I am a servant of Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
 – Patrick My family name was originally O’Driscoll until it was changed a few generations ago by relatives hoping to more fully assimilate into American culture after immigrating from Ireland. Though I was raised Irish Catholic, I knew virtually nothing about Saint Patrick other than the green beer, parades, shamrocks, leprechauns, and drunken Red Sox fans that celebrated in his honor every March 17th. Technically, Saint Patrick is not even a saint, as he was never canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Additionally, Patrick was not even Irish. Rather, he was a Roman-Britain who spoke Latin and a bit of Welsh. Patrick was born around 390 A.D. When he was roughly 16 years of age he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland on a ship where he was sold into slavery. He spent the next six years alone in the wilderness as a shepherd for his masters’ cattle and sheep.

IsolationPatrick was a rebellious non-Christian teenager who had come from a Christian family. His grandfather was a pastor, and his father was a deacon. However, during his extended periods of isolation without any human contact, Patrick began praying and was eventually born again into a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Patrick endured the years of isolation in rain and snow by praying up to 100 prayers each day and another 100 each night. In his early twenties God spoke to Patrick in a dream, telling him to flee from his master for a ship that was waiting for him. Amazingly, Patrick made the 200-mile journey on foot without being caught or harmed to find a ship setting sail for his home, just as God had promised. The sailors were out of food for the journey, and after Patrick prayed a herd of pigs miraculously ran toward the ship, providing a bountiful feast for the long voyage home.

God Speaks to PatrickUpon returning home, Patrick enrolled in seminary and was eventually commissioned as a pastor. Some years later God spoke to Patrick in a dream, commanding him to return to Ireland to preach the gospel and plant churches for the pagans who lived there. The Roman Catholic Church had given up on converting such “barbarians” deemed beyond hope. The Celtic peoples, of which the Irish were part, were an illiterate bunch of drunken, fighting, perverted pagans who basically had sex with anyone and worshiped anything. They were such a violent and lawless people, numbering anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000, that they had no city centers or national government and were spread out among some 150 warring clans. Their enemies were terrified of them because they were known to show up for battles and partake in wild orgies before running into battle naked and drunk while screaming as if they were demon-possessed. One clan was so debased that it was customary for each of their new kings to copulate with a white mare as part of his inauguration.

Unique Missionary StrategyIn faith, the forty-something year-old Patrick sold all of his possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as an itinerant preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through their lands and preach the gospel. His strategy was completely unique, and he functioned like a missionary trying to relate to the Irish people and communicate the gospel in their culture by using such things as three-leaf clovers to explain the gospel. Upon entering a pagan clan, Patrick would seek to first convert the tribal leaders and other people of influence. He would then pray for the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, preach the Bible, and use both musical and visual arts to compel people to put their faith in Jesus. If enough converts were present he would build a simple church that did not resemble ornate Roman architecture, baptize the converts, and hand over the church to a convert he had trained to be the pastor so that he could move on to repeat the process with another clan. Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him until he died at 77 years of age. He had seen untold thousands of people convert as between 30-40 of the 150 tribes had become substantially Christian. He had trained 1000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery.

Roman OppositionCuriously, Patrick’s unorthodox ministry methods, which had brought so much fruit among the Irish, also brought much opposition from the Roman Catholic Church. Because Patrick was so far removed from Roman civilization and church polity he was seen by some as an instigator of unwelcome changes. This led to great conflicts between the Roman and Celtic Christians. The Celtic Christians had their own calendar and celebrated Easter a week earlier than their Roman counterparts. Additionally, the Roman monks shaved only the hair on the top of their head, whereas the Celtic monks shaved all of their hair except their long locks which began around the bottom of their head as a funky monk mullet. The Romans considered these and other variations by the Celtic Christian leaders to be acts of insubordination. In the end, the Roman Church should have learned from Patrick, who is one of the greatest missionaries who has ever lived. Though Patrick’s pastors and churches looked different in method, they were very orthodox in their theology and radically committed to such things as Scripture and the Trinity. Additionally, they were some of the most gifted Christian artists the world has ever known, and their prayers and songs endure to this day around the world, including at Mars Hill where we occasionally sing the "Prayer of Saint Patrick" and the Celtic hymn "Be Thou My Vision."

I love biographies (thank you fios for the BIO channel). I can watch anything about anyone's life, and never get bored. Even movies based on actual events. Ever watch the movie, where the guy, or girl do the impossible. Where they were broke, but somehow found enough money ( I always wonder how?) to fly to wherever, meet whoever, fast forward to whenever, and they have magically accomplished whatever. Love it! For hours my mind wanders to the "in between scenes". The scenes that weren't dumped on the editing floor of a hollywood cemetary. The scenes where he/she was at their last dime, or at their ropes end. THAT'S where my mind goes. 

And why? 

Because people always have and always will matter to me. The human condition(s) are fascinating to me. I wrote in my journal (Man, over 10 years ago now) a prayer. The prayer simply went like this
"Dear God, 
I may not always matter to your people, but your people will always matter to me". 
The very force that should drive a pastor, a child of God, heck a human, should be this very thing. People! 
We can get so crazy of how well we can "lead" people, to "reach" people. Yet, we can really easily lose the point.
Its really not about how well you can lead people, but how well you care for people. If you can't communicate how much you care ABOUT people, you have no right to LEAD people. My biggest failures in ministry are not the programs, events, systems or creative things that flopped hard (I'm a try anything guy. We are bound to fail, bounce back, win, move on, fail, bounce back. Repeat ). But my biggest failures are the people who I failed to love, care for, and support to the best of my ability. 
Its really a simple process. 
1. Care alot
2. Don't stop
3. Care enough to disturb, anger, and PROVOKE people to be all God wants them to be. (dying techniques here).
4. Make sure your around people who care about YOU, so you can withdraw and deposit care. Number one way to STOP caring, is be at a point in life when you feel no one cares about you. They're out there. I promise.

We so quickly forget that we live in a world where the people (rich, poor, needy, angry, sarcastic, negative, improper, materialistic, ignorant, mean, shady, lying, sinful) people matter to God, and they should always matter to us. 
John 13:34-35

                                          "Death is defining measure of how much LIVING we actually accomplished". 
      The just read the  saddest story I have read in quite some time.  I read of a a Michigan prep star named Wes Leonard who played for Fennville H.S. We was a big time gamer in Michigan. This week he led the perfect sports fanatic dream. Wes hit the last shot in what was a perfect baskeball season for his High school. Kids grow up dreaming of these types of endings. Last shot, win the game, end a perfect season to help send your team into the playoffs.
     What kids don't dream about is less then 10 minutes after "living the dream", dropping dead of cardiac arrest. My eyes well up with tears just thinking of this. My thoughts go to his situation (I don't know the family backround). But if there's a dad, was he there. A fathers greatest joy is seeing his kids succeed. Did he even have time to hug/congradulate him? Mom the same thing? How do his teammates respond? His best friend? My heart breaks and my prayers go out for all those who loved the boy, who lived the dream, who faded in the midst of his moment.
     In reading the articles of this young mans character, I loved that one school official said : "Beyond his outstanding athletic abilities, Wes was a better person."
Death is NEVER an easy thing to digest. When it comes suddenly though, it's literally paralyzing. We are all working towards death, and when we get there it will be determined and measured how much LIVING we actually did. We miss those gone before us for 1 of 2 reasons.
1. Because we feel  there was so much more LIVING meant to be done.
2. Because the LIVING was done so well, we never wanted to see it end.

Death is the end of what was meant to be a purposeful beginning. Some of us get longer then others. Here's a couple questions to ponder and ask yourself:

If death took you so suddenly, could the same be said about you? 
Was your life worth living? 
Would someone else ever want to live your life?

"A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth."
Ecclesiastes 7:1
Here's a link to the whole story: