Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy Saturday!

The picture is of the formal dinner on board the ship and the family with whom we shared a table. We found them to be a delightful family from the Houston area.

I hope you are enjoying our cruise pictures. As I was cleaning house tonight and dusting under some of our cruise pictures that were professionally done I thought, “Did I really just get back from a cruise?” I never thought I would ever be able to go on a cruise and now we are anxious to begin to plan another one. Cruises are great and I highly recommend them!

Now, about plans…

Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart devises his way; but the Lord directs his steps.”

Remember how last night I really did not want to go to Tyler to this meeting? I was a bit upset that the announcement was made at the 11th hour and I was not “Here am I, send me”, but “I am not here - send someone else?” Well, in my devotion today, God blessed me with this scripture and then assured me that He was in control and I needed to go and do His bidding. Geni drove to Tyler and I sat in the back seat preparing the worship for the day.

Today I used the God Calling Journal as my guide. Upon entering the meeting I heard about how Satan had been working in the lives of those seated around the table; how he had placed road blocks and stumbling blocks in their path all week long; how he was being quite relentless in his pursuits of these dedicated followers.

I shared with this group of adults and youth that Satan had been at work in me also and then God’s Word came shining through to my soul and Satan vanished. The thoughts shared in this God Calling journal began with “I Am your Lord, Lord of your lives.” God controls our lives and claims us as His children. Not Satan! God in His Word today banished Satan by claiming us as His own. “Controller of your days, your present and your future. (here is the best part) Leave all of your plans to Me.”

Do you remember that wonderful scene in the movie Evan Almighty where God, being played by Morgan Fairchild, just laughs hysterically when Steve Carrel, the Noah character, tells God that this whole Ark building thing does not fit into his plans? God responds with “Your plans!?” And then He laughs for the next several frames. But then the more Evan resists God’s calling, the more God pursues Evan for His purpose. When Evan finally surrenders to the calling of God and His purpose, Evan enters into a God-guided, God-taught life.

How many of us have resisted God’s calling in our lives? God is relentless in His passionate love for each of us and His determination to set about His purpose in our lives. Noah’s job was not easy. He suffered long hard hours of work on a mammoth project. He suffered the taunting of his neighbors and most likely his wife thought he was crazy. But God has a plan and needed Noah to help “save the world.” Noah was reluctantly (at first) obedient. What Noah accomplished was not easy, but it was right because God called Noah to this task.

This week, let us listen for God’s call in our lives. He has given us an amazing life. We just need to step out on our faith and open our eyes to see how wonderful life with the Creator of all, God, our Father, can be.

Take joy in the journey and stay in the shade. Love you all and see you in church. 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.

Happy Friday to you all!

Ephesians 3: 20 “Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.”

Tonight I received an email about a meeting for the Happening Community to be held in Tyler tomorrow. The meeting notification was given at the “11th hour” and I was not happy. I did not want to go Tyler for a meeting. I am usually a “here I am Lord, send me” type girl, but today I was more the “I’m not here, don’t send me. I have other things to do.”

So I went into the other room and prayed about this. I asked God to get Satan out of the way and if He wanted this meeting to happen and me to be there I would go, but if it was not to be then call this meeting off. As I sat down to read my devotional lesson this is the verse I with which I was presented. God has a great purpose for this meeting tomorrow and He is going to accomplish mighty things. The Word says, “He is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine. God works in us not minimally, but abundantly. God is able to powerfully work within us when we are faithfully obedient to His call.

It seems to happen to me when I want to resist God’s calling then His Word presents itself very plainly and I am put in my place very clearly. The meeting tomorrow is for training for the next Happening weekend. When preparation for a Happening weekend begins then Satan goes to work. Satan has already been at work to keep this weekend and its preparation from happening and tonight Satan entered my thoughts and almost changed my actions. Satan began to work in me and I am the Spiritual Director. If Satan attacks the Spiritual Director and wins the battle then how I am to be the “pastor” over this flock of young people and the adult staff? God’s Word tonight told me that “this weekend belongs to Me. You (the youth and adult staff) are the vessels through which I will do My work.” What an honor that God would choose us as His vessels to share His Word, His love and His abundant grace.

God chooses us, His children to share the gospel with those in whom we come into contact. God promises to do a great work through us. Not just a great work, but a work greater than anything we can ask or imagine. How great is our God and how great is His love for us? If we are but obedient then He will teach us His perfect ways so that we can carry out the work He has planned for us.

Tonight I ask you to pray travel mercy on all those who travel to Tyler tomorrow. I ask you to pray that Satan be bound as the Happening preparation begins. I also ask for you to pray for the Happening staff and that those who would be called as participants to listen to the Voice of God and obediently answer His call to service and participation.

Take joy in the journey and stay in the shade. 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.

We will insert a picture or two here and there from our trip. Enjoy them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy Thursday!

A funny moment from the cruise…we were all in the pool talking with a family from Flower Mound. A young man (we estimated late 20’s or so) asked us if we were here by ourselves or with our children. We then introduced him to Geni and Travis. In the course of the conversation Geni and Travis told this family their ages. Please picture Travis in the pool with tattoos on both shoulders and very muscular. When Travis told them he was 18 the young man’s surprised response was “Holy cow! You are 18. I thought you were a Transformer. I was waiting for you to change into something.” The entire pool absolutely hooted with laughter. We still laugh over that one!

Ezra 10: 10-11 “You have been unfaithful…Now, confess it to the Lord.” And 2 Corinthians 5:17 “If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone, everything is made new!”

Ya gotta love Ezra. He minces no words! He declares that there is just no time in our lives for guilt. Okay, let’s talk about guilt. How many of us carry around a load of guilt over something we have done? I know I have. The feeling and knowledge of guilt usually is over something we have done that is wrong and we don’t want anyone else to know about it. But, I would like to take a bit of a different tack on the subject of guilt. I don’t think guilt is such a bad thing. Guilt is the part of yourself that tells you right from wrong. Guilt is the nails on a chalkboard. Guilt is the horn on a car that gets stuck and won’t stop honking. The voice of guilt is so loud that it overshadows your thoughts and won’t stop screaming until you let it go. According to Max Lucado in his book Gentle Thunder, “Guilt is a healthy regret for telling God one thing and doing another.” The problem with most of us is that we hang onto our guilt instead of getting rid of it. According to Ezra, guilt takes us too much time!

God is the repository of our guilt. There is nothing that surprises God. There is nothing we can ever do that God won’t know about and care for us any less. God will love us no matter what, but when we confess our unfaithfulness to Him, He forgives us and the space in our lives that was taken up by the guilt we were carrying around can be filled with more of the love that God has for us. God takes our guilt and shame over our unfaithfulness (when we confess) and replaces it with His love. That new creation scripture talks about is us each time we confess our sins. God’s new life can continue to be planted and grow in new spaces in our hearts and minds. If we are to be more like Him, then we must become less like us in our worldly thoughts and actions.

So friends, let us with honesty confess our sins to Him who loves us so much that He asks for our guilt and shame so His love will grow in us.

Take joy in the journey and stay in the shade. Love you, 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.

Happy Wednesday to you all and it is so good to be home!

The trip was amazing. About halfway through the cruise Geni and Travis said in chorus, “We need to do this again next year!” Bruce and I are writing a journal of our adventures at sea. When we finish we will figure out a way to post our story.

Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love Thy law and nothing shall offend them.”

One of the things Bruce and I did each day on the cruise was get up before sunrise (and before the kids) and watch the sunrise on the ocean. We would receive a leaflet each morning that would tell when the sun was going to rise and set. On two of the mornings the sky was clear. When the sun met the horizon and began to appear over the water it was like looking at fire on the water. The reflection of the sun on the water cast its color all the way to the ship. It was completely breathtaking. As I would watch the sun rise on the horizon I thought of the song “God of Wonders.” On the other two days the sky was cloudy. As I sat on deck to awaiting the sunrise I was not sure I would see it on those mornings. I began to be disappointed, but then the sky behind the clouds turned a beautiful pink and that great ball of fire peaked through the clouds. It took a little longer to see the sunrise, but it still rose just as it has done for millions of years.

The lesson I learned from this experience of watching the sunrise was that even if I can’t see it, the sun always rises. I need to allow nothing to disturb the peace that comes in knowing that the sun will rise each day. The same is true with God. It is difficult at times to see God’s handiwork when the clouds are rolling in and the light is obscured. We can rest in the Peace of God because He is always there even on the cloudiest of days and the darkest of nights. There is nothing or no one that can take away the Peace that God offers. Each time we face a time of difficulty God is training us to remember and remain in His peace. When we pray for this peace, our situation may not change and we may have to see whatever the task is through until its completion. But if we work through the problem with the Peace of God then we change.

Remember that peace is not the absence of conflict or difficulty; Peace is living in the eye of the storm while the storm still rages. On our way home from Galveston we had trouble with two tires. Not a good situation at any time, but really not good when we were so far from home. These two problem tires were a definite interruption to our trip home not only in terms of time, but also of safety and finances.

Attributing the first situation to the loss of tread, Bruce and Travis replaced the left rear tire with the spare (a donut). When the right rear tire went flat about 20 minutes later, we had no choice but to put the tire we had just taken off back on to replace the flat. Of course, it was after all the tire stores were closed, so there was no way to purchase two other tires, even used ones. We drove a lot slower coming home, but we arrived home safely. God blessed us with His Peace as the second tire change allowed a smooth, safe ride home. God hid us in His place of Peace and we were never stranded out in the middle of nowhere in the dark. Even though we were going slowly in the dark, God’s peace surrounded us.

May the remaining journeys of your summer be free from flat tires, but if the interruptions come then place yourself in the place of Peace.

Take joy in the journey and stay in the shade. 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.