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Previous Message From Virtual Church

Can Man

I am writing this because no one else from our camp group was able to write well enough to tell you our story. My name is How Dee. No, that is not my real name but everyone in the camp has some kind of nickname and my nickname is How Dee. I, along with several others, live on the outskirts of a Southern town in the United States. We are, what most people call, homeless. Some of us choose to live as we live but some of us live as we live because we have no other choice. Sure, most people think we have a choice but for some of us, living as we live is the only workable option.

One day, a member of our group, Can Man, did not show up any more. We didn't think too much about this because people drift in and out. But one night, as we were all sitting around the fire getting warm, Can Man shows up again. Now Can Man got his name because he collected cans. For Can Man, it got to be a business. He made so much extra cash for himself that he bought a little scooter thing and began pulling a little trailer behind the scooter when he ran his can route. When Can Man showed up again he was really clean and he had on clean clothes like he was living a normal life. That part was not too unusual. A lot of us try to live a regular life from time to time but most of the time we can't do it and we end up back at the camp. Well, anyway, Can Man shows up and he is looking pretty good. Then Can Man says that he saw Jesus. Nobody thought much about what Can Man said because we all have our "experiences" if you know what I mean. Most of us use and when we use we can see all kinds of things. Well, Can Man knew what we were thinking and he said he wasn't using anymore and when he saw Jesus, Can Man said he was clean and sober. Then Can Man said Jesus gave him a rock. Now that kind of got the rest of us going and laughing cause we never heard of Jesus giving out rocks. Can Man pulls this rock about the size of a baseball out of his jacket pocket. The rock looked like a plain old rock from the ground. Then Can Man says to watch and see what happens. Can Man then threw the rock straight up in the air and the rock went up so high we could not see it anymore. All of a sudden the rock turned into a star in the sky. We all just stood there and looked up at this new star in the sky and nobody said a word. At that point, there was just a lot of silence from thirty people down on their luck with no hope. Then Can Man said, "come on down" and the star dropped down out of the sky and turned into the rock we saw at first and the rock landed nice and easy in Can Man's hand just like he had pulled the rock out of his pocket. The rock wasn't even warm from its trip out to outer space or its trip back. Can Man said Jesus told him to tell all of us that He was coming back and Jesus wanted all of us to be one of His special groups on earth. No one said a word. Not one word. Most of us believe in God. We just can't get our act together and we would rather live out here than in a shelter or in an alley.

A week or two later, Doo Dah no longer shows up at camp. Doo Dah is a real regular. He has been out here for years. Then a week later, Doo Dah shows up one evening clean and sober and he says he saw Jesus and Jesus gave him a rock like Can Man. Doo Dah throws his rock up in the air, the rock keeps going up and then becomes a star in the sky. Doo Dah says "come on down" and down the rock floats into Doo Dah's hand. Doo Dah said Jesus told him to tell all of us He was coming back and Jesus wanted all of us to be one of His special groups on earth. This time there were questions like "When is Jesus coming back and what did Jesus look like?" Doo Dah said he couldn't give us any answers because Jesus did not say when He was coming back and Doo Dah said Jesus looked so much like a regular person Doo Dah could not remember what He looked like. Doo Dah was dressed real nice and said he had a regular job and a regular place. Doo Dah looked like he was gaining some weight which he needed to do.

Over the next several weeks, more and more of our original group of thirty began to not show up at the camp. Eventually, I was the only one at the camp. One night, when I was sitting by the fire, all twenty-nine of the other members of the group show up at camp. The all looked really good, and they all said they were clean and sober and they all said saw Jesus and Jesus gave them a rock. Then all of them brought out their rock, threw their rock up into the heavens and all the rocks turned into stars forming a new constellation. The constellation was in the shape of "JC" which I found hilarious.

Several of the members of the group wanted to know if I wanted to see Jesus and I said "No, I'm too chicken. I'm just too scared to see Jesus. It is not that I don't believe, it is just that in my mind you don't see Jesus until you are dead and I prefer to stay alive for a while longer." We all had a good laugh. One of the guys said he would guarantee I had nothing to fear. He bribed me with a free steak dinner by promising me a free steak dinner if seeing Jesus made me scared. I got to thinking about it and I was pretty hungry at the time. Since I was so hungry for a steak dinner I decided I wanted to see Jesus and if seeing Jesus could get me a steak dinner at the cost of fear, I would eat steak.

When I said I wanted to see Jesus, even to get a steak dinner, I saw Him. He was laughing and everyone else saw Him laughing like I did. Jesus said I was not going to get a rock, I was going to get a steak bone which got a lot of guffaws and howls from the thirty of us. Jesus told me the same thing He told everyone else about coming back. I cannot tell you what He looked like or when He is coming back. All I know is He is coming back like He said He would. Before He left, He gave me a steak bone which I threw up in the air but it just fell down to earth like normal. The steak bone did not turn into a star. One of the dogs at the camp saw the bone hit the ground. When the bone it the ground, the dog grabbed the bone and we haven't seen the dog or the bone since. I wonder if they both went to Heaven?

The ending to the story is the thirty of us started a church and outreach center for people who are down on their luck. We all now have more or less regular jobs and more or less regular lives. Every day we think today will be the day but when every day is not the day it doesn't make any difference because we are all so happy doing the Lord's work it doesn't make any difference to us whether He comes back today or ten thousand years from now.

Matthew 24:44 (NIV) So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Matthew 26:64 (NIV) "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Mark 14:62 (NIV) "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Luke 21:27 (NIV) At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Acts 1:11 (NIV) "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

1 Cor. 1:7 (NIV) Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.

1 Cor. 4:5 (NIV) Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

Philip. 4:5 (NIV) Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

1 Thes. 5:23 (NIV) May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Tim. 6:14 (NIV) to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Titus 2:13 (NIV) while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Hebrews 9:28 (NIV) so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Hebrews 10:37 (NIV) For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.

James 5:8 (NIV) You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.

2 Peter 3:10 (NIV) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

1 John 2:28 (NIV) And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

Rev. 3:11 (NIV) I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

Rev. 22:7 (NIV) "Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book."

Rev. 22:20 (NIV) He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon."

A facetious story giving wisdom

This story first appeared in November, 2005, in the Virtual Church web site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018