Friday, September 23, 2011

Time with God.

"He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day." E.M. Bounds

This morning I spent much time in prayer and then in the Word. Of course, I thought that I was sacrificing my morning to the chores, and school work that I needed to get done. But, I recognized that I needed God’s abiding presence in my life. So, I prayed. So, I read the scriptures. And, then I just sat quietly and listened.

I made myself a list to goals for the day after spending time with my Father. I thought that I would not get them accomplished. But, they have all been accomplished plus some other things which I didn’t even include. I honestly believe that if I hadn’t spent that extra time with God this morning, I would not have able to physically do the list because this Sjogren’s disease has been attacking me more lately.

But, as I worked, as I did school, as I went about my day I felt His Presence. I felt His Strength. I felt His Peace. I didn’t feel rushed. I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I didn’t feel empty and lonely.

God has been first in my heart the entire day. Amazing that God can be first when mopping floors, or cleaning toilets, baking sugar cookies, or writing theological papers. This led me to realize that it’s not the job or the chore, or the physical thing that I am doing that brings honor to Christ. He has been with me all day – because my spirit communed with His Spirit this morning.

Here is a poem that I learned as a child. Be Blessed!

I met God in the morning
When my day was at its best,
And His Presence came like sunrise
Like a glory in my breast.

All day long the Presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O'er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed,
But the winds that seemed to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I, too, had loosed the moorings
With the Presence left behind.

So I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way;
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day.

Ralph Cushman

Monday, September 19, 2011

Anchor Deep: The miraculous out of the mundane...

This is a beautiful blog post of a dear friend. What a wonderful and godly witness.

Anchor Deep: The miraculous out of the mundane...: All my life, when my life got tough, my 101st paratrooper Dad would sincerely say, " That's good training. "  He wasn't angry or sarcastic a...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Small town life......

First, I live in a small town and chances are great that I will run into someone that I know every time I venture out into the community. That’s the way it is in rural America. This can be comforting but Monday running into a familiar face was not something that I intended or planned.

I had to go into my doctor’s office for some tests. I was having a pulmonary study and a heart echo done. That was well and good. These tests are not painful and I wasn't worried about getting them done. Also, I stupidly assumed that my doctor’s office would make sure that my heart echo was scheduled to be done by a woman and NOT a man. But, I was very wrong. However, I now know to request that all tests which require disrobing to be done by a female staff member.

A man came out front and told me to follow him which I did. He led me to a section of the office to which I had never been and took me into a small room. Then, he handed me a gown and began giving me disrobing instructions and said that he would be back. At this point I stopped dead in my tracks and said, “Wait!! You know that I know you? You are my son’s friend’s dad! I know you!” I wasn't using the man's name because that made it too real that I knew him.

He sort of nodded his head and said that I was correct. Of course, I was correct, he was Paul’s scoutmaster. He was at Paul’s Eagle ceremony. His picture is on my BLOG! I knew him. So I continued, “You cannot do this test on me. I KNOW you. I know your name.”

He was sort of stammering around and said that the girls who do these tests had left for the day! Good grief! It was three o’clock. I would have come earlier to get the tests run. I thought about taking "my girls" and leaving.

“But, didn’t you tell me to take my bra off? You need my bra off to do this test? I mean when you said disrobe from the waist up, were you including me taking my bra off? Do I have to remove my bra?”

Yes, I think that I said BRA like four or five times. Because taking off my bra meant only one thing – my boobs would be exposed to Paul’s friend’s dad.

I guess he said yes and then told me that he would try and not give me poison ivy which he had on his hands and arms. That was comforting - not! He added that he would try and keep me draped with the towel while doing the test.

I looked over at the towel. It was tiny - minuscule. For the first time in my life, I was wishing that I was a double A. I wanted to tell him that the said “towel” was not in my size but decided to refrain.

Now, I have been told that medical folks don’t care or think anything about your body parts. That’s great and fine and dandy. But honestly, I do care. I wanted to die.

I got my top off and put the paper thin gown on and got on the stupid table with a towel lying on my chest. He came back into the room and asked, “Are you cold? Do you want a sheet?”

I responded, “Yes, I want a sheet. Just put it over my face.”

I lived through the test but I have decided that I need to move to a big city where no one knows your name, your face, or your son.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

It's not about the program....

This is a sobering reality that many churches are currently facing. They have invested in the popular programs of the day – they offer Awana, they do a bang-up job with VBS, and sing and dance with their praise and worship – but they aren’t growing. What’s the problem? We are following the program. We are here ready to minister to the folks but where are they?

Ha! Scripture says that the fields are white for the harvest. So, we should assume when talking about the church that this means there are people who are ready… the ground was tilled, the seeds were planted, fertilizer was applied, the rains fell, and even some weeding was done. The fields are ready to be harvested! Cool, we are ready too. We have the programs.

But, where is the harvest? First, let me say that I am not a farmer. But, I have picked crops before. I have picked green beans, corn, purple hull peas, strawberries, and various other fruits and vegetables. However, none of those crops ever just jumped into my waiting basket. That would have been lovely and so much easier! Let me tell you picking strawberries in the hot Florida heat is not something that I enjoyed! It was hot work. Picking blackberries left me with scratches and thorns in my hands. And, the time that I picked okra, I broke out in a rash all over my hands, legs, and arms. Fun it wasn’t! But, if I wanted to get on with my program of freezing the strawberries, making blackberry preserves, and cooking up that okra, I had to go and pick the crops.

We seem to be able to line up folks (often with some arm twisting) to help with the programs but we just can’t seem to find workers for the fields. Why is that?

Let me tell you want happens with the tomatoes in my yard that get ripe but I don’t go pick them. They shrivel up, fall off the vine, and rot on the ground. Does the Lord have a harvest for us ready but we aren’t picking it? That’s food for thought.

So, how do we get our church members, who already have too much on their plates to go out into the fields and pick the ripe fruit? I’ll tell you what we don’t need – another program. What we need to be doing is training our folks to recognize the ripe fruit that they pass daily in their lives. We need to teach them to be brave.

Engage people in conversation. Don’t just stick a flyer in their hand but engage them! Look for opportunities to do small acts of kindness for a neighbor, a co-worker, your brother, sister, or a stranger. The field is the marketplace of your life. Do you put gas in your car? Talk to the person who is pumping next to you. Do you buy groceries? Talk to the person in line with you. Talk to the check-out clerk. Do you work in a factory or office? Well, talk to those folks. See if you can’t find out their needs or hurts and then try to meet them in some way.

Be Jesus’ ambassador. I love the story of the woman at the well. Jesus went to the well because he needed a drink but He stopped and spoke to this woman. And, guess what happened? She found God and immediately went and got her community and brought them out to Jesus and they found God. Jesus didn’t wait for the woman to come and hear Him preach. He found her at a well. He looked into her eyes and saw her need and then He engaged her in a conversation. Amazing! He didn’t even have a program. Yet that day, God’s kingdom grew.

"Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (John 4:35, NASB).

Open your eyes, church. Christ has told us that the field is ready to be harvested!

Go get your basket and get out into the fields.

Be Blessed!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Toes that can't hold spoons ( by: Glenn Gray, guest blogger)

This a very good blog by a young man who is attending McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta. He is pursuing his M.Div. I hope you all enjoy the read!! Click the link.

Be blessed!

Silliness in the eyes of an anal God: Toes that can't hold spoons: 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that eac...