Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Friday to you all! Geni and Travis went to a play in Denton in which a friend of Geni’s is acting and Bruce and I had a date! We haven’t out in a very long time and it was a lot of fun. We went to the Studio Movie Grill where we saw Race to Witch Mountain. It was really good, very action packed and we had a great time. Tomorrow Geni, Travis and I will travel to Irving for a Super Saturday. Super Saturday is a reunion of the Happeners from the previous weekend and all Happeners who have been participants or served as staff. We have worship and Eucharist, lunch, fellowship and train anyone that would like to serve on staff in future weekends. It is a lot of fun and it is so great to see the Happeners and adult staff.

Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice.” Do we pray about everything? Do we invite God into every part of our lives? When we pray The Lord’s Prayer, do we really think about the phrase…Thy Kingdom come? I used to think that phrase meant for God’s kingdom to come in the end times. But as I have studied that prayer I think Jesus was asking us to pray for God’s kingdom to come into our lives. God is asking for us to bring Him into every area of our lives. God wants to be a part of our waking up, our going to work, traffic (really!!), the office, classroom, board room, restaurant, dinner table, conversations, car rides and anything in which we are involved. The next line of the Lord’s Prayer says, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” If we involve God in every part of our lives, then His will, will be done in our lives because we will be in tune with God and we will be open to listen to His plan for us. As we continue to involve God in each part of our lives then we are able to rejoice in Him as He continues to grow His likeness into each of us.

Tonight as you say goodnight to our loving God; think through your day and rejoice in the parts where you felt His presence. And again, when you rise and before you begin your day pray the kingdom of God to be in all areas of your life and rejoice in the assurance that God will be with you.

Take joy in the journey. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS I talked with Carme tonight and she is doing well. She is much sorer after this surgery than the last, but she took a walk with her brother today and she is on the mend. She also said that Dave is doing well. He is able to transfer himself from his bed to his way-cool motorized chair pretty well, but has difficulty going from his chair back to bed. Carme cannot assist Dave as much while she is still healing. Dave’s family is not too terribly far away (in the Houston area) and so they are helping as they can. Carme’s mom and brother have also been down and spent time with them. Please continue to pray for our best friends. Peace, gc

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Thursday! Luke 6: 15 says, “He is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin.”

Each day at school after the pledge and announcements the announcer says, “Treat others as you want to be treated. We are family.”

Jesus lived out this “golden rule.” He was kind to those who were kind to Him and kind to those who were kind to others. But Jesus was also kind to those who were not kind to him or did not do kind things to others. Jesus did not expect thanks for His kind acts or attitudes toward others. Some people were thankful and some were not. The heart of Jesus was a kind and caring heart that always loved the sinner, but did not like the sins.

An act of kindness is simply an act of grace. God’s grace is the unmerited act of love lavished upon us because God loves us so perfectly and completely. We are called by God as His children to live out a godly life. Jesus modeled this godly life by treating those whom He met with kindness. A godly life includes ARKs (Acts of Random Kindness) and not expecting thank you or a reward in return. When we perform an ARK we are showing God’s grace in action in our own lives.

It is easy to be kind to those we love or to those who have been kind to us, but what about those whom have not been kind to us or even to whom we have not been kind. Jesus was kind to those who were not kind to Him even thought they were ungrateful and full of sin. Luke 6:37 says, “If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? Even sinners love the people who love them.” For us to follow the example of Jesus we need to be kind to all those we meet. For those who have hearts of unkindness, they need to see the face of Jesus. As children of God we are called to act in His name and be His representative. Open your heart to the leading of God and he will place His kindness in you with enough left over for someone else. Max Lucado says, “Kindness not only says good morning, but it also makes the coffee.” (I like that!)

Take joy in the journey. Love and peace to you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Wednesday! And Happy April! (no foolin’) We have begun a prayer and share group at our school. We began today. There were nine at our first meeting. I love starting the day with prayer, the Word, coffee and great friends. Please pray for this group as we continue to grow in faith and fellowship with Christ.

John 14:12 says, “He that believes in Me, the works I do shall he do because I go to the Father.”

In this passage Jesus is talking to His disciples. Jesus is trying to tell His disciples not only what is expected of them, but the power they will have if they will just believe in Jesus. Jesus is also trying to tell these men that they are going to have to listen, learn, practice and go out and tell others about Him and salvation because the time is coming when Jesus will return to the Father. As a teacher I recognize the “teachable moments” as Jesus instructs His disciples in the ways of ministry and discipleship. Jesus is in the middle of one of these teachable moments as He tells His disciples that they will do far greater things then He and that He is not going to be with them for very long. So, listen up! If you read the verses before and after, Peter asks, “Where are you going Lord?” Does Peter ever remind you of one of those big goofy dogs that follow after the other dog saying, “Which way did he go? Which way did he go?”

Can you imagine sitting and being taught by Jesus and having Him say, “If you will just believe…” The God on foot, Jesus Christ, only asks that His disciples believe in Him and then later tells them if they will just ask in His name…and all will be given to them.” So now we are up to believe and pray in His name. Friends, that is power!!! Jesus tells them they will preach, teach, heal and baptize only if they will ask in His name.

God asks the same of us. He asks us to believe and ask in His name. Because of the Holy Spirit we can continue the ministry began by Jesus Himself and passed on to the twelve disciples. Jesus asks of us the same things He asked of the disciples. He asks us first to believe. Then He asks us to pray in His name. And then He asks us to tell someone else about His life and salvation. Jesus ascended to the Father at the resurrection, but He sent back His Holy Spirit, His very essence to each of us so we can faithfully and obediently with love and a grace saturated soul do the good works He asks.

Take joy in the journey. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Tuesday! 1 Samuel 17:45 says, “ Davis said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

Wow! David. David faced the giant Goliath with a slingshot and five smooth stones. David wasn’t so very big. And David wasn’t so very old. Goliath was 6 cubits and a span tall. David, focused, took aim, called on the name of the Lord, pulled out his slingshot and flung the rock through the air. The rock hit Goliath on his forehead. Goliath’s knees buckled and down he went. Then David ran over to the giant Goliath, grabbed his sword and skewered the giant. David knew how to get the best of the giant he faced! Before David slew his giant he claimed the name of the Lord Almighty and faced the giant head on. David did not go before Goliath alone. David went with the name of God in his mind, heart and in his voice and he faced his giant.

For a man who “royally” messed up in so many ways, David had a heart for God. David knew what to do, he just didn’t always do it each time he faced a giant. David in his good moments was amazing. David in his bad moments was the worst. David’s life was a mix of graceful swan and splashy belly flops. (Does this sound like anyone you know? As for me, anyone have a mirror?) What lesson can we learn from David? What giants do face each day? Do we face a tough job? Deadlines? A tough home life? Unresolved conflict with someone you love? Guilt? Not enough sleep? Worry (driving the car with the emergency brake on—remember)? Fear? Uncertainty? Too much to do and not enough time or too much month left at the end of the money? The list could go on forever.

When David faced his giant he used a slingshot and a rock, but most important he faced Goliath claiming the name of the Lord Almighty. When David claimed the name of God, the giants fell, when he went on his own steam, the giants won. Next time you face your giant, charge your giant with a God-saturated soul and watch the giant fall. When we face a giant, focus, take aim and call on the name of the Lord to go before you. If you focus on giants—you stumble. If you focus on God—giants tumble. Let us from this day forward become giant slayers and call on the name of the Lord.

Take joy in the journey. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS Carme came through her repair work surgery with flying colors. Praise God!
Happy Monday! Was it a gorgeous day or what?! Travis is home safe and sound and a bit tired. However his luggage went on to Chicago. We are supposed to call the claims department at 12:30 am and check on it and the luggage is supposed to be delivered at 3:00 am. Our luggage is still having a great time!! The Lamar Choirs took Grand Champion Honors at the competition. Congratulations choirs!

Luke 5:5 says, “We worked hard all night…and we caught nothing.”

Jesus is speaking on the shores of Lake Galilee and the crowd had gotten so large that he got into Simon’s boat and continued to teach the people. After he had finished teaching Jesus told Simon to go into the deep water and cast his net. Simon said, “But Lord,…”

How many times do we say, “but Lord…I can’t …” How many excuses do we make for not doing what God asked us to do? I have felt the call to seminary for a long time and each time I told God I could not because I was too busy, I had young children, I already had a job, and I already served Him without a degree etc... After all, I had been through the two year Parish Lay Ministry Academy and I was serving as I believed I was being called. You see, I was not living in faith and obedience. I was resting on laurels and not growing in Christ and His plan for me. So finally, I surrendered to the will of God and applied to seminary and was accepted. Now during the first semester is when Casey became ill and I withdrew from classes. But I went back to seminary the next semester. God has blessed my time at seminary. I still have a long way to go, but I know God wants me there and I am walking in obedience to His will and call for my life. Believe me I still have much to learn, but I am growing in knowledge and I really love what I am studying.

When we offer God our excuses for not doing as He asks then we walk out of fellowship with the One who created us and knows us best. God loves us so much and is relentless when it comes to shaping our lives to His highest purpose. When Simon finally surrendered he told Jesus, “But You say to put the nets in the water, so I will.” You know the rest of the story. The nets held so many fish that Simon had to summon other fishermen from their boats to help bring in the catch.

Peter rested on his laurels as an experienced fisherman instead of living in faith with Christ in obedience to his calling. When Peter surrendered to Jesus and followed His will then the catch was enormous. When Peter allowed the Lord to lead him to deeper waters Jesus showed Peter that he must be willing to get outside his comfort zone and step out on the faith to let Jesus lead his life. Jesus was trying to show Peter a glimpse of his future. Peter was not to remain a local fisherman. Peter was to become a fisher of men far and wide.

So I guess my question is…are we willing to let Christ grow Himself in us enough to be faithfully obedient to His word for our lives without any “but Lord…” (in your best whining voice!)? Are we willing to say, “Here I am Lord, because you say it I will do it?”

Take joy in the journey friends. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blessed Sunday to you all! Our Lenten study has been on becoming a house of prayer. This week the topic was anxiety. Pastor used the scripture verses from Matthew 6. These are the verses that speak of the lilies of the field and how God clothes even the birds of the air. If God does all of these things for grass, birds and flowers, how much more does our heavenly Father do for us?

We also looked at two of the psalms, Psalm 121 and 23. King David was a very anxious man because he could not control everything around him. So out of his anxiety David writes the wonderful psalm of the Lord being his shepherd. In David’s writing he writes about the peace he is desiring, “…For You are with me. Your rod and staff they comfort me.” And from Psalm 121, “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” King David sought solace from the King of Kings. Do you suppose the psalms were David’s journal writing?

God is with us through our anxiety. Pastor Joel asked this question, “But do we really trust God?” Concern is something we can do that is concrete about how to fix the problem. But worry is like “driving the car with then emergency brake on.” The car is all revved up and ready to go, but sits frozen unable to move. That is worry. Worry is a wasted use of energy. Worry is an ungodly characteristic. Worry is irreverent because it tells God we cannot trust Him. Worry is irrelevant because it does not help to solve the problem. Worry is irresponsible because it burns up energy that can be used for something else. Pastor said, “worry is interest paid on something that isn’t due.” (I really liked that.) If we constantly worry about what might happen then we are not living a life of faith.

There are three helps we can use to worry less. First, make God our first priority. Begin the day with saying God I love you and thank you for loving me. I believe You are going to be with me all day no matter what. Second, Touch base with God throughout the day. Remember the children’s song that says, “Love Him in the morning when you see the sun rising. Love Him in the evening because He took you through the day. And in the in-between times when you feel the pressure coming, remember that He loves you and He promises to stay. Third, end your day with God. Each night after getting in bed I tell God that I have come to say good night. I often fall asleep in my prayers, but I always start. So friends take God at His Word. Count on His Word to be truth and trust Him in all things. Worry about nothing and pray about everything!

Take joy in the journey and have a wonderful week, friends. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS Travis and the choirs come home tomorrow. The choir received Grand Champion awards at their competition in New York. Way to go LHS! At this writing Travis is on a dinner cruise. Did I already say that over the years our luggage has had a lot more fun than we have? Love you all, gc