Saturday, August 22, 2009

These are the four G. Chrysties in our family: Grace, Gayle, Gaylene and Geni.

Happy Saturday!

What a busy day. Bruce did get to get into the water on a sailboat, but due to no wind…the sailing did not occur. They “puttered” around Joe Pool Lake this morning using the small motor used to back the boat out of the slip. A great time was still had and their fellowship was not hindered at all.

Travis finally got his computer and desk today. At this writing, Travis and Bruce are putting the desk together. This could take quite a while. The desk is really beautiful and Travis is really happy and excited about it. It is “espresso” colored. I thought, “How appropriate that is with Travis being a barista at Starbucks.”

Psalm 100:3 “The Lord is good. His love is forever, and His loyalty goes on and on.”

Have you ever considered the depth of this verse? This verse says that God will love us forever, on this side of heaven and throughout all eternity. It also says that His loyalties go on and on. That means God will continue to love us when we mess up and when we do well. This verse also says that God is loyal to us even when we are not loyal to Him. When others say unkind or hateful things to us, God remains loyal in His love for us. If others were to wish evil on us, God still remains loving and kind to us and is not influenced by outside forces. God’s love for us remains constant. Max Lucado says in one of his devotions, “the next time someone says something unkind or hateful to us, we are to remember Who loves us faithfully, with great loyalty and eternally.” That is amazing love!

Our music directors Jeremy and Addie Brewer have returned from Malaysia and will be back in worship with us tomorrow. We are grateful for their safe return. Geni also returned safely from her visit to Nacogdoches this afternoon to help celebrate Bruce’s birthday. It has become our custom to sing the birthday honoree awake with “Happy birthday to You!” I was the only one at home this morning with Bruce so I awoke him with “Hippo Birdies Two Shoes!” We learned this version while on the cruise. There are many accents from around the world on the cruise ship and this is what Happy Birthday sounds like sung in English by an international staff. Bruce just laughed and laughed.

Give thanks to God for His amazing love and see you in worship tomorrow. 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.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Friday!

48 hours and counting! Today was a busy day for most of the teachers in the state of Texas who begin teaching children and young people on Monday morning. By noon today I decided it was time to clean up the room and have it ready for the children and parents on Monday. I was not going to tape up anything else or write anyone else’s name and so I begin to gather my things and head to the copier. (Please remember we are two short days from children).

As I am heading to the copier to copy the various things for Monday I am told there is no toner for our machine. Now imagine if you will a building of like-minded men and women, teacher and administrators who all need to make copies and there is no toner for the copier. Well, we borrowed a tube of toner from another school and the copying began and then the copier went down and began to spit out very poor copies with blank spaces.

Folks, I realize we are trying to go to a paperless society, but schools still largely run on paper and ink. Stress level reached a fevered pitch. Many of us are biting the bullet and doing some basic copying at FedEx Office (formerly Kinkos), not knowing when the copier will be repaired. I ask that you pray for the teachers, the copier and all of the children and young people who will return to school this week. Did it ever blow you away that congress took prayer out of schools and then ask us to do this job without a prayer!

1 Corinthians 4:5 “God will praise each one of them.”

In my classroom I have a computer mouse pad with “100 Ways to Praise a Child” on it. As the instructional leader in my classroom it is mega- important that I discover something in each child that is worthy of praise. Other teachers and even the principal can praise the children in my classroom, but the praise they seek out the most is mine. I can’t imagine ever saying to a child, “I don’t have time to praise you right now. Could you go across the hall to Mr. Mac’s room and tell him what you did. He would love to give you praise for your accomplishment.”

God tells us in this scripture that He will praise each one of us. He will not exclude anyone of His children and he will not staff out His recognition and praise. As Max Lucado says, “Michael will not be in charge of crowns and Gabriel will not in change of speaking on behalf of the throne.” No, God, Himself will praise each of us personally. When the time comes for praise, when we come before the throne of grace He will say to us “Well done, good and faithful servant.” He will call us by name without having to check the attendance roster, for He knows us so well. There will not be a group blessing. We will individually go before God to receive His blessing and be called by name.

As we go about our daily lives let us look for ways to celebrate the gifts others have to offer. Let each of us search for a way to praise those with whom we have relationship, call them by name and offer them a word of praise. Perhaps when we find words of praise for each other the Holy Spirit that lives within us will grow and take up more space in our heart.

Take joy in the journey. Love you all so much, 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 Tomorrow is Bruce’s birthday! He is going sailing with his reunion group. How cool is that! Happy Birthday B—loved.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The picture from yesterday was Geni, enjoying the queen sized bed and down comforter at the hotel in Galveston after putting up with a single size bed on board the ship for 4 nights. This is the companion picture where Travis is about to get Geni up!

Happy Thursday!

School starts in 72 hours. My room is almost ready. Travis is going to TCC tomorrow to find the lay of the land for his classes, Geni is doing a final summer visit to her friends in Nac and Bruce is helping me tomorrow. Life is pretty busy right now.

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you are god’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”

God’s Holy Spirit lives in each of us. But have we given that Spirit our whole heart? Are there still things that we hold on to on this side of heaven? Sometimes stress gets in the way and the Spirit gets shoved over even for just a few moments. Today stress got the better of me. I have set up a cozy reading nook outside my classroom door. It consists of a TCU papa san style chair, a turned over blue crate with a basket of books sitting on top, a poster of a teddy bear just above the chair and the caption stating “”Cozy up to reading.” When I arrived at my classroom door I discovered that my crate and books were being rolled down the hall and heading for the trash dumpster. I ranted (I never rant!) to my principal down the hall that my books were missing. She said, no, they are not, they are right here. I must have been quite a sight because everyone in the hall stopped and stared. I don’t remember exactly what I said, except that someone was going to lose their life if my things were not recovered and quickly. My words were less than kind and were not very quiet. All is well, the books, crate and basket were recovered in the nick of time and I apologized to my principal. But the bottom line is that I did not stop and take a breath.

I did not breathe in the power of the Holy Spirit and receive the peace that only that practice can achieve. Instead, I was upset and a bit disrespectful to someone whom I respect greatly. She was very forgiving and I am sure attributed it to stress. After the situation quiet down I prayed for forgiveness from God and began to breathe in the Holy Spirit once again.

The reference to the word temple is used not by accident. For the Hebrew nation, the temple was the place where God was present. Jesus was also the temple of God as the power of the Holy Spirit, the essence of God, was present in the body of Jesus. When we come into relationship with Jesus we become that temple because that same Holy Spirit is given to us and placed into our hearts.

We have a holy lineage to follow. Let us remember that we are the temple in which the Holy Spirit resides. And then, when the stress happens, stop, take a breath and breathe in the Holy Spirit before reacting in anger. If we do not react in anger then perhaps we will act in love.

Take joy in the journey and take a breath! 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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Any guesses? I'll tell you tomorrow!

Happy Wednesday!

I am sorry I missed writing last night. I was super tired and had a meeting to prepare for today. But the other issue has been my eyes. Just before we left on our cruise last month my left eye became red and enflamed and in pain. So I did not wear my contact lenses for a few days and it seemed to clear up. I wore my contacts again and by the end of the day the inflammation returned. This pattern repeated for several times. I finally stopped wearing my contact lenses and went to the optometrist. Bottom line is that I have a sort of ulcer on my cornea. Doc prescribed an antibi otic steroid eye drop. She assured me that this medicine will take care of the problem. My problem has been that my eyes have had to work harder while wearing my glasses and it is making me really tired.

1Corinthians 2: 9 “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”

When I read this verse tonight I thought about my classroom. My classroom is almost completely different than it has ever been before. Due to all of the construction I have had to make major changes is the arrangement. The children who are coming to me will be so surprised. Many of them have come to classroom in the past and knew what it looked like, but they have not seen it since all of the changes. The children could guess what their new room will look like, but until they arrive on Monday they will not know.

Do you think we have God figured out? I mean really. Can you imagine how the woman who was about to be stoned for adultery felt when the men around her dropped their rocks and walked away? Can you imagine how the woman at the well felt when Jesus told her “I Am He of who you speak. I Am the Messiah.” Can you imagine the awed surprise these people felt when they were in the presence of the Master and the situation completely changed?

When was a time that you stood in the presence of Jesus and the tears changed into joy? For me I sat in the presence of Jesus when Casey told me he was not afraid to die. And even though it was one of the most heart breaking moments I will ever have in my life, it was also a moment of peace. I knew my son and spoken with the Master Himself and was not afraid. After all of the bad news I was given to deliver, God chose this moment to bring His good news to me. My child was to be received into the Kingdom and into the presence of the Living God and he would go unafraid.

God stands with us when the world chooses to hammer at us and says, “Fear not! I Am with you.”

Take joy in the journey and walk unafraid. 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, August 18, 2009

This is one of the "critters" the staff left on our bed every night. They even had a class in how to make them!

Happy Monday!

Today was the first day of teacher inservice for FWISD. It was a long day with good information and I made a bit more progress on my classroom.

Isaiah 55:12 “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

You know, most teachers do not go into the time of inservice with joy and gladness! I know I don’t. I would rather be in my classroom getting ready for the children who are coming on Monday. After totally having to redo my classroom there hasn’t been enough time for lesson planning. My stress level is a bit high, but it is at its peak and should be all downhill from here.

Today two of my dear friends have shared news with me. One friend called to say that her father has maybe a day or so to live and another called to say that her brother is going in for tests tomorrow for what they believe is serious cancer. Tonight I listened to both friends and prayed with one of them. How difficult is it for them right now to go forth in joy and gladness when their hearts are filled with pain, fear and are torn into little pieces.

I know exactly how they feel. I so wish I did not know their thoughts and feelings, but I do. So tonight as we were at the hospital visiting, one of the nurses came over and reintroduced herself to me. As she asked me how we were doing, I responded we were doing fine. We miss Casey every day and sometimes it tears us apart, but for the most part we are okay. Anyway, Tiffany (the nurse) said, “Casey is with God and that is what we all strive for in this life.” And then I remembered that is a place of peace for me. Casey is doing just fine. He stands or kneels in God’s holy presence and in His light all the time now and forever more.

As I read this scripture verse I thought, “If I don’t praise God with joy in the knowledge that Casey is with the living God then someone or something else will praise God for me.” The only way I can honestly do this act of praise is through faith: the gift of faith God gave me at the point of my salvation and the growth of faith I experienced in the last year of Casey’s life.

Faith, during such a difficult time as losing in death someone you love beyond your own life, requires that we breathe in the Divine Spirit of God. At a time of such grief and pain our whole mind, body and soul need help. God calls us to draw near to Him and He will not just shower us, but He will soak and saturate us in the Spirit of grace and comfort. And believe it or not, He will restore laughter when we thought laughter would never return.

The rocks, hills and streams will not cry out in language we understand, but if we do not praise God even when it is hard…he tells us in his Word that the trees, rocks, hills will praise His name and God will understand their praises because He is their creator. When we have broken hearts, God hears our cries and has compassion and sorrow for our tears. But God rejoices when His children try to see beyond their hurt and find a moment of praise. When we find that moment of praise in the midst of our sorrow God knows that we are aware of His presence and we have given Him Lordship over our suffering.

I ask you to pray for these two friends and their families. Please pray for healing and tender mercies for all of the hearts, minds and souls that are broken tonight. Claim these hurting ones to God’s care and keeping claiming victory with a song of praise.

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.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The whole trip Travis was wanting to see a shark attack. This was the closest he got to one, thank goodness!!

Blessed Sunday!

Sometimes we make decisions and then God intervenes. Yesterday our plans (Geni, Travis and I) were to travel to Tyler for a Happening Team Meeting. Later in the day another teen needed a ride making my car full plus one. So I elected to not attend the meeting so that all of the young people could attend. This morning, one of the young people to whom we were to give a ride called and brought her family’s Explorer now making enough room for all to attend. So I went.

The meeting was wonderful. The team is great and getting excited. Now we are praying for participants. This Happening Weekend will take place the last weekend of September in McGregor, Texas. McGregor is located just outside of Waco. Let me know if you know of any young person age 15-18 who would like to attend and we will get them an application. Please pray for the weekend, the team, parent staff and participants.

John 6: 56 “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”

This is the devotion I shared with the Happening Staff today.

Do you remember when the Mrs. Baird’s Bread-making plant was just off of the highway in downtown Fort Worth? Were you like me and when you rounded that bend in the highway you rolled down the window to smell the delicious aroma of the freshly baked bread? Is that the most wonderful aroma ever?

When Moses led the new nation of Israel across the desert and they ran out of food, they prayed for food and God rained down manna for them to make bread. In Biblical times the woman of each home would rise early, light the fires and bake the bread for the day. When bread dough is prepared with yeast then the bread rises before it is baked. Even yeast after a while dies and is no longer useful for baking bread. When Jesus appears in the lives of those in the area of Galilee He feeds the 5000 with bread. And in His final meal with His disciples He shares bread with them and explains about the meaning of bread.

Jesus explains that the manna from heaven, the bread from the ovens, the bread shared with the 5000 and now the bread shared with His closest followers will only satisfy for a day. The bread which is eaten from the table will be consumed and burned up for energy. The bread from heaven, the bread which God sent in Jesus will live in us forever.

This bread is God on foot. This bread is the only bread that was consumed on the cross, but rose again after death never to die again, but to live forever by the power of the Holy Spirit which is in each of us. When we choose to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, ask for and accept forgiveness for our sins and give Him lordship over our life, we have then consumed the body of Christ and it will never die. The living bread of Jesus remains with us forever.

Friends, share the bread form the table and then share the bread from your heart with those you love. I am back in inservice tomorrow.

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.

Trying to get pictures of the flying fish. No luck!

Happy Saturday!

Romans 14:8 “If we live, we are living for the Lord, and if die, we are dying for the Lord.”

Today, the teaching staff from Burton Hill gathered at our principal’s home in Aledo for picnic and swimming. One of the purposes for the picnic is the magic brown envelopes. In those envelopes are the names of the children assigned to our classrooms for the year. It is always an exciting time for each teacher. We gather and read the list of names and ask each other if they had this particular student or that student.

When it comes to the students on my list, I will be responsible for their instruction for the next 36 weeks. In my classroom I work very hard to not have any negative visible attributes. I do not put names on the board, turn color cards or place children in a specific “corner” of the room when there is inappropriate behavior. There is no room for negativity, only positive reinforcement. Bottom line is that no matter who had these students in the past, they, for the next nine months, will be my students. These children will be associated with my classroom and carry my name, so to speak. As they walk down the hall, go to lunch and participate in recess and other classes, they will show the rest of the school the discipline I practice in my classroom.

When we come into relationship with Jesus we come with guilt, shame, fear and sin. God cannot take up residence into lives riddled with sin. God can only take up space made for Him in our lives. God sent Jesus as a ransom for our sins and to redeem us before the Father. When God checks the Book of Life and finds our name written in it He rejoices because He knows we are living for Him. We have died to our old selves and are choosing to live lives that conform to His standards. We choose to live for Him and show others the gracious gifts and radical, abundant love that has been showered on us by God Himself. When we make that choice, others know us as belonging to God, and God is proud to call us His own children.

Take joy in the journey and share the love of God with those you meet. Love you all and see you in worship. 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.