Happy To Welcome You To The Hallelujah Chorus

I will exalt you my God, the King, I will praise your name forever and ever. Every day I will praise you and exalt your name forever and ever. Psalm 145:1-2

Monday, September 30, 2013

"So, What's Your Story?"

I'm not sure why but lately I have been looking at people, total strangers, at our local Walmart, at the health club, book store, coffee shop etc, and wonder "What's your story?" Everyone has a story and most want to tell their story if they feel reasonably safe in doing so, and if they are fairly certain someone will actually listen.

Today one of my very good friends posted a sign on Facebook that underscores my thinking here. It was apparently posted in some neighborhood coffee shop and read "NO,WE DON'T HAVE WIFI. TALK TO SOMEONE!" It was handwritten in chalk on a message board. If I lived where I had seen that sign I think I would enjoy just spending some time there to see how many customers read and take that to heart. Human interaction is absolutely critical to real human connection.

Think about it this way. When your phone rings and the voice on the other end doesn't register as someone you actually know, what is your immediate reaction? Are you usually eager to engage that strange voice in some kind of familiar interaction, or is your impulse to just hang up? When you see an email in your inbox from some name you don't recognize, do you always open it and read it or are you at least hesitant to do so? How many voice mails do you just delete every day (or whenever you clean out your inbox) because you don't know the person who sent them?

I'm really not trying to be critical here, just trying to nudge all of us a little to consider how we might be allowing our society to shape our thinking and habits into neglecting the one crucial element in sharing the real good news with others in our world - face time. There are people in your life and strangers you meet every day who want to know the Lord you serve but almost none of them will ever ask. God gave us his Holy Spirit to teach us how to share that good news with others and at some point that will always require some serious face-time conversation.

So, here's my point, if you're still with me. Every morning as you shave, comb your hair, fix your makeup, brush your teeth in preparation for your day, pray this simple prayer while looking at yourself in the mirror - "Almighty Father, I truly want to be involved in what you are going to do in my world today. Please give me a sense of awareness when you put someone in my life today for your own purposes and help me to step into that divine moment with the right words and intentions. Thank you for every opportunity to bring glory to you and share your love with others."

Can somebody say "AMEN & HALLELUJAH!"

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Some Powerful Words To Remember" #1

During my years of ministry I have known and been blessed by a multitude of men and woman, young and not so young, who live their daily lives in the shadow of a verse or umbrella of verses from God's word. As a young teen my grandfather insisted that I attend a scripture memorizing class at our local church building every Sunday afternoon. At the time I wasn't too keen on the idea but I idolized my grandfather so I mostly did it to please him. Now, looking back on it, many of those verses I memorized have stuck with me through some challenging times over all these years. In fact I still quote them from the KJV.
So, I want to encourage the Hallelujah Chorus to adopt a similar stance against our common enemy who only wants to disrupt our lives with his carefully tailored personal attack on our faith and spiritual health. These will be a series of posts that center on some things we just need to constantly remind our hearts to embrace and never allow the enemy to rob us of our peace in Jesus.
So, here we go.
"You dear children are from God and have overcome them (the spirits that serve the antichrist), because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 3:18 NIV
There is always a very personal presence in the life of every disciple of Jesus that will not allow the evil one to dominate. But that doesn't mean he wont always try and try and try.
Probably the two areas of our life in Christ where we are most vulnerable to the devil's attempts to take over our lives are marriage and parenting relationships.
Every marriage is an up and down proposition and at any given time either partner can fail in ways that cause the other partner to react in ways that can easily put the relationship at risk of total breakdown. Having lived through it and walked with many married couples through this tangled jungle, I can testify to how time and space alter one's perspective. What seems to be a deal breaker today, can appear very different after some time to calm down and think through it. People of true faith are never alone in ANY personal struggle, but the evil one can put you in a defensive stance that goes way beyond what might be advisable. The result can lead to emotional disconnect and the evil one achieves his goal of disruption.
So here's the take-away for now. Trust in the One who is in you and listen for his words to rise above the anger or disappointment. Commit John's statement to memory and repeat it to yourself over and over. Allow the greatness of the presence of Jesus' Holy Spirit to dominate. He only wants to do you good, never harm. HALLELUJAH!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Getting Back Into My 'Hallelujah' Groove"

Now I feel like I am home again, in Texas, with my family and great long time friends. The Rose and I have praised God until we surely have nearly worn him out thanking him for all the beautiful souls who have been there for us during the challenges we had to face over the last six years. We were truly blessed by great neighbors, church family and so many new friends we made in Kentucky. But, it just wasn't home to us any longer. I can't begin to count the times I had to answer the question, "Why in the world would you want to leave this beautiful place to go back to Texas?"
Although we lived in Kentucky for a few years after we married in 1964, and visited with my Dad and Mom several times a year after moving away to pursue a life in full time ministry, which took us to many parts of the country for nearly 25 years, Texas is where we lived longer than either of us lived anywhere. The only reason we left Texas for Kentucky in 2006 was the commitment I made to my Dad in 1991, just before he died after a long battle with debilitating arthritis. I told him I would do my best to keep Mom in her house as long as I could and would see that she was taken care of.
With both my parents gone, that house on Sid Darnall Road by the creek, just wasn't my home any more and I missed being with Michael.
So, now I am able to take my grandson, Gabe, to school every morning and have breakfast with my son and my Rose. We are getting acclimated again to the Texas heat and traffic and living with Mike and our sweet daughter Annette is all the adventure we expected it would be. Life is good. God is a great provider who is more than meeting all our needs. We sleep well, eat good, work out at a nearby health club several times each week and look forward to being able to visit all of our family more in the coming months.
Yes, we miss our family and friends in Kentucky but we stay in touch virtually daily with many of them by phone and computer. We will be making a trip to North Carolina next month and are grateful to have so many open invitations to layover on the way and plan to do so.
We're also very blessed to be back with our church family at Highland Oaks Church of Christ. I served as one of the shepherds of this church for eight years, so we have been welcomed back royally.
"Thank you Holy Father, for the years you blessed us with in Kentucky and great friends we made during the challenges we faced there. Your blessings far outweighed our challenges. And, thank you for the life we have now back with family and friends in a place that truly feels like home." HALLELUJAH!