Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Christmas


Enjoy Christmas music

Do something for others

Keep Christ in Christmas

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

God is neither a Gadget nor Trinket

The following is derived from Crosswalk, an online devotional source.

“There is nothing little in God” – C. H. Spurgeon

The Israelites spiritual decline wasn't the heathen's problem nor did the worldly people cause it. God's children got themselves into trouble. They disobeyed God by marrying godless people, doing business with the heathen nations in attempt to get rich quick, and they "used" God and His sacred symbols. in I Samuel 4: 1, the Philistines encamped at Aphek. It seems the battle didn't go well for Israel. In fact, the Philistines killed 4,000 Israelite men. The Israelite elders decided to turn their "BIG" God into a "little" gadget. "Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that He (the Lord) may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies," (I Samuel 4: 3).

Basically the elders were saying get the trinket or gadget – the Ark of the Covenant and we'll show them who is holy. According to I Samuel 3 and 4 God did not go on this excursion. He wasn't invited ahead of time because He wasn't in the hearts of His people before the battle began. However, when calamity hit, out came the Ark of the Covenant which contained the tablets of God's precepts totally ignored by His children. Then they wanted to use this sacred, holy object like a magic trick to get them out of trouble. They were cheating, lying, stealing, and living immoral lives, but when things got bad, they hollered at the heathen, "We've got God on our side - see our ark!" We do the same when we take God's holiness lightly and replace it with symbols.
Modern day symbols can be our churches, church affiliation, holiness attire etc. I LOVE CUPC, the UPCI, and holiness without which no man can see God. However using these things for power when we face sickness or problems is the same as the Israelites. When we don't deal with internal problem we are like Eli who chose to ignore the problems in his home. It is futile and hypocritical to go around and call out the "heathen" or to try and force "holy" symbols to demonstrate power or miracles. It is like saying “See, these Ten commandments and this Ark".

I prefer to pattern after after Moses when he came from the mount with God. Moses radiated with God’s holiness when he came down from Sinai. All of Israel knew he had been with God. The glory was reflected in him - from the inside out.

If I allow God apart of my every day life by being with Him I will not need Him in form of little trinkets or gadgets to try to fix problems, encourage others, or benefit those I serve. God is bigger than any of these circumstances and He doens't need to be visiable in form of a trinket or gadget. I want to allow Him to be the BIG God that He is. I want more of Him!

Psalms 63 (The Message)
1 God—you're my God! I can't get enough of you!
I've worked up such hunger and thirst for God,
traveling across dry and weary deserts.

2-4 So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last!
My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

5-8 I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy;
I smack my lips. It's time to shout praises!
If I'm sleepless at midnight,
I spend the hours in grateful reflection.
Because you've always stood up for me,
I'm free to run and play.
I hold on to you for dear life,
and you hold me steady as a post.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Honor of My Dad

Sunday, November 15, 1981 I thought the sun would never shine again. As I stood at the bedside of my dad he slipped so easily from my presence to be with the Lord. Dad was a United Pentecostal Minister. In fact Dad was my pastor. I lost my Dad, my pastor, my outreach director, the world’s worst singer, the world’s greatest worshipper, a friend to the minister’s of the Alabama District, an Alabama Board member until sickness raged, the one who all the family (Thomas and Ingram) turned to in times of trouble, and encourager of young evangelist.

Death was cruel to our little young family. I am the oldest of 4 children. Dad left us at the young age of 42. My mom was only 35. I was 18, Vicki 17, Scott would have been around 10, and Kristi 7. Somehow we made it. Well we made it because God was everything our little family needed. We also had wonderful support from family and friends.

Dad was a very passionate person. Whatever he chose to do he did it with all of his might. He was a man committed to reaching others. He could not rest until he knocked every door in the area of our church. He reached out to drug addicts, alcoholics, children, the poor, business people, etc. He lived with one thought: “People need God”. Dad was a conservative Apostolic. He was a sharp dresser and a very nice looking man. He had dark hair, was tall and lean. He wore a size 42 long suit as long as I can remember. He was over 6 foot tall and wore a size 9 shoe. He had dark hair, dark skin and had the cutest little grin. If you put Scott’s grin on Trent you would almost have the perfect image of Dad.

Dad was a family man and loved to play with the four of us kids. I sported a broken arm from wrestling with Dad. Vicki vomited in his face in a wrestling match. He also was determined when we did something it would be right. When we dusted furniture he would spot check us but running his finger in a not so noticeable place if he found a speck of dust we dusted the entire house again! He kept our shoes polished to a shine. Vicki and I had to keep his handkerchiefs ironed to a crisp tight fold.

Although 28 years may seem long ago today it only seems as yesterday. I well remember the 100’s who came in support of our family and the memory of Dad to the visitation and funeral. Many drove from great distances because they loved my Dad. I remember the powerful worship service at his funeral and the sweet spirit we felt during the service. I remember the drive of emptiness in procession for the interment. “Why were we being left alone?” I questioned. Thankfully, I learned at the young age of 18 that God would be my comfort.

Rather than choosing bitterness I chose to be blessed. I have endeavored to gain from my experiences of cancer, seizure, and all that went with this horrid time of life to be a better person. I decided I would not make excuses for my life rather I would help others with the things I faced and conquered with the help of a praying Mom. Today I celebrate the memory of a Dad who was passionate about scripture, souls, the UPCI, church, his family, vehicles, his clothing and lived life knowing he could do everything with the help of God.

Dad I love you and I WILL meet you again in heaven!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Prepared Vessel vs. A Prepared Ministry

Last evening Kent preached a most powerful convicting message. Many times I’ve heard messages on the 10 Virgins. Last night however, Kent took it to a different level. He compared the Prepared Ministry to the 5 Foolish Virgins and the Prepared Vessel to the 5 Wise Virgins.

Our church strives to pay attention to the smallest of details. We never have dead space in a service. Our music is carefully planned out and rehearsed. Our hospitality department stands and greets with the most professional yet warm and friendly smiles, words, and handshakes. A visitor never touches a door from the front door to the sanctuary doors. Our announcements slides are beautiful, informing, and professional. Our secretaries answer the phones during the day with a smile and assist our callers professionally. Our accounting system is audit proof. Our Sunday School department utilizes the depth of men, ladies, and teens in most classes allowing for mentoring as well as excellence in our teaching staff. Our infants are attended by loving and nurturing persons. Our lighting and sound is diligently and carefully approached. Our bus drivers drive with a burden and love and smile at the children. Our bus crews love and interact with the children in a very positive manner. Our Bible Quizzers do a remarkable job. Our Christian school exceeds 80 in enrollment and our high school students are receiving dual credit with college taught on OUR campus. Our youth and college and career teams carefully plan out each event. Our maintenance crews both vehicles and buildings & grounds carefully take care of their responsibilities. The homeless are offered transportation to services and fed lunch each Sunday. All of our printing and graphics is above and beyond most expectations. CUPC realizes MORE is possible through teamwork and we work well as a team supporting one another and different departments or ministries within the church. All of this is our attempt to have a Prepared Ministry.

A Prepared Vessel however goes much deeper than the ministries of the church and reaches into each of us as individuals. Before ever attaching ourselves to a particular ministry we are an individual. Though we can prepare for a particular job or lend our talents to complete a particular job in the church nothing will ever compare to spiritually preparing ourselves. One thing for certain 5 foolish and the 5 wise were all Christian or religious ladies as we would call them today. In fact by virtue they were called virgins some may even call them holy or refer to them as set apart. None the less 5 were not ready for the bridegroom. It isn’t enough that I am prepared to carry out my various responsibilities within the church I must be prepared to meet the Lord. Furthermore if I will make sure the oil (representing anointing) is in my vessel the ministries I am associated will be more anointed. A church can have both anointing and a carefully planned organizational structure. A prepared vessel does not have to be sacrificed for a prepared ministry.

Matt 25:1-13 "Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘What if there isn’t enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Watch therefore, for you don’t know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Enough Said?

During the course of my day yesterday while sitting quietly at my desk working my husband's phone rang numerous times. People were trying to learn information about an acquaintance of Kent's who recently experienced failure. I listened as Kent gracefully communicated without giving information. He discussed what was public knowledge and then stated he had been apart of making the knowledge not so 'public' to protect dignity of those involved. After leaving the office for lunch I expressed frustration to Kent. It frustrated me that people were calling trying to find information about someone in trouble. Trust me one of the callers would go CRAZY if anyone spoke a negative word about him or anyone remotely close to him.

Later I saw a pic of someone that made me cry. The person has changed to be something she really is not. Oh sure the person 'looks a mess' and even 'acts a mess' but I KNOW this is not the real person and soon she will wake up. Later, someone began to cast off with great emotion about this person and rightfully so. Quickly it occurred to me that with the 'casting off' was really a 'catching' of some one's dirty thoughts, attitudes, and even sin nature. I quickly suggested the person not even discuss the other person. Discussing the issues of the other person with such feeling will just dirty or clutter the mind and spirit,. I would prefer crying and not being able to talk with the person for fear of crying than experincing the filth the person is involved. I prefer loving the sinner yet hating the sin. I'm afraid discussion may cause me lose sight of hope for the grace and mercy of God available to the person.

This morning the first email I received was in regards to the troubling things of yesterday. The email came from a Christian man yet written to his secular colleagues. It shared the following quotes:

Earl Wilson, the first black American Leaguer to throw a no-hitter, once said, "If you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it."

"If you think little of a person, you ought to say as little as you think." - Ben Franklin

Lord, help me to be able to write and sign everything I say. When others have real issues that trouble, harm, or work against me help me say as little as I may feel about the person rather than belittle myself. My title is borrowed from Terry Davidson, Superintendent of Public School Comanche, OK. Mr. Davidson posed the question, "Enough Said?" as subject of his email written to challenge those he leads to a higher manner of conversation.

Today I ask of each of us, "Enough said?"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Instant is not the Same

Tonight we will be honoring the Servant of the Year nominated by our church members. Additionally we will honor those persons who receive 2nd and 3rd place. Our entire congregation is asked to nominate one person who goes above and beyond the 'call of duty', job description in our local church. This really has my thoughts turning. If we endeavor to recognize those who go above and beyond, I to want to go above and beyond what is expected of me.

We are living in a world that thrives on 'instant' things. Somethings just should not be 'instant'! I'm thankful for those who realize some things require WORK and EFFORT. The more we put into something the more we get out of it.....

I don't like instant potatoes. I can always tell when they are 'seasoned'. While the 'seasoned' instant potatoes taste better than those made simply by the package direction they still do not taste the same. They are lacking in flavor and the texture (feeling) is not the same.

What do people think when things in my area of responsibility are treated as instant and not real? Sure my areas of responsibility can be carried out and even at times reap successful rewards in an instant but I KNOW the difference when they are prayerfully carried out with love, devotion, and dedication. The rewards are very different when I do not live with an 'instant' mentality.

Instant really is not the same as the real....