Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry
(1 Corinthians 12:28)

Following in the footsteps of the Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke, Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry exists by the grace of God to further the first century Apostolic tradition serving in the Great Commission.

(St. Matthew 28:16-20)

The Anchor Of Sentimentality That May Drown You

What price will you pay for some sentimentality?

- Bud Green, Les Brown & Ben Homer

Gonna take a sentimental journey,
gonna set my heart at ease.
Gonna make a sentimental journey
to renew old memories.

Got my bag, I got my reservation,
spent each dime I could afford.
Like a child in wild anticipation
long to hear that 'All aboard'.
Seven, that's the time we leave,
at seven.

I'll be waiting up for heaven,
countin' every mile of railroad track
that takes me back.

Never thought my heart could be so yearny.
Why did I decide to roam?

Gotta take this sentimental journey,
sentimental journey home.

The bookshelf did not appear to be as old as it was. In fact, how old really was it?

Being purchased in 1947 at a commonplace thrift shop located in Wisconsin, the Badger State; it then found its way eastward to a home in New York, the Empire State. Abiding there for a time and a season and without notice given to the bookshelf, it found itself traveling westward across state after state finally finding a respite in California, the Golden State.

After continuing to be in one place for a noticeable period of time, once again, without a consult and with no apparent hesitation or reservation, the bookshelf was removed from its habitat and placed inside an apartment den. Now on a lonely early morn just before dawn, without its own awareness, the future of the bookshelf was being reflected upon. Or was the bookshelf aware?

Feeling uneasy I called my ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics), sponsor in order to get guidance and direction.

John: “Hello.”

Rick: “Hello, John its Rick. I really need to talk with you this morning.”

John: “What time is it?”

Rick: “It’s a little before 3:00 a.m.”

After A Moment Of Silence.

John: “Okay, what’s going on?”

Rick: I have this bookshelf that I really feel uncomfortable having stay with me. I can’t really explain it. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, ever since I was a child. Now, my dad is dead and I really feel uncomfortable having it in my presence. Yet, there is this anchor of sentimentality that I feel regarding it. I want to get rid of it and yet, if I do, I feel guilt and frustration. It is the only remaining piece of furniture that I have left from my childhood home.

John: “Tell me more of what you are sensing, what are you feeling Rick.”

Rick: “Okay. Well as you know I’m adopted. I was adopted at eight months old. It seems to me that I keep this bookshelf around because somehow I sense that by having this bookshelf I am connected to a family, a family experience which I really never actually had. For, had I really been a part of a healthy family, I would not be calling you in the middle of the night. I would not be having emotions going up and down like a yoyo about getting rid of this stupid bookshelf in the first place.”

John: “Why is that Rick?”

Rick: “I’ll tell you why John, it’s because I would have a lot more personal stuff from my childhood I suppose. And this bookshelf would not mean so much to me. Remember what I said, since my dad is passed this is all that I have left from my childhood home. Everything is gone buddy, everything!”

John: “Well then Rick, what do you want to do? Do you want my permission to say it is okay, it is alright for you to give away your bookshelf, to let it go?” Others may use the ole cliché, “Do what makes you happy.” I say, “Do what makes you healthy!”

Rick: “I hear you John and thanks. I will do just that. Take care and thanks buddy for being there.”

Hanging up the phone, Rick walked slowly across the warm living room carpet, over the cold linoleum kitchen floor to his stainless steel refrigerator. Opening the icebox a cool light breeze enveloped David’s facial features. David began to hear the sound of ice crackling as the dark diet cola made its way, cascading down the sides of his frozen Waterford crystal glass. Moving through the living room, glass in hand David made his way back to his old reliable recliner. With the sounds of George Winston’s piano, playing in the background, lifting the ice-cold glass to his lips, as David refreshed himself he began to recall how he had chosen Coca Coal over Pepsi Cola during the Pepsi Challenge event that was sponsored by the Pepsi Cola Company a few days earlier at a local super market. Now less than a week had gone by and a new challenge was waiting for him. This time it was serious and not for public display. It was waiting in the winds of the theater of his mind. Would he choose his feelings for sentimentality or would he choose his gut instinct.

Taking another sip Rick began to once again reminisce. The year was 1961. Rick began to recall how he was called to the family den by his father. "Son, go and get your swimming ribbon collection and show them to Mr. Searfoss." Rick scurried off to his room. Not returning and becoming impatient, excusing himself, Rick’s father went to find him.

As his father entered Rick's room, he angrily asked, "Where are those swimming ribbons, those ribbons that you won?"

A flurry of slaps across the face and side of the head were lashed out.

"They're here Dad. I know they are. Just give me a minute and I'll find them. I will dad."

Again Rick was struck by his father with his fists. Tiring, Rick’s father turned to his leather belt. A small gust of air filled the bedroom as the leather belt came across the back of Rick’s little seven-year-old calves.

The breeze cooled Rick’s skin from the heat of the lash.

"Where are those ribbons?"

Through clinched teeth, a grimacing look of terror, curdling screams of anguish, the child once again spoke,

"I'll find them, dad, they are here somewhere. I know it. I'll find them for you, dad, I'll find them."

During this horrific beating, David's blue eyes looked up at his mother's green eyes. She just stood silently at her boy's bedroom entrance. His tortured screams, the sound of his father’s fists and leather belt hitting her son had drowned out anything she may have or not have wanted to say.

In an adjacent room, just down the hall, an earshot away sat a portly figure of a man, Don Searfoss, the child’s father’s business associate. It was he whom Rick’s father wanted to impress by showing off his youngster’s swimming ribbons which were won during the last two summers while swimming for a local private swim club.

Rick stopped rocking and began to move around in his recliner chair attempting to get more comfortable. Rick continued to sip on his diet cola. This was not the first time that Rick thought back to that terrorizing event. Now in 1985, Rick had been living with haunting memories of that day for approximately twenty-five years.

“My son, my boy, at such a young age of six and seven has won so many swimming ribbons during swimming competitions.”

Rick’s father had built up his son to be an accomplished young swimming star to Searfoss and now without the ribbons in his mind’s eye his son was nothing.

Growing impatient, without ever witnessing the ribbons for himself, Searfoss departed. Since Searfoss left without ever eyeballing the ribbons for himself, Rick’s father took it very personally as though Searfoss believed him to be a liar. It was as though Searfoss had called his bluff in a game of poker. Rick’s father lost the poker pot without being able to show the ribbons, thus the seven year old took the brunt of this forty four year old man’s self induced prideful embarrassment.

A few minutes after Searfoss left Rick’s dad returned to the bedroom. God only knows what would have occurred next however something miraculous happened. It was just as Rick testified during this modern day inquisition, located inside a scrap book, stacked inside the bookshelf; Rick found the no longer alleged swimming ribbons. With this find, Rick was restored to a place of prominence within his father’s eyes. Within an hour from the moment he first retrieved the blessed ribbons, a cowboy hat was sitting tall upon Rick's head that was still aching from his father's blows. Taking young Rick to the local amusement park to buy him a cowboy hat was his father’s way of showing remorse to the family and to Rick in order to atone for his sins, the sin of almost beating the young lad to death.

Now twenty-five years later, here in Rick’s own den, in his own apartment, rested that same bookshelf. The same bookshelf those twenty-five years earlier that had held a scrap book which held those swimming ribbons that he earned swim racing for his swim team during the two summers when was six and seven years old.

The bookshelf was not as heavy as it appeared. The bookshelf was actually only about six feet long and four feet high. It was made of real old fashion wood and not with this modern pressboard that is common in today’s manufacturing of furniture. It had many sections rows however, so that its value, by appearance, may fool the novice onlooker. It had room for a lot of books.

It was first purchased in 1947 at a commonplace thrift shop, located in Wisconsin, the Badger State, home of Rick’s adopted family. It had stayed in the family since then and now it seemed like a genie being returned to his bottle, the shelf may have finally reached the end of the line, for it to be used for what it was designed for.

The feeling of dread had once again appeared to get rid of it ASAP. Giving the bookshelf a reprieve from being destroyed, Rick placed the bookshelf at the trash containers leaving it all in one piece.

It seemed unusually warm to Rick being it was a little after three in the morning. Rick interpreted the warm feeling to be contributed by what he was undertaking not particularly to the local weather conditions. Retuning to his apartment, opening his front door and stepping inside to the foyer, Rick was met with what may be best described as a think invisible fog. Yet, this invisible fog seemed so thick to Rick that had he a sharp knife he believed that he would be able to slice through it as one may slice through a fresh oven baked slim, two-foot long French baguette.

This invisible fog also added a unique glow, a glow resonating fear; I mean FEAR seemed to be personified throughout the den as well as part of the living room. You know fear, the fear you feel when you are walking alone late at night. You sense you’re being followed. The hairs on the nape of your neck stand upright and when you quickly turn around to look there is no one there. That’s the best way to describe this “fear;” that seemed now to inundate it’s presence through the apartment.

Turning around in the apartment, an uninvited guest appeared standing in an area of the apartment just in between the entrance to the den and where the living room met. Rick focused his eyes. He could see it as he could see the fog and sense the fear. Something was there and it was not. If what Rick saw was to be described to local law enforcement, Rick would say a male, average build and about six feet tall. Rick sensed that he was pouting having his arms crossed. The face and other bodily features were undetectable. It was as though he was a whirl wind of energy, a funnel of wind held together and yet not in the tangible sense as we who are human beings are having a body of flesh, blood and bone.

Rick discerned it was a spirit, a demon. Being a Christian, Rick began to pray. Prayer, at this time appeared to lead to no avail. The demon would not leave the room and the presence of fog resonating out this presence of fear stayed as well.

Rick once again used the telephone for support. This time he called a fellow Christian, Nancy whom he knew had knowledgeable experience in Christian spiritual warfare. Together, the two prayed over the phone. Simultaneously, Rick and Nancy discerned the same idea. Rick was to break apart the bookshelf.

Hanging up the phone, Rick returned to where he left the bookshelf minutes earlier. There it was just as he had left it. Rick prayerfully broke apart the bookshelf. Returning to his apartment he opened his apartment front door. The demon’s presence was gone alone with the fog like presence of fear. Rick walk away to his bedroom and had a fresh peaceful sleep for the first time in a long time.

During the next few days while praying, some accepted wisdom occurred to Rick.

First: It had been this demon that had blinded his eyes years ago from finding those swimming ribbons.

Second: It had been this demon that had set in motion Rick’s father into beating on him so cruelly.

Third: The demon is a spirit not subject to our physical dimensional plain. Someway, mysteriously, the demon and the bookshelf had a connection. Through this bookshelf this demon used it as a conduit to cause the haunting memory to linger all those years of that horrific beating Rick’s father gave him which the demon had some connection to. Now with the bookshelf had been broken into unusable pieces, the demon’s connection with the bookshelf was forever broken. He had to leave, and thus the demon’s power was forever defeated.

Rick still remembers that day and the memory of how his father beat him and treated him after finding the swimming ribbons still is in his memory. What is gone since that 3:00 a.m. hour in 1985 and has not returned now for over twenty three years, is the tormenting mental and emotional haunting of that day in 1961, when a forty four year old man’s self induced prideful embarrassment manifested itself into a homicidal rage resulting almost in beating his young seven year old son to death. The demon has not returned either.

Lastly: It was the Blessed Holy Spirit wooing through His eternal love inspired me to get rid of that old so called sentimental bookshelf in order that I may be healed. Thank God for his blessed grace, Amen.

Thanksgiving for God’s Comfort

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer. And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you will share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living. Indeed we felt as if the sentence of death had been passed against us, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. He delivered us from so great a risk of death, and he will deliver us. We have set our hope on him that he will deliver us yet again, as you also join in helping us by prayer, so that many people may give thanks to God on our behalf for the gracious gift given to us through the help of many. 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

In Jesus name,

Brother Richard, MS Ed
Brother Richard, MS Ed

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