Preface
That Amazing Junk-Man
The Agony and Ecstasy of a Pastor's Life


Psalm 8:5 says of humans that “You made them a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor” (NRSV). Indeed

We are amazing human beings.
We create shame and havoc.
But above all else we make astonishing stories,
full of surprises,
full of redemption and salvation.

I am attempting to listen to my own life again for the first time.

These stories come from the lives of sinners and saints. As I reflect on the stories, I am realizing again the great gift of redemption.

Can’t you picture God bending low to hear our stories and extend his forgiveness and care? He loves to respond, “You are my beloved child, I am well pleased with you!”

I have come to believe that two groups of people are likely to experience miracles: the very young and the very old. For these, the wall between this life and the next is quite thin. More than at other ages, the old and the young seem to have hearts tuned in and listening. In midlife we seem to be most deaf and unresponsive to God. Make me like young Samuel or like old Simeon! I want to see and hear God! I am looking for thin walls.

I remember the people who have felt the rejection of the church. Their particular chastisement or removal might have happened forty years earlier, but the sting of rejection was still sharp. In camp settings, or even in Sunday morning services, we would sometimes attempt to role-play the original scene. I would offer to play the role of the person who judged or punished. Sometimes healing would take place; sometimes the hoped-for change-of-heart did not follow. Usually some kind of new understanding could be reached.

The stories and miracles in this book are being set to paper for this reason: I would like them to live on as testimony to God’s gracious goodness. He loves to take all our broken pieces and make from them something precious. He is That Amazing Junk-Man!


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Copyright 2007 by Cascadia Publishing House
03/09/07