Saturday, January 13, 2018

Can't Keep it Inside

Michael Gracey directed the movie/musical, “The Greatest Showman.”   In preparation for the movie, it took 8 months to schedule a date when the Fox executives, producers, actors and singers could all be present for a read through and singing of the songs.  One of the main actors, Hugh Jackman, called Gracey the night before the scheduled meeting to let him know that a skin cancer had been removed from his nose, he had 80 stitches, and the doctor had instructed him not to sing.  Gracey told Jackman not to tell anyone the news before he came, since he knew people would not be overly excited about flying to New York City to practice a musical and then not be hearing him sing.  The next day, as everyone gathered, Hugh Jackman explained the situation about his surgery and the doctor’s orders.  He told the cast and producers that he would stand, act, read his lines, and mouth the words as a fill-in sang for him.  That worked fine until the final musical number “From Now On.”  Hugh started out mouthing the words.  Then he spoke aloud a few more lines.  Soon Jackman was softly singing several more lines.  No longer able to hold it in, Jackman sang the rest of the song with energy and zest from his heart.  The room became electrifying as the other singers realized what was happening and enthusiastically joined in.  There was a price to pay for his exuberance as Jackman had to have some of the stitches repaired or replaced.  When interviewed about the movie, Hugh Jackman said that with all the dark in our world that this is his Christmas present of light.  The movie stresses the importance of inclusion and tolerance and according to Hugh, “What makes you different makes you special.”

The Alabama Crimson Tide played the Georgia Bulldogs for the National College Football Championship.  Alabama was behind 13 – 0 at halftime, thus Coach Nick Saban’s decision to change quarterbacks.  During the second half, freshman Tua Tagovailoa, from Hawaii, guided the Crimson Tide to tie up the game and force the game into overtime.  On the next to last play, in overtime, Tagovailoa was sacked for a loss of several yards.  But on the next and final play of the game, the quarterback threw a long pass which was caught and run in for a touchdown.  That play secured another National College Football Championship for Alabama.  During one of the after game interviews, Tua Tagovailoa paused and said, “I just want to stop and thank my parents; and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  He got me here.”  Tagovailoa couldn’t keep his gratitude inside any longer.

Hugh Jackman’s experience with the final song and Tua Tagovailoa’s after game interveiw remind me somewhat of Paul’s experiences in the New Testament.  Paul would not stop voicing and sharing the good news about Jesus.  Even when ordered to stop preaching and teaching about Jesus, or face prison and beatings, Paul refused to keep the message of faith, hope, love, joy, and salvation within.  Likewise, no matter the consequences, Peter and John also refused to stop speaking about what they had heard and seen.

We tend to overflow with that which we are filled.  During this New Year may others readily see and witness the Jesus spilling out in us through our words, actions, reactions, and the ways we love, respect, treat, and encourage them.

No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way. We’re not keeping secrets; we’re telling them. We’re not hiding things; we’re bringing everything out into the open.
Luke 8:16-17 (The Message)

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Acts 4:18-20

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:3

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Words of Wisdom

Last week, on a very cold Sunday afternoon, my sisters and I met at the facility where Mom lives to spend time with her.   When we were leaving to go home, one of my sisters noticed that I didn’t have my coat with me.  Since Larry let me out and picked me up at the drive through by the door, I left my coat in the car so as not to have to keep up with it while visiting.  I did assure her that I had a coat in the car.  We both remembered and recalled Daddy instructing us that even if we didn’t want to wear a coat we should be prepared in case the car had a flat tire and we needed to stand outside in the cold waiting for the tire to be changed.  I’m grateful that those words of wisdom, along with a plethora of others, have been taught, heard, learned, applied, and are still being practiced today.

It seems that the starting of a new year offers one ample opportunities to be surrounded by offers of wisdom and new beginnings.  The following are a few of the words I have read or heard advice from this first week of 2018: the Bible, a pastor, friends, people I have yet to meet, and even words of wisdom from an obituary. 

Six ethics of Life:
Before you Pray       -     Believe.
Before you Speak     -     Listen.
Before you Spend    -     Earn.
Before you Write     -     Think.
Before you Quit       -     Try.
Before you Die         -     Live.
The Oldtimers

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We were not made to spread heat, but to shine the light.” – Duane Brooks

“We need to be not merely receivers of God’s gifts but active conduits of their treasure.” – Jeannette Clift George

“…on the wind of the Holy Spirit many of us find ourselves serving surprising assignments.  Trust God’s assignments.  He never assigns us to do what He has not already equipped us to do.” – Jeannette Clift George

“I want to learn my craft, compete with the best of them, and serve my Lord with the excellence He gives me.” – Jeannette Clift George

Words of wisdom can be taught and shared in a myriad of ways, but it’s up to each person to reason through, take to heart, and put into practice what they learn in order to make a difference in the way one lives.  May we be wise in discerning the words we choose to believe and act upon.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
Psalm 111:10

As water reflects the face,
   so one’s life reflects the heart.
Proverbs 27:19

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1:5

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Getting Ready for the New Year

As I look forward to the New Year,
be thou my vision so that I can plan
according to Your heart and not
just my own. 

2017 is coming to a close and 2018 is quickly approaching.  Within 5 days time, Larry and I, with much gratitude, celebrate two anniversaries, 43rd wedding and 39 years of ministry at Tallowood, and the New Year.  After reflecting on 2017 it is now time to prepare for and get ready for the New Year.

I did it again!  Last night I plugged my phone into the charger.  This morning I discovered the phone had very little charge.  Upon further investigation I noticed that I had not plugged the other end of the charging cord into the outlet.  What a great visual reminder that the most important thing I need to do to get ready for this new year is to consciously make sure I am plugged into God’s source of power every single day.

Some other things to consider for the New Year:
 * Things may need to be rearranged or removed to make room for the new
* Before saying “Yes” to something, weigh what will be said “No” to in the process
* Anything worth doing is worth doing well
* Sometimes things need to be washed, cleaned up and repaired to be like new
* Be willing to change
* Growth takes time
* Look for and be the good
* Rejoice, pray, give thanks
* Remember God’s compassions are new every morning
* Taste and see that the LORD is good

May 2018 be full of an awareness of God’s presence, blessings, and best for you.  And as one of our grandkids says … “Merry Christmas and a Happy New You!”

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
   blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.
Lamentation 3:22-23

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
I Corinthians 2:4-5

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
Ephesians 1:18-21