First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

More heart surgery. (Warning: Video requires tissues)

July 11, 2016

    Hi, I am a pastor. I am the luckiest------no, I am the most blessed person in the world. I have been called to serve an amazing church that believes their best days are still ahead of them. Just last night, we gathered at Medlar Field on University Park as Lewistown First UMC celebrated a night at the ballpark. I finagled Pastor Karen and I into getting to throw out first pitches. In my mind, I was going to throw a sizzling pitch that would catch the outside corner and impress the catcher. Let's just say, I will stick with my day job of being husband, father, and grandfather.  All this aside to share another moment when my life changed. It was right after I skipped my 'first' pitch up to the plate (sorry Mr. catcher, I thought I injured him). I went to the back of the line and met Josiah Viera. I knelt down beside him and asked, "What did you think of my pitch?" Josiah replied, "It was alright. It was a good pitch." To understand Josiah's calm demeanor, take a look at this video.

(Just one of many Youtube videos about this amazing lover of baseball. Check out E:60 Josiah's Time)

    Daily living requires me to be aware of people God places in my path and then every once in a while one of those divine appointments instills perspective into my life with unexpected precision. In short, all the honorary 'first' pitch people had their moment in the spotlight. I was honored to throw with dignitaries from Huntingdon county and a young man bound for Air Force boot camp.  My greatest thrill was in being on the same field with Josiah Viera. By most medical opinions, Josiah should not be alive.

    Our life should not be measured so much in what we achieve but more by who we meet and get to know. My life is richer and more meaningful after last night's short but powerful conversation with Josiah. Call it a Holy Spirit moment. It was as though God knew I needed a course correction to curtail any notions I had of self inflated importance. Humbling and edifying are two words I will use to describe my encounter with a young 12 year old boy who has aged to be more like a 120 year old man. You see, Josiah suffers from progeria, a genetic disease with no cure. Through one Everest obstacle after another, Josiah has maintained the same notion, "God will take your hand and He will pull you through it....fight through it"

        "Do you not know? Have you not heard?The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the

        earth.He will not grow tired or weary,and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the

        weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble

        and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles;they

        will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV)

How many times have you and I been faced with insurmountable odds and we entertained the thought of throwing in the towel? How many times have negative situations hardened our hearts and turned us into bitter people? How many times have we planned something with one purpose in mind and God intervened to redirect and have our hearts reshaped? Last night was another chapter in the ongoing saga of Randy's heart surgery.

    It is always a good thing when we stop to assess our heart condition and determine its motivation. It's always a good thing to allow God full access to our hearts so that corrective repairs can be made. It's always a good thing to meet the Josiahs of the world to remind us of the incredible value of life and friendships. Thanks Josiah!

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