May 22, 2016

Salt and Light Sunday

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that way they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:13-16

We are called to be the Salt and the Light! The salt speaks of our character, and the light speaks of our testimonies of followers of Christ, revealing and illuminating the truth. 

The world doesn't understand! The world looks at Christians and thinks, "They don't count!" God takes us, ordinary people, and uses us to share His message to people who need Him! When we share our faith, we spread His light! 

Jesus describes what we are in this passage. The light of the World, not the light of the Church. We have to get out from beyond the Church walls and shine the light to where it's dark. We were saved to shine! We are to shine in such a way that the world will see our good works and glorify God! 

Our Church has a special way of sharing and showing our faith to our neighborhood. Today our Church held our annual Salt and Light Sunday. On one Sunday morning every year we go out into the neighborhood and the City, and we serve others. Before we go out to serve, we start our morning with worship and a pep rally. 

My husband and I love to be on the Neighborhood Team. We have about 5 teams of 3 to 4 people who walk different areas of the neighborhood within a 5 mile radius of the Church. We knock on doors, we offer to mow, pull weeds, clean, or serve our neighbors in any ways that they may need. We also ask if there is anything the person needs or wants us to pray about with them, and we take prayer requests back to the Church so that our Pastor and staff members can follow up with these people. We also hand out potted flowers to some of the houses. By knocking on neighborhood doors, we hope to let our lights shine, to share our faith, and to show the love of Jesus! 

There are several other teams that serve as well. We have teams for just about everything! We have a Prayer Team that walks the 5 mile radius and prays over the neighborhoods that we serve. 

We have a team that goes to the neighborhood Elementary School and cleans and paints the playground. 

 We have a team that takes the children's choir to our neighborhood retirement/nursing home to brighten the Senior Citizens day.

We have children who write get well cards to neighborhood people who are not able to get out and about. 

We even have little ones who work faithfully by cleaning the Edu-Care and Sunday School classes. 

There are teams who go buy and deliver groceries to under privileged people in the neighborhood.

There are so many other teams as well. We have people who go to the local jail to worship and speak to the inmates. We have teams that go to the Safe Harbor House (A house our Church has ownership in that harbors women from abuse and prostitution). We have teams for the local Pregnancy Resource Center, several different Parks and Recreation Centers around the City, Golf Courses, the local Drug and Alcohol Counseling Center, the Marriage Resource Center, and teams who stay at the Church to prepare lunch, watch the children who are too young to go out and serve, and we even have a Logistical Support Team. 

When we come back from serving the neighborhood, we have lunch and fellowship. 

This Salt and Light Sunday is our way of sharing our faith with those who may otherwise not get the chance to see love in action! We want our neighbors to know who we are, what we do, that we serve faithfully, and that we love and care about them and expect nothing in return. 

This is how we show our faith! We cannot do it alone. We shine the brightest when we shine together. We want to shine our lights brightly for the Lord! 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest 
if we do not give up. 
Galatians 6:9

The prompt this week is FAITH! 

And linking up with Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday

May 17, 2016

How Did He Grow?

If you are a grandparent, you will understand how deep my love is for my grandchildren. The love is so fierce, so deep, so much so, that I felt like I grew another heart just to hold all the love for each one of them. From the moment my children announced that I would become a NaNa again, my love was immediate! But the moment they enter the world, the love becomes so much more.

Grandchildren are a precious gift from God! They are His reward! 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

My first grandchild, Kelson, was born on April 9, 1998. Yes, he is now 18 years old, and getting ready to graduate from high school this week. Thursday, May 19, 2016, my grandson, Kelson Alan McClusky, will walk across the stage. His childhood is done. He is becoming a man. Here is what I want to know. How is this possible? Where did the time go? How did he grow up so quickly?  It seems like just yesterday I was rushing to the airport, boarding a plane to Oklahoma, frantic that I would miss his birth. And I did! By 30 minutes. But he was a healthy baby boy with blonde hair and gorgeous, big blue eyes! 

For the first 2 years of Kelson's life, my daughter and her husband lived in Oklahoma, and I only got to see him a few times a year. Talk about hard! I wanted him to be accessible every day! I wanted to be able to see him whenever I wanted. Finally, shortly after his second birthday, they moved back to Ohio! It was one of the happiest days of my life. From the moment they arrived, he became pretty much, Nana's boy!

By the time Kelson started school, he had a passion for skateboarding. He quickly became very talented on his skateboard, and basically had no fear! I remember several times holding my breath as I watched him swerve around on one of his many skateboards. Jumping ramps, riding rails, you name it, he done it. It is still his passion today. 

My heart is bitter-sweet! I am so proud of the man Kelson is growing to be, but yet, I want to hold back the hands of time. I want him to still be the little guy that only NaNa could rock to sleep at night. I want him to be the little boy that begged for me to take him to the skate park, or couldn't wait to go to Walmart to get a new pack of Pokemon cards, or a new Tek Dek miniature skateboard, (which he usually ended up getting both!) But wanting him to stay little is the selfish part of this NaNa's heart! 

My grandson has the kindest heart. He is such an amazing person. I can honestly tell you that I have never heard him say a bad word about anyone. He is so loving, caring, giving, and respectful. He is so appreciative of what anyone does for him. He radiates love! He is brave! Kelson will be joining the Navy shortly after graduation this summer. 

I will miss him so very much, but I am so proud of the man he is becoming. I know he will be successful and give us all so much more to be proud of. I am so excited to watch his life grow into something amazing! I love you Kelson Alan! With All My Heart! Always, Forever, and Unconditionally! Love, NaNa

Start children off the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6 

I am linking up with Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday, the prompt this week is: GROW

May 1, 2016

Forgive And Be Forgiven

I have not always been one to have an easy time with forgiving others. As a matter of fact, I used to be quite the opposite. I held grudges, I sometimes would try to think of ways to get even with them, and I quit talking to people who hurt me or made me mad. It was as simple as that. I am pretty sure that after being hurt, rejected, abused, and disappointed time and time again, made me a very unforgiving person.

Even after being saved I still struggled with it. I would pray about it, and still feel so much anger and bitterness towards certain people from my past. I thought I was doing something wrong, like not praying right, or maybe God just didn't hear me. I thought it should come quickly. Just. Like. That. I thought God should just magically give me peaceful feelings towards these people. What I didn't realize was that I had to truly want to forgive them in my heart. I was reading Psalms 103 one day, and it became so clear what I was doing wrong!
The grace of God could not have been more beautifully described. It came to me, that I am a sinner and I cause Him pain, yet He responds to me so entirely unlike how I was inclined to respond to those who hurt me. I felt justified in treating them badly, or holding grudges against them. They deserved it! I thought. I then realized that I too deserve God's wrath, but He gives me compassion and abundant love instead. He treats me the very opposite way of how I deserve to be treated. He forgave me of all my sins, but I was holding on to this sin of not forgiving others.

Forgiveness was not immediate. It was a process. It took a lot of strength and prayer. When I didn't have the will to want to forgive, I knew that God would give me the will through prayer. I asked God to give me eyes to see these people as He sees them, and to remind me that He made them in His image. 
I am so glad that I have learned how to forgive! I am no longer walking around plotting on how I can get back at those who have hurt me, or obsessing about what I would say to them if given a chance to give them a piece of my mind. I am so glad that I found forgiveness through Jesus Christ, the One who paid it all, so that we could be forgiven! I have heard it said that those who choose to forgive are making a choice to be filled with joy! I am making the choice to FORGIVE!