Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Dead Church

A new Pastor in a small Georgia town spent the first four days making personal visits to each of the members, inviting them to come to his first services.

The following Sunday the church was all but empty. Accordingly, the Pastor placed a notice in the local newspapers, stating that, because the church was dead, it was everyone's duty to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral would be held the following Sunday afternoon, the notice said.

Morbidly curious, a large crowd turned out for the "funeral." In front of the pulpit, they saw a closed coffin, smothered in flowers. After the Pastor delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited his congregation to come forward and pay their final respects to their dead church.

Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a "dead church," all the people eagerly lined up to look in the coffin. Each "mourner" peeped into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look.

In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror !

(thanks Mom, for the email!  It really hits home!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

God's grace

Well, if anyone who reads my blog reads Claude's or Jason's blogs, you'll have to bear with me (and them). It's been a very long and heartbreakingly difficult week for our church.  
I am so very thankful that God called us to ministry, no matter how hard it is at times.  He gives us so much grace and mercy.  All He asks in return is for us to love Him back.  With that type of love, we have to understand what it means.  If we are going to love Christ, we HAVE TO LOVE OTHERS.  It's not a choice, it's a command!  1 John talks about this clearly.  So, my question then is this...why do folks who claim to be Christians have a hard time loving and be merciful to other Christians who have let us down?  I am so frustrated with folks who want to "talk the talk", but not "walk the walk".  We have so much grace given to us EVERYDAY.  Why do we have such a hard time giving that grace out to those we claim to love as friends?  I am not saying that we have to forgive & forget.  In my opinion, we shouldn't be too quick to do either.  But when a person's heart is broken over their sin, we should love them enough to step in beside them and help pick them up.  I just want to see the action of grace more readily in those who claim Christ in their lives.   
Thank you so much Lord, for the daily ABUNDANCE!!! of grace and mercy You show me.  Please help me to do the same for those around me.  
Thank you for calling us to this privileged place of ministry.  I am so proud to be used in a small way to help others come to know You.
Thank you for the REAL LIFE that allows for us to have REAL OPPORTUNITIES!  
Please protect the leaders in our church.  Protect our church and keep satan from having a foot in any door of it. 
Please heal the broken hearts and restore the true joy that only You can give.  Guard those who've been hurt.  Keep them strong and safe from satan's attacks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Family Photo Day!

It was hard work to get 5 kids (all under the age of 10) and 7 adults (2 over the age of 60!) to cooperate for a family picture, but we did it!!!  The only person missing was my older brother's wife, Faith.  She is from Canada and didn't have her passport so she couldn't come down.  
Anyway, with a little bit of effort, we did get a few pictures that turned out decent!  My younger brother, Philip, is a great photographer.  He took the "official" pictures.  However, these are some photos I took.  (BTW, this is the first time in almost 3 years that we've ALL been together!  That's one whole child added to the family!!!!!)

This was the closest I could get to ALL of them looking at me and sitting still!!!
(l to r)
Rose -almost 3, David - almost 7, Patriot - 5, Daniel - almost 9, & Dahlia - 1

PawPaw & MeMaw love their grandkids!

The kids LOVE Uncle Murray!

This WOULD'VE BEEN a great picture of my parents if it weren't for my goofball husband!

Aunt Sheila LOVES her nephews & nieces!

Isn't my sister-in-law beautiful?!?  She's just as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Celebration of a life lived for Christ!

The funeral of my grandfather turned into a testimonial of his life and how he lived it for Christ.  I had a few tears I shed, but mostly loved the memories shared and the stories told about him!  I can honestly say that it was easier than I expected it to be!  thank you to everyone who prayed for us.  The Lord brought comfort and peace to myself and my family.
On a brighter note, I got to spend some time with my cousins that I haven't seen in years!  We grew up spending summers together and just lost touch as we became "busy" with life!  What a nice upside to an otherwise somber day!

My mom's younger sister and her family!
(l to r)
Danny, Jessia, Michael, Sherry, Uncle Dan, Aunt Sharon, Danetta, & Seth

Two of my grandpa's remaining siblings:
Aunt Ruth & Aunt Rose

My grandpa's "little" brother, Uncle Johnny
(tall folks run in my family!!!  He's 6'7")

My mom & her sisters:
(l to r)
Darlene, Warren, Mom, Dad, Sharon, & Dan

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What I learned today at church

Claude & I went with my brother to his church this morning and I have to say that I am so glad we did.  The pastor spoke on Luke 23:50 - 24:12.  Here's what I learned:

He said that God doesn't promise adventure without risk, success without sacrifice, and joy without pain.  
This last couple of weeks have been painful and there has been/will be sacrifices made.  But, I am so glad to know that joy will come and we will be successful over satan in the war.  He may win small battles, but if we are Christians, we have a guaranteed victory of the war!  I tend to forget that when things happen that hurt or when I don't see how something is going to turn out OK.  I am so glad that all I have to do is trust Him and know that He will remember me and bring me through.
Something else that the pastor did was used visual aids in his message!  I love this because it helps me remember the points!  
#1 TV - this represents our beliefs/lives.  We watch TV to "live vicariously" through something/someone else.  They may be doing something that we long to do and just don't want to make the effort to try.  We are robbing ourselves of the dreams/beliefs that we could have if we would allow Christ to write our script and follow it!  
#2 HOURGLASS - this represents our values/priorities.  We file things away in our memories that are important to us.  When we were younger, we would file away Bible verses and Bible stories because they were important.  As we got older, our values/priorities changed and we stop placing as much importance on knowing Christ.  Other things cloud our minds & memories.  That's why children have such simple faith.  There isn't as much to distract them from the simple truth of Christ.
#3 LIGHTSABER - this represents our mortality (or what we thought impossible that is actually possible!)  He used the movie "The Highlander" as his example.  Because of his immortality, he became more heroic throughout the movie.  The point, if we really thought about it, we ARE immortal!  We have the God of everything as our source of power.  When we really see ourselves as "immortal", we will become more bold/heroic in our efforts for Christ. 

I want to be more bold in my efforts for Christ.  God help me to believe in the source of my power.  YOU ARE OMNISCIENT!  

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Going shopping...and hating it

OK, anyone who knows me fairly well knows that I LOVE TO SHOP!  I don't have to have any money to do it!  I love to look and try clothes on.  I love to get ideas for gifts (especially ones that I can make myself and then give away!!!).  I was born to shop!  
NOT TODAY.  Today, my sister-in-law, Sarah, and I took the day to go and look for something to wear to our grandpa's funeral on Monday (everything we brought with us was "vacation clothes" -shorts, jeans, t-shirts, etc.).  While shopping with her, I realized something.  Anytime I've worn an outfit for a funeral, I end up never wearing it again.  I am not superstitious or anything like that.  I just associate the outfit with death so I don't wear it.  (I know that sounds weird, but hey, it's me.)  I've had this happen 3 times.  Sarah told me to try and look at the outfit as a "party" outfit!  She said that we are going to celebrate his homecoming so we will "party"!  So I think I am going to try this!  I know that my grandfather was a God-fearing man.  I know that he is in heaven.  I know that I will see him again someday.  I am going to wear what I bought and when I wear it again, I am going to try and remember it as a "party" outfit!

Thanks Sarah!  I couldn't have chosen a better sister than you!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Learning from our elders

I have had a really long week.  I know that our week in the mountains would be unforgettable, but I didn't certainly didn't expect what happened.
My grandfather has been sick with leukemia and because he was 89 years old, he was refusing any medical treatment to fight it.  He lost his wife 4 years ago.  He'd had a full life and was more than ready to "go home".  Thursday morning he did.  My grampa went to see his Saviour.  
I look back at the impressions he made on me and I have so many mixed emotions.  
He had always been a strong willed man (so I come by it genetically!).  When he believed in something or had an opinion, you might as well hang up trying to convince him differently.  He was solid.  He never swayed in his beliefs.   
He wasn't one to show his feelings.  He was never really emotional with any of his family.  His proof of his love for his family was portrayed in the way he worked hard during his life to take care of them.  The only time I ever saw him cry was when my grandmother passed away.  I realized that he really did love her and that he was going to miss her more than he could say.
He knew what the Bible says about money and debt.  He NEVER bought on credit.  Anything he needed, he would pay cash for it.  He was a good steward (some might say tight) of his money. He never bought frivolous things.  He lived very frugally.  
He taught me alot of things.  I love him and am jealous of the fact that he is home now.  We, the ones left behind, are the ones that are hurting and grieving.  He is at peace with his Father.  He got to see his wife and his parents.  He's gonna be waiting for us and someday we'll get to be with him again.  
Thank you Grampa, for your amazing love of God.  Thank you for the foundation you gave us by the way you loved God.  We will miss you, but we'll see you again.  Tell Grandma I love her.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Genetics is amazing!

My mother sent me an email with OLD pictures of me when I was 4 years old.  Neither one of us could get over the resemblence between me and my niece, Rose, who is not quite 3.  
Tell me what you think!
(excuse the photo, afterall, it IS over 30 years old!)

(I think she is way more beautiful than I was!)

I was Daddy's girl, and Rose is definitely Paw Paw's girl!

She has blonder hair than I did, and her eyes are the most amazing blue (mine are my mom's- a pretty green).  But, the personality and attitude is soooo much like me when I was younger!  She's much sweeter than I was though!  

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Growing up too fast!

I checked my mom's facebook yesterday and couldn't help but get teary-eyed at the pictures.  She had some of my nieces, Rose & Dahlia.  I can't believe how big they are getting and how fast they are growing up.  Rose will be 3 on December 1st.  Dahlia will turn 1 on Friday.  I must admit that it makes me sad to know that we won't be there for her first birthday.  She is the ONLY one that I haven't been able to celebrate this milestone with.  However, I know that my family will make sure she knows how much I love her and how much I want to be there with her.  
Here are some pictures of them:

She is such a ham!  (I wonder where she gets it from?!?!?)
BTW, she looks just like me when I was that age!

Rose is a beautiful and sweet girl!

Dahlia is such a sweet and happy baby girl.  Her brothers and sister adore her!
(Obviously, Pawpaw does too!)

I don't know how anyone could say no to a face like this!!!!