Tag Archives: Songs

I Love You This Big

15 Aug

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world,
to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you
of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and
glorify God on the day he visits us.

1 Peter 2:11-12

A few evenings ago, in the world of entertainment, my husband and I enjoyed a unique time together as we took the Light Rail into the heart of Baltimore, MD.  Several weeks ago for Father’s Day, our children gifted us with two tickets to the American Idol Summer Tour Concert.  Having been avid Idol watchers for the past 4 seasons, we were excited about this very creative and unusual present. The kids know that we really enjoy and appreciate good talent and wholesome individuals who really desire a chance to do what they love.  We especially liked this past season, for with the exception of only a few contestants, we found it difficult from week to week to narrow down the competition. 

The ride to the 1st Mariner Arena was fun as we sent cell phone pictures to our grandson (via his mom’s iPhone) of our mode of transportation.  He immediately told his mommy that we were to come to Cole’s house on the train.  Sharing the trip with a multitude of Baltimore sports enthusiasts and other concert goers, the journey was already entertaining for me as I people-watched and wondered where they were all going and what life was like for them. 

Our public transit took us to the front doors of the stadium, making our commute nearly perfect!  Once inside, we were immediately surrounded by fans of all ages … little giggly girls wearing Idol t-shirts, teens, moms and dads, older ones like us, and even the senior generation like my mom’s age who enjoy the talent and the excitement of the program.  The smell of popcorn and nachos wafted in from the hallways, but the high prices kept us away.  As the lights were dimmed moments before the show began, I found it quite interesting to glance through the crowd of thousands of people to see the unmistakable glow of cell phones everywhere.  People were no doubt taking pictures of each other and posting them on Facebook, updating their status and letting their world know that they were about to see their favorite Idol stars and Scotty McCreery in person. 

As the concert began, it was great to once again see the singers we had watched, voted for and against, and enjoy the flow of the program … from groups, to solos, duets, and instrumental numbers.  The second half of the evening was by far the best, as the top 6 finalists performed and brought the crowd to their feet.  As Scotty McCreery, this year’s winner, finally took the stage, it was indeed a fun moment!  This young man has a grace about him, a natural niche for the stage and microphone, and a ‘Throwback Country’ charm that will take him places throughout his life.  I stood there, with camera in hand, capturing clicks in time, providing us with memories of ‘way back when Scotty was only 17’. 

As Scotty pulled out the stops with his infamous rendition of the song “Gone”, I remembered his reaction to one of the judge’s comments following his first performance of this song during the year’s competition.  Having been told that up till now he had been a Puritan and tonight he had danced with the devil, Scotty turned to the camera during his 15 second re-cap and said “I didn’t dance with the devil … I love Jesus!”  Another week when a very controversial mentor had given some off-colored advice to Scotty, he grabbed the cross necklace that was around his neck and said, “I just feel like I need to kiss my cross to say Lord this is not my doing.”   It does my heart good to recognize faith-raised, wholesome morals, and a love for Jesus that shines through the muck of Hollywood. 

Scotty McCreery

The words to Scotty’s debut single describe earthly love … I Love You This Big.  I love you to the moon and back, deeper than the ocean, taller than the pines.  But as he stood there on that stage and sang the words to the chorus and spread his arms apart, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus.  He also held his arms open wide, nailed to a cross, and died for our sins.  I love you this big, He said.  In the days ahead as you scan through the radio stations in your car or sit down for a meal at LongHorn Steakhouse and you hear the warm bass tones of this young man’s song, join me in allowing this love song to remind us of God’s unfathomable love for you and I.  I LOVE YOU THIS BIG …

Until next time,
Debbie

Remember me for this also, O my God,
and show mercy to me according to Your great love. 
Nehemiah 13:22b

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens,
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Psalm 57:10

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness
known through all generations. 

Psalm 89:1

 

*  Scotty’s debut single  ~  I Love You This Big          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVq8nEHCKd4&ob=av2e

*  Scotty’s GONE performance on May 4, 2011          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x82v9PdyOHE

*  For my friends who subscribe to Morsels of Mercy and automatically get a copy sent to your email, check out the blog on my website to see additional photos of my family         https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

**  Blog photo of sand castles, ocean & Cole were taken at Bethany Beach on August 3, 2011.

Completely

20 May
 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength. 
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31

 

I was honored with an invitation to be the guest speaker at a ladies’ annual spring banquet last Friday night.  The church was located back in my old tromping grounds of southern Indiana, so I was blessed beyond measure to have 12 of my dearest friends from the Cincinnati area come and see me!  The evening’s festivities began with cupcake chat, singing, and a delicious dinner.  What a joy it was for me as I sat there eating, talking, and listening to the different conversations around the table … trying to soak up every moment of being with my friends so I could tuck away the evening’s morsels of memories and savor them later. 

Most of the gals, plus my Momma!

With satisfied and full tummies, we all made our way back up to the sanctuary for the remainder of the evening.  Moments before I was introduced and welcomed to come up front, a young lady began to sing a very special song.  As the music started to play for her accompaniment, my heart began to swell and my eyes began to fill.  I sat there in that pew, totally transported to another time and another place. 

The time was September 13, 2006 and the place was Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center in West Harrison, Indiana.  Having packed every item we owned, leaving behind our place of ministry in Albuquerque, NM for the past 9 years and friends too many to count, a new life was before us.  After traveling for 3 days and 1400 miles, we were almost there.  As I followed behind the big yellow moving truck and exited off the interstate, I slipped my Sandia Women’s Retreat 2006 Worship CD into the player and found this special song on purpose.  The message of the words penetrated my being as I once again had to let go and surrender everything to His control.  With tears streaming down my face, we pulled onto the grounds of our new home, ministry, and life.  I sang this song as an act of worship … my heart filled with sadness in leaving friends and ministry behind, and my soul filled with the uncertainty of a new place, new work and ministry, and new people.  Right there in that moment …  Click here to listen

COMPLETELY 

The secret of life is letting go
The secret of love is letting it show
In all that I do
In all that I say
Right here in this moment

The power of prayer is in a humble cry
The power of change is in giving my life
And laying it down
Down at your feet
Right here in this moment

(Chorus)
Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

This journey of life is a search for truth
This journey of faith is following you
Every step of the way
Through the joy and the pain
Right here in this moment

(Chorus)
Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

Right here, right now, and for the rest of my life
Hear me say

(Chorus)
Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

I am yours and yours alone
Completely

 

As I sat there last Friday night once again listening to this song, I could still smell the freshly mown grass, I could see the deep plush green of everything (as opposed to the very little green and mostly brown that we had grown to love in Albuquerque), and I could still feel the intense ache, fear, and loneliness that enveloped me at that moment in 2006.   But as that young lady continued to sing, my Jesus wrapped His arms of love around me and whispered in my ear … “Look around you.”  There I was, literally surrounded by 3 rows of women who specifically came to see me.  These weren’t just any women.  They were the ones I rubbed shoulders with on a regular basis … at work, at district functions, Munchy Monday, … all from my life at Higher Ground.   We have laughed together, cried together, prayed together, and lived life together.  They were the result of my letting go, laying it all at His feet, and saying I am Yours and Yours alone … completely.  

I am overwhelmed with how personal and loving my Jesus is to me.    He took the past 5 years, placed it all in a box for me, and wrapped it up with a nice pretty bow on top.  He placed a tag on the outside and wrote “I love you, Debbie!” Those girls, especially, know what that means to me.  They are the jewels inside that shine above all the other stuff. 

With tears still in my eyes, it was my turn to come up front and speak.  Temporarily laying my notes to the side, I had to share my journey through those last 5 minutes and express my love in return to my Jesus.     

Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

I am Yours and Yours alone
Completely

I will share the rest of the story … next time.
Debbie

Renotta

7 Jan

 

 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4

 

I’ve known her since we were young girls … her two older brothers and their families attended my church in Indianapolis.  Her beautiful long red hair and bright smile always caught my eye whenever she and her parents came to visit on a Sunday morning.  We both grew up and life took us both down different roads, but whenever our paths would cross, there was always a warm and welcomed embrace.

 

A few years back, news of Renotta and her family going to Peru as missionaries tweaked my interest.  Experiencing the ache in my own heart for missions, I was excited to know that Renotta was answering the call of God upon her life … with her family in tow.  Somehow I acquired a bookmark with a King family photo on the front, complete with names … requesting for prayer as they ministered as Area Strategy Coordinators for Peru and Bolivia.  The back has been used as scratch paper for notes a time or two, but the bookmark remained in the front pocket of my Bible for the past several years.  It is now in a prominent place of honor … marking my spot as I read through the Psalms in my daily devotions…and a reminder to continue to pray for this precious family.

 

How exciting when Renotta and I bumped into each other in the hallway of Springdale Nazarene Church a few years back!  She and her family had just returned from the mission field and began attending the same church that we were in Cincinnati.  We stood there for several minutes trying to catch up and reconnect after so many years.  It wasn’t long before we were ‘friends’ on Facebook, giving us both the opportunity to look on the inside of family life, including the joys of being Meemaw and Grami!  

 

During the summer of 2009, cancer began to take Renotta and her family on a journey which ended at the gates of Heaven just a few days ago on January 3, 2011.  For her precious family and the friends who traveled the weary and often frightening road together, Jesus will continue to hold, carry, and guide them as the days turn into weeks, months and years.  On the other side of those pearly gates, cancer suddenly lost its grip on Renotta as she grasped the nail-scarred hands of her Jesus, rejoicing and worshipping the One that has truly given her Life. 

 

As I have browsed through pictures and notes which have been posted on Facebook, I believe that a few others were feeling the same twinge of marvel … and envy, if you will, that I was feeling … of the fact that Renotta has seen the face of Jesus.  Here is one of the comments …

“Oh how you are loved!  My heart is overwhelmed ~
Oh to see Christ face to face!
Father, thank you for Renotta!”

And someone else posted the words to a beautiful song sung by Sandy Patty ~
Another Time and Another Place …

I’ve always heard there is a land
Beyond the mortal dreams of man,
Where every tear will be left behind
But it must be in another time.
There’ll be an everlasting light
Shining a purest holy white,
And every fear will be erased
But it must be in another place.

I’ve grown so tired of earthly things
They promise peace but furnish pain,
All of life’s sweetest joys combined
Could never match those in another time.
And though I’ve put my trust in Christ
And felt his Spirit move in my life,
I know it’s truly just a taste
Of His glory in another place.

So, I’m waiting, for another time and another place…
Where all my hopes and dreams will be captured
With one look at Jesus’ face!
Oh, my heart’s been burnin’,
My soul keeps yearnin’,
Sometimes I can’t hardly wait
For that sweet, sweet Someday …
When I’ll be swept away
To another time and another place.

Renotta has reached Another Time and Another Place!  She has at last been reunited with her mother, and has joined my own Daddy, my grandparents, other loved ones and friends who have crossed the Great Divide … and they are gathered around the feet of Jesus Himself!  Renotta now knows what I can only imagine …

I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe   Click to listen


I can only imagine … what it will be like
When I walk by Your side

I can only imagine … what my eyes will see
When Your face is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine … when that day comes
When I find myself … standing in the Son

I can only imagine … when all I will do
Is forever, forever worship You
I can only imagine.

Until next time …
Debbie

 

 

 

Breath of Heaven

24 Dec

                                                                                                The Spirit of God has made me;
   the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Job 33:4

 

The songs of the season are one of my favorite things about Christmas!  There are tunes dating back to when I was a little girl and soundtracks from childhood movies such as Rudolph and Frosty.  Carpenter’s Christmas Portrait would be the winning answer for a trivia question asked to Kim or Ryan  …   “What is THE #1 album that means Christmas to you?”  There are fun songs that playfully express the sounds of the holidays while there are melodies that fill the air with nostalgia and memories of days gone by.  Timeless Christmas carols with their message of a Savior born to take away our sins  …  and newer songs of praise  ~  all drawing me into an attitude of worship. 

A few weeks ago, I caught the familiar sound of a song I’ve heard countless times, but for the first time ever I actually listened to the words…really listened.   Hopefully on this Eve of Christmas Day, you will find a moment of quiet, and you can also listen to this song and allow the words from Mary’s own journey to be the cry of your heart.   

Click to play “Breath of Heaven”  … sung by Point of Grace.

Just like Mary, I have traveled many moonless nights … dark and cold nights where I was so tired and weary from the burdens I carried.  And yes, I’ve also wondered … “what have I done?”   Do I honestly believe that You have chosen me … for this, my life’s journey?

I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy father You have come
Chosen me now to carry Your son
 

 

Frightened and alone, I have silently waited in prayer … Be with me now, be with me now.

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone must I walk this path alone
Be with me now, be with me now

What a precious prayer … how intimate … how personal … how desparate

Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me … Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your Holiness
For You are Holy … Breath of Heaven 

I, like Mary, have doubted and questioned … but I offer all I am, for the mercy of His plan …
so help me be strong,
help me be,
help me …

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place
But i offer all i am for the mercy of your plan
Help me be strong, help me be, help me

Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me … Breath of Heaven 

Breath of Heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your Holiness
For You are Holy … Breath of Heaven

 

A portion of a devotional, dated Nov 28th ~ Streams in the Desert ~ reads …

“And the wind that blew from the sunrise made me hope in the God who had first breathed into my nostrils the breath of life;  that He would at length so fill me with His breath, His mind, His Spirit, that I should think only His thoughts, and live His life, finding therein my own life, only glorified infinitely.” 

 

Won’t you join me, this night before Christmas, in asking God the Father to fill us with His breath, His mind, His Spirit … to think only His thoughts, and to live His life, finding therein my own  ~  to be near us, to lighten our darkness, and to pour over us His Holiness … Breath of Heaven?

Till next time,
Debbie

This is what God the LORD says–
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it: 

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
Isaiah 42:5-7

 

 

 

Jesus Loves Me

29 Sep

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son
 into the world that we might live through him. This is love:
not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends,
since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another,
 God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 
1 John 4:9-12

 

In previous years of experience, after having just moved to a new location … new job, different house, an unfamiliar area, and still undecided on which church to regularly attend, Sundays were usually a difficult day for me.  This past weekend, however, was not that way at all.  Please allow me to take you on a journey  …

When our family lived in the state of Pennsylvania back in the ’90s, I baked homemade cinnamon rolls quite frequently on Sunday mornings.  They were tasty and quick to devour just moments before heading out the door to Sunday School and church.  Knowing that we were driving down to Baltimore to attend church with our daughter and her little family this past Sunday, I was inspired to bake these decadent treats once again and take them with us to share.  With a slight chill in the air as it was raining outside, the sweet aroma of the rolls baking put a warmth in the heart from the memories of when we were much younger with much smaller children…and this put a smile on my face. 

Reminders of ‘home’ greeted us on our hour drive to the Arndts as I received texts from a couple Higher Ground friends, checking on us and sending their love.  Rolls and coffee were enjoyed in the usual fashion, just moments before going to church.  Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene is currently gathering its congregation in a really nice school building as new construction is taking place nearby.  A quick glance in the bulletin advertised Caravans, creating a smile of joy as I imagined my grandchildren earning badges while they learned the Articles of Faith and other core values in this Christian scouting program.  As I stood there in the auditorium sharing in the worship experience with my family, I took notice of the pulpit bearing the Nazarene logo “Holiness Unto the Lord”.  A heart full of gratitude for a prayer answered, knowing that a heritage of holiness upbringing will continue another generation in this Arndt/VanHook home.  The music filled the hall, nothing elaborate with a full orchestra or 50 person choir, but a simple platform of instruments and singers that lifted their talents and hearts in worship as they led us to the Father.  There were songs I didn’t know, but the message of these words spoke to me …

“All that is within me cries.
For You alone be glorified Emmanuel, God with us.
My heart sings a brand new song.
The debt is paid these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Such a tiny offering, compared to Calvary, nevertheless we lay it at your feet.
Such a tiny offering, compared to Calvary, nevertheless we lay this at your feet.”

 

Then there were songs I did know, songs that continued to draw me into His presence …

“Blessed be your name, In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow, Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name, When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness, Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name, When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be, Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name, On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering, Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out, I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord, Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away, You give and take away
My heart will choose to say , Lord, Blessed be your name”

Pastor Bolerjack began to relate a story concerning his son who is an avid OU fan and attended the OU vs UC game the night before.  I sat there and had to sort of shake my brain loose and think “Where am I?”  I now live in Pennsylvania, but at this moment am hearing this story in Maryland.  Pastor’s son lives in Oklahoma and attended the game, which was in Cincinnati.  Wow!  A connection … a real BIG connection to our hearts!  I know Tim was anxious to chat with the pastor following the service to tell him that we just left the Cincinnati area and Higher Ground, which is where the University of Cincinnati Bearcats annually hold their pre-season football training camp.  Having just watched the exciting game ourselves, it was quite fun to share this connection with him.  We also inquired of his relationship to R.T. and Pat Bolerjack, who we found out to be his uncle and aunt. More connections were made as we shared of our friendship with them from our days at Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque. 

Moments before at the end of the sermon, as the piano began to play a very familiar song, my heart was moved to tears. A few months ago while working in the kitchen at Higher Ground and it was an extremely busy and tough day, I suggested to my friend that when we felt frustrated and and worn out, we should start singing Sunday School songs to help us through our shift.  Just the day before, this friend had texted me that her work day had been very rough, and at one point she began to sing her Sunday School songs.  I then told her that I’m so glad that she could sing Jesus Loves Me. As I stood there the next morning at the close of the service, the melody of that childhood tune began to fill that church auditorium.  Once again, I felt the extreme love of Jesus, His approval of me, my walk, and my relationship with Him. 

I knew right then that I would write about all of this … a personal, very intimate connection with God Himself, knowing that He hand-picked details of this day, at this time in my life, just for me!  Somehow, I need to express that just believing there is a God, religion, and all the churchy stuff of life is not what it’s all about.  It’s even so much more than a daily routine of Bible reading and prayer time.  It’s a relationship with God, communication with One Another, and as I read this morning in Streams in the Desert, it’s a ‘Peace that breathes music in my breast.’  Do you hear the music? … “Jesus Loves Me!”

Till next time,
Debbie

Who Are You?

24 Aug

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people belonging to God, that you may declare the
praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10

 

Our upcoming move is approaching quite quickly … in fact, the big yellow truck will be pulling up out front one week from tomorrow.  There is still much to do, but every day more boxes are piling up in each room, appropriately marked regarding the contents and the new room to which it will be carried to upon arrival.  In the midst of the non-stop activity of packing, all the while still doing my part in hosting the pre-season football camp for the UC Bearcats at Camp Higher Ground, I make the time for the important things…like running an errand with my hubby, writing my blog, and going to church. 

Since my final day of employment at Higher Ground is this coming Sunday, I went to church this past weekend with great anticipation and emotion, knowing it was my last Sunday to attend Springdale Nazarene.  To add to the excitement of the morning, my dear friend Linda and her daughter came to join me on this final Sunday.  The songs were no doubt hand-picked by God Himself just for me …

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

 

The choir came alive as the Days of Elijah rang throughout the sanctuary in praise …

These are the days of Ezekiel
With dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days of his servant, David
Building the temple of praise, yes
And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are all white in the world
And we are the laborers that are in your vineyard
declaring the word of the Lord
Behold He comes, riding on a cloud
Shining like the sun, at the trumpet's call!
Lift your voice!  It's the year of jubilee!
Out of Zion's hill salvation comes
 
Then there was a baby dedication.  I ALWAYS cry at baby dedications,
for I remember those two very special days when Tim and I stood before
God and the church promising to raise Kimberly and then Ryan to know
and love Jesus.  And not too long ago we stood with Kim and Troy as
they promised to do the same for Cole. 
 
This baby dedication was unique in the fact that the baby is the
grandson of General Superintendent Dr. David Graves, who is a
former pastor of Springdale Nazarene.  With great emotion and
grandpa pride, He performed the ceremony, followed then by
preaching the morning message.  What a treat!  He spoke
some of Africa, which is his first area of service as a
General Superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene.  I sat
on the edge of my seat as I listened to him tell that just
last Sunday he was in Swaziland … and I could hear the thrill
of a pastor’s heart as he is being blessed with the privilege
to personally experience and see what God and the Church is
doing on that great continent. 
 
Dr. Graves spoke from the books of Isaiah 60, Deuteronomy 7
and 1 Peter 2:9. His emphasis was that we must know who we
are and where we are going. Here are the four E’s…
 
Evaluate … Where I am right now.
Envision … Where God wants me to be.
Establish … Goals on how to get there.
Examine … Myself along the way.
Whatever God implants as a vision where He wants me to be, HE will be the One to work it all out if I
let Him …

Although you have been forsaken and hated,
with no one traveling through,
I will make you the everlasting pride
and the joy of all generations. 

You will drink the milk of nations
and be nursed at royal breasts.
Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Isaiah 60:15-16

 

The service ended with another hand-picked song …

Fill this place with the praise
Of the God of all grace
Lift Him high, Glorify
The Ancient of Days

Oh Ye saints lift your voice
Lift Your heads and rejoice
God is here!
Fill this place with praise

 

 

 I know this was an unusual blog … but as I sat there in the service, I knew I needed to share it here this week.  Perhaps there is someone besides me who needs this message  … for such a time as this. 

 

To listen to the actual message, you can go to the church’s website …

http://springdalenaz.com
Click on WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES/FIND A SERVICE
Click on CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT A SERMON ON LINE
It is titled 2010-08-22 Sermon WHO WE ARE

Join me in evaluating, envisioning, establishing and examining … Who am I and where am I going?

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

Family Camp

24 Jun

God said. “Take off your sandals,
for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 
Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” 
The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt.
 I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers,
and I am concerned about their suffering.  So I have come down
to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up
out of that land into a good and spacious land,
a land flowing with milk and honey.” 
Exodus 3:5-8

 

It was an interesting and very enjoyable week … one that started with busy clean-up, preparation, and set-up.  Just two days before families and friends began to cross the bridge which welcomed them onto the property, flood waters quickly rose that Saturday morning and not only covered the bridge, but temporarily transformed our small creek into a 30 foot-wide raging river.  When guests drove onto the grounds on the first day of Family Camp, they were greeted by the huge fallen trees that had traveled, clustered in piles, and came to rest near the banks of our receded swollen stream.  There was a lot of excited chatter and questions that first evening regarding the recent flash flood.  It set the stage for an unusual concern the second night of camp when severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings were posted.  Following some blinding rain, heavy winds, and bright lightning, the storm passed, and we enjoyed good weather the remainder of the week.

Family Camp is the modern-day term for what we always called Camp Meeting … a revival of sorts, complete with evangelists, special singers, and the church.  Except this revival is held in one location with large enough facilities so that many churches can attend.  Another special aspect of Family Camp is that a lot of people come and stay for the entire week.  They rent lodge rooms, an area in one of the dorms, or an entire cabin for several families.  We also have those that stay in their RVs … filling the camping area with the sounds of children, the smells of campfires, and the taste of homemade ice cream.  What a fun place Family Camp is!

For me personally, I had several highlights this year.  I LOVE people and I so enjoy our Nazarene district church folk!  Some of them I get to see often, while others I only see once or twice a year.  I was able to spend some time with my friend Linda and her two grandchildren, and I joined in the fun of swimming in the pool with them on Friday afternoon.  Being with these kids made my heart ache even more for my own grandson!  Maybe someday Cole can come and stay the week of Family Camp with his Grami and Gramps!  There were those who helped Tim run the technical side of Family Camp, so they made up the techno table at each meal.  Great huge bouquets of grateful flowers go out to these friends for your faithful help and concern.  Friends and more friends warmed my heart throughout the week, and I am eternally grateful for the privilege of getting to know so many precious and special people.  People asked about my grandbaby and of course, Grami had pictures!  We chatted about health issues, family members, motorcycles, and Morsels of Mercy.  The church services were special, having two former District Superintendents in attendance and behind the pulpit on various occasions.  The Collingsworth Family ended the week-long celebration on Sunday evening with a concert … and then as quickly as everyone arrived, they all left. 

Family Camp  …Camp Meeting  (whichever you prefer to call it)  is only a memory now for 2010.  The hundreds of chairs in the Graves Family Life Center have been stacked and put away.  The meals were cleaned up and new menus planned.  Windows had handprints smeared on them and more spiders and bugs had settled on the ledges outside.  Monday morning was a busy time of clean-up, preparation, and set-up … but this time for the next batch of guests arriving by noon and ready to have their summer visit to Higher Ground.   

The real reason for Family Camp is spiritual renewal.  There were sessions of Bible study, morning and evening services, complete with music, preaching, and prayer.  We sang a song that first morning service that went like this …

This Is Holy Ground
We’re Standing On Holy Ground
For The Lord Is Present And Where He Is, Is Holy

I have to admit that as I sat there singing this chorus, tears spilled down my face as the Lord spoke to my own heart.  There are days the ground on which I stand does not seem very holy to me.  Remember the spiders and bugs?  I found myself kneeling at an altar of prayer that morning, recommitting my everything to Him so that I could know that I stood on Holy Ground no matter where I was. 

Wherever you are at any given moment of the day or night, is the ground where you are standing Holy?  It is Holy simply because the Lord is present and where He is, it is Holy.  Is He present in your life?  Join me today in making sure that we are indeed standing on Holy Ground.

Until next time,
Debbie