donloyw's Journey Notes
Volume 16

December 2016

Congratulations! Christ Has Come! Why the Lights are Still Lit

Carole was born on the shortest/darkest day of the year (Winter Solstice). But it’s on that date that the days start getting longer and brighter. For that reason, while I celebrate her birth date, I continue to celebrate for a week or more and all year long (because her presence brightens my life).

Also, on Christmas Day, we celebrate the coming of Christ into a dark world to be our Savior. On the days before, we enjoy the anticipation, but it’s on Christmas Day that the celebration begins, not ends. So while we begin decorating our home and Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, it is only in anticipation of the celebration which begins on Christmas Day. This means, the lights on the tree and in the windows are brightest on Christmas Day and are not turned off for at least a week or so in celebration of the real reason for the season.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 16L27

November 2016

The Jump Up and Down

I don’t dance (some men don’t dance or wear flip flops), but in 1983 when Ronald Reagan won the election, I did the Jump Up and Down by myself in a hotel room. When Donald Trump was elected President, I did the Jump Up and Down with my wife in our den.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 16K09

October 2016

Support for Downsizing a Church

When asked why GracePoint doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter or other social media to communicate our message (The Grace Perspective), I explain that it is not intended for an open forum, that we communicate it through personal emails only to those who request it. All of which makes for a small audience.

When asked why I don’t write a book, I explain that more books don’t need to be written to interfere or conflict with the time needed to read a Book which has already been written that surpasses all others.

When ask why I don’t pastor a traditional church (GracePoint is a grace renewal “come and receive” church, not a performance-driven “go and give” church), I explain that traditional churches often exist to
  • provide support and opportunity for guilt and ego driven service in the community to help circumvent the outcome of poor choices,
  • teach what they think the Bible says, and
  • raise money in order to
    • build buildings and programs,
    • increase attendance, and
    • pay salaries. 
Jokingly I say sometimes that I might consider a traditional church that wants to downsize (maybe to meet in the broom closet). That’s because the ministry support I give (for learning how to read the Scripture in order to hear God in order to experience Christ to a fuller measure each day in order to manifest his Likeness in the world beginning at home) is not a popular or welcomed message. It resulted in the crucifixion of Christ, the martyrdom of his disciples, and the persecution of the First Century Church.

Members would leave the church in droves, especially if they are addicted to
  • entertainment music,
  • codependent relationships called fellowship (but not the koinonia of Scripture),
  • whooptalyptics preaching or either profound sounding intellectualizing to learn what the Bible says (not the same as understanding what it means), and especially
  • feel-good, ego, and guilt motivated programs to superficially relieve the pain of the needy. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 16J09

Growing Older Just Getting Started

I was born on this day a lot of years ago. Someone said I had more life behind me than I had ahead of me. I said, “Are you kidding! How can that be if I have eternal life?”

  • I still have opportunity in this life to help hurting people learn how to read the Scripture in order to hear and experience Christ.
  • Then, during the Kingdom Age, the “Thousand Year Reign of Christ on Earth,” I will be assigned the most useful ministry I ever had for helping hurting people learn how to read the Scripture in order to hear and experience Christ. Our message of grace will be very relevant and the most sought after at that time.
  • And then in Heaven for eternity I will provide support for experiencing Christ to the saints for eternity. 
Right now, I am just a kid and the ministry God has given us has just now gotten started.

DonLoy Whisnant/Journey Notes 16J06

September 2016

Dreaming About Pastoring a Performance Church

I dreamed last night that I pastored a church of smiling members, except they were hired actors. Visitors to the church were impressed. But we could not afford the actors for more than one service a week, so we met only on Sunday morning.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 16I03

August 2016

Delighting in God’s Plan for Parenting

I dreamed last night that I was at a church picnic where many families were present. But instead of the children being rowdy and loud, they were mannerly and composed. Thinking about the reason for this, I understood in my dream that the children had parents who were caring and supportive (not the same as doting and permissive) and that the oldest of the mannerly and composed children influenced the younger. What a delightful dream!

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 16H16

July 2016

Feeling Pressured to Please the President

After watching the GOP convention last night and thinking about Trump’s VP choice, that his role would be to subordinate himself to support the policies of the President, I dreamed I was invited by Trump to serve in his cabinet as a spiritual advisor. He “wined and dined” me, took me to his home, and I even slept in his bed which had his policies written on the bed cover. At first, while I was happy for the opportunity, I felt a bit pressured to do a good job and to win the President’s approval. But then he asked me to bake a cake. I told him I didn’t bake cakes. He asked how he could know whether or not I could bake. I said he wouldn’t. He lowered his head and said okay. I woke up and then went back to sleep to dream that I was at a function with him and felt pressured to be perfect. Then I thought, “I am a Pastor and Elder; this relationship is not appropriate.” So I resigned.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 16G22

June 2016

Hanging out with Donald

I dreamed last night that Donald Trump and I were buddies. He had an interest in me hanging out with him for some reason. At some point in my dream he offered to help me make financial investments that would make me rich. I told him that would be okay but that making money was not what I was all about. He asked me what I was all about. I quoted Acts 20:28,”I want to finish the race and complete the task God has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” He looked at me as if he had never heard of such a thing. Later, he said he had thought about what I said and would support me for doing that. He asked what I would name such a ministry. I said, “Christ for the World.” Then I woke up.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 16F01

May 2016

“Déjà Vu All Over Again”: Learning Again a Lesson from Losing

I write in my testimony that my earlier marriage, parenting, and ministry failed, that it was because my understanding of Christian living and ministry was performance based – meaning that I was highly motivated to be the world’s best Christian, a Champion for Christ, and also that I depended hugely on hype and emotions (fear, guilt, and ego) to drive my performance at home and in the church. I have been in recovery from that failure for 33 years.

Now, as of recent, I must add to my testimony another failure: This one driven, 
  • not just by a sensible need to be physically healthy, athletic, and without decline even into my later years (“strength unabated” as was Moses and Joshua), but 
  • by a stubborn desire to improve each year despite my age and family history.  
The problem was not that I made physical demands of myself but that I began in 2015 using a caffeine supplement to increase energy/metabolism which, according to doctors, caused a heart arrhythmia (A-Fib) and eventually a sudden onset of vertigo-type symptoms (the result of an injury [blood clot] to the part of the brain that controls balance). I have been in recovery for about four months and will need, I am told, another several months for my injury to heal.

From this experience I have learned (again) that the outcomes God gives are 
  • not the result of heroic performances, but 
  • the result of taking time each day to include his Provisions of Grace into our lives, 
  • always redemptive (appropriate to and sufficient for our health and happiness),
  • according to his Law of Sowing and Reaping, and
  • always “without regret” (ametamélētos) (Romans 11:29).  
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 16E28

April 2016

Update: Working thru Recovery

Overachieving is
  • attempting to perform at a level beyond the strength and skills needed to support the performance,
  • usually driven by an unmet temperament need
    • to be significant (to be a hero, experience power and prestige),
    • for approval and acceptance - from people but also from God,
    • to be successful, and
    • to feel useful, and
  • often aided by stimulant (rather than natural) energy. 
The result is always injury. It occurs in different arenas of life, including education, workplace, and sports.

It occurs also in ministry.

The Body of Christ is fraught with Church leaders who have
  • suffered the injuries of overachievement,
  • attempting to do God’s Work,
  • impulsively,
  • in the wrong place and at the wrong time,
  • without his enablement/support, and
  • superficially motivated by wildfire emotions -
    • guilt (“Christ died for me, I must live for him!”),
    • fear (to stay out of trouble with God), and
    • ego (to be a hero to people and a Champion for Christ). 
Personally, I can speak to the injuries in ministry.

During my earlier ministry, I missed understanding that God does his Work in specific places through vessels he calls, prepares, and appoints in his own timing according to his Will. So I jumped into the fray
  • impulsively and ill prepared (having some human strengths and skills as the world determines it, but too little of the support Christ provides per Matthew 11:28-30 and John 15:1-8),
  • motivated, of course, by the desire to bring the lost to Christ for salvation, but
  • driven also (as I am willing to confess now) by my unmet temperament needs as stated above. 
The result was injury and loss. But instead of the failure driving me away from God into despair, God used the experience to call me into a different relationship with him beginning especially 28 years ago, leading to ongoing healing and renewal for meaningful ministry through GracePoint.

I can also speak to the injuries that are the result of trying to perform athletically to a level beyond my strength.

At the beginning of last year, despite growing older, I set out to better my running times and endurance as in previous years. I had read that athletes drank lots of coffee before events to improve performance, so I foolishly began using caffeine supplements before my runs. As a result, I developed an irregular heartbeat (A-Fib) (which I may have already been subject to genetically given my age and family history) which doctors say caused an injury (blood clot) to the area of my brain that controls balance.

So instead of increased performance, my running speed and endurance was cut in half. I expect to recover with hard work, sufficient rest, and proper nutrition, but without the caffeine supplements.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 16D30

March 2016

Recovering to Become a Zero: A Mixup in Rehab

At my first visit to rehab following an injury, the therapist and I had our scales mixed up when she asked me to rate how I felt. Thinking 5 was good, I said 4.

“I’m sorry you are that sick,” she said.
“It’s not that bad,” I said.
“No, 4 is not good; we don’t want you to be a 4,” she said.
“I thought 4 was pretty good,” I said.
“No,” she said, “zero is good.”
“I don’t want to feel a zero,“ I said.
“But if zero means no pain, we want you to feel a zero,” she explained.
“Oh!” I said. “So, I am a 1 and definitely want to be a zero!”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 16C30

A Different Day When the Party’s Over: Dreaming About a Renewed Church

Last night I dreamed our community was under siege by terrorists. Suddenly, the party was over: Recreation and entertainment lost their appeal, raucous laughter and folly ceased, God’s name was no longer profaned, and both saints and sinners filled the churches, not for programs and social life, but for extended hours of confession of brokenness and need for support to experience Christ. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/JourneyNotes 16C28

Missed Support, a Guarantee for Superficial Success

Failure is a powerful teacher. (That's why we learn quickly not to put our hands on a hot stove.) But from the beginning it was God’s plan for us to be supported in our formative years by resources in the home and Church and even community (parents, pastors, and mentors) for learning how to make wise choices so that we would be spared having to learn mostly from our failures – which is painful and takes much, much longer.

I could have been saved from unmet psychological needs (for information, affection, and structure) if earlier in my life I had been supported for learning 
  • how to experience God through Scripture reading and quiet-time worship and that
  • his relationship to and through us to others is organic. 
As it turned out, left in my ignorance, I was driven by the need to perform heroics (overachieve) which almost always guarantees failure – both in
  • my home and ministry (which I experienced over 30 years ago), and also
  • physical health (which I experienced this year). 
In both cases, I had information and support, but they were not complete. I had some success as the world understands it, but in many ways it was superficial and not enduring.

DonLoy Whisnant/Journey Notes 16C07
February 2016

Set Back Pressing to Perform

Several weeks ago (January 14), I experienced a sudden onset of vertigo-type symptoms (severe dizziness, nausea, and weakness). I recovered in about 18 hours. About a day later, I experienced the same symptoms, but recovered in about 10 hours. After about a day, the symptoms returned with force. I vomited for four hours and could not stand up. When Carole returned home from work she found me slumped over in the bathroom. She helped me crawl to the shower, and then called EMS. I was in Cone Hospital for two weeks.

As I understand it now, my problem may have begun ten months earlier in March on a visit to Gold’s Gym. I had a great 2014, conditioning wise, so wanted 2015 to be even better, which was unrealistic given my age. At the end of an hour long run on the treadmill at a 6 mph pace, I experienced a sudden weakness. I staggered over to a bench to recover. After about 10 minutes I was able to get to the van and drive home.

Throughout 2015 I continued my exercise program logging about 1200 fitness miles, although my running times were about 25% slower. I was also strong physically (muscularly) to keep up with mowing and landscaping and even helping with yard work for two of my elderly neighbors.

However, after the March episode, I noticed an irregular heart beat which turned out to be Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib), a genetic, age-related development, worsened, I think, by my attempt to better my running times (a performance issue) – which resulted during this last episode several weeks ago in an injury (blot clot) to the part of my brain that controls balance.

Doctors say my conditioning saved me from a much worse experience, also that I will be able to work and run again, but a full recovery may take several months. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I will continue to develop OISGC and hope to continue postings on the website and sending emails. 

DonLoy Whisnant/Journey Notes 16B15