the scales from one's eyes taken away. Not unlike Saul's experience on the road to Damascus in Acts 9, a "Come to Jesus" moment ensues upon us and we hear the Lord speaking to our heart and soul with renewed clarity and strength of conviction.

An opportunity for reflection and introspection occurs to us and, if welcomingly received, submitted and surrendered to, and taken advantage of by being given ample time to process through, can allow us to listen well to the voice of the spirit within us. Our interactions, focus and perspectives are then exposed to new light shed upon us in the Lord under the severe mercy and greater grace of a sovereign God.

Such has been my own experience over the past year. There has been at once a deeply profound remorse and regret at my own failings before the Lord and others such that at times in the recent past, I could not bear the weight of guilt, grief, shame, brokenness and sadness apart from sensing, knowing and experiencing the love, prayers, encouragement and support of many upholding us in the Spirit.

It is a terrible thing to face the Lord Who truly sees us and meets us in the presence of one another, speaking the truth in love, presenting an opportunity to fess up, be real, and come clean over and over again, and as the apostle Paul reminds us, to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling." It can be, as one of my late, well-loved and much appreciated seminary professors might say, "a deeply humbling, transforming moment."

All this is to share a perspective with you that from this moment on, I am pursuing the Lord and seeking to serve God's people in this time and place with a passion and purpose that I am not sure I have ever experienced before. If the enemy of our souls had thought that by taking away my most precious beloved we would be deterred from rising above our situation and beholding the Lord sustaining and lifting us up further for God's glory, he's got another thing coming. Out of these ashes, beauty will indeed most assuredly arise! Watch out as the Lion of Judah moves us with a fresh fire in the fervor of the Spirit of the Lord. As it says in the Scriptures, the zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall accomplish this!

Thank you to all of you who are embarking on the journey together with one another anew as evidenced by many who attended this past Rally Day Sunday's activities. It is with a deep sense of gratitude and awe that I pledge to serve alongside with you as the Lord equips us to serve one another in love. May the joy of the Lord be our strength as we seek in partnership to rebuild our community through Christ, renew our fellowship in the Spirit, and transform people by God's grace. To this end, I remain and continue

Prayerfully yours, and His

Pastor Rex

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Year in the Life: Recounted with Thanksgiving for God’s Faithfulness through Many

It has been a record year in the life of the Espiritu household at New Castle, Indiana. Much has gone on in our lives together as a family that is worthy of time spent for shared reflection in retrospect toward preparing and propelling us forward in faith with renewed zeal, fervor and vision for the glory of the Lord our God in Christ.


 

On 9/11, 2010 marked the passing of my father Mariano G. Espiritu. Six months later on March 13, following an intense bout with cancer, my wife Melissa would go on to be at home in eternity with the Lord. On what would have been Melissa's 50th birthday weekend in July our family celebrated our youngest child Sara Joy's 7th birthday near the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay area where Melissa and I had spent some wonderful times together early on in our marriage. And on the 23rd anniversary of our wedding in August afterward, our six daughters and I remembered their mother upon our arrival in the capital of the Philippines where I was born. These are among the milestones and memory markers we have been enduring through our shared journeys of faith over the past year.


 

During our time this month in the land of my birth, we visited a museum honoring some recent martyrs for the cause of liberty and justice through peaceful democratic reforms opposing a previous dictatorial regime's human rights abuses. One of the names listed on the memorial stone wall there was that of my mother's older brother. My uncle Francisco, an outspoken leader for freedom in his township, had been tortured and killed when abducted by some henchmen of one of the Marcos regime's political cronies on the eve of the snap election(s) that had been apparently rigged in favor of the incumbent dictatorship a few decades ago. It was at this place of honored remembrance that we found another, for us, notable name recorded among the earlier vocal leaders speaking out against the then emerging dictator's crimes against humanity. At a time when other ecclesiastical leaders among the clergy in the Philippines were silent, the Rev. Cirilo A. Rigos voiced opposition against the oppression of what would later manifest as martial law.


 

Before Melissa and I ever met, this Presbyterian pastor who ministered to my sister and me and our parents during my early childhood in Manila had also ministered with Melissa, her parents and sisters while having had his training in ministry at their childhood church in Rochester, New York. Upon reading of his justice work in the plight of the Filipino people, we so very much sensed the Lord's Providence in our lives together through the generations as God's will continues to be worked out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.


 

Not unlike I would imagine the greatest generation's remembrances of seminal events in the North Atlantic theater of World War II might be along the beaches of Normandy and elsewhere in Europe, our family spent significant times toward the end of our last week along the shores of Subic Bay and the island of Corregidor remembering the remarkable events of WWII in the theater of the South Pacific among the waters between Asia and Australia. After touring an old lighthouse and presiding over a brief memorial service at an old Spanish mission's island chapel, it was there by the dock at the end of the pier on the south side beach of Corregidor that we were blessed to share in solemn solitude the spreading of my father's ashes upon the wind over the waters at the mouth of Manila Bay near the South China Sea. It was more heartening for me than I had expected or could ever dream for us to experience honoring the memory of my father and his service during WWII in this way at this time and place. We were blessed with such good weather and people with us on that special day among all the days of our travels.


 

Thank you, Beloved, for your prayers and support of our family in the work of grief and faith this year. In the words of General Douglas MacArthur, not only "I shall return," but we are glad to have returned home. In God's Grace and Peace, with you and yours, together we continue

Pastor Rex

Friday, May 21, 2010

Is Now And Ever Shall Be

There

is

a deep dull ache

as far down

as the ocean's depth

the towering tip

of a tremendous iceberg

submerged

in immensely vast seas

of utter grief

No place else to be

will not ever be forgotten

not to be lost for ever more

a colossal displacement

a huge void

an infinite, unfulfilled emptiness

a large, inestimable volume of silence

an unspeakable expanse

the extent of which is unfathomable, unknown

Yet

there

is

One Who is, was, and is to come

able

Immeasurably more

Exceedingly, abundantly

Far above, all

any could

ask, think, even imagine

glorious, holy, anointed, mighty

to save, heal, fill, restore

blessing, power, glory and honor forever and ever

Now and not yet

 
 

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Order of Service of Witness to the Resurrection - Melissa Q. Espiritu

A Service of Witness to


Celebrate the Resurrection and the Life in memory of


Melissa Q. Espiritu


July 10, 1960 - March 13, 2010









Organ Prelude Trumpet Voluntary Jeremiah Clark


Andrea Hughes



Musical Offering My Tribute/God is So Good


Ed Dimangondayao


His Eye is on the Sparrow


Sophie and Daniel Buchanon



Opening Words Pastor Bob Maravalli


Prayer of Invocation



*Songs of Praise Awesome God


Blessed Be Your Name


Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone



Old Testament Lesson Psalm 118 Pastor Rose Niles



Personal Reflections Carmen Cash



*Song of Thanksgiving Great Is Thy Faithfulness



New Testament Lessons


John 14:1-6 Pastor Clark Hobbey


2 Corinthians 4:15-5:7 Pastor Jeff Gramza


*Hymn It Is Well With My Soul


Romans 8:18-39



Musical Offering With Hope Steven Curtis Chapman


Levi Velasco




Meditation "Is There Life After Life?" Pastor Bob


Prayer and The Lord's Prayer




Offering of Music You Raise Me Up

Levi and Diane Velasco


Ed Dimangondayao


Andrea and Bryan Hughes




Charge


Benediction




*Song of Assurance In Christ Alone

Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend




*Declaration of Victory over Death




*Postlude Tocatta Widor






* Please stand as you are able.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

with hope….

 
 

This is not at all… how

We thought it was supposed to be

We had so many plans for you

We had so many dreams

And now you've gone away

And left us with the memories of your smile

And nothing we can say

And nothing we can do

Can take away the pain

The pain of losing you, but ...

 
 

We can cry with hope

We can say goodbye with hope

'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no

And we can grieve with hope

'Cause we believe with hope

There's a place where we'll see your face again

We'll see your face again

 
 

And never have I known

Anything so hard to understand

And never have I questioned more

The wisdom of God's plan

But through the cloud of tears

I see the Father's smile and say well done

And I imagine you

Where you wanted most to be

Seeing all your dreams come true

'Cause now you're home

And now you're free, and ...

 
 

We can cry with hope

We can say goodbye with hope

'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no

And we can grieve with hope

'Cause we believe with hope

There's a place where we'll see your face again

We'll see your face again

We'll see your face again

 
 

We have this hope as an anchor

'Cause we believe that everything

God promised us is true, so ...

 
 

We can cry with hope

We can say goodbye with hope

'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no

And we can grieve with hope

'Cause we believe with hope

There's a place by God's grace

There's a place where we'll see your face again

We'll see your face again

 
 

We can cry with hope, say goodbye with hope

 
 

We wait with hope

And we ache with hope

We hold on with hope

We let go with hope

 
 

(by Steven Curtis Chapman)

 
 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 / Hebrews 6:9, 10:23

 
 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Beauty Will Rise!

In and through these last three months of my beloved wife and sweetheart Melissa's journey of now ultimate healing in eternity, we listened and reflected many times together with the songs of Steven Curtis Chapman, as we have done through much of our 22 years of marriage together in the Lord. As a couple in Christ, we have been so blessed to share with each other the deep love of Jesus and the profound grace of Christ our Lord.

 
 

On a recent album, lyrics from the title track resonated with certain themes in our devotions….

 
 

Out of these ashes... beauty will rise

and we will dance among the ruins

We will see Him with our own eyes

 
 

Out of this darkness... new life will shine...

and we'll know the joy is coming in the morning...

in the morning...beauty will rise!

 
 

I can hear it in the distance

and it's not too far away.

It's the music and the laughter

of a wedding and a feast.

I can almost feel the hand of God

reaching for my face

to wipe the tears away, and say,

"It's time to make everything new."

 
 

(from "Beauty Will Rise" by Steven Curtis Chapman)

 
 

I am envisioning today's service of witness to the resurrection and the life as a celebration, in part, in memory of my bride, but more part of the festive tribute of the Bride of Christ, looking forward to that Day of Christ Jesus when we, together with all the saints throughout time and space, will celebrate at the Great Wedding Banquet Table in eternity. Soli Deo Gloria!

 
 

Looking forward to worshiping our Awesome God on this awe-filled day that the Lord has made for us to rejoice and be glad in, I am

 
 

Persevering in the Grip of Grace,

Rex

 
 

Worthy is the Lamb!

 
 

Monday, March 15, 2010

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (NLT) [New Living Translation]

New Living Translation (NLT)

 7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[a] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

 11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.


 

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%204:7-12&version=NLT

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Melissa Q. Espiritu

in the peace bubble... onto eternity with the Lord at 3:00 p.m. EST 13 March 2010 rest well my beloved sweet Melissa in the everlasting arms

 
 

---

 
 

Melissa Q. Espiritu, of New Castle, went onto eternity to be with the Lord Saturday afternoon, March 13, 2010 at her residence. Arrangements are pending at Hinsey-Brown Funeral Service in New Castle.

 
 

http://hinsey-brown.com/pages/details.cfm?obituaryID=547

 
 

Viewing at Hinsey-Brown on Monday, March 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

and Tuesday, March 16 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

 
 

Service of Celebration in Witness to the Resurrection and the Life will be held at First Presbyterian Church, New Castle, Indiana on Tuesday, March 16 at 2:00 p.m.

 
 

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

At Three Months On….

Dear Praying Friends and Family,


As you are aware, we have been much challenged of late. Upon recent reflection, words from the apostle Paul resonate with us here, in hope…


We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we've been going through… We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And God did rescue us from mortal danger, and will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in God, and God will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. (2 Corinthians 1:8-11)


Three months ago this week, as we prayed to know more what we were facing, we were given a more definitive diagnosis of gastric cancer. More than twelve weeks ago this day, I remember… from our conversation with Melissa's oncologist, upon asking what kind of timeframe we might expect to have left, that if we got to three months, it would be a miracle. Well, now, here we are, continuing on, day by day, witnessing God's grace abounding[1], and treasuring every shared moment together as God's perfect gift[2] as we experience love and care, tenderly expressed for one another.


Today along with yesterday and the past weekend has been marked with very low energy for Melissa. We are praying, hopeful for her to regain strength as we aim to have her receive more frequent, moderately high dosage Vitamin C IV treatments (semi-weekly).

Sensing that her body needs "a break" from some of the harder regimens of meds and supplements she had been taking to date, we have also begun letting her rest more and decreasing much of the amounts of prescribed, naturopathic intake while still maintaining appropriate pain management as necessary.

Now and through the days ahead, please pray for Melissa:

  • for the healing, rest, comfort, peace that her body needs;
  • for her energy and strength to increase;
  • for her ability to receive increased nutrition, calories needed, and for her to have healthy weight gain;
  • for our family's adjustment into this new season of her healing journey.

With renewed faith, hope and love for one another in the Lord, we continue

Prayerfully yours, and His,
The Espiritu's


[1] so that, as the Word tells us, in all things, at all times, having all that we need, we would abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8)

[2] every good, perfect gift, coming from above from the Father of the heavenly lights Who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pastoral Prospective on prayersForMelissa.com

21 January 2010


 

News that is pressing… of which we're pressed to hear… and then, News that is reforming, restoring, renewing News for the new year

The First Presbyterian

Pastoral Perspectives

Ears to Hear... Words of Encouragement

"New Year, New Body"

"I AM healing Melissa"

"God is able"

"God is faithful"

"God is on the move"

"Peace, I give to you"

"Do not be afraid"

"I AM with you"

"I AM for you"

Pastoral Prospective on prayersForMelissa.com

As I write this, I am realizing that today is my father's birthday. My Dad would have been 89 years old on this day. A day in which I find myself facing one of, if not the most challenging trials of my life, ever.

Seven weeks ago today, my beloved, sweet Melissa was recovering from acute renal failure and we were being given a preliminary diagnosis of possible ovarian cancer in her abdominal area. Six weeks ago today, her oncologist informed us that this was instead not only stomach cancer, but an unusual, very rare and highly aggressive form already in its late, advanced stage four. As you may imagine, this was devastating news to be delivered, especially for our family with six children, the eldest in college and the youngest age six.

In our prayer life together and individually through the past several weeks, we have been blessed with ears to hear in the spirit some timely words of encouragement listed in the upper left column. You need to know that Melissa and I have gone from praying, asking God to please heal Melissa, to thanking God for the healing we are now already witnessing in Melissa.

At our most recent follow-up visit two weeks ago with her oncologist, we were amazed, realizing how remarkable it is that she is still with us. A week ago, she had energy enough to attend part of our daughter Hannah's swim meet competition, rooting for the Trojan team to "win one for Momma 'E'"!!! :)

No matter what the outcome, our prayers continue to be that God be glorified and faith be increased among us. I remain steadfast in this new season of faith to minister to my wife and family, first and foremost to the glory of God. My family and I thank God for you, each one and all for the love, care, support and compassion we share and experience together as we forge ahead with the challenges of this new year in the Lord Who heals us of all diseases. To God alone be all the glory. In Christ, Pastor Rex