Thursday, June 18, 2015

George Neal Brooks, Jr. 1923 - 2015

George Neal Brooks, Jr., fondly known as “Junior”, was born in Lula, Oklahoma on January 30, 1923 and passed away on June 12, 2015 at his home in Hanford.   Junior was one of nine children born to George and Janie Brooks where he grew up in Texas during the depression.  At age 17, he joined the Army and became a member of the horse cavalry.  Within two years he found himself fighting for our freedom in World War II serving four years in the Pacific theater. 

Junior has been a resident of Kings County for 70 years.  He and his family operated a hay company for 12 years, and he was the owner of G.N. Brooks Rock & Sand for 30 years where he enjoyed his work and provided his customers with quality service.  Junior believed in hard work, but he also loved his family and left a wonderful legacy of integrity, a strong work ethic, generosity, faithfulness, compassion and a great faith in God.  Junior was a great supporter of his church and participated in numerous missions trips throughout his lifetime.  Junior spent his retirement years always helping others and his family. He was always funny and kind. Even in the last month of his life when he was very sick he never lost his sense of humor and never stopped showing kindness and gratitude to all his care-givers. 

Junior leaves to mourn his passing his devoted wife of 68 years, Myrene, a son, Boyd and his wife, Marilyn Brooks of St. Louis, Missouri and a daughter, Carol and her husband, Mike Evans of Hanford, and a daughter in law, Janet Brooks of Hanford.  He is survived by six grandchildren, Jeff and his wife, Michelle Brooks, Andrew and his wife, Jessica Brooks, Carin and her husband, Richard Ray, Eric and his wife, Sarah Brooks, Ryan and his wife, Fawn Brooks and Kyle and his wife, Ashley Evans.  He is also survived by 12 great grandchildren and four great great grandchildren.  He is survived by one sister, Florene Burns.  He was preceded in death by a son, George Brooks, III and a grandson, Rodney Brooks.   

Visitation will be Monday, June 22, 2015 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Phipps Dale Funeral Chapel in Lemoore. The funeral service will be held at Glad Tidings Church in Hanford on Tuesday, June 23rd at 10:00 am, officiated by his pastor, Rick McCullough followed by the interment at Grangeville Cemetery.  .

My Dad

I was awakened to receive a call that my dad had passed away last night, June 12, at about 9:00 pm California time. Even though I knew he could pass at any time, it was still hard to hear that he was gone. I felt a flood of emotion that just seemed to wash over me. Later, I called my mother to pray with her and found myself too broken up to talk.
For the last month, he has been unable to have very much mobility, so home healthcare was required for him. For the past two weeks his overall health has been declining rapidly, and he has been struggling to breathe. This, of course, was very difficult for my mother and sister and for those helping to take care of him. It is now a relief to hear that his struggle is now over and he is with Jesus. He is with the Lord, and his earthly journey is now ended.
When you lose someone close, you are flooded with remembrances as they cascade out of your memory banks. Fortunately, I have so many wonderful memories with my dad to draw from. He taught me to work, and to work hard and to finish the job no matter what obstacles you encounter. He showed me how to be responsible and handle money the right way. He was a patient teacher—something I am grateful for. He enjoyed having me around him even when I was very young and not much use to him or his work, although I didn’t know that then. He was a very generous person, and he loved to give away what he could. He didn’t hold grudges and was kind and helpful to people. Those are pretty incredible qualities.
We spent so many years working together that we have many shared memories. Most of the memories are about experiences of working, learning, and finishing something we started. My dad was always very supportive of my ministry and often prayed for me.
Recently, the Lord was merciful to me by allowing me to travel to California four times in the last year and spend time with my dad—time that I now cherish. I saw him August of last year, again in September, and in March I spent some real quality time with him. He wanted to go everywhere I went. I remember one evening I said that I was going to take a walk. He immediately got up and said, “I’m going with Boyd.” He could barely walk—so I walked, and he rode his electric cart. Then in May I went and spent several days and nights with him in the hospital. Although our roles were reversed from what they had been so long ago—it was my chance to give back to the man who took care of me when I was little.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Abraham Lincoln seemed to have an extraordinary ability to not react with vindictiveness or malice toward people even when they had attacked him. Lincoln chose for his secretary of defense, Edwin Stanton, a man who had insulted and publicly criticized him. However, Lincoln felt he was the best man for the job and whatever had happened between him and Stanton previously should have no bearing on his choice. That is an amazing man who could do that. Although Lincoln found himself with power and authority, he restrained the use of that power. He often used it in ways that were compassionate.
Lincoln found it difficult to punish the soldiers who had shown cowardice in the face of the enemy. He referred to those cases as his "leg cases," "running itch," or "vulnerable heels." "I put it to you," he once remarked, "and I leave it for you to decide for yourself. If Almighty God gives a man a cowardly pair of legs, how can he help their running away with him?"
Even the president's two sons, Willie and Tad, were aware of their father's frequent pardons. Having sentenced their doll soldier to death as punishment for sleeping on guard duty, they obtained mercy from their father. "The doll Jack is pardoned. By order of the President," he commanded on Executive Mansion stationery, signing it just as he signed all of his pardons: A. Lincoln.[i]
As parents we have power over our children when they are infants. How we use that power will make such a difference in their lives. Some parents become over-bearing and controlling, thereby misusing their authority. This often causes children to leave home early and reject their parents’ values. Other parents surrender their authority during the toddler stage and become subject to the child’s every whim. Neither does this approach render a good outcome.
When a parent sees their parental responsibility as preparing the child to live life, it frees them to make the hard choices and let the little stuff slide. They never use their authority to manipulate or control their children. Instead, they inspire their children to follow them as they see the qualities of restraint, self-control and generosity displayed.
As President Lincoln said in his Second Inaugural Address: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.” This attitude works in the home too.

[i] Donald T. Phillips, Lincoln on Leadership, Time Warner Books, New York, 1992, p. 59-60

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Game Changer

Football players who kicked field goals always approached the football straight on, that is until Pete Gogolak came along with his angular soccer-type kick. Gogolak's 41-yard field goal during Cornell's 1961 season was the first by a soccer kicker, and it changed the kicking game forever. The scriptures had been read and sermons had been delivered in the synagogue in Nazareth for many years—all pretty much the same way until Jesus spoke there for the first time.
Jesus returned to his hometown as a celebrity. Although Jesus had grown up there, people from the entire district of Galilee where talking about him. Some were saying that he had performed mighty works in Capernaum—even Luke confirms that (Luke 4:14-15).
Luke, however, chose not to begin his coverage of Jesus’ ministry talking about those things but rather about what happened in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. Luke does this because of what that experi­ence reveals about our response to the gospel.
Jesus was asked to read from the prophets, so he stood up and read from the Isaiah scroll in what is for us Isaiah 61:1-2. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

Jesus then sat down and delivered a sermon. He said he had come to fulfill these verses. That he had come to save the poor, the prisoners, the blind and the oppressed. The people of Nazareth who knew him were unmoved by his words. They didn’t feel they were poor or blind. What Jesus did was a real game changer for the people of that village.
Jesus told the people two stories—one about a widow and the other about a leper. Once, God chose to meet the needs of Elijah through a Gentile widow. She was destitute and only had a handful of flour left. Elijah asked her to use that flour to make him a piece of bread first. The woman did, and remarkably she never ran out of flour or oil as long as Elijah stayed with her. She was very poor, but fortunately she realized it. The people of Nazareth didn’t realize how poor they were, therefore they couldn’t trust Jesus. The second story was about a leper named Naaman who was from Syria. He came to Elisha and dipped in the Jordan River at Elisha’s command. He was healed because he believed the prophet’s words and he realized he was a leper and could do nothing to change his situation.
Jesus’ message was a game changer because these people who had a few minutes earlier spoken well of Jesu, now hated him. Jesus saw the real heart of the problem, and he nailed it. Both stories were insulting to the people of Nazareth. They did not see themselves as needy. To the contrary they saw themselves as good and respectable. So great was the insult that they tried to kill Jesus.
Jesus forever changed the game for all of us. We can’t pretend we are good when the truth is we are destitute, poor and blind. We can ask the savior to liberate us from sin, or we can become hostile toward Jesus, but there is no other choice available.