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This is actually a letter to my Pastor, but someone out there needs to read it. In it I’ve worked through the emotional side of  my recent accident, which left me more shaken than I ever would have believed it could.

This time last year I had just been promoted and received a large raise. My boss almost gushed when she did my review, saying that I was good for moral. Doug nearly had more work than he could handle. We were both still very active in our old church, and looking forward to what the future would bring, despite some pretty serious problems. We kept hearing about the economy taking a nose dive, but we weren’t feeling much of a pinch. Funny how much difference a year makes.

After the first of the year, my boss told me if I wouldn’t open my availability and start working Wednesday nights and Sundays my hours would be cut. I told her to do what she had to do, and tried not to worry. About the same time Doug started getting fewer hours at work too, so we cut a few luxuries (read: We ate out less.) and went on. Things were getting worse at church too, prompting me to ask, Is it possible to be tempted into not living out God’s will for one’s life by being given nearly everything one has ever wanted in a good, godly church?” My trusted friends gave me the truthful, but painful, answer. On January 22, we made the decision to leave Faith Baptist Church.

I think we knew then that we were headed for Aurora. Doug’s mother is so happy here. Pastor was such a wonderful change from what we were used to. Gentle, accepting and secure, he made us feel immediately welcome, which I hadn’t felt in quite some time. Rick and his wife asked us to lunch, and we told him our unhappy story. When he didn’t freak or act like I had committed some great sin, by filling in as temporary pastor at Faith, I knew we were home. We started to heal. We thought we’d been tested and made it through. We had no idea the testing had just begun.

June first, Doug was laid off. Fortunately his unemployment went through without a hitch, but that still cut his pay in half. I started making up my cut hours by staying whenever I could, so we were falling a little behind, but still not really hurting. July and August passed without work for him, but honestly I was enjoying having him home for a while. We were a bit behind though, so I made an arrangement with the mortgage company, and it looked like we’d be able to catch up. Then on September fourteenth, I broke my ankle.

It was such a stupid accident. Who falls off their own porch? Wish I could say that I was being a good employee and wanting to get to work on time, but the truth is I left a little early, in a good mood, because I’d be able to stop at 7-11 for a coffee and sandwich. Tired and careless, I missed the bottom step and went down hard. I actually heard the bones snap, but thankfully didn’t feel it. Of course, it just had to be raining.

The first sight of that ankle scared the daylights out of me. They are not suppose to bend like that! Panic set in, and I began to scream for Doug. There I am laying in three inches of water, getting rained on, screaming my head off, and he can’t hear me, because of the rain. This went on for twenty minutes, before I decided to drag myself to the car and honk the horn. I think I asked God for the strength. That’s when I remembered my cell phone was in my pocket, and called Doug.

It didn’t occur to me until a couple of days ago, that my cell phone shouldn’t have worked. It’s a cheap tracfone. It was in my pants pocket, and I was soaked to the skin. It should have been soaked and useless, but when I pulled it out it was bone dry and worked like it was new. It still shows no sign of water damage, though I used it in the rain. The very thought floors me. Maybe it’s because I can actually hold a miracle in my hand. It can’t be explained away as luck or coincidence. It simply should not have worked.

At the hospital they tried to set it twice, but decided it would take surgery to do the job. God was working then too. The surgeon they contacted usually deals with children and sports injuries, but it took someone with his skill to put Humpty back together again. The one hour surgery turned into three, because the end of the bone on the outside kept slipping into the joint, keeping it from seating properly.

Doug’s mother may never understand how much comfort she gave me, when she prayed, before my second surgery. There was no fear, just acceptance of whatever God had in store. I think it was actually easier for me than it was for her and Doug, because they had to wait it out, while I slept through it, as once again a one hour surgery turned into four, because the damage was worse than they originally thought.

I’ve always been a little impatient with wounded and sick people, who let it slow them down. I was always the one who kept on going, like the energizer bunny, no matter what else happened. If this has taught me nothing else, it’s taught me compassion. There is no way Doug can pick up my rather ample frame. Dragging oneself across the porch and through the front door, because you can’t get up the steps, will take a person down a peg or two, as will being forced to depend on someone else for literally everything.

A week to the day after my accident, we called the ambulance again, for Doug. He had to spend two nights in the hospital and have a surgery of his own. Thank God his mother was able to be there for him.

Naturally, while Doug was in the hospital, I had a doctors appointment. Once again it was his mom to the rescue, but she couldn’t get me on or off the deck either. God was there and working again. I went outside early determined to get off the deck, before she got there, so she wouldn’t worry about me hurting myself. As I stood there wondering how to manage such a feat, the trash truck drove by and then stopped. The driver walked up and asked if I needed help, and helped me lower myself to the edge of the deck. Problem solved. When his mother brought me back home, we still had the problem of getting me back in the house. A young man stopped and helped lift me to a rolling desk chair I used to get across the porch and back into the house. “God bless you.” were his parting words. He had sent me another angel.

For two months Doug and I were the neighborhood entertainment, him breaking my fall at the edge of the deck to leave, and my fanny walking back across the deck and into the house at first, then later as we both got stronger him helping me into my rolling chair. By the time we didn’t have to do it anymore we had it down to a science.

God has been hard at work during our trials. With neither of us able to work we should be hurting financially. We certainly aren’t rolling in it, but we’re not going to lose anything or have to sit in the dark. You wouldn’t think having a mortgage arrangement broken because the mail took fifteen days to get your payment there would be a blessing, but it worked out to a better arrangement for us, and weirdly we’ve been able to make the payments. I had two years of sick pay saved up, and a bonus just before the accident, which caught up all our bills, and both our cars had just been paid off. Now, even though I can’t work, my second anniversary with the company just passed, so there is vacation and personal time credited, which will get us through. Things don’t just fall into place that way without a little divine help. You would think all this would strengthen my trust in God, which it did, but it didn’t solve the problem of my broken heart.

I wasn’t just taken down a peg. I was floored, knocked in the dirt, broken. I didn’t ask, “Why me?”, but “Why can’t I handle this?” People go through worse things everyday. They lose love ones, get cancer, have heart attacks, and have much worse accidents. Why was my heart so hurt? Why did the sight of those pins sticking out of my leg hurt my feelings so much? Why was I so scared? I finally looked to the right person for the answers.

One night lying in bed, with the way my ankle looked that morning and the sight of those pins sticking out of it haunting me, I asked Jesus how He stood it, not the physical pain of what He went through, before the cross, though that had to have been tremendous, but the emotional pain He had to have felt. I poured out all of my hurt and fear to Him that night, and realized that, for me, this was a huge thing, and I didn’t have to feel bad for being hurt. There was a lesson to be learned here. It was time to find it.

A shepherd kept his sheep safe by keeping them together and close to him. Sometimes a lamb would take it into his head to wander from the herd. When a lamb made a habit of wandering, the shepherd would pick him up and break his leg. It wasn’t done to be mean, but it caused that lamb to rely totally on the shepherd as it healed. From then on the lamb stayed close and safe. Understand, I don’t think God broke my ankle, but if He did, then it needed done. I do believe however, that he can use my circumstances to me teach a lesson.

Life and ministry at Faith Baptist were hard. It’s not easy when your pastor thinks your a usurper, and tells you from the pulpit that God won’t use you. It’s rough when he threatens to run you out the door from the same pulpit. It’s hard when you buy into the lie that a church won’t grow unless it’s right with God. I let it push me down, and away from God’s plan for me. I wandered from His side, but He never moved from mine.

I surrender to the ministry of His Word. I don’t know exactly what He has in mind, but I know He uses women like Beth Moore, so He can and will use me. No more excuses. I’m a woman, big deal, so was Deborah. I surrender.

People need to know God can work a miracle with a cell phone. They need to know He can forgive and use anyone. They need to know He won’t walk away from them. They need to know He loves them.

I surrender. Please pray for me.


I guess by now everyone has noticed that music is a huge thing for me. A song can effect my mood for hours (sometimes days), so I choose my radio stations carefully. Of course music is also a large part of my worship, sometimes a song can say the things I’m feeling with much more elegance than I could ever manage.

The healing process is well on it’s way, since allowing myself to grieve. I can even manage a prayer that isn’t exclusively for someone else. Some of you know what a big step that is.

This is where I want to be.

The Motions –Matthew West

This might hurt, It’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care, If I break
At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just ok, Is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

No regrets, Not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love, Make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something
‘Cause just ok, Is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

Take me all the way
Take me all the way
Take me all the way

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

Take me all the way
Take me all the way
Take me all the way

I don’t wanna go through the motions

It seems one must admit how hurt they are, before healing can begin. It’s amazing the lengths God will go to in order to bring said healing and peace to His children. I wish I had the words to describe yesterdays service, how the Spirit settled over the entire congregation, and how He used a song to begin the process for one broken, battered, weeping child of God.

Cry Out To Jesus – Casting Crowns

To everyone who’s lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there’s nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He’ll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that’s struggling just to hang on
They lost all of their faith and love
They’ve done all they can to make it right again
Still it’s not enough

For the ones who can’t break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you’re not alone in your shame
And your suffering

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He’ll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

When your lonely
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He’ll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

Father, thank You, for loving this selfish, arrogant woman. Thank You, for bearing my anger and pain, and showing me the way to peace.

History – a chronological record of significant events often including an explanation of their causes.
Herstory – a chronological record of significant events of my faith and service including an explanation of their causes.

Willohroots requested the whole story of my road to faith and service, so here it is. It turned out to be very long, but my favorite evangelist, David Ring, says if I don‘t tell it, it won‘t get told. Hope you can stay awake.

I think faith often starts in childhood. I know mine did. I can only remember one time my family attended church, and it was long enough ago that they had a smoking section, but my mother often spoke of God and His love. I remember her trying to explain the triune God, when I was about four. (Yep, four; can you imagine!) She did as good a job as anyone, and I’ve never struggled with that doctrine the way some have. It may be as simple as believing, because “Mom said so.“ But it works. She also allowed me to attend vacation Bible School, each summer, and always encouraged me to go to church with my friends when invited. It was during one of those visits, to a friends church, at twelve, that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. (Becky B., if you ever read this I owe you my very life.)

Unfortunately, we got tied up with Jehovah’s Witnesses shortly thereafter. I can’t call that time a total loss, because it instilled in me the importance of Bible study and reaching out to others. And how many people can say they were baptized on the fifty-yard-line of Texas Stadium? I did however become very confused about Jesus, and lost my trust in Him. After falling away I tried a lot of other roads, including Wicca, but when life was at it’s worst and I really needed someone, I always found myself at the foot of the cross. I kept searching for someone/something to fill the void. Men didn’t do it, and I have three ex-husbands to prove it. Four children didn’t do it, though they came closer than anything else. Liquor, pills, pot, work, friends, none of those things filled the empty space inside.

Then on September 11, 2001 suddenly and without warning, our entire country went into mourning, causing me to consider ending my life. For that to make sense you need to know that I’m an empath, which is not something weird or spooky. It simply means that I feel the strong emotions of those around me. Fear, anger, and sadness surrounded me, and I couldn’t escape, even for a moment. The only peace I felt was when my husband and I attended a memorial at the church across the street from where I worked. Then and many times since then I’ve had the feeling of being held as I wept. Doug must have noticed, because he was the one who suggested we actively begin seeking a church to attend regularly. Of course, after visiting several and not finding what we were looking for it kind of fell by the wayside.

A few months later, a friend invited me to a women’s retreat at her church, and paid my way, because there was no way I could afford it. It started out with a silly PJ and crazy slipper night, and turned into one of the most important milestones in my life. Suddenly I had an appetite for God’s Word again, and found myself on my knees rededicating my life to Him. Well, He doesn’t take a thing like that lightly, and soon Doug and I were attending his mother’s church regularly. During a Sunday service, we simply looked at each other and said, “Let’s join.” Neither of us even knew the other was considering it! A week later we were baptized together, which has turned into a huge strong point in our marriage.

It really was a great church, on the small side, with as sweet a spirit as any new Christian could hope for, and Brother Dan, the pastor, was a great teacher. I still had a trust problem with Jesus, and was trying to work it out when The Passion came out. It broke my heart and sent me running to my Savior’s arms.

We were at that church for three years, and as with most things, I jumped in head first, always carefully avoiding stepping over my bounds as a woman. With the encouragement of our piano player, Marlene, I was singing specials with the bravest of them, and found myself teaching Sunday school and leading children’s church. As most good things tend to, it ended. Our church split, my Sunday school class of tough little girls vanished, and children’s church was down to three little boys, so they were moved to the regular service. Our best friends left with the Pastor and began a new church, where he abandoned them right away. We were heartsick, for them and for us.

After they found a new pastor for their fledgling church, we went to visit them. They asked me to lead the song service that day, and suddenly I had a place to serve again. There is really nothing like building up a brand new church, so much to be done, and so few to do the work. I was in “Martha” heaven. There were some things I had to get use to though. Women were often called on to pray, and there was a woman on the finance committee! Funny, it didn’t take long.

It soon became apparent we had a problem. Our pastor was jealous of one of the founders of the church, and had begun to use the pulpit to blast him at every opportunity. He also started manipulating people to further his own agenda. We kept expecting him to get angry enough to walk out, and though I still don’t know why, I promised my friend I’d have a devotion ready, if we needed it. It finally came to a point where we had to ask him to leave. It was ugly and painful, and we lost several families, because of it. With the help of one of our other ladies, I was pressed into leading our services, while we looked for a new pastor.

I was about as freaked out as one person is allowed to be. My husband had just gone out of town for work, and there was no one I could talk to, well, other than God. I cried, and told Him I wouldn’t do it, couldn’t do it. I am a woman after all. Of course I just happened to be in Deborah’s part of Judges in my Bible reading. So I agreed, but I wouldn’t stand in the pulpit, and would only do devotions until one of the men was ready to preach. But they needed more, and somehow it had fallen to me to feed His sheep. It wasn’t long before I was in the pulpit, preaching. It seems there is very little difference in a devotion and a sermon.

Six months later, we did find a preacher. I had a few doubts, but everyone else was so happy. I shut my mouth and handed my charges over to his care and keeping. I did, however, stay the song leader. I don’t know that speaking up would have changed anything, but do wish I had tried. I stuck it out as the pastor’s thumb came down harder and harder, because my husband was happy there, and because there were some good things happening.

The toughest thing to deal with is that the pastor knows I feel called to ministry, and he simply can’t let it go. He always talks about how good it is to visit his home church, how they bless him with things for his church, and how they pray for and support him. He would not only deny me that, but actively try to destroy any ministry of which I am a part. In the end I had a choice, stay and destroy the church or go find the supportive environment I need and crave.

Doug and I have found a place where we can both serve, and which supports women in ministry. I get phone calls from people leaving our old church. Sometimes they’re in tears wanting to know what went wrong. It seems since we left the pastor has taken iron-fisted control. They are only allowed to sing from the hymnal he brought in, and he has questioned the salvation of several members, because they’ve sinned. There are other things, but that’s enough. Why did he wait until we left to do those things? Maybe because he knew I’d call him on them?

My independent Bible study starts Wednesday morning. Anyone who wants to attend will be welcome, and I plan to go invite a few folks the churches haven’t bothered with.

God worked too hard to break the chains that bound me, and no one is putting me back in them! If anyone has a problem with it they can talk to my Boss.

Father, help me always to remember that You’re not done with me yet, I’m just a sinner, saved by grace, and that minister means servant.

It’s a line from an old stoner movie, from my not so shiny past, but works well in this situation.

It’s bad. It’s really bad. People are calling, some in tears, wanting to know what happened and what they should do. I’m not going to go into it here, because I’m hearing everything second hand, and that would be gossip. But people are being hurt and driven away, and that’s just wrong.


…I’m not going to raise my hand against God’s anointed.
Lord, help me remember it’s Your job to deal with him.

…I’m not going to spread rumors and gossip.
Lord, put Your arm around my shoulders and Your hand firmly over my mouth.

…I’m not going to going to be drawn into a flame war.
Lord, help me to not defend myself.

…I’m not going to give up.
Lord, keep me strong.

…I’m not going to let those who’ve been hurt drop by the wayside.
Lord, hide me behind the cross, and let them see only You.


…I’ve got to do something. Can’t let this good, righteous, “I want to throw someone out of the temple.” anger go to waste. Right?


I will start a Bible Study, for anyone who wants to attend.
Thank you, Father, for the excellent study to which You led me.

I will reach out to the community in love and understanding.
Lord, lend me Your eyes, and stop my quaking knees.

I will stay true to the truth, even when it stings.
Lord, help me to always remember I’m nothing more than Your work in progress.

I will stay strong and not fear.
Psalm 56:11 “In God I have put my trust. I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Your prayers and positive thoughts would be appreciated.

Karen, if you’re reading this quit. I want to tell you face to face.

Doug and I have been visiting Aurora Baptist Church, where his mom is a member, for a few weeks now, and today we decided to make it our church home.

Aurora is much bigger than anywhere we’ve even visited before, but it has a “large family” feeling to it, and they have had the same Pastor for 27 years. The Sunday School is done in a small group setting, which Doug and I have never done before, and we’re encouraged to “chime in” and share what we’ve learned on our own. (Read: I don’t have to sit on my hands and bite my tongue. 🙂 ) I love, love, love the music! It’s a mixture of the old and new, and just enough of each. There are also more ministries going on there than I’ve been able to count, so far, and they don’t have a problem with women in ministry.

Making it official that we’re leaving Faith breaks my heart, just a little. I poured a lot into that church, but it seems my season there is over, and God is calling me to something new.

I know He knows what He is doing. Just pray I’m up to the challenge.

Yeah, I know you didn’t quit. So call me if you want, or we’ll talk Sunday at lunch. Love you.

My thanks to those who answered my rather vaguely worded question. I wasn’t ready to get into the details, because I knew the tears would flow, and they are the kind of tears that scorch and burn more of the old self away, necessary but painful. (Forgive me if this gets long and rambling. I’m still working my way through.)

Many of you have read about my church. On the surface it’s everything I believe a church should be. The Bible is taught there. It’s diverse. It reaches out to the community to make it a better place. It reaches out to make the lives of those suffering easier. Souls are added to God’s kingdom. It’s growing. There is love. It’s easy to sit back and think, “This is wonderful!” It really is everything I’ve ever wanted in a church, almost…

Back in November, my dear friend David called me “one of the wisest and most loving women I’ve met on the ‘net,” He will never know how much those words meant or how much strength I gained from them. He also gave me some of the best advice ever, “believe in your calling, and strive for it.” That’s been tough to do for the past 18 months. Maybe I should give a little background, so it will all make sense.

Our church is the result of a very painful split. Grace had the sweetest spirit anyone could want in their first church, and as I do with most things I jumped head-first into service. I sang for the first time in front of people who weren’t related, taught Sunday school, and lead Children’s Church. Unfortunately, the Pastor fell into sin, (something none of us knew at the time) and it destroyed the church. I stayed at Grace for a while and continued to serve, but it became more and more obvious the church was dying and no one cared.

Many, including our best friends, left with the old Pastor, and started Faith less than two miles up the road. He abandoned them a week later. My husband and I visited our best friends, one Sunday morning, after they’d found a new Pastor. They asked me to lead the song service, and I jumped on the opportunity to serve and never looked back. It was great. Women were respected for more than their ability to cook and clean, and were encouraged to be active in the church. We even said opening and closing prayers. (which took some getting use to) About nine months after I joined, we had to ask the Pastor to leave, because he started using the pulpit to serve his own rather ungodly agenda. It was, once again ugly and painful, and we lost several good families.

I was pressed into service as the acting preacher, until we could find a Pastor. It wasn’t something I wanted to do. As a matter-of-fact I cried, told God I couldn’t do it and wouldn’t do it, and finally, I agreed to do “devotions” but refused to stand in the pulpit. They needed more though, and before long I was teaching Sunday School and leading three services a week, with the help of one of our other ladies. Of course, by then I was also preaching from the pulpit. God had to take the long way around to overcome my chains, but I was finally free to answer His call.

It took six months to find our current Pastor. I must admit to having reservations from the start, because he didn’t seem to have the same vision for our church that we did, but everyone else was so happy and liked him so much that I shut my mouth and went along. (I also needed the time to get my education and get ordained, which was difficult to do while filling in.) I handed the reins over to him and stepped completely back. The only job I continued to do was as song leader, and later the food pantry. But the Pastor and I are forever bumping heads.

I have always supported him in whatever he wanted to do, given up any job he wanted someone else to do, and done whatever he asked of me. But I do hold him accountable, and am not afraid to call him on it when he’s wrong. He has taken iron fisted control of the church, and the congregation has allowed it. At this point he, his son, and his wife do every job in the church except play piano, and I believe if one of them could they would be doing that too. From the pulpit he makes it clear that he believes no one else reads their Bible, prays, or talks to anyone about God, like his family does. He also knows I’ve been called to preach, and he can’t let it go.

For 18 months every move I’ve made has been suspect, any short coming has been pounced on, I’ve been run down from the pulpit and called an abomination, and generally been made to feel about as welcome as beer at a baptism. I’ve tolerated it, because I was taught that when a church is in the wrong it won’t grow, then I look around at all the prosperity preaching mega churches and want to kick my own tail for buying into that one. But it’s also because my husband was so happy, and was even getting into children’s ministry. Now, he’s been hurt, and I could have prevented it by speaking up a long time ago.

That is the reason for my question. “Is it possible to be tempted into not living out God’s will for one’s life by being given nearly everything one has ever wanted in a good, godly church?”  The answer seems to be a resounding yes. The Reverend Sawyer shed some light on my stumbling block by pointing out that, the church is suppose to be a reflection of God, and “The better the reflection, the more likely it is that we mistake it for the real thing.” God’s love is absolutely reflected at Faith, and it can be tempting to serve the church rather than God. Angela reinforced my conviction with the opinion that, “Anything can be used by Satan to shift our focus away from God.”  David also warned me of something I never would have thought of on my own. “I think a lot of people congratulate themselves far too much for avoiding things they’re never really tempted by, while completely failing to see the things that do push them toward laziness and unconscious living.” That’s a trap I’d rather not fall into.

We’re leaving Faith, not because we’re angry. Heck, I can’t even work up a good mad over it. We both just feel very sad. I don’t know yet where we’re going, but it will be somewhere that supports women in ministry, and where my husband can serve. He already has an idea of where that might be, and we’ll visit and check it out. After all, I may be the preacher, but he is still the spiritual head of this house.

So there’s my loooong, sad tale, and all the “I”s are out of my system. It’s time to find out what He has in mind. Prayers are requested and appreciated.

My non-Christian friends are welcome to chime in too, if they have an opinion.

Is it possible to be tempted into not living out God’s will for one’s life by being given nearly everything one has ever wanted in a good, godly church?

…you could get dragged right out of your comfort zone.

My season as song leader, in our little (but growing) church, recently ended. There is a little sadness, because I’ve really enjoyed doing the job, but I’ve always said when someone more qualified came along (It wouldn’t take much.) I would step down gracefully. That someone came along in the form of our Pastor’s son, who just graduated Bible College. He’s a wonderful young man, and we’re lucky to have him. We’ve grown so much that he will also be leading our new Children’s Service!

Do I get to sit back, rest, and enjoy warming a pew for a while? Of course not. J, who will be leading Children’s church, is getting married in five months, which means he will not have a wife to help him, for a while yet. That’s important, because there will be a number of young ladies attending. J’s mother is already busy in the nursery, so guess who was asked to help. It is short-term service, but since I’ll be helping to build the ministry his fiancée will be dropped into in a few months, it needs to be done properly and well. Fortunately, I do have the experience which J lacks.

We’ve also started a new thing on Wednesday nights, with the corny but apt name “Come and dine in 09”. The Pastor and his wife, Doug and I, and anyone else who would like to help, put together an meal each week. (It’s nothing expensive or fancy. This week we made soups.) We have a prayer meeting, and then eat together. It’s been wildly popular, and last week we actually had more on Wednesday night than we did on Sunday morning!

Sadly the food pantry is also very popular. The downward moving economy had been devastating in this area, and people are hurting for the basic necessities of life. Keeping the pantry well stocked, clean and organized has become almost a second job. Right now I’m also trying to find warm coats for a few of the children, and two car seats for the church van. The coats I can just buy, but car seats are expensive. Send up a prayer if you would.

Looks like I should be too busy to be upset. Doesn’t it? Be very careful when you ask God to put His hand on your life. It’s a very powerful hand!

Luke 9:46-48Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.”

While reading my Bible tonight, this verse jumped off the page and smacked me right in the forehead. Not literally, of course, but that’s one of the best things about reading through the Bible. New things are constantly reveled, and the ancient words become more and more relevant to my life.

Mark 10:13-15 “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”

Some of you may have read before about a young man in my church with Down’s syndrome. Like many “Down’s kids”, his body is aging at an accelerated rate. He is already forced to walk with a cane and suffers the aches and pains of one much older. M is 24 years old and married to a young woman who also has Down’s. They have two children together that the state will not allow them raise. And though M understands that he is a grown man and tries to act like one, he is in many ways very child-like.

His favorite song is Jesus Loves Me, and when we sing it as a congregational it brings peals of delighted laughter from him. He wrote his own song and sang it, solo, as a special. It was quite beautiful in it’s way, his testimony in song. A few months ago he thanked the people of our church for their love and support, and told us he wanted to find a job, so he could help take care of his wife, children, and church. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, certainly not mine. And this past Saturday M rode his lawnmower (his basic transportation around town) in the Cruisin’ Days Parade, right behind the church float. He was so proud and happy to be included, and he did very well, only hitting the float a couple of times, never hard enough to damage him or it.

It was M I thought of after reading that passage tonight, his simple, child-like love for Jesus Christ, and his completely trusting faith. I’m not sure we could consider him “he that is least among you all”, but I know most of the town does.

How awesome that this one, who is slow of speech and cannot even begin to understand many of the concepts of the Bible, will be one of the greatest in heaven!

Matthew 10:40-42 “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

We are sometimes tempted to think of ourselves as special, because we accepted M and his wife into our little congregation, but that would be wrong. We are blessed to have them, and we would do well to remember it. There is much about faith and unconditional love and acceptance he has to teach us. In return it is up to us, as the body of Christ, to reach out and enfold him in the arms of the Father’s eternal love and grace. We have been given a great opportunity. I hope we’re up to it.