God Pruning and Reading Scriptures correctly! #116 – APR


116 APR

God Pruning and Reading Scriptures correctly!
Big oops, pays to read your bible, I apparently had a whole scripture wrong… John 15….

For some reason I thought Jesus was saying that God (as in all parts together) was the vine… but Jesus was saying the He (Jesus) was the vine, His father (God) was the vine dresser, with strong but loving hands… I love that scripture, so how did I get it wrong? Geez….

I want to teach a youth group lesson with it, I thought instead of reading it, I would first re-listen to a great sermon about it… I even listened three times while I was writing it down, but not until the third time did I hear it right, oops… I must have heard it at least half a dozen times total lately, but I had it wrong in my head… ugh… And then I really had to look it up (I love my smartphone bible gateway)…yup…oh well, life is for learning, hmmm…. either way, the gist is the same… you need to cling to the vine, abide in the vine, and let your branch be pruned by God, to bear much fruit… this is only from being Jesus’ disciple….no wonder Jesus said if they have ears let then hear…still cleaning mine out, sorry about that Jesus…

I have been corrected a couple times today…. Mostly because my cup runneth over and so does my mouth… the first time today was at the bank… I was at the bank for a couple reasons…one to deposit checks and two to take a 10 minute power nap because I’m so exhausted from a trip, a busy blessed weekend, little sleep with this time change and now, I came down with a lovely cold… so, I rested my eyes listening to the vine service and woke up fifteen minutes later to the praises from the congregation… a praise of a car rolling over this woman’s daughter’s chest and no injuries…wow… The praise of the reduction of stage 4 cancer…wow… What a very powerful God we have! We should all listen to those stories!

SO the rest of the day I was taught to give into listening… the timing of God at the bank caused a woman to overhear my conversation about yoga, and ask me about it. I said I had a DVD in the car she could have, it was a copy…she was thrilled… So I was about to say that it was God’s timing but instead I spilled my hot tea on my hand…. So was that me being careless, yeah, but was that God saying shut your trap and listen to the lady first! Yeah was probably that too… I have learned it is so much more about others than about me… everything points to the fact that it is more important to listen than to talk… I guess I better start pruning my overflowing mouth… But I can still write! haha, God hasn’t pruned that (yet)… Please don’t prune that yet God, I still have so much to write… so so much to process…

The rest of the day fell into God’s timing, too, after the bank I ran into my writing friend who has studied the book of John in great detail, and I just listened to his vast knowledge. Then did building laps with my work brother who spoke of where to find spirituality and I just listened. Then two people having issues and I just listened… then the dentist where I had no choice but to listen with my mouth full of instruments.. and that’s all any of those people really needed today… a listener, not a talker…

SO, Jesus says “you did not choose me, I choose you”… choose me to listen, sometimes to talk.. but today, it was to listen… listen to the people and listen (really listen) to Jesus’ story…

Thanks for choosing and correcting me today, Jesus.

John 15 New International Version (NIV)

The Vine and the Branches
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

I am the Vine skit, APR05 – #114 (fyi see follow up at #116)



email about possible I am the Vine skit, APR05 (fyi see the follow up at #116)

Wow, my youth group leader just last night asked me to substitute this sunday for him, and I just was thinking that I should teach this idea of mine as the lesson…. “I am the true vine, you are the branches”…. teach the bible scripture, spell out the idea for the skit and have the kids make the fruit and figure out how to run thru the skit…. yup….
I had decided this JUST before I got an email from a dear friend – here is my email reply with the skit idea – and I thank them for being such great mover of the Holy Spirit!!! Here is the email:

“I am the true vine”, yup, God putting more and more fruit on my branch… thanks holy spirit…. such a fast worker…. I love hearing God chuckle when he tinkers… such timing… I am so blessed…

I just thought of this great interactive demonstration for the “I am the vine, you are the branches” scripture, while I was listening to the Genesis song “one for the vine”

A person could be holding on with one hand to a vine (make a sign that says God/Jesus) and they (as the branch) face out away from the vine. Ask them to hold their arm into their body and ask them to catch a soft piece of fruit (perhaps foam of cloth fake fruit)… they can’t catch it… then ask them to tech out their arm, and pick up some pieces of fruit and see how much that can bear… they probably can hold onto a few pieces… then someone could hand then a small basket, and they could probably hold about a dozen pieces… This represents how we bear fruit when we are connected to God, but not turned towards him but instead looking out, away…

Now, have the person turn towards the vine, so now they are facing God – or even have a person portraying Jesus take their hand. Ask them to hold their free arm close to their attached arm…start handing them fruit…start pulling it up and you will see they can bear more…they use their whole upper bodies… then get out a HUGE basket of fruit which they can support holding with their outstretched arms together while holding onto the vine… This represents the many fold more fruit that they can hold when they look towards God… you could even have a tub of soft fruit and pour it over them to see the basket fill up.

I can’t wait to try this sometime soon.  Take care and God bless

Good Friday Service, Apr3 – #111



Good Friday Service, Apr3
Well, if that wasn’t a spirit-led trip to a Good Friday Service, I don’t know what would be! I got lost coming home and I’m sitting in another God-led destination, a Veterans Cemetery, to write this, here, on Good Friday, with hundreds of gravestones… families stopping by with flowers… so sad what we’ve lost in death… oh but so blessed what we gained to live in America… by the lives of these soldiers… Just the image of the perfectly lined up gravestones – wow – powerful beyond words…

What was lost in Jesus’ death but oh, what we gained by that death and resurrection – wow – powerful beyond words…

It’s raining today, so not good for a cross walk in my own community, so I saw a good opportunity to hop up to a Good Friday service at another church, where my new faith penpal friend was preaching… Always wanted to meet him in person, so I thought “today is the day!”…

Wow, awesome doesn’t even describe it… read to the bottom of this piece and you will see why… Why I am so blessed? I have no clue… Why God tinkers with me? I don’t know… God’s got a plan though… this I know… and I know I’m just along for the ride….

Of course, his sermon was amazing as I expected, but I was more impressed with the amazing spirit running through the people there, they were hands up, young and old, praising in a feedback way with huge “Amens!”… thru the whole service, the music the liturgy, and I told him that I can see where he gets his Holy Spirit energy from… it’s from these people who really are absorbing it and bouncing it right back to him! Someone asked me if I was a visitor, but instead of saying “I don’t recognize you”, they said “Will you be joining us on Easter?” Now there, my friends, is a welcoming church. A nice way to welcome unknown people…

And the sermon, about the Power of the Cross  – that mirrored the love I saw, the love we should all spread each day…

“Receive forgiveness
Serve Inexplicably
Speak graciously
Forgive immediately
Reach out enthusiastically”

“The Power of the Cross is not to cleanse your sins, but to give you the power to LOVE…” – to love people who are different just like people who are the same as you.

No worries, I’m not leaving my church for this one, I love my church family, it’s where God put me for a reason… where God put me in leadership roles, did some awesome corrective action on me and said “Let’s Go!”. I do, however, see this as a challenge… for me to do everything in my power to get my church up and spirit-led like this church. If you build it, and fill it with spirit, they will come… just like in the movie.

But here’s the kicker for the day…. About whom is mentioned in this Pastor’s sermon…. Of COURSE, I expected a cool sermon from him, actually a HOT one, because if he isn’t a soul on fire I don’t know who is! I have been listening to a couple of his sermons from his church website, yeah he is super ON FIRE… filled with the Holy Spirit, moved by the Holy Spirit, and handing it out free of charge. He is a fellow alumnus from my small undergraduate institution – and I feel like a mother saying I’m so proud of him, but I am really, really proud of him. And he’s one of those people that God put in my path to help me with my spiritual growth, not with his new book, but with a piece of factual information about the canonization of the Bible that was embedded deep in his website, and of course, God led me right to it. So, it WAS exciting to see the excitement on his face when he recognized me in line for communion and said “You know who I was talking about in my sermon today right?” Well of course I did!!! No, it wasn’t me, but when he started out by talking about going late to a Dunkin Donuts to meet up with someone from another church, to try to sync up their men’s ministries together, I said “Holy Spirit!!!” He’s talking about someone i knew !!!!!”
And the crux of the whole sermon was the fact that the pastor was so late to their meeting together, and he felt so so bad… and expected the worst, but here the other guy greeted him with a smile and “it’s so nice to see you” and gave him the Grace of forgiveness from God… then the next day he gave that Grace of forgiveness right back to someone else… 300 plus people in this audience were moved by this story… About the power of giving forgiveness given… I smiled and smiled and smiled. Wow, Holy Spirit! God I knew YOU know me, but whew…

God, you remind me EVERYDAY how blessed I am… You picked my alma mater, my Subaru… you picked this sermonist pen-pal for me, you picked me to come today to this sermon, you picked me to go to my church last night, with only five hours sleep in two days, for a spirit-filled service, which I was called into duty for to run the PowerPoint to facilitate the spirit flowing and you certainly picked me as object lessons for your Divine love…. whew…

Where are we going from here, God? Only God knows…

I Trust You, God, 100%.

sunrise service – called into service as Jairus’ daughter -early Apr #110


emails about sunrise service skit
Wow, yeah, thanks Pastor,
that’s a great part for me for the sunrise service… you nailed it! I am not surprised!

Jairus’ daughter, risen from the dead, says ‘I am not surprised that Jesus rose from the dead…’ the rest of the readings have surprise, but this part does not… just awe….

I like how she says ‘it’s NOT been a terrible sacrifice…’ to serve Jesus, cause it hasn’t…it may be time consuming and hard at times… but a sacrifice??? not a terrible one…and the positives outlast the negatives, always…

And she says ‘if not for Him, I would have nothing to give’ … she didn’t say I wouldn’t LIVE… she said nothing to GIVE… indicating that LIFE is for GIVING, not just for living…. COOL! I can relate to that… and certainly life is for both living and for giving… cool…

Can’t wait for Easter!
Arms up! It’s easier for Jesus to take your hand if it is already up!!!

On Mar 19, Pastor wrote:
Hey, I think I have a part for you to read in the sunrise skit.jarius daughter

Travelogue 31MAR – #109


Travelogue 31MAR
I am having an amazing time here in Europe … this is a long email, so it’s going to be my travelogue (spiritual version) for today…

… after four days on the countryside, I am now in the city, it is quiet in my cousin’s flat, we have retired for the evening, and I have no wifi.  I have been thinking about a recent sermon about making a difference and about looking over family history records and writing postcards… my Pastor’s sermon about how one can really be excited about telling people about God, who gives us the best deal in life and for eternity, for free…  Pastor’s sermon’s enthusiasm was awesome and I appreciated it because I really feel that way too… I can’t help but tell people how excited I am, how God blessed me in everything, and (when the opportunity presents itself) tell them about how this expanded belief in Jesus on top of my previous belief in God blew the roof off… so I appreciate in the message where Pastor’s said GOD salvation is free, and how can you not be excited and exclaim and boast (Romans…) about the good news…
And that we can do the obeying part about exclaiming the good news and let God take control over the rest with the people we meet… so the least we could do was tell folks how God has blessed us.

So God really blessed me for this trip… After the first half of my vacation staying with country cousins, they threw me such wonderful lunch in my honor, with relatives from ALL five branches of our extended family stemming from one set of parents five generations ago. They don’t normally get together, so I was so happy to enable the party… so blessed… After the party, I went bowling with my country dozen cousins, and we cried therapeutic tears of goodbye… They treat me like a sister as well as a cousin…

Actually, I cried buckets… They showered me with gifts from day one. I even lost sleep the night before because I was so sad to part ways… I wrote one piece about loss and holy week… but I got thru the goodbyes with their hugs and love… and I will visit again…and we have Facebook to catch up daily…

Now I am in the city with an older cousin, who lives alone after his wife passed two years now… he has a quiet solitary life…  I am glad to add some activity and have the most marvelous host to this new adventure.

Interesting contrast in these two portions of my trip… my first set with those country cousins had great grandma, grandma, grandpa, and moms to four twenty year old sons plus girlfriends, enjoying an active life… they were all devote Christians, and I got to share my amazing Grace tractor trailer gas tanker experience (where I honked my horn to amazing Grace and prayed, and he eventually woke up from swerving all over the road for at least five minutes)… so these country cousins even spoke of me being a good Christian to the whole group at the family reunion….

and this cousin now in my second part of my trip is an atheist (it’s not that he is against others spirituality, it just doesn’t matter to him) … And I worry that him not having God in his life!!!!!!!!!!!
So I am happy to be his guest on many levels…both because he is taking me everywhere, but also to keep him company… to know that he gets to chat with distant and near relatives on our travels too… (he did admit to me that although his wife dying was a tragedy, after fifty years of marriage, that he can really see others who have even more extreme tragedy in their lives.

He sees what an optimistic person I am… and I can tell him, slowly and organically, how God had blessed my life… and we talked about balancing science and God…

It’s an interesting trip/life huh?

PS – when I left for home he gave me an angel necklace for extra wings for my plane – i know a couple of atheists and i am pleasantly surprised that they both believe in angels, hmmm….  nice…

Easter eve sorrows, 28Mar – #108


Easter eve sorrows, 28Mar

Ok, so I can’t sleep, I thought this European time zone was my golden match…not tonight…So going to write this one out…then go back to sleep…

GOD is Good, His timeline, His clock, not mine…


Easter Eve Sorrows, 28Mar

I wondered where my sorrows would come at Easter… I mean it is Lent reflection time, right? But the over exuberance I have felt in life these past two months has lifted me on cloud nine times nine… yes worried I am not humbling enough before the Lord…bubbling but not humbling…

My sorrowful reflective moments actually have been there, just not publicized like my joys… but all have been about loss. My sorrow paramount at this current moment (at this late quiet hour), is that I am in the midst, tomorrow, of the fact that I will have both an amazing family reunion, held in my honor, and an amazing feeling loss of leaving this side of family from this first half of my trip…it’s too short of a time, life’s too short!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes, I know I am headed into an amazing second half of my trip with another set of relatives, but this set have been so wonderful and the ones responsible for golden repair to our two continent-separated families… Our 92yr old cousin, matriarch and strong woman, is truly an inspiration…this will possibly be my last time seeing her…as she is 92yrs… oh the joy of meeting, oh the sorrow of going… Yes, Jesus, I understand, you didn’t want to go either…I get that… but you had to… It was the plan all along, you didn’t like it, neither do I… I hang that sorrow up on your cross, my cross… hang it up, no choice….

The sorrow tonight was amplified in the stress that time moves too quickly… at least three generations and I will continue renewed relationships with renewed vigor… with Facebook posts, chats, and connections… the possibilities abound in our future meetings… I remember their laughter even before we part tomorrow. I feel their joy, connecting with me and each other, and I now feel their pains too… now I feel what I didn’t know before, about their losses too – their ups and downs, their sorrows now I place on my cross from their crosses… I get it Jesus, sorrows from others work on my cross too… I hang them up…

I guess we ask for peace of mind in life… I certainly did at Christmas, and it did come by February…. will I get it again at Easter? I don’t know… but if I know God, I am sure HE will send me all the help I need… in HIS time…. the friends, the family, the golden memories of the past, the joys of the present, and our hope for the future… HIS CROSS handed to me to pull me up… MY Cross, well that I will use to carry my past, present and future sorrows and my past, present and future joys…hang them out…a lever to lighten my life load…And use it as a walking stick now to continue my journey…

It’s Holy Week, catch up time, Lent condensed… God’s plan at hand… we get the most joyous Easter gift, everlasting joy – everlasting life, after the roughest time… So, hold onto to your crosses, and be ready… because at some point HE is going to say “Let’s go… Come with ME”.