Wednesday, March 29, 2006

She Looks Great

I attended the funeral of my uncle, Lonnie Crawford, last week. He was the second uncle to pass in a two week period.

In attendance was my aunt, Saphine Thompson, from California. She flew back to Louisiana for both funerals.

To be 77 years old, she looks great. She and my mother look similar. Had she lived, she would have probably been as well preserved as Aunt Saphine.

There were about 50 people at the funeral, nearly all family members. Aunt Saphine, now the matriarch of the family, stood out.

I told her I want to sit down and pick her brain about family history. She told me to hurry up because she wasn't getting any younger.

She could have fooled me. She'll probably outlive us all.

At 77, I hope to have her presence, stamina, health and optimism. By that time she'll be 97 and and will still be clucking along and looking good!

It's amazing how beautiful a life can be when it's in God's hands.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More than Enough

The computer in my office has been upgraded. The technicians say that I now have a server that has four huge disk drives that operate at the same time. Should one stop working, another will automatically kick in. It holds an awesome amount of data.

I only have four of the drives running. It can handle up to 16 drives, all running at the same time. If something happens to one, the other automatically kicks in. Wow!

That's more than enough. I'll never use it all. But it's available.

The grace of God is the same way. It is more than we will ever need. In our short lifetime we will never be able to consume all of the love, mercy and blessings God can provide.

It's like that computer in my office. The only reason I won't have more is that I don't install the disks and use them.

Right now, I have more computer space than I can use.

God's grace is not just "sufficient"; it's more than enough.

I'll think about that today.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Flash Backs

During Worship yesterday we showed flashback slides of "The Way We Were" while the choir sang a variety of selections emphasizing that we have "Come a long way."

The snapshots brought smiles and laughter as we saw younger versions of ourselves and our friends in the congregation. Everyone has changed. Even those who were older agreed that time did most of them a favor.

Included in the photos was a shot of my wife Joslyn at age 23. Then there was a picture of me at 22. I was wearing Sansabelt, highwater pants, Nylon socks, and a Banlon Turtleneck. I thought I was it..then. Size 28 waist. Slim and Trim.

Well, 35 years later I'm a size 38, but spiritually I think I'm still slim and trim.

Snapshots give us a way to measure how we have matured over the years.

Flashbacks have a way allowing us to see how God has blessed us and worked with us over the years.

The good news is that even the snapshots I take today, will look funny a few years from now, because God is not through with me yet.

I thought I was "it" at age 22. However, when God gets through with me..that's going to be a great snapshot. That will be "it."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Whose Hand Is In The Puppet?

I watched our church puppet team practice last night. The group of high spirited youth made the inanimate puppets come to life. With their hands inside their mouths and rods working their hands, the puppets danced and moved at the will of the puppeteers.

I noticed at one point in the practice that the puppeteers changed places. It was interesting to see how the same puppet, in a another hand, acted differently. It was the hand inside the puppet and not the puppet itself that controlled its actions.

There is a hand that guides us too. We can tell when that hand changes from God's hands to Satan's hand. Like the puppet, we are often guided by the hand that directs us. Our job is to stayed prayed up so that we are always guided by God's hand.

The puppet is not real. It can't detect when its operators have changed. We can.

I will be sensitive to the hand that is guiding me because it's that hand that will determine where I go, what I say, and what I do today.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Help, I Have No Sewerage!

"Does your church help people with no sewerage?"

That was the question I was asked Monday from a desperate caller who explained that she was a poor mother on a fixed income whose sewerage has backed up. She said she had no way of paying to have it done.

As I was on the phone trying to help this woman I could not escape the irony of the moment. As I worked to help her, the Roto Rooter truck was parked at my house because my sewerage was backed up too.

There were towels all over the floor. Carpet had been stripped. Washing machine water flooded the house and was bubbling from the floor.

When Joslyn and I walked on the carpet, it was like walking on a wet sponge!

When the plumber left, the Roto Rooter man told me about 40 feet of drainage line needs replacing. When everybody finished: The carpenter who replaced my bathroom tiles and woodwork, the plumber and the Roto Rooter man, we needed $2,000.

I felt like the lady who called me. I need a number to call.

Then I remembered a song, "Jesus is on the mainline, tell him what you want!"

Hello Jesus, do you folks in heaven help people with $2,000 sewerage bills?

We have sewerage now.

Anyone need the number we called?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Look At Jesus

I attended the 60th birthday party of Sister Mildred James on Saturday March 11th. It was sponsored by her eight children and grandchildren.

When I looked around the room, I saw all of her children and grandchildren. There were almost 100 people present to celebrate her birthday.

I am humbled to know that I have had the honor of being pastor to all of her children and grandchildren. I have seen the family at its high moments, struggling and also in its sorrow. I have married its children and buried its dead.

Saturday night was one of those high days for Sister James.

Staring around the room, I saw all of the happy faces and listened to the testimonials and expressions of love. Powerpoint photos of smiling family members and fun times danced across the screen. It was inspiring.

Sister James was happy. She looked like a woman of 40. She glowed.

She is known in our congregation for a saying she normally says whenever someone is blessed, "Look at Jesus."

When I saw a hundred happy family members and friends, all healthy, reasonably happy and all saved, her little motto had a great significance.

I shared her sentiment.

Look at Jesus!