Sunday, August 25, 2019

GROWING SEEDS: 'I Have Found My Rest"

"The leader of the synagogue,
indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd,
“There are six days on which work ought to be done;
come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.”

My siblings and I grew up in a home that believed your salvation was based on keeping the Sabbath.  It was a required church law in our home, and we were expected to keep it if we were going to live under their roof.  It was the "most important" law to keep, Dad believed.

Keeping the Sabbath law in our home looked a little something like this:  On Friday, before Sabbath began, the house had to be cleaned, the car gassed up since we weren't allowed to purchase gas on Sabbath, and Saturday's family meal had to be prepared in advance.  Once the clock arrived at the exact minute it became sundown on Friday, the TV was turned off, secular music was stopped and the Sabbath had begun.  The 24-hours of Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, allowed us only to play religious games, attend church, visit with church friends (not neighbor friends) and watch the hands of the clock s-l-o-w-l-y tick by till sundown Saturday night arrived.

Sabbath, in my home, didn't look a thing like Jesus ever hoped or wanted us to experience.

As I became an adult, I began to understand the true blessing and meaning of this day I had so dreaded as a child.  I discovered it had nothing whatsoever to do with keeping a stringent and exhausting list of rules and regulations or keeping a certain day of the week, but rather, was a hand-wrapped Gift placed in my life for EVERY day of the week to help nudge me closer to God.  I discovered it was His Son that was my much needed rest. 

He took His royal robes off in Heaven, stepped down to earth and walked through the same mud we daily walk through, which now allows us to view Sabbath differently than the Jews did.  Sabbath is no longer about a certain "day" or all the many rules the Jews had to uphold in order to properly honor the Sabbath.  The Sabbath was now a Man; our precious Savior. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

GROWING SEEDS: "Terri Reeder Coleman"

The beautiful lady in this picture is Terri Reeder-Coleman. 

Terri was not just beautiful on the outside, but more importantly, was stunning on the inside.  I had the amazing privilege of knowing her personally...of spending time visiting, shopping and living life with her.  She loved life....and she loved the Lord more. 

You never saw Terri without a smile on her face.  She lived in Rockwall, but one of the places she loved to be the most was right here in Mt. Vernon...on Lake Cypress Springs at her Mom, Lena Mae Reeder's, home.  There was a sense of peace, quiet and communion here for her.  She had been through many difficult years of cancer and being here, I believe, helped her forget the struggle for just awhile. 

She was always ready for a new adventure...whether to Efurd's Peach Orchard where she whipped off her wig and posed under an antique hair dryer, or to the Pittsburg Prayer Chapel where she went straight to the kneeling rail, bowed her head and gave thanks.   Thanks for the family she was given in this life on earth....thanks for the blessings of two twin children she dearly and deeply loved....thanks for the life she was allowed to live during her 54 years on this earth. 

And today, we offer thanks.....for Terri Reeder-Coleman. 

One thing Terri "always-always-always" wanted to do when she'd come visit her Mom is go work in our Church Library.  Even in her weakest times, she loved helping organize the books, filing the library cards and decorating the room.  Her love for children and reading is the reason we are celebrating her life today by dedicating the Children's Section of our Church Library in her name.  I honestly can't think of anything that would have made her happier.


So as you tour the Terri Reeder-Coleman Children's Library section today, whisper a prayer of Peace for her family as they remember the unending love they received from this amazing woman. 

You will never be forgotten, Terri.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

GROWING SEEDS: "Celebrate Failure"

A few months ago, I read an article by a lady named Sara Blakely.  Sara is best "known" for inventing Spanx; a female undergarment that takes our natural "rolls" and gives the illusion of a woman's idea of perfection.  Yea, this is probably news to you men, but my bet is, most every woman reading this either has a Spanx in her drawer or wants one. 

Sara's article was on Failure.  Celebrating Failure to be more exact.  Captivating topic seeing as Spanx generates more than $240 million in sales each year.  But she tells an interesting story....a story that we should tell our kids as we load up their backpacks for school on Monday....our spouse as they head out the door to a job they don't like....and to ourselves.  I, like most of you, have had a great deal of failures in my life, but when we pause and think back on that failure, many times we can see the "good" two steps ahead that wouldn't have happened if not for the failure.  I'd like to share a little bit of her wisdom with you today:

"Growing up, my Father used to ask my brother and me at the dinner table what we failed at that day.  Which was so interesting....he'd actually celebrate it.  And he'd actually be disappointed if I didn't have something that I'd failed at.

So I can remember saying, "Dad! Dad!  I tried out for this and I was horrible!" And he would actually high-five me and say, "Congratulations, way to go!"  And what it did was just reframe my definition of failure.  Failure, for me, became not trying...versus the outcome.  My Dad would encourage me that anytime something didn't go the way I expected it to, I should write down where the hidden gifts were and what I got out of it, and I started realizing that in everything there was some amazing nugget that I wouldn't have wanted to pass up.  Once you redefine Failure and realize that failure is just not trying, then life opens up to you in so many ways."

Friends, Sara was taught that one of Satan's most powerful tools in his arsenol is the Fear of Failure...a fact we should teach each of our children and ourselves.  But we have an even more powerful tool; we have the power within us to Celebrate Failure. 

Take that, Satan!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

GROWING SEEDS: "What On Earth Are You Doing For Heavens Sake?"

We are confronted by an “either-or”;
either we love God,
or we love earthly goods."
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Funny the things we remember as a kid.  For some reason, I still remember what my older brother's high school response was when the yearbook editor asked him, "What do you want to be when you graduate?".  His answer?  A Millionaire.

Yes, my brother was counting that future money even before the graduation tassel was moved to the opposite side of his head.  He could see the big house with the nice lawn....the sports car in the garage....the cash in his pocket.  His goal in life was to be a millionaire.

Fast forward 40 years. 

God constantly and persistently tapped him on the shoulder, whispered non-stop in his ear and desperately tried to get his attention.  And what do you worked! 

He's now 60 and using his work earnings to pay tithe in his own unique way by helping others.  He sends large amounts of his monthly wages to God-centered organizations to help further the Word and keeps only enough to meet his simple needs.  He lives modestly, drives a used car and works long hours.  He's a wonderful man.

He has also discovered that by using his hands as a form of tithe, his spare time can be better served by serving meals to the homeless at a downtown Dallas shelter.  There's always a stack of $10 Walmart gift cards in his center console to hand out to those in need who cross his path....

.....and he realizes he will never be a millionaire. 

Because he chose something "better" than being a millionaire.  He chose a life of Giving instead of a life of Taking.  He chose to serve instead of being served, and he chose GOD instead of his original goal of GREED. 

I tell you this because I believe we ALL struggle with wanting our "treasures" here on earth.  The financial security, the "things" around us that bring us comfort, and we wrongly and quietly believe they will provide us the joy that God cannot.  But it's an illusion, my friends.  It's a mask the enemy has placed over a HUD home to make it look like a mansion. 

"The things of this earth will grow strangely dim"

My brother taught me the journey is so much better when we lighten our load....when we replace the burden of living for our life here on Earth for the forever life in Heaven. 

"A person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God."
Luke 12:21