Saturday, September 13, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street

The candle is lit...

Happy Saturday!  All is well here at 811. Team Meeting #4 for the Allred #27 behind us. Pressing rapidly to the weekend event.  I was humbly honored to deliver the scripture focus for the day at the meeting today. I delivered the message from Ephesians 5: 20 “Give thanks for all things to God the Father, in Jesus name.”  I felt most honored to prepare and deliver this message as I have never known a woman to be asked to speak in a pastoral role at a team meeting.  The theme for the day was gratitude.  Through “walking around in this scripture for several days, speaking it, reading it, memorizing it, praying about it I believe I finally began to understand the meaning of this passage.  I do not think we are to give thanks for all situations in which we find ourselves whether they be by our own volition or they were thrust upon us.  But by offering up the sacrifice of praise in a situation, finding a way to give thanks in adversity, we can understand what the phrase “in Jesus’ name means.”  The things that are in Jesus’ name include things temporal and things eternal ,being loved by our Creator,  forgiveness, mercies, for Christ and a host of other things.  What Kairos offers the ones they serve is not a promise of release from prison, but by sharing the gospel in written word, conversations, reflections given in the talks and being a living authentic example of a Christ centered life What is offered is the opportunity to choose a release of a self-centered life and into a Christ-centered life of forgiveness and abundance right where they are. Please continue to pray for the team and those they will serve as the weekend approaches.

But I think the greatest blessing I witnessed today was standing next to Bruce as we entered the time of prayer circle where each team member prays for each member individually. Bruce was pretty anxious about this part of the day because his words do not always come out as he would like. One of the team sensing Bruce’s nervousness told him, “You can do this.”  He walked up behind each member and gave them these words of affirmation, “God loves you.” There was not a dry eye in the house.

Dear God, thank you for showing me the way and going with me in it. I am in absolute awe of your great wisdom, understanding and creativity. Thank you for being so profoundly involved in every area of my life. Lord, my interview is less than 48 hours from now. You know the importance of this conversation of questions and answers. Lord, I think I am a good pastor. I believe with very cell in my being that you have called me to this, but I know that it must pass through man. Lord, this is really hard, but I ask you to prepare me for whatever the decision is that is made by this panel. I know that you understand the desires of my heart, where I need to go and it is you who will get me there. You are in charge and somehow no matter what the outcome everything will be ok.  But I also pray that the mountains of doubt will be removed from me and the hearts and minds of those who will ask the questions. I pray that the power of the Holy Spirit will to go before me and be present with anointing and that I will be found worthy of moving forward.  I trust you Lord and love you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30: 21

Take joy in the journey praying as you go and journey with me my friends one more time.  I am asking tonight for fervent prayers for a young woman who is in the hospital right now suffering with acute liver failure.  Her name is Amber Schlatt.  Please include her family in your prayers. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Friday, September 12, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
TGIF Today God is First!  All is well here at 811. It was a chicken and dumplins’ night here at 811. Perfect for cooler temperatures. It felt really good to put on my favorite long sleeved TCU button down and blue jeans today.

The candle is lit…

Dear God, I am grateful for a purpose in my life that clearly comes from you.  Lord, may I always recognize your work in me and see the glory of your creation. I am so very grateful for your unconditional love. Thank you Lord for the opportunities to serve. Speak through me tomorrow at the team meeting as I share what I have learned about gratitude. Thank you for teaching me about gratitude and what the scripture means when it says to give thanks for all things in Jesus name.  I love you Lord, in Jesus name, amen.

In my prayer time I ask God to let me help someone today. Since prayer is a conversation with God when I am quiet and listening or reading scripture I realize that God had created me (and each of us) for His purpose.  I believe God has made known his purpose for me and has called me to devote my life to that purpose while promising to help me to fulfill this purpose.  God’s purpose for each of our lives fits His will for our lives. A life pleasing to God is one that is guided by our faith and helps God to get His work done through the servant kingdom here on earth.  As believers we do not live lives of randomness. We may stray off the path on occasion, but we usually find our way back when we have those conversations with God once again.  So my friends, what a joy it is to be chosen by God to serve others with a purpose guided by God through faith in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit living within us and giving us a document, the Holy Scriptures, to help us better understand God and His purpose for our lives by reading about those who have gone before us.  Continue to pray for the Kairos Team and the residents who will participate in the weekend. Thank you.

“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2: 10
“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose.”
Romans 8: 28

Take joy in the journey praying as you go and live into the purpose God has meant for you. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Thursday!  All is well here at 811. I am giving a talk at the Kairos Team Meeting on Saturday on the topic of gratitude.  I did a trial run of the talk today and it is almost ready for offering.  Please begin praying for the team that brings the gospel into the prison. Please pray for the team that works in support of those who bring the Word inside and those who are chosen to receive the glorious Word of God. And above all please pray for the 42 men who will walk a spiritual journey in just a few weeks. Ask God to prepare their hearts and minds to receive the Gospel and find ways to live a forgiven life rich in the love of God while separated from society.

The candle is lit…

Dear God, keep my feet on the path of what is right and good. Lord, when you put that rainbow in the sky you offered second chances to each of your human creation. Grace my life with your miracle touch and help me begin again beneath the rainbow of your faithful love. Thank you Lord that each time I ask forgiveness I am allowed the opportunity to begin again. Help me to walk the road of forgiveness and to follow you always. Thank you Lord. I love you Lord, in Jesus name. amen.

The men that will be chosen to participate in the Kairos weekend have made terrible mistakes.  The mistakes were sever enough that the legal system believed that the community was safer if they were secluded from community behind razor wire and under armed guard 24/7 with some for the remainder of their lives.  These men could be facing a life of despair and “enslaved by their misdeeds of the past.”  Kairos Prison Ministry is not a ministry that works on prisoner release.  Quite the contrary, Kairos seeks to share the love of God through faith in Jesus so that these ones in seclusion have an opportunity to live an abundant and faithful life. These men will be introduced (some for the first time) to God’s love and forgiveness and in that forgiveness will be given a second chance to begin a new life right where they are. They will be introduced to the God of love and second chances. Their mistakes were so devastating that many are not able to return to the community they once knew, but the light of God breaks through and they are soaked in a love that many of them have never known. In their participation in a Kairos weekend they will be afforded weekly time with other members of the Kairos community for prayer and sharing what God has done in their lives. These men have been deemed unlovable by society, but God looks at them with love knowing their hearts and their past while still offering them a godly life in an environment deemed ungodly.

God looks at those men the same way He looks at us and offers us the same, love, forgiveness and unmerited grace no matter what our sin.  We are all children of God and we should each of us humbly give thanks that no matter what we have done or left undone God still found us worthy of the life of his Son. Thanks and praise to you oh God.

“The Lord has mercy on those who respect him, as a father has mercy on his children.”
Psalm 103: 13
“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established.”
Psalm 40: 2

Take joy in the journey praying and asking for forgiveness as you go not being afraid to begin again. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Wednesday!  All is well here at 811. I have joyous news. Bruce and I became godparents once again as Ayla Lee Brewer came into the world around 6: 30 this morning. She is beautiful! Mother and baby are doing just fine and at last report Daddy was tired. I am anxious to meet this little one. Please pray for this dear family and the continued health and recovery of Addie and little Alya. Thank you.

The candle is lit…

Dear God, may I be with you in prayer and meditation so I can be with others in love and service.  I thank you Lord for forgiveness of sins and treating me with such grace and mercy. Thank you for you unconditional love and unfailing forgiveness.  Blessed Lord of life bless Jeremy, Addie, Asia and baby Ayla as they become a new family once again in your sight. Keep them healthy and safe and in your tender care.  I love you Lord, in Jesus name, amen.

Jesus was the greatest model for us to learn to live the godly life.  Jesus never missing an opportunity used His own resurrection to model our calling to share the good news of His resurrection as a model for prayer and thankful service.  The women went to the tomb following the crucifixion and were invited in to see that the body was gone. The angel who greeted them told them to go out and tell others that their Lord and Savior; Jesus Christ was risen.  My meditation tonight identifies this pattern as, “Come in and see. Go out and tell.”

We go inside ourselves in prayer to be with God. We enter the sacred space of our own hearts and commune with God through prayer.  We speak with God in thanksgiving, praise, asking forgiveness and petition for others and for ourselves. I add to this list that God would use me to help someone today. In the quietness of this holy sanctuary God speaks to us and the message is often the same. Go and tell.  Go and tell is to act as those women so long ago and share the good news of the resurrected Christ to all we encounter.  These women took to the streets to share this good news because those people needed God. While it is of the utmost importance to have daily prayer time and communion with God, it is so very important that we tell others about our living Lord. 

“Come and see the place where they Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee”
Matthew 2: 6-7

Take joy in the journey praying as you go.  Spend quiet time with God and them go and tell others about the great time you had. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Tuesday!  All is well here at 811.  Thank you for your prayers for Travis. The procedure went perfectly, but they told him because of the strength of the sedation medicine he could not be alone following the extractions and fillings. So he came to our house and slept through the afternoon until Sarah was finished at school.  He was pretty miserable. Please continue to pray for him.  Thank you.

God, thank you for your love, compassion, and grace. Thank you for being patient with me and for always forgiving me when I ask for forgiveness. Lord, you know I am working on a talk about gratitude and ordination review. Thank you for being present as I study for both of these important events. Thank  you for the insight into a passage of scripture that has always puzzled me and understanding that enables me to follow you and your will for me more closely.  Thank you for being with Travis today and help him sleep through the night with less pain. May tomorrow be easier for him. I love you Lord, in Jesus’ name ,amen.

Tonight my meditation defines insight as “Insight enables you to see the big picture and read between the lines of the little one.   It helps you take things apart to analyze, and put them together to actualize.”  When I am asked to preach or present a talk that is scripture based I do several things. I read a passage from different translations. I read commentaries and the exegetical works of others. I pray about the passage and all of the reading I have done about the passage and then usually a question rises to the top. When that happens then I begin to put the pieces together of the talk I am to give. 

In our lives hindsight recalls to us where we have been. Foresight lets us know where we are going, but insight allows us to understand where we are in our lives right now so we can move forward.  Insight occurs when God’s wisdom comes to our mind.  It is through prayer and study that God’s wisdom shines the light on the work we are meant to accomplish or questions we have been asking or what to do in situations we find ourselves not knowing what to do.  Godly insight helps us see inside ourselves so we can move forward in faithful response to the wisdom we have been given.

“If any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.”
James 1: 5

Take joy in the journey praying as you go. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Monday, September 8, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Monday!  All is well here at 811.

The candle is lit…

Dear God, Thank you for the blessings you have placed in my life.  Cleanse my heart so that I can receive all you have provided for me. Help me to not look into the past to things that cannot be changed and to only look forward one step at a time.  Bless Travis with a peaceful soul tonight and tomorrow as he has oral surgery.  May the hands of the surgeon be perfect and the procedure is uneventful. I love you Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Our spiritual lives are not a destination but a journey; more a process than an event.  Once we have knowledge of God’s presence in our life through a faithful encounter with Christ we cannot just stay in that spot. We continue to learn of God through reading the Gospels and the life of Jesus. We are given the gift of prayer as our communication with God. We find ourselves surrounded with others who believe in Jesus and we begin to receive abundant blessings. We find the blessings of God throughout all of scripture.  We receive forgiveness for our sins and are provided righteousness through faith in Jesus and become right with God. As we continue on the journey we gain a deeper understanding of who God is and what a personal friend Jesus (God on foot) is in our lives.  The good news for each of us is that when sin and despair begins to cloud our ability to see our Creator, God understands and is so very patient with us. We are given the blessing of grace to overcome our weaknesses and clear away the clouds only to find that God never left the sacred space in our hearts. That sacred space was created to receive each blessing granted to us and there is always room for more. And we must all say, “Thank you.”

“He fills my life with good things.”
Psalm 103:5
“See for yourself the way his mercies shower down on all who trust in him. If you belong to the Lord, reverence him; for everyone who does has everything he needs.”
Psalm 34: 8-9

Take joy in the journey praying as you go and receive the blessings of our loving God. Wear comfortable shoes, pray for each other and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Blessed Sunday to you all!  All is almost well here at 811. Plumbing problems once again. I am thankful that I live with a dear, skilled and able man who can fix these things!

Dear God, let your Spirit have its way within me. Guide me and teach me along the way.  When I think of what you do for me, my heart is lifted in gratitude and my voice in praise. I ask you Lord to be with Travis this week as he is having dental surgery.  I ask that he has no problems and that his recovery is easy. Bring about the healing he needs.  Lord, you are my source of power that brings strength to my   weakness and enable me to overcome the obstacles in my way. Lord, please remove the mountains of doubt from the minds and hearts of the RCOM and the mountain of anxiousness from my heart and mind and prepare me to be the Avessel of humble preparedness.  I love you Lord in Jesus’ name, amen.

Do you remember when your babies were young and were given a gift or someone said something kind in a complimentary way?  What did we tell them after receiving the gifts or compliments, “What do you say”   We taught our children to be grateful by expressing thankfulness to the giver by saying “Thank you.”

God has been so good to us with extravagant blessings and with an endless storehouse waiting. Lately there have been a number of people who are listing anywhere from 3 to 5 things for which they are grateful for 5 days and then invite three others to do the same.  This is a multitude of gratitude!

Gratitude to God; being thankful to our Lordl, means that we take the time to not just count our blessings, but to  give thanks to the great Giver of Life, our lives! Giving thanks is the foundational response to God’s extraordinary grace.  When we pray in gratitude to our loving God our prayers are at their highest form. Prayers of gratitude are the memories of our heart reminding us of what God has done for us and the hope of what God is going to do for us. Ephesians 5: 20 calls for us to give thanks in all things. It does not say to be thankful for all situations, but to be thankful in the situation.  We offer prayers for healing when we are sick or hurt, but when we are thankful had have a broken heart that is when we begin to heal. It is right and proper for us to give thanks for every gift given to us by God.  But most of all we must humbly “thank you” that God found us worthy of the life of His Son.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”
Psalm 103: 1-2
“They must thank the Lord for his constant love, for the wonderful things he did for them.”
Psalm 107:  8
Take joy in the journey praying prayers of thanksgiving as you go. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene