Monday, November 27, 2006

Ever Been Pulled Over By An Ambulance?

Ever Been Pulled Over By An Ambulance?

The other morning at 0500 we get a call for a "Man down" in a vehicle.
This call is way, way out in the boonies, almost out of our coverage area.

We roll up and these to cats are zonked, dead to the world.
My partner and I start banging on the windows on both sides.

They wake up, roll down the windows and tell us they were tired and just needed a nap.
We smell no alcohol on or about their persons (Though we couldn't tell if their eyes were red from just being awakened or being baked out of their goreds) and we are, after all, only Paramedics so we can't detain them....they drive off....

We are heading the same way anyway so we followed behind them, though if they headed the other direction we more than likely wood have followed them that way too.

No sooner do they get out onto the highway, but they start weaving back and forth into both lanes AND shoulder.

We follow them for a couple of miles and decide that they are either going to kill themselves or someone else. We like running on good traumas like most Medics, but we would rather prevent them from happening in the first place.
So we decide to pull them over.

We flash the lights and I get on the PA,

"Pull over....Place your vehicle in park...turn the ignition off...take your keys out of the ignition...keep your hands where I can see them..."

My partner and I walk up on each side with our flashlights shining at them.
We start lecturing them until police arrive. They start making excuses that they were so tired, blah, blah, blah...(Hmmm...they were baked)

Cops responded rather quickly and were rolling with laughter when they showed up.
They patted us on the back and gave us Kudos for our first traffic stop.

Can you imagine....How embarrassing...

"Dude, we got stopped by an ambulance. We gotta swear we tell NO ONE."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I have never been much of a Ted Haggart fan.
Not that I really had anything against him, it's just that for years I attended a church that goes through flavor of the month phases.
Every once in a while everyone there thinks someone; some place or something is the greatest and go overboard with it.
If anyone knows me, they know that I tend to buck convention.
I don't think I'm a rebel or maverick I just don't like to go with the popular flow.
American society is a society of lemmings and the American church is no different within their micro culture.
Ted Haggart was one of those "things" my old church obsessed with.
Even though that's the case my heart is broken by recent events.
I know that so many people looked up to him and were unhinged by recent events.
Before we jump to rash conclusions, judgments or criticisms we need to look to scripture to get perspective on it.

Romans 3:22-24
..Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus..

James 2:10
"For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all."

1 John 1: 8-10
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we haven't sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

We can be disappointed. We can be feel grief or heartache, but we can't shake our heads or point our fingers in judgment. We can't say or even think that it will never happen to us.
As soon as we do, our pride sets us up.

Proverbs 18:12
"Before Destruction the heart of man is proud, but before honor is humility."

I don't know if anyone has had an opportunity to read the letter that Ted Haggart wrote to his congregation. I'll include the letter that Gayle, his wife wrote as well.

Ted's Letter:

To my New Life Church family:

I am so sorry. I am sorry for the disappointment, the betrayal, and the hurt. I am sorry for the horrible example I have set for you.

I have an overwhelming, all-consuming sadness in my heart for the pain that you and I and my family have experienced over the past few days. I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment to all of you.

I asked that this note be read to you this morning so I could clarify my heart's condition to you. The last four days have been so difficult for me, my family and all of you, and I have further confused the situation with some of the things I've said during interviews with reporters who would catch me coming or going from my home. But I alone am responsible for the confusion caused by my inconsistent statements. The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem.

I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life.

For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

Through the years, I've sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving to be effective in me. Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn't want to hurt or disappoint them.

The public person I was wasn't a lie; it was just incomplete. When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.

The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry. Our church's overseers have required me to submit to the oversight of Dr. James Dobson, Pastor Jack Hayford, and Pastor Tommy Barnett. Those men will perform a thorough analysis of my mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical life. They will guide me through a program with the goal of healing and restoration for my life, my marriage, and my family.

I created this entire situation. The things that I did opened the door for additional allegations. But I am responsible; I alone need to be disciplined and corrected. An example must be set.

It is important that you know how much I love and appreciate my wife, Gayle. What I did should never reflect in a negative way on her relationship with me. She has been and continues to be incredible. The problem is not with her, my children or any of you. It was created 100 percent by me.

I have been permanently removed from the office of Senior Pastor of New Life Church. Until a new senior pastor is chosen, our Associate Senior Pastor Ross Parsley will assume all of the the responsibilities of the office. On the day he accepted this new role, he and his wife, Aimee, had a new baby boy. A new life in the midst of this circumstance - I consider the confluence of events to be prophetic. Please commit to join with Pastor Ross and the others in church leadership to make their service to you easy and without burden. They are fine leaders. You are blessed.

I appreciate your loving and forgiving nature, and I humbly ask you to do a few things.

1.) Please stay faithful to God through service and giving.

2.) Please forgive me. I am so embarrassed and ashamed. I caused this and I have no excuse. I am a sinner. I have fallen. I desperately need to be forgiven and healed.

3.) Please forgive my accuser. He is revealing the deception and sensuality that was in my life. Those sins, and others, need to be dealt with harshly. So, forgive him and, actually, thank God for him. I am trusting that his action will make me, my wife and family, and ultimately all of you, stronger. He didn't violate you; I did.

4.) Please stay faithful to each other. Perform your functions well. Encourage each other and rejoice in God's faithfulness. Our church body is a beautiful body, and like every family, our strength is tested and proven in the midst of adversity. Because of the negative publicity I've created with my foolishness, we can now demonstrate to the world how our sick and wounded can be healed, and how even disappointed and betrayed church bodies can prosper and rejoice.

Gayle and I need to be gone for a while. We will never return to a leadership role at New Life Church. In our hearts, we will always be members of this body. We love you as our family. I know this situation will put you to the test. I'm sorry I've created the test, but please rise to this challenge and demonstrate the incredible grace that is available to all of us.

Ted Haggard

Gayle's Letter:

Dear Women of New Life Church,

I am so sorry for the circumstances that have led me to write this letter to you today. I know your hearts are broken; mine is as well. Yet my hope rests steadfastly in the Lord who is forever faithful.

What I want you to know is that I love my husband, Ted Haggard, with all my heart. I am committed to him until death "do us part". We started this journey together and with the grace of God, we will finish together.

If I were standing before you today, I would not change one iota of what I have been teaching the women of our church. For those of you who have been concerned that my marriage was so perfect I could not possibly relate to the women who are facing great difficulties, know that this will never again be the case. My test has begun; watch me. I will try to prove myself faithful.

I love you all so much, especially you young women - you were my delight.

To all the church family of New Life Church - Ted and I are so proud of you. You are all we hoped you would be. In our minds, there is no greater church.

As you try to make sense of these past few days, know that Ted believes with all his heart and soul everything he has ever taught you, those things you are putting into practice. He is now the visible and public evidence that every man (woman and child) needs a Savior.

We are grateful for your prayers for our family.

I hold you forever in my heart.

Gayle Haggard

I've heard some people comment, "But how can we trust what he says now?"
True that once someone has wounded us trust is hard to earn back.
Wouldn't you want the benefit of the doubt if you'd been one to make a mistake?
When you and I make mistakes, even big ones, the world isn't usually shouting it from the rooftops. (Though one day all of our sins will be)
The enemy thinks that he scored a victory. What an opportunity to see what healing the Lord can do. We expect God's grace when it comes to our own transgressions, but we find it hard to extend that grace to others, especially when they are in leadership. We expect our leaders to be infallible. There is only one who is perfect. He is the one that is most grieved through this all, but He is the one who will be glorified in this when His people act with compassion, healing, mercy and forgiveness.

I have been moved by the song "Broken & Beautiful" by Mark Schultz and think that it's really appropriate for this time. JMHO.

Mark Schultz - Broken & Beautiful
From the album Broken & Beautiful

There’s a businessman, there’s a widowed wife
A smiling face with a shattered life
A teenage girl with a choice to make
It’s crowded here in church today

And the preacher says as the sermon ends
Please close your eyes, bow your heads
Is there anyone in need of prayer,
Oh Jesus wants to meet you here

Cause we all fall short, and we all have sinned
But when you let, God’s grace break in

It’s Beautiful, Beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful

Well he’d never been to church before
But he came today as a last resort
His world was crashing in
And he was suffocating in his sin

But tears rolled down as hope rushed in
He closed his eyes, raised his hands
Worshipping the God who can
Bring him back to life again

And it’s beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful

Cause there’s nothing more beautiful at all
Than when His sons and daughters call, broken

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Come as you are
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Come as you are

Broken and beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful
Come as you are
Broken and beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart

Broken and beautiful
Broken and beautiful
Broken and beautiful

Remember, "There but for the grace of God, goes [I]"

John Bradford-Circa 1550