Sunday, April 26, 2015

Oh my, what a gift!

I am privileged to share a message and worship about once a month with a lovely little congregation at Grinter Chapel United Methodist Church.  I love spending time with them.  They are a delight!

This morning when I arrived, one of the members called me over and gave me this plate.  He told me that I had been coming often enough to get a plate!  What a precious gift!  I can't wait to go get a plate holder so I can display it.  It means so much to me.  This is the first and only church that I have been able to speak at on a regular basis!!

They are an amazing group of people and I just love each one of them. Thank you so much for letting share in worship with you all.  And special thanks to their pastor who shares them with me.  I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Yesterday I was part of a discussion on priorities, how to order our lives and do so the way God wants us to. There were five priorities.

The first was putting God first.  That seems like a given if you are a religious person but it's not always easy.  Things get in the way, life gets in the way.  We feel pulled in so many directions sometimes.  Putting God first though helps in all those situations, doesn't it? Putting God first adds balance for us that helps in all aspects of our lives.

The next was time.  I took this to mean taking time for him.  Time to chat with him, to learn more about him and from him, to just be in his presence.  That could mean worship on Sundays or whatever day you choose, or prayer time throughout the day, meditation, I am learning to love that one.  It could mean a quiet walk in nature noticing His beautiful creation.  It could mean serving others at a food pantry or a shelter.  Time with God is pretty personal.  We all do it in our own way, we just need to be sure we are doing it.

Money, that's one people don't like to talk about, isn't it?  It's important!  Giving, it should proportionate.  I love the verse in Deuteronomy 16 that says, "Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you."  According to the blessings God has given you.  In other words... Share.  We teach our kids to share at a very young age but when we think of money, sometimes we forget that.  The other part we often forget is in 2 Corinthians chapter 9, "For God loves a cheerful giver."  We are supposed to be cheerful in our giving.  Don't write your check out to the church as if it is a bill but as if it is a part of your worship experience!  Don't frown as you as give that dollar to the man or woman on the street, see Jesus in their face instead and be happy to share what you have with them, with him.

The next priority was Family Responsibility.  This one was interesting.  In the study we were doing, it was talking about honoring our parents, loving our spouses, caring for and teaching our children.  It talks about extending our family concerns and asks us to recall Boaz and Ruth.  That was extended family so in that example we are care for our extended family but I wonder how far that goes.  I'd not really thought about that before.  Not I wouldn't help extended family if needed but I had not thought of it in this context.  How do we help our families?  How far do we go for them? Again, I think we are supposed to do it cheerfully and be happy that we are able to help in whatever way we can, financially, by babysitting, by listening, by praying, by loving.

The last priority listed was Openness to the Needs of Others.  We are to be open to those around us so that we can see their needs.  That's hard sometimes I think.  We are often so caught up in our own lives that we forget to see what is going on around us.  I think we all do that from time to time.  Think of the Good Samaritan.  The priest and the Levite were too busy in their own lives to be open to the needs of the injured man but the Samaritan was open to his needs and cared for him.  Or what about how Peter and John were going to the temple for prayer and a lame man asked for alms.  Peter  and John stopped and took time to look the man in the eyes and healed him.  They took the time to be open the needs of this man.  We should be open to the needs of others whether it's to our neighbor whose husband is deployed and needs help with their yard work, or our elderly neighbor who is lonely and needs someone to talk to now and again.  Maybe it's the person at the next table at the diner sitting by themselves who needs a friendly smile.  We just need to be open, to be aware of those around us.

Personally, I kind of feel like if we have God first in our lives, then all these other priorities will just kind of fall into place but it's always good to be aware, to be cognizant of where our priorities are.  Like it says in Matthew 6 verse 21, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Thursday, April 16, 2015


I was sitting here today scrolling through Facebook (when I should totally be doing other things...) looking at all the people and organizations I have followed over the years, and I suddenly realized that I've changed A LOT in the last few years.  I"m not the same person I was.  My spiritual needs have completely changed.  My spirituality has changed.  About the only thing that hasn't changed about me is my weight! :(

It was kind of a shock to me at first.  I noticed that some of the pages I used to read everyday and hang on their every word, I scrolled right past.   They aren't what I need anymore.  They were there for me when I needed them and I 'm so glad but as I've grown and changed I need them less and less.  Don't get me wrong, there are still occasions where a post from them will catch my eye and it will be just what I needed to hear or read at that moment but I find I read them less and less.  They have been replaced with new pages that speak to me in new ways and for now I'm growing with them.  Who knows in a year or two they may be ones I'm scrolling past!

It was kind of weird to realize the change in me.  It was so gradual, I don't think I had realized how big the change really was.  It's a good change.  It's a welcome change.  Well, by me anyway.  LOL  I think sometimes the changes really get on my family's nerves!  But we love each other through it.  I mean that's what family does.

Anyway, I don't really know that there is much purpose for this post other than just my noticing a change, a good change or growth and thinking about it 'out loud.'  Growing, we should be ever growing.

Monday, April 13, 2015

What do you think?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!  Share in the comments below.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Coming back...

I'm working on another sermon and as I've been dwelling on it a song has started playing in my mind, over and over.  It's funny because in a way the two sermons I've been working on lately seem to be becoming attached.  They seem to have a lot in common now and it wasn't intentional.  They are for two different churches on two different topics and yet this song would go well with either... I think I need to go and take another look at the first one.  I think I have some to add and maybe change a little.  Anyway, it's a beautiful song and one I love so I thought this Saturday, I'd share part of it with you.

Heart Of Worship

"...King of endless worth,
no one could express
how much you deserve.
Though I'm weak and poor,
all I have is Yours,
every single breath!

I'll bring You more than a song,
for a song in itself
is not what You have required.
You search much deeper within,
through the way things appear,
You're looking into my heart.

I'm coming back to the heart of worship
and it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus.
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it
when it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus."

I'm thinking of asking if my daughter could sing this as a special music at the second church, it's just so fitting...

It's speaking volumes to me today and my sermon is developing around it, my heart is changing as is my perspective.  Sometimes God knows just what to put in my head, when I need it... and not just for sermons...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Enthusiasm, Fire

Last night I watched a Webinar on Congregations As Discipling Communities.  It was interesting.  It talked about conversations and how important they are to bringing those on the periphery or even the outside into the core.  It was interesting and the ideas it provided to have these conversations were good.

One of the phrases used at the very end of the webinar though really struck a cord with me.  It's been in the forefront of my mind ever since...

"Focus on ideas that generate life rather than dampen enthusiasm."

"Rather than dampen enthusiasm."

That really struck a cord with me.  I wonder how often this happens?  How often do we dampen someone's enthusiasm for serving, for ministry, for God.  

How often do we say, 'that's not how we do it' or 'no, so and so does that', or just 'no you can't do that.'  How often do churches dampen a person on fire for ministry, or service or God because it's not the person we want at that time?  Or we don't think it's real, or we think they will take over or what ever.  

It has happened in my life and it must happen in others as well since it was mentioned in this webinar.  It must happen and it really saddens me.  Why would we, 'the church' dampen someone's enthusiasm?  Why would we try to put out someone's fire for the Lord?  for ministry?  Do we even realize that we do it?

I hope to be more aware of two things. 

1. I hope to notice other people's enthusiasm and encourage it and let it help grow mine!  It only takes a spark right?  I hope to help that spark grow into a fire that can't be put out... EVER!

2.  I want to be more aware of my enthusiasm and not let it be dampened.  I am someone who usually doesn't give up, I go out and find new places to be in ministry but when I heard that phrase, "dampen enthusiasm", I was suddenly aware that I had let that happen to me.  I WILL NOT LET ANYONE DAMPEN MY ENTHUSIASM.

I have been feeling my enthusiasm grow again lately, I've been feeling that fire start to build again and I'm going to keep fanning the flames and building my enthusiasm.  I going to try to pass it on and watch it grow in others as well.  I'm going to try to encourage other's enthusiasm as well.  There is more ministry to be done and not enough people to do it so I KNOW there is plenty of room of EVERYONE'S enthusiasm.  It can only be dampened if we let it!  

"It Only Takes a Spark, to get a fire going,
and soon all those around can warm up to it's glowing.
That's how it is with God's Love, once you experience it
you spread his love, to everyone, you want to pass it on.

I'll Shout it from the mountain tops, I want the world to know,
the Lord of love has come to me, I want to pass it on."

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Take My Life...

This is the song in my head today...

Take My Life, and Let It Be

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise. 
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of they love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always only for my King.  
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine.  
Take my heart, it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever only all for thee.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

It's Easter!

Good Easter morning!  We've just spent the last 40 days preparing our hearts for this day.  My daughter challenged me to give up Facebook for Lent this year.  Originally we said I could still use my writer page to post blog posts.  I felt kind of funny about it so I just posted scriptures here and there and eventually, I just gave it all up.

It wasn't really that hard except for when I knew someone posted photos of my nieces or nephews, but I made it.  I'm glad I did.  My daughter and I talked about how it was nice not to know what everyone is doing all the time.  She talked about how much better she felt about herself without it.  She's not sure she will go back to Facebook much.  I think I'll just lurk and look at pictures of family and friends and post the "Happy Birthday" here and there.  I did learn how much time I wasted on Facebook and don't want to go back to that.  Maybe I'll set aside a time each day to look over it once but not throughout the day as I did before.

I got back into being outside and gardening.  I cooked more and talked with my family more (less distractedly anyway), I read more.  It was good.

I hope to be blogging more.  I thought I would during Lent but by daughter gave up social media and I just didn't feel right when I did blog so I stopped but it gave me time to think about writing and I want to do more of it, so hopefully it will be in the form of blogposts.

I hope Lent was a time of reflection and growth for you too.  Yesterday, I discovered a blogpost from last year talking about having a change of heart and I like to share it again.  I hope you'll click this link and read it.  I think a change of heart is a great way to start the Easter season.

I'll close with my favorite Easter song...

Every Morning is Easter Morning from now on
Every Day's Resurrection Day the past is over and gone
Goodbye guilt, Goodbye fear good riddance
Hello Lord, Hello Son!
I am one of the Easter People
My new life has begun...