Saturday, January 21, 2012

Greetings from Howe, Texas

A Friday to remember. Today my beloved mother, Genita Rose Helvey, passed away. She died in the arms of Daddy, her beloved husband of just almost 60 years. She left the rehab hospital yesterday. This morning Home Health came out to the house to do her rehab exercises. When they left her vital signs were all perfect. So what does she do? she goes to the beauty shop. Never in all of my life did my mom face any event without getting her hair done! This was a pattern of hers for years. She would get her hair done before any surgery if she had to get a pass from the hospital. If there was ice, blowing snow, hail, torrential rain or gale force wind she was in the car heading for the Hair Flair to sit in Maxine’s chair to get her hair done. And today was no different.

When she left rehab yesterday, she came home to the house she loved, played and talked with Ginger (the big husky they co-habit with), slept with Daddy one last time, got her hair done and then went home. I figure she could not imagine seeing Jesus, Casey, Mamo and her two brothers who preceded her looking a mess. She just quietly closed her eyes as Daddy was helping her in her new lift chair and did not wake up on this side of heaven.

I ask you to please pray for Daddy as he has lost his beloved wife and we have lost our mother but only for a little while. Tomorrow we go to the funeral home to make arrangements for her service which I have been called to write. Please pray for me as I construct the worship that it will be a service that honors the life of Christ in Mom. Thank you and love you all, mighty and comforting prayer warriors.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis and all of our family. Peace, gc.

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.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Thursday!

Today has seemed like Friday as I finished classes for the week. So that gives me some extra time to work on my paper. I completed the verbatim and now I have to write the reflection.

Prayer: “Lord, I want You to be in control of this day. Please let me live this day without regret. Thank you for another opportunity to rest in You. Amen.”

2 Corinthians 7: 10 “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

How about those words “godly sorrow?” I don’t think I have ever read this verse before, but the consequences of experiencing godly sorrow, while pretty tough, produces an outcome that is really great. Godly sorrow, in its simplest form, is being sincerely sorry for a wrong done. My meditation even goes so far as to say, “we need to long for sorrow that produces repentance. When we repent it can be a refreshing experience. Repentance is the way to systematically NOT repeat the wrong done to ourselves or someone else. Did you ever think you could be sorrowful over something you have done to yourself and be in need of repentance? I am trying to no longer tell myself how much smarter everyone else in seminary is than me. It is sort of self-destructive talk. I need to repent of this action. I am made in the likeness of God who has called me to study and will equip me to learn and understand. So I am trying to remember when I have these feeling of being inadequate around my peers at seminary to pray and ask God to help me understand better and not be afraid to speak up in class. The overwhelming benefit of having the restored relationship with God happens through repentance.

You know, we make sinful choices in our lives we wish we could undo. God has all of this worked out so well that all we need is a repentant spirit to begin this process. We need to trust the God who loves us to guide us through this process without judgment. We need to trust God who loves us with all of His love. Maybe what we all need is a sabbatical of repentance, refreshment and restoration. On that sabbatical let us never forget that God’s grace is sufficient for us each day and how much we must live in the knowledge of our need for that grace.

So the question for the night…Are there places in our lives where we need to be aware of the need for godly sorrow?

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes (Could the shoes be flip flops tomorrow?) 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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Wednesday!

Travis began classes at TCC this afternoon. Please offer prayers for him to be able to focus on his studies and do well in his classes.

Great News!! Mom is going home tomorrow. Dad has spent the past weeks preparing for her return home. He has all of the equipment waiting for her. It sounds like he may have created a gym for her as he has acquired exercise equipment for her to continue her therapy while at home. What a guy!

Prayer: “God, this day is all about You! You are worthy of my focus and attention. Please help me to depend on You in everything I do today. In Jesus’ name. Amen”

Titus 35 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

What a fantastic scripture! It sounds like a Lutheran might have written this one. You know how we are about grace and works. How many of us have been told, “You can do it!”? In many of the skills we acquire for our daily living that is true. But grace is the one thing we cannot gain or accomplish by our works. There is nothing we can do to determine our relationship with God. We need to know that it does not matter what we have done. Even the Apostle Paul speaks of his own sins as foolish, disobedience, being a deceiver, being envious, rude, not honoring or showing respect for one another. Aren’t we grateful that our relationship with God is not based on the things we have done? (I sure am!!!)

But this verse says, “…but according to His mercy…” An amazing change occurs when we accept God’s tender mercies and recognize that His wide mercy supersedes our works whether righteousness or self serving. God’s mercy offers us the grace of attaining a relationship with God. So we can stop trying to “do” whatever it takes to get ourselves right with God. There is nothing we can do but immerse ourselves in the precious mercies of God’s loving grace and let His loving countenance bathe away all of our sins inside and out.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all so much and that you for being mighty prayer warriors. 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.
Happy Tuesday!

First day of spring classes. This semester I will be learning about The Psalms, preaching and helping folks through grief and loss. I also will be making application for the Clinical Pastoral Education course. If I am accepted I will work in a hospital for ten weeks learning how to do the job of a hospital chaplain. I am hoping to do CPE this summer.

Prayer: “Jesus, thank You for allowing me to begin this new day with Good News—the Good News of the gospel. Your death on the Cross and Your triumph over the grave have profound changed my life. Amen.”

1Corinthians 15:3b, 4 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

The power of Scripture is quite amazing. The Word is simple enough for children to understand yet is so deep and complex that the greatest scholars and theologians cannot reach the depth of its meaning. Tonight, I was sitting in my Psalms class and was asked to read Psalm 88 to the class in preparation for discussion. If you have never read this psalm I recommend that you read it sometime soon. This particular psalm is the worst of the psalms. It is nothing but complaint from beginning to end by an author who believes he has been abandoned, has lost all his friends and family. The author speaks to God about all of his hurt, pain and feelings of longing for restoration. God does not appear to be in contact with this author. I read this psalm pretty well. After I read the psalm aloud for the class, the gentleman behind me in class asked if he could read it.

This gentleman shared with the class that he would be celebrating his 48th birthday tomorrow and he will have spent half of his life with HIV. And then he began to read…it was not very far into the piece that each of us began to look through someone else’s eyes at the depth of the meaning of this harsh piece of scripture. What we gained in that reading was this profound realization that as terrible as the words of this psalm were, there was this extraordinary realization that even though (for the author) the day before was awful, and today was awful and if the pattern followed tomorrow would be awful, too. But the author of this psalm still got up each day and stayed in relationship with God. What amazing courage from the reader and what phenomenal faith of both author and its reader. It was a holy moment for me listening to the man of amazing courage read with a meaning that came from his soul.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all so very much and thank you for being such faithful prayer warriors, 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, January 15, 2012

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Happy Birthday Travis! Today our youngest turned 21. We celebrated his birthday with lots of family this afternoon at Cooper’s BBQ in Ft. Worth. We celebrated with great food, lots of loving family, funny memories of Travis as a little boy and lots of loud laughter. It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

Prayer: “Lord, I begin this day in amazement that You love me and gave Your life for me. Thank You for demonstrating Your love at the Cross. Thank You for showing me love each and every day. Help me to show and speak Your love to others this very day. In Your loving name I pray, Amen.”

Romans 5: 8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Do you remember when you were captured by the love of God? When has something you have seen, heard, felt or experienced captured your heart and you knew you were in God’s holy presence? For me, I am captured by God’s love when I sing on Sunday during worship. I am captured by God’s love when I read His Word and it speaks of His love. But that is not near enough. If you read Ephesians 3:18-19, it speaks of the width, length, and depth and height of the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. If we really want to be captured by the love of God, then we need to make the walk to Calvary. Calvary is where God demonstrated His extraordinary love for each of us where his Son died for we who are imperfect people and imperfect sinners.

Casting Crowns performs a song that Bruce and I wake up to each morning. The words go something like this, “Your love is extravagant. Your love, it is infinite.” That extravagant love was demonstrated on that Cross at Calvary and the effects of that love are infinite as His love and forgiveness are eternal. Let us live in God’s presence with grateful hearts.

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.
Happy Saturday!

WOW! What a busy 24 hours. I finished classes, exhausted but feeling okay about the class. The one thing I discovered was that after 5 straight days of learning about this counseling education and practice through role plays, this was not only a somewhat physically exhausting week, but a very emotional week as well. I was glad to see it come to an end. I have the final paper to write which is due a week from Monday. So sometime between beginning spring semester and next Monday I will write this paper. Please offer a prayer for me to complete this well.

Sunday is Travis’ 21st birthday. We are taking him to Cooper’s BBQ in Fort Worth after church. We have a few surprises waiting for him and with family joining us we will have a wonderful time. But we will miss Mom and Dad.

Prayer: Jesus, I begin this day, with the acknowledgment that I am a sinner. I rejoice in the fact that You are not flawed. You are the perfect son of God who came to take away my sin. You are the answer to my sin problem. Thank you for being the strong Son of God. Amen.”

Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

Somehow each one of us is related. The one attribute each one of us brings to the table is sin. The apostle Paul even says, “We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Sin does not know race, creed, color, rich, poor, short, tall etc…We inherited it from the earliest days of folks on the planet. “We sin because we are sinners.” We need Jesus in our hearts and lives because we are sinners. We need Jesus to forgive us of our sin and to heal our brokenness. Jesus took the punishment for our sin on the Cross and we receive the victory in Jesus.

Have a wonderful day! 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.