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Archive for January, 2009

pastor-conference2007-0044Michael Helms took the picture.  A man with a camera catching a moment in the life experience of two friends.

Whitestone Inn.  A quiet “snapshot” of heaven out in the middle of nowhere Tennessee.  A retreat where one can catch their breath.  No WalMart Stores, no restaurants near by, just a wonderful place to breath in through your nose and exhale out through your mouth slowly and deliberately allowing  stress to dissipate.  Whitestone –  a place where the cell phone signals are weak, computer connections are almost nonexistent, but front porches, swings, rocking chairs, quiet music, gazeboes, park benches, and hammocks flourish.  The food is unspeakably good.  The collection of friends unique.  The grounds and buildings have been bathed in prayer for those who need to reconnect with God, themselves, and with friends.  It is usually six days and five nights of respite and reconnection.

Let me change directions and then reconnect in a moment.  I love my computer.  I woke up at 4ish this morning – not an uncommon thing for me.  I enjoy watching my internal GPS try and figure out where my 53 year old body is located.  I eventually find a coffee pot, Starbucks coffee and a pot of water and introduce the three to each other for a 15 minute wait on some of the best coffee in the world.  I admit that I am hooked on the stuff.  I usually find my way back to my computer and open up three of four things on the computer.  I open up my email account to read my emails.  Facebook is the next trip I take and collect the common experiences of a great group of people I follow several times a day.  I have reconnected with friends from Marietta High School, Truett-McConnell College, and began to travel with people in the church.  I have learned so much about so many different people that way.  I enjoy Twittering and for those of you who don’t know about it – http://www.twitter.com.  I follow several close friends activities during the day and always get a big laugh as I watch them interact with life.  I turn on Skype which gives me a chance to connect with people through my video camera.  I also make sure that my Windows Live Messenger is up so I can talk to Jason from Maryland early in the morning as he gets to work.   I am addicted to my “crackberry”.  I own the Blackberry Storm and for the life of me, I don’t know how I survived without all that information at my very fingertips.   I have a phone, email checker, twitter response, Facebook indicator, a lot of music that I can now download on it, and a lot of other things and applications that are available for me…it has a GPS, maps, address book, notes… I am getting tired thinking about them.  High tech redneck…I am!

The joy in life is getting to know people face to face and heart to heart.  It is so hard to get to know a person intimately (heart to heart) without looking at them face to face.  Just the other day I have discovered with the help of those closest to me that I am forgetting how to listen.  I have learned to respond to machines who don’t get their feelings hurt if I don’t listen to them.  The machines have replaced the value in my life of face to face conversations…long walks…park bench conversations…front porch swings and rocking chair conversations with people I really enjoy… I am so sorry to say that here of late I have allowed my technology to get in the way of those closest to me.

Do you think that I would survive if I got home at night and cut my cell phone off and put it on the charger?  I am going to try to survive.  When I get to the office I might even leave the thing in the truck, so I can force myself to listen to people without the addiction of picking the thing up every time it beeps or vibrates.  If you are one of those dear people who have felt the pain of my addiction, I am so sorry.

Face to face!  Heart to heart!  I am going on a journey to rediscover the joy of simply “being in the now” with people as we connect face to face and heart to heart.  I am determined to let technology serve me instead of me serving it.

I am looking forward to Whitestone.  The week after Easter calls me to take another trip to this quiet place and reconnect with friends.  Rest is plentiful.  Conversations will be welcomed.  Even though diverse theologically, we will share in the commonality of life – bruises and all.  Something inside me longs for that.  I will not wait until then. The friend walking with me in the picture is Ken Smith.  We see each other regularly.  Sometimes it is face to face.  At other times it is computer to computer or phone to phone.  Nevertheless I am getting to old to let much time go by in seeing my friends.   There is a table every Tuesday at Stefano’s Restaurant where four preachers share life right here in Florence.  Ken Sandifer, W. L. Collins, and Daniel Inabinet are breaths of fresh air for me each week.  I missed them yesterday because of the snow.  There is a couch at the house where two lovers share in the commonality of life as partners and parents struggling through the daily issues of life.  Nancy is the love of my life.  It is a choice.  It is work.  Highly worth it, I might add.   Face to face!  Heart to Heart!

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Stand by me…

It has been a while since I have posted…but I was blown away by this video…thought I would share it with you…

I am reminded of Him who said “I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you”…

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Luke 9 Observations

n1041791808_260049_504Time to send the disciples out.  They were not perfect.  They did not have a seminary degree nor 50 years experience.  They were new at this.  Jesus knew it.  Thankfully, Christ is so patient with me.  He journeys with me making me more like Himself.  Thank God there is a learning curve.

He gave them the ability or power and the authority to get the work done.  Off they went.  God worked and lives were changed.

He alone would be their Provider.  They would watch HIM work and His provision through others.

You would think that the first thing they would have done when they returned was have a testimony meeting, but what he did surprised me.  He took them off away from the crowd and the testimony and let them get their face back in the face of God.  It is so easy to begin to believe your stuff and other people’s opinions about who you are, and what you are able to do.  It is easy to forget that God called us, gifted us, and it is HE that makes us special.  Solitude is the cure for all that.  Quiet reflection of spending time with the One who called you, gifted and made you special.

5000 needed feeding.  I was amazed that after they had been used of God as they were in preaching the Gospel and healing the sick that they would have doubted their ability to be a part of this great task.  Phillip worried about the budget (some things never change).  Andrew took “what they had available at the time”  and brought it to Jesus.  I was reminded again this morning that we are to take what we have and bring it to Jesus with thanksgiving and be willing to share it with others and not consume it only on ourselves.   Could that be the reason that there were twelve baskets full gathered up after all the needs were met?  Why don’t we see baskets still filled after all the needs are met?
Outward miracles and now Jesus is back alone with God.  There is that Solitude thing feeding him.  His conversation with Peter – and then that verse that always haunts me “…if any man will come after me, he must deny himself take up his cross and follow me…”  I always get quiet when I read that verse.

Transfiguration – Peter learns that Suffering leads to Glory…he hears Moses and Elijah talk about it…,and I thought it was so cool that God calmed him down after that even with His own voice.

Now to my verse for the day… A boy needs healing – The disciples are WEAK and unable to minister to him…  After all that they had seen and done, after all that God did in their lives and through them, they were now weak.  Could that happen to me?  Matthew 17 reminded me that this kind of thing (casting out of devils) is only cast out by prayer and fasting…then it hit me…weakness in my spiritual life leads to an ineffective ministry to others…”I begged your disciples to drive it out, but THEY COULD NOT”  Those words stung me.  Of all the people in the world that should have been able to do so it would have been those who were enabled by the Master to do these things.

Prayer and Fasting!  I am learning to pray and spend time in solitude before God.  I am working on the fasting thing.  Maybe that is what he meant by “…dying to self”…

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chuckpicthree

Chuck Swindol is an unbelievable communicator.  I have placed the link for a presentation.  I pray you will walk there with me and let God change your life.  You can click the picture or the link below.

http://insightforliving.typepad.com/insight_for_living_blog/2009/01/the-horror-of-conceit.html

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‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know, Thus saith the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him,
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er,
Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more.

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
Just in simple faith to plunge me,
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood.

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life, and rest, and joy, and peace.


I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

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Abram believed the LORD

Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:6

Either He IS who He says He is or He ISN’T!  Either He CAN DO what He says He can do or HE can’t!  Either He tells the TRUTH of He Lies!  He is either God or He isn’t and all of life hinges around that truth.

Last time I checked He hasn’t checked out on the world.  Last time I checked He is still in control.  Last time I checked this is His world I live in…His stuff that I enjoy…His people that I serve and I am inseprably connected to the divine direction that He is taking us.

I serve a Risen Savior.  He’s in the world today.  I know that He is living no matter what men may say.  I see His hand of Mercy.  I hear His voice of cheer and just the time I need Him He’s always near…He lives!

He is control of my life.  He is in control of my family.  He is in control of my finances.  I can trust Him.

Abram BELIEVED (trusted) the Lord and it was counted to him as righteousness.  He placed his hands into the hands of the Risen Savior who is so active in our lives.  It is beautiful to watch God come along side my family and my church as we walk through every day and all of its challenges!

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don’t lose the vision here
Carried away by emotion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control, oh God is in control

History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever

He has never let you down
Why start to worry now?
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father
Watching over you and me

watching over you…watching over me..
watching over every things..
watching over you. watching over me..
every little sparrow. every little things…

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Readings – Genesis 6-8; Luke 3

n1041791808_260051_1129What must it have been like to have been God and watch those you have created and given life – “breathed life into them” – walk away from Him! Folk that should know better seemed to care less about God and His ways. Sons of God were marrying daughters of men. Evil was prevailing and it seemed that all were giving in to the evil world.

All except Noah. The bible says in Genesis 6:8 that “God liked what he saw in Noah…” (The Message). The next two verses elaborate even more “…This is the story of Noah: Noah was a good man, a man of integrity in his community. Noah walked with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth…”

In a world where it seems that all are bowing down to sinful practices – “everyone is drinking…everyone is sexually active…everyone is doing drugs…everyone is having an affair…” there are still some men and women who have not. Furthermore, might I be quick to add that God likes what he sees when he sees men and women of integrity in their communities. I am thankful for the reminder this morning to be a consistent person of integrity…to walk before God practicing the presence of God at all times.

He is still looking!

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