Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Today was a normal "Food Bank Produce Drop" day.  We volunteer to help at this event and it is always a good experience.  Today, however, was especially moving.  I stop by when the truck comes and do the math to determine how much of what we received goes to each recipient.  Had about 50 people today and had about a ton and a half of food to distribute.  I did the math and calculated how much of what went to each person.  Then I was done.  Well, not quite...had to pick team leaders for distribution as I don't have the time to spend for the entire event.  Good folks doing the distribution...very good folks.  Once all the pieces were in place I left.

As I got in my car and pulled out of the parking space one of the first recipients was in her car and she called out to me.  She said..."Sir...thank you"  I said..."I just come and help it get going"..to which she replied..."Sir, I know you have a real job but you come here to help us...and I want you to know that I am grateful that you do this for us.  Thank you again".  I said..."you're welcome".  Then I cried.

As I drove away I cried and cried...because the love of Jesus reveals itself when we reach out to others and lend a helping hand.  If I got paid for this I would refuse the check.  If I got an ego trip out of it I would cancel the trip.  There is no better reward for sacrificing one's time and energy than to see that someone appreciates your effort.  I am unworthy of such praise...just awed by the love that others have when they acknowledge that others step out on their behalf.  Humbled...truly humbled.

I would go on to say that about 5 of the regular recipients step up and do the distribution.  They do it with joy in their hearts.  For all my worldly accomplishments (not much) I am nothing compared to those who give of their energies and time to help their fellow man (woman).  I am truly blessed to be a part of this monthly event...truly blessed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Had an opportunity to pray for someone today

A business neighbor asked me to pray for a client of hers...a woman with scoliosis...and I accepted the invitation.  It was a marvelous experience feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit in that prayer time.  I had an opportunity to see the person prayed for about an hour afterwards and we shared a heavenly embrace.  It was awesome to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit having it's way with us.  I was indeed truly blessed. Our God is an awesome God...indeed.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Has it really been since 2012 when I last posted?

Will share this on Facebook.

My dear wife fell and broke her left femur 6 weeks ago.  I've never been a caregiver in a daily/hourly sense and this experience has led me to have a sincere appreciation for all who do this on a daily basis.  I cannot be more than an hour away at any given time.  I've made the bed, prepared 3 meals a day, and done all the housework that she would normally do.  Wow...what a life-changer this has been.

But you know...it has been a humbling and yet exhilarating experience.  I truly didn't think I had it in me but with the strength that comes only from a relationship with Christ can I serve and not ask anything in return.  I reflect back to wedding vows.  "Better or worse, sickness and in health..." and am awed by how those vows ring true to this very moment.  I am happy to say that I do everything I do in service to her...in service to Our Lord.  Without Him I'd be crass, grumpy and regretful.  With Him, I've come to realize I'm privileged to serve...Him...and her.

Thank you Jesus...thank you so much for the example you have given.

Amen.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Wadley Parish Food Bank

I live in a little town.  Population 550 +/- .  Today and last month we served over 300 people with free food.  I am only a worker at the food bank but unloading the 3 trucks of food was a real blessing.  Seeing the people waiting for food and helping to make it possible for them to get it was a real blessing to me.  I just wanted to share with anyone who reads this blog.
God Bless Food Bank Workers!
Bro. Marty

Friday, March 09, 2012

Back at my home church

This Sunday I have been invited to preach. It's been a while since I preached every Sunday, so it is with some trepidation that I do so now. Nonetheless, God has put a spirit on my heart to preach what He would have the congregation to hear.

I had an agenda...but that agenda has fallen by the wayside as I prepare to preach what the lectionary has in order. For those who don't know what the lectionary is, it is the 3 year cycle that preachers follow in order to get the full Word of God spoken from the pulpits of churches around the globe. There is the Roman Catholic lectionary and then there is the Protestant one. Often, they coincide.

This week's reading is from the book of John. It is the second chapter, starting with verse 13. It is when Jesus cleansed the temple. Mind you, most folks think this happened only once when he was about to be crucified, but this perspective makes it happen in the first year of Jesus' ministry. Jesus was a troublemaker for the establishment and it appears as if the third year of His ministry it made the power-brokers of the church say...."enough is enough" and they plotted to kill Him. Jesus did, indeed, cleanse the temple.

My sermon this Sunday will go to the issue of whether we're letting trash in our own personal temples of the Holy Spirit interfere with the desire of those wanting to worship God. Just like the gentiles and those wanting to know the personal God of the Jews wanted to worship without disruption (aka the money changer and the sort) God is speaking to us today to rid ourselves of the distractions to true worship. Prejudice, judgmental-ism, and other factors stand in the way of us truly welcoming others into our time of worship. Time to take out that trash and replace it with the love of Jesus. Pray for the message...and for me. Thank you!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Been a While

Tonight I attended the last night of the church's revival where I was pastor for 3 years until this past June. It was awesome. I was surrounded by loving church members. I was also invited by the new pastor to come anytime.

There is a love, a Christian love, that permeates everything. That love is in this church! I felt my spiritual batteries recharged and loved every minute of it. I truly hope to be able to make it back frequently to this loving church.

I pray that there is a loving, Holy Spirit filled, atmosphere where you worship. It is like the MasterCard commercials....Priceless!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

There's a Place

Often I wonder if it is only those in the monastic/contemplative bent who can find that special place..."the place"...where they meet God. Of late I've been finding myself in what I believe to be "that place" and being utterly overwhelmed by God's presence.

Sister Theresa of Avila found that place. Other saints through the centuries have found that place. It is a living, breathing place where God takes control of one's body, mind and spirit. And being willing to enter into that place is a very personal decision. Many good Christians view contemplative or quiet time with God to be a waste of time. They contend it's more like transcendental meditation or some New Age pursuit at the expense of studying The Word. I don't fall in that camp.

My first experience where the Holy Spirit totally overwhelmed me was around 1989 when I was praying to let Jesus totally into my life. I had been suffering from a painfully enlarged liver with no medical solution to be found. In that instance it just "happened". A result of that experience was that the liver pain was gone...and it remains gone to this very day. It was decades later before I found myself in "that place" once again. Four years ago when praying with two other men I again experienced being overwhelmed by The Spirit. The result of that experience led me to enter into pastoral ministry. God seems to do extraordinary things in my life after these experiences.

Fast forward to the present. In the past 3 months I've been deliberately setting aside time to sink into deep prayer; praying until the words run dry. My motivation is not to seek an experience, rather, to seek God's heart for healing in the lives of others. I follow the pattern of A.C.T.S. in my prayer:
  • Adoration for God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This adoration is so powerful that if you can imagine a medieval peasant being brought before a king to be honored...the trembling sense of unworthiness...the awe that a nobody like you can be in such great presence.
  • Confession to God for all my shortcomings. Bring to mind every bad deed, thought, action or inaction that separates one from walking in His will. Complete and total confession that I am a sinner, saved by grace.
  • Thankfulness for having the saving knowledge that I am a forgiven child of God. Thankful for each and every blessing...down to having clean water to drink and bathe in; having vision and hearing; food to eat; people who love me; every little thing that reveals God's grace being showered over my life.
  • Supplication for those who are suffering. Telling God how my heart aches for those in my world who are fighting difficult battles with whatever their particular demons may be. It's important to note that the supplications ARE NOT for myself. If we have surrendered ourselves to God's will then praying for ourselves is denying that surrender.
When entering into prayer in this manor - motivated by a hurting heart for another - God gives me the reassurance that my prayer is heard. It is in the final part, the supplication, where words run dry because I am not able to adequately express the depth of my pain for the person being prayed for. When the words run dry I find myself speaking in tongues. When I finally manage to stop listening to my words because they sound so strange, that language flows freely from my lips...being the exit from the wellspring of my spirit. Then the words stop. My mouth no longer works. My knees can no longer hold me up. Every muscle is beyond control. Sometimes it stems from a totally overwhelming peace yet at other times a totally overwhelming pressure. Jacob wrestling with God and getting a hip knocked out of joint comes to mind.

There are no appointed times or places for these intense prayer sessions. Again, I'm not seeking some experience, rather, surrendering to a calling to intercede for another. When my spirit gets "stuck" on someone and I can't get their hurt out of my head and heart...then its time to find a time and place to drop to my knees and pray this way Wherever that physical place may be, it becomes "the place" where God stops me from what I'm all about in order to let me know what He's all about.