Tag Archives: Jersey Pilgrim

Labor Day Mini-Vaca

7 Sep

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching
and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2:42

There were several options floating around as possible destinations for the final long weekend of the summer … and we chose the one that combined a few of our favorite things, and topped it off with a visit to Toms River, New Jersey.

Having taken two weekend trips already to the beach this summer, we put the car on auto pilot and headed the 3 hours east to the sandy shores of New Jersey.  Our early morning arrival at the board walk secured us a front-row parking spot and a short distance to walk to the ocean with our strategically packed bags, beach umbrella and sand chairs.  Since the day was still young and only a handful of seasonal guests were already set up, we claimed our spot at the water’s edge and were in awe at the calmness of the sea.  It looked more like a lake than an ocean that continually slipped further and further away as the tide went out.  We pulled the umbrella and dragged the chairs down closer to the surf a couple times, and by afternoon, children were giggling, older kids were skim boarding, and people of all ages were wading out to where the waves were finally picking up some momentum and adding some splash to the day.  That is usually where Tim will be found.  He loves to go out as far as he can in the water and still barely touch … and just roll with the flow.  Literally.  When he’s not bobbing up and down in the waves, he’s back up on the sand taking a nap in the sunshine.  For me, the act of sitting and doing nothing is very foreign to my normal daily routine, but at the beach, it’s acceptable and embraced…what luxury!!  So, I enjoy watching people and sometimes reading.  After a full day in the sun and surf, a quick clean-up and change takes place in the bath house, followed by a delicious dinner at our favorite local DDD spot (Diners, Drive-in and Dives) and a leisurely evening drive south to find some friends of ours.

Toms River, New Jersey has been a special place in my heart ever since 1996 when a pastor friend of ours accompanied Hershey Nazarene Church on a Work & Witness trip to Albuquerque, NM.  In the next 4 years, Pastor Del returned to Nazarene  Indian Bible College a few times with teams from his own congregation, this time working with our family as the host Work & Witness coordinators and giving us the privilege of getting to know all those fine folks from New Jersey.  Through the years, a connection has remained in tact due to the creative pens of my friend and I.  Del Bieber can tell a story like no other and has captured my attention every time he publishes a new devotional.

Del and Patsy Bieber

Having received an invitation to stay at their home during one of our weekend jaunts to the shore, Tim and I graciously accepted and found our way last weekend to the parsonage of Del and Patsy Bieber.  It did my heart so much good to simply sit and mutually share about life, family, health, prayer concerns and the memories that originated the friendship.  I love to hear missionaries share their stories, feeling every fiber and thread of their narrative … and I feel much the same way toward Pastor Del.  He’s been a missionary to the people in his world for more than three decades, and he also has stories that I could sit and listen to for hours!  Pastor Del is not only a pastor, he is an avid hunter, a sportsman, a photographer, a writer, a narrator, a PopPop, father, husband, and friend.

Sunday morning was a highlight for me as I always anticipate God’s personal and intimate communication with me when I worship…our ‘secret’ vocabulary, if you will.  I’m one that enjoys the newer songs of today … popular praise and worship, but my heart is truly lifted to another level of worship as I’m carried back to my roots when I join a congregation to sing a familiar hymn.  Even though I can recite every written word as I harmonize to When We All Get to Heaven and I Will Serve Thee, the fact that I no longer sing them very often just magnifies the message of these old-time favorites.  In a warm embrace of God’s love to my soul, the service was closed with an extra special hymn that I remember all so well … gathered around the piano with two dear friends and singing from the depths of our hearts …

Sometimes the day seems long, Our trials hard to bear.
We´re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair.
But Christ will soon appear to catch his bride away!
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day!

CHORUS:
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.
One glimpse of his dear face, all sorrow will erase.
So, bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Mr. Fox

It WILL be worth it all … but until that day when we do see Jesus, won’t you join me as I follow the example of Pastor Del in being a missionary to my world?  Whether there is a certificate of ordination on the study wall, several pounds of deer bologna in the freezer, a beautiful stuffed critter by the name of Mr. Fox in the corner of the living room, or Spike, a lively spider who eats mosquitos by the porch light at the back door, in our unique and special ways, let’s do all we can do to be Jesus to the people in our lives every day.

Until next time,
Debbie

“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 they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

PS  –  I would highly recommend a listen to Pastor Del’s sermon from this past Sunday, Sept 2.  It is not yet posted on the church’s website, but check back from time to time until you see it listed.  It’s part 2 to “You Ran Well”.  You will enjoy it!
http://www.tomsrivernaz.com/

Also, Pastor Del writes and then narrates a devotional … Enjoy his creativity and his love for nature, his family, and life.
http://www.jerseypilgrim.com/

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A Mother’s Day Prayer

8 May

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4

Happy Mother’s Day!

Moms sacrifice body, emotions, and mental stability in order to nurture and love another human being.  There are as many different scenarios as there are moms.  Every unique experience  could be written and sold as a best seller to those in their own world.  The following is a borrowed story, penned by a dear friend a few years ago on Mother’s Day.  His short narrative tugs at my own heart strings as I celebrate this special day in honor of my Mom and my own motherhood …

“Swept Away

There is a two hundred year old stream side mill in Allentown, New Jersey, known as the Black Forest Restaurant.  Featuring German cuisine, it is a favorite eatery for my wife.  So that is where we headed to celebrate Mother’s Day 2008.  Patsy has been and continues to be a great mom, and it is always a wonderful privilege to honor her.

Surrounding the restaurant are a variety of small shops filled with antique and artsy stuff.  They are a magnet for my wife.  Beyond the shops is a winding path that parallels a noble brook.  It is a magnet for me.  So we bid farewell to one another and became temporarily lost in our respective magnetic fields.

As I followed the wood-chipped walkway through springtime’s blossoming flora, I inhaled deeply the sweet elixir of wild rose and honeysuckle.  Blackbirds, robins and sparrows sang joyfully from behind leafy curtains.  I stopped to listen to the chorus of a favorite hymn, and that is when I heard the cry.

Baby Duck

Rapid-fire peep-chirps of distress were coming from somewhere upstream.  Listening to determine the precise location, I soon became aware that the source of the siren was approaching.   And just then, riding on the current, coming around the bend, floating down stream was recently hatched duckling.  Most likely this little peep had wandered too far from his brothers, sisters and mom and had been taken captive by the rushing madness of a storm swollen stream.

For the next twenty minutes I tried desperately to rescue the little fellow while the current whisked him farther from home.  Unfortunately the creek’s bank became too muddy and steep, and stream-side’s briars became impenetrable.  There was nothing left to do but stand and listen as the peep-chirps faded.

Following the path back to civilization I could not help but contemplate about Mother’s Day, families, and the currents of this world that too often sweep our own children into danger.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children!”
Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Therein is our hope! 

Your servant in Christ – Pastor Bieber”  **

Mother’s Day is a special day of celebration!  Celebration of our moms for their love, their prayers, their care, and their gift of life to us.  It is also a day of celebration for the privilege and the awesome responsibility for the priceless and eternal gifts God gives to us as mothers.  This tender little story will always tug on my Mommy heart as I daily spend time on my knees for my children and their loves, just as I’m sure my own mother stays on her knees for me and my brothers and our families.  The undercurrents of life are strong, but there IS hope when we love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength.  Join me today as we celebrate our moms, and as we continue to pray for our families.

Until next week,
Debbie

** Del Bieber is Pastor at Tom’s River, New Jersey Churchof the Nazarene
You may subscribe to his written stories by contacting Pastor Del at trnazarene@juno.com
You may also subscribe to his podcast (you listen to him read his stories) at http://jerseypilgrim.blogspot.com
Thank you, Pastor Del!