This past weekend was an exhausting, overwhelming and wonderful time of fellowship, support, hope and determination. The Ride for Missing Children opened the weekend on Thursday evening with joining our community to refresh the garden designated in remembrance of my sister yesterday afternoon. I snapped the photograph above last week while at my parent’s house ~ the simplicity of the purplish-pink flower of the red bud tree with the apple blossoms and glorious green hilly terrain blanketed with an overcast sky… breath-taking.
During our church service yesterday we had a guest speaker, Andy Phillips from A Basic Church in Cicero, New York. His message was simple yet powerful, just like this red bud tree. Both created by God with a specific purpose. Andy traveled with his wife Joy (FYI - Joy has also written a book titled, Jesus Saved Me: A Song of God’s Love. A beautiful children’s book.), and their three children to share God’s Word with our church family and the way A Basic Church is working to be relational, attend to needs, simplify life, imitate Jesus through their call to multiply God’s people. If you are in the Cicero area and looking for a Bible based church family – give Andy a call or visit their website at: http://www.abasicchurch.com/
Andy’s message was a blessing on so many levels ~ as we drove to church I was feeling bad for having to miss the luncheon after church in order to work on the garden with the community for my sister. I wanted to be at both spots at the same time – life is about choices, this I know ~ so decided to be blessed by Andy’s message and then scurry to the garden ready to work for 12:30 p.m. As I made the short walk and drive my heart soared at the thought of spending a few hours with others that cared so much for my sister, knowing it was where I was supposed to be with confidence. Thank you Andy for sharing God’s message with us, you spoke to my heart!
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 says “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Each day we have a choice ~ to accept the love of Jesus and let His light and strength shine through or to let the world get the best of us. I’m so thankful on the days when it is hard to place my feet on the floor, that Jesus has blessed me in countless ways to restore, replenish and grow a hope and power only possibly because of His mercy and grace.
Andy Phillip’s message showed how our lives are like jars of clay, bruised and battered but with Jesus ~ we are restored and a new creation. As Andy brought us to Judges 7 and Gideon’s battle, my eyes were opened to a new illustration. Gideon started with only 32,000 men to defeat 165,000 but the Lord said this was too much and by the time they were to head to battle, there were only 300 men. These men didn’t carry guns but instead they carried trumpets and empty jars containing torches inside. Statistically Gideon and his men should have perished yet because of his faithfulness and trust in God, because he listened and obeyed God’s commands ~ those jars were broken to illuminate the darkness with such magnitude, the enemy ran. The battle was won! Our battles can be won too when we listen, obey and trust ~ especially when it doesn’t make sense.
A friend of Andy’s told him “Don’t go to church, be the church!” I pray I continue to see the beauty in all God has created, enjoy the simplicity of life and keep my eyes fixed on Jesus through whatever journey the Lord puts in front of my path. While visiting with my Dad, my Father allowed his creation to shine and stand out on the hill. May we all shine the light of Jesus and stand out in love and truth so others will say “Why are you so happy? What makes you different?”
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323