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The Gift of Coming Closer to Christ

cross with darkness and light

Dear reader:

This is a pastoral letter from me to you. For those who don’t know what that is it’s a way of communicating on a personal level from a pastor to the congregation. In churches such as the Catholic and Anglican church, It’s an official letter from a Bishop or higher ecclesiastical leader conveying a spiritual truth or some matter of doctrinal or theological teaching. One of the communities I offer my service to is you. In this world where we hear more bad news about escalating tensions with North Korea that could lead to war and the constant threat of terrorism, we need to reach out to love others, to be there for them in their time of need, to be that listening ear in their struggles. I seek to show you how we can overcome hate with love. I pray you will feel that love coming to you as if I was in the same room with you speaking to your heart and life. 

How’s everything going for you?

I’m only three courses away from graduating from St. James the Elder University with my Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D.). This journey started 16 years ago is nearing fruition. I share this joyful news with you to encourage you. Many of you already know I have an extremely rare autoimmune disease called mastocytosis. This condition involves a proliferation of mast (immune and systemic) cells. We all need mast cells to survive. For me, it’s a case of having too much of a good thing. Imagine having twelve cups of coffee a day. That wouldn’t be good for you. I know a few students who have pulled all-nighters drinking coffee in preparation for an exam. New studies say some coffee is a good thing, but too much of it isn’t.

I pray my overcoming story will be an inspiration to you. If I with this disease with all of its challenges to things such as breathing, energy, mobility, kidney function, and memory can be this close to a Doctorate accredited by the state of Florida, think what you can do with the life God has given you. He has a plan uniquely designed just for you. I thought at one time I would be a journalist and a lawyer. While our Father has given me some intensive training in journalism, criminal and business law, His main calling on my life has been to be there for others in deep emotional distress. Pastors, teachers and everyday people have shared things with me they say they haven’t with anyone else. I pray they see in me the shining light of Christ’s hope in their darkness and despair.

I come now with two open hands asking you to pray for my wife Karen and I. I have pneumonia in my left lung. To the best of my recollection, this is my eighth bout with pneumonia. I have been put on the third round of another antibiotic in hopes it will heal it. I feel God’s comforting peace around me unlike I have in many years. My dear friend, Patriarch Paul, said to me yesterday as we were joking and listening to one another, “Kevin, my dear son, when you get to the point you can’t take this suffering any longer say to the Lord, “Father, I thank You for the gift of coming closer to You.” Our suffering gives us an opportunity to identify more with the pain Christ endured for us. Let these words from the apostle Paul be our united testimony: “And my present life is not that of the old “I”, but the living Christ within me. The bodily life I now live, I live believing in the Son of God, who loved me and sacrificed himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, J.B. Phillips New Testament). That too is my hope, my prayer for you. When life becomes overwhelming and you can’t take it any longer you will say, “Father, I thank You for the gift of coming closer to You. I thank You that through my suffering I’m given this priceless gift to be given the time out of my busy schedule to draw near to You, to feel a love that I could ever fully explain. How can we as finite beings understand the mystery of Christ’s love? It would be like trying to explain what makes Bach’s Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring beautiful or say what makes a rose lovely. Words fail. I can’t describe this love to you. I can only say, “Lord, thanks for loving me a sinner that much!”

I love you in the Lord!

Kevin

Dr. Kevin James Osborne D.D., D.Sc., Psy. D. (Cand.) is the Vice-President of Institutional and Mission Advancement for St. James the Elder University. If you would like to speak with him about becoming a student or just want someone who will pray with you, you can contact him at kevin@youcanhopeagaincounselling.com. You can call him at (705)316-0725. You can reach Patriarch Paul, who is President of St. James the Elder University at (904)805-6163. His email address is bewart3804@comcast.net Here’s the link for the school. http://www.stjamestheelder.org/ As a fundraiser for a church that will have a university and seminary as well as a medical and counselling centre where NO ONE will be denied care, we are offering a greatly reduced price of $2,500 for our combined Master to Doctoral Programs in Psychology and Theology. In the coming weeks, we will be introducing degree programs in Social Work. If God is tugging at your heart to study with us take a leap of faith and listen to it. You never know where it may lead.

 

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