Autumnal Fun in the Sun/Son
Hi there family! How in the world are you on this beautiful Saturday afternoon? In case you somehow didn't notice, autumn has finally arrived here in our beautiful state! Gone are those long hot days of summer; and now we can enjoy the refreshing cool autumnal breezes that make our leaves turn colors and put a little morning frost on the dewy grass. Oh, wait a minute, I thought I was written a letter to the other church I pastor in Ossipee, New Hampshire. Sorry about that.....so, let's see.....Florida......oh yes, autumn is here! The humidity dropped one percentage point, so autumn is officially here!Besides being fed the Word here at Grace and in your own personal time with the Lord, I know that many of you are encouraged, enlightened, and spiritually energized by pastors, authors, and/or bloggers that you come across on the Internet. This is good, healthy, and when you come across some particularly life-changing tidbits of faith you ought to consider sharing it with others. Well, I am challenged through these various avenues as well, but I still find myself learning the most about who my heavenly Father is through the life and times of my dogs. I know, I know: "Ugh, not another dog story!" Well, sorry about that, but you try writing these things once a week, and then we'll see how often God speaks to you through your dogs!!!In any event, the other day I made a passing reference to this dog story on Facebook, but I thought I'd say a little more (I promise, just a 'little' more) about it here in my Words of Grace.I couple of nights ago I was sitting in my usual place of comfort - my home office (otherwise known by my loved ones as 'The Cave'), listening to my music, surrounded by a plethora of books. I mention the books because my office is completely filled with books so it really is like a cave; the books muffle the sound so much that I can hardly hear anything outside of my office.So, I'm sitting in my soundproof cave with my music on when both of my dogs - Keaggy and Calvin - come slyly into my room and forcibly squeeze both of their rather robust canine bodies between my legs and under my desk. With this particular action I now know exactly what is happening in the 'other world' outside of my office that the 'cave' (with the books and music) doesn't allow me to necessary be privy to. It is obviously thundering and lightning outside. I muted my music and sure enough - it was raining HARD and the house started shaking. What's so amazing is that my dogs (and I think most dogs, for that matter) can sense and hear the thunder when it is still miles away.Being the softy that I often am, I wasn't about to rebuke my dogs (who were making my time - and my legs - in my office chair extremely uncomfortable), but instead reached under the desk to pet both of them on the head, scratch behind their ears and let them know that they were safe under the desk and could stay as long as they wanted.Of course, this is where the actions of my dogs spoke to me about divine truth. How often have I felt frightened by the 'thunder and lightning' of this world; the pressures of my calling; my responsibilities as a pastor, friend, husband, father, and now grandfather; and of all the insecurities and weaknesses that I carry (and most often hide) from those around me? Where can I run to be comforted and reassured? Well, of course, I can run into the throne room of my heavenly Father and not only crawl under His desk (throne) but I can jump into His arms where He will hold me, comfort me, and reassure me that I am safe and secure in His presence. Hebrews 4:16 reminds each of His children: "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need!"But here's something important to keep in mind: Ninety-nine percent of the time my dogs don't have to search me out in times of trouble - as if they are busy doing their own thing on the other side of the house. They don't just come find me when the thunder and lightning comes.....they are most often with me already. Sometimes it drives me a little nuts that my dogs follow me wherever I go, but at divine-lesson times like this I am reminded that my dogs WANT to be with me. They aren't insecure and lonely - they want to be with me because they love me! They are like little sheep that love their shepherd and desire to be near him because he will take care of them whether it's in time of trouble or just hanging out time.Let's learn what it means to 'hang out' with the Lord continuously; to sit at His feet relentlessly; to sense His presence and love during stormy times as well as when the sun is shining and a gentle autumnal breeze is brushing against our face. Let's 'practice the presence of God' (as Brother Lawrence wrote about in the 17th century) all the days of our life - knowing that our Lord will never leave us, nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), He will stick closer to us than a brother (Proverbs 18:24), and that His presence will go with us and through that presence He will give us rest (Exodus 33:14). And all of God's children who accept this word of encouragement said.....Bow wow!Here's what's happening:Tomorrow is Sunday!!! Yeah! I love Sundays! I will be sharing on Acts 10:23-48 and my message is called "Anticipating the Mystery". Sound exciting? Well, it will be! It is also the last Sunday of the month so we will be receiving a second offering - our missions offering - so please prayerfully consider what you can do above and beyond your regular giving to care for our missions work - worldwide, local, and within our own congregation.Parents of Prodigals: Will meet at 10:3o AM tomorrow for a special time of prayer for any of your adult children who have drifted from the Lord or who don't know the Lord. They pray in the Junior High room. Look for Gene and Rosie Mackay - they will gladly assist you."Reform" - our adult Sunday School class meets at 11:00 AM in the high school room at the south end of the children's wing. They are studying the Book of Isaiah - and I can tell you first hand, their teacher - Chuch Trujillo LOVES the Book of Isaiah!!!Tuesday: Church History class at 9:30 AM. All are welcome!!Wednesday: 'The Story' continues with Pastor Heath taking the helm this week as he give an introduction into the Gospels and then will focus on the Book of Matthew. Just us in the sanctuary (Cafe Grace) at 7:00 PM. The high school and junior high meet at the same time, as do our kids in their fantastic Wednesday night Kid's program!Next Saturday - Men's breakfast at 8:00 AM! Oh boy, what a great time....see you then men!!!Next Sunday - October 2 - we will be going down to serve dinner to the residents at Pinellas Hope - the local homeless shelter. Let Pastor Heath know if you want to come along to help - it's a great time!Next Phaino - night of worship and prayer: Sunday, November 6th at 6:00 PM. Oh, what a beautiful time of worship!Forgive me....I'm sure there are other important things that I could write about, but if you really want to know what else is happening then go and sign up for any number of our other online ways of staying in touch.
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Okay....that's it....see you in church tomorrow!
A man may smile and bid you hail
Yet wish you to the devil;
But when a good dog wags his tail,
You know he's on the level.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Encouraging Words of Grace
It is always soo encouraging to read my pastors word and I perticulary like the mansion of the dogs following me like we want to follow our God! ! Thank You and god bless you pastor Randy!
My girl Jillian and son Sean