Saturday, February 13, 2010

Greetings from Starbucks!

Happy Saturday! We have been without power since midnight Thursday. But it could have been worse and there are those who are far worse off than we. We have just been inconvenienced. We have gas heat, cooking and water heater. We have been able to stay reasonably warm, we are fed, watered and dry. Those who have all electric are in big trouble. The good news is that the big truck with flashing lights is in our neighborhood as we speak (Oncor). I have hopes that we will be back on track sometime tonight. We have been eating many things from the fridge to avoid losing any food. The freezer has held pretty well, but the fridge is getting warm. I have just tried to get everything I need at one time to avoid opening the doors to hold in whatever cool is still remaining. (Lots of eggs!!)

John 8:12 “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”’

For me the hardest part of being without electricity is walking into a dark house. I, as many of you know, was very afraid of the dark as a child. I guess my discomfort with darkness has still remained . Last night we sat down to dinner with many candles and I cooked eggs and bacon by Bruce and Geni holding a flashlight over the skillet. And even though we normally go to sleep in relative darkness, there are still small lights that shine and small noises that instead of being an annoyance I have discovered to be a comfort. There is also the anticipation of certain alarms going off and a bit of tension in making sure we get up on time without the alarms and radio (by the voice of Hal Jay on WBAP) that I am so accustomed.

Then the most wonderful thing happened. I have kept the candle from the Extravaganza on the microwave. Last night it was lit as a source of light. I walked back into the kitchen from a darkened bedroom and the light illumined the words on the votive glass; “God is Light.” What a comfort those words meant last night. It was sort of a message that God was giving to me saying that even in the darkness my light is still shining for you. Fear Not! The candle had never been lit until last night.

As I woke up during the night to unfamiliar darkness I remembered the candle and remembered to pray for those who had no power and few options. I remembered to pray for those tireless workers who were out in the cold and snow repairing wires and helping to put this county back together. I gave thanks for the blessings we were afforded; a family that was willing to hold flashlights, light candles and eat from the fridge. Children who were willing to sleep in lots of clothes and wrapped up in blankets in the living room and for Bruce who went to storage last night to get extra blankets for our bed. I am thankful for Starbucks, internet and a French Press Coffee Pot so that we could continue to support our coffee habits. The adventure continues…

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all and hope fully the next posting will be from 811 Austin St. 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, February 11, 2010

Happy Thursday!

Everybody sing…”Walkin’ in a winter wonderland…” This has to be the most beautiful snow I have ever seen. It has fallen so fast that after you walk in it the falling snow covers it up and it is beautiful again. This afternoon, Travis and Bruce crafted this amazing snowman in the front yard. I think it is about 10 feet tall or better. They did an awesome job in this creation. Travis was in the process of building this snowman and our little neighbor girl brought over a carrot for the nose. Travis was very touched. Speaking of Travis, please pray for him in the morning as he has to open the store at 5:00 am. The temp is supposed to drop and he will be driving on frozen snow to Starbucks.

Mark 12:30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Hebrews 12:28 “Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please Him, with reverence and awe.”

At Advent Lutheran Church there are two worship services on Sunday mornings. There is a traditional liturgical service from the worship book and there is a praise and worship service with a band, praise team and contemporary music. The praise and worship service is a more relaxed and informal worship service. (It is my personal favorite and the one in which I participate.)

For the last two Sundays both worship services have been held in the gym due to repairs being made in the sanctuary. There is some consideration as to whether to leave the praise and worship service in the gym. A less formal service in a less formal place…There are varying opinions as to this question. I love the service in the gym and would love to see it remain there. There are those who do not agree.

Whether we agree on the site for worship is not near as important as the point that we worship God in Spirit and Truth. What is important is that our worship is rooted in the Word of God. Are the songs praising God and giving thanks? Is the Word embedded in our songs? Is the Word being read and being reflected in the sermons and prayers? Are we remembering the sacrifice of Jesus for our salvation out of His love for us?

We are made in God’s image and the most pleasing worship we can offer to God resides in one place. We must worship God from our heart.

Take joy in the journey. To all those who will be out on the roads tomorrow I pray you will safely arrive at your destination and back home again. 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, February 10, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

Galatians 6:10 "Whenever we have the opportunity we should do good to everyone."

As you can tell my Bible Study lately has been on love. I am not sure if it is because of the upcoming Valentine's Day, but I am enjoying the lessons and scripture passages on love. Love is to be put into practice on a daily basis. We need to practice love in our families, at work and in our churches. Love also needs to be practiced on those we do not know. Think about Jesus and how He raised up the outcast woman in love, brought sight to the blind man and brought His love to Zacchaeus, the hated tax collector and how He brought Zacchaeus into His loving presence by coaxing him out of a tree inviting him to dine with Him at the table of grace.

Jesus knew that His time to model and show true love to those was now. Jesus knew His time was limited and whenever the opportunity to love someone was made available then He must take the opportunity immediately. I figure Jesus knew He had about three years to perform this task. Are we called to the same task?

Absolutely! We are given no guarantees for tomorrow. Life happens and things change. Children move away, people die and people become separated for lots of reasons. We must take the opportunity each time it comes available to show God's love through Jesus Christ to those who cross our paths. Loving someone is never a waste of our time and just as my new Kairos friend found out, everyone is deserving of our love. We may not like the choices they have made in their lives, but they are always in need of the love of God found in Jesus Christ and modeled by each of us. After all, God probably does not like some of the choices we have made, but He never held His love back from us. How can we do anything less for others?

Take joy in the journey. Count your blessings and wear comfortable shoes. Love you so very 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.

Prayer alert! Please pray travel to all who must drive to work and school tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

The heat was back on the building today and we were all much happier than yesterday.

1 John 3:16 "Our love should not be just words and talk, it must be true love, which shows itself in action."

I remember about a month before Casey died. Travis was in the office in our room working on the computer. He asked me "Mom is there any hope for Casey?" My response was ,"Son, there is always hope, I just don't think we are going to have the time with him we would like." I had begun to feel that we were losing Casey, but I wasn't sure what was causing me to feel this way. I am sure it may have been God's way of preparing me and speaking to my Mother's heart. It was then I began to realize how important time is and how I spend my time.

I think the gift God gives us is the gift of time. The importance of time is that we only have a set amount of it. We do not know how much time each of us has so I believe how we spend our time is so important. For the believer, our time should be spent in love. Love is the action by which God spreads His message of salvation. God uses us as the focus of His love and then expects us to share His radically abundant love with any people with whom we come into contact.

How do we show this amazing love? We show God's love by listening, praying, giving of ourselves in time spent with someone. When we spend a portion of our lives with someone it is time we will never get back. When we give of ourselves in time we make a sacrifice. Sacrifice is the essence of love. A sacrifice is when you are willing to give of yourself and put others before yourself.

Who was the perfect model of sacrifice? Jesus Christ. Jesus knew it was the plan of the Father to sacrifice Himself to show how much He loves each of us. We are all such busy people that taking a moment for someone else is at times difficult. Aren't we glad that Jesus has always had time for each of us and that his life was never too busy to spend a few moments to hear our shouts of joy, tears of sadness or just to listen to us when we need to talk.

Can we offer the same to others? Just throwing it out there...

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all so very 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.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Happy Monday!

The building was without heat today. The new boiler was broken. The children and teachers in the classrooms were quite cold as a result. The library, one computer lab and the cafeteria were the only rooms which seemed to have heat. The remainder of the building was b-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-!! I was leaving the building as soon as possible after school when my principal told me the heat had just turned on. My hope is that we will begin the day with heat. Say your prayers for our school, please.

1 Corinthians 13:3 “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I am bankrupt without love.”

I must admit I was quite nervous, so when I am nervous I tend to really listen in hopes to find something to make a connection. The motto of Kairos is “Listen, Listen, Love, Love."

What I discovered about the team members is their amazing consumption with this term called “love.” As I sat at lunch with mostly men they were asking this question, “Why can’t church be like this?” They were asking why their church families outside the Kairos ministry could not experience the love they felt for each other, for the residents of the prison and for God.

This Kairos ministry seems to be of a singular purpose. The purpose of the Kairos Prison Ministry is to love the Lord with all their heart, mind soul and strength and their neighbor as their selves.” I witnessed this love as we sang songs of worship and praise, as we met with prayer partners for discussion and prayer, as we listened to how God has worked in the lives of some of the team members through dark adversity and their total reliance on God to bring to light a resolution to their problem. I joined as the hands of prayer were laid on one team member who was going through particularly difficult times. I listened in particular to one of the team who shared that when he first began this ministry several years ago he thought these residents in the prison were not worthy of his love. As God began to reveal His plan to this one team member, he realized that these 42 men were his neighbors just as were the friends from his church, the ones who lived next door, his family and the ones in the room who were learning to love this man, who was once a stranger. He listened to what God had to say and then acted in obedience to the call of God. He experienced a holy moment.

The Kairos Prison Ministry has a singular purpose to love others as God has loved them. They love those who are unlovely, who are outcast, who are poor in spirit and alone. They love them by taking the Word of God inside and being willing to be vulnerable to the needs and feelings of these forgotten people. I ask you to pray for the residents that God will prepare their hearts to receive God’s Word and His redeeming love.

Just throwing this out there…”Can we learn to love with a singular purpose?” Can we learn to love those who are unlovely, unlovable, outcast and alone? Can we help those we know or don’t know face the darkness of adversity and help them see the brilliant light of the love of God in that darkness? These are tough questions, but questions we are all called to answer? Will our answer be “I can’t do it,” or “Here I am - send me“?

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.
Blessed Sunday to you all!

What an awesome day!! Worship was really inspiring today. I will share a bit more with you later in this writing. Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints on the Super Bowl. What a great game! The "Who dat" nation has a lot of which to be proud.

Isaiah 6: 8 "Then I heard the Lord's voice saying, "Whom can I send? Who will go for us? So I said, "Here I am. Send me!"

Luke 5: 5 "Simon answered," Master, we have worked hard all night trying to catch fish, and we caught nothing. But you say to put the nets back into the water, so I will."

I have been blessed through God's grace to experience a few "holy moments" in my life. The last two were experienced with Casey. The first one was the night he first received chemotherapy and he sang "All to Jesus I surrender." The last one was when we held our last conversation and he told me he was not afraid. I have thought that holy moments were when God allowed me to experience something that only He could offer in terms of a word of revelation or comfort or special insight into His character. But today in Pastor Marc's sermon I learned more about holy moments.

Holy moments are when Jesus asks us to do something. When God asks us to do something He is asking us to be a light for others. God spoke to Isaiah and Isaiah's response was "Here I am. Send me." The temple was filled with smoke and angels brought a coal and touched the lips of Isaiah to purge Isaiah's sin. Isaiah felt unworthy as a sinful man to do what God was asking. He did not think he could do what God asked. But God said to Isaiah, you must go and speak to the people. You must tell them they can come before me and be forgiven and healed of their sin. Isaiah asks how long he should do this. God's response was as long as it takes.

Peter and the disciples were out fishing all night and had not caught anything. Jesus asks them to try again. When they try again their nets were full. These fishermen were tired and down because they had caught nothing, but on Jesus’ command they tried again and their nets were full. Bruce asked me as I was note taking during the sermon if I thought the fish were happy to be part of the miracle. (I really loved that!)

These were fishermen. They were not shepherds, or potters, or carpenters. They were fishermen and God used their chosen craft and their skills to bring in the largest catch ever. He did not ask them to change tacks or professions. Jesus simply said, "Try again."

Isaiah became a prophet the day his lips touched the coal. God used the skills and gifts in Isaiah to do His will. God did not ask Isaiah to change professions just as Jesus did not ask the fishermen to become something they were not meant to be. God called Isaiah and the fishermen to one purpose. God called these people to tell others to correct their ways and follow God. I am sure that these people did not feel worthy or deserving of this calling, but God called them to it and it became holy.

God does the same for us. God takes all we have and all we are and uses us to His great purpose. God sends us on a journey like no other. Deserving or worthy of this calling we are not, but by His grace we are made ready for service through prayer so that something of Jesus comes through us as we serve Him by helping others. God calls us to try again and not to give up! Remember He kept trying with each one of us and yet has not given up. Praise God!!

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