Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy Saturday!

2 Corinthians 3:18 “Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory and we are being changed to be like Him.”

When Moses went on the mountaintop (according to Cecil B. DeMille) to receive his marching orders from God, he hid his face and did not see the glory of God in the burning bush. When Peter, James and John went with Jesus to the mountaintop and Jesus was transfigured before their very eyes, they were not asked to cover their faces or hide. They were allowed to see the glory of God in the face of their friend and teacher, Jesus Christ. I am sure they were completely surprised by this phenomenal event. Peter recognized this as an opportunity to worship and wanted to make three altars to Jesus. Peter had already figured out that Jesus was the Messiah, but now he has come face to face with the Father, Himself. Peter has now had an encounter with God, face to face and was not asked to cover his face or remove his sandals or anything. Peter, James and John were welcomed, invited to worship Christ. I don’t know how long this time of worship lasted, but it was long enough to that they saw Jesus face shining like the sun. Jesus went to the top of the mountain to worship His Father. His face changed as He worshipped God.

Our faces are the most exposed parts of our bodies. Our faces show the range of our emotions. When we are in the worship service, how do we look? Can the pastor tell if the message is reaching us by the expressions on our faces? How does the music affect us? Do our faces show any emotion as we are singing God’s praises or singing about sorrow and pain or singing about God and His tender mercies? But more than that, do our faces reflect the goodness of our God and the countless blessings we have received?

I love worship. In worship I hear the Word read and preached. In worship I get to sing of the Lord’s goodness, His tender mercies and of my love for Him and His love for me. In worship I am not asked to hide my face even in prayer. I seem to pray with my face turned upward and holding the hand of someone next to me. I hope my face reflects the presence of God.

God sent Jesus so that we could encounter Him face to face; not turned away, not in shame, but in love. Let us worship God in spirit, truth and open ourselves and see Him face to face.

See you in church! 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.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Greetings from Austin St.

Happy Friday! It is about to be a really busy weekend for the Chrysties. Bruce, (at this writing) is working on his talk for the upcoming Kairos Weekend. He has been given the Christian Action talk to present to the team tomorrow and then to the participants and team on the weekend. I ask your prayers for him as he writes and presents this talk to the glory of God and the furthering of the Kingdom.

Geni and Travis are preparing for the Happening Lock-in. They will leave tomorrow for McGregor, Texas. The team will meet throughout the weekend to hear talks, celebrate Eucharist, finalize plans and attend worship. I ask your prayers for the team and participants on this weekend and travel mercy as they all converge in McGregor.

And tomorrow I will attend training for the new Promethean Board that has been installed in my classroom. This is the most amazing and coolest classroom tool ever!!! The majority of the Burton Hill staff will be in attendance. Our training is an all day event. So the Chrysties are going in different directions tomorrow.

I talked to my brother tonight. He and Sheena were in the pressbox at the Allen football game. He sounds fantastic and says he doing so well. He was expecting the most difficult surgery on his shoulder with the rotator cuff injury and it ended up being far less and his recovery time is expected to be minimal. We are so grateful. Ken is an active busy man and is counting his blessings and giving thanks that the surgery turned out so well.

John 10:10 “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Next week my students will begin to study plants. We are going to begin with observation of plants and some appropriate vocabulary. Basic vocabulary words of root, stem, vine, branch, leaf etc…are all terms with which (if I teach well) they will become familiar and understand how this system of life works together.

When I was pregnant with Casey, Bruce and I went to childbirth classes. One of the things we were taught was that if you were going to nurse the baby, that whatever you ate, the baby ate 30 minutes later. That caused me to really realize and be very critical of what I ate not only while I was pregnant, but after delivery as I nursed all three children. For nearly two years of each of our children’s’ lives I was their source of nourishment. Whatever I ate, they ate in some form. For a while, I was the giver of life and then I was the sustainer of life. That is an overwhelming responsibility, but I treasured each moment of those years and experiences with our children.

Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” God is the most generous giver. He gave us Jesus. Jesus then became our nourishment. Whatever He was given from His Father, it flowed down to us. When Jesus feeds us through His Word, when we commune with Him in prayer, when we help someone else, when we listen and follow His will then we become one with Christ. Jesus is our source of life. He is Love, Peace, Joy, Understanding, Strength, Power and Healing. Because Jesus is all of these things, He nourishes us with all that He is for our own lives and the lives of those we meet.

One of the main differences in plants and animals is that plants can produce their own food. If we become the branches of Christ then we will produce seed for planting and eventually be a part of the gathering of the harvest. (I think fall may have taken over my thoughts for just a few moments.) What a marvelous gift the Kingly Giver has bestowed upon us; to ask us to be a part of this renewal and continuous life cycle in Him.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. May they continue to flow though all of us.

Love you all and thank you all so very much for your prayers. 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.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy Thursday!

Isaiah 43:5 “Fear not, I Am with you.”

I have several close friends who are walking some really hard, rocky roads right now. Our family is also walking a bit of a rough road right now with the economy. Between these wonderful friends and our own situation it seems I am praying a lot of the time. Last night I did not sleep well because I thought about my friends and us and could not rest. I did all of my usual tricks when I have trouble sleeping. I sing the Lord’s Prayer in my head. I count my blessings, I count. And I continue to pray. As I was praying for God to help me to sleep it finally dawned on me…I needed to lay all of these burdens at the feet of the Father and walk away and rest. I needed to unclutter my mind and rest in the One Who is with me. So I finally prayed for safety for the night. I gave thanks that Bruce was beside me and the kids were down the hall, said Amen and went to sleep.

I say this simple verse, or at least the first two words -”fear not” all the time, but I don’t say the last part of the phrase…”I Am with you.” The great I Am has promised to be with each of us no matter what. The One who created the universe and sent Jesus to the earth so we could know Him says, “Fear not. I AM with you…” comforts me. When God is with us then we must place ourselves in His total care and trust that He has everything under control. The verse does not say He is there only in times of need or to celebrate in times of joy, the verse says, I Am with you.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being with us all the time. Help all of us to rest in your love, grace, tender mercies, and eternal presence.

Take joy in the journey. We love you lots, 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, September 9, 2009

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday is a really long day for me. I begin at 7:00 am with the BHE Fellowship, followed by teaching 17 amazing first graders, then going on to Brite for two and one half hours of Christian Ethics and finally to Praise Team rehearsal at church. Geni has taken over dinner duties on Wednesday night. Tonight was delicious scrambled eggs and bacon. Thanks Geni!

A Praise God!! My best friend Carme Russell has been offered a job with the San Antonio School District. She has not worked a full time teaching job since they returned to Texas from Washington. She has been substituting regularly for quite some time. She was offered the job on Tuesday. Our prayer was that the principal would be willing to wait for her to begin on the first of October. God’s timing is not ours. Carme’s doctor told her if she promised not to lift anything she could report to work on Monday!!! The principal rushed her recommendation to the district offices today. Our prayer now is that the principal’s recommendation will be accepted and Carme will be at work bright and early Monday morning. Carme will be teaching high school special education science! Way to go Carme and yea God!!!

2 Corinthians 2: 14 “But thanks be to God, Who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.”

If we follow the plan God has for each of us then there can be no failure. I sometimes think that the students at Brite are so much smarter than I am. Today in class I did not offer comments to the discussion because the vocabulary used by many of my classmates caused me to call up Merriam Webster’s online dictionary and find out what many of words they were using meant. I basically understood the content of the conversations, but did not feel very scholarly today. But I believe that I am where God has called me to be and learning what He has prescribed me to learn. I will persevere and I will learn.

The basic content of the discussion today was the process of moral discernment as it applies to Christian ethics through the eyes of women as an oppressed community. But in reality if I look past just looking through the eyes of women and try to look through the eyes of all believers then my task as a future called and ordained minister is to listen. I have not been called to make judgments about people, but I have been called to listen and love them. I do not have to agree with them, but as children of God I must love and help them as best I can. Whether I can use scholarly vocabulary and sophisticated language is not nearly as important as sitting and listening to someone and sharing the love of God with them. If I can respectfully and lovingly listen to someone then I have not failed and God will have triumphed.

What is your favorite fragrance? I especially like cinnamon and apples. The scent of apples and cinnamon remind me of fall and warmth and home. But the fragrance of frankincense and myrrh are the scents Jesus was presented with by the Kings when He was a child and the precious oils that adorned His body at His death. Those scents are not overly familiar to each of us, but God’s Word, the fragrance of His knowledge is at our very fingertips. Open the Book and catch the aroma and the fragrance of the love of God and allow the scent to permeate you all with whom you come into contact.

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.
Happy Tuesday!

I pray you all had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend.

Deuteronomy 5:33 “You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you…”

When we come into relationship with God through Jesus everything changes. Or maybe I should say we change. We choose to walk the road of a believer and to listen to God’s strong voice or wait for His voice in the silence, but still have faith that He is there even when He is silent.

When God is silent we still must follow His plan as best we can. Sometimes when God is quiet we become like the fledgling nation of Israel just freed from bondage in Egypt and we try to go back to our old ways. If we follow the story of the Hebrew nation, we find that their supplies ran short on more than one occasion and God provided for their needs each and every time. God provided for them out of His love for them. God’s love is never ending. God’s love is a love that continues to give without fail and without ceasing. His supply of love never runs short even to the point of sending His Son, Jesus to earth and then sacrificing his life for our salvation.

When our supply seems to run short we tend to use a little less or hang on to what we have . God’s love tells us that when our supply runs short to give something away. When the day has been really tough and we think that our world has taken all we have to give, can we offer just one more person a smile? Can we offer just one more person a listening ear or a prayer?

When we offer up our tired and weary hearts to help someone else then we make more room for God’s love. His love gets recycled in us each time we sacrifice for one of His children. Remember even if someone is not a faithful believer, they are still His child. Our smile, our moment to listen, our prayer for peace and healing for someone is a way we can walk in the ways of God. When we do that, the blessing God returns to us in that our way will be well with us.

Bruce signs off on his emails with the following mantra, “Preach Christ every day. Use words if necessary.” We can preach to others about God or we can show someone the love of God. Let us give something of ourselves away to someone in need and let God recycle His love in us.

Love you all so very much and take joy in the journey. Love, 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.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day to you all!

I stayed super busy getting caught up with errands and things round the house. It was a great day and I got nearly my entire list accomplished. Yea! Just a couple of quick updates: first, Carme came through her surgery very well and is recouping. Ken (my brother) came through his surgery very well also and the damage to his shoulder was not as extensive as earlier anticipated so his surgery was not as extensive and the recovery time has been cut in half. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Mark 6: 41—44 “When He had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, He…blessed, and broke the loaves…and they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.”

You have probably heard this story about a million times. I never tire of hearing the story and the wonderful image it paints. I envision the hillside with families gathered to hear the Teacher speak the truth about how we should live and about the time when we will see Him face to face in heaven someday. What an amazing site that must have been.

I would like for you to think of this story a bit differently. One of the points of the story is for the disciples to believe through a very concrete action that they were to rely on Jesus for everything - that no matter what, they could rely on His power for their every need. Jesus wants us to drop off our burdens at His feet and sing merrily on our way.

I am in the paper writing business at Brite Seminary. I love the feeling of completing the paper I am writing and either sending it through the airways through email or printing and handing it in. It is such a great feeling to be unburdened of the document. At that point it is out of my hands. There is not another thing I can do with the paper.

God does the same thing for us. If we but drop off our burdens at His feet and walk away then he takes it from there and lifts the burden unto Himself and deals with the problem. If we keep our burdens to ourselves pretty soon we are “burdened” down with suffering, pain and sorrow. If we surrender our problems to the Father and rely on His to handle and carry them then we can walk away happy, singing and rejoicing because the King of King has taken it out of our hands. Leave your burdens at the feet of the Father and trade your sorrows for the joy 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.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Blessed Sunday to you all.

We are home at last. Bruce and I left on Friday evening to spend the weekend with Mom and Dad. Bruce and Travis built a deck for Mom and Dad on Saturday. Yes, they built a wonderful deck in one day! Sort of reminded me of an old storybook titles “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.” Any of you who are old enough to remember Captain Kangaroo should remember this wonderful story. Mom and I played “sidewalk superintendents” when the deck was about ¾ done. We parked out lawn chairs on the completed portion of the deck and enjoyed the cool night air until the mosquitoes drove us back into the house. I christened the deck today by having the grill moved out onto it and I grilled pork loin roasts. I think Mom and Dad are really going to enjoy it.

Another purpose for going to Mom and Dad’s this weekend was for the granddaughters to divide mother’s doll collection among themselves. Mom has collected china dolls for years and had around 200 beautiful dolls of all sizes, eras in history, brides and characters. It was really fascinating to watch the girls select their dolls. I watched as the eldest granddaughter chose the character dolls, such as Charlie Chaplin, clowns and others, while another chose dolls with blonde hair to match her own and Geni chose the more exotic dolls. I was to receive one of the dolls. My mamo had a china doll (the only doll she ever owned) when she was a young girl and through a sibling squabble the china face was broken. After I was grown I came across a baby doll with a china face and hands and presented it to her. It remained on her bed until she passed away nearly 20 years ago. The doll has been safely kept in Mom’s doll cabinet for all of these years. It was hard for Mom to part with all of them, but in thinking at age 76 of downsizing, she decided to begin with her precious collection.

We sang in worship today for the FUMC in Howe. The last time we sang there Casey was with us. I remember the pain he was in and how he almost had to sit during our singing. I missed him a lot today. I still get emotional when we sing, but if we ever stop singing as a family I am sure Casey would find a way to return if only to kick our butts and tell us to get out there and sing!

We were totally surprised that two sets of aunts and uncles came to worship to hear us sing. I had not seen them in quite a while and it was great to see them as well as the friends from Howe who have known me for so long. I then sang “It is Well with My Soul.” Due to technical difficulties, the pre-recorded accompaniment track would not play on the church’s equipment, so I shared a brief message and sang the piece A Capella.

Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Psalm 71:7 “I am as a wonder unto many; but Thou art my strong refuge.”

King David knew that to his kingdom he was an amazing king, but David knew that God, the Father, the Lord of Hosts, was his refuge. David knew that God was his stronghold just as the wall around Jerusalem was the stronghold of the people.

Today I sang “It is Well with My soul” without musical accompaniment. I ordered the accompaniment CD and requested overnight shipping only to find out it would not be shipped until later in the month. It is out of stock. When I read that notice I asked Bruce if there was a way to just download the CD from an online store and record it ourselves. He found just such a store that had the music I needed and downloaded the music to a CD. We began to try the CD in different players and all we got was static. So then a second download occurred last night and the music was placed on a flash drive. The flash drive was placed in a computer this morning prior to worship and the computer did not recognize it at all. A final attempt was made and the computer finally recognized the driver and a music picture came up on the screen with no sound. By this time worshipers are entering the sanctuary and I have not practiced with musical accompaniment. There was but one solution to the problem.

We gathered outside the church on the sidewalk just prior to worship and prayed for God to bless our efforts in our singing to glorify His name whether there was musical accompaniment or not and that the congregation would receive a blessing in His name. We placed ourselves in the everlasting God’s strong arms and surrendered ourselves to Him.

God in His kindness and tender mercies lifted us out of our vulnerable place and stood in our midst and allowed us to sing with His voice and His message. God made a way for me to sing the piece A Capella through the message I shared and the forgiving spirits of the “home” congregation. We leaned on the everlasting arms of Christ and sang.

The everlasting arms of God are untiring, ever safe, long enough and strong enough to hold us when we are uncertain, feel unsafe, vulnerable, heartbroken, full of sorrow and grief and when we need to cry. Lean on Jesus, friends, and allow Him to embrace you, make you feel safe and give you refuge from the storm. We are glad to be home!

Take joy in the journey. Missed writing to you. Love you all and have a safe and great Labor Day. 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.