Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Devotion for You and Your Family

After finding out for sure that we have no church, Kat thought that it would be a great idea to share a devotion together. When I contacted Pastor Tonya about church being cancelled, she suggested that we encourage families to have their own family devotion. So I thought that it might be a good idea to share a devotion with everyone so that it might be like we are having church together on Sunday even though we can not be together in worship.

Many churches follow the lectionary, which is a pre-selected collection of scriptural readings from the Bible that can be used for worship or study. The lectionary has 4 verses for each Sunday from different sections of the Bible: Gospel, Old Testament, New Testament, or Psalm. The verse that I have chosen today is the New Testament selection, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. As you read these verses, may God whisper his Truth to you and may the words themselves allow you to connect with God in a more intimate way.

Transformational love is a love that can only happen when we have Christ as our Lord and Savior. We can love many things from favorite foods, to old comfy jeans, to our pets, but we must learn how to be transformed by God’s love so that we can share that love with our neighbors. May we learn how to love in the same manner that Charles Spurgeon suggests:

"I would, my brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate the pearl oyster. A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. It cannot eject the evil, and what does it do but cover it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl. Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians, so that pearls of patience, gentleness, long-suffering, and forgiveness might be bred within us by that which has harmed us."

In this quote by Spurgeon, not only is the Oyster changed by the dirt but the dirt is transformed as well. This is the type of transformation that can occur when we share the Love of God. Not only will we be changed but we will change the dirt around us. I have heard it said that it is easy to love those who love you. I agree. But God calls us to love all. God says to love everyone from that annoying family member that has never been nice to you, to the homeless man that smells and talks to himself, to the friend that wronged you. God calls us to be an ambassador of his love. God wants us to impact our world for him.

So as you read through the verses of 1 Corinthians 13, may you see the Love that God wants us all to have. May you understand love from God. May you understand a self-sacrificing love that God not only talks about but demonstrated by both giving his Son to die for us and also by the life that Jesus lived here on Earth. May you not be held down by the dirt that enters in your life, but allow God to change both the dirt and you for the better.

May you have a morning filled with the Love of God as you read these words.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Marcy Jo's

I went to a Songwriter's night tonight at Marcy Jo's. Kat and I have eaten here several times for breakfast and it is easily my favorite breakfast spot. I have never been much of a breakfast person but their food it out of this world. Kat always gets the Stuffed French Toast and she says that words do not do this dish justice. I always get the Sausage Gravy Biscuits which is fantastic.

However, tonight was a different experience. The owners of Marcy Jo's are Joey from the Country Duet Couple of Joey and Rory and Marcy is the sister of Rory. Tonight was a special evening of food and music by Joey and Rory. The food was delicious. We started out with a salad and the main entree was lasagna with a cheese/garlic biscuit. We ended our food with a choice of Coca-Cola cake or Peach Cobbler. I had the cobbler and it was delicious.

After the food was cleared away, Joey and Rory took the small stage. Growing up I loved Country Music but as I got into high school, I stopped listening. However, tonight I remembered why I loved Country Music. Country songwriters know how to tell the story of life. As I sat there and listened to the lyrics, I felt I was part of the story. I heard songs of life, of love, and of course of cheating. A country song can not be a hit if it does not include lyrics of cheating. Both Joey and Rory sang songs and sang some together. They ended the evening by having Joey's mother sing an old hymnal with Joey and Rory backing her up. Kat thought that she sounded just like June Carter Cash.

We shared the evening with Kat's parents and were at the table with some very nice people. It was a delightful and relaxing evening and you will be sure to find me at future Songwriter's nights around our community.

Make sure and check our Marcy Jo's for good times, great people, and wonderful food!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


In the past week, 5 family members of Grace Church attenders have passed away. I have personally attended two funerals this week alone. In the past two and a half years working at Grace, I have attended more funerals than I can even remember.

I started thinking of some of the things that make a good funeral that I have seen.
  • Personal stories of deceased
  • Stories of the person's faith
  • Picture slide show of life
  • Family members sharing their personal stories about the person
  • A message of hope, salvation, or love for audience
  • A challenge to make changes in life
  • Sharing of scripture

As I sat in the funeral today and heard the kind words shared by the pastors, it made me sad that I had never met the lady. It made me reflect on how much time we waste on things that are unimportant. I left challenged to not waste time on trivial stuff but instead to invest my time in people. I want to know people at a deeper level, so that when I attend a funeral I will be able to reflect on my own memories of the person and not just stories of the pastor.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Things I learned from My Own Sermon Today

As I looked out during each of the three services and delivered the message of Light and Dark, several things went through my mind.

  • There were people at many different stages in their walk with God. Some believers, some non-believers, some searchers, some indifferent to the whole thing.
  • It was tough speaking in front of my dad (It was the first time, he has heard me speak).
  • Being transparent is difficult when the ones that you have hurt are hearing you speak.
  • Feels that it is difficult to deliver a message that does not include many areas of laughter. Hard to know if crowd is connecting or not.
  • I love speaking God's word.
  • Three services is mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually draining.
  • Feel so fortunate to be where I am!
  • Hopes that God's plan includes me staying at Grace for many years to come.
  • Glad Kat talked me out of putting a Lord of the Rings reference in the sermon. A Star Wars and Lord of the Rings reference would have been cause to run me out of the church as the Ultimate Dork.