Every Avery Needs an Eleck

In yesterday’s blog I shared about how to be sensitive toward new believers. One person who did that was Eleck Hensley. As we approach graduation our thoughts naturally go to him. Last October when Eleck went to be with the Lord, I wrote this blog. I thought it fitting to share it again:

In Matthew 25 Jesus gives a surprising view of the end of time.  He pictures himself seated on a throne judging people from all the nations.  The people are separated into two groups–just like a shepherd would separate sheep from goats.  Jesus, the King, looks at the ones on his right and says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  Jesus continues, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”  The righteous people answer with surprise that they have ministered to the King like this.  “Lord, when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?”  The King answers, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

When I read this, I was not surprised at the outcome:  God has always rewarded faithfulness and obedience.  I was surprised at the surprise of the righteous people:  they had no idea they had ministered to the King Himself!  I think Eleck, when welcomed into the presence of Jesus the King, was just as surprised.

This weekend, I received an email from Avery Poteat’s father.  You may recall that Avery is the young man with autism whom Eleck nominated as homecoming king, campaigned for and celebrated when he won–just two days before he went to see King Jesus.  Alan, Avery’s dad, wanted us to know the rest of the story:

Dear Hensley Family,
I have heard many wonderful things about Eleck and I just wanted to add what he means to my family.
I asked my son to recount the first time he met Eleck. He said it was in Mr. Jones’ class in the tenth grade. He sat down and Eleck asked him his name. I remember when I asked him how his day had been he said he had met a guy in his class and his name is Eleck. My son sometimes struggles with names and so I challenged his pronunciation of Eleck’s name to which he insisted, “No! His name is Eleck!” Throughout that year when I would inquire how his day had been he would often say, “I had lunch with Eleck and some of his friends,” or sometimes he might tell me something Eleck had said or done. When the yearbooks were delivered that year, my son made sure to show me Eleck’s name. He then proudly said, “I told you daddy; I know my friend’s name.” The thing that I admire about their friendship is that Eleck chose my son, not because of what he could gain in the eyes of the world, but he shows the love and compassion of Jesus.
Moving forward to a couple of weeks ago, my son came in and announced that he had been nominated to the homecoming court. This past Thursday night we were completely surprised by the outcome. As we talked to one of Avery’s teachers it was stated that he had voted for Eleck. The teacher said that she was almost positive that Eleck had voted for Avery. It was then that I had an idea Eleck was the one that had thought so much of someone else that he deferred the possibility of homecoming king. I confirmed this when Brother Jerry was interviewed on WLOS. I would later find out that he had not only campaigned for him, but also stood up to those that would say negative things about my son.  Oh, that we all could have the kind of integrity that God gives and Eleck possesses.
I have used the present tense on some statements because I believe that there are some things left to this story. I cannot fully back this up with the Bible, so as Paul said I speak as a man. It is my deep desire, when I get to heaven and I have worshiped around the throne of God, if it be God’s will to allow me to remember this time, I am going to find Eleck and thank him so much for the love of God that he bestowed to my son.
The other thing that I believe will happen is when my son gets to heaven, if there is a welcoming party that Eleck will be there and say, “Hey pal, we’ve been waiting for you. Come on. Let me take you to see Jesus.”
I close with the words of a song from Andre Crouch.
It Won’t Be Long
It won’t be long… till we’ll be leaving
It won’t be long… till we’ll be going home.
Count the years as months,
Count the months as weeks,
Counts the weeks as days…
Any day now…We’ll be going home.
You all are in my family’s prayers.
W. Alan Poteat
Every Avery needs an Eleck.  Who’s your Avery?

Your People Will Be My People

Turn up the volume on your computer or other device and take 3 minutes to remind yourself of how the timeless story of Ruth unfolds.


5 Reasons What Is Happening Around the World Should Concern You

We see and hear a lot of news–and become numb to it.  Some news simply fills space but other news is important.  We must determine which news matters and which doesn’t.  I am convinced that what’s happening around the world right now really matters.  Here’s why:

  1. History often repeats itself.  During the Civil War Abraham Lincoln said, “Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good.”  Since human beings do not change, history doesn’t necessarily reveal new events, but new human beings acting in the same old ways.  Putin’s antics in Russia should greatly concern any onlooker.  His disregard for human life should disturb us.
  2. Many people are losing their lives for a few peoples’ agendas.  Innocent civilians are dying.  298 people died when the plane was shot down over Ukraine.  Hundreds have died in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.  Most of those who have died have no inherent interest in what is happening–they’re caught in the crossfire of egos and agendas.  Christianity is based on one dying for many, not many dying for one.
  3. There is a growing anti-Christian sentiment around the world.  Kim Jung Un, the current leader of North Korea, has imprisoned 30,000 Christians including entire families, even children.  Just 3 days ago in Mosul (northern Iraq) Christians were forced to either convert to Islam, pay a large sum of money or die.  “We offer [Christians] three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment… if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,” the announcement read.  On Saturday morning, Mosul residents left by the hundreds–walking in Iraq’s summer heat–old and young, able and disabled alike.
  4. You can pray.  No matter where you are, you can be with persecuted Christians through prayer.  You can join families who have lost loved ones by praying for them as they mourn.  We are instructed to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.
  5. Jesus is coming back.  Scripture is clear that an escalation of events like the ones we have recently seen indicate a reality that most of the world chooses to ignore:  Jesus is coming back.  Though history repeats itself, it isn’t cyclical–it’s linear.  History is moving toward a grand climax.  History is His Story–the Gospel is still the centerpiece of all of history.

So what should you do.  Pray.  And one more thing.  I don’t usually do things like this but I recently signed a confessional letter sent to Kim Jung Un of North Korea.  If you want to do the same, here’s the link: letterofconfession.com.

A Different Kind of Fast

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?  Isaiah 58:6-7

Israel was steeped in sin.  God, through his prophet Isaiah, is calling them out.  He surprises them (and us) by his prescription for revival.  It isn’t a series of sermons.  It isn’t a prayer meeting.  It isn’t old fashioned fasting.  As a matter of fact in verse 4 of this same chapter they point out their fasting to God, and bemoan the fact that he hasn’t noticed it.

So he prescribes a new fast to them.  It’s found in verses 6-10 above.  Is not this the fast that I choose…to share your bread with the hungry?  Israel complained because God didn’t see their fast.  God wanted them to give up food…but for someone else.  He instructs them to bring the homeless into their own homes, to cover the naked (with their own clothes)–in other words he says, “don’t hide yourself from your own flesh (other people).”

What is God saying?  Give up food…for someone else.  Give up a bedroom…for someone else.  Give up clothes…for someone else.

And what will happen when they do what God says?

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.  Isaiah 6:8-10

What is God saying?  Worship me, not only with your words, but with your deeds.  Worship me, not only with your deeds, but with your heart.  Then…(read verses 8-10 again!)

For our First Wednesday fast look for opportunities to feed the hungry, house the homeless and clothe the naked.  Tell us about them.  Without breaking anyone’s confidence whom you help, share them on this blog.  We’ll have a time in the service to share brief stories, to brag on God and the opportunities He has given us.