A Robber…

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tried to break in today where I was.  You cannot really see this thief but he is very real and very there…if I allow him to be.  Satan is a steal er.  He only wants to destroy.  “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy…” – Jesus (John 10:10a)

 

My right hip was having issues from working too many hours and walking too many stairs and moving too many heavy objects.  The news broke about the terrorist attack in Brussels, Belgium where our son and his wife and their son lived for five years.  My friend who is moving to Texas is spending one of his last night’s here in O’Fallon with Ron and I tonight.  Another friend is having big issues with her spouse’s too-early Alzheimer’s heartache.  Another friend found out today and called – she has breast cancer.

 

Today I was cleaning and purging and packing yet another day.  I received all this news as in the background I was playing a Fernando Ortega CD.  I heard one song that touched my heart.  I sat down with cleaning rag in hand and bowed my head for another listen to “Jesus, King of Angels”.  I needed Jesus in that very moment so my intruder-robber-enemy would not get what he had come for.  My peace.

“Jesus King of angels heaven’s light

shine Your face upon this house tonight

Let no evil come into my dreams

Light of heaven keep me in Your peace

Remind me how You made dark spirits flee

And spoke Your power to the raging sea

And spoke Your mercy to a sinful man

Remind me Jesus this is what I am

 

The universe is vast beyond the stars

But You are mindful when the sparrow falls

And mindful of the anxious thoughts

That find me, surround me and bind me

 

Jesus King of angels heaven’s light

Hold my hand and keep me through this night”

 

“…My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” – Jesus  (John 10:10b)

Blessings,

Phyllis Dickinson

 

 

No Good Thing?!?!

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“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael.  “Can anything good come from there?”

(John 1:46)

 

Our expectations.  Reality.  Sometimes they just don’t match up.  We have all been disappointed before and perhaps that is what makes us think and say regrettable things.  Our view?  Finite.  God’s view?  Infinite.

 

The ‘original’ disciples were no different than us.  Nathaneal knew the small town. Perhaps nothing spectacular ever happened there before.  Why should it be any different now?

 

Except for one thing, that might all have been true.  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world came from Nazareth and was walking in the same vicinity as Nathanael.  Peter, Andrew and Philip declared that they had found “The Messiah”.  And they were very charged about it.

 

Here’s what they told Nathanael after he asked his famous Nazareth-question:  “Just come and see for yourself.”

 

Just because nothing good has come from your town, or family line, or your circumstances before, here is the Truth of God’s Word:  “Fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing.  The lions may grow weak and hungry but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Psalm 34:9 & 10

 

It seems to me that anything good, everything good; everything we have ever longed for; all and any aspirations of our hearts; anything you can think of; – it’s all wrapped up in the ONE from Nazareth!  GO SEE FOR YOURSELF!

Blessings,

Phyllis Dickinson

Timeless Timer…

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George Vineyard pulled me aside at church this past Sunday.  He said, “Remember when we talked about your group praying for my house to sell?”  I had previously told him that among all our prayers these many years, we have prayed for lots of houses to sell -and they all sold.  We would be praying for his house to sell.  He and his family moved to the Metro East Area from Carbondale, Il.  They wanted their house in southern Illinois to sell.  That initial conversation was over two years ago.

 

He continued talking, “Well, ours (the prayer for sale of house) was one of the failures.  It took two and a half years!”  “Tell me about it,” I said.  He proceeded to tell me how much they had loved their last home and prayed that it might be purchased by someone who loved it as much as they had.  He also said that they wanted the sale to be such that the new owner would be helped somehow by the house purchase.

 

The short of the story is this:  they are now selling their home to a person who LOVES their former home.  And…since this new owner is now divorced he gets part time custody of the children who were used to having a pool.  The Vineyards house has a pool in the backyard.  As we spoke, it dawned on George, “Hey, I guess God did answer my two prayers.  It took two and a half years for everything to line up.  The new owner loves the house and is encouraged that there is a pool for his children.”

 

I ended the conversation by saying “Your house selling?  It is totally a success story!!!

 

“This is My doing.”  -God in I Kings 12:24

 

We all need to review the sovereignty of God and His Timing.

Blessings,

Phyllis Dickinson

Home…

 

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Well, where is home exactly?  Right now I am living in the land ‘in-between’ houses.  We currently live in a parsonage that we have fixed up and enjoyed for a decade.  Every nook and cranny has had a touch of our style.  We enjoy home for it is a shelter from the outside frenzy of the world.  We feel comfortable and safe inside the walls of our home.

 

Now that we have decided to retire, we bought a house in another town.  We have met with numerous work-related people who are helping us to make our own imprint on this house which we will move into in a few months.  We ourselves have spent hours and hours painting and purging, packing and purchasing – all the jobs that come with a move.  The empty spaces echo and the mess from work people makes it feel uneasy.  Unhomey.  But the more I subtract from our current house, the less it ‘feels’ like ‘home’.  And conversely, the more I bring to our next house, the more it is beginning to feel like ‘home’.

 

In the long run, it is not about the house or the ‘stuff’ in the house.  It is about the sense of security, safety, comfort, and shelter.  And these are not found in any building.  “In Him, we live and move and have our being.”   Acts 17:28

 

I would do well to remember my security is in God.   In this world.  And in my future HOME in heaven.

Blessings,

Phyllis Dickinson

 

Hey Brother…Hey Sister

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I was listening to Avicii song “Hey Brother” and I started thinking about how we are all brothers and sisters. That we are all connected, that when a great tragedy happens, we are all impacted. As I travel in this existence I attempt to help my brothers and sisters out. What if you saw everyone in the world as someone you loved and cared about. That we realized everyone wants to connect in some way and sometimes its the lack of connection that creates misery.

The other day my wife and I ate at a restaurant and an older couple came in. The lady was attempting to get out of her wheel chair, but the step on her wheelchair was in the way. I got up and simply moved the step and assisted her. I started to help her off with her coat but someone else said they had it. That simple gesture got me thanked a few times. Even when we were leaving they said thank you and etc. Never neglect those simple actions.

Which had me thinking how sometimes we have allowed life to teach us the wrong lessons. Which is why I love children for the way they teach us to love. They teach us so much about love and trust. I’ve had children come up and hug my leg. They offer smiles, waves, and giggles for no other reason than to return a kindness. They speak to the heart of our nature. Yes sometimes selfish, but capable of kindness, love, and sharing. Children are always learning and exploring with a sense of wonderment. I still love to learn, explore, and approach things with a sense of wonderment. I guess a part of me never really grew up.

Another lesson from children, toddlers will play with any other child and I’ve even watched them attempt to help another stop crying and show great concern when they see another crying or in pain. When did we start to lose some of that trait? When did we start turning a blind eye to things like poverty and various other suffering? Why is it that the crying has to be loud enough for us to hear like a big tragedy to open our eyes to our brothers and sisters?

Studies show we close them again weeks after. Organizations that help others have a short window after a tragedy to attempt to get resources from volunteers and donations before our eyes turn else where. Thanksgiving and Christmas season we are great at giving to food pantries and helping those in need, but the new year rolls around and by summer those hands are still outstretched yet the shelves are bare. Why?

Matthew 25:31-46 talks about helping the least of us. It speaks of helping our brothers and sisters. In verse 40 he even lets us know that we are all connected through him “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Though he goes further to tell us what our neglect leads to in verses 45 and 46. “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The righteous weren’t those that led perfect lives, showed how much better they were than others, drove fancy cars, or etc. They were the ones that helped the least of our brothers and sisters. They were the ones that offered a hand to the one outstretched. They helped lift up their brothers and sisters instead of turning a blind eye. I don’t think that those verses meant only in great tragedy or special times of year but to always help the least of our brothers and sisters when we can.

I’ve found many things in the Bible, especially from Christ, have an interesting twist. They are designed to not only help others, but to help us. Science demonstrates that helping others helps us deal with our own stress, mourning, and hurts. In one case there were 50 studies headed by Stephen G. Post, PhD that studied the effects of altruism, benevolence, compassion, generosity, and kindness. Post says “There are ample studies showing that when people receive generosity and compassion, there is a positive effect on their health and well-being,”

Helping others helps us. It helps reduce disease, helps improve mood, and elevates stress for all those involved. The twist that lies in many of Christ’s lessons are not only for the benefit of others but our own soul and well being. Christ died and rose again to save us from sin, he also left a legacy before that moment, lessons on how to follow him and accept him. The core of those lessons is helping the least of our brothers and sisters without judgement or grand standing, but to truly heal another soul.

This Easter while we celebrate the sacrifice Christ made for us, go out and share his great love with others in your actions. Share love, kindness, a smile, and help those with an outstretched hand.

Happy Easter.

With kindness,
Tyrone Castle

 

Stephen Ministry

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Are you hurting or do you have a friend who is hurting from one of life’s challenges, such as, divorce, death of a loved one, poor health, unemployment or family problems? Some times we just need someone to talk to about our problems and concerns. If so, please consider a fabulous resource we have at OFFUMC called Stephen Ministry. You can request a Stephen Minister or suggest it to a friend at any time.

 

Stephen Ministry a one-on-one lay caring ministry that takes place within congregations that use the STEPHEN SERIES system. Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers- called Stephen Ministers- to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ- centered care to people who are hurting and going through tough times for a variety of reasons.

 

We at O’Fallon First United Methodist Church have been blessed to have a group of caring men and women who have received specialized training to meet with their special care receiver confidentially, usually in the care-receivers home or other mutually agreed upon quiet location, once a week for an hour.

 

Care receivers are people (congregation members and others in the community) who receive care from a Stephen Minster. These are people struggling through a difficult time in life, experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or some other life crisis.

 

It is very important to note that the relationship between a care-receiver and the Stephen Minister is confidential. Men are matched with men; women with women.

 

A person can request a Stephen Minister by contacting our church office, one of the pastors or asking a friend to make the connection. Or, you can call Mike Mobley at (618) 418-2325, email him at mobley4@gmail.com, or reach Margaret Finley at (314) 640-7040, email her at finofc1706@sbcglobal.net.

 

Jesus said: “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”. (Galatians 6:2)

No longer wander in the darkness.

darkness

We have all looked out windows in the predawn or post sunset times and seen darkness – well, at least we have not seen light.  Darkness.  Can you imagine stumbling around to find one’s way in utter darkness?  We need lights to see. Yard lights, flashlights, headlights, or other illumination devices all help us to find our way when we cannot see our way otherwise.

 

God cares about our being able to overcome darkness.  He gave us light.  “I form the light and make the dark.”  (Isaiah 45:7)  “When God began creating the heavens and the earth, the earth was a shapeless, chaotic mass, with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors.  Then God said, “Let there be light.”  And light appeared.  And God was pleased with it, and divided the light from the darkness.  He called the light “daytime,” and the darkness “nighttime.”  (Genesis 1)

 

Do you live in a chaotic emotional, spiritual, physical, financial, and/or relational mess?  Please remember this at this Lenten Season:  “I have come as a Light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer wander in the darkness.”  John 12:46

 

Jesus was resurrected.  He arose to victory so that we might have victory over sin, and death and hell.  Things that are the darkest.  He brought us resurrection LIGHT and LIFE.  Maybe it is your moment to recognize that His Light can overcome any darkness you may be in.

 

Happy Easter,

Ron and Phyllis