Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Wednesday Hodge Podge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! So glad you're here today! If you've answered the questions add your link at the end of Joyce's post, then run say hello to the neighbor who linked before you. Here we go-


1. Pokemon Go...your thoughts? Are you playing? Do you even know what it is?
I don't know at all what it is, but I do know it involves people running in pairs and groups all while looking down at their phones as opposed to where they are and what's right in front of them. Do we really need more of this? Ugh!  I know there have been some deaths because of this and I know the police have been called locally because it has frightened some of the elderly.  It reminds me of Street D & D and I think it is dangerous.

2.  What was something you collected as a child? Do you still have that collection? If you're a parent what's something your own children collected? Have you ever camped out, stood in a crazy long queue, or paid a ridiculous sum for a 'collectible'?  I never collected anything as a child.  AT Christmas my mom would make me clear out toys to make room for new ones and then I would donate them to the Salvation Army Toy Drive.  My daughters  collected Barbie Dolls and Beanie Babies.  Eric collected scale cars.  I never camped out or ran all over town for a particular 'fad' and never paid more than the regular price for a collectible. 

3. 'Collect moments, not things'...tell us about a moment you've added to your collection this summer.
I have collected a lot of moments this year.  Frank and I spent a week together at PCB.  We held hands, we kissed, we enjoyed ourselves.  I spent time with my dear friend Susan, I spent a few days in Michigan with Susan and Amanda, I helped with VBS and had a blast!
4.  What's something collecting dust in your home right now? Any plans to do something about it?
I am going to be honest and say I'm not highly motivated to dust my house just now. I will have it done by the time school starts back on August 1st.

 5. A favorite song relating to time?  I love the song Joyce chose and so I am going to use it too.


 
6. What's been your most frightening or your most interesting encounter with wildlife?
Hmmm...my most frightening was probably the time a dog attacked me when I was 3. I was playing across the street from our house and a Rotweiler knocked me down and stood over me growling and slobbering.  I do not like big dogs to this day.

7.  On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong set his foot down on the moon. If you could travel to the moon would you go? Why or why not?
No. There's not enough Dramamine in the world to fly me to the moon. I'm truly thrilled there are explorers, astronauts, brave men and women who push the boundaries of space and time to show us what's out there. I'm just not one of them. Amen Joyce, well said!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
When did you start school?  When does school start where you live?  Before or after Labor Day.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Make Time For What's Important

My Scripture Today Comes From Luke 10: 38-42
What lessons can we learn from the story of Martha and Mary? Before we begin to answer that question we should know who Martha and Mary were. We know from John 11 verse 5 that Martha and Mary were the sisters of Lazarus and were loved by Jesus. Many scholars believe that although Martha, Mary and Lazarus were not among the 12 disciples, they were members of one of the larger groups of disciples. We most often think of Jesus traveling only with the twelve, but there is a lot of biblical evidence that there were at least three circles of disciples. The innermost circle was of course the twelve. The next circle probably consisted of about thirty people and probably included Mary Magdalene, Martha, Mary and Lazarus as well as several of the wives of the twelve. The next circle included all the other followers of Jesus.  Our lesson says that when Jesus came to Bethany, Martha invited him into her house and began to prepare a feast. In a society that required hospitality, Martha and Mary were renowned for theirs. While Martha was busy with the meal Jesus was speaking and Mary sat at his feet listening. We don’t know who else may have been at Martha and Mary’s house. We could probably assume at least some of the twelve disciples were there since they were with Jesus before Bethany and afterwards. Mary’s position as Jesus’ feet was the place of honor. This is noteworthy since in Jesus’ time women were not allowed to sit with the men and listen to the rabbis. Unlike today’s homes, the houses in those days did not have a separate kitchen and living room. Martha was most likely able to hear what Jesus was saying but because she was so busy she wasn’t listening. After a while she decided she needed some help and came to Jesus and asked if he cared that her sister was loafing while she was forced to do all the work. Jesus should make Mary help. Jesus replied that Martha was too busy with her preparations to pay attention to the most important thing. Since Mary was paying attention to what was most important, Jesus was not going to tell her to stop. From the tone of the scripture Jesus did not sternly rebuke Martha. Since he repeated her name we know that he addressed her with affection.  When I was a child….every time we had dinner at my grandmother’s house she would spend all day cooking. For dinner we would have at least one meat, potatoes, corn, at least two vegetables, rolls and cornbread, some form of congealed salad and a homemade dessert or two. As soon as dinner was over she would wash the dishes. We would all offer to help or tell her to leave them for later but our help was generally refused. When we got ready to leave she always complained that she hadn’t had enough time to visit.  It sounds like it’s almost the same story doesn’t it? Probably every one of us could think of someone (if not ourselves) that acts exactly like Martha when it comes to visitors. If you think about it though, this passage applies to much more than just meals.  In our daily lives how often do we get caught up in the details and miss what is important? Those of us who are parents may be spending all our times shuttling our children from activity to activity when what is most important to them is one-on-one interaction with their parents. When our children get older do you think that they will treasure their dance classes and ball practice or the times when Mommy or Daddy read to them or the whole family played games together? Think about your own childhood memories. What do you remember best? One that sticks out for me was a vacation we took to Santee Cooper River in South Carolina. We spent a week in a cabin on the river….fishing, swimming, playing games….and we didn’t see another person the entire time.  Many of us are overworked. Back in the 1950’s it was envisioned that the average work week would be 30 hours, instead in the 1990’s many people were working 50 to 60 hours a week with some doing as many as 80. But what are we missing out on with this sort of schedule? Is it really worth it to make extra money to buy things and not be able to enjoy them or worse yet to not enjoy our life at all? You may remember the Mac Davis song from the Seventies "Stop and Smell the Roses". In it we heard that "the way to heaven is a rough and rocky road" if we don’t stop and smell the roses along the way.  The scripture also applies to our relationship to the church. When Midway began I am sure everyone pledged to participate in its ministries by our prayers, presence, gifts and service. But do we? This pledge was made to God with the congregation as witnesses. As every new member is brought into the church we renew that pledge. Many of us however walk out of church on Sunday morning and get so busy that we forget all about it until next Sunday. We don’t pray for the church and its members if we pray at all. Sometimes we are too busy sleeping in to attend church on Sunday morning. Special events such as potluck dinners, youth carwashes, the parking lot sale and talent show are poorly attended. We have a Sunday night worship service yet the greatest attendance is ten people. We have a Wednesday night Bible Study….and the most in attendance is ten…. Any churches are struggling….they are too busy during the summers to remember that church expenses continue even when their members are not there…it is then that the finance committee is not sure how they are going to pay the operating expenses such as bills and salaries, let alone apportionments. Many have agreed to serve on committees but have never been to a meeting. What is so important that we cannot honor our pledge?  I want you to consider what I have said this morning. Although everything I said is important, it is not the “one thing” that Jesus was talking about. What was Jesus talking about? He was talking about our relationship with Him and with God! Martha was so busy preparing for Jesus that she forgot to be with Jesus. Yes it was important to feed her guests, but a simple meal would have been sufficient.  When we come to worship on Sunday do we approach it as a time to be with God? An article I read recently said that for churches to grow today they need to keep the people entertained. According to this article the church is just another entertainment outlet competing with all the others. If you want a thriving church you have to have great acoustics, a praise band, a professional quality choir, contemporary music, a multimedia center, beautiful decorations, lots of parking, and a charismatic minister with short sermons. Nowhere did it say anything about Jesus or God being a requirement. While some of these things are nice as extras, without Jesus why even bother?  I hope that is not what is happening here at Midway. Our worship services are not meant to be entertainment. We should never forget that the purpose of worship is to study the word of God and praise him. The hymns we sing are musical prayers. No matter how bad we may think our voice is every last one of us should sing for just that reason. We are not singing for those around us, we are singing for God, and every voice is beautiful to him since he made them. As we sing pay attention to the words and feeling of the hymns. Take the time after the service to read John Wesley’s directions for singing in the beginning of the hymnal.  After we leave the church do we continue to worship God and thank him for what he has given us? God is the most important thing in our life. Please do not get so busy that you forget this as Martha did.

 

 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Can You Hear Me Now?


Have you ever been in a room when a radio or television is turned so loud you can hardly think? Sometimes a car will go by playing very loud music and it feels as if the noise thumps in your head. This is called a distraction.

We can also be distracted by bright lights, certain colors, a bad odor, cells phones, or a lot of people trying to talk all at once.

Have you ever tried to talk to someone, maybe ask a question, and you realize the other person is not listening to you? You get the idea that the other person is thinking about something else - that person is distracted.

There is a story in the Bible about two sisters, Mary and Martha who were friends of Jesus. Jesus came to visit them. Martha was busy doing things and Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to him. Martha complained that Mary was not helping her with all the things she had to do. Jesus said, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things," (10:41) "but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part…" (10:42).

We may feel like we have many things to do, but we must remember that when our friends or family members want to talk to us it is best to stop what we are doing and give them our full attention. In this way we honor those who are reaching out to us. We let them know we really care what they have to say.

Mary chose to become very quiet and listen to Jesus. She really wanted to hear what he had to say. That is what we do when we pray and worship God. Becoming very quiet and listening is a way of honoring God.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Bountiful Hodge Podge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Answer the questions on your own blog, then jump back here and add your link at the end of Joyce's  post. Be sure you say howdy to your neighbor on the list, because that's how we roll here on Wednesdays. Here we go-
 
1.  Do you find yourself influencing your world, or is it more the other way around?
I like to think I influence my world....but that is not always the case...sometimes the world gets a hold of me and I cannot seem to break free from the rip tide.
2. July 14th is National Tape Measure Day...the device was patented on this date in 1868. When did you last use a tape measure? Do you always know where to find one in your house? Tell us one way in which you feel blessed 'beyond measure'.
I keep one in my purse and constantly am measuring.  The last time I used mine was at Home Depot last weekend.  I am blessed beyond measure with my family and friends. 

3.  The Plaza Hotel (Eloise), The Land of Oz (The Wizard of Oz), Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia), The Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh), Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), or Never Never Land (Peter Pan)...which storybook land (on this list!) would you most like to visit and why?  I'm going to agree with Joyce and say The Hundred Acre Wood. I too like the beauty found in nature, and the wisdom of Pooh and company. The Hundred Acre Wood seems like a peaceful place to take a break from the chaos, anger, name calling, and political rhetoric we're confronted with on a regular basis.  Well said Joyce, well said.

4. Where and when do you get your best ideas?  In the car, sitting outside, at the beach, in the mountains and at Cades Cove in the Smokies.

5. So what have you been watching on TV this summer? Anything good?  Food Network and Hallmark Movies.  I can't wait for the Olympics to start.

6. 'Don't swim for an hour after you eat', 'Dog days of summer', 'Knee high by the fourth of July'...choose a summer saying from the list or share one of your own, then tell us what image or memory comes to mind when you hear it spoken.  I grew up at the Beach, we would pack picnic lunches and go spend the day there.  I can remember my mom always telling me not to go swimming for an hour after I ate. I never understood why, but found myself telling my own children the same thing when we lived at Lake Martin.

7. In a single sentence, sum up one life lesson you've learned.  The acronym ASAP means Always say a Prayer to me.  Prayer is a big thing in my life.

8. Insert your own random thought here.  Have you ever been to Mackinac Island in Michigan?...or Traverse City?  I was there last week on a girl trip and it was awesome.  If you have never been....you should go.  It takes you back to another day and time.  Vehicles are not allowed.  You will see walkers, horse drawn carriages, and bikes.  There are 4 vehicles allowed:  1 police car, 2 ambulances, and 1 fire truck.
Arch rock

The porch at the Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel

Island View

 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

On The Family of God

Today I want to tell you that….. God adopts us as his children. He gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe in Jesus.

 
 

Have you ever been to the dog pound? If you want a puppy, you may find one at the dog pound. These beautiful young animals need a place to grow up. They need a person who will adopt them and care for them. Do you have any pets that you tend? 

Well, my story for you today is about how much God loves us.
God has given us every spiritual blessing. Some of those blessings are love, joy, and peace. God has blessed us by adopting us as his children. Adopted means that you are taken to a new home to be cared for and loved by parents. He even makes a promise to us that he will always love us. He makes a down payment on us by giving us his Holy Spirit. That guarantees that we are his children. We belong to Jesus. He cares for us and loves us.  I don't know about you...but that makes me very happy.

 
 

Part III - Love, Joy, Peace



My scripture today comes from But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ...” (Galatinas 5:22; John 15:4-13)
We have spent the last couple of weeks talking about the Fruits of the Spirit.  Today we are finishing up the series with Love, Joy and Peace.  When this sermon is over….and we leave this place….the goal is not to try and spend the next few weeks trying harder to be more loving, trying harder to be more joyful, trying harder to be more patient, trying to do a character self-improvement thing. That’s not what we are going to do.  Nope!  We are going to do something else. We’re going to go after one single word that Jesus talks about in John 15 - Jesus said, Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself. It must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples. As my Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Jesus is saying here, “From one moment to the next, keep receiving this unceasing flow of life and nourishment and love from God.” And if you do that—if you abide—the fruit of the Spirit will come. You can’t stop it.  And what is this fruit that the Lord wants to produce in our lives?

1. DIVINE LOVE - Now, there are a number of different kinds of love. There’s the physical kind of love. And there the platonic (non-sexual), love we have for family and friends. But the Lord isn’t talking about either of these. This love that is produced by the Spirit is something totally different again. This is a divine love that can only be produced in us when the Holy Spirit lives in us.   And this is what it looks like ....
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Divine love is so important because divine love shows everyone (including ourselves), who we truly belong to.  "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 1:34-35).  Divine love is also important because any other kind of love that we might give or receive that is not from God, is settling for second best in life.

 2. DIVINE JOY  Back in John 15:11, where Jesus is talking about remaining in him, he also says, "I have told you these things so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete." Whose joy are we supposed to live in? Jesus’ joy.   …..God’s divine joy is available to us. And we need it! We need God’s divine joy because it’s the only way to stay sane when things get crazy in life. You see, God’s divine joy stays no matter what’s going on around us. Not simply happiness, but “holy optimism.” Divine joy is not dependent upon circumstances. Divine joy is a delight in knowing God.  So….Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Divine joy is so important because divine joy shows everyone (including ourselves), who we truly belong to. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18-20).  Divine love is also important because any other kind of joy that we might give or receive that is not from God, is settling for second best in life.
3. DIVINE PEACE - In John 14:27 - Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives." Whose peace are we supposed to live in? It’s his love, his joy, his peace. And as we abide in him, the fruit of the Spirit just flows in the way that life flows into a branch from the vine.  Jesus gives this peace to those who are connected to him. There is a peace we can gain from the world, but it never lasts – you just need to walk into any parliament or any court room, or read any newspaper to see that. But the peace the Lord offers is not a lack of conflict. It is peace despite conflict. It’s peace of mind (Contentment), which springs from being in a right relationship with God...Despite conflict. It’s peace of mind (Contentment), which springs from being in a right relationship with God.  Divine peace is important because it shows everyone (including ourselves), who we truly belong to.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).
In all of this we must remember that this fruit is produced to be eaten, not merely put on display and admired. Also, producing the fruit of the Spirit doesn’t mean doing a lot of new activities or trying really hard. It means doing the things you already do, but learning to do them with Jesus. This is what it means to "abide" or "remain" in him.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Happy Birthday Momma

Today would have been my mom's 87th birthday.  There will be no party...no cake....no gifts.  I am traveling home with Amanda and Susan from Michigan. We went to one of my mom's favorite places....Mackinac Island.  She loved this place and I can see why.  I wish I could have experienced it with her....just once....but...there are no regrets.  I know sometimes people who lose a loved one seem to stay frozen in time....I haven't....my mom has been gone for 4 years....but....I will say....there are still many times I would love to pick up the phone and call her.....just to talk.  Sometimes I wish there were phones in heaven.  Sigh!  I spoiled my mom....on her 60th birthday I took her to see Robert Goulet at TPAC in Nashville.  He was King Arthur in Camelot.  Many years before she had wanted to see him as Sir Lancelot ....in New York.....it didn't happen....so I made arrangements for the second best thing to happen.  I even made arrangements for her to meet him afterwards. She was in seventh heaven.....and told me I never had to buy her another birthday gift EVER!  My mom suffered with Alzheimers....so that was a statement she would never remember....on her 70th birthday I arranged for her to fly in a helicopter....one of her bucket list things.  She had a ball.   I am glad she got to do those things....shortly after that...Alzheimer's took hold and my mom began to dwindle and gifts were not as exciting a they once were....if she even remembered there was a special occasion that warrented a gift.  Thanks for letting me ramble a bit and remember mom......I hate Alzheimers!