Saturday, April 3, 2010

Blessed Easter Saturday to each of you.

We began a new tradition in our family today. We hosted my parents and brother’s family for lunch today. The best part was that we were all here. (Except for Asenath’s husband Cody who is spending Easter in Hawaii. Tough duty!) We were all so glad that it did not rain today and it was a perfect day to grill and eat out on the deck.

Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say Rejoice!”

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. It is the day we celebrate and remember the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Tonight, Bruce and I made a trip to Wal-Mart and as we left the check-out stand the register attendant told us “Happy Easter.” I have noticed throughout the weekend those who have wished me or others “Happy Easter” have had the most wonderful smile and almost excited look on their faces. It was almost a look of anticipation.

Mary went to the tomb. Her anticipation told her that she would see the dead body of her Lord. When she arrived she found someone who she believed to be the gardener. Imagine her astonishment when she discovered that the One to whom she was speaking was Jesus, Himself. He was completely healed and speaking to her. I can only imagine that her heart was rejoicing. Her mood most likely went from total despair to complete elation as she conversed with the risen Christ.

This rejoicing Mary experienced is the same rejoicing God calls us to in all the parts of our lives. God walked out of the empty tomb that day and into our lives forever by the power of His Holy Spirit. God could not work in our lives if He remained sealed in the tomb.

Are our hearts sealed like the tomb? Or do we have to remove the stone from our hearts and let the power of God through Jesus greet us. When we roll back the stone in our own lives we walk out of darkness into light and from emptiness into a life of fullness with the One who loves us most. Rejoice my friends for when we roll away the stone, Jesus is waiting there.

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

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Thursday and blessed Maundy Thursday!

Tonight we were reminded that so many events occurred tonight in the life of Christ. He celebrated the Passover Meal with His disciples. The rest of the nation of Israel sat at the tables with their relatives and Jesus sat with His friends for the last time. He washed their feet in an act of baptism. He broke the bread and shared the wine in a final effort to tell them of the coming events in just a few short hours and their mission after he was gone. On this night Jesus would send His betrayer out to complete his task and pray in the garden with the disciples. On this night the soldiers would take Him away and one of His own would betray him with a kiss.

John 14:12 “He that believes in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than there shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

Jesus took His closest friends and companions, the Disciples, and went to the garden to pray. And there as Jesus was praying to the Father that if it be His will to let this cup pass…is there another way to do this without being nailed to a cross? If not Father, let your will be done in Me. Here Jesus is praying the most dramatic prayer of His life and what are the disciples doing? Sleeping! Jesus needed their prayer support and they went to sleep. The disciples sort of failed Jesus and did not wake up until He was being led away by the Roman soldiers. Then the Disciples ran and hid.

Okay, so here is the good news. Those same “duh” ciples who were scared, sleepy, timid and just did not get it..are the same disciples who became healers, leaders, and conquerors because they believed in Jesus. Jesus knew His followers so well and knew they would flee the scene, but would find Him again through the power of the Holy Spirit. When they came back into relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit they remembered the teachings of Jesus. When they remembered what they had been taught they were ready to preach, teach and heal in the name of Jesus.

If Jesus can teach these ordinary men to be extraordinary teachers, preachers and healers, He can do the same with us. We must read His Word, pray in His name, worship Him in truth and listen when He speaks. And when He speaks we must be willing to listen and act as the disciples He calls us to be. (maybe we will be a little less “duh” )

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all and a blessed Good Friday to each of 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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

Choir practice was long tonight as we are preparing to lead and sing music for Easter Sunday morning. We are singing wonderful music. The service should “rock the house.” We will begin with “Make His Praise Glorious and close with “Soon and Very Soon.”

Ephesians 2:10 “ We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I am serving on a Kairos Prison Ministry Team. The weekend will take place in late April. Bruce will be serving inside the prison and I will serve on the Outside Team. I am not sure if this is going to be my avenue of ministry but I am going to serve because I committed to this weekend.

Service for Christians is not an option. God created each of us to come into relationship with Him and then go out and make a difference through service to God and others. Whenever we serve others, help someone, listen to someone, hold someone when they are hurting, lift someone up when they are down, or are simply kind and saying thank you when the person at Starbucks hands us our morning coffee we are serving God. Serving God and others is one of the reasons God created us. A friend of mine was on her way to a meeting one Saturday afternoon. She became stuck in traffic and was going to be late to the meeting. She sat in her car and prayed, “Lord I have another ministry besides taking up space on this highway. Make a way for me off of this highway so that I may attend this meeting.” And lo and behold an exit presented itself that she had never even noticed and she got off of the highway and made it to the meeting.

God didn’t just create us to take up space, eat, breathe and shop. God fashioned each of us for a specific purpose. If we listen to His voice, follow His Word and spend time in prayer then God will tell us what our task on this earth. We will come to know what our contribution is to be in our lifetime through Jesus Christ.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your 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 Tuesday!

Habakkuk 2:3 “If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!”

Last night we talked about becoming spiritually disciplined. Remember - the way to become more Christ like was to practice, practice, practice. Well, let’s talk about how we can keep up with what we do.

Last night I talked about my student teacher. In order for her to become a better teacher she needs to practice, practice, and practice. I told her that I would not always rescue her and in fact I would let her fall a few times so she could get back up and try again.

Today, she was teaching and I began a journal for us to share. When she gets up to teach I write down what she does in her lessons, sort of observational script. Then I write comments about her lesson and finally I make suggestions. Then we sit down and talk about how she taught her lesson. We talk about the positive things about her lesson and then some suggestions for improvement. Tonight she has the opportunity to write in the journal and ask any questions she has for me or make comments. I think we are going to find this a really helpful tool as she continues to teach and track her improvement and make corrections as necessary. Her improvement will not happen overnight - they will happen gradually until finally she is ready to teach unsupervised.

As we are making the journey to be more Christ like, our improvement will be gradual too. When we pray for God to help us to be more like Him we need to believe that God is working in our lives even when we don’t feel it. For me, keeping a daily journal of what God has done has helped me so much.

The prayer and share group I meet with each week keeps a journal of prayer requests. Every so often we go back and see which prayers have been answered. Sometimes it is hard not to get discouraged when we have been praying for something for so long. I just have to remember that God’s timing is not my timing and I must remember and trust that God answers all prayers; not always in the way we want, but always in the way we need.

My dear friends, let us practice, practice and practice and maybe write down what we have done and then ask God what we need to do to be more like Him. Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your 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.

PS I spoke with Pastor Stan Meyer today in the synod office and he is sending me the packet to apply for candidacy. There are lots of things to do so I ask for your prayers as I begin this journey somewhere in the middle. (I approached all of this backwards.)

And…pray for our beloved Bassett, Lamar. He has heartworms. The good news is that they no longer treat heartworms with arsenic. There is a much safer drug. We are beginning with antibiotics for a month and then we will begin the injections. If you will remember, Lamar is the dog who lay under Casey’s bed with his head sticking out from under the bed just far enough to see Casey all of the time. gc

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Monday!

1 Timothy 4:15 “Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress.”

I have a student teacher. She is a lovely young woman who will be a wonderful teacher. She has a lot of common sense and a natural sense about her as she works in the classroom as a teacher. She is beginning to take over more of the classroom duties and shortly she will be teaching all day. Today she taught the Language Arts portion of the lessons today. Her content was presented well but, she made a few errors. Her errors were due to inexperience and a need for more practice. I guess that is why they call it “practice teaching.” We went over her lesson and classroom management and discussed ways she could improve. I fully expect tomorrow for those issues of which she was having trouble to be improved. Like I said before she just needs more practice.

There is only one way to become more like Christ. Practice, practice, practice! Good practices do not happen instantly. Only through intentionally being more loving, more forgiving, showing more kindness, more tolerance and exercising our faith repeatedly will we begin to become more like Christ. The Purpose Driven life has a name for this practiced behavior; it is called spiritual discipline.

God calls each of us to spiritual discipline. He does not expect us to come into relationship with Him with all of this figured out and have all of these character traits in place instantly. God teaches us through His Word and His more mature followers how to be more loving, act with kindness, how to be more forgiving, how to be more tolerant and how to act faithfully to the author and giver of our faith. He allows us to practice these Godly actions for the rest of our lives.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all dear friends, 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, March 28, 2010

Blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week to each of you.

Hello friends, forgive me for not writing last evening. Bruce and I needed a break. So last night we closed our door and watched a movie uninterrupted. It was really nice. We have been so busy lately with so many things that we haven’t spent time together. Between teaching school, going to school, taking care of a family, participating in a wedding, directing a student teacher, participating in the Kairos prison ministry, having papers to write etc…we haven’t taken some time for us. This week we will be preparing for our family to visit on Saturday when we will celebrate the Easter family gathering. We have several things to do in preparation for their arrival. If everyone invited gets to come there will be 21 for lunch.

Today, I planted spring flowers and used them to decorate the front porch. I found some beautiful petunias, some purple daisies, a salmon colored geranium, yellow impatiens and a beautiful dark pink verbena. Due to my new found passion for cooking, healthier and better, Bruce helped me put in a Topsy-Turvy tomato planter today and in it I planted two roma tomato plants. I will let you know how it works. If it works well I may try the strawberry and pepper planters. I would really like to put in a small vegetable garden on the side of the house. We will see…

Ecclesiastes 3:1 Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.”

Today I planted tomatoes. I really love tomatoes. I like to eat them with just a bit of salt and pepper. I like to eat them with cottage cheese. I love them in salad, soup and I love them instead of tomato sauce on the pizza I make. If I had my way those tomatoes would be ready tomorrow; red, ripe, fully mature and ready to be picked and eaten. But I know that tomatoes just like everything that has to grow, and growing takes time.

I want my tomatoes to grow quickly. Nature will have them grow firm, red, ripe and full of flavor in their own time. They will not be ready for their purpose until they are fully mature.

I think we are sort of the same way in our spiritual lives. We always want to grow quickly and have all of the answers to our questions right now instead of working through the problems and learning our lessons well. God is not concerned about how fast we grow. He concerns Himself about how strong we grow in learning His Word and then applying it to our own discipleship. Our discipleship is simply growing in more Christ like ways each day so eventually, just like my tomatoes, we will be made ready for our purpose as God directs. (I think my tomatoes will be ready before then!) Our journey for spiritual strength and maturity will take a lifetime. But with the right care we will become a little more like Him each day.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all and have a blessed Holy Week. 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.