When the Flock fails the Shepherd

[Note: October is Pastor Appreciation Month. This is a blog post published on my previous blog in 2008]

How to Make your Pastor Feel Unappreciated:

(1) If you want your pastor to feel unappreciated, be sure to be a irregular attender. Why would you want to come and be taught about GOD from a man ordained by GOD to lead your church?

(2) To make your pastor feel unappreciated, be sure to complain about everything that your pastor does and does not do. Be sure to complain to everyone you know, and complain in very public places. Complaining will be sure to ruin his influence and his reputation.

(3) To make your pastor’s job harder, be sure to take every little problem to him. Don’t try to figure out stuff for yourself, or go to one of your church’s elders/deacons. Your pastor has the time and the energy to spend on your every tiny concern.

(4) To make your pastor’s job difficult, be sure to also complain about his wife, children, and any other family members. Your pastor should be able to control every little thing that their family does or does not do.

(5) Make Your Pastor miserable by expecting Perfection from him. He’s a pastor, which means he should be super holy and perfect. Any flaw is obvious evidence that he isn’t a good pastor.

(6) Don’t support your pastor. Don’t pay him enough. Don’t offer to help him with church related and unrelated things. Don’t pray for him and his family. Don’t befriend him. Don’t have a pastor appreciation service. Most importantly, don’t ever say thank you to him. That way your pastor will always stay humble.

Advertisements

Share and Save: Saving The Shots

Fire. Flood. Moving. Divorce. Death. Age.

There are a lot of reasons that a photograph may become destroyed. Sadly, many priceless and irreplaceable memories are lost simply due to human failure: failure to share and to save.

SAVE YOUR PHOTOS: Old Stuff

September is save your photos months (source: http://www.saveyourphotos.org/).

First, let’s look at the age of analog. Non-digital photos.

Somehow over the last 10 years, I became the unoffical currator of family photos. When a family member passes away or an old family photo is found, some how it comes to live with me.

The first thing I do is Scan it and back it up digitally. Older photos printed on non-acid free paper can fade, and even become easily damaged. Scanning the photos allows me to have a digital copy of a photo that may, in another 10 years, be gone.

The second thing I do is to identify and document who the photo is of and what I can find out about the photo. I cannot adequately express how priceless this information can someday be… so I’ll share the example:

grandpa joe

This is a family photo. Now, if I handed this to my brothers (who are 12 and 18 years my younger), would they know who is in this photo or why it might be significant? Probably not. Unless, they saw my documentation of the photo:

The toddler in the bicycle basket is my dad, born 1957. Standing directly behind him is my Great-Grandfather Joseph Mills, who died September 14, 1966.

Without such facts being written down, it is likely this knowledge would disappear within a generation of myself.

Take the time to ask family members to allow you to scan and save old photos. Scan them all, even if you are not sure that it is a good photo of the person or if it doesn’t seem significant. You may never know if it may be one of the few photos of that person that may exist.

Case in point: My Paternal grandmother had a little sister that died around the age of 8. Until just a few years ago, it was thought that there was only one photo of the sister that existed. Until, a distant cousin passed away leaving me a small box of photos. Among those, was one photo that left me speechless.. a slightly blurry photo of my great-aunt taken just weeks before she tragically died. I scanned the photo, and took a copy to my grandmother. Even my grandmother had never seen the photo, and stated that before that time only one photo was known to have existed of her precious sister.

Save Your Photos: New Stuff

Over the last ten years, we have certainly seen an influx of digital photography. We are in a society that we are often snapping photos with our cellular devices and taking hundreds of photos with a digital camera.

But what then?

About 5 years ago, I dove into the world of pocket scrapbooking. I’ve always been a memory keeper, clipping articles and saving things. In my pocket scrapbooking, though, I began to see just how rarely I shared what I took. 

So, I began to do a few things:

  • Weekly, I sort through my photos to weed out duplicates and bad photos
  • Monthly, I back up my cell phone photos onto my computer
  • Quarterly, I back up my digital files onto my external drive
  • Twice a year, I burn my photos onto two sets of cds..one for at home and the other for the safety deposit

Let me add one additional thing..

SHARE 

SHARE the photos you take with family and friends. Send them in texts, post them online, print them and mail them to a loved one.

Why?

Because some times, it may be the last picture.

A few years ago, I ran into a friend of my dad’s while I was traveling. We talked and before I left, I snapped a quick selfie. I messaged it to my dad’s friend and to my dad.

Six months later, I attended their funeral. The picture I took of the two of us was one of the last pictures taken before their sudden illness. 

 

September Reflections

Events:

  • Old Fashion Days, Williamsburg
  • Visited Cherokee Dam
  • Celebrated my 3 yr work anniversary
  • Sorghum Festival, West Liberty
  • Visited the Harrisburg covered bridge

What I’ve learned from God/about God:

  • Focus on who God has placed in your field
  • Forgiveness requires the want to heal; healing comes through and by Christ
  • Obeying isn’t equal to submission

What I have learned about me:

  • That I cannot continue to hide my talents God has given me. Though they are not much, I must faithfully use them in service to Christ
  • I cannot be afraid to stand up for what I believe in. I had sonething at work this month that I needed to take a stand against, and it was scary. But I did it. 
  • I am getting stronger, day by day, by the Grace of GOD

What I’m praying over/working on:

  • Getting to know those in my small group Ladies class
  • *for a vehicle*
  • Boldness to sing in church again soon
  • Publishing already written posts about hard things
  • For a greater healing in my heart from Christ

Furbaby Friday: Si

Si is unlike any other yorkie I’ve ever encountered. He loves unconditionally, but protects his hooman (my best friend Sandy) with diligence. 

Recently, I got to spend most of the day with Si at a local festival. I was awed at how well he handled the crowds. 

Si has also become the unofficial mascot for my youngest son’s sports teams. Don’t be surprised if you catch Si on the sidelines this fall. 

Grasp

Another share from my previous blog

I love watching a young child learning how to walk. I love the way they wrap their tiny fingers around the large fingers of their parents. It would seem, at first, that the child has the tightest grip; but any parent knows that it is the parent who grips tighter, to keep their child safe.

In your grasp

What are you holding on to?

I’m not referring to the remote control or computer mouse in your hand, although they may have something to do with it.

What ideas, thoughts and memories do you carry around with you so tightly that they have begun to embed themselves into your skin?

Maybe it is the memory of a loved one. Perhaps it is the hateful last words that you spoke to a friend, on constant replay in your mind. Do worries and fears shadow your every thought?

In my grasp

I admit: I have a death-grip on my worries about money. I can barely remember a time in my life that the sickening fear of poverty has not been with me.

I have found, though, that my money fears have not made me richer. Worrying has not balanced my checkbook or wrote out a budget. Pacing floors has never put a single penny into my pocket. It does not matter how tightly I hold on to my money fears; the fears are not helping me get by.

Giving up our grasp

So, let go.

No, you won’t fall. No, the world will not discontinue its’ revolving.

Like the wee child holding onto his parent, we will not fall when we let go of our grasp. We have a wise Father that holds onto us.

“My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.”
~ John 10:29

If we have surrendered our lives to The LORD JESUS CHRIST, then we are in HIS grasp.

If you have not surrendered your life to The LORD JESUS CHRIST, then what is stopping you?? What good has the things you are clinging so tightly to really doing?

Smug to Sin

Posted on my original blog in 2008

Smug


Many of us who have surrendered themselves to the LORDship and salavation of the LORD JESUS Christ have become smug/complacent to our sins. We (I include myself here) have become too comfortable in the fact that we have an eternal, incorruptable salvation. Because of this comfortableness/smugness, we don’t tend to deal with our sins as we should, or we treat them as normalacies.  The Smugness MUST end.

Why is this a big issue?

As Followers of CHRIST JESUS, we are servants to a HOLY and Righteous GOD (Leviticus 20:26). We must serve HIM with clean hearts (Psalm 24:4). Because we know from the Word of GOD that HE is a HOLY GOD, HE cannot be in the midst of filth. Do we desire to be close to the LORD or to be separated from HIS presence in our lives because of the iniquities of our sins?

Just a little …

Why is it of importance to deal with the little sins in our lives? We know that everyone sins, and that living a sinless life is impossible. Although these statements are true, they do not take into account the effects of sin. Sin is like yeast. In Galations 5:9, we are told that just a tiny amount of leaven effects the whole loaf. “That makes sense,” you may think, “But what does that have to do with sin?”. The Jews of JESUS’ time would have understood the seriousness of this statement. In preperation for the feast of Unleavened Bread, they were to throw out all yeast (called leaven in the KJV translation) (See Exodus 12:15). If just a tiny bit was left lying around or somehow got into their dough, any bread backed during that time would show this. Sin, in likeness, shows up in our lives. We can try to cover it, disguise it or ignore it, but the results of the sin show up. The longer the sin festers, like yeast proofing, the more it will permiate your life.

Don’t Be Fooled

Don’t fool yourself. It may seem that your tiny sins have no effect on your life (and they do). It may seem okay to brush off tiny wrongs (and it’s not). GOD’s WORD is true and will always be true: “..be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23b)

Why Blog?

It isn’t what most people would choose for themselves. Most little girls would rather have been born with a passion for dancing, or even horseback riding. I.. was born it seems with a love for writing.

I was 9 years old when I had my first poem published in a school newspaper. In those days, my writing was about the simplicity of life and about my dreams.

By the age of 11, I began to journal nearly daily. How I wish I had some of those journals from back then. Still yet today, I journal- but not on a daily basis.

2002: My Blog Dawning

2002 was one of the most difficult years of my life. In depression, I did the only thing I knew that could potentially help- I wrote.

I started blogging anonymously at non- WordPress site. Mostly, my posts were about the pain I was trying to process and a bit of my creative writing from time to time. I wrote nearly daily in a letter style to myself. Before I closed the blog down, I printed many of my entries and put them into a notebook.

2008: Blogging, round two

In 2008, I began my first WordPress Blog. It was a way for me to try to digest in writing some of the questions about faith that I was experiencing.

2011: And Now

In 2011, I launched simplyspokn. At the time, I had just left the world of journalism and missed writing about life here in rural Appalachia and also about my own journey and struggle with Faith.

It has been push and pull up until recently. I wanted to write consistently when I first launched over 6 years ago, but lacked the dedication and planning that daily posting requires. I also have taken breaks to try to focus on mere survival, as the last six years have been anything but quiet.

So, there goes. That is why I started blogging.

How about you? Why did you start blogging?

I wish I knew, but didn’t: Lessons Learned, Part 2

IMG_9962

We first met in 1993. We would lose touch until 1997, and then stay in touch on and off until 2009. We would only date for a few months before we would get married in a private ceremony on October 8, 2011. We would divorce in 2014.

Lesson 1: Being a friend is different than being a Spouse

He & I were wonderful friends. He got my nerdiness, and I got him awkwardness. But we were TERRIBLE at being married.

We would not force- and never should have tried to force- a friendship to be a marriage.

Lesson 2: Make time to Spend time

We were so rarely together, in each other’s presence. There would be weeks when we would rarely see one another for more than 8 hours.

For a marriage to grow, it must be tended like a garden. You must spend time in it.

Lesson 4: CHRIST must be central & HE must be involved

We were married less than a year after my true Christian conversion. But I confess.. we did not make our relationship with Christ central in our marriage nor did we pray together as much as we should have.

Lesson 5: Make Marriage a Priority

This was our biggest issue, and ultimately one of the main reasons our marriage did not survive.

As a Christian, my first and main focus should be Christ and my relationship with Him. In my second marriage, I did not pursue GOD as I should have. I did not pray daily. I did not make time to be in GOD’s Word daily. Those were big mistakes, and I regret them much,

Being in a marriage also means, though, that you make your spouse a priority. We live in a world that does sometimes require both the husband and wife to work. Please hear my heart when I say: don’t be more married to your job than you are your spouse. Don’t be more married to your birth family or friends or hobbies than you are your spouse. Your spouse needs to know that you are there for them, that they matter, and making the marriage work must always be something to be sought after.

 

 

Briar specialist

Another piece from my previous blog.

I am a briar aficionado. If it grows in the Appalachian mountains, I have probably squirmed, pulled and fought my way through whatever species of briar it is. With trial and scars, a young Appalachian learns to quickly unsnag themselves.

There is the exception of saw briar – there is no quick methodology of escape from them. 

Saw briar, thick in mass. Curl their tiny talon-like teeth into skin. Fighting their pull deepens their bite, shredding away your skin as you pull. Slow, meticulous care to gently ease out each and every spur is often the only means of escape.

Life’s thickets are full of briar and among them are saw briars, too. The briars in my life go by the better known alias of Brutal Honesty.

I like honest people. Being betrayed and whipped by the dishonesty of others is sonething of a rare hobby for most. Honesty is refreshing. Honesty heals. The old adage tells us ‘ The truth shall set you free.’ It is even more so true of Brutal Honesty. 

Brutal Honesty is yielded by wise and caring individuals, while other times abused by selfish people. 

The precise coil of the caring individuals words will curl the talons of truth deep into the victim’s heart but the shipmates will do so with earnest love for the victim. As the victim seeks to deal with the laceration, the whipmaster will annoint the wound with oils of loving words and encouragement. 

As I continue to pursue my education in briars, I have found the briars of honesty my bitter-sweet teacher. I am thankful for the wise and caring whipmasters in my life that gave coiled words of truth around me. I am thankful for the brambles, even though they hurt. Brutal Honesty,  like saw briars, will hurt as it instructs you. I have learned from the saw briars a means of escape; I long to learn from the brutal honesty how best to heed it and apply it to my life.