Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Friday!

Luke 22: 42 “Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but Your will be done.”

My friends, how many times have we been faced with things we don’t want to do? I don’t mean like laundry or dishes, but situations that have been placed in your hands that require great emotional care with life changing outcomes.

I was faced with this level of situation when the nurses asked me to tell Casey that there was nothing else that could be done to prolong his life. The chemotherapy did not work and the cancer had almost completely taken over his lungs and there were no more medications or procedures that could help. This is not a conversation that anyone wants to have, but especially not to have with their child. I remember finding a place to pray and remember asking God to let this cup pass from me, but if He truly wanted me to have this conversation then He would have to give me the words and He had to show up and guide me through the power of the Holy Spirit.

If you remember this passage, Jesus was in the garden following the Last Supper . He went there to pray. Jesus knew that all He had ever done and every road He had ever walked had brought Him to this place. Even though Jesus was fully human and fully divine He prayed to His Father for this cup to pass from Him. Essentially Jesus asked His Father if everything else had been done. Was there anything else that could work? But if all possibilities had been exhausted then to let the will of the Father be done in Me.

I believe that this moment in Jesus’ life was witnessed and recorded for one reason; at some time in each of our lives we have to go to the garden, kneel before the Father of all, Creator of the universe and pray this same prayer. Jesus modeled the perfect example of obedience and trust in God’s perfect will for the life of His Son. God answered the prayer of Jesus. Jesus then followed the will of the Father. God allowed the events in the following hours to play themselves out in the trial, crown of thorns and crucifixion. Then God fulfilled His own promise by raising Jesus on the third day.

Whenever I am faced with a “not my will, but Your will be done” situation, I try to remember that God knows best and that He only wants the best for me and that for which I am praying. Sometimes it is hard for me to accept God’s will for my life, and when that happens God understands and I pray for His loving presence to surround me and to help me accept without fear the outcome of the situation.

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.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope this writing finds you full of turkey and all of the trimmings. We had more than our share of good things to eat while at Ken and Sheena’s today. Last year no one told anyone what they were bringing, so all of us brought something made with pumpkin for dessert. This year we were all on the same wave length again and all brought pecan pie. Not a pumpkin anything on the table. Perhaps next year we will call each other and make a bit more varied dessert area of the table. (I must say, that pecan pie is my most favorite dessert of all, so I was not too upset.)

Isaiah 53:2 “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of the dry ground…and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

As I watched the news tonight I saw the report of the early bird shoppers who were allowed into the Toys-R-Us store at 10:00pm! The toy store has lots of eye catching things that children believe they cannot live without and parents eager to please their children this Christmas are shopping at their earliest opportunity.

The prophet Isaiah tells us that when God comes to the earth the body that will inhabit the Spirit of God will not be so beautiful that others will desire it. It will be a body that will be lost in a crowd as ordinary as any other Jewish man. It is the intention of God for the people of the earth to desire the beauty of “His Countenance.” We know that the world, which only saw him through human eyes, would come to despise this one called Jesus, but the Spirit that dwelt in this body would be the Spirit that “those who have ears would hear and those who have eyes would see.”

God’s fervent hope for us is that we would see the character of God and His Spirit embodied in Jesus. Perhaps if we can see the Spirit of God, His Love, His Forgiveness, His Kindness and His Tender Mercies in a rather ordinary looking man then we could see Jesus in others and others would see Jesus in us. If we seek God through the eyes of faith then we will see all that we desire. That will be more than arriving at Kohl’s at 3:00 am could possibly offer.

Each day in my prayer time I pray that others would sense God’s presence in me. So I pray that I will be loving, kind, forgiving and show tender mercies to those with whom I come into contact. In order for others to sense God’s presence in me then I must get to know God. I must learn of Him through studying His Word, praying in conversation with Him each day and staying in fellowship with His servant people.

So here is a thought…tomorrow before you leave for the frenzy of Black Friday, pour yourself another cup of coffee and spend some time with God, for what He has to offer cannot be bought on this black Friday, but was purchased on a Black Friday long ago.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes (especially tomorrow). 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 If you noticed that the link to the Celebration of Life service for Casey was missing from the page, you are right. The link was recently disabled at the source. We are not upset because they left it active for over two years, much longer than we thought they would. Still, we want the service to be available on this blog, so we are in the process of getting a copy of the service so we can offer it in another format. Thought you might want to know. bc

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Carme went home from the hospital today and is feeling much better. It seems that a migraine combined with a sinus headache and anesthesia makes for ONE GINORMOUS VICIOUS HEADACHE! I am so glad and very grateful that she is feeling better and at home with Dave.

Revelation 3: 20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”

John 10:9 “I am the door; if any man enters in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

I have cooked all day. I have prepared two pies, two pans of dressing and a vat of gravy. Bruce and I have cleaned and washed a garden of veggies and made delicious dip to go with them. And tomorrow (after a brief stop at Starbucks) we will be on our way to Allen to have Thanksgiving lunch with family.

As our families have grown we often have extra guests who join us for this wonderful meal. We try very hard to make any guests feel welcomed and at rest while they are there. Once a guest comes through the door and are introduced we show them where the food is placed and where the glasses are and then they are on their own to enjoy the fellowship and fun that always is a part of our family gatherings. We always want our guests to feel warm, accepted, welcomed and safe to be themselves as they share the meal or occasion.

God issues a gracious invitation to all who wish true happiness and fellowship with those who have already accepted the invitation to become a part of the body of Christ. Christ offers a rest and a satisfaction that cannot be found in worldly pursuits. Christ offers to all who let Him into their hearts a life with a family.

Jesus offers this invitation, “Come to Me and I will give you rest.” Christ offers a place of acceptance, love, welcome and safety to all who open the door when he knocks and walks in. Christ invites those who do not know Him to come in and feast at his table of grace and eat until they are fully refreshed and meet the family.
Issue an invitation at your table to someone who is in need of a family. Introduce them to our Heavenly Father who graces us with His presence at our tables and makes us feel welcomed, accepted and safe. Happy Thanksgiving!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. We love you and give thanks for each of you. 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.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Tuesday/Thanksgiving Eve Eve!

I spent much of the day cooking. I will also spend much of tomorrow cooking in preparation for thanksgiving lunch at Ken and Sheena’s house on Thursday. Unless things change it will be a smaller than usual crowd. I think it will be Mom and Dad, Ken’s family and our family; making 13 in all. I am looking very forward to the day!

But I also spent much of the day as I chopped, mixed and stirred praying for my oldest and dearest friend Carme. Following her surgery yesterday she developed blinding, excruciating headaches for which they could not find a cause. Medications were not helping and finally an MRI was taken and IV medications were administered to mask the pain. The MRI showed nothing to cause the vicious headaches. We were grateful that the MRI was negative. As of the latest communication from Dave, Carme was going to stay overnight again and hopefully go home tomorrow. Please pray for her and Dave. My prayer is that Carme will be restored to perfect health and well being and will be pain free.

Colossians 3: 23, 24 “And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ.”

God asks us to go about our daily tasks with our service to Him in our thinking. I know it is hard to think about making a bed, mowing a lawn, cleaning a bathroom or washing dishes as a service to God, but that is what God asks. I think this passage tells us to do this because when we think about God first in ALL we do then the Holy Spirit directs our thoughts and actions. We may not really like to do these daily mundane things but if we talk and listen to God while doing these tasks then we are sharing in the life of God and allowing God to speak to us and us to listen to Him.

Ask God to bless those on your prayer list. Think about each of those people and call them by name. Ask God to reveal a special meaning in His Word to you. Think of ways you serve God by helping someone. Ask God to show you how to help. We may not see the transforming power of the Holy Spirit as a sacrifice but the greater understanding we gain into the heart of God is beyond measure.

So if you are at the grocery store tomorrow for those final few things or waiting in traffic, take the time to seek and speak to God listening and learning more about our Lord and Savior.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say you prayers. Let us continue to lift each other up in prayer each day. 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 Monday!

Happy Birthday Ken! My wonderful brother turned the big 5—0 today. We are 5 years and 8 days apart in age. I would have never guessed growing up that both of us would become educators. He spent the day working on his pool and playing with his beautiful granddaughter, baby Holly. We will celebrate our birthdays together on Thanksgiving Day along with the remainder of the family.

1 Corinthians 13:1 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal”

1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now abides faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Today I found an old spiral notebook that was not completely used up. As I was looking through it I discovered it had old class notes from my Christian history class and a couple of papers I had written. I tore out the notes and threw away the papers. The papers have long outlived their service and I had not reason to keep them. I remember studying really hard for that class, but what I remember the most was Dr. Lee.

Casey had slipped into a chemotherapy induced coma and was not waking up. On that day there was a test scheduled in the class. I did not want to leave Casey and tried to contact Dr. Lee at Brite through phoning and email. Dr. Lee received my email and responded just prior to the test telling me that he would not ask me to leave Casey’s bedside and that he would email the test. I took the test in Casey’s hospital room that day and emailed it back. Dr. Lee acted in love that day. An act of random kindness (ARK) came to me that day.

Only what is done in Love is what lasts and is remembered. Pastor Joel told me today that the words of those who have completed their master’s degrees and PhD’s have bound documents in the library. I am told these papers are covered in dust and are rarely if ever opened. Their words will be forgotten as will the words I write almost nightly. For the things of this world are forgotten, but because God is love, only the work of God remains.

Jesus was God’s greatest work. Jesus is God’s love revealed to us and by the power of the Holy Spirit God’s love is in us. The papers I write as I journey through seminary will be forgotten as soon as they are graded and returned, but how I act in love is the real training ground for the ministry to which I have been called. The patient in the hospital will not care what grade I got on some paper I wrote. That patient will care that God’s loving representative is at their bedside to comfort them, ready to pray, laugh or cry and assist any way I can.

Tonight my meditation says, “The fame of the world, the applause given to the one who speaks with the tongues of men and of angels, who attracts admiration and compels attention, it is all given to what is passing, is really worthless, if it lacks that God-quality, Love.” So my friends, this Thanksgiving week, act in love towards friends and family alike. Do not act for applause or fame, but act in love because of the One who loves us so much that He gave His greatest gift. Let us give thanks with grateful hearts.

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.

Prayer alert! My best friend, Carmella Russell had a successful surgery today in San Antonio. Please keep her in your prayers as she heals and is restored to full health and well being. Thanks. Love you, gc

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blessed Sunday!

Worship was wonderful today! We celebrated Christ the King Sunday today. Christ the King Sunday is the last Sunday in the church year. Next week begins Advent. I also had a conversation with Pastor Joel this morning and he was very helpful concerning my problem with academic writing. He gave a great explanation of what I needed to do and then agreed to (along with Bruce) to read my papers prior to me submitting them to my professors. This means I will have to have them ready sometime before the night before so them both can read and help me repair the problems. I am thankful for these two men who are answers to prayer. Please pray for them and me as I learn to be a better writer.

Luke 23: 38 “A sign was fastened to the cross above Him with these words: This is the King of the Jews.”

We often think of Jesus as friend; someone who is always with us walking along in this journey of life. We also often think of Jesus as the Good Shepherd; someone who leads us and guides us, but how about Jesus as King?

A king is someone who holds great power over his subjects and demands obedience from them. A symbol of being a king is the crown he wears. A king expects his subjects to willingly accept his commands and to carry out the tasks immediately. An earthly king might not react in a kind manner if their commands are not carried out. Pilate did not like the fact that Jesus claimed Himself a king and this proclamation sent Jesus to the cross. Jesus willingly traded His heavenly crown for a crown of thorns. God demanded complete obedience from Jesus. Jesus complied with complete obedience throughout His ministry out of love for His Father and to model the godly life for each of us.

When Pastor Joel posed the question, “Do you think of Jesus as King?” I had an answer not many will have. Not to very long after Casey died I was in worship singing with the praise team. We were singing “This Kingdom,” and all of a sudden I had an image in my mind of Casey, kneeling before the Father with his hands raised in worship in praise singing this song. My answer to Pastor Joel’s question is “yes.”

I don’t know if others have this image of Jesus as King, but I do because I know Casey sees Jesus as King all of the time and into eternity. Casey now acts in obedience without a moment’s hesitation because he sees Jesus face to face and lives in the Kingdom of Love. Perhaps we should start practicing living a life of obedience and service so when we are face to face with the Jesus we will proclaim “Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Amen!

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, November 21, 2010

Happy Saturday!

What a wonderful day! The only thing I asked for my birthday was to see the new Harry Potter, so we went this afternoon. It is amazing! It is action packed and for the most part follows the book quite well. The end of this part of the last book ends as Geni says, “perfectly!”

Psalm 43:5 “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him—my Savior and my God!”

Okay, I got a C+ on my Sacraments paper. I have never gotten a C+ and I must admit it has really bothered me. This grade seems to be at the forefront of my thinking. I became really discouraged and afraid to begin this new paper. After I read the comments on the paper from the professor I decided that I must learn to write in a different style than the one I presented my professor with in this paper. I am pretty good at the reflection style of writing, but I have a lot to learn about writing a paper that presents an argument. So, if I am not too old for another adventure, then I am not too old to ask for help. I am not sure who to ask, but I am going to start with my advisor and see where that takes me.

When we run across bumps in the road we have some choices to make. We can try to go around or we can try to go over. If we try both of these things then the bump is still there and eventually we will have to deal with the situation. The thing to do is to remove the bump. I must learn to write a research paper that presents a clear and concise point that defends a point of view, a statement, or other theological standpoint. But most of all in my writing (for me) I must not only achieve academic excellence, but I must show the glory of God in what I write. My writing must reflect and witness the life of God in Christ Jesus.

This new paper I will begin researching tomorrow is a theology of death and how Christians view and handle death. The conclusion of the paper will be the Celebration of Life service I wrote for Casey. My voice praises God for this professor and this paper and its less than stellar comments. This is a bump in the road that must be removed so that I can move forward as I move forward in becoming a full time seminary student. My hope is that I will find someone who knows how to write in this style of writing and can guide and teach me the skills I need (you know how I ask for us to pray for each other each day?). Please pray God will send me someone who can help me learn to write in this style and I can remove this bump in the road.

For me to be sad and discouraged is not of God and is a sinful state. I know God will help me in some way. I am not sure how, but I have enough faith in this loving God to believe and enough humility to know I cannot accomplish this alone. So tonight I praise God for His goodness, faithfulness and tender mercies and ask for help.

So the question for the night is…How do you deal with bumps in the road? Who do you seek out when problems stop you in your tracks? And can you find a way to praise God as you are learning how to remove the bump in the road that is keeping you from moving forward? There is always another journey isn’t there?

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all and see you in worship. 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 Our friend Wes Reed is in the hospital with pancreatitis. Please pray for his healing and restoration to well being. Peace, gc