Tears in Church


untitledWe are all different.  God created us to be diverse, and we are not to try to make each other copies of ourselves.  That said . . . let me tell you why church is my safe place and why I have shed more than a few tears there over the years.

Ever since I was an officer candidate and attended my first chapel service after a grueling week of trying to stay up with my class at a very fast pace, I have understood church to be my safe place.  I shed an abundance of tears that first Sunday at Officer Candidate School because church was the first place I was away from my drill instructor and did not have to keep a look of determination on my face!

Over the years since then, church has remained that same safe sanctuary for me.  I respect the fact that others will leave during a service if they are crying or may even stay home from the service if they are in bereavement, but I don’t do that.  When I am on the verge of a good cry, I find myself needing to be in church.  Being in church transports me to God’s presence and lets me weep before Him there.

Obviously, we are a community.  The services are not about one individual nor are they about all of us collectively.  They are about Jesus.  Anything Christ-exalting belongs in church even our grief and our tears, if we are comfortable expressing them there.

When my husband was on a plane bound for England for his Irish-born father’s funeral, Dave Moffatt stood up to sing “Be Thou My Vision” (my favorite Irish hymn), and I just lost it for about ten minutes.  The hymn was liquid loveliness and a very real balm to my soul at that moment.  It reminded me that Christ was very much still in control even in the midst of grief.

This last week, we sang and played “So Send I You” for a missions emphasis Sunday with a preacher from Papua, Indonesia.  I have loved that hymn since childhood.  We had not one, but four missionaries present at that service.  We also had military personnel who are going out regularly as ambassadors for Christ in other lands . . . and families of those who are currently deployed doing just that.

Pastor explained how John W. Peterson wrote that hymn post World War II referencing “so send I you to hearts made hard by hatred” in relation to the many, many World War II vets who returned, determined to be missionaries in Japan, the Philippines, and other parts of the Pacific Theater where atrocities had occurred during the war.

I knew I was going to have a hard time getting through that hymn.  The choir sang it, the orchestra played it for the congregation, then when we had finished, I just lost it again as quietly as I could up front during the offertory.

God has a master plan for the human race.  He is in charge of history.  He knows how we are made and when we need to bow before Him, even with tears, acknowledging that He is still on the throne!

Jude 22, 23, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

I’ll Never Walk Alone!!


thMy doctor informed me on January 31, 2014, that I have prostate cancer. I joined the high percentage of men my age that have it.  The cancer was detected early and had not spread, so there is a high probability of successful treatment.

There is a related fact that I want to share with you.  I have been overwhelmed at times with the truth of “strength and support” from three areas.  I have the promised presence and care of the Faithful Son of God, a host of Christian Friends, and a Wonderful Family.

My wife, Dotty, Son Joel, and his wife Jackey, have been with me through it all.  They have accompanied me to the various forms of treatments and doctors meetings. The support has been a blessing and greatly appreciated. God has the family to share in the good times and the not so good times. Their actions flow from the love we share for each other.

Great support has come from my Church Family and the broader Family in the Gospel.  We love each other because He first loved us. What a wonderful caring fellowship we have in Christ! The Apostle, Paul expressed it this way in Philippians 1:3; 5, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” In v. 5 he said, “For your fellowship in the Gospel from this day until now.” The exciting thing is that has never changed.  Today we draw great strength and support from fellow believers.

John writes in 1 John1:3b “… and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”  There is a real joy and blessing as He makes His presence known. You see, I am not alone because I am His child.  My wife and I have been in tears after radiation as we thought of how good God has been through it all. Psalm 16:11, “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”  God has taken me onto the cancer path; I am happy and content because He is with me.

Please be sure you are walking with God. If you feel a need call us at Tabernacle, someone will help you become one with Christ. Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” What I have shared is for “whosoever will” (John 3:16).

What’s the good of prayer?


untitledLord, teach us to pray. Luke 11:1.

It is not part of the life of a natural man to pray. We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life if he does not pray; I question it. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished, not by food, but by prayer. When a man is born from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve that life or nourish it. Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

“Ask and ye shall receive.” We grouse before God, we are apologetic or apathetic, but we ask very few things. Yet what a splendid audacity a childlike child has! Our Lord says—“Except ye become as little children.” Ask, and God will do. Give Jesus Christ a chance, give Him elbow room, and no man will ever do this unless he is at his wits’ end. When a man is at his wits’ end, it is not a cowardly thing to pray, it is the only way he can get into touch with Reality. Be yourself before God and present your problems, the things you know you have come to your wits’ end over. As long as you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.

It is not so true that “prayer changes things” as that prayer changes me, and I change things. God has so constituted things that prayer on the basis of Redemption alters the way in which a man looks at things. Prayer is not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man’s disposition.

Citation:

Chambers, O. (1986). My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.

To every thing there is a Season!


untitled“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…”

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-11a

August 25, 2014…Today my husband and I start a new season in this journey called parenting…our oldest son, Jake starts Kindergarten. My mind is drawn to the verses above as I reflect on the past five years with this precious gift. There was a season in our lives where we prayed and prayed for a child, and the Lord, in His timing, chose to make us wait.  But in 2009, God made all things beautiful when Jake Reagan was born on my birthday. He not only made me a mommy, but he was my best birthday present. How we have watched him grow into a caring, little boy so protective of us and his siblings with a giving heart and a genuine love for others.

Seasons come and go…all with their splendor and majestic display of our wonderful Creator. Such it is with our lives…each of us in our own season of life. Today, Jake officially starts his boyhood season. He is no longer a baby, that season is forever over, and while this momma is sad, I know the season that he embarks on today is full of wonderful new lessons and adventures…ones that, Lord willing, will draw Jake to Jesus as his Savior, make him more like Jesus, and enable him to show and share God’s grace with others. And so…here we go, the first day of a new season in Jake’s life and in our lives as parents…we start today with a host of emotions…pride, joy, excitement, fear, yet complete confidence that God, His perfect way, will make “everything beautiful in His time…” like He has in every other season of our lives…He does and WILL do the same for you!

 

Where are our Hands Stretched Out?


imagesPsalm 44:21-22;  21 – If we have forgotten the name of our God, Or stretched out our hands to a strange god; 22 -Shall not God search this out?   For he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

So many times as things go wrong for people in the world, as well as for Christians, we ask God why and question the circumstances; but often we need to step back and look and see where are our arms reaching.   Or more than that, have we even forgotten about God?  God is always righteous, and He is always just; and if we are going through a situation that is seemingly bad humanly speaking, and it is of God, we are going to be greater for it, and His glory is going to be greater.  On the other hand, we put ourselves in situations sometimes because we are reaching out to other gods, anything that is first besides God in our life; and we forget God until we really need him.  All situations we go through in life that test us are not of the Lord.  We can go get drunk, have an accident, and cut off our arm.  Was this God punishing us or taking us through a trial to build our faith?  No, of course not.  We put our own desires to sin above God.  We did not call on His name to help us resist the temptation, and we marred ourselves for life.  Could God get the glory through this and draw us closer to him?  For sure, if we let him.  Let’s make sure that our arms are always reached out to the one true God and that we never forget him in life’s journey, good or bad humanly speaking and give Him all the honor and glory along the way.  Moses wrote in Exodus 9:29… As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord’s.”   The earth and all that we have is His including our lives.  So let’s give it to Him openly, not just on Sunday and Wednesdays, not just so people see and know it, but in our hearts and minds as well.

 

 

 

Celebrating Ten Years!


imagesOL37H63KTen years ago the second Sunday of August was our first Sunday at Tabernacle Baptist Church.  Where has the time gone?  Much has been accomplished with the Lord’s help as far as building improvements–bathrooms in church, pre-school, and academy remodeled; auditorium remodeled; new carpet many places; offices updated–our missions family has increased; we now have a lovely Missions Hallway, and our missions giving is up.  Most of all we have grown to love you and count Tabernacle Baptist Church our home.

The Lord has been in all of it, and the glory belongs to Him!

We have not been without battles, but the blessings far outweigh the battles.  People have grown spiritually and children have grown up physically as well.  God has stretched us at times to teach us to depend on Him.  He is always FAITHFUL!

The celebration Sunday (August 10, 2014) was a blessing to us!  We appreciate all the kindnesses shown to us–the luggage, the love gift toward a missions trip, the video with greetings from so many here and some who have moved away, the many hugs and reassurances of your love, and the special speakers who shared God’s Word with us–it was a all very special!

Now . . . on to the next ten years or how ever long the Lord would see to leave us here.  The work is before us with a new school year about to begin and many opportunities to reach out to others.  May the Lord bless you as we enter the fall of 2014!

Seven Ways to Love Your Pastor


 

f12ef6ec241945c8ad7a9024f67d9eda1.  Love his preaching. 
He may not be the most remarkable preacher you ever hear, but I cannot find a single text of Scripture that suggests he should be. I see many texts that say he must be faithful, and I can tell you that nothing will encourage his deep study and prolonged faithfulness in the pulpit more than a people who love to hear God’s Word preached. If you love his preaching, you should tell him. 

You need not worry about puffing him up. There are far too many other things in his life to pop that bubble. But you will help him and strengthen him if you tell him how God is using his preaching ministry in your life. What’s more, if you love his preaching, you will pray for his preaching. And if you get to praying for his preaching every week, then you better hang on for what the Lord is going to do.

2.  Love his wife. 
Few things will encourage your pastor more than when you love the one he loves most of all. Remember that she helps to carry his load but is not paid for it; she enables him to be hospitable, which he must be in order to preach; she carries the brunt of raising faithful children, which he must have in order to preach. Love, honor, encourage, and thank God for this woman.

3.  Love his children. 
There is a silent pressure on every pastor. It can weigh on him like a bag of wet cement . . . his children. He knows he is called to prioritize them and teach them the ways of God, but, like you, he has to learn all this on the fly, while trying to have something to say to everyone else about how to do it! I have been in churches where things are not going well in a pastor’s child’s life. 

Some of those churches know just what to do. They come alongside their pastor with encouraging words, and they actually get down on their knees and pray for that man’s kids. If you are going to love this man, you will truly love his children. You will not judge them or hold them to some higher standard. You will expect they need to hear the gospel as much as the other kids in the church. You will love them for who they are.

4.  Love him with your complaints. 
Christians have a hard time with this, but I want to call you to it. We have lost the art of disagreement. We have become numb to the Bible texts that teach us to speak the truth in love. We are more discipled in our methodology by Jerry Springer than by the apostle Paul. 

But if you love this man, you will learn to come in all humility and speak privately to him of your concerns. You will not make snide remarks or gossip or spread disunity or hold resentments that spread into gangrenous bitterness. When you truly love someone, you can come to them quietly and submissively with honest questions and self-searching that allows for disagreements to lead to agreements.

5.  Love him when you don’t understand him. 
It is an odd thing to be a pastor. We become involved in all the intricacies of others lives, and sometimes we know things about a person or a situation that we simply cannot divulge. Often, it is in these times when misunderstandings grow. Why aren’t you doing this, or putting a stop to that? Where were you when this happened? Why didn’t you come when we asked? How come I have to wait so long to meet with you? 

If you love him, you will hope all things! Love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.(1 Cor. 13:7). You will bless him even when he seems to go in a direction you find less than compelling. Love him when you don’t understand him

6.  Love him for a long time. 
A wise church member will set her heart on loving her pastors for a long time. Not just putting up with them—but loving them. You must commit to loving him for the long term. You want a man to be here to bless your babies, baptize your believers, and bury your dead. You don’t want a stranger to do that. If that is so, then you must commit to much more than tolerating this man. You must love him. Love him so much that he thinks to himself on his worst days, “I’d be a fool to move on from here!”

7.  Love him because God loved you. 
The final and great motivation for our love is never what it gets us—true love is seen in Christ. “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” (Eph. 5:1–2).

 

 

 

 

 

Originally from http://www.truewoman.com/?id=2870

 

The Blessedness of Brokenness


imagesEBFW7Y53Psalm 51:17

Jacob at Jabbok learned that the man who is broken by God can be blesses of God (Genesis 32:24-32).  It is the crushed grape that yields the wine.

The first condition of being filled is being empty (II Corinthians 12:9-10).

Is a thing that is broken good for anything?  Can we drink from a broken glass?  Or can we lean upon a broken staff?  But though other things may be at the worse for breaking, yet a heart is never at its best till it be broken; for till it be broken, we cannot see what is in it; till it be broken, it cannot send forth its sweetest odor; and, therefore, though God loves a whole heart in affection, yet He loves a broken heart in sacrifice.

Indeed, as David prays, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Psalm 51:17).

Brokenness before the Lord is no easy thing.  I am so thankful that the one who broke the bread is the One who first blessed the bread (Matthew 14:19).

 

Clean Vessels That Shine


il_fullxfull_352306612_4qk8“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:25-26)

I have been busy washing the siding on our house.  It has been several years since I last did this, and there is some algae growth on it.  Many times we are all about keeping the outside clean.  What about what happens on the inside?  Our Lord often challenged the Scribes and Pharisees who were all about appearances concerning their keeping the inside clean as well as the outside clean.

As children of God, we need to keep close to our Lord Jesus so that instead of others seeing us and how wonderful we look on the outside, most of us try anyway to be clean and presentable, we should also pay attention to the heart so that when others look at us they see the Lord Jesus Christ shining through our good works toward others as we serve Him.

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

Instead of promoting our greatness as the Publican who prayed about how great he thought he was, we should rather be humbled and clean before the Lord so that we can shine for His glory.  What is important to Christ should be important to us!  He wants us to be more than presentable on the outside.  We need also to be clean from the inside out.  If we are rightly related to our Lord, He will be seen in us as we show forth His righteousness instead of trying to impress others by how great we look on the outside or what great accomplishments we have.  Our houses (vessels where we live) need to be clean on the inside as well the outside.

 

As his Master


ImageDisplayThe disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. Luke 6:40

Christ is our greatest pattern, and He taught by His example. Many followed Him in His ministry but at different levels. Our Sunday school class is studying the Life of Christ. A recent lesson was on being a disciple of Christ. Discipleship comes from following Christ – to be as his Master. The lesson taught that there are three levels to discipleship – curiosity, conviction, and commitment. Curiosity – many that followed were amazed and astonished at his teaching. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: Matthew 7:28. Conviction – some took another step in discipleship and took a stand for Christ. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:16. Commitment – this step comes with maturity and grows out of conviction. We then can become the disciple that is as his Master. It takes an investment of our lives to be that committed disciple – just as Christ invested His life when He died on the cross. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27. Are you curious, convicted or committed? A disciple – as his Master!