Thursday, November 23, 2006

 

A Special Thanksgiving.

First, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope yours was as good as mine.

I had a unique experience last night. I slept on the floor of our church, right in front of the alter....Let me explain.

You see every year our church has a thanksgiving dinner for our members and friends and their friends.
This started a few years ago when it occurred to me that many in our community have no real family to spend the holidays with. It can be a real "bummer" to spend a holiday alone.
First I invited friends to my house for a thanksgiving potluck dinner. I made the big items, turkey, dressing and gravy, etc and others brought a side item.
Then a few years ago, when our church rented a new bigger place to worship, we suddenly found ourselves with a real commercial kitchen with 4 ovens and a big stove.
So, we held a big dinner and invited lots of people.

Now after 2 years in our own building we are still continuing the tradition. I love to cook and everyone says I'm quite good. So, I cook the big items and everyone else brings sides.
Our new Church home has a bigger kitchen than my house so I cook my portion at church.
Last year I had to get up at 3 am and drive in 40 miles to cook dinner and have it ready on time.( after turning in at 11:30 pm.)
This year I thought that I would try a radical new approach. I decided to spend the night at church.

You see, it sounds simple and logical. Dan and I arrived at church about 10:30. After unloading and making sure that everything was set up we went to bed. I did not have to get up until 5:30 am to get it all ready on time.

Of course we have no sleeping quarters there, but no problem there is a couch in the social hall where Dan slept. I decided that I would try sleeping in the sanctuary. The pew cushions have fairly comfortable pads. I also joked to the pastor that it would not be the first time I have slept in a pew.

Actually, I put the cushions from 4 pews on the floor in the front of the church and made a bed 2 cushions wide and 2 high. It was really quite comfortable.

I turned out the lights and found that there was enough light coming in through the stained glass windows to make it easy to sleep, but I could still see objects fairly well.

As I laid there and looked up at the alter and the cross of my church home from a different perspective a strong feeling hit me.I needed to pray.

First I prayed I'm going to sleep with you tonight Lord. But I immediately realized that I sleep with Him every night. He is always there watching over me.

So, I tried again. I told Him that it was really an overpowering feeling to be there at the alter where I worship him weekly.
Yes, I worship him continually anyway. I talk to him lots of times every day and I thank him for the blessings he gives me constantly. I ask him for help and guidance and for him to bless others.
But this was different....I don't quite know how to explain it.

This time, here I was in our darkened church in front the alter that I love so much.

I felt my soul open up in such a powerful awareness of His presence. I talked to him for a long time.
I thanked him for the everlasting gift of His Grace.
I told him that I am in awe that he loves me in spite of all terrible things I have done in my past.
I told Him that I am so overwhelmed as I look back in retrospect to the dark first 40 years of my life when I denied His existence and declared that I was an atheist.
He was there,loving me, guiding me and leading me to the period of my life since I gave myself to Him. He loved me even though I denied Him!

He equipped me so perfectly for the ministries of service to him that he has led me to now. I feel so unworthy of His love, and I am based only on my own actions, but because He gave his life for me on the Cross I am indeed worthy of His love. His Grace is truly the greatest gift imaginable.

I thanked Him for allowing me to serve Him. I thanked Him for leading me to my church home where I am encouraged and equipped to find my own ministries. This is my real family in Christ. I thanked Him for allowing me to help others to find their own special place.

I told Him that serving Him is all I desire in my life.

This was indeed a thanksgiving that I will always remember.

This is not going to be the only time I spend the night at my Church with my Saviour.



May God Bless you as He has me. Deacon Harry

Thursday, November 09, 2006

 

Now I can Cheer

It was announced that Jim Webb won in Virginia. The Democrats now have controll of the senate. Now I can relax and feel better. We have started the process of taking our country back.

It will take years to undo the damage that Bush/Cheney and their rubber stamp legislature have done to our coutry.

We have shown the world that we can and will rectify our mistakes. Of course some hearings need to be held about the corruption in the adminstrative branch.
But now they can be held. I expect that they will be. If they aren't then I will be extremely supprised.

It would not be at all supprising if impeachment were not a possibility. The "Decider" allowed and encouraged the events and policies of the government to happen. Ultimately he is responsible. He should be held accountable.

God Bless America!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

 

I'M ON A HIGH! (almost)

After the election yesterday I am really on a "high". It looks as if my country, the America I love at least has a chance of coming back.

The Republicans have lost controll of the house and probably the senate. Rumsfield is out. Everything looks much better than it has for years.

So why am I still aprehensive? I should be elated. Well, do you remember the election in Florida so many years ago when the Republicans stole the election?
Do you really believe that the outcome there was totally honest? If you believe that then I have a bridge to sell you.
I hate to sound so cynical, but some people named Bush made me feel that way, along with a man named Cheney

Was it really just a coincidence that when the election was lost the republicans had a recount that streched on forever as we heard about stciking chads? And of course this was in the state governed by the other little Bush child.

So this time there is a recount in Virginia, a state where the Republicans have always seemed so strong. This recount will determine if the Democrats controll the senate or if it will be a tie. Bear in mind that in case of a tie Cheney, as vice president will cast the deciding vote on any key bills.

So, now we will still wait as we wonder will it be Webb or Allen.

I am still worried. But on the other hand, if things go like they seem to we might actually take back the country.

We will still have Bush & Cheny in power for 2 more years, but they may be intresting years.

Accountability may return to government. The Congress may finally look into the contractor awards handed down in Iraq. How about the incredible profits taken by the petroleum industry? They definitely need to be investigated.

How about the grovernment spying on its citizens?
Every time I post anything critical of the Administration my hit counter reports a large spike in hits from "├╝nkown isp""unknown location"unknown , unknown, unknown.

It's really strange that my little blog would be noticed, but it happens. I can show you the results.

(Yes, people who think that you are anonimous on the web, I can tell a lot about you.) Not your name or adress,or any real personal information. but a lot. In fact, I think that this might be a good topic for a post sometime.
I hope I am not scaring you, its just the truth. Even though I may not know who you are I begin to recognize a lot of repeat visitors. I also appreciate every one of them. In a few cases when they are friends or family I can easily tell who they are.

Anyway, I digress, lets all celibtrate! Things are on an upswing.
By the way, did you know that a recent news service poll showed that most residents of third world countries consider George Bush to be a bigger threat to world peace than any of the leaders in the middle east.
It's about time that we changed that! God Bless America! Deacon Harry

Saturday, November 04, 2006

 

A full tank and a new fire

I have been very down lately, and the 3rd anniversary of our service as a deacon is due on Nov. 16.

A few weeks ago our pastor gave out forms to answer and send back to him. The biggest question on the form was did we wish to continue as deacons.
I did not send mine back and was unsure if I wanted to continue.

My job and my home situation were taking a lot out of me. My income had dropped so much in the previous year that I was unable to pay all my bills.
I went into severe depression because of not paying the bills and I have quit paying one for ever. It was a credit card which I had many years ago with a company which had a clearance house that was was not crediting payments on time. They were found out and it was all over nationwide TV. However no restitution was ever made to those who were charged major late charges repeatedly and ended up owing thousands in piled up invalid late charges.
I knew that I was going to be buying a new new home in the next few years and did not wish to damage my credit rating. As a compromise I went through a debt consolidation agency and paid lower payments for almost 10 years. That is the bill I quit paying. I will have no credit now.
This year my employer has cut out all overtime, taken away my company car and done a few other tricks which have resulted in about a 10k loss of income.
I am almost 62 and several companies that wanted me when I was 59 are no longer interested. I have sent my resume around to a lot of companies and no one is interested in an employee with 25 years experience who is still one of the very best there is at what I do.
I have become very bitter about it, but I cannot afford to quit because I still have bills and am the major income in our household. Dan is on disability and cannot hold a job. I had to start taking my heart medications only every other day because I could not afford to pay the renewals all at once.

On top of this Dan is suffering from major depression so when I come home from work the house is a major mess and he is in bed all the time. I am encouraging him to seek help and he may be beginning to make minor strides at improving.
I felt that I needed to make some changes in my life. What I really wanted to do at times was to get in my car and drive off into the sunset and not look back.
So, on top of the work and home situations I was losing interest in my duties as a deacon and in all the other things that used to keep me going full speed ahead.(This blog included)

When we received the letter I told God in prayer that my service as a deacon was in His hands. I would not officially quit until Nov 15. If He wanted me to stay He needed to help me.

After many tearful and long nights in prayer things have started to improve. Although I have not had a major increase in income, a change in upper management has resulted in a small raise. There are major changes in corporate structure looming due to a major corporate buy-out at work.

God, in his own special way, managed to get my best friend Rebecca involved in talking to me nightly. She is truly a blessing to me and to all who she meets.I started looking at what I was doing with my life and I had to admit that the things that made me truly happy were the things I did in His name.

Last weekend we went to a retreat in Dickinson TX called Excell. It is based on the Catholic Crusillo movement from Spain and teaches you how to live in unison with God, how to spread his word and his love and how to lead in your church.

The first time I attended about 4 years ago I had never even done a scripture reading in church because of shyness and lack of self confidence. 3 months later I spoke before a lay conference of over a hundred delegates from 9 states.

This time I have come back fired up again. I know what I want to do and what I must do.
I will serve God again with all my heart and soul.
That is what I really want to do with my life.
Today, four of us, all deacons from my church, spent the day in training to start work as volunteers for a hospice. We will visit and assist persons who are facing eminent death and their families as they face the most trying and difficult of all times.
We will each be assigned persons who really need us, when they pass on we will be assigned more. It will be hard to deal with at first, but the good we do will be worth the effort.

Don't forget the ministry we do to LBGT inpatient drug and alchol abuse and depression patients. ( See the post entitled The Encounter) There have been changes there. We have agreed to take on an extra week in service there each month.

I also run the sound at church, but I have given notice there. I will not run out, but I will try to find others to replace me and will train them befor I leave that job. I find that because I am busy with the sound I am not getting fed spiritually myself. I will still be available for special events or in an emergency. But I will be able to perform deacon type duties in church such as meeting the prayer needs of the congregation.

This is what I feel that God wants me to do and I know that it is what I want to do.

Thank you, Lord for the blessings and for the love and the gentle nudges you have given me to put me back on track to be able to meet the future in your service. Amen.

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