Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Travis took first place in his power lifting meet tonight with the most weight successfully lifted for the night at 660 pounds. His goal is 700 pounds. Congrats Travis!

Bruce is doing fantastic! He drove to Colleyville for a Kairos team meeting and has been throwing the football with Travis (gently). He has been handed off from the surgeon to the cardiologist. He had been experiencing some lightheadedness upon standing so the doc took him off of one of the blood pressure medicines and the issue resolved itself. What a champion!

Geni has completed her first week of teaching. Her job is difficult as she teaches a class of 7 special needs children. She is doing a fantastic job! She is also still working in the evening at Starbucks at Sundance Square in Fort Worth. She is a very determined young lady and we are so proud of her.

As for me, I have completed my first week as a full time graduate seminary student. This has become my life; study, drive to class, study, go to class, study, walk at the mall, come home, eat lunch and study. The process repeats itself Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I think I will take Friday afternoon off. Today I studied all afternoon and during the waiting time at Travis’ competition. I am still working out what this new norm means. Hopefully by the end of this coming week I will have more of the details down (like when to arrive at school to park reasonably close!)

Prayer: “My Father, I am humbled by the grace You show me each day. As this day begins, I pray that You will shower me with Your love and guidance. I desperately need You to guide my steps and light my way. I know that Your desire is for us to serve and love the special people You have brought into our lives. I pray that You will help me be the person that others need today. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.”

1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”

I had to read this passage a couple times before I got past the part about the “weaker vessel. “ What I think this really says to us is that we cannot go through this Christian life alone. I think in each relationship we all go through times when one of the two or one of the group or even in a family is emotionally needier or spiritually needier that the other member(s). When that happens we as members of the family of God lift up and encourage that one who is in need. Today’s verse speaks of being “joint heirs” in receiving God’s grace. We as believers and brothers and sisters in Christ give encouragement and enjoy the gift of grace together. It is through the encouragement that we learn to live our lives according to God’s purpose. If we do not surround ourselves with those who are believers instead of those who are not walking in God’s grace then our spiritual growth becomes very stunted. When we keep ourselves in the company of God’s fellow heirs then we learn ways to grow spiritually and to help others grow in God’s grace.

So my friends, call your best buds together, don your favorite walking shoes and step into the likeness of God so that when others see you they, too, will find a relationship with God and walk in His grace, too.

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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Praises! Mom came home from the hospital. She seems to be fine and glad to be home. Thank you for your prayers. gc

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happy Thursday!

Well, in just one more day Geni will have completed her first week of teaching and I, my first full week in graduate school. We have each had new learning curves to figure out. So far I have had only one day where parking was great and the rest parking was a nightmare. Today I got a parking ticket because the parking meter worked for two spaces. Oh, well. I will learn. I am also working out a study schedule. I am trying to work out on which days to study for which classes. So far, I go to class, go to the mall and walk and back home for lunch with Bruce and then I study.

But today I had three extraordinary things occur. First, on my drive to class it began to rain and I actually turned on the wipers. Then I looked to my left and saw the most perfect rainbow I have ever seen. I followed it across the sky and it had made a full arc from horizon to horizon. All I could think of was the line from a song we sing in the Praise Team, “Great is the measure of our Father’s love.” Next, I found a seat closer to the front of my Old Testament class today and sat next to a young man. His name is Casey. He is about the same size as our Casey with a kind and very sweet heart and very willing to help this little white haired rookie when necessary.

Last, today my professor was speaking on Genesis. This woman is amazing and I really love her class. At Brite she is the reigning expert on the writings of the Old Testament. She was speaking of being made in the likeness of God. She then said, “When you get up in the morning and look in the mirror remember that you are made in the likeness of God. Don’t say, I need to lose 20 pounds or I need to gain 20 pounds (I will never say those words!). Step into the likeness of God because if you don’t then those you meet will miss out on a relationship with God.” I was completely blown away at the simplicity of this piece of wisdom.

So my dear friends, I am my own worst critic and yes, I really do need to lose 20 pounds. But I cannot let my own criticism of myself define who I am. For the great I AM has already defined me as being made in his likeness and called me His child.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Remember who we are and how much the Father loves us. Love you all, my sisters and brothers, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

PS – Mom had a “scope” done on her heart today. They decided that what they had seen was a shadow rather than a clot or anything else. Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Prayer: “Lord, I ask You to lead me in paths of righteousness. Help me sense Your holiness as I walk through this day. I trust You to give me the wisdom I need to navigate the changes today might bring. Help me serve You with a passion like never before. I pray that You will draw me ever closer to You and that nothing will pull me away from You. I need You to strengthen me today. May Your grace cover me. I ask this in Your precious name. Amen.”

Hebrews 12: 28, 29 “Since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”

My Old Testament professor has a passion for the Old Testament writings. She loves her subject matter so much that she forgets the procedural details and just teaches. She has passion not only for her subject matter, but also a passion for teaching and her greatest desire is for each of us to learn all we can. She offers herself when we need help and begs for us to ask for help when we are in need.

As believers and servants of God we have two attributes God demands that we show in our lives: holiness and righteousness. These attributes are given to each of us by the grace of God as gifts from His heart. These gifts are the unmerited favor God has lavished on each of us through the blood of Jesus. God’s love for us is absolute, but the love He has for us demands no compromise. God’s light should shine so brightly in our lives that His perfect plan works in each of us without resistance. But that light also exposes our sin for us to see so we can pray for forgiveness so that we do not move away from his perfect plan for each of us. Even though we sin and fall short of the glory of God, God does not turn His back on us. God promises to never leave us or forsake us. He wants us to serve Him with gladness and with a passion as no other. In order to serve God with the passion he demands is to pursue holiness.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. “Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me.” 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Prayer alert: Mom had a blip on her echocardiogram. They have discovered a blood clot, a plaque build-up of plaque or a wart. (I know weird.) Please keep her in your prayers. Peace, gc

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

I began full time graduate work today. My class on Tuesday and Thursday is “Interpreting the Hebrew bible and the Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal Writings” WOW! There is a mouthful! The professor is amazing and the class is huge. I have to have a paper turned in by 9:00 pm tomorrow evening through ecollege. I think I am going to enjoy the class and all that I will learn. When I first got to school this morning, I began to panic when I could not find a parking place. I searched three parking lots and did not find an empty student space. I was really scared that I was going to be late for class. I began to pray for a space to appear and then a man who was headed to his car to leave motioned for me to take his place. I gave thanks, parked and stepped it quickly to class.

Updates: Mom is doing well and hopefully will be dismissed from the hospital on Thursday. Dad went to the VA and they are unsure about the anemia and hopefully will know more in a few days. Bruce has been dismissed from the surgeon and is back in the hands of the cardiologist. He is such a champion! He goes to the cardiologist tomorrow with the hope that all is going well and that perhaps some of the medicines he is taking will be discontinued.

Prayer: “Lord, I thank You today for saving me. I don’t deserve Your favor, Your love, or Your gift of salvation, yet You gave them anyway. Lord, I’m humbled that You’ve made me Your child. Help me live in a way that honors You so that others might see You through me. I thank You for giving me the opportunity to be Your ambassador to a hurting world. Help me share Your love unashamedly with others so they might trust in You as well. Guide my steps today, and for that I will give You praise and glory. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

Titus 3: 7, 8 “Having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”

Why would God leave the splendors, glory and majesty of heaven to come to earth in the form of a man and walk the road to the cross to atone for our sins? This is a question that boggles the mind, but that is exactly what Christ did for each of us because He loves. He shows His love for us no matter what we do that is wrong or how much we mess up. Romans 5:8 says “While we were yet sinners Christ still loved us.” We have the assurance of God’s love forever through His Word. This is the way we become His children. Christ wanted us for His own making us heirs to the very throne of grace from which His love flows to each of us.

He loves us so much that He chose to die on the Cross for us and make us His children. God, through Christ Jesus, wants to remain close to each of us so that we can follow Him, seek Him, trust Him and honor Him in all that we do. Let us keep our hearts fixed on Him and be ever mindful of the amazing grace He has shown us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. “…how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Monday and Happy Birthday Bruce!

We had a celebratory dinner tonight. I prepared several of Bruce’s favorites including a smoked pork shoulder roast, individual sweet potato pies and cole slaw. We also had homemade red velvet cake. I only mention the cake because when we went to The Red Oven to pick up our traditional red velvet birthday cake we discovered The Red Oven was closed. How sad! Bruce received about 40 birthday greetings via Facebook. I told him that since I did not have a Facebook he would just have to be happy with my face saying Happy Birthday! He also received a Happy Birthday certificate and a sticker from the folks in Cardiac Rehab. How cool!

Updates: Geni had a wonderful first day of teaching. We were anxious to hear about her day. She had 6 children in her classroom with one more to come. And my Mom is doing well. I spoke with her this morning and she sounded really great. After a conversation with Sheena (my sister in law) who went to see her today, she said that Mom looked great and confirmed that she is doing much better. Praise God!

I must share with you something that happened today. God is such a multitasker. While Bruce was in cardiac rehab I went to the third floor to support one of our church members as her husband was having heart surgery. I took two cups of Starbucks coffee and two slices of banana bread. When I arrived, our Music Director was already there and had brought 4 cups of Starbucks coffee. We all burst into laughter and decided we needed to set up a kiosk right there in the waiting room. You know for Lutherans coffee is the third sacrament!

I left the waiting area to take a phone call and passed a woman sitting by herself. When I came back by her I noticed that she was crying. So I sat down with her and asked how I could help. She began to tell me her story. I interrupted a couple of times to find out her name, where she was from and if she had any other family or if her pastor that were going to be with her. Then she began to tearfully tell me about her son who was 47 and had entered the hospital on Saturday with some heart problems. This morning he had an episode and his heart stopped. He had to be shocked by to life and was in having an emergency cardiac cath. The woman began to tell me more of her story. She stopped and said, “I have just unloaded on you.” I told her no problem and that I was glad to listen if that is what she needed. I listened. We had prayer together. I left her my card and asked her to call me when she had news. She did call later in the afternoon to tell me that her son was better and was going to be just fine.

Today was the first day of public school life and I was not there. I guess God needed me to hear His voice today very clearly. Most of the time I hear God’s voice in His Word or in songs, but today God spoke very clearly as to His calling for my life and His timing was perfect. And He made His voice know in the tears of a stranger who feared the loss of her son; a scenario I know all too well.

Tomorrow I begin classes full time at Brite Seminary. I go armed with gifts of highlighters, two new pens, three new spirals (college ruled!), new “first” pencils that are a bit larger than your regular number 2 yellows and a new bottle of glue! But I also go with some nervousness. Today I received assurance that I am doing the right thing in God’s time and by his will.

First, I have been praying for God to use me to help others by His will and direction. And today I sat down with a total stranger and listened, prayed and shared a moment of fellowship. God used me to listen to this scared woman as we prayed for the life of her son, and the peace in her heart…“when two or more a gathered in His Name…”

Second, God’s voice was very clear in that I am still called to service, but that my life as a public school teacher is finished and that His calling on my life as a chaplain is authentic.

2 Timothy 2:1 “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Every once in a while I would ask Bruce, “I can do this can’t I?” meaning leaving a thirty year career to have a different life as a student and later a chaplain. There are times I feel really insecure about being a student full time and being smart enough to do the work required of me. Today I received an affirmation from God that His grace is there for me each step of the way. His grace will be there with each paper I write, each test I take and with each word I read. God has been faithful and I have felt His presence in my life. It is my prayer that God will continue to strengthen my faith and increase my dependence on Him so that I can be the servant He has called me to be. And my friends, I ask you to be in prayer for me and I will continue to be in prayer with you and for you. Let us journey with Jesus together.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Be not afraid. God’s grace leads us in all of our journeys and His grace is the grace that is in Jesus. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blessed Sunday!

I was greeted this morning with a phone call telling me that my Mom (Genita Helvey) had been taken to the emergency room early this morning with congestive heart failure. Dad told me that he could hardly get Mom to the car. But once at the hospital and oxygen was administered she began to feel better. They are giving her medication to reduce the fluid built up in her system. I spoke with her on the phone (that always makes me feel better) and she sounded good. She was talking and laughing with the pastor of their church. She is really hard to keep down! Please offer prayers for both Mom and Dad (Jerry Helvey) as they both recover from health issues.

Prayer alert! Please also lift up in prayer a young woman who works at the Starbucks with Travis. She is expecting a son in about three months and began to have complications, so her doctor has put her on bed rest. She is the bread winner for her family. She also has other children including an infant. Please pray for God to meet her needs and protect her and this precious baby.

Also, please pray for Geni and all educators as they begin another year of teaching students of all ages and abilities. All educators need our prayers whether they are first starting out or are seasoned.

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, we come knowing that the way to know You is to know Jesus. We believe You and love You, almighty Father. You are worthy of worship and praise. As so many things are changing may we stay firmly grounded in Your Word and ask that Your love flow through each of us so that others will come to know You. Thank you for Your tender mercies, Your forgiveness and precious grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

2 Corinthians 5;17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

When we have a relationship with Jesus we no longer have an earthbound Spirit. Each blessing sent to us by God, each joy, each freedom, each worry given by God’s grace loosens part of the hold the world has on each of us. When we move farther away from the hold of this world and into the realm of God’s love we become empowered to help others to know joy in their own lives.

There are so many people who are not experiencing joy in their lives. As believers we know that we can experience joy even in the midst of troubles because God’s Word says, “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” That joy comes in knowing that no matter what troubles we are experiencing God is with us working to make “all things new” out of His love for us.

In this time of new schedules let us make time each day to spend time with the Father and just be His child. Crawl into the lap of the Father and receive His love and be renewed so that He can make all things new in each of us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. “Think about His love. Think about His goodness. Think about His grace that saw us through. For as high as the heavens above so great is measure of our Father’s love.” 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.