Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Thursday!

There was an air of sadness at school today as we watched our friend and colleague pack for a new school. The young man I spoke of last evening, and a teacher on my team, packed his room today and will begin to set up a new room tomorrow at South Hills Elementary School and have new students on Monday. He will teach kindergarten. We are praying for him and wish him the very best in his new school, but we are really going to miss him.

John 6:68 “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Matthew 16: 15 “But whom say you that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Our friend Jacob is going to have to earn to trust and learn from a new team at a new school. He is going to have to learn to teach a different grade level. He did not want to accept this new place and position, but if he wants to work in this district, he had to accept the district’s decision. The district is the final decision.

God tells us to “learn of Me.” The Word of God is the Word on which we live our lives. God’s Word tells us to abide in Him, have no fear and it also tells us to accept my will for you. Trust in Me.

In these times it is so difficult to be grateful, yet His Word tells us to be grateful because He is in the midst of our difficulties, our trials and the tough roads we must walk. Remember that God walks the difficult road with us and never leaves our side.

I am not sure that God plans for us to walk tough roads and have times of difficulty, but I do think that when those hard times come, He makes a plan for us and sees us through. We must be willing to accept His will and abide in His Word. We must learn of Him.

So when we are uprooted from what we know and are no longer surrounded by those we know and have grown close to and are asked to CHANGE, we must rely on God and learn of Him.

Take joy in the journey and hug your babies. 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 Please lift up in prayer the Happening Weekend which begins tomorrow in McGregor,Texas, its 11 participants and staff. Geni, Travis and I will leave sometime tomorrow. Thank you friends. gc

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Wednesday!

One of the first grade teachers was surplused today. We were all saddened to lose Jacob. He will clean out his room tomorrow and report to his new school on Friday. That means that the team will absorb Jacob’s class of first graders. So instead of going to my ethics class today I stayed at school and prepared for five new students. Tomorrow will be like the first day of school once again.

James 4:8 “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

This morning the BHE Fellowship group met. We were all concerned about Jacob and how devastated he was going to be at the news that he was going to have to leave our building. We talked about how the team would react. (we all cried at the loss of our colleague) and we prayed for Tammy, our principal, as she was the one to deliver this decision to Jacob. And we prayed for Jacob to be successful wherever his new assignment.

In our time of sharing the Word and a meditation on these two passages, we lifted all of the parties up in prayer and prayed for healing in each of our lives. Our meditation told us to “turn to Me before you are conscious of My nearness.” God tells us to turn to Him in every circumstance. It does not matter to Him if it is a thankful praise, a joyous elation or an appeal for forgiveness when we have been weak. God does not even say we have to speak. We don’t need to bring gifts or platitudes. We just need to bring ourselves in need of His healing grace and claim His nearness. That every good and perfect gift stated in the passage of scripture is the constant nearness of God. How awesome it is to know that the nearness of God is as close as our next breath and all we have to do is claim Him. “Never fear, never lose heart.” The presence of God is all we need.

Take joy in the journey and hug your babies. 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, September 22, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

Happy first day of Fall! Today, I began the day with twelve students, but by the end of the school day, I was down to seven children. I sent four home sick and the others left early with parents who were taking older siblings to the doctor. Sometime mid-morning we stopped all activities in the classroom. I handed out antibacterial wipes and we wiped down all of the tables, chairs, locker handles and door handles. It may have been a “fix the gate after the horse has gotten out” activity, but maybe it helped. This afternoon I bought Lysol and intend to use it on everything.

Our nephew Ryan finally was able to resolve the issues with the insurance company after his accident and purchased a car, so Geni is now driving the Crown Victoria. She is now mobile once again. Yea Geni! I am glad you have wheels of your own, but I will miss our conversations on the way to school when we shared our ride.

This weekend Geni, Travis and I will be traveling to McGregor, Texas for Happening #40. It is going to be an amazing weekend. There are 11 participants. How cool is that! I ask your prayers for all of us this weekend. If you wish to send any caritas (letters, pass it on cards or other spiritual presents) just contact me, Geni or Travis and we will take them with us.

Psalm 33:3,4 “Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise. For the Word of the Lord is right; and all His works are done in truth.”

This past week Patrick Swayze died from pancreatic cancer. I was very saddened as I have been a fan of his for years. I looked up to heaven and said, “Casey, if you see Patrick up there tell him I have always been a fan.”

Last Saturday I was flipping channels and I came across a memorial tribute to this man of great talent. There was an interview with Patrick and he told the interviewer that dancing for him was like “God flowing through him.” That is what singing is like for me. I wear many hats and do many things, but if you ask me what my most favorite thing to do is I will answer “singing.” When I sing I feel like God and I are one. It is the most intimate relationship I have with the Father. And it does not matter if I am rehearsing, singing with the radio, singing in the kitchen, in Praise Team rehearsal or in worship on Sunday morning. (Jeremy probably hates it when I close my eyes in worship and don’t look at him.) The gift of singing is my way to worship God with skill, in the Word and in truth.

What do you do to truly worship God? Worship does not just happen on Sunday morning in a building with pews and songbooks. What do you do that makes you feel “God flowing through you?” Do you garden, clean house, read and study the Word, fish, pray, draw, paint or sculpt, help others, rock babies, preach, teach, cook…this list could go on for a long time.

Friends, figure out what action you do that makes “God flow through you” and then practice that skill to do your best, ground it in the Word and act in truth when you worship.

Take joy in the journey and hug your babies. 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.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy Monday!

Greetings on this late and stormy night. It is after 11 and I am just now sitting down to write. First I ask you to pray for all who are sick. I have a class of 17 children and 7 of them were out today. I have heard of so many having the flu, so let us pray for them and their well being and healing.

1 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.”

Did you ever wonder why God’s power by His grace is made perfect in us when we are weak? It seems to me that the reason is that when we are weak, we can only look up. We may not even be able to get up, but we can look up. If we can look up and just breathe the name of Jesus then God can take it from there. When we think we are strong, we walk looking straight ahead and believe all is well.

Max Lucado says, “If we don’t bow our knees then we roll up our sleeves and put in another 12 hour day.” Putting in a 12 hour day may help earn a living, or build a house or start a business, but it will not help when we are facing our own death or trying to deal with our own sin and guilt. We cannot roll up our sleeves and expect to “save “ ourselves. There are some things we were not meant to do. And climb “Mount Messiah” is one of them.

Let us take the precious, blessed, gift of grace given to us lovingly by the Father through Jesus Christ: allow Him to forgive us, allow Him to work in our lives; healing us, teaching us, guiding us and leading us. Maybe we need to spend less time on the climb and more time on our knees. The highest pinnacle we will ever reach is at the feet of the Father. Look up. Breathe His name. Let His grace flow through you.

Take joy in the journey, stay dry and hug your babies. 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 20, 2009

Blessed Sunday to all of you.

Praise God! Geni and Travis arrived home safely this afternoon. We teased Pastor Marc before leaving church today that we knew that he regularly prayed for his three small children, but that those prayers would change tremendously when they begin to drive!

Psalm 33:8 “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Psalm 100: 5 “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations.”

I have to write a paper for my ethics class. It has to be analytical in nature and taken from one of the readings discussed in class. Analytical means that I have to take a passage of the reading and argue either for or against the author’s view. Since I am not well read enough in Christian theological authors I do not operate in theories, ideologies or opinions. So I have decided to pose a moral situation close to my heart.

We sat in the family room at the hospital on a Friday morning. Our son with incurable cancer is just down the hall. The latest test results tell us that the sarcoma cancer has covered his left lung completely and all but 20% of his right lung. The chemotherapy did not work and we are now out of possible cures and treatments. If left alone, we will lose our son in three or four days. We can pump enough pain killers into his system to keep him comfortable and let nature take its course or we can extend his body functions indefinitely through the use of life sustaining machines.

The moral question is: Do we have the right to make this decision for our son? Do we extend his body functions or do we allow him a remaining, however brief, quality of life?

If you have followed this blog and the one we began on the Caring Bridge website you know what our decision was. We prayed with Doc Adams on numerous occasions and it was through prayer and belief and trust in God that we believed our decision was the one Casey would have determined for himself.

We believe God is good. We believe that God is love. We believe that God holds the present and the future in His hands. We had to trust and be not afraid.

I have shared the last conversation I had with Casey with you before. It is the conversation in which he told me that his time was not long and that he was not afraid. Even in the worst situation I could ever imagine God was so good and we all were standing constantly in His presence. We were each blessed with a final moment with Casey. It was at this moment in time that we surrendered ourselves to God and His tender mercies and God took complete control of the situation.

When Jesus was hanging on the cross God was in control of the situation. God knew that Jesus had one more thing to do before He died. Jesus had to talk to one more person about the Kingdom of Heaven. The thief on the cross next to Jesus received salvation just before he died. God’s goodness was present in the worst situation ever; the death of His Son.

My friends, when faced with life’s toughest decisions - pray, read the Word and recognize God’s goodness. Then trust and be not afraid.

Take joy in your journey. We 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.