Wednesday, November 30, 2011

God is Good, All the Time

Did you know that God is Good, All the Time? Actually, Good cannot exist without God. Did you know that there is no temptation that God cannot deliver you from. If God has delivered you from a sin, you no longer need to tell everyone that you are a sinner, i.e., alcoholic, thief, etc. If you have been delivered from sin by Christ, you no longer have that label. In your mind, you realize that you need to stay away from that sin, but you don't have to broadcast it to everyone once you have been delivered. 

'God is good, all the time' is one of my favorite phrases, mainly, because He is. Sometimes we may be disappointed in what we receive, but in the grand scheme of things, there is good waiting out there for us at all times. I feel we must earn it and the only way to worship God is to serve others. If God is pleased with your service to your fellow men/women, then he is more likely to show your his goodness. If you do service with a greedy heart, it is not service. That is to say, you only do good for others if you get something out of it. We should never ask or expect anything for our service. 

I did something significant that the Lord asked me to do a few years ago. It was not an easy thing to do, but I did it anyway. It took five long years and loads of praying, but it came to pass as it was God's Plan. I asked for guidance and prayed that the Holy Spirit would enter into the hearts of the ones who didn't think it was a good idea. Eventually, the day came that everything worked out and it was one of the happiest and most significant days in my life. It made a difference in our community and changed the dynamic is the area of town where it happened. A pastor who was involved told me that when I get to Heaven I will have a crown of rubies for my head. I never thought of that, but it sounds heavy. Have you ever heard the expression that I use all the time? 

Live for God, regardless of the inconvenience you face. Always let people know who you are. For myself, I bought a large silver cross in California when I was on a business trip. I used the per diem that the government provides for travel for the purchase of the cross instead of lots of expensive meals. I wear the cross most of the time and if not that one, I wear a small one. You would be amazed how it calms down a heated conversation. People who spew profanity usually take one look start talking without the swear words.

I love the quotation 'Profanity is the effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcefully.' I was told it was a quote from President George Washington. English is changing day by day and more people would be more cognizant of their language if they knew that intelligent people thought them ignorant because of their profanity. 

There are occasions where I have heard someone use a word for emphasis that wasn't very nice, but in the group there wasn't anyone who swore, so it was a very effective use of the word. Using profanity habitually does show ignorance and it also shows that that person does not care about anyone but themselves. Here I go on my soapbox again.

I was thinking the other day of all the things that I have to be thankful for. How about you? What have you got to be thankful for? Here is my list:
  • Thank You Lord for taking the cancer away from my body.
  • Thank You Lord for giving me such a good husband.
  • Thank You Lord for giving me such wonderful children and grand children.
  • Thank You Lord for my wonderful Christian Friends.
  • Thank You Lord for my friends who are not yet Christians.
  • Thank You Lord for the Holy Spirit who will be instrumental in making more friends Christian.
  • Thank You Lord for the health of my family and friends.
  • Thank You Lord for letting me know those who are sick that I can pray for.
  • Thank You Lord for this wonderful country where we are free to express our opinions and be all we can be.
  • Thank You Lord for connecting me with so many people on Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Blogger, etc., so that I may share my faith with them.
  • Thank You Lord for my Rheumatoid Arthritis so that I may know how it feels to show compassion for others. 
  • Thank You Lord for all the blessings that You have bestowed on me and my family.
  • Thank You Lord for providing me and mine with a home where we will live with You forever and ever in Heaven.
  • Thank You Lord for being You and Loving us so much that You would give Christ to us to deliver us from sin. 
Lord God, we love You and praise Your Holy Name. Amen


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Editorial.Following God's Call to Popes and Paupers

By:  Dr. Jim White
Editor, Religious Herald

You probably heard the one about a guy named Rudy who claimed to know everybody in the world. “No, you don’t,” retorted his friend, Benny. “I’ll bet you don’t know the pope!”

“Sure I do,” replied Rudy. “Come to Rome and I’ll prove it.” So off they went to Rome where Benny stood with throngs of others in St. Peter’s Square. Just as he realized he had become separated from Rudy, the crowd began to cheer. The Pope made an appearance on the balcony, and to Benny’s utter amazement, standing beside him waving to the crowd, with Rudy.

Benny had to concede that his friend knew the Pope -- but he couldn’t know everybody in the world! To prove the point to himself, to the man next to him in the crowd he said, “Do you know that guy up there with the Pope?”. . .READ MORE

Friday, October 14, 2011


Recently, someone sent this in an email. I thought it would be a good post. Most who know me know that I do not normally copy other people's work, but this I just could not resist. I guess that the email had gone around so much that the writer's name was deleted, and for this I am sorry. I would like to give credit where credit is due, so if you know who wrote this, would you leave me a comment so I can seek their approval for posting. 

Genesis 47:13-27
Genesis 47:13-27
I would love to give the Pastor of this predominantly black church in Virginia three cheers. This guy is obviously a leader. Perhaps we should each decide who our real leader is... It is amazing to see that very little has changed in 4,000 years.

Good morning, brothers and sisters; it's always a delight to see the pews crowded on Sunday morning, and so eager to get into God's Word. Turn with me in your Bibles, if you will, to the 47th chapter of Genesis. We'll begin our reading at verse 13, and go through verse 27.

Brother Ray, would you stand and read that great passage for us? .... (reading) ... Thank you for that fine reading, Brother Ray. So we see that economic hard times fell upon Egypt , and the people turned to the government of Pharaoh to deal with this for them. And Pharaoh nationalized the grain harvest, and placed the grain in great storehouses that he had built. So the people brought their money to Pharaoh, like a great tax increase, and gave it all to him willingly in return for grain. And this went on until their money ran out, and they were hungry again.

So when they went to Pharaoh after that, they brought their livestock - their cattle, their horses, their sheep, and their donkey - to barter for grain, and verse 17 says that only took them through the end of that year. But the famine wasn't over, was it? So the next year, the people came before Pharaoh and admitted they had nothing left, except their land and their own lives. "There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh." So they surrendered their homes, their land, and their real estate to Pharaoh's government, and then sold themselves into slavery to him, in return for grain.

What can we learn from this, brothers and sisters?
That turning to the government instead of to God to be our provider in hard times only leads to slavery? Yes.... That the only reason government wants to be our provider is to also become our master?

Yes. But look how that passage ends, brothers and sisters! Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt , in the land of Goshen . And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly." God provided for His people, just as He always has! They didn't end up giving all their possessions to government, no, it says they gained possessions! But I also tell you a great truth today, and an ominous one.

We see the same thing happening today - the government today wants to "share the wealth" once again, to take it from us and redistribute it back to us. It wants to take control of healthcare, just as it has taken control of education, and ration it back to us, and when government rations it, then government decides who gets it, and how much, and what kind. And if we go along with it, and do it willingly, then we will wind up no differently than the people of Egypt did four thousand years ago - as slaves to the government, and as slaves to our leaders.

What Mr. Obama's government is doing now is no different from what Pharaoh's government did then, and it will end the same. And a lot of people like to call Mr.Obama a "Messiah," don't they? Is he a Messiah? A savior? Didn't the Egyptians say, after Pharaoh made them his slaves, "You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh"? Well, I tell you this - I know the Messiah; the Messiah is a friend of mine; and Mr. OBAMA IS NO MESSIAH! No, brothers and sisters, if Mr. Obama is a character from the Bible, then he is Pharaoh. Bow with me in prayer, if you will...

Lord, You alone are worthy to be served, and we rely on You, and You alone. We confess that the government is not our deliverer, and never rightly will be. We read in the eighth chapter of 1 Samuel, when Samuel warned the people of what a ruler would do, where it says "And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day..."
And Lord, we acknowledge that day has come. We cry out to you because of the ruler that we have chosen for ourselves as a nation. Lord, we pray for this nation. We pray for revival, and we pray for deliverance from those who would be our masters. Give us hearts to seek You and hands to serve You, and protect Your people from the atrocities of Pharaoh's government. In God We Trust... 

You may consider sharing this with others.
 Have a nice day... And God bless...
"Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. You are as young as your self confidence, As old as your fears. As young as your hope. As old as your despair. In the central place of every heart, there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage, you are young. When your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism, and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, have you grown old."

"All that is necessary for evil to succeed
 is that good men do nothing."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 11, 2001 - Where Were You?

Where were you on September 11, 2011? I was at home waiting to go to the doctor. The TV was off and Ray was in Arlington Va getting his Professional Parliamentarians Certification. When I turned on the TV, I thought I was seeing the first plane hit, but was actually seeing the second one. I told my friend and she went back to the TV. When I hung up, I tried calling Ray on his cell phone and could not get through. I called my office to let them know since there was not TV there. Someone came in while I was on the phone and told them. It was so awful. When the plane hit the Pentagon, I became frantic, knowing how close Ray was to there. We finally talked that night and I was thanking God for sparing us, but praying for those who had lost love ones.

Later when we really realized the full impact, we were even more stunned. I remember seeing a documentary once on the bombing of Japan that ended World War II. I guess that is the way the people there felt, but it ended a massive war. This terrorist Muslim attack started one that I don't think will ever be over. I have read many books about Muslims trying to understand them and I just cannot believe the fantasy that they believe. Contrary to what they believe, our God and allah are not the same. I wish I could say that all roads lead to heaven, but they don't. So sad. Sometimes I wonder if the evil that Satan has brought to this world will overcome us. The ACLU has tried to take God out of everything in this country, even though this country was put together on Christian principles. The fathers of our country fought for our freedom to worship as we please. Even the cults, like LDS, the Moonies, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, etc. This is a Christian Nation and as long as it stays that way, we have a hope of heaven.

Add caption
What I am saying is not what  a lot of people want to hear. Someone recently asked me where in the Bible it says you can create your own god. I asked her what Bible she had been reading. I also told her that if you create your own god, you are committing the sin of idolatry. Just like our pastor said last night, there are those that believe that when they die, they will get there own planet and become gods with many wives to populate their planet. Have you ever heard such nonsense? There is only one God and there is only one way to Him - Jesus Christ.

B-I-B-L-E          Believers  Instructions  Before   Leaving Earth

*      The best mathematical equation I have ever seen: l cross + 3 nails = 4 given

  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6
"Do not worry about anything; Instead PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING." Philippians 4:6 

*          Atheism - The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs-Makes perfect sense.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Relationship with Christ

Jesus Loves You, My computer art.
This morning I feel compelled to talk about my relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord. I received this quote from a friend over 5 years ago, but I have no idea whose quote it is.

"We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience." 

Isn't that so true? Our time here on this earth is just temporary. Our acceptance of Christ as our Lord and Savior guarantees Eternal Life. Someone once said that the only way to serve God is to serve others. This is true. The only problem is that some people think they can skip the part of accepting Christ, and go straight to the serving others part. Not so. It doesn't matter how much money you give, how kind you are, how many people you help; if you have not accepted Christ, it is all for nothing. When you get to the pearly gates, He will say "I never knew you."

Get to know Him. He loves you. It doesn't matter who you are or what you have done, you can be forgiven and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, just believe. It is very simple. I know there are many books written about the Bible, and many bibles, but the simple truth is that you have to ask Christ into your heart and confess your sins. He will forgive a sincere heart. Then become Baptized in the Holy Spirit and by water. You will think all those things that you thought were fun, aren't really that much fun and do not even come close to the joy you will feel as a Christ-follower.

Think about it today. Jesus loves you and so do I. Let me know your decision so I can pray for you. Find a local Christian Church. You have my sincere prayers and love.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Wonderful Blessings Can Happen in Strange Places

The following is a repeat from my blog in 2011:

Last Friday morning we went to the Virginia Peninsula Unit Meeting at the Hampton Library. On the way in I stopped in the Ladies Room. I met the most amazing woman names Melissa. I have lost her complete name and phone number and I am not so sure she isn't an angel. We were talking. I wasn't feeling so well and hadn't slept much the night before.

She asked if she could pray for me. It sounded like a good idea to me.  She had said she belonged to an Evangelical Church in Hampton. She took my hands in hers and prayed.

All of a sudden, I realized that she had started speaking in tongues. I have never believed in speaking in tongues so at first I had the fleeting thought that this was strange, and then I realized that I knew what she was saying. I actually understood the words. She was praying in the Spirit and a special feeling washed over me and when we said Amen, I realized that I felt so much better.

I was able to accept the position as President of the Unit and when we went to Richmond I felt well enough to accept the position as State Secretary for the Virginia Association of Parliamentarians. Both positions are for 2 years.
Melissa, wherever you are, thank you for your prayers. You are my angel. If you read this, please contact me.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Extravagant Generosity

              Text:  I John 3:16-18
  • Generosity is an aspect of character.
  • Vibrant, healthy, growing, fruitful congregations practice extravagant generosity.
  • Giving reflects the nature of our God.
  • People that practice generosity understand that God has called them to go out into the community and make a difference in people’s lives.
  •  People that are generous givers give because they        
    • A. Love God
    • B. Love the church
    • C. Desire to grow in their love for other people
  • How we use our material resources either honors or dishonors our relationship with God.
  • “We buy things we don’t even need with money we don’t even have to impress people we don’t even know.”
  • We can never early enough money to be happy when we believe that satisfaction, self-definition, and meaning derive from possessions.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Miracle at Zoe

Old Downtown First Baptist and New First Baptist 
I have heard it said that when you talk to God it is called “Prayer.” But, when God talks to you and you tell someone, it is called “Schizophrenia.” That is not always so. God speaks to us all the time, but the question is: Are we listening?
A few years ago, in 2003, I started waking up at all hours of the night by the word “Zoe” being spoken to me in a decidedly male voice. Since I sleep alone, it was rather disconcerting, especially since I couldn’t imagine what “Zoe” meant. After a couple of weeks and much prayer about it, I asked someone at church had they heard of “Zoe"?
They explained to me that the old First Baptist Church of Newport News was downtown and that currently was being purchased by the people of Zoe Community Church. That night I had another instance of the Voice and He told me I knew what to do. I still wasn’t exactly sure, but I asked God’s guidance for me that day. It was Sunday morning and I went about my business getting ready for church. Ray wasn’t feeling well and he stayed home, which is unusual.

I was to serve as Deacon #4 that morning, which means that I was next to the lead deacon and would be coming back down to the front after the offering. During the sermon that morning, I kept hearing “Give the people Zoe” in my right ear. I would turn to look, but no one was in the row behind me and behind that there were people that I didn’t know. Dr. Randal Everett, who had recently come to be our pastor, was teaching on our need to give and to share our blessings with our community. He mentioned that he and his wife, Sheila, had recently toured the old downtown church and were really impressed by what the people there were doing.

Then it came to me so clear, God wanted our congregation to forgive the debt and give the old church building to Zoe Community Church. We had been so blessed.

While we were building our new sanctuary, there were numerous instances where people have given to the point that when we moved into the new sanctuary, we only owed around $60K of over a $4M debt. Dr. James White, our previous pastor had to take a whole sermon time one Sunday just to let us know how God had been working in the church.

When the altar call came, I heard “Give the people Zoe” in my right ear. Still no one behind me.  I walked over to Dr. Everett and told him what was going on. He immediately told me to tell the congregation; which, being the big-mouthed creature that I am, I did. So many people came up afterward and told me that they had thought the same thing.

Over the next few of months, I took a lot of flack. I was secretary of the deacons and spoke my peace in a deacon meeting. It was not too well received by a few people. The next year was my year off as deacon and when it came time for the nomination committee to call and ask if I choose to serve again; no one called. Mr. Dick Strickler, a long-time member and Life-Deacon, asked me one day if I was coming back on the deacon board. I really had not thought about it, but when he asked, I told him it was strange that no one had called. That was on Sunday and the next morning, he called the church office and raised a ruckus about it. Needless to say, they called me and asked me if I chose to serve, which of course, I did.

The first Sunday, I was to serve, I was told by another deacon that they did not want any trouble in the church and that I needed to watch my step. How odd? Why would someone think they had the right to talk to me in that manner? I cannot tell you how much it hurt me for them to speak to me that way. Anyway, I have forgiven them and have even told them recently that I love them. I have always tried to be a positive voice in the church and encourage everyone.   I guess God picked me to share His news because He knows that I have no problem in saying what needed to be said..

Skip to August 2007, a motion was brought before the deacon board to approve the forgiveness of the debt of $86,000 to Zoe Community Church and to deed them the old downtown church building. At the September Quarterly Meeting, the church approved to forgive the debt. On October 28, 2007, I was privileged to represent the deacons and go to Zoe with Mr. Walter Satchell, FBCNN Manager, and Mr. Sam Moore, FBCNN Financial Management, to give the people of Zoe the church building during their Sunday Service. Walter had taken a copy of the purchase agreement and written in big black letters “PAID IN FULL.”

 Reverend Ray Johnson, the son, knew what was going on, but his father and mother did not. They had been co-pastors up until 2006, but the elder Pastor Johnson had a heart problem and had to retire. His son Pastor Ray Johnson had taken over the position. Zoe Community Church had been renamed Calvary Revival Community Church. They came up on the stage and it was one of the most awesome experiences of my life when they realized that we were actually giving them the building. They had been singing praise songs and immediately broke into praise again. It was awesome. God was truly in that sanctuary.

 I recently saw Pastor Ray Johnson at a meeting of the Peninsula Baptist Association. Calvary Revival became affiliated with the PBA. He told me that because of the gift of the building, babies had been born that might not have been born, families have been restored, children have been helped, and people have received job training. They have a place in the church called "Nehemiah's Closet" where people can come and get clothing and household items. There is a training center for business education and people in the neighborhood are fed whether homeless or just in need a meal. How wonderful!

At some time God will speak to you, are you listening?

God is Good, All the Time! Barbara

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guillian-Barre Syndrome Miracle

In September 1999, Ray had surgery to correct a deviated septum. He was seeing Dr. Queen and it was decided that it would help him quit snoring. After the surgery, Dr. Queen went to a conference and left another doctor in charge. We thought the surgery went well, but immediately afterward, Ray's temperature and blood pressure spiked. He had to stay in recovery a couple of extra hours. He was a little shaky, but seemed alright at first. I thought it was the pain medication. Instead of getting steadier, he seemed to be deteriorating. I had to borrow a walker for him to get around the house. Monday, we went to see the doctor and he released Ray, gave him instructions and sent him home.

That night when we went to bed, Ray was so unsteady on his feet that I told him not to get up during the night without waking me up. I had already decided that I was taking him to our regular doctor or the hospital the first thing in the morning. Just as we were going to bed, his nose started to bleed profusely. It just would not stop, so I called 911 and they took him to Mary Immaculate Hospital where he laid in emergency for 4 hours before he actually saw a doctor. The doctor packed his nose with gauze and sent him home. Twenty-four hours later the nosebleed came back and the doctor at Mary Immaculate Hospital admitted him.

Ray ended up staying in the hospital for five long days. I tried to work because I did not have much leave and without Ray working, we could not afford for me to go on Leave Without Pay. By working half days and spending afternoons with him, I was able to help him and not hurt our finances. I would get there around 1:30 p.m. and he would just be lying in the bed. No one had helped him bathe or even changed his sheets. He had barely eaten. I made sure he ate and bathed him. I had never bed bathed a full grown man and assured him that he could tell how much I loved him from that. I even searched for the nurse, procured sheets, and changed the sheets myself.

By the fifth day, they decided to send him home. That is when I noticed the pumpkin seed. The first night, I had a pack of pumpkin seeds. It was the only thing I had to eat and must have dropped one. There it was on the floor under the chair. That spoke volumes to me. The floor had not been cleaned in five days. This was a very expensive hospital, but they just were not doing a good job. Ray could barely move, but they released him anyway.

We had to borrow a cane from a friend and then another friend, Bob Yeatman, procured a walker from the Masonic Lodge. That night I told him not to get up without waking me. During the night, he decided to get up and go to the bathroom.  He fell and hit his head on the chest of drawers and his elbow on the end of the bed. I was sound asleep and our dog, Precious, woke me up licking my face.
I could not get him up, so I called 911 to get an ambulance. The paramedics were going to take him back to Mary Immaculate, but I said. “I don’t care what it costs,  he is going to Riverside.” When we got to the emergency room, they determined that he has badly bruised his elbow and could have a concussion from where he hit his head.

It was around two in the morning and Dr. Parcells, the head neurologist, was walking through the emergency room. They brought him in to see Ray and he knew what was wrong even before they did the spinal tap—Guillian-Barre’ Syndrome (GBS). It is a disease of the peripheral nerves. The myelin sheath that protects the nerves deteriorates and falls off. It causes the nerves to die, but does not affect the brain or spinal cord. This was on the 29th of September 1999.

By my birthday on October 1, things were drastic. When I got to Ray’s room, I saw his eyes were open and started talking to him; he was snoring. The nurse said that the nerves in his eyelids were not working and he could not close his eyes. It broke my heart. She mentioned that they may have to put him on a respirator. That really frightened me but I tried not to show it to Ray. I just sat there until he woke up.

I kept running in and out of the cardiac care unit the rest of the day. I drove around town, collecting money for Ray’s business. All day, there were radio preachers on the Christian channels on the radio talking about healing. I prayed all day and felt an enormous burden. That evening, my friend Glynn and her husband came to the hospital. They even brought me flowers for my birthday.

There were so many people from church visiting and praying for Ray. Charlie Nichols and Andy Hughes came by and prayed with Ray. They were such great prayer partners. Everyone was so concerned for him and prayers were lifted to heaven from all over.

After everyone left that night, I stood by Ray’s bed and told him that I never prayed out-loud for anything much before, other than food, but I thought it was about time that I did. I held his hand and to his chorus of “Yes, Lord,” I prayed for the illness to stop attacking his body and let him get better from that day forward. I did not try to bargain with God; we know that doesn’t work. But, I wanted His will to be as ours. God heard our prayer that night and He put the words in my mouth to speak it His way. When I left that night, the nurse told me to sleep in the next day because they were taking Ray back for another spinal tap the next morning.

When I went to the van that night, I started it up and immediately heard the opening chorus to “God is Good, All the Time!” I sang with them all the way home and by the time I got there, I was feeling much better. I woke up Saturday morning,
washed clothes, vacuumed, and got to the hospital around 11:30.

I helped Ray with his lunch and sat with him, talking in between his naps. Around three o’clock or so, Dr. Parcells came in. He had evaluated the spinal tap and discovered that the GBS had stopped. He said those same words that I prayed the night before. The disease had stopped and Ray would get better from that day forward. If you have never heard of GBS, you need to know that this is virtually unheard of. Ray was a hairs breath away from being on a respirator. Thank you, Lord.

He stayed in the Cardiac Care unit for 9 days, a regular room for 9 days, and then in Rehab for two weeks. He was home a week and then he was working again. Thank you, Lord. His healing was miraculous. Guillian-Barre Syndrome normally takes months, even years to heal completely.

God is Good, All the Time!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Carotid Artery Surgery - Miracle

In 1999, our little family had many challenges. In January, we were told that Ray had a 99 percent blockage in his carotid artery. They could not get him into a hospital in Newport News for over two weeks, but they had an opening the next Tuesday morning (Monday was a holiday) in Williamsburg. They scheduled his surgery and on the Monday night before the surgery, he suffered a small stroke at our Lions Club meeting and could not hold his crackers in his left hand.
The next morning when I drove him to the hospital, he didn’t want to tell them about the stroke, but I made sure he did. They had to put off the surgery one day and did some tests to make sure there was no bleeding in the brain. My friend, Glynn, stayed at the hospital with me most of the time. She was so wonderful. We talked a lot and prayed. Dr. James White, our pastor at that time, spent the better part of the three and a half hour surgery with us. Prayer really helps. Knowing that your husband is in surgery getting his neck sliced and Carotid Artery cleaned out while he is awake is a little disconcerting. I don’t think we could have made it over that roadblock without lots of prayer.
On the last night Ray was in the hospital, I said goodnight and drove home. I was so tired; I was having trouble staying awake. I think when you are going through a trauma it can make you feel burdened and tired. I was driving back from Williamsburg in the rain and the interchange at Jefferson Ave and I-64 was undergoing construction. I was not supposed to get off I-64 until I got to J. Clyde Morris Boulevard, but I suddenly found myself on Jefferson Avenue. I don’t know how it happened. It was very surreal.
   The Lord must have been guiding me that night. In a couple of days Ray was home and working again. He had recently started a new home-based business and was able to do most of his work at his own pace. God is Good!Publish Post

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Radical Hospitality

We give credit to Robert Schnase, Bishop of the Missouri Conference of the UMC. He wrote the teaching series, "Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations." 

Question for thought:  How do we welcome people?

1. We want newcomers to feel:
    a. We really care about them.
    b. We have something great and want to share it with them.
    c. We are interested in them.
    d. We see them as future friends, not a project.
    e. We are inviting them into the body of Christ
    f. They matter to us because they matter to God.

2. Radical, meaning "Drastically different from ordinary practice, outside the norm."

3. What do people see that congregations offer:
    a. People need to know that God loves them, that they are of supreme value, and that their life has significance.
    b, People need to know that they are not alone; that when they face life's difficulties, they are surrounded by a community of grace,  and that they do not have to figure out entirely for themselves how to COPE with family tensions, self-doubts,  periods of despair, economic reversal, and the temptations that hurt themselves or others.
    c. People need to know the peace that runs deeper than an absence of conflict, the hope that sustains them even through the most painful periods of grief, the sense of belonging that blesses them and stretches them and lifts them out of their own preoccupations.
    d. People need to learn how to offer and accept forgiveness and how to serve and be served. As a school for love, the church becomes a congregation where people learn from one another HOW to love.
    e. People need to know that life is not having something to live on but something to live for, that life comes not from oneself but by giving of oneself.
    f. People need a sustaining sense of Purpose. The last thing people want is to be TOLD by someone else what they need!!!!! Inviting people into Christ does not involve pounding people with "oughts" and "shoulds."

4. Churches aspiring to Radical Hospitality must regularly ask themselves:
    a. How are we doing at inviting guests and at teaching people to invite others?
    b. How are we at genuinely and authentically Welcoming people?
    c. How are we doing at helping people find their way into our church family?
    d. How are we doing to help people who are unfamiliar with us to feel at home?
    e. How can we do better?

The lesson was taught at First Baptist Church of Newport News by Pastor Dale Seley on February 16, 2011.