Saturday, June 9, 2018

Ask for a Priscilla & Aquila!



Paul arrived at Corinth and met Aquila and his wife, Priscilla. This couple constructed tents—just like Paul. Being a tent-maker in those days was much like being a house builder. Both had to understand the need, dimension, fitting things together, and quality construction—all things which helped in ministry.  Paul joined forces with this couple to make tents (even moving in with them) but he taught at the synagogue on the Sabbath. Within time, it appears that Paul was spending more time teaching than constructing tents—probably at the encouragement of his partners. 

It’s obvious that these three formed a strong bond. Conflict began to arise among the Jews over Paul’s teaching and they attacked him and took him before the proconsul who then told the Jewish leaders to deal with the issue themselves. The leader of the synagogue was publicly flogged for allowing Paul to preach. Eventually, Paul left Corinth for Syria—in the company of Priscilla & Aquila. 

Attacks against the preacher are nothing new. Many of the early preachers were martyred—because Satan wanted to stop the beginning flow of the sharing of the gospel. I believe as the return of Christ draws near, attacks on the preacher of the gospel are increasing. 

God once asked me to speak His message openly in a congregation and I obeyed. I was crucified. But guess who stepped up in my defense?  My Priscillas and Aquilas. The amazing thing about a Priscilla & an Aquila is that they don’t blindly defend YOU. They are a defender of the truth and will lovingly correct you, if necessary. 

Find your Priscilla & Aquila.  They will work hard alongside you.  They will follow you as you preach the gospel. They will even become strong teachers themselves!  Priscilla & Aquila taught Apollos the rest of the story when they heard him teach the teachings of John. Some scholars even believe Priscilla was the author of Hebrews. But most importantly, they will stand with you to defend the truth.  Every good warrior needs someone covering his back. Ask God to bring your Priscilla & Aquila alongside you. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Happiness



Since I’ve been in Borger the past few weeks, I’ve heard the same thing over and over from people there:  “You and Andy seem so happy in Groom!”  We are!!  Oh my goodness—are we ever!  There are several reasons and it’s taken me awhile to think about it and give voice to it. 

•I chose to be happy. I remember on our way into Groom, I told God, “God, I CHOOSE to love these people and this place!”  I honestly thought it was going to be a hard adjustment—but the people of FBC and Groom made it easy. They are amazing people. After our first year here, I told Andy, “What if we’d missed out on knowing these people??”

•I’ve continued growing and changing since I moved to Groom. In fact, I’d say some of the most significant changing has taken place as I’ve come to understand who I am. But that couldn’t have happened without God plowing up the ground of my heart in Borger. Borger was the place where we grew up!  

•FBC Groom has taught us community. In a small church, it takes everyone to make something happen. And in a small community, you know everything that’s going on with everyone. After serving in a church of every size, I choose small. Relationships are so important and it’s so much easier to build strong relationships in small communities. (Which is also why large churches work to create small communities!)

•God is here. Of course...he’s everywhere!  And he wants to do something through all of us to impact the kingdom of God. We’ve never felt the significance of that like we do here. So much of our ministry we’ve only been able to see the results in hindsight. But we feel the urgency and excitement here.  Unity unleashes a limitless God!

Am I happy?  Absolutely!! I’m sure part of that is because I’ve matured. So much of my life I’ve struggled over “the next thing.”  I’ve finally learned to be content. And maybe the most beautiful thing is the connectedness we have with four different churches—Amarillo, Broken Arrow, Borger & Groom. It just feels like I’m in the perfect place physically and spiritually to see God do abundantly above all I could ask or think!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Dried-Up Palm Branch




A lady at Caprock has had this palm branch hanging on her door since Palm Sunday. As I’ve walked by it each day and watched it dry up, so many thoughts have run through my mind. All of those palm branches from the triumphal entry of Jesus were lying forgotten on the road as the week progressed. People’s emotions turned from exultant joy to being terrified, angry, or even murderous. 

But Jesus?  I think those palm branches were a memory he clung to. Have you ever had something sweet happen and immediately entered into a trial?  That happened to me in January 2018. My sister and I went to Pawhuska, Oklahoma to visit the Pioneer Woman’s store and tour her lodge. On our way home, we stayed in Oklahoma City and shopped at the outlet mall. We had a BLAST!!  We talked our heads off and just relaxed. Upon coming home, Andy’s family & I began the journey of my mother-in-law’s cancer. It’s been over two months of treatments, hospital stays, and rehab—with no end in sight. My mind keeps taking me back to that trip with my sister. What a gift!!  

I kind of think Jesus hung on to those waving palm branches as he faced the cross. Those palm branches weren’t a flippant thing—even though the people misunderstood. He knew he would become King after he paid for the sins of the world. Not just a king...the King of Kings.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Who Are They?




I’ve been caring for my mother-in-law who is in rehab. She’s there trying to regain her strength so she can resume chemo treatments. This particular rehab is a combination nursing home and rehab. Yesterday, God instructed me to SEE as I went to spend the day with my mother-in-law. I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I asked God to open my eyes to see what he sees. 

As I walked the halls and stopped to talk with several people, God began to open my eyes. If I could have seen these same people 50 years ago who are now shuffling, walking with walkers, wheeling themselves in wheelchairs, or sitting and looking at me blankly, I would have seen someone completely different. I would have seen young mothers hanging their clothes on the clothesline and cooking meals from scratch. I would have seen strong-backed men working on power lines, building houses, or working hard at a carbon black plant. I would have seen teachers, nurses, secretaries. I would have seen pastors, musicians—family men who loved to make their families happy, men who opened doors for women. I would have seen serious, lighthearted, emotional, fun-loving people—friends and neighbors. I would have seen leaders of thriving churches and growing communities. I would have seen heroes who survived a war and their wives who survived the separation. These people are a part of what is called the greatest generation; people with wills of iron. And they all have stories. 

One lady, who was a wonderful teacher, dresses smartly and walks the halls every day. She has no idea she is a resident—she believes she’s there to visit these people. I love her!

One man endured a life of highs and lows as a builder in a day when money was hard to come by. He lost his wife a few years ago but has sweet family who come to encourage him and meet his needs as he goes through rehab. He hopes to go home next week. 

One woman advises us all that she has Alzheimer’s. Her husband comes at 5 in the morning and stays until 10 at night just to be with her. He eats all of his meals there. Andy says it reminds him of the movie, The Notebook. 

And there are residents who only have the quiet visitors of memories in their minds. Their bodies are now tired and worn out and their minds frail. They are alone after a lifetime of giving, I imagine. Most long for home; some don’t even remember. 

If God asks you to SEE....look closely.


Monday, January 1, 2018

2018



What will 2018 hold?  
There’s only One who knows. And He’s already gone before us into our future. That’s my confidence. 

But it doesn’t mean I won’t ask. I’m asking for change—a change in my heart, a change in my capacity to give, a change in my understanding, a change of perspective, a change in habits, change....

I want to see God do amazing things. Things that blow my mind. Miracles...often.  

I want deeper relationships and broader influence. I want to know God in ways I’ve never known Him. I want to be his friend...His very good friend!