Saturday, May 26, 2012

Back to Basics & Graduation Day

"If you're scared that you don't matter, if you're lost and need to be found, if you're looking for a Savior, all you gotta do is turn around." Matt Maher

On April 1st I did what’s called “Council Time” in Sparks. Sparks are the Kindergarten through 2nd graders club in Awanas. My husband Bob and I work with these kids every Sunday night during the school year. They memorize Bible verses and play games, “Council Time” is at the end of the evening, when a leader, we usually rotate, shares a message with the kids.

After praying about it, I decided to give them a message on the basics, how to be saved, my testimony….etc. So I talked to them about the ABCs….

 A- ADMIT you are a sinner & ASK for forgiveness!

*Romans 3:23- “For all have sinned & fall short of the glory of God.”
*1 John 1:9- “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

 B- BELIEVE in Jesus as your Savior & BECOME a child of God by receiving Him!

*John 3:16- “For God so loved the world that He gave His one & only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
*John 1:12- “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

C- CONFESS that Jesus is Lord & CHOOSE to follow Him daily!

*Romans 10:9- “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
*Luke 9:23- [Jesus said,] “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

 Then I told them about how I became a Christian when I thought I already was one: I told them that when I was a kid my parents took the seven of us to church, so I always knew about God. We were Presbyterian. I thought I was a Christian, after all, I believed in God, I believed in Jesus, I went to church, I probably even asked Him in my heart! Then I asked these Kindergarteners, 1st & 2nd graders a rhetorical question- I asked, “What was missing?” -I in no way thought I’d get an answer! And more than that: the RIGHT answer! So Colby S., a first grader raised his hand and I don’t think anyone else did, so I called on him and he said, “Repentance” WOW, yes a first grader answered my theological question correctly!

What a day yesterday was! I started it out right: spent time with God, reading the Bible and praying but not as much time as usual, I will admit. Turns out Lydia didn’t go to her last day of school. But that morning she showed me this little disk that you could turn to show your mood, a “Mood-o-Meter”- I don’t know where she got this, but it sort of reminded me of the little faces you pick to put on you’re My Space….My Space!? What’s that? She handed it to me and it was on, “bored” and she said, “Now you put it on what you are”, “OK” I looked at it, it had, “stressed”- “No, I don’t want to be that!”, “tired”, “cranky”-“Definitely NOT”, “scared”- “No way!”, “sad”- “No” (How could I be sad? It’s graduation day?), “silly”- “Hmmmm NO better not”, and finally, “joyful”- “Yes! That’s it!” So I decided to be, “joyful”- not knowing what a challenge that was going to be! I said to Lydia, “Teddy’s coming! And remember we put the stuff from the basement in his room? Now we need to get it out. Where should we put it?” Lydia’s great at helping me clean up---and organizing things. Claire is the one who helps me cook. 11:30 am we were going to pick up Claire as she was supposed to be having a half-day. Well, I was getting the recyclables together and we left late, as we drove through Byron, heading to the high school I got a text message from Claire: “Where r u?” So I handed my phone to Lyd, like a good girl and said “Tell her we’re on our way.” We were heading out of Byron now and I spotted him (Peach County Sheriff), I slowed down, but it was too late. He said I was going 76- I said I was late to pick up my daughter at school and that my son was graduating that day. “Graduation Day” he said as he took my license back to his car. I thought I could still get just a warning, that he might be merciful, but thinking aloud I said, “76? He probably HAS to give me a ticket” and he did. Meanwhile I had Lydia text Claire again saying I got pulled over, her reply, “hahahaha” And I decided to be “joyful” today!?

Perhaps I should have said how much I appreciated the nice sheriff who came to our house the day before? We had to file a report on Ian’s stolen IPod which was issued to him by his Chemistry teacher- or pay for it (about $200.00) in order for him to get his diploma. The officer even said he’d fax it to the school in the morning….“Awesome” I thought, “That’s a load off my mind” I think we were both relieved that he didn’t even ask, “Do you know who took it?” Because although we both (Ian and I) think we know who took it, we did not want to implicate him. This is why Ian just told me about this missing IPod. I think Ian feels, as I do, heart-broken that a “friend” we both trusted would do this. Ian said to me a couple times, “I should have told you sooner”

Well, Lydia and I picked up Claire, took the recyclables and went to Baurbor Farms for some peach ice-cream. When we got home Ian came down to meet us- he said, “We need to find out if the Sheriff’s faxed the report to the school, Ms Clark said they’ll hold my diploma if they don’t have it- I tried to call you” I reached in my pocket for my phone, it had fallen out and was between the seat and center consol of my sequoia. Thinking that I’d rather not drive my gas guzzler out to Ft Valley again, I started making some calls….the person they connected me to at the high school…well, he was not very helpful. And since the memory of my ticket was fresh in my mind, I admit I was a little short with him, I simply said, “Well my son’s an honor graduate and this better all go well, that’s all I can say” and I hung up the phone. I got more information from the receptionist, like that their fax machine was broken- uh oh- I could have the sheriff’s fax the report to the Board of Education but it already was getting late. (It was about one o’ clock) Finally after talking with the PCHS receptionist again, I decided the safest thing to do-to be sure -would be to go back out there, get the report and take it to the high school. Ian was meeting his friends for lunch at “Olive Garden” and I didn’t want to make him do this and miss his pre-graduation lunch. As I walked out of my room Claire came out of hers, “where you going?” I asked. “No where” she replied. I said “I have to go back out to the school to bring them the sheriff’s report” She said, “I’ll go with you.” Hmmmmmm I wondered why, but didn’t even ask, “OK” I said. When I called the sheriff’s I asked them their location, “It’s the place they take you when you’re arrested” she replied. I paused and she said, “I’m not being ugly, just telling you where we are.” I was like, “I’m not familiar with it” I got the address, so when we got lost, I had Claire put it in the GPS. We finally found it and I said to Claire, “I hope I don’t see the officer who just gave me a ticket”….I did. But he didn’t say anything, I had changed clothes and he may not have recognized me, hopefully. Remember I AM JOYFUL TODAY!!!! I got the report, left and headed to the high school. Claire got out of the sequoia and said, “I have to go take my final” “OK” I thought “What’s up with that?” Something was going on that she didn’t want to talk about. On the way back home she said, “He told me to leave his class and never come back” So she thought she didn’t have to take the test. I said, “What’s your grade in that class?”, “98” Then I said, “Am I gona get a call from him?” She said, “No” I logged into my hotmail account that afternoon and I had an e-mail from him with "Claire" in the subject line, it was sent BEFORE I took her back to school. He wanted to tell me that Claire hadn't taken her final and that that would make her semester average of 99 drop to an 85.

Sarah offered to drive us out to graduation last night- Now that made me "joyful". We had to pick up Lydia who was at Brooke's end of school party. Teddy was on his way and Bob was too after stopping to get the grads some food to eat after their post graduation swim. So the girls would go with the girls and the boys with the boys- Ian had to be there early, so he went alone. In the car Claire said about her teacher, "I don't know why he hates me!" Sarah said, "Is this the teacher who you asked, 'Why does it say, 'gullible' on the ceiling?'?" Claire sheepishly replied, "Yeah" hahahaha But seriously folks what does all this have to do with repentance? Well I realized when I got the ticket, which would probably cost more than that stupid IPod, I should have truly repented the first time I got a speeding ticket! I should NOT have been speeding! As it turns out, I should not have even been driving out to the school at 11:30 am Claire should have stayed and repented of whatever she said to make her teacher not want her to come back to class. And what do I want from the person who took my son's stuff? Well, Ian would like all his stuff back but I would like to see this person repent and stop stealing stuff! And I think that is what God would like too.

                                          A "joyful" end to a long day!

I like what I read in "Daily Celebration" a devotional Book by the late William Barclay, "There comes a time when a man should stop explaining what is wrong with circumstances and what is wrong with other people, and should start asking, "What is wrong with me?" For self- examination would often be the best way to a change of what is called luck"

What's wrong with me? Among other things; I have a lead foot. I need to slow down!
Claire; I need to talk to her, again!? about her mouth.
The thief? "Let him who stole steal no longer" Ephesians 4:28
We all need to REPENT! How about you? Is there anything you need to turn from?

Phillip Parham says, “To repent is to change- literally, to turn around and change direction. Similarly, “convert” means to change from one way to another (in the same way that an electrical converters change AC current to DC current).” “Letting God”

 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10

Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Proverbs 1:23

Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7

For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2)

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Jesus (Mark 1:15)

 “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…” Jesus (Matthew 3:8 & Luke 3:8)

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Jesus Luke 5:32

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. I Corinthians 7:10

…the goodness of God leads you to repentance….Romans 2:4