Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Home for Easter

The last two years, I spent Easter in Peru. In the places where I hung around in Huancayo, I couldn't even tell Easter was coming. There was no commercialism as there is here in the States. I imagine the sermon was appropriate for Easter Sunday, but my Spanish isn't good enough to understand an entire sermon. So, this year was very meaningful to me.

I appreciated the prayer and thought and time my pastors and the worship director put into the special services during Lent. On Palm Sunday, there was a special visitor to talk with us. He was a Roman cross cutter. He spoke about what he had heard about Jesus as he formed a cross and put it together. He wondered...what will happen on it true what Jesus said? On Thursday night, I had the privilege of partaking of the Lord's Supper with my church family. And, on Saturday, the in between day, was a service of darkness, remembering what Jesus did for me and for you. I appreciate that Scripture tells us that Jesus struggled with the will of the Father before saying, "Not My will, but Yours be done." I'm like that at times, too. I struggle before I say "Yes." Then, Sunday. A day of new beginnings. A day of new life. A day of rejoicing for death has been conquored and life is freely given to all who accept it. Thank You, Jesus!

It was good for me to be here this year. I often struggle with the question, "Where do I belong?" Yes, I belong to the Lord, the giver of life, the Savior of my soul, the Lord of my Life. But, I also belong to a church family that I love to worship with. Concord UMC is my church home. And, I loved being home for Easter!

Monday, March 17, 2008

We Are Part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed

We are part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed. We have the Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. We have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. We are disciples of His. We won't look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. Our past is redeemed; our present makes sense, our future secure. We're finished with colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals.

We no longer need preeminence, prosperity, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. We don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. We now live by faith, lean in His presence, walk by patience, are lifted up by prayer, and labor with power.

Our face is set, our gait is fast, our goal is heaven, our road is narrow, our way rough, our companions are few, our Guide reliable, our mission clear. We cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. We will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

We won't give up, shut up, let up, until we have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. We are disciples of Jesus. We must go till He comes, give till we drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops us. And, when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing us...our banner will be clear. For we are part of the Fellowship of the

Letter found on Zimbabwe Pastor's Desk who was martyred for his faith.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Starting the Day Right

I had a neighbor who went to be with the Lord a little over three years ago. He and his wife had a habit of starting the day with communion right at their kitchen table. They would open Scripture, read Jesus' words that He spoke at the Last Supper, partake of the bread and juice and pray. After his wife died, Albert continued this habit. I remember sharing communion with him, and after he died, with his family. It was such a nice way to focus, to remember, to be grateful, that I started to have communion at my kitchen table every morning, too.
Then, for whatever reason, I stopped. Maybe I was too busy one day, or too tired, or didn't have any juice. Whatever the reason, I stopped. During lent, I have had communion in a several different settings. And, I was reminded of communion with Albert and the love he had of his Savior, and of his faith. I remembered, too, what communion in the morning did for me, a reminder of what Jesus Christ did for me because He loves me. Can you imagine that? He loves me! And, not only me, but you, too!
So, I bought grape juice and matzah crackers and put a Bible on my kitchen table. Now, I wake up and have my morning moments with the Lord. And, in those moments, I am so much more vulnerable and so much more open to Him and what He has to say to me than any other time of the day. I am more open to Him then than when I read Scripture or do a Bible study because it's during this time I talk to Him from my heart, without an agenda. Each morning, I am amazed at His mercy and grace, Somedays it is painful, other days there is comfort, always peace and joy from knowing Him. This is something that has helped me in my walk with the Lord. Maybe it will be a help to you, too.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Make Me a Servant

Jesus said... "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." John 13:15-17

During this past week, I attended two communion services, both focused on the last time Jesus ate with His disciples. The one thing that really made an impact on me was the fact that we are to be servants. Our ministry is to follow Jesus' example and to "wash feet" or possibly to do those menial chores that no one else wants to do. We are to seek Him and ask Him what we are to do, not tell Him what we want to do.

And, as usual, as I thought about this, as I meditated on this, I thought about the ministry in which the Lord has placed me. I didn't go looking for the opportunity to serve on the Global Resource Team. I thought I would be serving in Russia for five years. But, the Lord had other plans. Now, what I do is go into an area or country where I have been invited by missionaries or nationals. They have identified specific needs that they have concerning children/children at risk. And, I go and help fill that need. The need may be an extra pair of hands to show children that Someone loves them. It may be helping to set up a new library. It may be to do training to empower nationals to better do ministry. It may be "holy hanging around." It may be visiting sick children in a hospital. It may be being part of a hospital prayer ministry. It may be living side by side with nationals, living in the same conditions they are, bathing in the river, walking to the out house, helping out with day to day chores and sharing the love of Christ, not just in words but in every day actions.

Ten years ago did I think my life would be like this? No, not at all, but God did. And, now I pray, "Lord, make me a servant, Your servant."