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!”

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Where Did September Go Hodge Podge

Somehow we're into the last Hodgepodge of September. Hmmm...not sure how we got here so quickly, but you can't stop time so onward it is. Christmas is just around the corner.  Answer the questions on your own blog, then jump back over to Joyce's blog and add your link to the party.  See you there!
1. Something on your October calendar that makes you smile?  My daughter and SIL are coming back to America on the 8th.  They will be here for a month.  I have not seen her in 17 months and I am thrilled beyond thrilled.  I am having Christmas on Halloween since they won't be here then.  I am going all out...decorating and everything.  I will probably pull my tree down on Christmas day evening.  :-)

2. Food for the soul or music for the soul...which camp are you in? Tell us why.  Music for the soul would be my first option.  Music sets the tone for my day, helps me get my praise on in the morning, and can sooth the savage beast within me.   That was especially true this morning with my new favorite song by Casting Crowns.  Food for the soul follows after the music begins.  Then it is time to open my bible and hear what the Lord has to say to me for the day!
3. What are two or three things you've learned recently as the result of an online search? I learned something about cereal....Corn Flakes to be exact that I wish I never knew because of a commercial for an upcoming show.  It is gross.  I learned that the Teddy Stoddard story about one very special teacher and her son is not true.  I still like to think it is....or at least could be.
4. Share your favorite game day recipe. You can describe it, post the how-to, or add a link to the actual recipe. Home boiled peanuts would be the all time favorite.  Frank boils 2 pounds for 6 hours in either a salt brine or Cajun spice...and they are amazing.  But...I make Buffalo Chicken Dip (One of Frank's favorites)


  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (10 ounces) chunk white chicken, drained
  • 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
  • French bread baguette slices, celery ribs or tortilla chips, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread cream cheese into an ungreased shallow 1-qt. baking dish. Layer with chicken, wing sauce and salad dressing. Sprinkle with cheese.
  2. Bake, uncovered, 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted. If desired, serve with baguette slices. Yield: about 2 cups.
This is so ridiculously easy and so tasty.  We eat it on crackers, veggies, chips...etc.
5. What are your five essential steps for creating the perfect morning routine?  Time with God, Cup of Coffee, Bowl of oatmeal, 2nd cup of coffee, time with Frank discussing our plans for the day....then I get ready and go to work.  I love mornings!6. What small thing have you taken note of today?  The leaves are beginning to change.  There was a yellow sugar maple on the side of the road on my way to work.7. Sum up your September in seven words or less.  Busy, Busy, Busy
8.  Insert your own random thought here. Have you started your Christmas shopping?  Are you a year round shopper?....or a wait til the last minute before facing the crowds. I normally buy throughout the year....but this year I have had to deplete some of my stock because of unexpected, last minute birthday parties.  I still plan to be done before Thanksgiving.  I save one or two gifts to buy in December  because I love all the decorations and hustle and bustle.  What say you?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Kat and The Code Adam

Many years ago I remember being at the Farmer's Market in West Palm Beach and hearing the announcer say, "Will little Billy's lost mommy please report to the office."  Everyone in the Farmer's Market snickered.  It was over quick....the place did not go on lockdown and little Billy and his mom had ice cream.  Back in my day life was not so scary....but things change...people get meaner....and children get hurt by bad people every day.  I have been in stores when they make the announcement, "Code Adam" and it makes me sick at my stomach.  Why?  Because I know that somewhere there is a frantic mother who cannot find her child.  I know this feeling first hand because I have been that parent.  I was a good momma and very observant only takes the blink of an eye for you to got from "Yes, I am a good momma" to "I am the worst momma on this earth".  I did it in less than 60 seconds.  When Kat was 2 we went to the Vanity Fair outlet in Boaz, AL.  Outlets were just taking off and this was the closest one to where I lived.  It was a beautiful two hour drive and we looked so forward to this adventure.  Kat was two and so I took her little umbroller(umbrella folding stroller) so she would not get tired.  We had been shopping for about an hour and Kat had been sleeping soundly in the stroller when I looked down and realized my stroller was minus one very small redheaded little girl.  I went nuts.  My mom and I looked everywhere and then I went to the Security Office.  The officer was so kind, asked me to describe her, and immediately shut the store down issuing a Code Adam.  Yes, some people grumbled because they could not leave....but in a matter of just a few minutes an elderly lady came to the front holding Kat by the hand.  It seems my wayward two year old had figured out how to get out of the stroller, climbed into the rack of jeans and wandered off.  When she came out of the jeans she did not see anyone she recognized and found a lady who looked like her granny and asked her to help her find her granny.  The whole event was over in less than 10 minutes...but it seemed like hours.  We finished shopping and met several people who told us how glad they were that we found her.  My little redhead...wearing purple Osh Kosh overalls....and wildcat tennis shoes.  Next time you are somewhere and a Code Adam goes out...please understand that this parent is beside themselves....they are NOT necessarily bad parents...they may be in a bad me.  Code Adam to a parent is thoughts now when I hear it....Stop and Pray.  Pray that the parent finds their child....and pray that the child is safe.  Be aware of your surroundings.  I hope this never happens to you.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Jones, Party of 18

I got up this morning and found a blog post from my daughter in Moldova.  I began reading it in the wee hours of the morning and my heart swelled.  There is an eight hour time difference from here to Moldova and right now it is 5 here and right now it is 1 in the afternoon there. I hope you enjoy this post.  I am proud of the two of them and what they have accomplished with God's help.  God is so good.
Sunday, September 27, 2015

Parenting is not for the faint of heart.  Parenting teenagers is not for the weary of mind.  You have to be tough and smart.   I applaud all of you who have been doing this work-this joy giving, heart wrenching, frustrating, emotionally driven, life breathing, hilariously wonderful thing called parenting.  I'm new to it, so I am sure some day I will look back and laugh at my naivety and I am sure you parenting veterans will find flaw...but bear with me:)
Brian and I are now experiencing parenthood for the first a way that is quite different than anything we ever expected. It is not your conventional "family structure" -but our family is ours just the same.  We are responsible for the love and care every single day....and they outnumber us....and they are all teenage girls....and they all speak a language/culture that is not our first language. Its real, y'all.  There are always attitudes, tears, perceived injustices, urgent needs that must be met...and there are always hugs to give and receive, encouragements to share, special notes or surprises, lessons to teach and learn- A parent's job never ends. 
I am going to be real with you all....even in the moments where I feel at the craziest end of my rope...I love it.  Even when I secretly want to hide out for just a moment of peace...I would not change one thing about my temperamental little family here.  We are a family...a party of 18.  Do you know if there are any really good books about parenting 18 teenage girls...all at the same time?  Perhaps I should contact that famous TV family that keeps on counting.  Maybe they could offer wisdom.
Yeah.  So parenting in our home can sometimes be a little tough.  But I truly believe that God equips the called and He has been showing up everyday and giving us the tools we need.  Have we mastered parenting in just a few short months?  Um.  NO!  We are daily praying- DEAR JESUS PLEASE OH PLEASE SHOW US WHAT TO DO AND HOW TO DO THIS ALL YOUR WAY. Some days-I think...God, we totally rocked I just parented like someone who has been a parent many many years!!!  When I hear myself offering wisdom that does not sound like anything my peabrain could find...I say...THANK YOU JESUS FOR THAT....and I remember that anything good in me, is NOT Kathryn.  It is God. 
So-like I said- parenting is new to us.  I like to try to use all that I learned in my three educational degrees...but theory and practice are often very different....all those times I thought..."when I have children, I won't_____" Have been thrown out the door!  Picking battles is my new I haven't mastered it yet...but I'm working on it.  There are always those who love to challenge rules or decisions...multiply that times Moldova.  Seriously-Moldovans have a tendency towards rule bending-even our youth pastor told me that. Every rule has a way around it here.  And my 16 lovelies are very fond of sharing their opinion on what things we need to improve...or how I should discipline other girls.  Its loads of fun...and super tiring. 
This week we had a moment that parents fear.  We had a past curfew, non-caller, unable to locate situation.  My heart was beating out of my chest and I was praying angels and hedges and pretty much just saying words that made no sense to me -but God knew....I was so worried that our dear one was somewhere hurt or alone or just feeling alone.  My whole being ached.  I was full of fear...but I knew that I need not be -because God had her in the palm of His hands.  Ten minutes felt like ten years...but, thankfully, we found our dear one (I will spare you all the details).  When I laid eyes on her precious face, I just burst into tears and held her so tight....and told her "I LOVE YOU SOO MUCH!! I have been praying so hard for you...I love you. I love you. I love you"  I know that Brian and I will make mistakes in this.  I know we will have more scary moments.  I know I will fail miserably some most days...but I want to always always depend on Him...the good, good father to get me through it.  This new role of ours is teaching sooo much about God as father-the perfect parent.  Brian and I love these girls.  They are our family.  I won't say that we love them like they were are own.  They are our family.(PERIOD!).  I just wanted to let you in on our little secret.  Our family is growing...The two have now become 18 (really there are 18 more girls next door who are ours as well...but I just wanted to tell you about the ones who are "under my roof"...yep I have used the phrase as long as you are "under my roof".  Parenting skills level-novice)
Guys.  I would love your continued prayer in this journey.  Life in Moldova has not been easy...but lives worth living rarely are.  Pray that we can walk every step of this out with Him.  That our Good Father will guide our every step and show us both how to love His children and How to grow them stronger in Him. 
All you parents.  (Especially the three of you who actually read my blog-mom, Courtney, and Mandy).  I salute you and all the self doubt, joy, fear, frustration, beauty, and amazing love of God that you have all experienced so far in your path of parenting.  Thank you for being examples for me...and for also keeping me a bit sane.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Salt or Flour Taste Test

My Scripture Reference for you today is from: Matt. 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?”
Jesus once told his disciples that they were salt and light. That was sort of a strange thing to say. What do you suppose Jesus meant by that? Jesus told his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as useless” (Matt 5:13 NLT). In other words, without its strong taste, salt is not much good for anything.
Could I need two volunteers to taste something for me? I’m going to pour a white powder into your hand. You taste it and tell me if you think it is salt or not. Does that taste like salt? It doesn’t have much of a taste, does it? It’s bland and plain. Would you put it on your food?
Now I want you to taste something else. Does that have a strong taste? What is it?  That’s salty salt. We put salt on food to flavor it. If our salt was not salty, it would be useless to put it on our food.
Jesus wants us to be salty, and he wants us to shine brightly. People around us should know for sure that we’re Christians. We should show them love and acceptance and tell them about God and invite them to church.  A little bit of salt on food can make a big difference. One little light can push back the darkness. Just a few salty Christians in a neighborhood can make a difference.
Prayer: Help us to be salty Christians, Lord. May we shine brightly in our world and show others the way to you.

Stumbling Block or Stepping Stone.....Which One Are You?

My scripture today comes from Mark 9: 38-50
Mark’s Gospel has been giving us excellent glimpses into the character of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. As I prayerfully considered our text this morning two points spoke most powerfully to me. Jesus warns us as His disciples against the pitfalls of stumbling, and He commands us to be salt.  Our Lord has a two-fold concern about stumbling in our text. He does not want any of His disciples to cause another Christian to stumble; but neither does He want any of His us to stumble in our personal walk of faith. He treats both matters very seriously. Just exactly what is a stumbling block? A father shared a personal experience He had with his family in a book I was reading.  He said, “The weather had been rather spring like for the month of January in New Jersey. The unseasonable weather had my boys enjoying the outdoors in ways not normal for winter.  “I came home from work one night and parked my truck out in the driveway, jumped out, and headed up the front walk towards the house. The next thing I knew I’m laying on the ground writhing in pain. One of the boys had left his skateboard right in the middle of the walkway, and it caused me to trip.  “I took a few minutes to gather my composure. Then I walked into the house to find my darling wife and sons sitting in the kitchen talking.  “I said hello and mentioned something about how nice the weather had been all day. Everyone agreed, and then, the truth came out. Rob said, ‘It was so nice today that I even rode my skateboard.’  “‘So,’ I said, ‘I want to thank you for that reminder of what it feels like to fall off of a skateboard.’ He asked what I meant, and I proceeded to show him the tear in my new pair of jeans and the gash in my leg.
“’What happened,’ he asked.  “I told him that he left his skateboard in the middle of the front walk and I had stumbled over it and fell. He apologized and said he didn’t mean to leave it in the walkway” Rob’s skateboard was a stumbling block for his Father. I
n the New Testament the word for stumbling block is the one from which we get our English word “scandal.” It is found only in the New Testament, and is never used by any of the Classical Greek authors. Literally, it means “a trap.” It originally referred to “the trigger of a trap on which the bait is placed.” When the bait is touched by the intended victim, the trap springs and closes around the animal causing its entrapment.” It is similar to our mouse trap. A stumbling block is a trap for weaker Christians; it is anything that would lead a Christian brother or sister astray, into sin, or cause that person to fall away from the truth.  As disciples we are not to be the cause for another brother or sister to sin or fall away from the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  “Food will not bring us close to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.” Jesus takes the threat of a disciple becoming the stumbling block that causes another brother or sister to go astray, fall into sin, or lose faith very seriously. He says, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” A millstone was “one of a pair of large, round, flat stones used to grind grain.” Grinding meal was a task usually reserved for women in Palestine; it was regarded as too degrading a task for men. The upper-stone of the Eastern hand-mill was usually only about 18 to 24 inches in diameter; therefore, it could easily be hung around the neck of a person to be drowned. There were large mills, however, that could not be turned by a woman, and a donkey had to do the work. The stones used in this case were so large that brute, animal strength was required to turn them. The millstone in our text may refer to such a large stone, turned by donkey power. The Syrians, Romans, and Greeks sometimes would execute the worst of criminals by weighting them down with one of these heavy stones and drowning them in the depths of the sea. Thus weighted down, those suffering such execution had no possible hope of survival.  If we as disciples cause a brother or sister to stumble, Jesus says it would be better for us if we ”had a heavy millstone around our necks, and had been cast into the sea.” A disciple does not cause a brother or sister to stumble. We all need to guard against becoming stumbling blocks! Paul warns us about this possibility in Romans 14:13 tell us " 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister."   Listen carefully…. “Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.” Love is the spiritual fruit that will prevent us from becoming stumbling blocks, as John encourages us so well in  “The one who loves His brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” As we abide in the love of Jesus, the Holy Spirit empowers and enables us to love and not become stumbling blocks to another brother or sister in Christ.  This week I saw a picture in Men’s Health magazine that says it all. Remember the warning of Jesus in our text, “We are not to cause one of these little ones who believe in Him to stumble.” Our Lord is referring back in this case to the young child he exalted as the prime example of the one who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven in verses 37 and 38 of this same chapter of Mark. In the Men’s Health illustration the stumbling block is smoking, and the picture I saw, said it all,  The picture was of a father figure….standing….with his small son….the man was smoking…and the little boy was imitating him….the ad said “QUIT NOW, AND HE WON’T PICK IT UP!” The short clip was entitled “Do It for the Kids” Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that quitting smoking before your child reaches third grade can reduce his or her odds of becoming a smoker by up to 40 percent. ‘The period of time between the ages of 8 and 20 is when people are most likely to start smoking,’ says Jonathan B. Bricker, Ph. D., the study’s lead author. ‘However, if kids don’t see their parents smoking during this time, there’s a good chance they’ll never pick up the habit,’ he says” Our behavior affects other Christians more than we can imagine. In his December 1985 article in Christianity Today entitled “The Covenant Companion” Lloyd Ahlem declares, “No one’s behavior is entirely his or her own business. . . . In our day of prized individuality and ‘it’s nobody’s business but mine’ attitude, we trip each other up in more ways than we recognize. Stumbling blocks may be unkind words we speak, unchristlike actions we may perform, or questionable habits to which we cling. Is there some stumbling block you have placed in another Christian’s pathway that the Holy Spirit is directing you to surrender to Jesus today?  Disciples are not to be stumbling blocks, but we are to be salt. Jesus closing words in Mark Chapter nine are these: “Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another” [--Mark 9:50 tells us:  “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
Salt was a necessity of life in Israel. I mean…this is true…. “Can something tasteless be eaten without salt?” What is the first thing most of us do in a restaurant after the waiter or waitress brings us our food? We salt it. Salt had many uses in Hebrew worship. The grain offering, burnt offering, and incense all had to be salted. As a sign of fidelity and friendship, salt was used to ratify covenants, including God’s Covenants with His people in the Old Testament. It was used as fertilizer, but in excess, it would also damage the soil…eating too much can damage the body.  Salt purifies, cleanses, and preserves from corruption, and He uses His disciples as agents of purification, cleansing, and preservation in the world. As salt prevents food from decaying, so do disciples of Jesus, we must be agents of the Holy Spirit to reverse the moral decay in our society today by helping bring about His Kingdom and obedience to His will here on earth as it is in heaven.  Jesus warns “if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? In the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5:13 - 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Israel’s source of salt was the Dead Sea and the Hill of Salt. The Dead Sea is nine times more salty than the Ocean. The Hill of Salt covers a fifteen square mile area at the Southwestern corner of the Dead Sea. This is the vicinity where Lot’s wife turned into a “pillar of salt.” The salt in this region is of the rock or fossil type. The outer layer is filled with impurities, undergoes frequent chemical changes, and generally lacks flavor. This outer layer was usually destroyed because of its worthless. Likewise disciples, who lose interest in being “salt” for Jesus, can no longer be effective His servants apart from repentance and restoration.  So let me ask you…..Are you a stumbling block or salt in the hands of Jesus? I have always remembered the words of a poem by an unknown author that I have heard in sermons by other pastors. It brings our message home in a powerful way:

“Isn’t it strange that princes and kings
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
And common folks like you and me
All are builders for eternity?”

“To each is given a book of rules,
A block of stone and a bag of tools;
And each must shape ‘ere time has flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone”

A stumbling block, a stepping stone, salt, which are you?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Falling For Hodge Podge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So glad you're here! If you've answered the questions, add your link at the end of Joyce's blog and tell the world what you know. Be sure you say hi to the blogger who linked before you too, because there's no love like comment love. 
Here we go-

1. What have you 'fallen for' recently?  Chopped, Chopped Teen Challenge, Chopped After Hours and Rachel Ray's kids cooking challenge.  None of my NCIS shows have been on and I cannot wait for the season premieres. 
2. What's something you're 'squirreling away' for later?
Christmas gifts I have been buying up all year and of course my retirement fund.
3. How do you like your apples? Sweet? Tart? Crisp? Cooked? Apples are one of the superfoods for often do you eat an apple either plain or as part of a favorite recipe? What's your favorite variety?  I adore apples, this time of year especially, and have them in some form or another several times a week.  I'm fine with eating them in their natural state, but also love them in pies, sauce, in crisps, cakes, with caramel dip, or baked  alongside a pork roast or chop. My favorite is a crisp (must be crisp!) tart variety like a Mac, but I'll eat any kind of apple.  I have tried my hand at making crock pot no-sugar added Apple Butter and it was amazing.  Tart ones are my favorites.
4. According to Fodor's the ten best fall foliage trips in the US of A are-Aspen ColoradoThe Catskills New York, The Berkshires Massachusetts, Columbia River Gorge Oregon, Green Mountain Byway Vermont, Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway New Mexico, Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, Upper Peninsula Michigan, Lake of the Ozarks Missouri, and Glacier National Park Montana. Which would you most like to visit this fall and why?  I would love to go to Vermont...maybe after I retire...Glacier National Park is also at the top of the list.  The only one I have seen in fall from this list is the Great Smoky Mountains.  I would like to add Bear Lake in Maine.  It was one of the most amazing sites I have ever seen too.  I love fall foliage.  5. The topic of legalizing marijuana was raised in the most recent televised political debate so let's wade in too. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Your thoughts?   I'm not in favor of legalizing marijuana, but not opposed to it in the treatment of disease.  We've tightened up the drinking laws, and practically outlawed cigarettes, but we're going to legalize pot?  This makes no sense to me.6. Are you okay to watch a movie already in progress, or to jump into the middle of a TV series, or must you see it from the beginning?  Depending on how far into the movie it is....I'm okay to watch a movie already in progress.  Usually I can figure it out before too long.   I prefer to see a movie from the beginning, unless of course I've already seen it and this is a repeat viewing.   We watch the NCIS's and Scorpion.  That is about all the regular TV we watch...most of our viewing pleasure is on the Food channel.  
7. Thursday (September 24) is National Punctuation Day. What rule of punctuation trips you up most often? What rule of punctuation, when broken by someone else, bugs you the most?
What rule trips me up the most?   I am just like Joyce.  I absolutely love the ellipsis and overuse it to the nth degree. I'm working on it, but....
What annoys me most?  Mine is less about the punctuation....and more about the there, their, they're slip ups.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.  I had a Mac at my old school that was about ten+ years old and I loved it.  I have not played around with a new one.  My random thought is that fall is here.  How much fall do you get in your neck of the woods.  We have color but not like the Smoky Mountains color.  Do you love fall?  I do.  I have to say it is my favorite season.

I Am Empty

I have been feeling overwhelmed by life and today I opened my Bible and it fell to this verse.  I knew it was the one I needed because there was an arrow literally pointing at it.  You know the of those post-it arrows you use to mark a place....well somehow it had gotten stuck in my about a God thing.  "Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly" (Matthew 11:30, MSG).  Oh yes!  I went to Starbucks last week.  Yes, I was going to have my overpriced coffee in the most talked about red cup. As I opened the door, the smell of Starbucks coffee filled me with glee.   I ordered my coffee to go and was so excited that my warm, happy coffee-friend(in the dreaded red cup) would come along with me for the ride. As I grabbed a cup from the counter and paid, I asked the barista how she was doing.“I’m exhausted!” She lamented with a sigh.  I smiled and responded, "I know the feeling." Here lately I feel that way a lot! I’m the world's worst for packing 48 hours with of stuff into a 24 hour period.  She was tired. Stressed. Drained. Over-committed. Under-rested. Exhausted. Yep. I totally know that feeling.  Have you been there? Ha! Of course you have! It’s so easy for us to fill our lives with busy ness while we carry on with the business of life.   As a wife, teacher, preacher I find myself constantly pulled in a bazillion directions. By the end of the day I am useless to anyone and fall into sleep exhausted.  The other night, after an extremely busy day, Frank was watching football and I was reading.  He asked me, "do you know why firetrucks are red?"  I said, "no."  He went on to give the explanation and when he finished I did not respond, or laugh.  He turned to see why and I was sound asleep sitting in my chair!  Poor Frank.  I know his story was interesting....but exhaustion won this round.   It is comforting to know that I am not the only person to struggle with exhaustion.   All throughout Scripture people got worn-out and lamented about their tired souls. David wrote countless Psalms about being weary, and Elijah was so exhausted at one point that he sank into a deep depression and lost his God-courage. Jesus spoke to a crowd of people in Galilee one day about the only sure-fire solution to our exhaustion problem.
He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)  I can just hear Jesus saying to me..... “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).  I don't know about you but that sounds heavenly.  I think it is time for me to step back, reassess, grab my Bible and prayer journal, and read, write, respond, and pray.  Just spend time alone with God and shut the outside world away for a bit...and rest!   I travel between two schools each day and after reading this verse have turned down the radio and began just talking to God.  I am a lot less tired when I get home in the afternoon.  How about you?  Are you exhausted?  Stop, open The Book, read, and relax in His loving arms....even if it is just for a few moments.  Believe me it is worth it!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

When I Grow Up I Wanna Be...

My scripture today is from Mark 9:30-37.  There is a clergy colleague of mine who has two sons. I have known these two boys since they were babies, and since moving to Roanoke, I have enjoyed playing with them on several occasions. Usually when I encounter the two boys, they have their light sabers in hand and are ready to engage in sword fights like most young boys. Recently, my colleague told me of riding in the car with his youngest son, a five-year old who started kindergarten this year. I always enjoy such stories from my friend, as her boys seem to have interesting thoughts and conversations when they are in the car. Well, on this particular occasion, the youngest made this statement, “Mom, I can’t decide if I want to be a rockstar or a construction worker when I grow up.” This seems to be a common dilemma as we grow up, deciding what we want to be when we get big. And for most kids, it changes daily, or at least weekly or monthly. I remember in my early years aspiring to be a great singer or a mommy. I’m even pretty sure there was a dream of being an archeologist somewhere in there too, along with movie star and tennis great. I remember my best friend announcing with conviction for years that she wanted to be a cash register. Not a retail clerk, but a cash register because the cash register gets the money!  As a child I thought that was a pretty cool idea.  I’m sure that if we were to take the time today to share with one another all the things we talked about being when we were young and dreaming about growing up; it would probably run the gamut – President, teacher, lawyer, architect, inventor, artist, cook. When we are young, the possibilities are endless. Yet, how many of us when we were young said, “When I grow up, I want to be small.” Now, I’m not talking about being small in stature. I’m talking about being small in power or small in prestige, more like a servant than a master. This is exactly what Jesus was telling his disciples they should aspire after when he pulled the young child into his arms on this occasion and said, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.  Today I want to celebrate with you all here at Midway what this church is does to welcome the children and youth of our community. I love the fact that we provide pizza at the end of each grading period to celebrate their success in their classes.  We have had 5th quarter.  Next weekend we will give scholarships to deserving college students.  We do not slack when it comes to lifting up our youth.   We are not perfect….and we have a long way to go…..but last weekend….we celebrated a rememberance of a Baptism….and two baptisms….and it all began with a little girl inviting her friend to church.  We need to stay busy….busy…doing the work of welcoming the young in the name of Jesus Christ. But let us also remember that Jesus’ lesson to the disciples extended far beyond welcoming the child. To understand exactly what Jesus had in mind when he, shall we say, “redirected” the disciples’ conversation about who was the greatest, we must have an understanding of the role of children in Jesus’ time. In the ancient near East, a child was a non-person. This is difficult for us to fully comprehend now because we have come to place great value on childhood and that privileged time of innocence. Yet, when Jesus was in ministry on this earth, children would have rarely been found among a teacher and his disciples. Children stayed with the women, working and serving in the households. They had no standing or influence in the wider, male-dominated society. Children were inconsequential. They were socially invisible. And yet here, with his disciples before him, Jesus puts forth the child as his own “stand-in.” But the child is also a stand-in for a wider social segment of humanity. Jesus’ words to the disciples were not just about welcoming children, but about welcoming all who are socially invisible, all who are inconsequential or marginalized. Jesus is turning the tables on the definition of greatness. The disciples knew that the conversation they were having was inappropriate, and now Jesus is letting them know why. The Kingdom of God is not about greatness and power; it’s about service to the least. Jesus teaches his disciples that the one who is ready to serve someone who can offer nothing in return will be the greatest. When we get big, our desire should be to be small, to be servant at all.  Today, let us roll out our welcome wagon, get out huggers oiled and ready to use…. there is plenty of service to be done in this community. For the most part, people are not going to find their way to Midway on their own. We must invite them. As a general rule, those who walk through our doors will already be believers. I was thinking this week about the fact that probably most of the people who visit in churches already hold at least some belief in God as Lord of their lives. Most unbelievers don’t wake up on a Sunday morning….and say to themselves…”Gee, I think I will go and see what Midway is all about.  In this community….in the shadow of this steeple….in this county….there are so many people who have never heard the name Jesus Christ; there are those who do not believe in a creating God whose hand is still at work in his creation? What about those in this community to whom the Gospel is a completely foreign concept? These things will not change, lives will not be transformed, unless we are making intentional efforts to reach out in the name of Christ and welcome those around us who may not have the same belief system as us. Surrounding us in these neighborhoods up and down Highway 431 are people who struggle in the midst of lives that are inconsistent with God’s will for our lives. The message of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial love brings with it the key to looking ahead and shaping lives that are fruitful and blessed. But this Word will not spread itself. We must share with all the good news of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again to new life; a new life that is now offered to all in love.  Once we have shared that message in the farthest reaches of our lives, we must be prepared to welcome any and all who might come knocking on Midway’s door. We must be prepared to serve in the name of Christ whose love is already at work transforming our lives and who calls us to be at work in response to that transformation. We cannot stop here, rest on our haunches, pat ourselves on the back, and think that “we have built it, so they will come.” We are still called to serve. The more we grow in Christ, the more we serve in his name. Christ beckons us to seek out the socially invisible and to make for them a place in the body of Christ. God’s vision for God’s creation is huge, but to see the reality of God’s Kingdom come to full fruition, we have to start in the places that seem insignificant and inconsequential. If we are to really dream big, we’ve got to think small. If we really want to be great, then we will serve the least. And our greatest aspiration as individuals and as a church community should be this, “When I grow up, I want to be a servant!”  How about you? 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Best Part of Waking Up.....Is Not Always Folgers

My scripture for today comes from Isaiah and is one of my favorite verses.  I claimed this verse when I was in college at Auburn University....their mascot is an Eagle/Tiger.  There is nothing more beautiful to me than the sight of an eagle in flight and the first time I saw the Auburn Eagle soar in the stadium my heart stopped.  It was breathtaking and the Isaiah verse became one I would go to in times of trouble. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV).  I am an early riser....always have been.....always will be.  The first thing I the darkness of the house is walk straight to the coffee pot and push the ON button. I am delighted that I have a Keurig....and my coffee will be ready in less than 3 minutes.   I like a piping-hot, extra dark roast with Caramel Machiatto creamer.  I do not function well without my first cup of coffee. I stand in joyful anticipation of that first sip and I delight in the warmth of the mug in my hands. My mornings are not off to a good start without that delightful cup of coffee!   This morning as I waited for the sound of the end of the brewing cycle I began to thing...the way I feel about that cup of coffee is the way I should feel about spending time with God.  I should wake up each morning bursting at the seams to be with God, to be in His presence, to listen for His still small voice, to savor Him. My daily faith should be brewed fresh daily, it should strengthen me, renew me, and enable me to mount up with wings like eagles, to experience the power of God in our lives, to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint.  The really exciting thing is that this faith is readily available to all who ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7-8)...not just me. How can you experience this power in your life? By getting alone with God, reading the Bible, and listening for His voice each day. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, ESV).  Like a morning with no coffee, there are times when I am sluggish in my faith. Times when trusting Him doesn’t come easily. Times when I need a shot of God-caffeine in our day, a spiritual espresso. It is times like these that I stop and ask myself, Karen, What has God brought you through in the past?  I then take time to think on these things, and choose to trust Him to bring me through all I face today and tomorrow. I remember...if God brings you to it....he will bring you through it.  So this morning as I fill up my coffee cup....I take a few moments, pray, and fill up my faith cup too.  I am inviting you all to share a cup of coffee and a cup of faith with me today.  How about it?  Have a blessed day my friends!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn

About The Book:  A wedding brings together two young widowed parents . . . and gives them a second chance at love.  Emma Keim was heartbroken when her husband, Sanford, passed away, leaving her to raise three young daughters alone. Though several years have passed, her relatives have made it no secret that they expect Emma to remain a widow, mourning Sanford indefinitely. But when she meets Jay Hilty---a handsome widower with three young sons of his own---Emma is delighted to have a new friend who understands her struggles. Still, she is dismayed that her family is so opposed to their friendship---and the idea of it ever becoming anything more. She honors her husband's memory every day, but is she destined to be alone forever?  Emma's gentleness with Jay's boys stirs something in his heart that's been quiet for far too long. But when his oldest son becomes engaged to a local woman, suddenly Jay, Emma, and their children are swept up in wedding preparations. Witnessing his son's joy, Jay wonders if it's time for him to move forward, too, and find happiness again.  Once again, love has come to Pinecraft. But can these two parties of four become a happy, healthy family of eight?  Purchase a copy:
About The Author:
Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.
Find Shelley online:
website, Facebook, Twitter

My Thoughts On The Book:  I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Wedding at Orange Blossom Inn. It is the third in a series of Amish Brides of Pinecraft and my first to read.  It did not matter that I had not read any of the other books because I immediately fell in love with Pinecraft and the characters.  It was an easy read and I actually read it in one sitting because I just did not want to put it down.  I found myself laughing and crying at the same time.  This is a must read if you love Amish fiction and romance.  I LOVED IT!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Avon Inspire,  and Litfuse as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Twice Blessed

About The Book:
About Her Sister’s Shadow Katie and Rosie Stoltzfus work part-time in an Amish store and part-time in Two Peas in a Pod, their own business raising vegetables and fruits and canning them for sale. Although they are identical twins, their personalities are very different: while Katie has always been more outgoing and attractive to boys, Rosie has always felt in her sister’s shadow. It will take an unexpected business opportunity and one very special man to help Rosie see that she’s a unique woman of her own.  
About His Brother’s Keeper
Ever since they were boys, Ben Fisher has trailed after his brother, Mark. Ben has always envied Mark because he’s always been more adventurous, but he's even more jealous now that Mark is engaged to Ruth, a woman they both love. When a terrible accident on Christmas Eve results in their mistaken identity, Ben suddenly has an opportunity to create the life he’s always wanted. While everyone believes he is his brother, who’s still in a coma, Ben finally has a chance with Ruth. But how can he realize an opportunity for real happiness if it means deceiving his kin?

About The Author:  Barbara Cameron has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish. She is the author of more than 35 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Barbara currently resides in Edgewater, Florida. Find out more about Barbara at and
My Thoughts On The Book:  I was so looking forward to this book because I am a huge fan of Amish romance and fiction.  What I got was mindless reading with little to no enjoyment.  I cannot honestly say I enjoyed either of these short stories (and the key word there is short), because the characters in neither of the stories were well developed and came across watered down and weak.  The cover of the book said the stories were two Christmas stories and I did not get that feeling while reading.  I was disappointed.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Abingdon Press, and Net Galley as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Shall We Gather At The River

Today was an amazing day in my life....but more so in the lives of three of my congregation members....a mother and her daughter celebrated their baptisms, and another youth....remembered her Baptism.  It was not just a normal, sprinkle on the head kind of was a meet at the river's edge kind of Baptism....and it sent chills all over me....and it was not just the cool was the presence of the Holy Spirit.  This Baptism reminded me of one so long the River Jordan when John the Baptist baptized Jesus. 
I love rituals and this is one of my favorite....right up there with Communion.  The coolest thing to me was that the little girl on the right....brought her little friend....on the church on Sunday....then...the little girl on the left... brought her grandmother....then her mother....and I think and the children will lead them. 
Today the Baptism of these two, and the remembering of her Baptism were  answered prayers and there was a large attendance from our church members to celebrate with them.  It was one of the largest attended baptisms I have been to....ever!  As Josh performed the service...I kept running two songs in my mind...."Gonna lay down my burdens....down by the riverside..." and "As I went down to the river to pray" from O Brother Where Art Thou.....that is exactly what they did.  How awesome this was to witness!  How awesome is our God!  What a Wonderful Sunday spent in Christian Fellowship!  Can I get an Amen!

Silly Little Questions - Big Impressive Answers

I love my time with the munchkins at Midway.  They are so full of love for Jesus and I love asking them questions.....and seeing what their responses will be.  Sometimes they are so smart beyond their years and I forget they are children.  Other times they are so eager to respond and the child comes pouring from their mouths.  No matter what I get....I find it is one of the most refreshing things I do in church.  Yesterday....I asked them some silly questions....and was I impressed with their responses.

•Good morning!

•Can you tell me how you got here, to the church building, today? (by car; walked) 

•For those of you who got here by car - did you drive the car? (No)

•Why not? (can't drive)

•If you can't drive, how do you get to work in the mornings? (We don't work)

•You don't work!? [Pause. Pretend to think]

•Well, if you can't drive and you don't work, then how do you get food to eat? (family gives it to me)

•You're telling me that other people give you food? (yes)

•Well, that's really nice of them, isn't it? (yes)

•So what all of my silly questions are meant to do is to help us remember that we need each other's help.

Jesus tells his disciples this, “Being the best and the greatest does not welcome me or God into your life.”

•In other words, Jesus is telling his disciples to stop trying to be “know-it-alls” and to instead be more like you: To be people who know that they could use some help from time to time.

•Because, when we know we need help, then we are much better at accepting help.

•This may seem like a simple thing, but this is a really important thing to remember.

•So I’m going to say it again:

•When we know we need God’s help, then we are much better at accepting God’s help.

•And when we do accept God’s help, then our best will become even better.

•And that’s the good news for today

CLOSING Prayer •Let’s pray. 

Dear God,Thank you for Jesus... ...who teaches and shows us… …how to do our best… …by asking for and accepting...   …your help.    Thank you and amen

A Glimpse From The Past....

My scripture today is from Mark 8:34-38

Today I want to share 5 windows from History….

Window #1: Gladys Aylward (1902-1970)

Stanza #1 – Take My Life and let it be….

Mk 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Gladys Aylward (1902-1970) - As a teenager, Gladys read a magazine article about China that changed her life. She kept thinking about the millions of people in that distant land who had not yet heard of God’s love. She knew she had to tell them.  To do this, she was told, she would have to go to Missionary Training School. After finishing, she was informed that she was not qualified – she failed her exams. This setback did not derail her passion. She worked at jobs and saved her money. Then she heard of a 73-year-old missionary, Mrs. Jeannie Lawson, who was looking for a younger woman to carry on her work. Gladys wrote to Mrs. Lawson and was accepted if she could get to China.  On Saturday, October 15, 1932, at age 30 Gladys Aylward left Liverpool, England bound for China.  Upon her arrival in Yangchen she took up Ms. Lawson’s work and began learning the Chinese language; something the training school said she could never do. She began sharing the Gospel in surrounding villages. She began to take in orphans. Before long she had 20 young children under her care – not to mention the 30-40 wounded soldiers she cared for. Her ministry eventually grew to over 100 children.  She adopted China as her homeland and became a citizen in 1936. This was not motivated by politics or ideology but by love for Jesus. It afforded her a more effective venue to proclaim Jesus Christ.  When the war reaching its pinnacle in 1938 she smuggled her children out of China – it took 27 days. When they arrived in Sian the doctors were amazed. She had pneumonia, Typhus, malnutrition, and exhaustion.  She recovered by God’s grace.  At the end of her life Gladys wrote the following about herself: My heart is full of praise that on one so insignificant, uneducated, and ordinary in every way could be used to His glory for the blessing of His people in poor and persecuted China.  When the communist took over china Gladys was forced to leave. But she did not stop. God called her to work among the Chinese and she never disobeyed. Rather, she established refugee centers in Hong Kong and Taipei.  Gladys Aylward is a sterling example of taking Jesus at His word when he said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Window #2: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Stanza #2

Mk 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

Johann Sebastian Bach is my next window. (1685-1750)  Johann Sebastian Bach was born into the musical family of Bachs in 1685. By the age of ten, both of his parents were dead. Early in his friction-filled life, young Johann determined he would write music … music for the glory of God … and this he did. Most of Bach’s works are explicitly Biblical. Albert Schweitzer referred to him as The fifth evangelist, thus comparing him to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. At age 17 Bach became the organist at the church; soon thereafter he was given charge of the entire music ministry.  During his ministry in Weimar, Germany he wrote a new cantata every month … EVERY MONTH! And during one three-year period he wrote, conducted, orchestrated, and performed (with his choir and orchestra) a new cantata every week!  No one had any idea what a mark Bach would leave. His legacy lives on some 300 years later. You can hear his music at will.   At the beginning of every authentic manuscript one will find the letters “J.J.” This stands for Jesu Java (Jesus help me). At the end of each original manuscript you will find the letters “S.D.G.” This stands for Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God).  Bach is a reminder that one who gives his life to Jesus and serves Him does not count it a loss.

Window #3: Polycarp (2nd Century)

Stanza #3

Mk 8:36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

Polycarp (2nd Century) - Can you imagine what it was like for the church in Smyrna as they watched their beloved and aged pastor burn at the stake? Polycarp was his name. He was a disciple of Jesus’ disciple, the Apostle John. One could tell it immediately because he possessed the same tenderness and compassion as his mentor.  Polycarp was Bishop of the church at Smyrna (present day Turkey). Persecution broke out in Smyrna and many Christians were fed to the wild beasts in the arena. The godless and bloodthirsty crowd called for the carcass of the leader – Polycarp.  The authorities sent a search party to find him. He had been taken into hiding for some Christians but the Romans tortured two young believers until they finally disclosed his location. When the authorities arrival was announced there was still time to whisk Polycarp away but he refused to go saying, “God’s will be done.” In one of the most touching instances of Christian grace imaginable Polycarp welcome his captors as if they were friends. He talked with them and insisted they eat a meal. Ha made only one request before being taken away – he asked for one hour to pray. The Roman soldiers listened to his prayer. Their hearts melted and they gave him 2 hours to pray. They had second thoughts as well and were overheard asking each other why they were sent to arrest him?  Other authorities also experienced a warmed heart when Polycarp arrived. The Proconsul tried to find a way to release him too. “curse God and I will let you go!” he pleaded.  Polycarp’s reply was: “For eighty-six years I have served him. He has never done me wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King was has saved me?”  The Proconsul again looked for a way out. “The do this old man, just swear by the spirit of the emperor and that will be sufficient.’  Polycarp’s reply was: “If you imagine for a moment that I would do that, then I think you pretend that you don’t know who I am. Hear it plainly. I am a Christian.” More entreaties by the Proconsul…and still Polycarp stood firm.  The proconsul threatened with the wild beasts.  Polycarp’s reply was: “Bring them forth. I would change my mind if it meant going from worst to best, but not to change from right to wrong.”  The Proconsul threatened, “I will burn you alive!”  Polycarp’s reply was: “You threaten with fire that burns for an hour and is over but the judgment on the ungodly is forever.”  The fires engulfed him. The witnesses noticed his faith and joy. He was finished off with a dagger. He was buried for the cause of Christ on February 22, 155 A.D.  It was as much a day of victory as it was a day of tragedy.


Polycarp illustrated the power of knowing Jesus intimately. Intimately enough to follow Him into the flames. As Jesus said, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

Window #4 :John Hus (1364-1415)

Stanza #4

Mk 8:38 “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Our fourth window is John Hus (1364-1415)  “We’ll cook his goose!” believe it or not, this phrase actually began as a reference to a man whose last name means “Goose” in Czech … John Hus. John was the pastor of the Bethlehem church in Prague where 3,000 people came weekly to hear him proclaim the Gospel. He read the works of the great martyr John Wycliffe and life, Wycliffe, stressed the role and absolute authority of the Bible and emphasized personal piety and purity of life. Hus lifted Biblical preaching to an important status in church services.  The archbishop of Prague told John to stop preaching and had the works of John Wycliffe burned.  Hus refused.  The archbishop condemned him and removed him from his pastorate.  John Hus was forced into the open air to preach. No pulpit was made available to him. But, the common people heard him gladly.  John claimed that Jesus and Jesus alone could save someone from the judgment of sin. John said the church was not the saving agent. He also said that Jesus and Jesus alone was the head of the church – not the Pope.  In 1415 John Hus was arrested and condemned to die for heresy. They placed in him a damp prison cell for an extended period of time hoping to break his will, get him to recant, and use him as an example to others. John would not budge. He said, “I would not, for a chapel full of gold, recede from the truth.”  On July 16, 1415 he was taken away to be burned. While being carried away he was heard to say “God is my witness that the evidence against me is false, I have never thought or preached except with one intention of winning men, if possible from their sins.”  The fire was lit. The flames engulfed him. Hus began to sing a Latin Christian chant, “Christ, thou Son of the Living God, have mercy on me.”  John Hus is a clear example that the Words of God and the person of Jesus are worthy of any price. As Jesus said, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Stanza #5

These stories are not about “Super Christians” – they are stories of everyday people who found the love and grace available in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Nor are they merely stories of yester-year; at this very moment, around the world, in over 40 countries, our brothers and sisters daily face persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ.  Past, present, and future, these are stories of those who had grasped Jesus’ words: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Stanza #6