Friday, October 10, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
TGIF Today God is First!  All is well here at 811.  Tomorrow Bruce and I will travel to different places in ministry. Bruce will go to Wichita Falls for the instructional weekend at the prison unit. The instructional weekend teaches those who participated in the Kairos weekend how to be accountable to their faith. The Kairos Ministry holds prayer and share times throughout the month for those who have participated in a weekend event.  I will be traveling to Flower Mound to begin team meetings for a Via deCristo Weekend event to be held in November. I will be serving as a spiritual director. Please pray for these very important ministries. Pray for the teams who will lead them and those who will participate in them.  Pray that each will be drawn closer to God.  Thank you.

The candle is lit…

Dear God, I open your Holy Word and find your way and your will for me. I find your mercy in the psalms and in the gospels as I feel it poured out upon me. Teach me to reach out to others as you have reached out to me.  It is such a comfort to rest in your mercy and be comforted in the knowledge that without a doubt that You will never fail me even if I fail, even when I am fearful your mercy abounds. Thank you that your tender mercies never end.  I give you thanks and praise for your glorious Word. I love you Lord., in Jesus’ name, amen.

I serve in several ministries. Each of these ministries is highly organized. Each position on the teams has its own manual of instruction. There is a schedule that must be followed. There are tasks that must be performed and guidelines to be followed. These guidelines are important to the success of the weekend. 

Each of us has a manual that allows us to spend time with God. There instructions for prayer and meditation and reflection. This manual will teach us how to have a heart for God because it speaks clearly of God’s heart for His people. We will find in this great document instruction on how to have a life lived with God as the center of our lives and being.  We will read about people who had extraordinary relationships with God and how we can learn from their walk with God.  Of course I am speaking of the Holy Scriptures themselves or our Bible. This amazing writing penned over centuries is a book of God’s love and desire to have relationship with His people as lived out in the people whose stories we read especially the great stories of Jesus.  Reading these ancient words will reveal God’s compassion and love for each of us and how God intervenes and acts in our everyday lives through the power of the words and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Pick up your Bible…it is a great read.

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn and confirmed that I will keep Your righteous judgments.”
Psalms 119: 105-106
“God’s words are pure words, pure silver words refined seven times in the fires of his words-kiln.”
Psalm 12: 6
Take joy in the journey praying as you go. Take some time to read what God has to say. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. The storms seem to be on their way so be careful my friends. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

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

The candle is lit…

Dear God, please help me to always understand how you would guide me in the situations with which life presents. Reveal yourself to me so that I will act as you would act. Remind me Lord to look to you and listen for your voice. You are the author and finisher of my faith and you will lead me in truth. I praise you for your transforming grace with each new day as I learn more about you and am drawn closer to you. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I have people in my life I look up to as models of the Christian life.  These people are friends, speakers, pastors, teachers, family, musicians and writers. I am sure there are more.  These are people I admire and look to for inspiration and wisdom.  And even though I care for these people and may say how much admire and love them above others I do not worship them. They are earthly fallible people whom will at times disappoint. 

The truth is that the only One who warrants our worship is God. When we focus our attention on God we will learn to do the things that are pleasing to Him.  Remembering that it is God who deserves our worship is the best wisdom we can exercise. Studying God’s Word will increase that wisdom because we will begin to understand more of the character of God and want to be more like God who loves us so very much. Looking to God through the life of Jesus will lead us to make choices that are in line with God’s plans for our lives. God is worthy of our worship and praise. 

“Trust in the Lord, all you that worship him. He helps you and protects you. The Lord remembers us…He will bless everyone who honors him, the great and the small alike.”
Psalm 115: 11-13

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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

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

Dear God, I praise you that you are God. You are the keeper of time and make your presence known when I need you and even when I do not know I need you. Lord, you give me new challenges so that I can grow in my faith and learn to love you more deeply.  I ask you to open doors so that I can become all you want me to be and bring encouragement to those who only seen limitations. I love you Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen.

One of the lessons I learned this past weekend while serving on the Kairos weekend was about stepping out of the way and letting God work around me and in the lives of other servants. I shared in a previous writing that my primary task is to facilitate 9 worship services throughout the weekend for the support team to attend.  Each service consisted of singing, scripture, talks that correlated with the talks being given inside the unit, a brief devotion, prayer time and a benediction. I could have given each one of the talks/sermons for each of those services and been the only voice in the room all weeekend. I love to preach. I love doing the scripture study and “walking around” in scripture.  But I prayed about my leadership as the weekend approached and realized that while I was in a leadership role, I was also part of a team.  I was not called to be the only voice in the room. This team had been given gifts and graces for service, but also each of these wonderful folks had a story to tell about how God had worked in their lives. As each one of these believers shared their story we drew closer to each other and closer to God. Each story told of how we saw limitations in ourselves and God saw potential and promise in each of us.  When each of us saw challenges, God brought encouragement to our lives through the lives and stories of others. 

God challenges us to see ourselves from His perspective.  While we think our story is not really a story of importance we may find when we share our story it helps someone else. The chapel last weekend was not my room. It was God’s room. With each person who spoke, prayed and sang our faith grew beyond ourselves and we found how others experience the abundant life created by God for each of us.  We do not share our stories for ourselves. We share our stories to the glory of God telling of His great mercies and in the name of Jesus.

“Not for our sake, God no, not for our sake, but for your name’s sake, show your glory. Do it on account of your merciful love, do it on account of your faithful ways.”
Psalm 115: 1

Take joy in the journey praying as you go.  Do not be afraid to share what God has done in your life with others.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. We love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

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

The candle is lit…

Dear God, thank you for the reminder that you can do miracles in our lives. Lead us and we will follow. Thank you for your love and power. Lead me to those who need encouragement. When there are those who are down help me to lift them up.  Thank you for lifting me up when II need encouragement. Thank you for Your Word that shows the times you have helped your children and encouraged them along the way.  I love you Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen.

The stories that come out of the forty year walk in the wilderness by the Hebrew people have always amazed me. They experienced many miracles as they crossed the desert. There came a time when they had run out of water and there was no water to be found. The people were very thirsty and had no water to quench their thirst while crossing the desert. Moses prayed for the people entrusted into his care. God instructed Moses to strike a rock with his staff and water poured from the rock.  Moses obeyed the voice of God and was witness to a divine phenomenon.  There was no secret underground sprint or sudden downpour from the sky. It was a miracle given by God to the chosen of Israel. The Hebrew nation was encouraged that day by the gift of water and the faith of their leader Moses.  This was a most unusual way to quench the thirst of these people.

Sometimes when we have a need that needs to be met and we pray to God for help, help comes from the most unusual places and by the most unexpected ways.  I believe when we are in need of help that God is there to help us no matter what.  Our part is to pray, have faith and stay true to God’s Word and trust in the promises of God. It will take faith on our part, but always remember that God’s faithfulness is far greater that our faithfulness.  It is through God’s faithfulness and our faith that collaborate to transform whatever it is we are going through and whatever needs we have in ways we would have never imagined.  God is good and love wins!

“He turned the rock into pools of water; yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock.”
Psalm 114: 8
“Earth, you will tremble, when the Lord God of Jacob comes near.”
Psalm 114: 7
Take joy in the journey praying as you go and believing God will help when we are in need. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Monday, October 6, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Monday!  All is well and recovering here at 811 from our really busy, blessed, joyous exhausting weekend!  For me it as 4:00 AM wake up calls to be at the church at 5: 30 AM to sing the men off to the prison unit. For Bruce it was back here at home to spend time in the dark, take care of the dogs and saw a multitude of limbs that had fallen in our backyard during the storm that hit Arlington last Thursday.  Oncor came sometime late Saturday night and repaired the downed power lines and whatever else needed to be fixed.  Our house weathered the storm well and as far as we can tell there was no damage. The Kairos Weekend was wonderful. It is my task as Chaplain to facilitate worship services each day. They are simple services that include scripture readings, devotional readings, meditations given by different team members, lots and lots of prayer and singing. There were no rules in chapel, just worship.  We all look forward to chapel times where the tasks in the kitchen and other areas for just a few moments are put aside and worshiping God takes precedence.  Even though the worship of God takes place as meals are prepared, letters, posters and prayer chains are organized and prepared and thousands and thousands of cookies are  counted, sorted and bagged for the participants, guards, helpers and nearly each person in the prison.  The reason is that all of these tasks is being done for God as an act of honor and glory to God. All of these things are done to make the name of God known and to do the work of God for the sake of God.

Tonight the candle is not lit. I think Bruce had to use it for light while the power was out. I will try and get one before writing tomorrow evening. 

Dear God, may everything I do for you be done on behalf of your glory. When I consider all You are to me, I worship and praise your holy name. Lord, I ask for insight into Your will so I can rejoice in all you have given me and minister as you require. Lord, may everything I do be a response of worship to you and what you do in my life.  I love you Lord and thank you for your presence, in Jesus name, amen.

As the chaplain for the support team for the Kairos Prison Ministry Weekend for a Men’s unit it is my task to facilitate 9 worship services beginning on Thursday afternoon just after the men leave for the unit until the final chapel time early on Sunday morning for the support team. I am also to be a ministerial presence for the members of the support time for encouragement and in times of crisis.  This weekend with the weather emergency here in Arlington we lost some team members who needed to go home to assess damage to their homes.  So during our times of worship as we prayed for the team and the participants inside the unit we prayed for our own.

“Worship is the act of offering our lives to God in response to his life in you.”  We worship God because of who God is in our life and what God does in our lives.  One of the greatest joys I experienced in our times of worship during the weekend was the different speakers.  We became closer as a team as we learned how God has worked in each of our lives through offered gifts and graces God had given each of us and how we offer them back to God as an act of worship. Worship is not just something we attend, but a response of God’s awesome presence in our lives and a way we begin to know God and tell Him how much we deeply, deeply love him.

“GOD passed in front of him and called out, ‘GOD, GOD, a God of mercy and grace endlessly patient—so much love, so deeply true.”
Exodus 34: 6
“Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.”
Take joy in the journey praying as you go. Worship God because you love him. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene