Sunday, February 24, 2013


Back when Chuck and I first moved from Dallas to the lake, we purchased our very first riding lawnmower.  It was a charming shade of army-green and we both were giddy as kids with a new toy on Christmas morning.    The "plan" was that Liz would do the mowing and Chuck would do the supervising.  He taught me what all the buttons and levers on this fine machine did and the best plan of action for attacking the mowing of the yard.  I couldn't wait to get started!

Everything went great.....UNTIL........I came to these green dome topped lids on the side of the house called The Septic Tanks.  Being a "City Laker" and never having seen anything like this before, I remember thinking to myself, "I can just go over problem".....About halfway over the first dome lid, I could feel the lawnmower shaking violently and the blades grinding to a halt.  I tried rocking back and forth, putting it in reverse and pushing it  to loosen the blades' grip on the lid, all to no avail.  So as I explained to Chuck about my little predicament, he came up with the fine idea of him "pulling" the mower as I "pushed" behind.  Sounded like a good plan!


The lid and mower came loose which caused it, and me, to lunge forward and the left half of me to fall into the septic tank.  I don't recall whether the "pain" was worse than the sheer "grossness" of the situation, but all I knew was, mowing was not my "blessing".  

So, why am I telling you this?

Cause if mowing is YOUR blessing, we need you to express that blessing by joining the church "Yard Crew".  

FUMC has 4 teams that rotate mowing during growing season and each team is in need of more help.  And there are advantages to this job: You get to ride a nice, shiny slick tractor....and the church isn't on a septic system.

So why not contact one of the four team captains below for more information and sign up to help on one of these mowing teams.  

Afterall, "A Man Reaps What He Sows" (Galatians 6:7).


Tim Gutschlag - 903-
Jack Abbott - 903-860-35000
Billy Jordan - 903-537-4390
Hal Gibson - 903-860-3021

Sunday, February 17, 2013

GROWING SEEDS: "Sharing Our Faith"

Do you remember who first shared their faith with you that brought you to where you are right now?  Do you remember that pivotal moment?

I certainly do.  

Mine started with Becky Arterbury and it continues because of YOU.  Each of you have shared your faith with me at different times and in many different ways.  As you sit here in church reading this article, I want you to know that YOU witnessed to me by your hug, your listening, your kindness.  Maybe it was something as simple as saying "Good Morning" to me or maybe as deep as sharing my tears on a traumatic event in my life.   And most likely, you didn't realize God placed you in that moment to witness to me.
See, you share yourself and your FAITH by "practicing" your faith to everyone you meet; whether you realize it or not.  It may be as simple as smiling at the cashier at Brookshires; or helping an elderly person across the busy parking lot at Wal-Mart.  Maybe its giving up that front row parking spot for someone who is in a hurry.....or giving your time to serve those in need.  Maybe its for apologizing even when you weren't wrong.  Each of these are moments God has given you to witness about Him to others.  He put those people into your life at that instant as an opportunity for you to be blessed. It's up to us whether we accept this amazing opportunity......or not.

I've come to the conclusion that God allows me to go through hard times so I can witness to others of His faithfulness and the blessing that goes with it.  Billy Graham I'm not.......and the mere thought of standing in front of a group of people causes me to break out in a cold sweat and requires a lot of water to unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth.  But sharing your faith doesn't require you to preach to thousands of people; it can be as easy as embracing the visitor at church, like you did to me when I first visited this church, or inviting your neighbor to church, like Becky did, or to the upcoming city-wide evangelistic series being held at the high school on March 3-6.

Find "your" way of sharing your faith, and have a great time counting how many people God places in your path today....and how many times you've been blessed because of it.

"There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."
Luke 15:7

There is no greater joy in the world than leading someone to Christ.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Ash Wednesday Daily


Have you ever had this driving desire to tell people about something BIG that happened to you yet when it came time to tell your story, the words just disappeared.....WHOOSH.....vanished.

That's where I'm at tonight.  So forgive me if I stumble around a bit.....

Today is Ash Wednesday.  How many of you know what that means?  I know a fair amount of you do cause I saw you church....having the ash from the burned palm branches used in the previous year's Palm Sunday service, placed on your forehead in the shape of the cross......just as I did for the very first time in my life. 

Now, I must admit, I was a little afraid to tell some of you that.....I wasn't raised to celebrate Ash Wednesday.......and I can almost feel you cringing uncomfortably, shifting in your chairs and thinking this was strictly a Catholic tradition.  It's not.  It's a strictly Christian tradition.

I found it ironic that a girl who had never celebrated Ash Wednesday before in her life had been asked to write an article about this event for her Methodist church bulletin last weekend.  I had to recite the time when I was about 20 years old and my co-worker Sandra came in late to work with a smudge on her face.  I called her over to my desk, stood up, spit on a tissue and wiped the smudge right off her forehead.  Two minutes later I heard of Ash Wednesday for the first time....from a not-so-happy co-worker.  And I have to admit, this past week I had to Google what Ash Wednesday even meant.  But as I learned more and more about it's's meaning.....I had to wonder why we never celebrated this in the church I grew up in.  I mean, we believed everything it stood for.

A man by the name of Brusatti said it best when he said "there's something powerful about the cross-shaped mark millions of Christians receive on their foreheads every year on Ash Wednesday.  It's a public sign of one's personal faith, a reminder of one's mortality and a pledge to repent and draw closer to God in preparation for Easter."  But I say it's so much more.   It's humbling yourself to accept God's grace.....a time of repentence.....a time of reflection....and a time of change.  

I believe the name "Ash Daily" is far more appropriate than "Ash Wednesday".  And I believe Easter this year is going to mean so much more because of what I experienced today.

Happy Ash Daily!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

GROWING SEEDS: 'Ash Wednesday"


February 13

"And I set my face to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, 
with fasting and sackcloth and ashes."
Daniel 9:3

When I was 20 years old, I worked as a transcriptionist for an insurance company in Dallas.  One of my dearest friends there was an older lady named Sandra who went to the Methodist Church.  One day Sandra came into work a little late and as she walked past me, I noticed she had a smudge of "something" on her forehead.  I called her over to my desk, stood up, spit on a tissue and wiped the smudge right off her forehead.  That is when I first heard of Ash Wednesday.

And how blessed am I, an ex-Seventh-day Adventist who was never taught about Ash Wednesday, to have been asked to write about this amazing event.  I feel quite sure many of you were like me; having no idea what Ash Wednesday meant.  But what a truly sacred event this is.  According to the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert before He endured temptation by Satan.  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day period of prayer and fasting.   But why the ashes?  The ashes, which are placed on the forehead in the sign of the cross, represent a sign of mourning and repentance to God.  Ashes, according to the Bible, were used to express mourning, and dusting oneself with ashes was a remorseful way of expressing regret for sins and faults all throughout the Bible.  Many use this day to go without all or some kinds of food or drink known as fasting as well.

So exactly what happens at the Ash Wednesday service?  Pastor Jack will apply ashes in the shape of the cross on the forehead of each person, while speaking the words, "For dust you are and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19) which are the words God spoke to Adam and Eve after they had eaten of the forbidden fruit and fallen into sin.  They remind each of us of our sinfulness and mortality and the need to get right with God before it is too late.  The cross reminds each of us of the good news that through Jesus Christ' crucifixion, there is forgiveness for all sins, all guilt and all punishment.

When we look in the mirror on Ash Wednesday and see the black smudge on our forehead, we should be reminded that, no matter what, we are still sinners in need of constant conversion.  It is to change our lives as we approach the greatest celebration in the Church.  Easter.

So don't wear your ashes proudly, but make sure you wear them.....and wear them humbly.

"You started out as dirt, you'll end up dirt." 
Genesis 3:19 (Message)