Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Saturday!

My apologies for not writing on last evening. I, who am rarely sick, came down with a ghastly sinus infection causing me pain that I was beginning to believe only amputation could cure. I am much better and looking forward to sharing with you this evening.

Our great niece, Bianca spent the day with us. It was a busy Saturday and she was a joy to have with us. Her dad, our nephew, is the manager of a restaurant and is beginning to work a lot of Saturdays so Bianca will be spending Saturdays with us for the foreseeable future. She is a lovely and delightful young lady (almost 9) and we are looking forward to spending time with her.

Prayer alert!! I received a text message from my principal, Tammy Dugan, telling me that her church, Saginaw Park Baptist in Aledo was burned to the ground last evening. There were several fires set throughout the building. I ask you to pray for this community as they come together in their grief and loss and count on Christ to direct their path.

Romans 6:13 “Give yourselves to God…surrender your whole being to Him to be used for righteous purposes.”

I don’t know about all singers who sing primarily contemporary Christian music, but I know of some who have a “go to” song when they are really down or when things are really going south or a moment of heartache occurs. For me the song is “In the Name of the Lord.” I go to that song for this one line “And when my plans have fallen through. And when my strength is nearly gone. When there is nothing left to do but just depend on you and the power of Your Name.”

As I try to put myself in the minds and hearts of the worshiping community in Aledo and the loss of their building, I pray they remember that what made them a worshiping community was not the building. What made them a worshiping community was their relationship with God. God is at the heart of their worship and bringing glory to God. Offering ourselves to God is what is at the heart of worship. It will take not only the surrender of the community of faith, but the surrender of each individual that makes up this community. It will take prayer by this community who has experienced this devastating loss, but the prayers of the larger community of believer s in support of this community. Let us join together in our prayers that even though the building is gone, the Spirit of God is still very present in the hearts of those who worship Him in love and in the belief that God will lead them out of the ashes and into a renewed purpose to glorify God in all things.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. See you in worship. 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.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Thursday!

Baby, it’s cold and wet outside. I am grateful for the warmth of our home. It is not only warm from the heaters in each room, but warm from the family that sat around the table tonight and laughed over scrambled eggs and bacon for dinner. I got to share a joy tonight at dinner. I got an A on my first paper in my class at Brite. This class is so much more enjoyable than last semester.

Hosea 11:9 “I am the Holy One and I am among you.”

Tonight in my class on the Book of Common Prayer we were presented with a case study about inclusive language. Inclusive language is one of those politically correct entities that is filtering down through all areas of our lives. Inclusive language is supposed to give names to God that are gender neutral. So we began to list some other names for God that would not name God with “He.” We thought of Savior, Redeemer, Healer, and others.

When I sat down to read my meditations for the evening this scripture verse was within the meditation. I don’t think we thought of “Holy One.” The name Holy One would identify God and then along with the name, the verse tells us where God is…God is with us.

If it ever seems that God is far away we only have to claim this verse to realize that God is the Holy One and God is with us. You see, if you don’t think God is where you are, I am pretty sure God is not the One who moved.

God loves us and wants a relationship with us. This verse reminds us that God is and remains with us no matter what and no matter where we move.

So if a tough road is before you and you need some assurance that God will be with you, fear not…God is already there. Go into battle armed with the promises of God.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, carry an umbrella, count you blessings and say your prayers. 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!

Please allow a proud parent moment…Bruce and I proudly announce that Geni has made the Dean’s List at UNT! Again! She messaged me at school to tell me the news. I was so proud and excited for her. She has worked really hard and deserves this wonderful recognition. Way to go baby girl!!

Romans 12:1 “Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him. This is true worship that you should offer.”

At Advent Lutheran Church there are electrical as well as heating and air conditioning repairs going on in the sanctuary. We will be having worship for the next two Sundays in Luther Hall, the large gym and multi-purpose area. Being a member of the Praise Team, I am really excited about this new location to worship with the band and congregation. There are still some logistics to be worked out, but I have full confidence in Jeremy and Addie to make all things well before our arrival on Sunday.

But tonight I want to share a Holy moment. Many of my holy moments happen in music. Tonight was no exception. One of my favorite songs is Revelation Song. The song features a beautiful soloist singing three of the verses with the team joining her on the chorus. Tonight in rehearsal as she sang the verses to the song, the passion she poured into the beautiful words of this song caused the praise team to miss our entrance and forget to sing when it was our turn. Addie stopped us and said we were all sitting there with our eyes toward heaven and completely caught up in the holy moment of this piece. The tears began to flow as we struggled to get back into the song and the moment of worship that happened in rehearsal had taken us to another place.

Worship is not just done with our lips and voices. Worship happens each time we respond to the call of Christ in our lives. When it comes to worship, we need to understand that it is not just a spectator sport. Sometimes those who lead worship forget to worship. For some it becomes a job or a service instead of surrendering to the holy moments worship can provide.

Tonight the praise team worshiped as we offered up the sacrifice of praise during rehearsal. It was such a powerful moment that we asked to sing the piece again in Luther Hall as we prepared for Sunday morning. No matter where we are in our lives and daily let us never pass up a chance to worship with our lips, our voices, our service and our prayers. Don’t let a holy moment pass you by.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. 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 A funny moment happened when we were singing the Revelation Song and we missed our entrance, Addie told us to not forget to sing! We laughed hysterically for about five minutes. Take joy…gc

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

Psalm 33:11 “God’s plans endure forever; His purposes last eternally.”

It seems that God continues to teach me about keeping continuously in His presence. In my daily devotion the meditations are dwelling on keeping God uppermost in my thoughts no matter what is going on. The first phrase of tonight’s devotion is “keep your Spirit-life calm and unruffled.” That says to me that no matter what is going on around me that I am to focus on God for guidance and leave all cares to Him.

When we enter into a relationship with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ it is a relationship that goes beyond this earth. That means that each choice we make while on the earth has rewards or consequences. So it causes me the think about what I hold important and how I go about making decisions. So in my prayer time I am praying to remember to go to God first when making not just important and big decisions, but the small ones throughout the day. The meditation called this “living in the light of eternity.” I need to look past what is temporary and focus on what will last forever.

The things of this world will not matter when I stand before the throne of grace in the light of God’s Holiness. What will last forever will be the way I have treated others. What will last forever is the way I have reflected the love of God to those around me. Have I treated those I have come in contact with Godly love? Have I shown the love of God to friends, family and strangers? And have I shared the message of God’s love and grace through Jesus when the opportunity presented itself?

Okay, so do we live in the “light of eternity”? Eternity begins when we enter into the relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Give it some thought and take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. 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, January 24, 2010

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Pastor Marc preached an awesome sermon this morning and the house absolutely rocked! I love it when the house rocks! (the music was amazing!)

Nehemiah 8: 12 “So the people went away to eat and drink at a festival meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great job because they had heard God’s words and understood them.”

Luke 4: 17-19 “ The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written (18)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the oppressed will be set free (19) and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come."

Nehemiah spoke to the nation of Israel after their captivity. He wanted to make sure that the people knew that God was God alone and that He continues to love us even when we mess up. God’s vision for the Israelites was for them to be the reflection of God’s love.

When Jesus stood up in the temple to read the scripture we see Jesus’ obedience to the Father with the statement “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” Jesus knows it is time to leave Nazareth and take His ministry away from home. Jesus began His life with birth in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, baptized in the Jordan River and His leave taking at home in Nazareth. In each of these events God’s voice is clearly heard. The angels sing and proclaim His birth, His Father speaks to Him and the dove descends at his baptism and now as He reads scripture in the temple Jesus, Himself, announces God’s presence in the reading and then he leaves and His ministry begins.

The difference in these two messages is that in the Nehemiah passage (if you read all of chapter 8) there are specific communities to which this message is being given and they are listed in the reading. But in this message, Jesus tells the listeners in the temple that this message is not just for them. This message was for everyone: the poor, the oppressed, the Gentile, the Samarian…this message was for everyone. It was time to take this message outside the limits of His home town and it was then Jesus began the journey to the cross.

Jesus’ vision for each of us has not changed since God’s vision in the Old Testament. The vision is simply for us to be a reflection of God’s love.

So I guess the question of the night is “How are we reflections of God’s love?” How can we renew our efforts to live and love like Jesus?

Maybe we should listen more and talk less. Maybe we should give more and collect less. Maybe we should remember how much we love those closest to us as well as the ones we meet. Maybe we should keep the vision of God for each of us so close to our hearts that we will be the reflection of God’s love that He wants us to be.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. 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.