My Pastor is in a Coma. What Would He Say To Us Now? This….

This is my dear friend and pastor, Kim Buttram, preaching over a decade ago while he was battling brain cancer.

If you haven’t heard, on July 4th he was hit by a quickly-moving car while walking with his family, and has been in a coma ever since. He is a wonderful man and has a lot of wisdom for us in this message from another desperate time in his life.

Please join us in praying for Kim. And listen to this sermon, if you want to hear some good words of truth.

I have a tab above dedicated to Kim (you can download this message there). You can join the FB prayer page for Kim for updates and encouragement. You can donate to the family if you’re moved to.

Below the video, I’ll include the notes I took down from the message.

Kim preached this message during the days he was going through brain cancer –days of great uncertainty. I remember this day well and can still see Kim standing there in a (I think) corduroy jacket that had seen better days. I see his bright bald head and bushy mustache, his wide smile as he shared from his heart. His bald head wasn’t all that shined. Kim fairly glowed in those days; he was teeming with gratitude and joy. His words were gracious and his mind was clear. He was lovely.

These words were powerful when he first delivered them. They had a profound impact on our community. He spoke as if back from the edge of death, and his words were life. They were life because they pointed to, and celebrated, the Word, the Life and Light of men –Jesus. They echo again in this time, a time when we need once more to be pointed to Jesus.

There is much in this for us. Many of us have had, “What would Kim be saying to us now?” kind of conversations since July 4. Here is at least part of what Kim would say. Because he has said these things before. And everyone who knows Kim, knows these are the kinds of things he would say to us now.

Kim preached this message two weeks after having brain surgery. With his characteristic wit, he titled it: “Lessons From the Brain Surgeon’s Office: Looking Out the Window at the Top of My Head.”

I haven’t transcribed the entire message, but have captured some quotes:

“I pray that the name of Kim Buttram would not be built, but the name of Jesus Christ would be built.”

“I just want to say about this brain surgery: It was such a gift of God to have it.”

“God put me through the valley of the shadow of death and, you know, I found out he’s there. Just like it says in Psalm 23, he’s there. He met me like I’ve never been met by God before in my life.”

“I’ve been so profoundly grateful for the life he’s given us in these days.”

Lessons

Lesson 1: Live today with intensity.

“Today is the only day we have. It’s all we’ve got. We can’t go back to yesterday. We can’t change it. We can’t relive it. We can’t change what happened yesterday. So many times we live in the past and it robs the joy from today.” God has shown me that we’ve got to take the gift of today and live it. Live it with as much joy –and live it to invest in the Kingdom as much– as possible.”

“God intended for us to live joyfully in the present, no mater what’s happening in our lives. God has given us the opportunity to find deep and intense pleasure and satisfaction in him. But we’ve got to live today.”

Lesson 2: The God we serve is not a tame, safe God.

“He’s going to take us into some places we may not want to go. I didn’t want to go to a brain surgeon’s office –I really didn’t– but I want to go with him. I really did. I want to go with Jesus. I want to be with him.”

“He’s not a safe God. We cannot determine where he’s going. One of the things that he has done in my life is he has kicked out the boxes I’ve built –the boxes and the cubby holes– the little things that I was sure about him. He’s just broken them loose and he’s basically said, ‘Don’t build those things around me, because you don’t know where I’m going; you don’t know what I’m doing. You’re welcome to come along, but don’t tell me where I’m going.’”

“That’s a thought that I think we need to grab ahold of. The God that we serve cannot be defined very easily at all. Most of the time we like to build a backyard fence and keep him in that back yard and God says, ‘Nope, I’m not staying there. I’ll jump the fence. If you want to go with me, come on.’”

Lesson 3: Weaknesses are a gift from God.

“Weaknesses are a gift from God. Rather than hiding from them, we need to learn to exploit our weaknesses.”

“God gives you and me, God gives us –as a body– weaknesses so that we understand how much we need to depend on him. If we don’t have weakness we wouldn’t depend on God. We wouldn’t pray.”

“God gives us the gift of weaknesses and we need to quit hiding our weaknesses from each other  and we need to say ‘Hey, I’ve got a weakness. I’ve got a problem. I’ve got a crisis. And I need you people to pray for me.’”

“It makes me cry, to think about leaving my family. It’s a weakness. But God gave it to us for a gift. God gives his best gifts in the middle of weaknesses. And God gives us weaknesses to teach us how to pray. God wants us to learn how to pray.”

Lesson 4: We must learn to be persistent in prayer.

“He wants us to keep coming; he wants us to keep on asking.”

“Most of the time we see problems and we try to design a solution for the problem. And God has shown me that’s not what he wants us to do. We see a problem and the first thing we need to do –and the continual thing we need to do– is ask God to solve the problem.”

“[We need to say]‘God, I want you to solve this problem, I’m willing to be involved in any way you show me to, but I’m bringing you the problem. I’m giving it to you, God. And I’m waiting for you. I’m waiting for you.’”

“I don’t want to be controlled by emotions, but don’t be afraid of emotions either. God gave us emotions.”

“Oh, Lord, we need you so much We’re so weak and we don’t know what to do. But you do and you love us. And we thank you. We thank you for every crisis. We thank you for every weakness you put us into. We thank you for bringing us into this place of brokeness and healing. And Lord I pray that this morning would be just a beginning in each one of our lives and that you would come in and that you would change us and that, Lord, we would know your presence like we’ve never known it before and that we would be different. We would live each day with intensity and joy, Lord, that we would would learn what kind of a God you really are and how wild you really are. That we would embrace where you’re going and what you’re doing. We would embrace our weaknesses and than you for them, because they drive us to our knees and they teach us to be persistent in our prayer. Lord, we can’t change ourselves. We’ve tried so many things We’ve tried discipline and it hasn’t worked, and we’ve tried to memorize things and we’ve tried to do all kinds of stuff on our own in our own strength. And yet, they fail us. We just need you to change us. And  that’s what we’re asking for, Lord. We seek you. We want to know you. We want to know you and in the power of your resurrection and in the fellowship of your suffering. Teach us what that means.  I ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. “

Thanks to Jason Young and Ken Harer for locating and making this message available. Thanks to Andrew Mackay for making it available on Youtube.

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