Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Broader Kingdom

Having grown up in the South being exposed to almost one worship style, I’m adding something else that I’m thankful I’ve lived long enough to experience. Tonight our congregation was invited to an evening of praise and worship at a local predominantly African American church. The minister there, Sam, is a friend of ours through his business partner, Mac, who is a member of our congregation. We’ve formed a close friendship with Sam over the past few years and recently he spoke at our church one Sunday morning. It’s been a blessing to meet and get to know brothers and sisters from other parts of the kingdom. We have been enriched tremendously by our fellowship with those brothers and sisters in the broader kingdom. I’m thankful to be a part of a body of believers where I’m able to walk down that path of unity and continue to see the walls coming down.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day---A Lesson in Love

Today I was the recipient of love in one of the sweetest forms----the unconditional love of a child. Two days a week, I teach English to Speakers of Other Languages in a local elementary school. We have a new student in our class who speaks almost NO English. Today for a valentine present she brought me a gift which was wrapped in Christmas paper along with a paper heart she had cut out for a gift tag. She was beaming as she handed me the gift and I quickly asked her (in hand motions) if I could open it immediately. She nodded excitedly and watched while I opened it. When I pulled out the contents of the wrapping, there was a CD that we all get in the mail from time to time promoting a well-known email company along with the paper insert advertisement. Quickly I exclaimed, "You brought me a CD. How nice!" That gift has no monetary value yet it's priceless. No wonder God tells us in I Corinthians that LOVE is the greatest commandment. We all have something to learn from children who so freely want to love and be loved--no strings attached. Hopefully we're able to see that Christian love has no language, race, socioeconomic, nor age barriers---we all smile (and love) in the same language.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Multigenerational Christianity

Feb. 8, 2006

I love it! Once a month, our table group (small group) packs, prays for, and delivers bags of cleaning supplies and personal items to several families who need additonal help. These families are from all over the area. Some are in temporary housing as a part of a united ministry housing program. Many we don't know although we try to meet them and encourage them. Some of the families are part of our own church family who just need some extra help, love, and encouragement at this time in their lives. Usually, it’s just our small group when we meet together, but tonight the college/singles table group joined us for dinner, fellowship, and prayer. Afterwards they took many of the bags to deliver to the various families. I can’t tell you how encouraging that group of young people is to me. There are many things I enjoy, but one of my passions is being with them and watching them serve and grow in their relationship with Jesus. They are sharing Jesus with their friends on campus and at work, and their zeal is contagious! I thank God for all of them and for allowing me to be a part of their lives. I’m thankful they don’t mind spending time with “old” people!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Missing Them!

Feb. 7, 2006
Today MomMom is truly having withdrawals from her four grandchildren. When it gets so bad that I’m kissing the refrigerator, it’s getting bad! (Actually I’m kissing their pictures ON the refrigerator!) I love my grandchildren and love spending time with them. Each is special in his/her own way. Last summer we had Cousins’ Camp here for a week---no parents, just grandparents and grandchildren. We watched movies in bed at night and played all day (and ate when we wanted to and almost what we wanted to)! Those are memories I’ll cherish as long as I live. I wish I could hug each of them right now!!

More Random Musings

Feb. 2, 2006

Thirty-seven years ago tonight I was at Baptist Hospital waiting to be induced the next day with our first baby. Where have all those years gone? He now has a wife and two little girls of his own. I’ve gotten to be a big part of their lives as well for which I’m so grateful. It’s a cliché, I know, but it’s so true---enjoy them every minute because they do grow up so fast.

Random thoughts since being diagnosed with breast cancer 18 months ago:
No one likes to hear the C word, but I’m not afraid of death----- I’m afraid of dying.

I look at my grandchildren and want to watch them grow up. I want them to be old enough to remember their MomMom.

Maybe I shouldn’t buy this new floor for our house and this new furniture. I might not be around to enjoy it. Then………….why shouldn’t I buy this new floor and new furniture? No one else knows whether they’ll be here tomorrow either.

Matt. 6:34-Don’t worry about tomorrow. Today has enough troubles of its own.

Make the most of every day. Enjoy each moment---the sunset, the precious times with family, times with friends, the beach, the mountains, football games, the FARM, worship---the list goes on and on.

Observation while walking at the beach last summer after Hurricane Ivan:

Some of the houses on the beach looked perfectly OK on the outside, but on the inside they were a wreck. The storm had wreaked havoc inside the house. Isn’t that just like our lives? We appear to have it all together on the outside but inside we’re a wreck. Lord, let me quit pretending and allow YOU to clean up the inside of me. Let me have clean hands and a pure heart, O God.

Various Musings

Jan. 23, 2006

Things I’m thankful that I’ve lived long enough to learn:

God isn’t nearly as concerned about the right ritual as he is about the right heart. What we do for a couple of hours on Sunday morning in a building isn’t the only part of being a Christian. In fact, although coming together as a community of faith is vital according to Hebrews, it is only a small part of our relationship with God.

The unconditional love of husband, my children, grandchildren, family, and friends.

That people really only want to know how much you care.

Not to worry about tomorrow---no one knows what the future will bring. Today is the day the Lord has made—rejoice and be glad in it.

Things I’m thankful I’ve lived long enough to see:

Walls which divide organized religion are beginning to come down. Different races, people of various socioeconomic status, all ages, different communities of faith, etc. are crossing over and joining each other. Churches are learning to reach outside the walls of a building.

Things I was born early enough to experience and treasure:

Outhouses and slop jars (AKA chamber pots)
No electricity therefore the use of kerosene lamps for light
The ice box and the big block of ice
Wood stoves
Singeing a chicken after wringing its neck and plucking the feathers—then cutting it up and frying it for supper (actually watching my grandmother or mother do all of the above)
Bathing in a big galvanized tub by the fireplace
Picking cotton and weighing it at the end of a long, hot day (then jumping in the back of the wagon filled with the freshly picked cotton—I’ll never forget the wonderful smell.)
Playing with my mamma cat and baby kittens in the hay inside the barn
Milking the cows late in the afternoon and then straining the milk and putting it in jars
Waiting for the rolling store to come by
Fishing in our pond with my daddy or my grandmother (and eating the fish for supper)
Feeding the pigs—bottle feeding a baby pig because its mother had too many babies to feed
Homecoming at the little church where I grew up and dinner on the ground—keeping the visiting preacher for a two week gospel meeting