Category Archives: Family

What In The World Happened To You?

Some of you know what has been going on with some of my health challenges and some of you may have missed part of the story”, so I thought I would try to clear things up and let you know “the rest of the story as one of my favorites Paul Harvey would say.

The first part of the story, I do not remember and I will have to tell you based on what I have been told by those that were standing by. I want to thank everyone for your prayers, love, support, encouragement, patience and understanding. It has been and continues to be a learning journey and has grown and is growing me in so many different ways. 

On Monday May 30th after suffering with a three day headache, I discovered that I had sinus infection that was making my ability to swallow difficult and my talking sound funny because of a swollen tongue. I of course started my home remedies, because even though I am not a doctor, I could play one on TV. On Wednesday evening, I preached, recorded and uploaded my Wednesday evening message and it sounded like I had a button or piece of candy in my mouth the whole time, I promise I didn’t, so on Friday, I decided after everyone’s coaxing to do a virtual visit with the Doctor. The Doctor prescribed Mucinex D and a nasal spray, which I started late Friday evening. Friday was a pretty normal day, other than sore throat, drainage and swelled tongue. I went to bed Friday evening just wanting to feel normal again.

This next part, I don’t remember, so I am going from Joy’s telling of the story. On Saturday morning June 4, 2022, I woke up, came into the living room and ask Joy what was going on? I told her that something was not right, that something was off. She got worried and started asking me all kinds of questions to see if I knew who I was, where I was, what our Granddaughters name was and when I couldn’t answer that, she got on the phone with my sister and My Brother In Law told her to call 911. During this time I was wide awake, talking, shaking hands and supposedly just trying to get my bearings. I am thankful for my Brother In Law Bill Cantrell showing up Johnny on the spot and Joy’s Mom Nancy Jo being here for Joy and the girls. There is a lot more to the story, and I was there, but I wasn’t there, so I’m not going into all of that, except to say: Praise the Lord, I did not say or do anything too embarrassing.

The rescue squad showed up and rushed me to the hospital with stroke like symptoms, where they did a CT Scan upon my arrival. Our good friend Julia Ellison Nicols made sure that I was well taken care of and was my Guardian Angel. The Doctors felt like my short term memory loss was due to the extremely high blood pressure and started me on a drip of medicine to try to start bringing it down and continued a barrage of tests, poking and sampling whatever they could get from me.

I can remember bits and pieces of the Emergency Room. I recognized Dr. Lutz from previous meetings when visiting parishioners, but it all just seems like a dream and I thank the Lord for that, because I have never been afraid to die, but I have never wanted it to hurt.

In the afternoon/evening they moved me into ICU and for the first time that I can remember, Joy and I talked and she filled me in on what all had happened, what was going on and what the plan of operation was. She informed me that I would not be able to preach the next day and that she had already sent messages and taken care of all of that and so I laid there and we talked and I slept and we talked and I slept They eventually brought me supper and I was trying to come up with a plan to get someone to break me out of there and take us to the Peddler, my treat. I told Joy to go home and get some good rest in a good bed. I actually rested pretty decent, although I am not a back sleeper and I was all wired up.

Sunday morning June 5, 2022 found me still in ICU, trying my best to come up with an escape plan. They were monitoring my blood pressure levels and decided to get rid of my drip and try me with a pill and see if they would stay stable, this was the key to my getting into a regular room and going home. I honestly was in pretty good spirits the whole time and kept thinking about how grateful I was that things were not much worse. Supposedly the meds that I took for the sinus infection cause my blood pressure to jump into the danger zone and I honestly was very blessed that things were not a whole lot worse. On the agenda for this day would be more test, particularly a MRI of my head, throat and chest. You will be pleased to know that I do have a brain and a heart.

Sunday afternoon they moved me to a regular room and we waited for results of the MRI. The MRI revealed that I had a small stroke on the back left side of my brain. It also revealed that totally unrelated, I had an aneurysm on the right side of my brain, but not that they were overly worried about. They also noticed that the arteries going up my neck were a little twisted, which they called Fibromuscular Displaysia, but they should be okay, because it did not seem to impact the flow of things. My heart looked good, other than some thickening of the heart wall, which was probably a result of the high blood pressure.

All I could think about was holding my Granddaughter Addi Jo, walking around our yard in Cheddar, seeing our family/friends and getting back to my Pastor/Preacher work and ministry, especially with my dear Eureka Baptist Church.

The good news so far is that there does not seem to be any permanent damage. I should not require any surgery, but I do have a slew of specialist that I now have to see, a few medications that I have to take and Joy thinking she has been promoted to General. (Haha)

On Monday June 6, 2022, I spent most of the day just waiting. We had to do an echo on my heart, just to make sure things were clear and my nurse assured me that no matter what time they gave me the clear that she could and would get me out of there within 20 minutes. Later in the late afternoon, we finally got the news that we could split and split we did.

God and everyone has been so good to us. The major thing I am learning is that I am not going to bounce back from this like I would anything else. I have good days, where I feel like I am back to normal and then challenging days where I feel like a very old man, who can’t do anything for himself. I believe this is just my body adapting, adjusting and getting used to a different way of living. I have prayed about it and I am trusting God to bring me back better than ever.

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” -Isaiah 41:13

Today as I was preaching, I felt more back to my normal self. I am still having some sinus challenges that is impacting my throat, tongue and speech, but I trust that in God’s time, God will take care of it, because I know without doubt that He is taking care of me!

Letter To The Church At Eureka! (Via Philippians 1)

This letter is from Michael Joe Harvell, servant of Jesus Christ, to all the Saints in Christ Jesus, who make up His beautiful congregation at Eureka.

May God’s marvelous gift of grace and peace embrace you through your relationship with Jesus Christ.

I am so thankful to God for you and every time I think of you, I become even more grateful.

You are always in my thoughts and prayers and I consider it one of my greatest joys to get to pray with you and for you.

Since the moment that God brought us together in fellowship as Pastor and Congregation, it has been one amazing love story from then until now.

I am more confident than ever, that God has begun a good work in you and will continue that work until the day that our Savior Jesus Christ returns to take us home to Heaven.

It does my heart good to think these thoughts, because the Spirit has woven you into the tapestry of my heart. The things I go and grow thru, I do not go thru and grow alone, because the Gospel makes us family all sharing the same amazing grace of God.

Only God knows how much I love you and miss you, how greatly I want to be with you and Jesus.

My prayer is that our love may continue to grow more and more everyday, just as we continue to grow in our knowledge of God’s Word and the judgment it brings; not to beat us down, but to lift us up and above the challenges of this world in which we live; so that we may find and live the excellent life and live it in a way that brings a smile to the face of our Creator and Savior.

May God continue to grow an beautiful garden among us with His sweet fruit of the Spirit, enabling us to live a righteous life that brings Him even greater glory and praise.

This thing that has happened to me is a part of this life and I want you to know and believe with me that it has as it’s purpose the furtherance of the gospel; so that my challenges in Christ are just a part of life that we all must face and overcome with God’s help and blessing.

There are many opinions on why this happens or that happens and some love to pontificate to make themselves sound smarter, holier, but it is not about how we sound, it is about how we live and who we live for.

There are many versions of Jesus that are being preached today. Some preach Jesus as envious and causing strife; and some preach a Jesus of good will and happiness.

There are those that even preach a Jesus of contention, not to help others, but to hurt the cause that really matters.

The real Jesus is love and this is the Jesus I know and was created and spared to share.

So at the end of the day what really matters? That there is a God, who loves us and who wants relationship with us. A God, who has made a way where there was no way, thru the gift of His Son Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. This is the truth we preach, live and rejoice in.

For I know where my salvation comes from and I know the power of your prayers and I know and trust in the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

I don’t just say I believe, I know that my belief is real, because when I have nothing or when I have everything, it is because of Jesus. I am not ashamed to admit that I am nothing without Jesus, but with Jesus, I am unlimited potential. It is my prayer that Jesus may be lifted up and magnified in my body, by life or by death, that is His choice.

For me to live is Christ Jesus and to die is gain for all He has promised.

If I continue to live in this flesh, then this is the fruit of my labor and while I want to live and enjoy all the blessings around me, it is not for me to decide.

If I am honest, there is a part of me that wants to stay and a part of me that wants to go, but the most important thing is to be with Jesus and I can do that here or there and that is a decision for Him to make.

If He sees my living in the flesh as beneficial to others, then I believe He will allow me longer in this wind torn tent of flesh.

Whether I am in the flesh or the spirit, I will always abide with you and continue working for your growth and joy and faith;

That your rejoice in Jesus may grow into an abundance not explained with human words. Jesus is coming again to carry us all to our Heavenly home.

So, until that day, make sure that your conversations be salted with the Gospel Of Jesus Christ, so that if I am with you or a part from you that I may hear of your growth and how you stand fast and firm in one spirit on the Word of God, with a single minded pursuit of what really matters and that is faith in the Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Do not be afraid of any enemy, because what I know and believe even more now than before is that God has got us, because we are His. You have nothing to be afraid of if you are a born again, saved, child of God.

God has given us an amazing gift, don’t take it for granted. Life will not always be easy. Challenges and suffering can be expected, but we never face it alone. Jesus is with us every step of the way.

There is still so much for us to learn, so enjoy your journey today, while it is still today, because tomorrow will take care of itself…

Why I Do What I Do!

I still remember taking those test in High School that are supposed to tell you what you are supposed to be when you grow up and mine always indicated that I had the potential to be and do a lot of things, but no real desire or focus in any single direction. I remember thinking, I just wish someone would tell me what to do?

What I really loved was the spiritual life and the idea that we can have friendship with God, but back in those days, there were not many people big on the “personal relationship” part. The focus was more on getting you saved, baptized and into membership of the local church.

I could not really see myself being a Pastor/Preacher/Teacher,, because I just did not think of myself as being intelligent enough and I absolutely hated studying. I thought maybe God wanted me to be a Youth Minister. Down deep in my heart, I knew I was called and gifted by God to be a Pastor/Preacher/Teacher, but I felt like everyone else would judge me as inadequate, because I certainly did not feel that I was qualified or could even become qualified.

I remember a traveling evangelist coming through town and he came and spoke at our school. The story he told was that back in his younger days he had been running with the wrong crowd and one night he was with some guys that decided to rob a store. They all got caught and he went to jail and while he was in jail, he met Jesus and accepted Him as his Savior. The relationship with Jesus changed his life and he was so on fire because of the amazing relationship he had with Jesus. He was in our town for about a week and I remember going to hear him preach every chance I got. I do not remember his name, but I do remember how God began to deal with me and my future in a very real way during that time. For the first time, I knew what I felt in my heart about growing in a personal relationship with God was of vital importance to the Kingdom and we’ve got to start talking about this.

I had accepted Christ at a young age and had been a pretty good boy growing up. My family and church had raised me to know the difference between right and wrong. I generally chose right, because I wanted to be pleasing to God and especially because I did not want to disappoint my Granny or Mother. A lot of the teenage temptations did not interest me, because I cared more about what other people thought and that often kept me on the straight and narrow. (Not for the right reason, but it worked for the most part.)

After the evangelist left town, I really began to grow in my devotional times with God. I began everyday in His Word and I journaled and did my best to pray without ceasing. I can still remember going out at night to have long walk and talks with Jesus. Trying to figure out what He wanted me to do with my life. I remember praying one night: “God if I have to go to jail in order to find your will and serve you, then I am willing to do whatever I need to do.” Looking back, this was the very first time that I truly began to acknowledge God’s call upon my life.

As I grew in my faith and relationship, God began to also make it clear that He wanted me to be a Pastor/Preacher/Teacher for Him and His Kingdom. He showed me that a big part of what I was supposed to do, was just share the relationship and help others get into it and grow through it. So that is how it all started. There is a lot more to the journey, but that will be for another time.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. -Philippians 2:1-4

Today I was thinking about my “WHY?” Why am I a Minister (Pastor/PreacherTeacher)? Why am I a Master Life Coach? Why am I a Mentor? And here are Seven Reasons That Make Up My Why!

1.) God has called me and gifted me to do what I do!

2.) There is a much bigger picture of God and I really do want everyone to get it!

3.) The Bible is more than a book, it’s a love letter full of directions, guidance and instructions for living the blessed life we were created for.

4.) The Church is God’s best plan for us doing life together so that we can encourage, grow and motivate one another.

5.) A Relationship with God really does make all the difference and someone has to believe that, share that and help others get it right.

6.) I’m not perfect and I don’t have to be, because God actually wants to use my imperfections to bring greater glory to Himself and encouragement to others.

7.) I’ve given God plenty of opportunities to give up on me, turn His back on me and/or zap me with a lighting bolt, but every time, He reminds me that His GRACE is sufficient…