Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy Saturday, last day of March!

What a day! Travis placed third in the Samson’s Arms overhead press event at the Ronnie Coleman Invitational today. We are so excited and so proud for him. Now his name is out there as a professional power lifter and strong man. I think he was the youngest competitor at 21 years old. It was amazing! He had a fan club there to cheer him on and we wore shirts saying “Team Travis.” The shirts were a surprise and he thought they were great! We celebrated with burgers from the grill and eating on the deck tonight. I love eating on the deck.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, today, I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help. May my life be a reflection of Your love and grace as I bump shoulders with all the people You will allow me to meet today. I acknowledge You as the sole purpose of my life and being. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

John 16: 13 However, when the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Tonight my meditation gives a wonderful definition of the Bible, “The Bible is the Word of God, inspired by the Spirit of God, and invested with the power and authority of God.” WOW!

When I am preparing a sermon I usually read through the scripture passage a number of times, I pray about the scripture and then, as I am driving somewhere (like school!), I began to talk it through out loud. Through the guiding of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word and my own voice I usually come up with what the passage has to say and how I can create a sermon. The best part is being secure in the knowledge that I do not write or craft this sermon alone. God remains with me through the Holy Spirit’s guidance and the inspired Word of God. When I prepare to deliver the sermon I also give thanks that I am able to say what God has given me to say to those who are listening.

I am not a professional preacher. God knows that I do not do this often, but grants this wonderful piece of grace in giving me just the right amount of truth when I need it. All of us who call ourselves believers have access to this same grace. God is such a perfect teacher and gives us just the right amount of truth and knowledge for us to understand. (I wish my professors did the same more often!) These pieces of truth and knowledge seem to show up exactly when we need them.

I take comfort in the fact that God goes before us and intervenes in situations that are upcoming in our lives and plans our lessons accordingly. With our text being God’s inspired Word, our teacher being the Holy Spirit authorized by power and authority of God we can trust that through God we will never have to learn, say or act alone ever again.

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.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Friday!

I was accepted into the summer internship program for CPE at Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth. I will divide my time between Huguley and John Peter Smith as these two hospitals work together. It is a really lovely campus with 123 acres still undeveloped. The interview went well and then the staff chaplain gave me a tour of the building and treated me to lunch in the hospital cafeteria. I was very excited. I will begin the internship on June 11 and conclude it on August 24 just in time for the fall semester. Please pray for this vital and important ministry and the work God will work through all of us as we learn how to minister to these folks in their time of need.

Also, Bruce is improving so much that the doc says he may need only two more treatments and he should be okay. He is walking straighter and without a lot of pain. Special thanks go out to Dr. David and Rhonda Banks, the doc who is working with Bruce and his wonderful wife. These two people are extraordinary friends and people of faith. We are so grateful they have been to ones to facilitate Bruce’s healing. Thank you, friends. We love you lots. Thank you for all of your prayers. I know that is why Bruce has healed so rapidly. Keep praying and thank you again.

One more prayer request…Travis competes tomorrow in the Ronnie Coleman Classic, Clash of the Titans power lifting event. This will be his first professional meet. He is so excited and so prepared and ready for this. He has worked so hard for a very long time. He will be lifting hundreds of pounds and will compete with those who have been competing for a long time and are older than he. I ask you to pray for Travis to stay injury free and to have the strength to compete well. One of the verses in the gym says, “A strongman knows from where his strength comes.” Travis knows.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, thank You for being my God and my guide. Thank You for giving me the precious ability to read and comprehend Your Word as the Holy Spirit enables me to understand its depth and meaning. Please guide me into all truth today and prepare me for the things You have prepared for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

We see things said and done in the name of love all of the time. But these experiences of love we are shown in the world are not what real love is all about. Unfortunately a lot of those “love” experiences or events are just warm fuzzies and there is always a catch. The kind of love we see portrayed through the media is largely shallow, seeking only self-gratification and is tied to conditions. The love God has for us pours itself out onto each of us so we are covered in God’s love both inside and out, leaving no part of ourselves untouched by the complete love of God.

If we treasure God’s Word and are obedient to it then God’s love is shared among us and God’s love will make its home in each of us. When we trust that Christ is born again in our hearts the Holy Spirit immediately enters our bodies and bears witness to all that we are children of God and the body of Christ. But when we yield ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit the love goes deeper and heaven comes to us even before we arrive.

The only way the world is going to find out about this love is through us. This is not about our church membership, but about our love for God as evidenced by our obedience to the Word, our prayers and how lovingly we treat others.

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.

Final details: Travis’ events begin around 2:00—2:30 at the Mesquite Convention Center. Just look for the loud bunch! Peace, gc

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Thursday!

I have an interview with the chaplain at Huguley Hospital in the morning at 11:00 for a CPE position. Please lift up a prayer for the chaplain and I to be able to arrange this position for me.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, I thank You for loving me in spite of me and for always forgiving me when I truly repent of my sin. I ask You to give me the ability through the power of the Holy Spirit to do for others today what You do for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Romans 15: 13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The Apostle Paul offers this verse as a blessing to the Church at Rome. The gifts of hope, joy, and peace are given to each of us at the moment of our salvation. We will never have true peace, joy or hope apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ. If we do not have a relationship with Jesus we will have no weapons with which to battle what life puts in our path. Jesus is the foundation, builder and finisher of our hope.

One of my favorite pieces of art (which I hope someday to own) is the picture of Jesus as a young child in the carpenter shop with Joseph. Joseph is working on a piece of wood and Jesus is kneeling on the ground with the light shining through a window framing His small body in the shadow of the cross. Jesus’ earthly Father taught Him the trade of carpentry. Jesus’ heavenly Father taught Him how to rebuild the temple in those who chose to place their hope, trust and find their joy in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let us give thanks that we have been given the ability through the Holy Spirit to trust Jesus in all of our life’s experiences and challenges.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Give thanks with a grateful heart. 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.

Prayers: Thank you all for your prayers. Bruce is doing much better and even walked through Wal-Mart without hurting tonight. He says he was a bit slow walking, but walked without pain. Praise God! And thank you all. gc

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Wednesday!

What a wonderful day filled with the all kinds of potential and a great deal of hope. I met with the pastor of Rush Creek Christian concerning Supervised Ministry. He is going to propose this program to the church board Thursday evening including me as the one to be supervised. Rush Creek is a healthy, solid congregation with strong passion for social justice and a need for some extra help in pastoral care. The pastor is willing to be my supervisor. He is a great guy whom I would be very pleased to have as a mentor and supervisor.

During this meeting with the pastor, I received two phone calls. These phone calls were from two of the hospitals where I have applied for CPE for the summer. I have an interview scheduled for Monday at Methodist Health Charleton in Duncanville and Hughley Hospital in Fort Worth. The Chaplain at Hughley is going to contact me on Monday to set up an interview. There are lots of changes coming my way. Pray for me to be willing to be led by the Holy Spirit and go where I can learn to best.

Prayer: “ Lord Jesus, I praise Your name for being my provider and protector as I seek to live for You this day. I ask You to deliver me from evil and to enable me to finish my race with joy. I desire to finish strong and influence the lives of people You have placed around me during my journey here. I submit myself to Your leadership and grace this morning. In Jesus’ name. Amen”

I John 2: 27 “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

When I first read this passage I had to step back and re-read and pray a while before I reflected on it. As a career teacher, I found the phrase “and you do not need that anyone teach you” stung just a bit. As a teacher and sometimes preacher it is always my hope that the things that I say to others will have meaning for them and be positive talk. When I usually speak I speak with enthusiasm. The reflection tonight speaks of the word “charisma.” In Greek, the word charisma means “anointed.” The definition further goes on to say that the word literally means to “smear on ,” to take ointment and “smear it on” as medicine.

In the Old Testament when the priests anointed themselves or others with oil it was an indication that they were empowered by the Holy Spirit and set apart for a certain task. This verse from 1 John reminds us that at our salvation we have been anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit living within us.

We all need teachers, but the greatest teacher we will ever have is the Holy Spirit working within us. The Holy Spirit is our resident teacher of truth. I often ask God to help me understand what I do not understand and to give me knowledge and wisdom beyond myself. Each morning in my prayer time I ask God to help me understand what my teachers are teaching and have it make meaning for me in the life I am currently leading and in the one I desire to live. So when the time comes for me to perform the duties of a chaplain I will be given the words that someone needs and have them make meaning in their lives. I pray the Holy Spirit will slather the gift of understanding and the words I need to help someone when they are in need. Please pray this for me and for yourselves.

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.

PS Thank you so much for your prayers for Bruce. He seems to get stronger by the day and is walking almost completely upright. Peace, gc
Happy Tuesday!

What an awesome day! God is so good and provided an extraordinary day!

I went to advising for the summer and fall semesters. By the end of this semester I will have about 48 or so hours towards this degree. It is my intention to take either two classes this summer or participate in CPE. Then, this coming fall, I plan to take a full slate, 9 hours. One of those classes in the Fall is Supervised Ministry. Please pray that I get a placement for this most important part of the M.Div. degree. Also, I found out that at the end of the fall semester I will have completed all of the core classes except two and after that I can take the remaining classes as electives. How cool is that! It was a really wonderful day!

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, thank You for the night’s rest and for watching over me and my family while we slept. It is so comforting to know that You never sleep or slumber. Thank You for the ability to trust You and Your grace during the night as well as during the day. May I dress myself in the armor of God this morning as I appropriate You Word into my life in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

John 3: 5,6 “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

If you read the next verse it is the famous conversation Jesus has with Nicodemus (John 3: 7). Nicodemus seemed somewhat confused by the meaning of the phrase “born again.”

Jesus explained to Nicodemus that to accept the salvation He had to offer was not a physical re-birth, but a spiritual re-birth. This spiritual re-birth was not in addition to all of the things Nicodemus had on his plate already, but he had to empty his plate and begin again. But this time He was to fill His plate at the command of Jesus. Jesus was asking something of Nicodemus that Nicodemus could not accomplish on his own. Jesus was inviting him to enter into Jesus’ service and into the kingdom of God, but not by his own efforts. Jesus was asking Nicodemus to commit “spiritual bankruptcy” and abandon all he knew and trust in God for salvation.

In this verse of scripture the water represents the cleansing of the soul to be made ready for the entrance of the Holy Spirit to do its transforming work through the Word of God. Our salvation is in place when we are cleansed by the waters of baptism and covered in the forgiving, grace flowing blood of Jesus.

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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Monday!

I spent the day writing a proposal to write a much longer paper on Psalm 150. I have never before been asked to write an annotated bibliography, but today I learned (I hope). I also helped our nephew and his bride- to-be plan their wedding ceremony as I will be performing their ceremony. The wedding is in San Antonio. It is cheaper for me to ride the train than to drive myself, so I purchased tickets on the Amtrak for the trip. It will take a bit longer than driving, but I am sure I will find ways to occupy my time while I ride. The rest of the family had prior engagements they couldn’t get out of for that date.

You are the most wonderful prayer warriors. Bruce is doing much better. He is not back to full mobility yet, but is getting closer each day. The pain is almost gone and he is not walking so much like a question mark. Thanks and keep praying!

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, thank You for the ability to get out of bed this morning and sit down before You and Your Word. Please give me the ability to comprehend Your ways and will for my life. May Your Spirit speak into my life and give me direction as I start my day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Matthew 3: 11 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance in anticipation to the coming of the Messiah. John knew who he (John) was and knew his role in the life of Jesus. John knew who Jesus was and Jesus knew who He was. But do we know who we are and who Jesus is? What John discovered was that he could do nothing without the power the Holy Spirit flowing through Jesus and onto him. We must come to the same conclusion. Jesus works in us and through us those things we could never do ourselves. The only way for that to continue in our lives is to live a life yielded and surrendered to Jesus and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. John knew that for Jesus to increase, John must decrease. The same is true for us. In order for Jesus to increase in us we must surrender to His will and be willingly led by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We must allow our hearts, minds, hands and feet to be immersed in the baptismal waters of the love of God through the mighty acts of Jesus. We must learn from His character how to share His message of love, forgiveness, grace and truth to a world that so desperately needs to hear the story of Christ and how much He loves each of us.

We know who we are. We know who God is. Let us each find someone who needs to hear this word. Let us share it with courage as we are led by the Spirit.

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, March 26, 2012

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Busy day! The highlight of the day was we ate our first meal of the spring outside on the deck. It was perfect weather for outside dining. We have found a pretty good way to keep flying bugs away from the meal. I placed a small amount (that is all I had left from last spring) of peppermint oil in a bowl on the table and it seems to keep the critters away. I love the relaxed feeling we have when we eat outside. I hope we get to do this a lot before it gets too hot.

Dad sent me home with Mom’s jewelry box. I took the pieces out and placed them in other containers. On Easter I will take the pieces to Ken and Sheena’s and let the granddaughters select the pieces they would like to have. And tonight I placed the beloved box that holds so many memories for me and Geni on my dresser and filled it with some of my things and some of the pieces Mom had given me over the years. It was a nice way to spend the late evening.

Thank you for your prayers for Bruce. He tried alternating hot and cold packs today and his back seems to be feeling a bit better. He goes back to the chiropractor in the morning for another treatment. Please continue to pray for him to heal. If Bruce sat behind a desk all day it would be as much of a problem. But Bruce is a home repairman and cannot work until it is well. The doc says it could be from three weeks to three months before he can fully return to work. Please continue to pray for his healing and a quick return to work.

Prayer: “Father, help me walk in truth by sharing the truth that Jesus is the only way to God. In His name I pray, Amen.”

John 14: 6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Much of the world today does not believe that the only way to God is through a relationship with Jesus. The Holy Scriptures are reliable as the Word of God. The claim that is made is very clear. Jesus claims to be the “way” because He is God, He cannot lie. Jesus is the exclusive way to God. We cannot have fellowship with God apart from a relationship with Jesus because Jesus is the truth. We cannot know the truth apart from the risen Christ and it is impossible to have eternal and meaningful life without Jesus.

We were created for eternal fellowship with God and the only way to experience it is to admit ourselves to be sinners and recognize God’s divine provision through the death and resurrection of Jesus that provides for our forgiveness and makes us righteous as we receive Jesus as our Savior.

Take joy in the journey! Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Please continue to pray for Bruce and Travis. Thank you, friends and 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.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Saturday!

It is nice to be home. Our visit with Daddy was really great. He is doing well and we talked about the times we missed Mom. I went to her closet and found Daddy’s clothing inside. It no longer smelled like her and the beautiful colors of her clothes were not there to greet me. There was certain finality in this moment and in the knowledge that “She is gone,” but we had a great visit.

I am in the process of gathering a fan base for Travis and his power lifting competition next Saturday. I think Ken, Sheena and Dad are coming and maybe some of the girls. This is Travis’ first professional competition. We are all very excited for him. Please pray that he stays healthy and unhurt this week and during the competition. In case any of you would like to come and support our local boy…the event is being held at the Mesquite Convention Center from 10:00 to 4:00. I think the cost to get in is around $15.00. Travis will compete in the last two events. Geni and I will be there around 11:30. Bruce will be coming in from Decatur. We would love to see you there!

Also, Sheena’s dad, Max Pratt, celebrated his 80th birthday today with a wonderful celebration in Sherman. Happy Birthday, Max!

Prayer: “Father, I do not want to fear the wonderful practice of witnessing for You. It is an honor to testify of Your grace and greatness. Help me depend daily on the power You provide to be an effective witness. Amen.”

Acts 1: 8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witness to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

I personally have never gone out into a neighborhood, knocked on doors and been a witness for Christ. My witnessing has always been in singing or sharing my faith in writing or in front of or in a group. I have witnessed to individuals, but never in the ways church evangelism teams go out and share the gospel. But praise God there are those who carry the burden for getting the gospel out in our neighborhoods and on the streets. These are such brave folks. Do you suppose they prayed before they knocked on that first door saying, “Lord, please don’t let these folks be at home.” But when the door opened I will bet their quick prayer changed and said, “Lord, just give me the words to say.”

I think all of us have moments of witnessing anxiety when sharing the gospel of Jesus with those we do not know or even those we know very well. But friends, when we know the truth of the gospel the words will just come, because we have been called to witness to those who do not know Jesus. The power to do this witnessing for Christ comes from the power of the Holy Spirit. Because we are disciples we are commanded to make disciples. I think our anxiety about witnessing goes away pretty quickly when we begin to tell of the Lord’s goodness, His love, forgiveness and tender mercies. When we recognize our weaknesses and depend on Him in that the very moment we become powerful witnesses for our Lord. When we get out of the way and let the Lord work through us using us in His Words and His authority, then we become His powerful witnesses everywhere we go!

No matter how you witness, whether in the written word, song, kind deeds done for others, chatting over coffee, addressing groups of people , being within a group of people or bravely knocking on doors in a neighborhood, God’s Holy Word through the life of Jesus driven by the power of the Holy Spirit working in each of us makes us God’s fearless witnesses!

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.