Friday, August 28, 2009

Going It Alone

Eric Bruntlett didn't plan it. You can't plan something that remarkable. He wasn't even on his best game. He was playing his position just like he had done every time before, but this time he was in the right spot at the right time. The opportunity came and Bruntlett seized it. The stage was set. It was the 9th ending. A runner was on first base and one was on 2nd base. The pitch was 2-2. Both runners were intent on stealing the next base. Jeff Francoeur hit a line drive and Eric grabbed it for his first out. Bruntlett stepped on 2nd base for the 2nd out and then tagged the player trying to steal 2nd base for his third out. Amazing!

He was shocked. It happened so fast, he didn't even realize what was happening until the event was history. Eric Bruntlett made three outs all by himself to end the Philles vs Mets game. It has only happened 15 times in MLB history and only twice that such a play ended a game.

This event reminded me of 3 things:
1. Play your position diligently. I must be faithful and conscientious to do what I've been called to do.
2. See and seize opportunities while they are still opportunities. I must constantly be aware of what is going on around me. They present opportunities that expire, so I must grab them and act on them while they are there. Opportunities to help meet a practical need, to pray for them when they are sick or to witness to them when the door opens.
3. Never loose sight of your goal. In baseball it's winning the game, plain and simple. For a believer it's building God's kingdom. It's not about being a super star or winning people's applause. All our actions should go through the sieve labeled "Does this glorify God?"

There is one more thought I had about Eric's praiseworthy accomplishment-he did it alone. But I am so thankful that God never intended for me to do it alone. He promised He would be with me. He would dwell in me and help me do everything He has called me to do. I am deeply grateful for His indwelling ability that saturates every area of my life: relationships, work, faith, my body, my mind and my life.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I love being a Grandma!

We were sitting at the table eating lunch. Brayden and Karyn were chattering back and forth when Wayne interjected. One time I went hunting. I killed a turkey and a coon and a potfor. Karyn fell for it hook line and sinker...what's a potfor (pot for)? To cook it in, silly! Karyn begin to laugh contagiously. Brayden didn't get it but he laughed. We all laughed for a long time, mostly because Karyn thought the joke was so funny. It was Brayden's turn to tell a joke and we all laughed again. It was the typical four year old type joke, but we still laughed.

I love being a grandma. I love playing "Hide and Go Seek" with them...running with them (They are still young enough I really could out run them. That's great!) Building cardboard and sheet houses over the furniture seems to be one of their favorite. Ashlynn is still young enough that she even likes my singing. She'll outgrow that really fast. The others are polite, but avoid my singing whenever possible!

But being a grandma is more than just having fun with them. It's a big responsibility. I want to leave a mark on their lives. I want to leave them a spiritual legacy. I want them to love God and love to pray. Because love is a magnet that pulls the best out of them, I want them to know they are loved unconditionally. I want them to really know God and love His presence.

Wanting this things is admirable but growing these things in a life of a child is deliberate and purposeful. I pray for them using the scripture as the foundation of my prayers. This Word based prayer builds my faith and expands my vision of what they can be through Christ. I guard my words and speak my faith vision instead of cursing them and their future with my fears. I use every opportunity to build their faith by giving them Christian music, DVDs and books. We pray together. I start them early praising the Lord. We pray together for children that no one prays for.

My greatest joy in life is my family! Oh, how I thank God for them!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Celebrating Birthdays

It's birthday season at the Holland House. My beautitul daughter (she takes her looks after her mother) had a birthday April 15. My youngest granddaughter Ashlyn turned 1, April 25. My comedian son (he is so much like his dad) had a birthday April 30. Wayne's spunky mother had a birthday on May 1 and my first granddaughter, Karyn, turned 9, May 2. That's a lot of birthday cake! We're headed to Ollie's after church today to celebrate.

Ashlyn was adorable digging into her first cake. With small dainty fingers she put the frosting to her mouth without making much of a mess. Brayden, my grandson, was very different. On his first birthday he was so covered in chocolate cake and frosting that he had to been carefully taken to the bathtub for a "major" cleaning. Frosting is hard to clean out of a tub. Brayden was greasy for several days. How different they are.

My family is an amazing treasure. They are precious jewels to me. Each are different in so many ways and those differences add such a dimension to my life. I celebrate who they are. I thank God for the precious gift of my family. I treasure the time I have to spend with each of them as my most precious possessions.

My role as a mother is different now. I am enjoying the fruit of my labors. All the spankings, advice and prayer has paid off. I have two adult children that are wonderful beyond words. My role is different, but I will never stop being their mother. I pray just as hard. I understand it is only as they stay connected to God through a vibrant relationship with Him will they be able to fulfill their destiny and purpose.

As a grandmother I pray the scriptures over my grandchildren much like I did my children. I want them to be "examples of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity and in truth." I am convinced that the provison and blessings come only as a result of asking. Jesus said, you have not because you ask not. As I celebrate all these birthdays, I reflect and enjoy the precious memories but I also make a new commitment to invest in their lives by pounding on heaven's doors with petions of heaven's blessings on their lives.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

One of My Favorite Places

I have ridden it numerous times but never during peak rush hour. It is an experience that I will always remember. The Metro in DC was full so we stood toddering as I clug to the overhead handrail.

At the next stop, passengers got off, so Wayne and I scooted into seats. The influx of passengers was amazing. People packed into what I thought was an already full car. At every stop more passenger packed into the Metro with only one or two departing. The hands that clutched the metal rod were diverse. Some were chubby while others small and dainty. The assortment of colors representing ethnic diversity was wide. The economic diversity was also stark and wide. Some slept standing, which was amazing to me. We were jozzled back and forth with such spunk it seemed we might be spit out at any moment. Some gripped the rail passionately, while others balanced lightly touching the rail, while I sat comfortably enjoying the ride.

I was kinda glad none of the hands were wrinkled, because manners and kindness would have dictated that I give up my seat.

The rumbling ride required that you hold on...the rumbling ride of life requires that we hold on to the promises on God until they bring us to the place of possessing that promise. God's Word works and I am so thankful that it brings stablity in my life.

I'm off to see more sights in Washington DC. This time we waited until rush hour was over.

Friday, March 6, 2009

God's Math

For this object lesson you will need Life to Death
Miracle Screen; green silk; money bag or gold silk; mouse or animal trap;
cardboard or large foam cross; 3 large nails; (Show
the Life to Death Screen with the Jesus side out.)

Because God really, really loved this
world He gave it His most precious, perfect gift-His son
Jesus. Jesus came to give life, not just life, but abundant

(Fold and open the
screen using the directions that came with the screen to
show the Satan side of screen. This takes a little practice,
but it is sooooo worth it! Make sure you practice this move
so you don't expose the load.)

Satan came to
kill, steal and destroy. (Pull trap from the
load. inside the screen.)
His trap was working or so
it seemed to him at the time.

He stirred the hearts of religious
leaders to jealousy, (pull the green silk out
of the load inside the screen.)
Yes, they were green
with envy. So much so that they wanted to get rid of

Then there was Judas, he was a
disciple of Jesus. He was chosen by the perfect son of God
to become part of Christ's elite team. He was chosen to do
miracles-lay hands on the sick, heal the blind and the lame
and cast out demons through the power of God.

But Judas wanted something else.
(Pull gold silk or money bag out of load.)
He wanted money! Satan gave Judas, what Judas
must have thought was a brilliant idea. It was an easy, get
rich quick scheme birthed in the heart of hell-betray Jesus.
The priest will give you money!.

(Pull cross out) His
plan worked. Jesus was dead. Hell celebrated. Nature
sobbed with a great earthquake. Finally, he had defeated the King of Kings and
the Lord of Lords. Jesus, the Son of God was dead.

(Pull the three nails and the cross out of the load.)
Satan's method of destruction-3 nails and two boards. But Satan did not understand God's math.
He thought 3 nails would hold Jesus to those splintered,
rough boards fashioned into a crude cross. But it took a
force more powerful than nails to hold Jesus to the cross.
Only love was that powerful.

Satan didn't realize that 3 nails, plus 2 boards does not equal five. Not
this time.

Let's do the math. (Tear the bottom off the cross so you have a plus sign in
one hand and a minus sign in the other)3 nails, plus 2 boards
equals 5; if that were the end of the story. But it's not
the end.

Something happened on that cross. Something Satan didn't
anticipate. Jesus paid the penalty of sin. With His precious
blood He paid the price to take away the guilt of sin
once and for all.

So let's do the math again 3nails plus 2 boards equals
5; take away the guilt of sin equals four (for)-given.
Satan didn't understand God's math. You see with Christ's
death on the cross, He subtracted (took away) the penalty of
sin. He subtracted (took away) your sickness. He subtracted
(took away) your fear. He paid the debt of sin with His
life, so you could go free from sin.

Satan thought a cross and 3 nails could
reduce Jesus to a zero-a nothing. Satan thought death
was the end of the Son of God, but not even death could hold
Jesus; because He had never sinned. Jesus broke the power of
death when He paid its penalty with the precious gift
of His blood.

This amazing feat of victory, snatched from the jaws
of defeat was possible because Satan couldn't take what
Jesus had already freely given. Jesus laid down his life as
a substitute for mankind, because Jesus loved you so much,
He laid his life down freely, He redeemed mankind from sin.

But God's message of the cross does not end with the things
he subtracted. The cross is also a place of addition. Jesus
came to add to your life. He came to add life and
that life more abundant. He came to add peace, to add joy to
add eternal life.

The message of the cross goes beyond subtraction and
addition. Because Jesus never sinned death could not hold
him. On the third day God raised Jesus from the dead and
brought Him back to life. Think about that. Dead for three
days yet God gives Him life. God is all powerful.

Only a
loving, awesome God would send His precious Son to die so
you could be born into His family; so multiplication could
take place; so many sons could become joint heirs, enjoying
the privileges that belong to a member of God's family.
Now you can have
Life-- abundant life. God wants you to enjoy eternal life.
The God kind of life that can only comes from knowing and
making Jesus Lord of your life. Receive His gift. Receive
Jesus as your Savior.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


It snowed in the mountains Sunday. The only time it has snowed at our house the entire winter. While it wasn’t a blizzard, the snow continued all day. I wish I could have been there. I love the snow. It would have been perfect cuddling weather too. I was ministering at the West Florida District Christian Education conference. It was a great weekend. I got to catch up with old friends and teach some workshops. I even got to preach at my dear friend, Pastor Alice Burdeshaw’s church. They are such good folks. That is my idea of an awesome weekend.

Wayne sent me a picture of the dazzling beauty of the pure, white snow. Snow is so white that it is used as a metaphor in Isaiah 18:1 niv "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

It is hard to imagine how white it really is until you have something to compare it too. A man looked out his window and saw a little dog bouncing and playing in the snow. What was that dingy, dog doing in his yard,” was his first thought. Then he realized it was his own little dog that he had always groomed and kept perfectly clean. The dog only looked dingy when compared to the brilliantly white snow.

Pure white, white as snow…white a symbol of purity and righteousness. How can that purity be attained? Trying really, really hard to do the right thing? Going to church? Moving away from everyone and everything that is impure—maybe like a cabin in the woods with no neighbors? No, while all these things are good, they won’t make you as white as snow.

We have all sinned, all of us. Those sins keep us from attaining the goal or hitting God’s mark of being righteous. But through the gift of God’s Son, Jesus, we can be forgiven. We can be pure, like snow. Not because we earned it, but because Jesus freely gave His life so we could be saved.

This routine was written to be used with the Color Changing Rope. An easy to use magic trick to illustrate the salvation message. Use it for Easter or anytime you want a salvation visual.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ashlyn is Dedicated

Baby dedications are always special. Adorable babies. Precocious toddlers. Optimistic young adults, whom, by the way, look too young to be parents, embarking on a life-long parenting journey. A baby dedication is more than a pageant. More than a ceremony. It is a sacred commitment to raise this child in a way that is pleasing to God. A baby dedication is an act of faith and community that as a parent, you are partnering with God to train and equip that precious gift for life. Equipping them for dual life-abundant life on Earth and eternal life in Heaven. At every dedication, I always pray passionately as each child is introduced to the congregation, because as a mother and now a grandmother, I understand the grave responsibility entrusted to each parent.

So many times I have wished that an instruction manual was attached to the other end of the umbilici cord. A manual that would help me know how to nurture this child effectively. The love part came easy, the patience and skills were more difficult.
But as I look back I really did have a parenting manual- precious Holy Spirit. Each child was unique. Each child was a treasure that has continued to unfold with each stage of growth and development-even through adulthood. Each child kept me on my knees. They kept me in the Word. How do I handle this situation? How can I help them understand? How can I help them know God better? How can I get them to eat their peas or say please?

Parenting can be terrifying and exhilarating! But it must be done with faith. Faith that these kids are good kids. Faith that God is good and wants to help you! Faith that is modeled and lived out at home, at church and in real life. Faith that God is big enough to be God in their lives too! Faith that God will keep them and guide them. Faith that God’s great love will draw them.

And back to my original point. Even though baby dedications are always special, the baby dedication the last Sunday in February was very special. My 3rd grandchild, Ashlyn Joy was dedicated to God. She was so beautiful! I love the way her face and eyes light up when she laughs and smiles. She looks like both her brother and sister, which makes her sister very happy. Her brother doesn’t care who she looks like. Babies are such a joy-especially when they are your grandbaby.

Babies are important part of the church and Sunday school. While it is ultimately the parent’s job to raise the child as a church we must partner with parents to help them develop adults equipped for both life and eternal life.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Unwrap the Gift

Unwrapping presents had rules at my house:

1. Don't crush the bow.

2. Don't tear the paper; it can be reused.

When the kids came along the rules changed:

1. Only one person at a time can open a present.

2. The others have to watch while it is being opened.

My son reminded me recently of other rules we had:

1. Wait until the coffee is ready.

2. Really, wait until the coffee is ready.

He still feels the sting of that perceived abuse and suggests that we could have set the timer on the pot to be ready the next morning when we got up. (Actually, we didn't have such a thing back then.)

Whether it was child abuse to make them wait or a horrible addiction to caffeine, the fact remains they waited.

One by one each gift was torn open with joy and laughter as the paper and bows were left for me to clean up. After the last gift was opened the kids ran to their rooms to play and I scrambled to the kitchen for more coffee and dinner preparation.

Maybe you're thinking what's going on here? Christmas is long gone. Even the old man, excuse me, the older gentleman down the street has removed the last light. I want to remind you to unwrap your gift. When you put away the decorations, you didn't put away your gift did you?

Did you remember to unwrap it? Now that all the hustle and bustle is over and even now that the super bowl is behind us, did you remember to unwrap it? The gift I'm refering to is the gift of His peace.

It is a gift I refuse to put away this year. I keep going back and picking it up. In the face of all the turmoil around me I choose to trust Him. In the face of financial struggles, downsizing and businesses closing, I choose to live in peace. Jesus came to give us peace, but peace is a choice. David said, what time I am afraid I will trust.

I choose, like David, to trust.