Archive for September, 2011

Bits and Pieces 9/28/11

September 28, 2011 Leave a comment

God’s Will For Your Wait:  Right now, right here, in your personal life or ministry, there is some way, perhaps many ways, in which God is calling you to wait. How well are you waiting? Paul Tripp has some godly suggestions for those of us who struggle with waiting.  Read his Biblical insights about waiting here.

The Dead Sea Scrolls and Google:  Who would have ever expected to see that headline?  But in our techno age it should probably come as no surprise  to hear that the Israel Museum and Google have partnered to give anyone access to the oldest known Biblical manuscripts in existence, the Dead Sea Scrolls. Watch a short video here or see the Dead Sea Scrolls website here.

The Distracted Church: Where is Satan making the most inroads?  Is it in those countries where believers are persecuted or countries like ours where we are free to worship–and free to be distracted?  In this article, Doug Carlson travels to a Central Asian country where believers are persecuted, and he comes away with a new perspective and some insights that all evangelicals need to ponder.  Read the article here.

Mother Would Have Loved This!

September 27, 2011 2 comments

Following the Sunday morning worship service in which James preached his last sermon as Bethel’s senior pastor and before our retirement party that evening, my dad, James and I went out to a restaurant together for a little family celebration of our own.  After we had ordered our entrees, we began to reflect on the morning worship service.  The sanctuary had been crowded because, while we normally have three separate worship times, on this day, everyone had come to the main campus for the 10:45 service.  The worship pastor led the congregation in some of James’ favorite hymns and contemporary music, and the choir sang a beautiful anthem of Psalm 103, James’ favorite chapter in the Psalms.  There were presentations made to both James and I during the worship service and just before the benediction was given.  All of our emotions were on overdrive.  Tears seem to come and go at will.

As our family talked about all of this during our dinner, one of us said, “Mother would have loved this.”  My mother, who passed away in March of this year, was a woman who loved times of celebration.  Her children learned very early in their lives that birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, or sometimes even just an ordinary Friday night, should be occasions for much fanfare.  It was required during those times to have lots of food, special gifts and, most of all, the family should be together. 

Then, when James and I stood in a receiving line during our retirement reception last Sunday evening, a dear lady who had come to know my mother very well in the few months Mother had lived in Norman, remarked to me, “Oh, your mother would have loved all of this.”  I choked back tears and just nodded, as she went on to say, “She just loved being a part of our Bethel family.”

Yes, that’s the reason my mother would have loved all the activities during this special day in our lives. While all the requirements of a party were present–plenty of food and special gifts, it was most of all a celebration of a family.  It was a coming together of a people who are our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, our mothers and our fathers and in the midst of sharing a love for one another , we were also enjoying our love for Christ. As Jesus taught in Luke 18:29-30, “There is no one who has left house or wife or brothers[or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Mother would have loved our retirement party because it was a family celebration, and that’s why James and I will always cherish our time at Bethel, it was time spent with our family.

A Tribute To My Husband Upon His Retirement From Bethel

September 22, 2011 2 comments

A Tribute To My Husband Upon His Retirement From Bethel

You chose obedience to Him,
Coming to this place unknown,
Lifting up your eyes to see,
Not gain or fame or glory
His hand, His place.

You pledged covenant with Him,
Promising prayer and study,
Time and effort,
Building not a church your own,
His church, His people.

You made sacrifice for Him,
Purposing to give or wait or
Take a stand or pledge,
Knowing not your future plans
His plans, His ways.

You left this church for Him,
Affirming bonds of hope, of grace,
Of mercy and compassion,
Believing not His work was done
His work, His new beginning.

Surviving As A Pastor’s Wife

September 20, 2011 4 comments

A conversation I had with a young woman in one of the first churches where my husband was pastor came to my mind today.  I’m sure it’s because I’m about to leave my role as “the pastor’s wife” when my husband retires from our church this month.  She asked me, “How can you survive as a pastor’s wife?”  If I recall correctly, we were standing in the foyer just before the church was to vote on a controversial topic, and she knew several church members were against my husband’s stand on the subject.  What I don’t remember is my answer. 

How would I answer that question today after 45 years of being a pastor’s wife?  The question itself implies my role is a difficult one.  While I can only speak for myself and my own experiences, being the wife of a minister has never seemed an impossibly tough and demanding way of life that I had to survive.  I am not so naïve, however, not to realize how many ministers’ wives chafe and struggle under this mantle, hating the scrutiny, the pressures, and the expectations. 

Whether it was because I transitioned from being a preacher’s daughter to a pastor’s wife in one single day when I was 18 years old and said “I do,” or whether it was because I felt the call of God upon my life to some type of Christian service when I was a teenager, (and I suspect it was a combination of both) I walked into our first church loving both the title and the responsibilities of my role. 

During the years that followed that first pastorate, I’ve continued to enjoy serving my Lord as the wife of a pastor.  I can think of at least four reasons why I’ve lived in this role so easily.  First, I love the pastor.  I believe the Lord called James to be His spokesman, and He created love in my heart for him, and thus also created a love for the task He gave to James.  I’m proud and happy to be the wife of the pastor, because I’m proud of him and happy with him.

Secondly, I accept the person God made me to be.  I am not a children’s worker, a choir director, a women’s coordinator; nor am I called to serve in the myriad of other necessary positions in the church.  While I am able to function fairly well in many different capacities, I have discovered my calling is to adults, specifically teaching the Bible to adults.  I also know the limitations of my personality.  I feel emotionally and physically drained after working with people, while some people seem supernaturally energized as they work with others.  Knowing the other gifts and traits the Lord has given me, enables me to function joyfully as a pastor’s wife.

Thirdly, I seek the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.  While teaching is one of my spiritual gifts, I am more introvert than I am an extrovert.  It takes the power and strength of His Spirit to enable me not only to use the gifts I’ve been given, but also to display the fruit of His Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

And, lastly, I spend time daily in His Word.  I listed this reason last because I believe it is the foundational stone on which the other reasons are built.  I could not love my husband, know myself or be filled with His Spirit, if I were not reading His Word and praying that Word back to Him on a daily basis. 

While these reasons answer the question of how I have thrived as a pastor’s wife instead of just surviving, my prayer is that in everything I have brought Him glory. (Colossians 3:17)

Why Does This Look Familiar?

September 16, 2011 Leave a comment

This video reminds me of my adventures in setting up our Skype account.

Categories: Personal

Bits and Pieces 9/15

September 15, 2011 Leave a comment

How Can We Really Apply Our Beliefs?  In this blog, “Motherhood Is Application” by Rachel Jankovic, mothers will be able to relate both to the writer and to the situations she is describing.  But all believers should be able to identify with the important concepts of putting our faith into action in our daily routines.  As Jankovic writes, “The gospel is not too big to fit into little situations. It is too big not to.”  Read the blog here. 

Why Do People Become Christians?  What kind of people become Christians? Watch these clips to hear from a wide variety of people who’ve come to know and love Jesus for themselves.

Israel’s Western Wall Foundation Stones Uncovered:  Two thousand years after King Herod’s builders laid the foundations for the Western Wall on the Temple Mount, Israeli archaeologists have managed to reach these foundations and expose them anew. Learn about what they found here.

Have A Blessed Day

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Several years ago I stopped saying, “have a nice day” to those people I encountered in everyday situations.  Instead, I began to use “have a blessed day” as I paid the check, picked up the cleaning or engaged in a conversation with a store clerk. I thought perhaps this phrase would be a kind of witness, a reminder to me and to them that the blessings of all our days come from God.  In effect, I hoped these words would turn hearts toward God if only for a brief moment or two.

A simple word like “bless” bears a powerful message because it contains the concept of God’s favor.  That God is the author of blessings first appears in Genesis 12:2 when God says to Abram, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great.

God blesses us, but did you know you are also to bless others–that  is, verbally pronounce a blessing from God to others? The Lord told Aaron to bless the people and this blessing, found in Numbers 6:22-27, is often used today by pastors as the Sunday worship service is ending.  1 Peter 3:8-9 speaks of how believers are to treat each other and ends by saying, “giving a blessing.  

There are numerous passages in the New Testament which can be prayed or spoken as blessings upon others (Acts 20:32; Romans 15:13; Hebrews 13:21; 2 John 1:3),  but my favorite is 1 Thessalonians 5: 23: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Have a blessed day!

Bits and Pieces 9/8

September 8, 2011 2 comments

Ten Years Later:  “Where was God when this happened?” is a question often asked about the events of 9/11.  In this article, R. C. Sproul seeks to answer this question and in so doing raises several others.  Why are we urged to ask God “to bless America,” yet if some suggest that God might also “judge America,” they are condemned for doing so? Read the article here. 

What Is The Most Important Word In The Bible?  I found this to be an interesting question, and this very brief post gives a worthy answer.  Read the post here.

The Book Of Revelation App: When I first saw this app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod, I doubted if a graphic illustrated book of the Bible could be a serious tool for Bible study.  Yet, after I read an interview with the illustrator, I was convinced enough to get it a try.  After downloading it, I had a hard time putting it aside and found the illustrations didn’t overwhelm the message but instead enhanced its clarity and scope.  At least for me, the best way to view the app was in landscape mode, that is, going panel by panel.  Read more about the Book of Revelation App here.

How Much Time Does It Take?

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment

On Saturday it took two hours to defrost the freezer chest in my garage.  I had put off this task for the last two years.  And, in reality, I wasn’t “working” on it for those two hours.  I simply took all the food out, put the perishables in portable ice chests, unplugged the freezer and let our 100-degree temperatures in our garage do the rest.  So I might have actually “worked” for 15 minutes.

After feeling a sense of accomplishment,  I wondered why I had procrastinated for so long when it took so little time and effort on my part.  I believe the answer is that very truth.  Some things take so little effort on our part that we know we can do them at any time, so we just don’t do them at all or we put off doing them until the need of doing them reaches a crisis point.

I’ll confess something.  (For those of you who really do know me, you’ll say, “of course she did.”) I’ve timed some of my household tasks I don’t think I have time to do.  It takes me 15 minutes to fold and put away a load of clothes, 20 minutes to dust my furniture and 10 minutes to mop my kitchen floor.  I’ve timed these activities because it helps me realize how little time it actually takes to enjoy the results of doing them.

This train of thought was one of the motivators behind my starting a Quiet Time 35 years.  Oh, I surely believe the Holy Spirit’s guiding and the Lord Jesus’ wooing me was the greater motivator, but the sentence I read in a little booklet on Quiet Time was what got my attention.  It read something like this, “Would you be willing to make an appointment to spend 15 minutes every day with Jesus?”  My very definite “Yes” and the committment I made to try it for seven days led to such joy that I’ve seldom missed a morning with Him since then.  In fact, throughout  these years, whether it necessitated my getting up before sunrise or letting my day’s activities wait, I have found the time to spend an hour with Him and His Word every morning.

I’ve titled this post, “How Much Time Does It Take?”. I phrased it that way to get your attention, so you would take the “time” to read it because it’s a question common to all of us.  But what I really wanted to ask was, “Would you be willing to make an appointment to spend 15 minutes every day with Jesus?”

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