Sunday, March 25, 2018

GROWING SEEDS: Why We Need You, Dad.......

Growing up, our family of five always sat on the 3rd pew from the front on the piano side of the church.  Always.  Well....except that time when a visitor mistakenly sat in our pew.  I recall all five of us just stood there looking at the occupied pew wondering what in the world to do now.

During the sermon, Dad would put me on his lap, place my hand inside his suit jacket next to his clip-on tie, straight onto his heart where my hand could feel it beating and that beating heart would always lull me to sleep.  Dad figured out early this was the best way to keep his youngest daughter quiet during church.   It worked.  Always.

I thought about that memory as I drove the 100 miles to Dallas this weekend for Dad's 90th birthday.

My brother, sister and I were all coming together to meet at the same church to sit in the same pews next to our Dad and his clip-on tie.  First time in more than 40 years we've all been back sitting on those same wood pews.

My parents sacrificed much for know God.

We were not a perfect family......far from it.  Probably more like All In The Family than Leaver It To Beaver if truth be told.  But without us kids even knowing it....Mom and Dad were building a concrete foundation right underneath this dysfunctional family of theirs.  I'm sure there were times when they wondered if this foundation would hold for the long haul.

But it did.

The years of sacrifice they made so we could be in church school......the piano lessons even when we couldn't afford a piano....the Lord's Prayer said on our knees each night before going to bed.....and the life lessons we learned from these two imperfect parents walked us straight into the arms of God....eventually.  

And that foundation stood the test of time.

Today.....we're still dysfunctional.  But I thank my Dad for being the best parent he knew how to be.  For sacrificing.....for loving us even when we were unlovable.  For teaching us we can do any thing we put our mind to....and for the hours at Restland Cemetary teaching us how to drive a stick-shift while repeatedly saying, "You can't kill anyone here."

Happy 90th Birthday, Pappo.  Thank You for loving me.

GROWING SEEDS: "The Sacrifice"

My dad is turning 90 this week.  9-0.  

He lives alone after the death of my Mom six years ago; and 90 was a number I never expected my Dad to ever see.  He grieved for years after Mom died and I honestly thought her death would be the death of him as well.

He raised us kids attending the Seventh-day Adventist Church in downtown Dallas and only allowed us to attend Adventist church public school for his kids.  He himself had grown up an Adventist and was determined to raise us the same.

He worked nights and Mom worked days as a warehouse worker for Sears so they could afford to send us three kids to church school.  They never thought twice about doing what must be done in order for their children to have a solid foundation.  It never entered their minds they had an option.

It's called "Sacrifice".

As Christians, do we fully understand what this word really means?  Webster's defines it this way, "An act of giving up something VALUED for the sake of something else regarded as MORE important or worthy."  It's hard to hear the word Sacrifice and not remember the work Christ did for us 2000 years ago....the very thing that solidified our foundation so we could have a future beyond this life.  

This weekend, my siblings and I will be celebrating our Dad's 90th birthday by showing up at the church he and Mom raised us in.  The very church they sold their beloved wedding rings for to help pay for a school so their children would have a firm foundation.  And as we slowly move towards the anniversary of this sacrifice called Easter, I pray we remember the sacrifice Christ made for each of us on that tree so many years ago...where every drop of blood that spilled from His body had a name on it....including yours.

What is the sacrifice we have made for Him?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

GROWING SEEDS: " "Running On Thirsty"

When I was 2-years old, I taught my brother James how to say his first words.  The problem was.....he was 4-years old.  

Talking has always been one of my all-time favorite things to do.  I don't recall a report card where I didn't have a checkmark next to "Talks Too Much" or a teacher who EVER said, "She's such a shy girl."  I'm not shy and I talk too much.  Wicked combination.

Although we don't know how old the lady at the well was that John speaks of in Chapter 4 or even her name (Liz, perhaps??), we do know that this was the longest recorded one-on-one chat with Jesus in scriptures......and we know she had multiple husbands and a bad reputation.  

But when Jesus asked her for a drink of water that hot day, it was clear what He really wanted.  He wanted to talk.  He wanted her to know that, although she was broken and despised, He could give her something none of her five husbands could ever give her.  


This Salvation was in the form of water that was alive and dipped exclusively for her.  Being a Samaritan or a Texan or even a Yankee from New York doesn't matter; God's water is FREE to anyone and everyone who asks.  You don't need a dipper to drink from cause God uses His very nail-scarred hand as a dipper for us.  And He wants to YOU....and to me.  

I think this is where I get my love for talking heavenly Father......and what can I say; I inherited it!

But hear me well, friends; the time has come to hold out both of your weary and worn hands and receive all that Jesus has to offer.  It's easy to see why she left her water jar behind when she "went back to town" (John 4:28).  Her thirst was quenched.  Her future secured.

If not at a well, where did Jesus find you?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

GROWING SEEDS: " It's Been An 'Even-If-He-Doesn't' Kind of Week"

There's this song that goes like this....

"I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the flood with Your mighty hand
But EVEN IF You don't.......My hope is in You alone"

The rains came flooding back to Lake Cypress Springs this past week.  My old enemies, Fear and Anxiety, were part of the first drops that came raining down from the sky.  The enemy knows my weaknesses.....he knows my faith rocks the boat when Fear and Anxiety are in town....and he loves watching me squirm:

"They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain
Well good thing!!
A little faith is all I have right now
But God, when You choose to leave mountains unmovable
(And allow flood waters to invade)
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing,
It is well with my soul"

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew about Fear and Anxiety too.  But they also knew a thing or two about Faith.  A Faith that God is God and we are not.  They understood and believed that, although they could feel the heat from the fire on their faces, God was in control of this situation and God never....NEVER....makes a mistake.  So....if their deaths were to come at the hands of a hot furnace, they would continue to trust in their God.

But I also feel safe in saying they desperately didn't want to perish in the fiery furnace....much like Liz desperately didn't want to sweep water out of her house again this past week.   

"I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is in You alone"

These three friends of Daniels had been through a lot together.  And just as they prayed courage over each other, our friends prayed courage over us this week.  The prayers that went skyward to the throne room of heaven on our behalf this past week were too many to count.  But I know He heard them....every - single - one - of - them.....and I'm grateful.....grateful the sky stopped crying over this lake of ours, but most of all, grateful for YOU.  Fear and Anxiety didn't stand a chance against your prayers for us!"

God will give us the courage we need in our
"Even If He Doesn't"

* Song "Even If" by MercyMe