Really…Honest and Truly

I swear to you…honest and truly…I’m not a bad “kitty mom”. Really I’m not. However…my kitty Nathan may beg to differ with me. His assessment may be a little different after Saturday’s “bag incident”.

When I first saw Nathan having difficulty walking I went to investigate…to see if he got his claws stuck on something. A closer look revealed that Nathan…AKA nosy Nate…somehow got a Starbuck’s bag slung around his head and neck. Kind of like a backpack.

Now a normal mom…would have rushed to his aid and immediately freed Nathan from the bag. That wasn’t my first reaction. Or let me state…I battled between instincts.

I couldn’t quite control the laughter…and I ran to get the camera. As you can see…little Rudy (whose not so little anymore)…wanted to help his brother. Or is that annoy his brother when the chips were down? Anyway…after posing for a couple of pictures (albeit reluctantly) from the laughing photographer…Nathan was freed, no worse for wear from the Starbuck’s bag.

Now you understand why Nathan has earned the nickname “Nosy Nate”.

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Light the Night – Chuck Obremski Finish Strong Team

I’m not a person that normally hits people up for money. I don’t have Tupperware parties or the like. But there is one thing that is starting to be a tradition…and that is participating in the “Chuck Obremski Finish Strong” Team as our members from Kindred Community Church and family and friends join with Light the Night to raise money for cancer research.

If you’ve ever talked to me for five minutes…or read my blog…or been handed a CD album with awesome Bible teaching from my beloved former Pastor Chuck Obremski…you know how God has used him to influence my life for good.

This coming September 18th, it will be two years since Chuck finished strong and went home to be with our Lord. While he is separated physically for a time from those who love him and miss him…he is still very much near and dear to us.

If I may be so bold…to invite you, if you live in the southern California area to join us at Angel’s Stadium…(or is that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California? Hey it’s California…we have “issues”…you know what I mean?) on the night of September 15th to celebrate the life of a godly man who showed each of us how to “finish strong”. You can register by going to Light the Night (www.lightthenight.org), click on register and search for the Chuck Obremski Finish Strong team. It will be a lovely night…as we join with cancer survivors and family and friends of those who have been impacted by cancer to raise money for this worthy cause.

To join the Chuck Obremski Finish Strong team…we’ll be located under the “Finish Strong” banner in the parking lot in front of the stadium, near the red hat closest to the “Big A”. I look forward to seeing you all!

Now if I may be bolder…if you can’t join us…how about donating to a worthy cause. Many of you likely know someone who has been impacted by cancer…so you know how important cancer research is in allowing people to live longer lives so they too can achieve that which God has called them to do and “Finish Strong”.

I’ve registered with Light the Night…and have a web page (susanwalkergirl). If you can contribute…I would be most grateful for you kindness. I hope to see you there!

Called


We look to You oh Lord,
For You have a plan,
From before the foundations of our world were laid.

You alone know whom You have called,
A man who loves Your word,
Faithful to preach the truth…uncompromised.


We pray for ears to hear You,
Hearts to obey You,
Willing to follow Your lead.


We ask that You prepare our hearts,
To receive him,
Welcome the one whom you have called…into our fold.


By Susan Bunts
August 26, 2007

As the Pastoral Search Committee gave their report…I found my attention riveted. As Dean got up to speak…lets just say he had my attention. Every few months for close to two years now we’d have a report or update on the status and progress our Pastoral Search Committee. It’s been almost two years since our beloved Pastor Chuck Obremski finished well…and went home to be with our Lord.

During that time…God has prepared our hearts. He gave us time to grieve and mourn. A time to accept. A time to look to the Lord and seek His plan and timing. A time to hunger and thirst for His Word. Now it appears that time may have come to a close. While it remains in the hands of the Lord and we continue to ask for His wisdom and guidance, as we may soon have a Senior Pastor.

With state of many churches today…we are most concerned that this man whom God has called be deeply rooted and grounded in the Word of God. That he will be faithful to preach the Word…since it has the power of salvation…for all who believe.

When we look out on our church body…we don’t know who still needs to hear the Gospel message. Yet we all need the Word of God…which is able to divide soul and spirit…to comfort and convict. May we be mindful that there are ravenous wolves which seek to devour the sheep. We pray that God will bring us a shepherd who will tend to us and care for us…like the Good Shepherd.

So we wait…continue to pray for God timing, God’s plan…and the man whom God has called. Will you pray with us?

The Darkness of Despair

Today I was reminded in abundance of a time in my life when I was walking in the darkness of depression. It was such an awful time…and something that lasted for far too long. I desire to never, ever let that kind of feeling rule my life again. That’s not to say…I’m never depressed. But in comparison to before…I’m almost walking on sunshine.

Today I was reminded of that feeling of what the pit of depression feels like and what it’s like to see people and life all around you…going on just like normal. As if they are oblivious to you and your pain and despair. A despair that seems like utter hopelessness. Only after the fact did I discovered that no…it was just for a season.

In a way…life going on around you as normal…makes the place of despair seem all the more darker. Talk about alone…you never feel more alone, small and insignificant as when you are locked in the embrace of despair…and it won’t let go. You feel like you have no voice. If you were to speak out…no one would hear you.

Thankfully it’s a thing of the past. But I see so many brothers and sisters in the body of Christ undergoing severe attack right now. Devastating blows that are almost sinking people. It can be tough to hang onto faith. But hang on we must.

That is precisely the enemy’s tactic and desire. To see us defeated and despairing. To be consumed with our problems so that we are focused on them…and not trusting God. He loves to make us feel forsaken by God.

When I see the attacks so pervasive toward the body of Christ…I am reminded that his time is growing short. He knows he’s loosing and will ultimately go down in defeat. While he may not be able to take away our salvation…or eternal rewards…he desires to make our existence so miserable here that God and eternity seem so far off that we cease caring. For Christians…our hell is here. For the unbeliever…this is as close to heaven as they will ever get. Not because Christians are better…by no means…but because we’ve received the prescribed remedy for sin…Christ Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

As a Christian…I’m not suppose to hate anyone…nor wish anyone to go to hell. But I have absolute liberty to tell the enemy that I hate him…with an everlasting hate. I rejoice at the thought of him being tossed into the lake of fire…for eternity. It’s a perfect match…because that is who hell was created for…our enemy…the hater of our souls. One day soon…his rein of terror and hatred will end…I look forward to that day. What a wonderful day that will be…thank you Jesus!

Gleanings

“We can never fully know God’s power in our lives until we are at our weakest.

“Rejection…doesn’t rejection hurt all the more when it comes from one who knows you well?

God is at work in me right now…not sure exactly to what end…and what will be the result…I feel as though I am under construction as I have embarked on listening to Beth Moore’s “A Woman’s Heart” Bible Study.

When listening to the CD’s I sometimes feel assailed by thoughts and ideas and memories from the past. Sometimes they come so fast I can’t even remember them so I can write them down. Other times…I can hardly wait to get to my computer or put pen to paper. I made a mad dash to the computer to jot down the above thoughts.

On Thursday morning…as the water flowed over me during my morning shower and I was waking up…I was surprised when I clearly recalled an episode of painful rejection from last year. Good gracious…where did that come from? The enemy? Yeah…I’ve been feeling some arrows coming my way lately. One of his most effective instruments is to make me feel alone, isolated and rejected…so that I will distrust God and His motives and work in my life.

Today as I continued to listen to the CD’s…memories from my teenage years and early adulthood came to mind. I found myself wishing that I could talk to my mother…just talk as an adult…and deal with left over issues. Things that were never discussed or dealt with during our life. Ask why or what were you thinking? Or what was going on in your life that caused this or that? Unfortunately…that’s a conversation that will have to take place the other side of heaven…since the woman I see each week bears little resemblance to my mother. At times she knows I’m her daughter…but more often…I’m her sister or an old schoolmate that comes to visit.

Our relationship was not a great one. Sometimes I use to think it was because we were not biologically related and she never really bonded with me or maybe didn’t like me. But in actuality…I think we were just very different. Just like I’m not perfect and a work in progress…she too was that when I was growing up. A mother…not bad…but surely not perfect. One who carried her own scars into motherhood and life.

I do find myself concerned for her salvation. One who didn’t have a close walk with God…nor did she talk much about God, nor know His word. We didn’t go to church, nor read the Bible until after my father died when I was 10. After that we started to attend church. It’s hard for the outside observer to know for sure…but from the evidence throughout her life…I’m left with the thought…I don’t really know if she has ever accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Thus you will find me quizzing her or preaching to her every now and again.

I wonder…does her repeating the sinner’s prayer when her mind and will is fading if not gone…does it count? Or is it just me…trying to lead or drag her into the kingdom?

On a recent preaching episode with Gayle…I was explaining the Gospel. When I asked her if she wanted to accept Jesus…she responded, “Well I’m not sure…that sounds too good to be true.” Indeed it is too good…but thankfully it is true. I got her to say the words. Only the Lord knows the results of those words. Did it take…is she saved? I don’t know. Thus…I will likely continue to press the point.

Even though I have a life time of rejection that is blinding at times…I remind myself that I have been accepted by God. That if all else forsake me…that I am accepted in the Beloved. Does that help…yes mostly…and no for pain still remains…and questions…and scars.

There are times when I want to say to God…I believe in You. I am grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus for my sins…and I’ve accepted Him as my Lord and Savior…but I can’t go on. I’ll live a decent life…and won’t get involved in that which is wrong…but I don’t want to do anything more than that. I want to just live my life. He of all people knows the hurt in my heart…and knows that which is deep and invisible to others…but it’s bright as the noon day sun to Him. He knows it…and He has the ability to help heal and end that pain. But for whatever reason…thus far He has chosen not to.

And that’s when I start to get a stinky attitude…and say I love you God…but I don’t want to do anything more than live my life. I can’t give that which I don’t have. For an outpouring of love and service…surely I need to have my tanks filled. But they remain dangerous close to empty. I’m tired of running on empty.

Does having lived this life with pain make me more compassionate and understanding towards those who are hurting? Yes…I know well what it’s like to have a hurting heart. But in some respects…it’s also dulled my feelings. The hurt has caused scars that are tough. Scars which help protect my heart from further injury. At times…I can be rather cold hearted and uncaring. I feel like I’m running on empty…and by my own power and can’t go much further.

I do believe that this will necessitate me trusting God…even when it doesn’t feel safe and when I don’t want to. So does that bring me back to my first point?

“We can never fully know God’s power in our lives until we are at our weakest.

Hum…well…I’m there. Today I feel as though I’m at my weakest…and need a miracle. I don’t only want to know rest, peace and the fullness of love when I get to heaven. I want to know it down here…this side of heaven. I want to give to people…out of the fullness and abundance of my heart…not only from a heart that is running on empty.

Reflections on Worship

Just think…we won’t need to glance at lyrics printed in a hymnal, nor shown on a screen in heaven. They will be in our hearts and on our lips. Even better…we’ll be in harmony. There will be no disagreement on what praise and worship music we sing. Everyday in heaven…will be a day in which we want to…desire to give praise and worship to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. We won’t be distracted by the events of the day. People will understand, appreciate, agree and join in with our worship…not look at us like we are crazy. Our hands will be lifted high or held in prayerful thanksgiving. We will not be self conscious on our style or what we are doing.

Not a Clue

After last night’s Bible study…I came away thinking that I don’t have clue what true worship of God is. Nor what it will be like when I join all the saints in heaven worshiping, along with the angels and four living creatures who surround the throne of God. As we fall out before the throne…our voices joined in one accord, loudly singing praises to our Father and the Lamb of God who stands before the throne.

Each week it is my privilege to attend Kindred’s midweek Bible study as Elder Dave Dunn teaches the book of Revelation. Sometimes this book can be very intimidating to study because it’s hard to know what is symbolic and what will actually be happening in heaven and earth during that time. A time in our future…everyone’s future…both believer and unbeliever. But Dave has a way of making it understandable…but in no way does he remove the mystery nor diminish the majesty and marvelous work of our Lord.

Each week…it seems as if God impresses upon me a certain verse or passage. Last night…the verses were Revelation 7:11-12


“All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God saying:

Amen!

Praise and glory,

And wisdom and thanks and honor

And power and strength

Be to our God for ever and ever.

Amen!”

My eyes were glued to the words fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God”. Fell down and worshiped…worshiped God.

As Dave further explained this passage my mind could hardly wrap around the picture of what this will be like.

Worship…do I really worship God?

I love praise and worship during our church service…and singing worship music any old time. There are times when I could get lost in it. Times when I almost feel the touch of heaven…and have glimpsed of the majesty of God…just a glimpse.

I remind myself that when Moses simply saw the afterglow of the trail of God…he glowed himself for a time. So much so that he had to veil himself when he returned to the Jews after coming down from the mountaintop.

Saul on the road to Damascus fell to the ground when he heard the voice of Jesus…whom he would soon learn was the long awaited Messiah. Saul…who went from rejecting Jesus and persecuting His followers to being the most influential evangelist the world has ever known. The one we now know as Paul.

John…when he saw Jesus in heaven…he fell at His feet as if he was a dead man. John knew Jesus in His earthly carnation. But when he encountered Him in heaven…the risen and ascended Savior…John fell down as if dead. There was no question…he was now before God. Jesus Christ…the Lamb of God…who is worthy of our praise, glory, honor and worship.

When I encounter someone or something good and praiseworthy…I find myself excited and eager to share the “good news”. I can hardly contain myself…and want to tell everyone I know. Now take that feeling and multiple that times infinity and that may give me a glimpse of what it will feel like in heaven to worship Lord Jesus. We will not be able to contain our worship and praise. We will have un-abandoned worship and will not be concerned what those around us think. Our focus will solely be on God.

Part of our worship of Jesus will be for what He’s done in saving us. Forgiving us for our sins and redeeming us from the pit of hell. But more than that…much more than that will be the worship of our Heavenly Father and the Holy Lamb of God…Jesus Christ. Worship and praise for who He is…and what He is.

What could possibly inspire all the saints in heaven, the angels…and the creatures to fall before Him in praise and worship? Well…it is that which makes Him God…those characteristic which elicited endless praise.

“Amen!

Praise and glory

And wisdom and thanks and honor

And power and strength

Be to our God for ever and ever.

Amen!”

Even if Jesus hadn’t saved us…He is still worthy of our praise. Even hadn’t sacrificed Himself upon the cross redeeming us from our sins…He is still worthy of praise.

Even those who reject him now and go to their grave without receiving Him as their Lord and Savior…will one day bow their knee and confess Jesus as Lord. Only then…He will not be their Lord…nor will He be their Savior. They will have chosen to pay the penalty for their own sins…eternal separation from God.

Is part of what makes hell, hell…the fact that it is separated from God? Separated from anything good?

Dave went on to briefly expand upon each of the aspects of God that are praised in the heavenly worship.

Amen…it is so!

Praise…to admire and commend, to pay tribute to and acclaim. – Psalm 71:8

Glory…beautify and magnify, wonder and grandeur. – Psalm 108:5

Wisdom…to judge correctly, to apply knowledge with understanding. – 1 John 3:20

Thanks…appreciation and gratefulness, an attitude of gratitude. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Honor…Respect and splendor, to hold in high esteem. Psalm 145:5

Power…might and authority, an unfathomable reserve. – Psalm 66:1-3

Strength…the exhibition of potency, the ability to exercise might. – Isaiah 40:28-31

Amen…so be it!

How might I live a life of praise and worship of God…even here, even now today? Everyday?

How irresistible would I prove my Savior to be if I walked in the joy of the Lord…and continually praised Him? In the good times and bad…because my praise is about Who He is…not what He does for me or has given me.

To think that I get the added bonus…something I did not deserve…the additional thing to praise Jesus for…salvation. Salvation for one who is so unworthy. But I need not fear…for He is worthy…and has cleansed me from my sin and clothed me in His righteousness. I need not worry if I am acceptable…because I am accepted in the Beloved.

Do I treat Jesus as my Beloved? If not, why not? If not, when?

Time is a wasting…and if I am able to keep my focus on God…and be used by God to witness to only one lost soul…isn’t that worth it?

Just think of the people we will meet in heaven…who influenced us and encouraged us in our faith. Will I try to do that for others?

Who will be in hell that I was given an opportunity to influence for Christ…but failed to? Failed because I was more interested in me and my interests and pursuits than in their eternal salvation?

Jesus tells us that one day every tear will be wiped away from our eyes. But for a time…when we are in heaven we will be keenly aware of what is happening on earth…and our own failures. Tears will be shed in heaven for a time. May I try to live a life here and now that will not bring tears of sorrow.

Imagine if we could live a life of no regrets? Of doing our best…doing what is right…but trusting God and leaving the results up to Him?

Instead of imagining like John Lennon…I should imagine like the Apostle John…one who actually was there. Not just imagine but know that there is a heaven and there is a hell. That there is peace in Jesus Christ alone. That instead of religion…I have a relationship with God. Know that we are one in Christ…called from every people, tribe, nation and tongue.

We have been called to share that vision of heaven. Called to share the truth with those who have been deceived by the enemy. Share with those who believe a lie. Believe that there is no God…or who following a god of their own making. They may believe there is no heaven…but they will soon know the eternal reality of hell.

Instead of merely hoping that one day the unbeliever will one day join us in heaven…what will I do share the message that salvation and heaven is found in Christ Jesus alone?

God does not want the enemy to deceive one more person into hell. But the enemy does…and will continue to work “like the devil” to take as many people with him into the fiery eternal reality of hell.

It would be bad enough if when an unbeliever died their souls would just be extinguished. But that’s not the case…they continue to exist. It’s just a question of where. In the case of unbelievers…they will exist in hell.


How can I justify withholding the message of the Gospel? We’ve been equipped with the Gospel message, the Word of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit. What am I doing with that that message today?