Friday, January 22

The other day, I picked Kylie & Wyatt up when I got off work.  Their Mommy & Daddy both had that awful stomach virus.  It was one of those days that was really warm.  So, we were able to be outside for a while, and they enjoyed jumping on the trampoline.  I was able to get some pretty good pictures.

Wyatt had a little trouble standing up with Kylie jumping so high, but he was enjoying it anyway.

He likes to run around in circles.

After I'd take a picture, Kylie would have to come look, but she couldnt get off the trampoline by herself.  Papaw gave her a lift.

My camera has a feature that allows me to shoot in black and white, but allow one color to show up.  These were taken in that mode, with the red showing.

Wyatt had a nacho cheese dorito in his hand, that's why his hands and lips look so red.  As you can tell, he's all boy.  There was one little puddle on the porch, and he had to jump in it.

I like this picture.  Isn't she gorgeous?

Look, Mammy, fire!

Malachi was cutting parts off a bronco before hauling it off.  Seth was watching.  I thought it made a neat picture with just the red in color.

Monday, January 18

Tell Me The Story...

I had a conversation with my 15 year old son, Seth, last night.  I can't get away from it. 

Yesterday, he went to church with his girlfriend, Pamela.  It was the first time he'd ever been to church with her.  She's gone with us quite a few times in the past year, but he hadn't been to a church service with her.  I think he'd been to a couple of outings, but no actual services.

Seth has only been a part of 2 churches in his 15 years.  Fellowship, that he attended from birth till he was about 2 1/2, the Tabernacle from 2 1/2 till he was 7, and then back at Fellowship.  The two churches do some things different, but alot of things the same.  After all, our pastor was a member of the Tabernacle before he came to Fellowship.    Seth has also visited several other churches with family and friends, some big, some small.  Pamela's church is a small country church.

I haven't attended too many more churches than Seth has.  Child's Memorial before we moved to California and Swan Pond after we came back to Tennessee.  That's where I was a member until I married Charlie and joined Fellowship.  I did visit alot of churches while I attended Swan Pond.  Our youth choir was very active, and we spent many nights traveling to sing at other churches in revivals and special services.  There was one summer when I attended a church service or revival meeting every night for 6 weeks.  So, though I haven't attended a lot of different churches I have seen services held in a lot of different ways.

I've never seen Seth come in so animated as he was last night.  He came in talking 90 miles a minute.  (If you know my Seth, you know if he's excited about something, you can't get a word in edgewise).

He began telling me about the people and the services.  He told about how friendly the people were, about the message, (almost word for word, Seth's a stickler for details),  how he could feel the Spirit in the service, the preacher, the music, the musicians, the songbook they used, the songs they sang, the special singers, their voices, the fellowship, how when one person went to the alter everyone went and prayed with that person, even how they closed out the service.  He talked about how different it was and how much he enjoyed it.  As he talked, I was reminded of so many things that I remember from past services and times in my Christian life.  His excitement touched a chord in my heart.  I know that excitement, I've felt it, time and again. 

All day today, I've been reminded of that conversation.  Reminded of the way things have been done in the past and the way things are done now.  The order of things and the way they're done has changed many times in the 33 years I've been saved,  both within each church, and from church to church.  None have been more right or wrong than the others.  They have just been different. Often they've been changed in order to avoid being in a "rut".  I've heard preachers preach time and again how we don't need to get in a rut in our services and in our lives.  Routines are good and I personally like having some routine to my life.  But sometimes, change is good too.  It gives us a fresh view, a renewed sense of purpose. 

Seth has only known one basic way a service is carried out and he could recite to you exactly how it will unfold, as could I.  But yesterday, Seth got a glimpse of something a little different.  And it stirred something within him, and made him long for more.  He talked of a desire for a life lived closer to God.  I liked what I saw... these results of something out of his ordinary.  I want to see it continue.  My pastor and I had a conversation a few months back about what we wanted to see for our young people.  This is it.  This is what I want to see.  I want to see more of this excitement!  More of this change!

And we need more of that which brings about change.

We need to hear more of the Story
More of His Story
More of the Story of Jesus

Whether it be in the messages, in the songs, in the lives we live or in our conversations.  I do not want to continually hear how awful this world is.  How wicked, how sinful.  I know how terrible it is.  I know just how wicked and sinful.  I live in this world. I walk in this world. I deal with the results of the sins of this world every day, if not in my life, then in the lives of family and friends.  There are some things I know better than I've ever wanted to know.  Oh, I know that we need to be reminded, to be warned from time to time, but that's not what I want to dwell on. 

I want to hear about Jesus.  So tell me about His great love.  About His grace and mercy.  Tell me of His sacrifice.  Tell me of Heaven, and the place He's prepared.  Remind me how He changes lives, picks up the broken pieces, mends the shattered lives.  Tell me of His forgiveness. 

And in telling His Story, give me Hope.
Hope that I can dwell on. 
Hope for tomorrow. 
Hope for ruined lives. 
Hope for loved ones.
Hope for our children. 
Hope for change. 

It comes from Him. 
From hearing His Story.

Tell Me The Story Of Jesus
by Fanny Crosby

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

Fasting alone in the desert,
Tell of the days that are past,
How for our sins He was tempted,
Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor,
Tell of the sorrow He bore;
He was despised and afflicted,
Homeless, rejected and poor.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”

Saturday, January 9

That Mysterious Young Man

Bro. Mike Bagwell preached revival for us last week, Sunday night through Wednesday.  As usual, he did a wonderful job bringing out things in scripture like no one else!  He truly is an amazing teacher (and very entertaining).  You don't get bored with his messages.  He also has a website.  I've posted links and things from it before.  I have been reading his site every morning, both the lessons and the Standing With the Bagwell's pages, for probably 2 years or so.  It has truly been a blessing to me.  One of the lessons from his site last week, really struck a chord.  He touched on some things I've been thinking about for some time.  And to be quite honest, some things that I think alot of christians need to think about.  He has a whole series on these verses, but this is the second lesson.  To read them all, click here.

Mark 14: 50-52 That Mysterious Young Man


The Text for today is brief, but necessary. I will capitalize the whole clause. "And they all forsook him, and fled. And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked." Mark 14:50-52
This event occurs at the arrest of Jesus, just prior to the Crucifixion.
Today's bold words stand in direct opposition to the foregoing sentence.
First, "They all forsook Him and fled."
Second, "And there followed Him a certain young man."
By "they all" surely is meant the disciples, those whom we normally consider Jesus' main followers.
That verb "fled" is "pheugo," meaning "to run away, to escape," at times even "to vanish!"
Peter, great as he was, has gone!
So have Matthew and James!
And, of course, Thomas!
And all the others too!
But, there was one.
One "young man," nameless to this day, who did not run away!
He "followed" Jesus when no one else would!
"And they all forsook Him, and fled. And there followed Him a certain young man ...." Mark 14:50-51
Here's the point today.
Isn't it amazing?
The fact that almost always, God has some relatively unknown or insignificant person, in some remote corner of the world, or the state, or the county, or the city, who is following Jesus, in spite of everything!
If we fundamentalists were to examine this nameless young man's life and witness, I'm quite sure we would criticize him.
But, still he was following Jesus, when our crowd had quit!
We would probably mention the fact that this boy was dressed quite loosely! Maybe you could even call it "immodestly." Nearly naked at first, then totally naked before the text has ended! But still, I remind you, he was following Jesus! When our heroes had left! "A certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked."
Then too, we would have to get our our questionnaire and find out where he attended church. His position on the major points of doctrine. And no doubt, his eschatology! I'm pretty sure he would have been lacking in these areas. But the fact remains, He loved Jesus! He was still loyal to our Lord, after the big preachers had long since bailed out!
Plus, he too got scared, finally, and ran away!
So, I'm sure we'd point that out.
Yes, he finally fizzled , just like all the others.
He did.
But not until they had long gone!
Here's all I'm saying.
There just may be some folks who love Jesus who do not run in our crowd!
The Lord may have some followers who dress differently, talk differently, maybe even worship differently than we do!
But they still love Jesus!
Who are they?
Perhaps, just like in our verses today, a bunch of "unknowns!"
A crowd of "nobodies" according to the world!
But still, they are following our Lord!
I disagree with a lot about Martin Luther. All his vestigial Catholicism, all his anti-Jewish venom, his ultra formalism, plus much more ... yet he did love Jesus! Best he knew how at the time, I think he was trying to follow our Lord!
Luther certainly would not have been my first choice for companionship, but he was loyal even to death, had it been necessary!
And these new preachers whose pulpit attire looks like they're going to a ball game, whose sermons last half as long as mine, maybe a third, and whose new Church buildings have "grand openings," instead of "dedication services," drive me up the wall!
But hear me, who is to say that some of them do not really love Jesus?
I do not know their backgrounds.
I cannot see their hearts.
I cannot be judge and jury in their lives.
Perhaps one of them, like today's young man, will still be following Jesus long after some of us "conservatives" have turned tail and quit.
I'm not trying to compromise this morning.
But I am trying to say that at any given time there can be somebody a little "strange" following our Lord.
Somebody who does things differently, a lot differently, than we do.
We must allow for that fact!
"And they all forsook Him, and fled. And there followed Him a certain young man ...." Mark 14:50-51
I don't know who they are.
They may be Africans or Asians or South Americans or inhabitants of some distant island nation, but still following Jesus ... after we Americans in all our lukewarm-ness have ceased fervently serving the Lord!
Thank God for those rare but special "young men!"
And "young women!"
And "others."
Remember what God told a discouraged Elijah one day. "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." 1st Kings 19:17
God obviously knew about the "seven thousand."
I suspect He knew about this "young man" too.
Even his name!
And even what he believed about open or closed communion!
Just remember.
Someone who is different, may still love the Lord!
And on the journey, at times anyway, might be every bit as faithful as you or me!
Maybe even more so!
I'm sure I've made somebody mad today.
"I'll never read Bagwell again," you may be huffing.
"Good bye," I say. Regretfully, but I still say it.
Yet the fact remains, we are all human.
None is infallible.
Including those professing Christians outside our camp!
Outside our group!
Outside our clique!
I close with these verses. I do not have time or space to comment on them now. But you all are smart people. You can figure them out. They apply to today's lesson.
"And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us." Luke 9:49-50
"He that is not against us is for us!"
Even young men wrapped in strange linen things!
"And they all forsook Him, and fled. And there followed Him a certain young man ...." Mark 14:50-51
"Lord, help me to learn."
I may not be the only one in Heaven!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Friday, January 8

Though They Be Red Like Crimson...

We had some snow last night and the roads got pretty slick.  I'm thankful for my all wheel drive Subaru.  I didn't have any trouble getting home.  But, I also had no excuse for not making it to work this morning.  So, while everybody else enjoyed the snow day, I was at work.  I came home this evening and started supper, and looking out the back door, I could see the bird feeder.  It belongs to Charlie and our grandson, Owen.  They put it up last spring and during the warmer weather, enjoyed sitting on the back porch watching the birds.  They had many interesting conversations (Owen turned 3 in June) concerning those birds.

 This is what I saw this evening.

These sparrows were underneath the bird feeder.  They blended in with the leaves on the ground.  Even though the were hard to see, I was reminded how God's word says that not one of them shall be forgotten of God.  They are not very showy birds, just plain, simple little brown birds, but God will not forget one of them.  If God will not forget one of these tiny little birds, He will not forget us, for He says that we are worth more than many sparrows.  We may not be the person that stands out to every one else, but we stand out to God, for we are His, and He will not forget us. 

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
 Luke 12:6-7

This female cardinal was on the bird feeder,

and the male was perched up in the tree.  I never see a bright red cardlinal on a snowy background that I'm not reminded of Isaiah 1:18.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

What a beautiful picture of God's words!

Monday, January 4

To God Be The Glory!

My sister, Debbie, received the results from her PET scan today.  SHE IS CANCER FREE!  Praise God!  He is so good!  If you've not read it yet, go to her blog and read her post.

Friday, January 1