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A Previous Virtual Church Message

Home Place

Bob had two more calls to make before lunch. Being a regional sales manager should carry with it a desk job but being in a changing economy, sacrifices must be made to keep your job. Being a cancer survivor and soon to turn 62, Bob had lots of time to think while he drove country back roads selling stainless dairy equipment to some of the nation's largest dairymen. A few more years and he could retire. Unfortunately, his pension had been eaten up by the economy going south and by his parent company being acquired by an overseas firm whose name he could not pronounce.

At the junction of county road 250 East and 300 South his GPS indicated he was supposed to turn right to reach the next dairy farm. However, there was a detour sign that said he was only supposed to turn left. So Bob turned left and found himself on a path few ever take.

Bob drove for about a mile down the country road and suddenly things began to look familiar. Bob grew up in Tennessee but Bob was now in North Dakota. The farther he drove down this lonely country road the more like Tennessee the North Dakota landscape became. Suddenly, Bob saw Ray Brinson's old country store, now boarded up. Ray's old country store was only a mile from Pine River, the river which used to run through Bob's back yard in Willington County Tennessee. The road upon which Bob now traveled curved around to the right and the road suddenly came to an end. The road came to an end right in front of Bob's old home place...the old home place where Bob grew up. Bob was in front of the old home place where Bob longed to live, but it was the old home place where Bob would never be able to live because of his job and finances.

Bob stopped his SUV and just stared at the house. What memories! What a treasure of a place! Bob's dad used to call the home place "heaven on earth" and as Bob got older he got more and more homesick to go back to "heaven on earth." Bob turned off the ignition on the SUV and someone in his late twenties walked out of the front door of the old place. Remarkably, the old place did not look old. In fact, the old place looked brand new. The young gentlemen in his late twenties walked up to Bob's car and said to Bob, "Welcome home, Bob!" Bob was already stunned by being in this place identical to the old home place but Bob was very befuddled at how the young man knew his name. Bob rolled down his driver's side door window and without saying "Hello" Bob asked, "How did you know my name?" The young gentlemen said, "I know your name and I know you want to live here. It is sort of my job as a guide to help you find what you are seeking. Part of my job is to know about the people I welcome home. Why don't you get out of the vehicle and look around." Bob did not hesitate. Bob had not been home to the home place for over thirty-five years. After Bob's parents had passed on the place was sold. Every day, Bob longed to go back. The home place was the only place Bob ever really felt like he belonged and felt like he was at really and truly at home.

The river, Pine River, literally ran through the back yard. For Bob, the river was like a magnet. As soon as Bob got out of the SUV, everything got perfect. Every tree, every bush, every blade of grass, every bird, every cloud in the sky turned perfect. Bob didn't walk inside the house. Instead, Bob walked around the side of the house to the back of the house where the river ran endlessly from season to season and year to year. On this day and in this time, the river with its deep green color and billions of sparkles dashing across the surface of the water was perfect. Fish were jumping, frogs were croaking, and ducks swam to and fro. Everything moved in perfect harmony and unison, like a symphony plays a symphonic masterpiece. The whole scene merged into Bob's heart and soul. Bob had never been more at peace. Bob had never felt more secure. Bob had never felt more loved.

At the far end of the back of the house from where Bob stood, Bob saw someone standing. Bob knew this person yet Bob did not know the gentlemen. Like the guide, this person who Bob knew but did not know was young, perhaps also in his late twenties. The young person who Bob knew but did not know was like everything else in this place, perfect. Bob asked the guide, "Who is he? I know him. I know him like I know myself yet I do not recognize him." The guide softly replied, "He is you. Of course he does not look like you. But that young man is you." Bob then asked, "How can this be? How can I be standing here but be standing over there? He does not look like me but yet I know him. What is going on here?" The guide remarked, "Bob, you are being given a preview. You are being given a preview of your heavenly home. You are looking at your perfect body you will inherit when you reach heaven. You are being given this preview to help you keep your faith, to help you keep going, and to help you help others along the way of life. You are being given this preview to give you the hope of the ages for the hope of the ages is being able to go home, to go home to live in peace and love for eternity. Your father called this place 'heaven on earth' and someday you will come back here and in this heavenly place you will never mourn or grieve, you will never be afraid, you will always be full of love like no one on earth could ever begin to know." Bob tried to soak it all in. Bob tried to soak in the peace and love of this heavenly place. Bob asked, "Would it be alright if I stayed? You know, my life is a mess right now. My wife, Elaine, has died. I have just gone through a bout with cancer. My job is getting tougher and tougher because the farm economy is declining every week. I am doing the job someone half my age should be doing. I live alone. My kids live across the county and I see them only once a year if I'm lucky. I have little reason to live. If you don't mind, I'd like to stay here forever." The guide was silent for a few moments and then said, "Yes, I know about your life. However, it is not your time to come home. There is more work for you to do. There are more roads for you to travel. Of course, I cannot tell you all I know. However, I can tell you God has set forth a mission for you and you must fulfill His great mission before you come here. Although you might not think so, you have an incredibly important life. The people you meet need to see the light you have been given. Every person you meet needs to see the light of God you carry in your soul. You are a good, kind, gentle person. You carry the love of Christ in your soul and even though you do not openly witness about Christ all the time, every person you meet can see our Lord's light within you. God needs you to carry His light and share His light a while longer. After you have achieved His mission for your life, after you have reached God's destination, then it will be time for you to come home. All your family, the ones who have gone before, will be here ready to welcome you. The Pine River will run forever. You will work and never grow weary. You will run and never grow tired. In this place you will live in total and absolute perfection." Upon this explanation Bob began to see he had more purpose in his life than he had realized. Upon this explanation Bob began to see he still had a lot more work to do. Bob replied, "OK, I can wait. For sure, I can wait because I know where I am headed and I am headed home."

John 14:2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (NIV)

Philip. 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (NIV)

Hebrews 11:10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (NIV)

Matthew 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (NIV)

John 3:12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? (NIV)

2 Tim. 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (NIV)

Hebrews 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (NIV)

Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, (NIV)

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (NIV)

A facetious story giving wisdom

This story first appeared in February, 2006, 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