Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Saturday!

I finally finished the reading on Asia! I will begin writing the paper tomorrow. Please pray for me as I write. I am a pretty good devotional writer, but my academic writing still needs a lot of work.

Prayer: “God, I ask You to help me tell someone about You today. Holy Spirit, please empty me so I can be filled with You. Guide me to someone who needs You, Lord, and give me the boldness I need to tell him or her how awesome You are. Amen”

Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

What do you think of when you think of evangelism? I know I think of the loud, impassioned TV preachers who ask for money or I think of those on the street corner and scream at us and are just a bit scary.

There are so many people who need to hear the Word of God and how God has worked in our lives. There are so many people who need to hear the gospel of Christ and how it can impact their own lives. I think the best way to help others to know Christ is to walk with them daily and share with them the ways the good news of Jesus has had an impact on our lives. I also think another way we can share the gospel is to invite those who do not know Jesus to come to worship. There are many worship opportunities where jeans and t-shirts are appropriate, where there is a band and contemporary Christian music. There are worship opportunities that meet at times other than Sunday morning. There are worship styles from the very traditional to contemporary. Dolly Parton once said, “God does not care which church you go to as long as you go.” Witnessing is sharing the gospel, the good news, the love of God in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God. Let us each try this week to tell someone about Jesus and invite them to worship with us.

Take joy in the journey. Sleep well tonight and enjoy the extra hour. 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 Geni returned safely from Austin, but unfortunately returned sick as a horse. Please pray for her to quickly return to health. Travis’s back is better. He went to the gym and hung upside down for a while. He is still using a heating pad, but it is doing better. Thank you for your continued prayers to each of us. We feel your loving presence around us all the time. Hugs, gc
Happy Friday!

What a wonderful day! Bruce and I left this morning and surprised Mom and Daddy with a visit. We went to their annual church bazaar and then treated them to lunch. It was such a wonderful day. The sky was so blue and the air was crisp and I was with people I love so much.

About this bazaar…there were lots of craft items, jams, jellies and so many special items, but the most amazing thing was when we walked in the door we were greeted with the most intoxicating aroma of fresh baked bread. The kitchen was filled with ladies rising, punching down and shaping loaves of beautiful loaves of homemade wheat bread. The loaves came in clear plastic bags still warm from the oven. Daddy bought us two loaves to bring home and took some home for Mom along with jars of delicious jams made by their pastor. How cool is that! Now here is something amazing…Mom was unable to assist with the bazaar activities this year so Daddy went in her place. She made one request. It was for a jar of apricot preserves. By the time Daddy got there…there were no more. Somehow, the pastor (who had made the preserves) found out Daddy had wanted some for Mom and the pastor promised that by tomorrow morning there would be some for her. Ah…it is great to be beloved!

Prayer: “Thank You, Lord, for saving me and setting me apart to live for You. Should You allow some trial or difficulty to come my way, please help me not to complain or become bitter; rather, please enable me to praise You through the storm. Use me to praise You in the hard times so others see You in my life. Amen.”

1 Timothy 4: 4,5 “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

Each time I write a paper for school I pray over it. The general prayer is usually that God would bless my writing with understanding of the topic on which I am to write so that the professor will know that I understand what I am being taught and not only would the writing I do be academically acceptable, but would show these educators something about my faith and service to God. I am not a very good academic writer yet, but I am trying to improve. I really hope that these educators in faith formation are able to detect through the knowledge I display how much I want to serve God as one who is set apart for a professional career in pastoral care.

I have never read this verse before, but I think I will commit this passage to memory and give thanks even when I don’t do as well as I had hoped. I pray that I will not be upset if that happens, but look at it as an opportunity for correction and improvement.

Not everything works out as we would like and we do not always understand what God is doing. But this God who loves us so much claims His presence in our lives and promises that if we will just walk as obediently as we know how in trust, He will guide our steps and our stops. God will guide us into holier and higher ways known only to Him.

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.

Prayer requests: Travis, for the healing of his back. He had a really rough workout last night and deadlifted 730 pounds, leaving him with a sore back. Prayers for Geni and her friend Erin for a safe return from their girls’ weekend and me for writing a rather involved history paper that is due on Friday. Peace, gc.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Thursday!

Time really flies…Bruce is one week away from graduating from cardiac-rehab! It is hard to believe that he had this surgery in July and it is almost time for rehab to be complete. He is totally remarkable in that his recovery has been perfect and that all seems to be well. He has begun to go back to work doing repairs that do not require heavy lifting. He is such a champion. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

FYI Travis lifted 730 pounds tonight during his training. OMG!!! Way to go!

Prayer: “Thank You, Lord that You promise to be with me no matter what comes my way. May Your Word abide in me throughout today, and please enable me to be strong and live for You. Guide my thoughts, speech and behavior. Grant to me victory over the Evil One as he tries to distract me from serving You. Amen.”

1 John 2: 14 “I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”

The entry tonight comes from my devotional book. It is the Josh Hamilton story. I could not improve on it so I am sharing it with you.

“Josh Hamilton, the all-star outfielder from the Texas Rangers professional baseball team, is a strong young man within whom the Word of God abides. Hamilton was the first player selected in the 1999 baseball draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. As an eighteen year old, he could hit the ball five hundred feet, throw the ball 96 mph, and from the outfield wall, he could hurl a baseball all the way to home plate on the fly. But while in the minor leagues he was injured, starting using drugs and his life spiraled downward for the next three years. He lost 50 pounds and did not play baseball for almost three years. He tried to kill himself 5 times and went to rehab eight times, but it was not until October 6, 2005, when everything changed.

Today Josh Hamilton is the all-star center for the Texas Rangers and led the American League in RBI’s in 2008 with 130. Hamilton said, “I was out of baseball a year-and-a-half ago. I did not have my family back, my wife was going to leave me, and I was doing drugs. People think there are coincidences in life. There are no coincidences when God’s got a plan. It’s nothing I did except try to make the right choices and let God take over from there. There’s one solid and permanent way out of it, and that’s finding the Lord Jesus Christ and accepting Him.” Written by Danny Forshee, Lavaca, AR.

Today and everyday let us make wise choices that God’s Word would stay on our minds and then come out of our mouths to those who need to hear a message of salvation. Let us ask God to be our strength and shield to overcome Satan.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a jacket. 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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

I am giving notice…Baby, it’s cold outside! Dress warm in the morning, my friends.

Prayer: Father, I love You, and I lay my life before You. Take me and use me for Your glory and Your purposes. Forgive me when I complain and do not see all the wonderful things You do for me, things I take for granted like being able to wake up today and see the beginning of another day. Give me strength to not only worship You, but to encourage Your people and to speak Your name to a lost world. Amen.”

Colossians 3: 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Years ago I attended the local community college between semesters while getting my music degree from UNT. I was taking a history class under a really wonderful teacher, Mr. Jackson. The next semester I took the other half of the history class and one day the regular teacher had to leave just before class due to an emergency. We (the class) were about to be told that the class would be cancelled for the day when we were told that Mr. Jackson would be conducting the class for the day. A friend of mine and I from the previous semester were really excited that Mr. Jackson would be leading the class. So we stayed when others left.

You know there are some people you see in the distance and you will make effort to miss them? Then there are those who, when you see them, you will make special effort to greet. Those we try to avoid may be full of complaint and it is uncomfortable to be around these folks. But those whom we will go out of our way to greet and visit with are usually those who encourage us. When you see the latter, your spirit is lifted and you feel so much better for having known them. You will look forward to the next time you see them.

How do we greet folks? Do you know someone who, when you ask, “How are you?” have never said, “just fine” because there is always some malady or crisis in their lives? Anyone can complain, but it takes special effort to be an encourager. When we let God’s Word soak deeply within our souls, God gives us the grace and wisdom to encourage others. God has done so many grand and glorious things in our life through His richest blessings that it seems we really need to share with those we meet, know and love just how God’s great love has blessed our lives.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a warm jacket. 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.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Today I went to worship at Brite. There is a service of Word and Table each week on Tuesday followed by lunch and a community conversation. This week’s focus was All Saint’s Day. It was a bit of an emotional time of worship for me as the pastor who delivered the message spoke of crossing the finish line with your torch still lit. She told a story of the early days of the Olympic Games. One of the races was not won simply by who crossed the finish line first, but by who crossed the finish line first with their torch still lit. When I think of Casey and how courageous he was I am sure he crossed the finish line with his torch held high, lighting the way for the rest of us.

Prayer: “Father, thank You for being the sovereign Lord of the universe, the one true God who is, was, and always will be. I praise You for You are God and You do not change. You make promises to Your children, and You always keep them. Help me this day to read the promises in Your Word and be confident and at peace that You will accomplish all You desire to accomplish in my life. Amen!”

Isaiah 55: 11 “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please and it shall prosper in the living thing for which I sent it.”

As I think of saints that I have known I immediately think of Casey and my Mamo. They were not perfect, but they were people who were often found doing the will of God.

My mamo never had an unkind word to say about anyone and always accepted people as they were through a happy smile and a loving spirit. She did not do anything spectacular in her life, unless you consider that she raised a family through the Depression, earned a living as a seamstress, was a member of the Christian Homemakers Sunday School class and spent her life completely in love with each member of her family. God accomplished in her all He intended in her long life. Maybe she did do something spectacular, after all.

As for Casey, God accomplished in Him all He intended within the last year of his life. God gave him a fighting spirit determined to conquer the disease that had invaded his body along with a sweet spirit that never complained. In Casey’s last year he became a mighty prayer warrior as he prayed for each person on the hospital floor by name each evening. We look back at the pictures of him in that last year and all we see on his face is the most relaxed and peaceful smile. God was dwelling in Casey’s spirit which allowed him to appear unafraid and cheerful while letting others know that they need not be afraid either.

Both of these amazing people opened their hearts and minds to God and allowed Him to accomplish in them what he pleased to His glory and ultimate victory. Sounds pretty spectacular to me.

Just a thought…think of someone(s) in your life who you would name a saint. It is not someone who is perfect, but someone who has an open mind and heart for letting God accomplish in them He greatest hopes and desires.

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 31, 2011

Happy Halloween Monday!

I think we had our last trick-or-treat visitor at about 10:00 pm tonight. It’s a good thing because we were just about out of candy.

Prayer: “Thank You, Lord. For Your living Word, Jesus Christ, and Your written Word, the Holy Bible! You are awesome, oh God, and I praise You today, for You have not left me to wander in darkness—You have given me the light of revelation in Your Word. Speak to me as I read Your Word and empower me by the light of revelation in Your Word. Speak to me as I read Your Word and empower me I pray by Your Spirit to live by Your laws and precepts. Help me to remember You throughout this day and meditate continually upon Your revealed Word. Amen.”

Psalm 119: 15, 16 “I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word.”

When I think about how much God’s Word means to me I think of when Casey was sick and the scriptural wallpaper that was created. I wanted both of us to be surrounded by God’s Word. I wanted to make his hospital room a place where God’s Holy Spirit could graciously dwell. The most wonderful thing that happened was that doctors, nurses, social workers, custodians, chaplains and so many who walked through our door would stop and read the wall of scripture. Sometimes they would take a moment and write down a verse on the wall that had meaning for them and carry it with them. Sometimes they would write down a passage that was meaningful to them and place it on the wall to share with us. I really found reason to rejoice that there were so many who would come in to spend time surrounded by the Word of God and find hope.

King David would allow God’s Word to dominate his thinking to the point that scripture names King David as a man after God’s own heart (I Sam. 14:14 and Acts 13:22) King David was not after the crown of Saul, he was after the heart of God and continually “feasted upon the Word of God. Acts 13: 26 says, “David, served his own generation by the will of God” and lived under the shelter of God’s Word, the key to victorious living. Stepping out from under that umbrella would land him in serious trouble!

Let’s try something today. (This will really scare the pants off of Satan and keep him at bay.) Read God’s Word and then, throughout the day, pray those very words back to God. Praying scripture will change our lives and draw us closer to God.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and warm socks. 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.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blessed Sunday to you all!

The 35th Anniversary at Advent was positively splendid today. There were two worship services and a wonderful pot-luck lunch after the later service. There were charter members, former Advent pastors and a full house of current members as well as some who have moved away, but made special effort to be present today. It was a wonderful homecoming reunion. I have spent the remainder of the day in Old Testament studies of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel and Hosea. I took my test over the prophets and am reading about something I don’t quite understand. So I read half of it tonight, will rise early in the morning to complete the reading and write a reflection paper. It does not seem to stop, but believe it or not, it is time to be advised for next semester. WOW!

Prayer: “Thank You , Lord, for Your Word. You have promised to teach me in the way I should live and guide me in the paths of righteousness. I ask You to keep my eyes focused on You and open to Your truths. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to receive what You will have for me today. I commit myself to follow You as you lead me by Your Word.”

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

This passage of scripture is one that has a visual image that I have never readily understood. The image of a two-edged sword is a really powerful and somewhat frightening image. The Bible, God’s inspired Word, is the Truth that has the power to show us who we are whether the Word is preached, read or shared in conversation. Scripture is alive within us breathing the knowledge and the presence of the Holy Spirit in all we do and say. God knows us better than we know ourselves. When we experience His truth in assurance, comfort or knowledge, or when God accurately tells us of His opinion of our hidden selves we have the opportunity to walk toward God in repentance and thankfulness. Remember that two-edged sword…God’s Word never pierces us to wound us, but uses His Word like a surgeon and touches the places of disease and infection (sin and disobedience) so we can be healed.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a jacket. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Continue to keep Nichol Burkholder in your prayers as she and her family continue to mourn the loss of her father. 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.