Come To The Table

I have recently been hearing this song on the radio and it strikes a chord deep inside – Remember He came for the sick and sinful – of which I am one. So come join me at His table I look forward to seeing you there.

“Come To The Table”

We all start on the outside
The outside looking in
This is where grace begins
We were hungry, we were thirsty
With nothing left to give
Oh the shape that we were in
Just when all hope seemed lost
Love opened the door for us

He said come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table

Come meet this motley crew of misfits
These liars and these thiefs
There’s no one unwelcome here
So that sin and shame that you brought with you
You can leave it at the door
Let mercy draw you near

Come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come to the table

To the thief and to the doubter
To the hero and the coward
To the prisoner and the soldier
To the young and to the older
All who hunger, all who thirst
All the last and all the first
All the paupers and the princes
All who fail you’ve been forgiven
All who dream and all who suffer
All who loved and lost another
All the chained and all the free
All who follow, all who lead
Anyone who’s been let down
All the lost you have been found
All who have been labeled right or wrong
To everyone who hears this song

Ooh
Come to the table
Come join the sinners you have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Sit down and be set free
Oooh
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come to the table
Just sit down and rest a while
Just sit down and rest a while
Come to the table

Credit for song to Sidewalk Prophets

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Rebirth

I came across a poem I would like to share by Keri K. Wehlander

We are the locked door,

the stone not rolled away.

You invite us to cross through waters, walk dry roads

look toward transformation in every wilderness.

You believe we can.

We want other gods, other commodities—

depth without the daily searching.

You offer us a simple table

and the words, follow me.

You believe we will.

We choose a meager vision,

hold tight to the catch of our nets,

You tell a story that asks,

Which one was the neighbor?

You believe we understand.

We are perplexed

when you appear in our untended gardens.

You say, peace,

to all our uncertainty.

You show that new life

comes with time, with practice,

and the sowing, however small,

of stubborn hope.

You believe we will grow.

My Personal Rebirth – Part 2

Well, I really didn’t have a lot more to say about this, but since I received a comment I feel it needs to be addressed.

The person who commented stated that in the KJV Bible we are told not to baptize infants. Well, that is not true. I have spoken to 5 different pastors/priests and none of them know of any verse that states that. Now if YOUR religion believes in that, that’s okay, but when you imply that it is in the Bible I require the back-up so that I can look for myself. If I am not mistaken Jesus just tells us to baptize the world, I do not believe he follows that with a disclaimer on infants or children. Now I may be wrong, but I have given the person who commented plenty of time to provide me with verification of the statement they made.

Does anyone else have a need for proof when they are told the Bible tells us to do something that we were not aware of???

Please comment and let me know. I invite all comments and discussions, even those that do not agree with me; HOWEVER, if you state that the Bible says something, be ready to back it up with Book, Chapter and Verse. Just Saying.

Remember – God Loves You And So Do I

Michele

Peaceful Surrender

If you have been following our blog then you already know what a Via de Cristo weekend is. I walked on my first “pilgrim” weekend in April 2007, a week after I was baptized at the age of 33. That week of time was my rebirth, my spiritual transformation and the surrendering of my life to Christ. Christ took me from my old life and made it clear that he wanted to show me so many things about life, love, mercy, God, myself, my relationship with my husband, and most importantly His grace and forgiveness. My life since then has not been one continual “spiritual high” but one with many valleys. The difference is how I handle what life throws at me.

On my Via de Cristo weekend, God made it clear to me He gave me the gift of words for His glory…and the words started flowing. Since then I have written tons of poetry, given talks at women’s conferences on various subjects, written an article for the Lutheran Ambassador publication, and was invited to join this blog by some very awesome Christian women whom I love dearly. God has impressed it on my heart to write a book…He and I are still working on that! I never thought in a million years I would become a published author.

When I was young, I was taught children are to be seen, not heard. Being very opinionated, and vocal about it, got me in a lot of trouble as a kid. I spoke my mind and was always told I talked too much. I would start a conversation with anyone who would listen. As I got older, I felt I had to suppress my thoughts because it seemed to be more trouble than it was worth, until I was 15. My mother was diagnosed with a rare cancer, one that had already found its way into most areas of her body. She died the following year after a 14 month long battle. During her illness was when I began writing. It was the only way I could express my feelings in a positive way and one that wouldn’t get me into trouble. I would sit with my mom on her hospital bed (stationed in our family room) and read her my poetry, short stories, or whatever I was writing at the time. I still have all of those things I wrote and would read to her in a notebook.

Four years later, I was married with our first child on the way and a year and a half after that, our second child. With life as a mom of an infant and toddler, any thoughts of writing just seemed to be erased…until my Via de Cristo weekend. When I gave my life to Christ, it was a peaceful surrender, one in which I wrote a poem about just after chapel visit that evening.

Peaceful Surrender

All things are possible through God’s Son, Jesus Christ,

Who gives me the strength to get through the night.

He is here to relieve me of all worry, pain, and fear,

He helps me to be still, to seek Him and hear.

Hearing the words He whispers to me, learning to let go and being set free.

Free from the struggles we all go through, delivered from the storm with a joy renewed.

The peace that comes with surrender and the fire lit eyes on my face,

His light now shines from my soul because I have been given His grace.

Never give up on God because He never gives up on you. Remember, your life and what He created you for will be revealed in His timing. Be open to letting God transform you to be more like Him, through whatever means he shows you. We are created unique for a reason. Our transformation, our rebirth, and our spiritual journey will also be unique to whatever purpose God has for us individually here on this earth. Embrace it and know that Christ is walking along side of you always.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie Winston

Joan’s Journey part 3

I thought my life was fine and wouldn’t change much until we retired.  I loved my church and could not imagine leaving it.  Looking back, I see that I loved my church so much I made it into an idol.  I would never have said we were perfect, but I was proud of my congregation and my place in it, and I did think we were really special.  And I had my own version of the prosperity gospel.  I didn’t expect God to make me rich, but I thought He would give me peaceful, harmonious relationships at church and at home.  Didn’t God owe me that … after all the work I put in being a good Christian?

 That is not the attitude God wants in His servants and I see that now. Eventually my self-satisfied life began to dissolve.(Here comes the death and rebirth part). Our oldest daughter hit adolescence and had a lot of problems. We tried all sorts of things, including counseling, but nothing seemed to work.  Years later Beth was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and by then we had all been through a great deal of pain.

At the same time things were going wrong at church.  Some friends were angry at the Pastor and the situation kept escalating.  Eventually they left. I was in anguish seeing the congregation I poured my life into torn apart.  To top it off, Terry decided he was called to the ministry.  I didn’t mind him being a pastor, because that would just be Terry’s job.  However I didn’t want to move to St. Louis and become the primary breadwinner so that he could go to seminary.  I told him this was just too much to ask, with one child in college and one with mental health issues.  He could move, but I would not.

 Terry thankfully, agreed we should stay together, and said if God wanted him to be a pastor He would make it happen.  And He did.  Terry found a Lutheran denomination that offered seminary courses via distance learning.  He kept his job and began the process.  When he came to the point where this denomination would have required him to go on a one year internship, he found another Lutheran group that agreed to ordain him immediately.  So Terry had his wish, or rather God’s wish.  Now what?

 The denomination that ordained him did not have an open pulpit, so Terry decided he would have to start a mission congregation, a daunting prospect. We knew from experience how much effort that took.  Then a friend asked Terry if he would fill in at his church. They were between pastors. We came to St. Paul’s where something clicked for us, and I believe, for the congregation very quickly.  They were small but lively and not afraid to keep the church running on their own.  They appreciated Terry’s gift for teaching and preaching.  They encouraged me, too, and allowed me to participate in the way I saw myself:  an active layperson, not just the Pastor’s wife.

 Terry and I have now been at St. Paul’s for more than ten years.  The church joined the AFLC and Terry is on their clergy roll.  I’ve written articles for the Lutheran Ambassador and a Bible study for the national women’s group.  I serve at church in many ways.  Since retiring, I am a part time caregiver for my granddaughter, Katelyn, and my mother with dementia. Now I’ve become a blogger! Many of these are things I would never have imagined doing.  Life with God is a continual surprise.  I’m humbler now and don’t pretend to know what my future holds.  John Wesley once said,                                                  

When I was young I was sure of everything.  In a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before.  At present, I am hardly sure of anything except what God has revealed to me.”

I don’t know what my future holds, but I know God has a plan and that He will continue to work it out in my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joan’s Journey continued

My husband and I met while I was in college. By this time I had stopped calling myself an atheist but I wasn’t going to church and had no real interest in God. After several years of marriage we went through a rough patch in our relationship. Terry wanted to go to graduate school, while I was anxious to buy a home and start a family.  Our short term goals were different and this caused a big conflict. We finally decided that Terry would continue in school, and we moved to Montgomery County, midway between my job and his college. At this point, Terry suggested we join a church.  I guess we both felt this might put our relationship on firmer ground. Terry’s family church was large and I felt disconnected from the service. All we did was sit in the pew and listen to others speaking or singing.  The way I had learned to “do” church was Lutheran, so I told Terry that’s what I wanted to be. After some research he settled on the Missouri Synod because they believed in Biblical inerrancy.  Any Lutheran church was fine with me –I didn’t know there were different kinds of Lutherans.  We joined a church nearby and I was happy to be back in worshipping in a familiar service.  We attended church regularly, but weren’t active in other activities.

A year later we moved back to Frederick because we found we weren’t close to anything or anyone important to us.  We bought a house. Terry had a long commute but at least we were close to friends, family and my workplace.  The only Missouri Synod church in Frederick was a small mission congregation meeting in a Community building, so we went there.  I wasn’t too thrilled.  I preferred the big Lutheran Church downtown with it’s beautiful facility.  But God knew what I needed.  I was quiet and shy.  Had we joined that large, established church, I would have become a pew sitter.  In a mission congregation, you can’t do that.  Everyone is needed, everybody knows you and you can’t hide.  If Nancy was my soul friend, and Terry was my soul mate, Peace In Christ became my school of spiritual formation.

I was elected church council secretary at my first voter’s meeting.  How terrifying!  For months I hardly opened my mouth, and I tried not to miss a single word in my minutes! Finally, I relaxed, realizing that nobody was out to judge my job performance.  In fact, a friend there once told me that “church is the best place to try something new.  If you fail, they’ll still love you.”

Our pastor became a friend.  He knew his parishioners well, and encouraged me to use my gifts and stretch my comfort zone.  After we had children and they started Sunday School, we went too.  For the first time, as an adult, I studied the Bible regularly and found that knowing Sunday School stories from childhood, and bible history from college courses, did NOT mean I knew it all.  I met Christians who applied the Bible to their lives and I started to do that too. I can’t begin list the activities that helped me grow spiritually, so I’ll mention a few “high spots.”

Terry and I read the entire Bible in a 2 year program called Crossways.

We went on Marriage Encounter weekend and a Via De Cristo Christian retreat weekend.  Both had follow up small group meetings in which we participated.

.We taught Sunday School, I worked on the church newsletter and wrote VBS programs, and Terry was an elder. We were busy with church and our friends there constantly.  I began to see myself as a mature Christian and a congregational leader.

to be continued further …..

My Personal Rebirth

When the theme for this month was chosen, I figured with all the Bible verses we have to choose from it would be pretty easy to find one to focus on, but for some reason my brain will not do that, it wants to tell my story.  (I am hoping it is God pushing me.)

I was baptized at 8 days old, promised to the Lord at an early age, but didn’t go to church or act like a Christian for a long time.  It has only been pretty recently that I have felt an overwhelming need to walk a straighter line and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Now if you have been following this blog, you already know that I consider myself a work in progress (granted a lot of work still needs to be done) and that I try hard every day to be a better person, but know that I fall short no matter how hard I try.

Fortunately, thanks to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, I am reborn white as snow on his eyes.  But in my eyes, I still fight with my feelings of sin and undeserving nature of his gift.  I believe that these feelings of “guilt” are what make me want to do better.  I usually believe that this is the way God steers me down a better path, but sometimes wonder if it isn’t Satan trying to get me to fall again. (Which I do on a regular basis)

Everyday I struggle with feelings but do not allow them to shadow what He did for me.  I am NOT perfect, but I am perfect in His eyes.  Praise the Lord for that.

I hope that by opening up with my experience, that others will comment on theirs.

Are you like me and fairly new to being a Christian?

Have you always followed God’s path?

I really want to know, please comment.

Always remember   –  God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel