I've waited all week to write this...

Sometimes, I just have to let what is in my 'heart of hearts" simmer there, and develop, and "mature" (if that is possible) before I put it on this piece of "cyber-rental" property. I've wanted to write "this post" all week long....so here goes.

I was profoundly privileged to spend the Easter Weekend in rural North Carolina with my friends, J E And Linnette Brisson. The Brissons were my pastoral family during my first two years of college. He is, by far, the BEST pastor I've ever had, and the BEST preacher I've ever heard (with the late Billy Nettles and my current pastor, Erwin Lutzer tied for second place). In two years, I heard "Brother Brisson" preach through Ephesians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and through a lot of 1 John. He served the Peerless Rd Church for three years (1979-1982), and I started college in August, 1980. I was honored to be one of his sheep for his last two years at this historic church.

But that's not what I want to write about...that was just some "introductory" material. What I want to detail here is how marvelous a time I had with these precious people over a 4.5 day period.

I was just emotionally tired, and needed a break. I'm not sure I've had a "real vacation" in the ten years I've been in Chicago. Visiting family, entertaining out-of-towners, and having surgery is not exactly vacation...even though vacation time was always used for such events.

I arrived in Raleigh, NC last Thursday (April 1) around 4:30 p.m., and my great friend, Pastor Michael Allen, (from Lee days) picked me up at the airport. We then proceeded over to the Brissons' place...some 25 minutes away. It was a lovely afternoon, and thanks to MAPQUEST, we found our destination with no problems, whatsoever.

I had not seen the Brissons since 1990. He had been my pastor some ten years prior, and a twenty-year absence had taken a toll on my heart. I LONGED to see this precious couple for quite a while. They have meant so much to me for so long...and now my heart was beating rapidly with excitement.

It was just a joyous occasion. Sister Brisson (Linnette) had dinner ready for Michael and myself, and it was just delicious. Some fresh rutabegas, mashed potatoes, barbequed chicken, and collard greens. Absolutely YUMMY.....yummy, I say...let me repeat it: YUMMY.

Brother Brisson showed Michael and myself around the "homestead"and quite a tour it was! I loved just everything...and this would be my "home" for the next four days. Always good for humor, both of the Brissons made sure that our "reunion" was filled with joy and laughter.

But what meant the most to me was the "down time." For many, many hours each day, I had the HIGH PRIVILEGE of sitting and talking with one of the heroes in my life. We talked about everything....people we both knew...all the LORD had done for us in the last twenty years, and all that was happening in our lives and the world at the present time. It was so relaxing for me.

This man--whom I adored when he was my pastor--was so kind and gracious and gentle to me now. He was being a "father" to me...almost like the "father" that I never had. Whether it was walking over to feed the chickens (twice a day) and gather their new eggs, or riding the paddleboat out on the small lake...I had my friend's attention. He gladly gave it to me. He refreshed my soul...and I felt it deeply. Profoundly, personally, and deeply refreshed.

A very special time was our prayer time every morning before breakfast. Before we sat down for the morning meal, we got on our knees and talked to the LORD....how my heart rejoiced! How my heart was deeply moved and encouraged. How my heart was powerfully healed and enriched with this simple, yet important discipline.

When I arrived, the host family immediately informed me that "our world has stopped while you are here...." and they meant it. I felt like crying on more than one occasion. These two precious people loved me, refreshed me, and encouraged my heart...and I badly needed it.

Our "visit" came to a close much too quickly....but the LORD knew what I needed. And J E and Linnette Brisson made sure that I would receive it.

I am moved beyond words at their kindness, generosity, and love to me. Some things never change.


Bill (cycleguy) said...

Good tribute Phil to some obviously dear friends and it is obvious why they are so special. Anyone who would say, "Our world comes to a stop while you are here" is saying, "You, and you alone, will be our focus." Cool! Glad you had some down time.

Jackie Johns said...

A great tribute. Thanks for writing it.


This opened my eyes!
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