Category - The church

It is Well with My Soul!
Preaching to Myself
Feeling Tossed Aside? Worthless? Be The REMNANT

It is Well with My Soul!

It’s been awhile since I have sat on the back porch up on Rocky Top to write. Truthfully, I have been terrified of what would come out as I hit the keys on my laptop.

If you have been with me since the beginning of this blog, you know I am REAL. What does that mean?  I don’t play games or try and pretend all is well when it is not well.

Protests took place in Rocky Top city this weekend. My son and his wife are in Houston as Hurricane Harvey dumps rain on the already saturated earth. Parents are hurting because their young son has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

I returned from a land just a few weeks ago where floods, hurricanes, or protests would have been welcome disasters. I sat in a room as two precious sisters in the Lord shared how their husbands had been tragically killed for their faith.  Yet, these women sang praises to Jesus and lifted up His name.

Perspective is always an antidote for self-pity.

As many of you know, Preacher resigned as senior pastor at First Baptist Concord last week. It was an agonizing decision.   His words on Sunday, August 20 will ring in my head for a long time, “I love this church.  Yet, I love Jesus more.  We must be obedient to His call on our lives.”

On Monday, September 11 we will begin to serve Life Action Ministries as missionaries to America and the world.   Life Action is a  ministry filled with many wonderful people who daily sacrifice so much to see our nation turn their hearts toward God.

At sixteen years of age I walked down the aisle of a church and told the pastor God was calling me to missions. In God’s graciousness, He knew it would take forty years, give or take a few, to prepare my heart to totally accept this call.  What can I say except that I am a slow learner.

The mission statement of Life Action ministries is to ignite Christ-centered movements of authentic Christianity that displays the gospel and fulfills the Great Commission.

Our nation is sick. The answer is Jesus.  Churches in our nation are in desperate need of revival.  Revival is not a week-long set of meetings with guest preachers.   Revival occurs when a dead heart comes back to life and determines to follow Christ at all costs.  Revival happens when a church body decides to care more about the lost than their own personal preferences.  Preacher and I must be obedient to His call of revival on our lives.

Real life on Rocky Top will continue. Preacher and I will still call this home as long as the Lord allows.

What I want you to know is “It is Well With My Soul.”

Many tears have been shed as Preacher and I sought God’s direction for our lives.  Change is not easy, especially as we age.  When comfort is longed for, God challenges us with change.  A true disciple of Christ never becomes “comfortable.”

Paul in the New Testament is the ultimate example of one who followed Christ.  Over and over we see Paul making ministry decisions not based on what was best for himself or what was comfortable for him.  In Philippians 1:12 Paul clearly emphasized that everything in his life, the good and the bad, was about the advancement of the gospel.

When change comes, the question is not “What does this mean for me?” but “What does this mean for His kingdom?”

Preacher and I are just God’s servants. Our desire is to simply advance His kingdom.

So dear readers, from my heart to yours “It is Well With My Soul.”

Allow any change, difficulty, or hardship to bring Glory to the King and advance His Kingdom!

Preaching to Myself

This Texas-born, now turned Rocky Top girl is not a devoted “country western” music-lover. However, sometimes there are lyrics that grab my attention.    “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw is now on my playlist.  Please don’t judge me.  The chorus of this song does have biblical truth in it:  “Always stay humble and kind.”  The rest of the song, not so much.

“Be completely humble…”Ephesians 4:2

“Be kind and compassionate to one another…..” Ephesians 4:32

The Greek word, “humble”, in Ephesians 4:2 means “to lower your self-estimation.” For one who follows Christ, it is the acknowledgement of total dependence on Him.

The Greek word, “kind” in Ephesians 4:32 means “to furnish what is needed, to do good, or be gracious”.

Tim McGraw got it right when he put “humble and kind” together.

If one doesn’t lower their “self-estimation” and acknowledge their total dependence on God, it is impossible to show true kindness to others.

January hasn’t shown much humility and kindness in the news or on social media. There are a lot of people just yelling, shouting, complaining, arguing and marching.

One can believe the Bible is true and inerrant, be pro-life and also be humble and kind.

“Hold the door, say please and thank you!” McGraw’s lyrics continue.

Before self-righteousness happens, remember humility and kindness may be easier to show to those we really don’t know very well. “It can be easy to get so focused on the darkness around us that we never address the darkness in us.”  (Lysa TerKeurst)

The letter to the Ephesians was written by the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus. Apparently, there were people who called themselves Christ-followers who weren’t being humble and kind to others in the church.

This preacher’s wife has had way too much experience with people who aren’t “humble and kind” inside the four walls of the church, including myself, sadly. It is imperative that we model to our children how to respectfully disagree with others.  The current trend is “if you don’t agree with me you must be dumb, unpatriotic or not a Christian.”

As January comes to a close up here on Rocky Top and we enter the “love” month of February may each of us choose to be “humble and kind” to those around us.   Some practical suggestions: (preaching to myself)

  1. Say please and thank you.
  2. Make eye contact with others and give them a smile.
  3. Listen to others without thinking about what you are going to say next.
  4. Have a teachable spirit. No one knows everything.

As followers of Christ, let us model humility and kindness inside the walls of the church as well as outside the walls of the church.






Feeling Tossed Aside? Worthless? Be The REMNANT

I’m sitting on the back porch at Rocky Top coughing, sneezing and just feeling pretty awful but I can’t get a phrase out of my mind. I can’t get a picture out of my mind.


Karen Abercrombie (aka Miss Clara from the movie, War Room) used this phrase a few Sundays ago during an interview with preacher.  Karen said, “Jesus is interested in raising up the remnant to change the world not numbers…numbers come and go and play the church game. The remnant is who God uses.”

The next Sunday, preacher had me come up on stage and hold up our precious quilt for the closing illustration in his sermon. This quilt is 37 years old. It was made for us by our first church, Hay Valley Baptist Church outside of Gatesville, Texas.  They presented it to us as a wedding gift.   Hay Valley Baptist Church had an average attendance of 17 in Sunday School when we began our ministry there.  When they presented this quilt to us, this church was 48 families strong and had an average attendance of 60+ in Sunday School.  These people were ranchers, farmers, and guards at the state prison down the road. Most of them possessed nothing more than land, modest homes, some cattle and trucks. They were remnants in their small community.

This quilt was made with remnants from clothing the women of this church had once made.

A remnant is a leftover piece of material that is usually discarded after something is made.  It is usually set aside or thrown out because it is seen as invaluable.

Once these women pieced together all the remnants of fabric, they then embroidered their names on each square that makes up this quilt. In the very center of the quilt is an embroidered picture of that little church.

The quilt maybe made out of leftovers, what others may discard; however this quilt is treasured by our family.

I’m a remnant. I was never “Miss Popularity” in school.   I was the heavy-set girl with glasses who made decent grades and came from a broken home. Tossed aside.

When I married preacher, I was a remnant. I didn’t know anything about being a “pastor’s wife”. I said the wrong things, wore the wrong things, and usually did the wrong thing. Not much use for an up and coming “preacher”.

Don’t we all feel that way at times? The enemy whispers in our ear: Useless, Leftover, Not good for anything!

Oh, but Jesus says to us, “You are my treasured possession!” (Deuteronomy 7:6)  He has a plan for our lives!  (Jeremiah 29:11)

He took me and laid me alongside others in the body of Christ. They poured into my life and I into theirs.

We are the remnant……The beautiful body of Christ sewn together, salvaged by our Savior for His kingdom purposes.

Standing up last Sunday on the platform holding that quilt, looking at a sea of faces,  I was very aware that many of them feel useless, hopeless, and worthless at times.   The beauty of the body of Christ is  when we come together and knit our hearts together for His kingdom purposes, He will use us!  The remnant isn’t about individual beauty, wealth or talent.  The remnant is about the beauty of the individuals coming together as one.

Karen Abercrombie is correct. Jesus isn’t interested in just getting rear ends in a pew. He is interested in gathering remnants and knitting their hearts together to build His beautiful bride, the church. He loves the tattered, the torn, the worn, the inadequate, and the tossed aside. These are The Remnant!


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