Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Blessings from Afar

Every year, I prepare and send out a number of Christmas cards.  Many times, I make the cards myself since I am an avid paper crafter. This year's card was plain and simple, pictured here, with a verse on the inside.

One of the greatest things about Christmas cards is receiving them in the mail. And we get a lot of Christmas cards in the mail. A good number of these cards come from members and former members of the churches my husband was pastor of at one time. Being in pastoral ministry has allowed us to make life-long, true friends along the way and it's one of the biggest blessings of my life to have continued contact with so many we have ministered beside.

Although being in the pastoral ministry can sometimes be trying and difficult, the ministry blessings - the people we learn to love and cherish, the eternal decisions we get to see people make - make it all worthwhile.  We are indeed blessed to have made so very many eternal friendships!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012

When Words Aren't Enough

What can we say further about the tragedy in Newtown, CT this past week? Words are insufficient to express our horror, grief, outrage, anger, disbelief, frustration, etc., etc.......the list goes on. We simply cannot express ourselves to a satisfactory place in the face of such as this.

Some people cry out for more gun control.
Some people cry out for less gun control.
Some people shake their fists at God.
Some people cling to God.
Some people use this to promote their own interests.
Some people lose interest in everything.
Some people become confrontational.
Some people seek out a hiding place.
Some people become angry.
Some people become fearful.

There are too many reactions to list here.  Everyone handles things differently. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

One thing - and one thing only - is certain in this event. Jesus Christ is certain.
He continues His steadfast love and grace in their lives.

As much as we cannot possibly comprehend it, God's grace is all-sufficient for even the families who lost their little ones. He is the Great Counsellor; He is the Great Comforter.  He will hold them in His hands. In that, no words are really necessary.

As I watched the news all weekend, sometimes it was hard to watch and listen to. I realized that while I could turn the news off, those families of the people killed could not ever turn it off. And I wept for them. And I prayed for them.

I'm so glad God's grace is sufficient for them, because our human words just aren't.
I am committed to continued prayer for these families.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A New Multi-Ethnic Ministry Blog

My hubby started a wonderful multi-ethnic blog today!  He will be uploading his sermons from the last seven years, along with several sermons from other multi-ethnic pastors.  Some upcoming sermons will be bi-lingual with Spanish interpreting. It's worth a look and a listen.

He also plans to write and feature articles concerning all aspects of multi-ethnic ministry. Multi-ethnic ministry is unique, exciting and fast-moving.  It takes dedicated people of all ethnic backgrounds to make it succeed.

Be sure to check out Multi-Ethnic Ministry Today, and learn.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Jury Duty Observations

I had to report for jury duty this morning. I was summoned last week, too, but that appearance was cancelled at the last minute.  Today, I had to report. It was an interesting experience and I want to share a few observations. Being a people-watcher and curious about human behavior, I always find encounters and activities with strangers rather fascinating.  A few observations include:

I took a cup of coffee with me.

When I checked in, no ID was required; they took my word for who I was.

They would not allow me to have my coffee in the court room where we waited for instruction.

I threw my coffee down the sink in the ladies room.

In the court room, a group of about 30 of us waited for further instruction, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder.

My feet did not reach the floor as I sat on the bench. I was glad because it's more interesting to swing my feet. I felt bad for tall people who rarely get that privilege.

A woman behind me was popping her gum loudly; apparently gum is allowed, coffee is not.

It occurred to me that no one in the room had been required to show any form of ID.

A woman to my right yawned loudly 15 times within 10 minutes (I counted), never once covering her open mouth or trying to quiet the yawn. (At this, I thought about the fact that I'd taught my kids to tone that sort of thing down and cover their mouths. I was thankful I'd taught  my kids this.)

The man to my left was very nice and we talked easily. His dad was a Lutheran minister.

A man sitting 3 people down on my bench openly stared at me. When I caught his eye, I held it, smiled slightly to break the awkwardness, and he immediately looked away. I caught him staring at me 2 other times.

When one of the court workers, both older women, came into the room, everyone got very quiet, even if the court workers said nothing.

There were a lot of awkward silences. I broke them by chatting with the man next to me. When I broke the silences, everyone else started talking.

The mood in the room was of anticipation, yet nothing happened for long periods of time.

A court worker apologized for the wait, which I found hopeful since we had not been waiting as long as it felt.

I suggested aloud, to no one in particular, that having music would be nice. I was tempted to play songs from my smart phone, but remembered I'd been instructed to shut it off, so I thought better of that idea.

When a court worker came to tell us the case we awaited had been settled out of court, I was inwardly overcome with relief and felt very eager to get out of the room. This was not because I didn't want to serve, it was because the gum popping/chewing and the loud yawning had taken their toll on me.

I'm glad to be home.
I might have to serve again before the month is out. I'm considering taking ear plugs if I am.