Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Thursday!

Baby, it’s cold outside!!

I talked with Mom today and as she answered the phone she sounded particularly cheery. She told me one of the ladies at the rehab hospital “fixed her hair” today. That really made her feel great. Ladies, you know how a new haircut or style always makes us feel better! And then, I found out she went to the surgeon today for a check up on her shoulder (which is doing great by the way!). This translates that she got to leave the hospital for a while. She told me, “It was cold as the dickens, but the fresh air felt so good.” I think she was renewed and refreshed at these two ordinary activities. I was so glad for her that it made me feel glad all over.

My professor loves Harry Potter (me too!). Yesterday she used a metaphor for a practice we are being taught to use in our pastoral counseling about Harry Potter. As I listened to the metaphor I began to think of how I could apply this metaphor to my daily life. Here goes.

In the story of Harry Potter, Harry attends a wizarding school called Hogwarts. There are four groups of students at the school and they play the game of quiddich throughout the stories. Quiddich is sort of like soccer, rugby and basketball played in the air. There are three kinds of balls used in the game simultaneously: the bludger, the quaffle and the golden snitch. The bludger is used to knock people off their brooms. The quaffle is used to score 10 points when it goes through the hoops. The golden snitch, which is a golf ball sized gold ball with wings like a hummingbird, is “lightning fast and nearly impossible to catch”. All three of these balls are in play at the same time, but the team which catches the golden snitch receives 150 points and usually wins the game. There are several positions on the team and Harry plays the Seeker. The Seeker is the only one allowed to catch the golden snitch. There are a dozen players playing around him with balls flying everywhere as well as the other players do their jobs during the game. It is Harry’s job to ignore all that is going on around him and concentrate on the golden snitch. Everything around him is meant to distract him from catching the winning ball. Remember the team catching the golden snitch wins the game.

How often do we allow the distractions all around us to take our eyes off of the “prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”? What takes our eyes off of the prize? In the busyness of our lives, where do we prioritize our time? Do we take time in our day just to focus on God in prayer, study and meditation? For just a few moments can we turn off the phone or TV and just spend time in the arms of the Father? Can we rid ourselves of distractions and only seek the deeper, more intimate relationship with the One who created us. He loves us so much and desires not only a relationship with him, but a deeper, more intimate relationship with us as we study the Word and have conversation with Him in prayer. We just have to block out all of the distractions and be a seeker of God.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, extra socks and a warm jacket. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Mom and Dad miss each other so much so please pray for them. 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.

PS Prayer requests: Mom for healing, Dad to hang in there until she gets home, Carme, for travel mercy as she travels to the Metroplex tonight and for our friend Laurie, who lost her father just this week. His Celebration of Life is tomorrow. Bruce is singing the service. Thank you, mighty and powerful prayers, gc

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy Wednesday!

I am 2 days from completing a semester’s worth of class work. Totally amazing. But today I received two writings back and found that I had done them incorrectly. It was my fault for I did not read all of the directions. So I will be working to correct these papers before the end of class on Friday and hope that my professors will be gracious with my “second” efforts. Please offer a prayer for me.

Prayer: “Father, thank You for being the giver of life. Thank You for the gift of abundant life that comes through knowing Your Son. As I begin this new day, may I experience all that You desire for me and have a heart full of gratitude for the joy of living an overflowing life in You. Amen”

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it abundantly.”

Do you have things you have always wanted to have? I have a couple of things I have always wanted to do. First, I have always wanted to stand on the stage at Carnegie Hall and just sing. I have always wanted to sing with the Gaither’s and I have always wanted a Tiffany diamond. Now as amazing as all of these things would be how would they change my life? Would these things really allow me to live the abundant life I am promised in Jesus? Of course not!

Jesus calls Satan a thief because Satan wants to steal our abundance. Our abundance is found in the truth of what it means to really live, that is, to live life to its fullest. Jesus came to give life, His life, a life lived in love, forgiveness, grace and truth. This life in Jesus is complete. As thrilling as singing in Carnegie Hall or with the Gaithers or having that Tiffany diamond I have always wanted, those things do not compare to the life I have in Christ. The things of this world are things that will eventually pass away. I will someday not be able to sing well and I am not sure about the diamond except that even though it would sparkle with fire, it would give no warmth. (but I could be chilly for a while and wear really great sunglasses) The brightness of the diamond and the clarity of my voice cannot compare to the glory of Jesus Christ. Satan and all of his thieving ways could not take away the fullness and love overflowing from Jesus because we know the rest of the story.

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy Tuesday!

Well, other than really long days and very short nights, I am learning so much. The professor is brilliant, kind, compassionate and a really wonderful teacher. She is laying a remarkable foundation for our future as pastoral care givers and pastoral counselors. (Yes, I have learned the difference between the two!) Today we began to discuss how we would share our faith in our care and counseling and I got to learn more about the remarkable men and women with whom I am in a community of faith.

Mom update: I spoke with Mom and dad both today. They miss each other so much. Mom says her shoulder is sore, but improving. Her legs are not showing as much improvement due to some swelling so she sleeps with pillows under her feet to help reduce the swelling. Please continue to pray for both Mom and Dad.

Prayer: “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”. Father, You have created this day for Your purpose. You bless me by allowing me to participate in it. In a world filled with bad news, it is Your desire that I, as a Christian, be Your ambassador of Good news. Give me the courage to share with people that they do not have to live separated from You for all eternity. Through Jesus they can go to heaven where to is no more sin or suffering. Amen.”

Romans 6: 23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“How often have you heard it said, “Do you want the bad news first, or the good news?” This is how my meditation began this evening. I tell you this because in my reflective writing assignment tonight this is what I wrote about. So it must be meant to examine this further. In this passage of scripture we receive the bad news first, “The wages of sin is death.” If we were left to our own devices after sinning we would die without grace or forgiveness and spend eternity apart from God. This death in its simplest terms is separation from God. We would have no hope and that is bad news! But then we receive the good news, “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Jesus’ death on the cross for our sin is the only payment God requires for each of us for all eternity. God gave His Son as the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live with Him for all eternity. This precious gift reverses the death process. When we first trust Christ our spirits come alive in Jesus. Yes, we will all ultimately have a bodily death, but the physical death is not the end…it is a passageway to a life without end with God in heaven. Now that is not only good news, it is the best news of all! When you get a moment, read the news, the good news of Jesus in God’s holy Word.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all. Many thanks for your prayers, 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, January 9, 2012

Happy Monday!

My friends, this has been the longest short day I have spent in a long time. I was at Brite at 7:30 am studying and eating oatmeal. I progressed to the new building for my first day of classes. It is a beautiful building and pretty high tech. When you leave a classroom you must re-enter the room using your Student ID and swiping it like a credit card. That part did not work today so we stuffed paper in the hole where the lock should have latched the door. Go figure! I learned a lot today and look forward to the time when I can put some of it into practice as a chaplain.

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for sending Jesus into the world, not to condemn it but to save it. This is the motivation I need to face this day. Help me to remember that in whatever situations I find myself, You are for me, not against me. With You on my side, I can face life with a positive outlook. I can be confident in making decisions, handling tasks, and dealing with issues that arise. Help me to keep a short account of sins, so I can be usable to You today. I thank You that my sin is under the blood of Jesus, so there is no condemnation. Amen.”

John 3: 17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

When Jesus was being prophesied the people thought that He would be a political leader and wipe out all of their oppressors. What these people did not understand was that God sent Jesus into the world for only one purpose: to be a Savior. Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The religious leaders condemned people and did not offer any hope of salvation. Jesus offers hope to the hopeless without condemnation. Those who are in Christ Jesus do not walk in the flesh, but in the light of Jesus Christ according to the Spirit. Jesus is the answer to the world’s greatest and deepest needs. We can trust in Jesus for He is for us and never against us. As Romans says, “And if God be for us then who can be against us?” Today look for ways God has manifested His presence in way we can recognize and we will see His face.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, a warm jacket and carry an umbrella. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you friends, 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!

As some of you may know I am pursuing a Master’s of Divinity Degree from Brite Seminary on the campus of TCU (Go Frogs!). In order to be ordained I must be in fellowship with a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I have been attending Rush Creek Christian Church here in Arlington at their 8:30 worship. I sit close to the back of the sanctuary on the right side. There is a very large window in the front of the church and where I usually sit. If the sun is shining brightly, it is blinding and I am forced to move to the other side of the sanctuary.

Pastor Chris preached today on Paul’s Damascus road experience. Saul had spent his adult life persecuting those who were Followers of the Way. Followers of the Way were those Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah sent by God to save the world. Saul was walking down the Damascus road when he was blinded by the light of God. I have always been told when one loses one of their senses the other senses become more sensitive or heightened. Saul was now blind and so he had to learn to listen. God spoke to Saul and led him to a man named Ananias. Ananias was a Follower of the Way. God was sending a helpless Saul to someone he had been sent to persecute so he could learn the ways of God. Ananias was being asked to invite a dangerous enemy into his home to tell him about the gospel of the One Saul had disdained for so long. Two men brought together for similar purposes, Ananias was to share the gospel with the Saul so that Saul could share the gospel with the world. Isn’t it amazing how God uses all of us to His good purpose?

Today is Epiphany Sunday - the season of light. After the heavens and earth were created, God created light and said that it was good. The Hebrew people were led by night by a pillar of fire and protected from Pharaoh’s army. In Psalm 29:7 “The voice of the Lord strikes with bolts of lightning.” It was by a star that the Wise Men were led to the Child and a star that led them to safety. And the Apostle Paul was struck blind by a light from the heavens. Here is the point - where there is light there is God. Where there is God, there is holy ground. Let us fear not when we are surrounded by the light of God for we are in His presence. He was wants us to listen and we are protected. Happy Epiphany!

Take joy in the journey! Carry a flashlight! Wear comfortable shoes and Monday, carry an umbrella. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Please continue to pray for Mom and Dad. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.