Friday, April 29, 2011

The Sower

The Sower

I Cor. 3:7-9 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Jere Gilmore, my 6th grade teacher, introduced me to art, literature and theater and it was fun, fun, fun! In her class, I came to know Van Gogh, Picasso and Shakespeare – and I liked all of them! Why? Because they were distinctive, unique, creative and I could recognize their work among throngs of others. In 1984 my life was in transition – I was pregnant with child #2, we were moving from New Jersey to Indiana for Darrell to take on a new position with IBM, I was leaving a job and a neighborhood that I had loved. During a quick trip home, Darrell took me on an outing to The City (NYC). We went to an exhibit at the Met, Van Gogh in Arles. I was able to get up close and personal with my favorite artist & there was this lovely piece called The Sower! I bought the poster & had it framed & this wonderful replica of the painting has hung in my dining room, kitchen and guest room at my houses since then. I am The Sower, you are The Sower; God calls us all to be The Sower.

For the season of Lent, the staff at my church had prepared a daily devotional guide to reading the gospel of Mark. I was particularly drawn to the parable of the sower. (Read Mark 4) Jesus was calling on me to throw out his seed but I was balking! How can I invite people when our pastor has just died? Really? Oh please, give me a break, give me some time off, and let me regroup! The talking head is sitting on my shoulder and saying, “People will think…” But what does the scripture tell us?

I am thankful for Rev. Melburn Sibley who posted these words of encouragement: We are not responsible for how the seeds we sow are received. We are just responsible, as God’s children, to sow the seeds.

Then Dr. Cindy Ryan who wrote this about putting our lamp on a pedestal: Following Jesus is a light journey. Saying yes to Jesus means we accept his light in us, not to hide it or bury it, but to let it shine. God likes radiant, shiny Christians. Shiny Christians are different than obnoxious, pushy, over-the-top, in-your-face Christians. Radiant Christians exhibit the light of Christ in natural, authentic, joyful ways. Author Elisa Morgan says it well, “When we shine, we hold out the Word of life to a world in deep need. When we shine, we draw others to the source of our hope. Even a single speck of light alters the very nature of darkness.” (from Twinkle: Sharing Your Faith One Light at a Time)

And then Rev. Louis Carr wrote this: In a culture where Christian conversation is faux pas, sowing seeds can be difficult, uninviting and unsettling. As we operate in a world that calls us to go along and get along, we find ourselves as a people of faith suppressing our call to spread the good news. Be encouraged to know that in this passage we are called to simply throw the seed. After we throw the seed our job is done. We are to do the very basic act of seed sowing and nothing more until the harvest comes. Whether it is the act of saying, “God loves you,” to a stranger or helping someone in need, we must understand that a random act of kindness is an act of sowing a seed. From that point we simply let go of the situation and let God do the rest.

I really understood The Sower message when a friend responded to me with these words – “I can’t come then, but please don’t stop asking me.”

A lot of my family and friends have been writing and posting pictures about new growth in the gardens sprouting up in the springtime. Wonder and joy about lettuce and squash blossoms – amazement at unidentified plants- dismay about what did not sprout! Could this not be conversations in heaven about us? Joy, surprise, questions, disappointment, abundance!

Dear friends, I will not stop asking you – and when it is right you will say yes – and God will take it from there between you & him.

Thank you to Julie for sending me the message about “Letting Go.”

If you're stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him..........let it go. T.D. Jakes – email from Julie

Full Circle

Full Circle

Psalm 37:4  Delight yourself in the Lord; And he will give you the desires of your heart.

God knows I wanted to go to the Rangers game but he had something else in mind last weekend ( see story from last Friday about Possum Kingdom).  I didn't know - but He did - that our friend Mary who posted the Possum Kingdom fire pictures has access to good seats at Ranger games!  She & her husband are sending us to the game next weekend vs. the Yankees  - not discounted, but free!  Not in the zone for group outings, but prime seats!  Not the Royals, but the Yankees!  Oh my my I just had to laugh out loud when I got her note - God works in mysterious wonderful ways!  Thank you Mary!  Thank you God!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Good Friday

Isaiah 65:16-17, 24  Because the former troubles are forgotten...For behold I create new heavens and a new earth...It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear."

Tonight is GCISD night at the Texas Rangers baseball game. Kids earned free tickets for reading books, families and staff were offered discounts. Nice spring weather – I wanted to go! Dialing the sales office number during my conference period, I expected to place my order – oh no! – “All our ticket agents are busy; please stay on the line.” You know the rest of that quote. I kept the line open on speaker phone the whole 50 minutes and never got through to a live voice. Well, maybe I won’t get tickets for Friday night?

The church sends out a weekly email newsletter providing a calendar of upcoming events, encouraging notes from staff, reports on various activities and requests to fill needs in our local community and beyond. One request that caught my attention this week was to help support firefighters who were battling wildfires around Possum Kingdom Lake. Many of us know the area well, have seen our skies clouded with haze from the smoke and smelled the fire blowing in the west Texas wind, have been there for fun times, have friends with lake property…After reading my emails I drifted on to Facebook to look at news from friends. The first post I saw was from our friend Mary – pictures of the fire and devastation around the lake. Oh, Darrell, I think we need to do something to respond to this – they need hot dogs to feed the crews – do you think your Grapevine Ambucs group would have extra hot dogs? He started scrolling through his cell phone contacts and calling people. Everyone was responding YES! He contacted the emergency coordinator listed on the link from the church email and plans started falling into place for donations and delivery.

On Good Friday evening, Darrell is on his way home from transporting goods from Grapevine to the Methodist church in Graham TX where volunteers were working to serve food to shifts of 75 firefighters at a time. Food is sent to staging stations to feed near the fire fighting sites and also to Young County Arena in Graham where sleeping quarters are set up for the workers.

 Hot dogs, hamburgers and the fixings came from Grapevine Ambucs and Cross Timbers Winery while hundreds of dollars in cash was generated from the Back Porch Tavern karaoke crowd on Thursday night as well as donations from Don Bigbie of Cross Timbers Winery, Kim Newton co-owner of the The Back Porch and city councilman, Roy Stewart.  Darrell used some of the cash to buy bottled water and Gatorade and the remainder was given to the pastor of First Methodist Graham to purchase further supplies as needed.  God has a wonderful way of involving the willing to do his work. He calls us to be observant, obedient, compassionate and connected in community. A small window closed on my timing to purchase discounted Ranger tickets while a door of opportunity fell into place to do something good.

This is the song that played on the radio on my way home from school today. Blessings and peace to all as we celebrate Easter weekend!

Also here's a link to a blog that I follow.  Her topic today was closed doors.