Funeral Arrangements for the LC Family

Funeral Arrangements for:

Kevin O’Kelley – Son of Mike and Sandy O’Kelley.  Today at Huffman United Methodist Church 11:00 a.m.

 

Dorothy Russell – Rhonda Hardwicks Mother – Tomorrow at Liberty Crossings.  Visitation beginning at 11:00 a.m. and service to begin at 12:00.

May our Lord, Jesus Christ, grant you peace in the days ahead.

 

Prayer Requests from the LC Family

Please keep these members of our church family in your prayers:

Mike and Sandy O’Kelley – in the death of his son, Kevin.  Funeral arrangements announced later this week.

Virginia Hawsey – Hip replacement surgery on May 5th

Collier Estes – 6 months old.  Recovering from intestinal surgery.

Jessica Hall – impending birth.

Dr. Lisa Miller – opening of new practice

Dr. Jackie Holmes – opening of new practice

Please feel free to share your own prayer requests, if you would appreciate the prayers of others.

“Jesus Christ – My Constant Companion…”

“I am with you always….” – Matthew 28:20

Have you ever prayed for God to do something and then was surprised when He actually did it?  I hate to admit it (from a lack of faith standpoint,) but that happened to me last Friday and it has continued over the weekend, and I am still seeing it today. I serve an awesome God!

So I was praying early Friday morning and happened across this scripture.  And I began to think about the reality that Jesus is with me all the time.  Not just in theory, but really in my presence every minute of the day.  It is a hard concept to wrap my head around.  But I prayed and asked Him to be gracious to me and to let me see Him when He was near so I could begin to understand better.

And then I went in to work.  I had a few things to do there, but was planning an errand for later in the day that I was really looking forward to.  The longer I worked, the stronger I had the sense that I needed to stay there, and forego my errand.  Now, I will be honest, I was really looking forward to leaving that day.  And being a beautiful spring Friday, I didn’t even really want to be there in the first place.  (I know none of you have ever felt this way.  So please don’t judge me for my weakness.)

Long story short, I stayed.  I wandered around and did a few things that seemed inconsequential to me.  But then it happened.  Jesus showed up!

He showed up in the form of a person that I never expected.  I turned a corner and literally almost ran over the person who said, “I am so glad you are here.  Do you have a minute to talk?”  40 minutes and a wonderful conversation later, I could see the presence of Him so clearly, because I heard some things that I definitely needed to hear that day.  Boy am I glad I stayed!  I cannot describe the sacred tone of that conversation, but it was as if He was right there in the room with me.  It was awe-inspiring.

But it didn’t end there.  I have been praying for discernment and wisdom and guidance for my ministry for so long, years in fact.  And God has shown up in the most miraculous way every day this past week.  Through people, readings, prayer, – in so many forms but all pointing me in the same direction.  The messages I have been asking for are coming in abundance.  I serve an incredible God!

So what has changed this week?  Why am I finally getting answers to the questions I have been asking for so long?  I honestly don’t know.  God’s timing is His own business.  However, I do believe this:  when I began asking Jesus (not for answers, not to fix my issues) but to simply help me to experience His presence – I began to see more clearly.  It was like a veil had been lifted from my eyes, and suddenly I could not only see but sense Him all around me; in almost all situations.  I wish I could describe it more accurately, but I really don’t have the words.

Upon reflection, I feel that before my prayers were sort of me focused (help me, show me, etc…)  But these most recent prayers have more Jesus focused (just let me see You…)  I think that has made all the difference.

What do you think friends?  I would love to hear your opinions.

Shalom

“Jesus Christ – The Good Shepherd…”

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.”

John 10:14-16

This scripture conjures up so many familiar images for us doesn’t it?  Even those outside the sheepfold probably recognize this quote and can finish it, “The Lord is my shepherd…”  It brings up images of soft fluffy lambs and Jesus carrying or leading them somewhere.

However, for me, as one of the “lost sheep” for much of my life, it brings to life something more like this image.

jesus is shepherd

That is me.  That little black sheep wrestling to get out of the briar patch.  And there is my faithful shepherd, having left the other “good” sheep, to come out and rescue me again.  Logic says He should have left me out there on my own.  After all, there is no guarantee that I won’t go straying off on my own again – getting into other trouble regardless of what He does to keep me safe.

But He loved me so much that He searched for me, picked me up, cleaned me off, and carried me to a place where I could be a part of His flock – safe and secure.  He even changed my appearance to be as white as snow, so I wouldn’t be embarrassed there with the others.  He had compassion for me, the lost sheep, even when I didn’t even know Him.  And He sacrificed everything that I might be rescued.

How thankful I am that Jesus is my Good Shepherd.  Where would I be without His grace and mercy?

How about you my friends?  Where would you be with Him chasing after you?

Prayer Requests from the LC Family

Please keep these church family members in your prayers today.

 

Kevin O’Kelley – Son of Mike O’Kelley, battling stage 4 cancer, being taken off ventilator today.  Please pray that he can breathe on his own.

The Curry Family – Ben Curry died on Saturday leaving two young sons.

Patty Felton – Sister of Sharon Kellum, in need of a lung transplant.

Shelton Hawsey – Please pray for continued recovery from surgery.

Rich Grandey – Still receiving treatment for cancer

Gina Kitchens – just finished last round of chemo.

James and Sue Petersen – grieving the loss of granddaughter, Millie

Claire Sartwell – please pray for continued healing from lupus.

Thank you for continuing to intercede on behalf of those in our family that are struggling.  If you have a prayer request that needs to be added to our published list, please let me know.

Grace to you brothers and sisters.

 

“Jesus Christ – My Gate…”

gate

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:7-10

Upon re-reading John 10, this is the first time I can recall hearing the words, “I am the gate.”  Obviously I have read it, but perhaps I have always focused on others parts of the chapter more.

So today I have been meditating on what it means for Jesus to be my gate.  And here is what I have concluded.

A gate has always meant protection.  Once the gates to the city were closed, most were impenetrable.  See a gate has 1 job.  To keep the dangers of the world out, to lock the citizens inside a safe environment and to protect them from the attacks of the world outside.

At least, that is the way I see it.  I suppose many could see it in the opposite way.  A heavy locked gate could signify a prison just as easily I guess.  But for me, to say “Jesus is my gate,” is to say  “Jesus is my protector.”  I am safe from harm when the world rages outside.  As He stands between me and the enemy that wants to tear me down, I have no fear.  Because nothing is coming through that gate that isn’t supposed to.  It is heavy, and strong, and solid, and trustworthy.

This is a cornerstone of my relationship with Him, my trust in His constant presence and concern for me.  What does this scripture me for you, my friends?  How is Jesus “your gate?”

Grace and peace to you.

“Black Jesus…”

Grace and peace to you on this fine spring day!

I have been reflecting this past week on the miracle of Easter.  People all over the world gathered and celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.  What a celebration, what rejoicing!

And what came before Easter Sunday?  40 days of reflecting on who Jesus was and what He did for us.

Fellow believers, we have come through a season of of prayer, study, and meditation on events that occurred 2000 years ago.  And that is the Good News upon which we all hope.

But moving forward, for me at least, I feel my thinking needs to shift.  In this time and place, I feel that I need to move past the question, “Who WAS Jesus?”  to the more relevant, “Who IS Jesus?”

Who is Jesus Christ for me, today?  How do I relate to the risen and living King of Kings?  How is He impacting my life?

My salvation was secured on a cross 2000 years ago by the grace of our Lord.  However, my life today is being impacted and guided by the One who lives and is involved (to the extent that I will allow it.)  I would love for you to journey with me over the next few weeks as I explore my own understanding of who Jesus is as well as “Who Jesus says He is.”

It is interesting to me that for 2 millennia, people have been asking the same question.  And most often, as we can see from the clip below, we sometimes try and mold Him into our own image.  We try to make Him something that we can be comfortable with.

For my own personal spiritual growth, I believe it is time to focus, not on my own image, but on the teachings of Jesus Himself.

So today, I am considering how I have created Him in my own mind and I am praying for Him to show me any errors or misconceptions.  Tomorrow I plan to open the gospels and approach them with fresh eyes.  I hope you will journey with me.

The following is a link to a popular tv series here in the U.S. from the 1970’s, “Good Times.”  The episode is entitled Black Jesus.  It speaks much truth to me.

Heavenly Lord,

You are incomprehensible.  You are God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.  You are the Beginning and the End.  You are too much for me to take in.  Please forgive my attempts to put You in a box.  As I try to understand You more, I fear I have reduced You to a comfortable old story.  One that I love to hear, but  that I don’t pay attention to any more because I have heard it so many times.

Help me, Lord, to understand who You truly are, and who You want to be in my life.

In the name of my Savior I pray,

Amen