Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Bruce and I had a wonderful time in the Stockyards last night and today. We had dinner in a nice restaurant then just walked around and browsed in the shops and stores (even though the temp was 37 upon waking this morning, oh my!) And yes, the house was still standing upon our return. This morning before we went down to have breakfast at the hotel Geni called asking what time we were coming home so that they could have the house returned to order before we got home. I think all partiers had a really good time. And GO FROGS! And, even though they lost…GO RANGERS!!! Awesome season!

Prayer: “Lord, I humbly come to You this morning to bless Your name. Your praise will continually be on my lips. I will magnify and exalt Your holy name in all I do today. Whether I eat or drink or whatever I do, I want to do it all for Your glory. I ask You to deliver me from all of my fears. Do not let me be ashamed when I have opportunities to exalt Your name and be Your witness. Give me opportunities to be a living testimony for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

2 Timothy 3: 16 “All Scripture by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness.”

What an awesome piece of scripture!! I have been receiving spiritual guidance from one of my former professors. It is recommended to all pastors and candidates for ordination that they have someone to “pastor them.” She asked about my core beliefs and one of the first things I said was, “I believe in the inspired word of God.” God’s Word has the power to show us who we are whether it is preached, read or shared in conversation. God’s Word speaks to our hearts giving us assurance when we are helpless, strength when we feel weak, firm ground on which to stand when we are shaky and searches our hearts when we are not being truthful so that there is no escape from our own guilt and we are in need of correction. God knows us better than we know ourselves and will place His Word in our minds and on our hearts for training us in a life of righteousness.

The writers of the Scriptures were led by the power of the Holy Spirit not by the will of man but by holy men. In this one passage we know that scripture gives us four profitable uses: “doctrine—teaching a correct understanding of the truth and reception of salvation; reproof—conviction of con bringing confession and repentance; correction—restoration to an upright position; and instruction—training in righteousness as it gives God’s view concerning life’s priorities.”

So here it is… I like the way my meditation summarized it, ”God’s Word teaches us what is right (doctrine), what is not right (reproof), how to get right (correction) and how to stay right (instruction).

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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Prayer alert: Nichole Burkholder lost her father this evening. She is a dear friend and wife to my pastor at Advent. I am asking on her behalf to rally the prayer warriors and pray for her family at this time of loss. Thank you. Peace, gc

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Thursday/Friday!

Yes I stayed up to watch the entire game tonight and so it is now early morning on Friday. We’ll get ‘em tomorrow night. Say an extra prayer for the Rangers tonight!

Prayer: “Lord, I desire to be taught by You today that I may know and obey. Too often I seem to be a hearer but not a doer. Please work in my heart that I would be overwhelmed with delight in doing Your will. Thank You for the privilege of serving You, and most of all for the unbelievable opportunity of knowing You. Please choose to use me today to be one who would decrease in living out my desires and increase in living out Your life. In Jesus’ name. Amen”

Psalm 119: 33 “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end.”

“Teach me, O Lord…” I think I pray this one sentence every day as I pray to understand what I am being taught. I think I shared with you that I failed (along with the other members of my history class) my history mid-term. I was devastated. Our professor returned the test to us and told us to take it again and to use our notes, books or any other resources to answer the questions. I try to think of the good things that happened during a set back. A sort of “what can I learn from this attitude

As much as I was upset at the grade I received I really began to understand the depth of study I need to delve into as a graduate student to be successful. As I re-did the questions I began to learn so much more. I began to make connections between the terms I was asked to define and discuss and the essay questions. I began to look forward to the times when I would sit down to this document and read more, write more and answer the questions more completely.

The psalms are full of these three words, knowledge, understanding and wisdom. As I worked through this historical material I gained in knowledge of the material. I gained understanding as I made connections and continued to read more critically the text material. The wisdom came when I realized I earned that poor grade rightly so and was given a gift of grace to improve not only the grade, but come to greater understanding of early church history.

The psalmist made it clear that he desired to know God’s will in order to do God’s will. The psalmist was both teachable and had a desire to learn. He did not just desire educational answers, but had a desire to comprehend God’s truth in order to use this truth in a life of obedience to God. It is my desire for myself to be like the psalmist and be a willing learner with a desire to understand what is being taught and use the truth of God and share it with others who are in need.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a sweater. Count your blessings and say your prayers with an extra one for the Rangers. Stay warm and remember you are never too old for another adventure. 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.

PS Geni and Travis are hosting a party in our home tomorrow evening. Bruce and I are taking an evening to ourselves and staying in Fort Worth for the night. I will write again on Saturday night. Peace, gc

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Tonight the praise team sang the Trunk-or-Treat neighborhood celebration at Advent Lutheran Church. The trunks were awesome, the kids and adults were dressed for fun and everyone seemed to have a really good time. This is an outreach activity Advent sponsors each year. The praise team and band played and sang some of our favorites. The crowd became involved in singing and clapping along with us. It was really great!

Prayer: “Lord, may my heart be desperate for a deeper loving relationship with You. Oh, God, help me to never take you for granted, and may I never place my ultimate dependence on anyone but You. Thank You for Your forbearance with me when I allow my mind to drift to all of the “what ifs.” Please draw me close to You and never let me go. I desire to finish well and to live in such a way that You will be glorified in and, yes, through my life. Jesus, I crown You King of my heart this morning. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Psalm 119: 9, 10 “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You. Oh let me not wander from Your commandments.”

One of the practices that is encouraged of pastors and aspiring pastors is to seek spiritual guidance. There are a number of local pastors who are willing to take on the spiritual guidance of seminary students. I attended my first spiritual guidance session today. Believe it or not we need spiritual guidance, too! I am being guided by a woman in whom I have the highest respect. She asked me to name my core beliefs, so I named the Holy Trinity, the virgin birth, that scripture is the inspired Word of God and scripture is where I encounter spiritual truth and instruction.

I think one of the strongest qualities of any Christian’s life is living a life that is moral and upright. When the apostle Paul was training Timothy in spiritual direction he called this action of living a moral life to a priority in 2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee also from youthful lusts, but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” The psalmist knew as well as the apostle Paul that it takes obedience to God’s Word to keep his moral life clean before the Lord. I think the way to accomplish this is to read and study God’s Word daily and put it into practice. Another way is to hang around other believers and watch those who are mature in the faith and see how they react to situations or behave out in regular society. Scripture is for lifting up our hearts, comforting us when our hearts are sore, instructing and correcting. I really pray for God to keep me close so that I can be close to Him and lead a life that would be a Bible others would want to read.

I know this may sound silly but when a person is in seminary it is easy for them to lose sight of God with all of the busyness of studying, reading, writing, attending class, attending chapel and other seminars. It is my prayer that I can be like the psalmist would not wander from his Word and continued daily to surrender to God’s Word and will.

So here is the question for the night…Does our busy life, even those who are busy with activities within the church, cause us to lose sight of God and His love for each of us? My prayer for each of us is that God would keep us close and that we would stay close to God.

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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.


PS Today I studied in the bookstore for about three hours. While I was there I purchased a TCU pink ribbon t-shirt. During the purchase process the clerk asked me if I wanted to sign a flag to put in the display on the campus lawn. I asked for two flags. I signed one flag for Carme as a survivor and my oldest and best friend. I signed the other one for my dear Mamo as she died from breast cancer while in her 80’s. These are two remarkable women who had and still have an extraordinary impact on my life with their brilliant smiles, courage and faith. I give thanks daily for these two precious women who each in their own ways are and were survivors. Peace, gc

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, You existed before the beginning of time. I come to You this morning thanking You for being the God of understanding and wisdom leading me in the way I should go. Thank you for the Bible and thank you for pointing out my sins through Your Word. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Bless me today; keep me in Your Word. Amen.”

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

What a wonderful way to begin writing about God and Jesus. This passage shows us the eternal significance of God’s Word and well as the “power and personality” of God’s word as shown to us through His Son, Jesus. In this passage we see that John has used “God” and “Word” as equals. Genesis tells us that God was in the beginning through the power of the Holy Spirit and later that same Word became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus. Jesus teaches that He was with God before the world was created. John 17: 5 “And now, O Father, glorify me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” This passage of scripture declares that Jesus is the Word! The writers of the New Testament repeat this truth throughout the writing with these words “was with God.” This affirms that Jesus the Son was equal with God the Father. WOW!!

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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Monday!

Was that fog thick this morning or what?! Geni described it perfectly when she said, “that was the creepiest drive I have ever made!”

Go Rangers! Just one more game…please!

Prayer: “Good morning Lord! I thank You for the richness of Your Word today. Thank You for the treasure it is for me to be called to repentance and holy living every time I read it. Your thoughts are infinitely higher than my thoughts. I would never find Your will for my life without the clear direction of Your Holy Scriptures. I praise You for Your guidance. You are the great God of the universe. Your majesty is awesome, and I am undeserving of Your love. Even though I do not understand why you would choose to love me, I humbly accept Your love today. Amen.”

Psalm 19: 7 “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”

On Tuesday and Thursday my class does not begin until 9:30, but I arrive at Brite around 7:30 to get a parking place and study before my Old Testament class. There are about five of us who are in the class together and we are usually in Weatherly Hall (the basement of Brite) before class. I was sitting with two of my classmates when one of them said, “I do not call myself Christian, Gaylene. You need to know that.” My other classmate responded with, “Neither do I. I call myself “A follower of the way.” I was taken aback a bit with the confessions of my two friends. It had never really dawned on me that there would be students in a “Christian” seminary who did not call themselves Christians.

After reading this verse of scripture I wondered how my friends would respond to this passage. “The law of the Lord…” is the testimony of God. It is through God’s Word that we are brought back to God when we have strayed. God’s Word is what makes all of the things of this world that are so imperfect change by His authority by the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “Walk in My ways.” So many people wander around from religion to philosophical and ideological paths, but “once God’s Holy Spirit convicts through the truth of God’s Word” our whole ideas about salvation and the Kingdom of God change. God’s Word has the power to challenge every thought we have while it draws us back to the simple wisdom of God’s truth.

I guess even those who are seeking vocations in ministry are still struggling in their faith identity. Their differences do not make me love and care for them any less, but it certainly causes me to pray for them differently. I ask you to pray for them, too.

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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.
Blessed Sunday to you all!

It has been quite a day! I preached two services in Rockett and Palmer, Texas this morning and have spent the remainder of the day working on the re-take test for my history class. I got bogged down in the Book of Common Prayer. My brain began to fry so I put it to bed for the day and will spend tomorrow completing as much as possible. I am finished with 9 ½ of the 10 terms and still have to complete the essay questions.

How about the trifecta for this weekend? TCU won, Cowboys won and the Rangers won. What a weekend!!!

Prayer: “Thank You for being my heavenly Father. Help me to be Your obedient child today. As I read Your Word, open my ears to hear what You are telling me, and then help me to do what You have told me to do. May my relationship with You take priority over every other relationship. I know that when I put You first, I am better equipped to love others. Remind me today that no one should ever take the place that rightly belongs to You. Amen.”

Luke 8: 20, 21 “And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside desiring to see you. But he answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are thee who hear the word of God and do it.”

I know I have said it before, but Jesus was a maser teacher and He did not seem to miss an opportunity to teach a lesson. Educators call these times “teachable moments.” This passage has always bothered me a bit, but I spent some time praying about it and tried to make heads or tails of it. Jesus was not being disrespectful of his family, He was telling the listeners that our first relationship must be to God and those who listen to God’s Word and do what it says are His family. Making God’s will for our lives our will shows others that we are truly related to God through His Son, Jesus. The message Jesus is sending to His birth family was that I love you and want to be with you, but I must be about My Father’s business. Jesus said these same words to his family once before when He became separated form them as a 12 year old child. Jesus believed that what God wanted Him to do must come before what his family or His own will wanted. Jesus told His family that He had a higher calling that demanded total obedience to whatever God needed Him to do and wherever God wanted Him to go.

As a teacher, Jesus teaches us that same lesson. He requires of us to love God with all of our heart, all of our mind, all of our soul and all of our strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Our relationship with God must be primary. When our relationship with God is primary and we learn to love as God loves through a relationship with Jesus then all of our relationships increase in love.

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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.