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I wrote this poem almost 10 years ago, and oh, how much more applicable it is today…

 

On Being the Older Generation

 

Our pastor just had a birthday – he turned 30 (bless his heart.) I remember turning 30…

 

Thirty wasn’t so bad – but 40 was something else entirely!

Fifty brought a lot of changes,

some good, some difficult

but still, I didn’t feel “old.”

 

The thing that really made me feel “older”

was losing both parents.

And, I don’t mean “older” as in terms of “age”,

but as in terms of “responsibility.”

 

I am now (at least in my family) “the older generation.”

 

Now, “the buck stops here.”

Or make that, “the questions stop here…”

 

There’s no one for me to call up.

No where for me to go

in fact, they now, all come to me.

 

That’s a scary thought

in some ways.

But, in some ways, that’s a very humbling thought.

 

And my prayer becomes,

“God! They’re actually listening to me!

Quick! Fill me with Your wisdom!

 

Then I see – He’s been working on me

for over 50 years…

©Betty J. Newman

Nov. 2006

 

And now – He’s been working on me more than 60 years…

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I have long said that I feel that the greatest deterrent to understanding scripture, for anyone and especially for those who’ve been “brought up” in the church, is that “we don’t read, what we read…”

In other words, we may be so familiar with the stories – we know how it is going to “turn out” – that we think we know what it says. The problem is – we don’t!

Our culture is at fault as well. We have learned to read quickly. We scan the headlines and the articles of the newspaper or a magazine for items that interest us. Marketers tell us that we have 3 seconds to grab a person’s attention with a headline. Therefore, does the Bible stand a chance?

There are 3, what I call “duh” statements that may shed some insight on our study of the Bible.

  • The first is: “The Bible was written to people in ‘Bible Times’.”

That “duh” statement carries much more weight that it first appears – We must understand that the original readers would have completely understood what was being said when many times, we simply don’t “get it.”

  • The second is: “We (in America) read the Bible with ‘American eyes’ and we (personally) read the Bible with ‘our own’ eyes.” 

What that means is, we can’t help but read the Bible from our own perspectives, based on our own experiences, coming from our own backgrounds. We just are who we are.

  • The third “duh” statement is: “We read the Old Testament through ‘Jesus glasses’.”

From “this side” of the cross we understand a lot more about fulfilled Old Testament prophecy than the prophets and writers from “that side of the cross” did.

1st Peter 1:8-12 (NLT) says: “You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls. This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you.

They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when He told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and His great glory afterward. They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.” 

Isn’t that cool? “Even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen!”

Tomorrow –  “How to study the Bible Part Two”

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I encourage you to also consider following another blog I have titled “Servant-logue”. The address is http://www.servantlogue.wordpress.com My Prayerlogue blog is more for devotionals, reflections and, well, prayers hence the name – Prayer-logue. It began as a “logue” (log) or online journal of prayers.

Servantlogue is an online journal belonging to a simple servant of God; serving and teaching with a simple heart. It was created mostly to share quotes from things I’ve read. It will continue to be that, but also at times will offer other things, such as Bible study tips and personal observations.

I don’t have a seminary degree, or any other degree for that matter. I have simply studied God’s Word my whole life, and read, and read, and read! (I would put my library up against most pastors!)

I am in awe at the number of people who follow this blog. My prayer is that my simple words will encourage you and glorify God!

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This is a new song from our son, John, titled “Rising Waters”. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWkEZCVuyIM

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There are many who follow this blog who are going through extremely difficult times, or know someone who is. I would like to recommend that you read David Alan Black’s blog.

http://www.daveblackonline.com/blog

Dr. Black’s wife has cancer, and his honest fear, faith and fatigue will touch your heart. I have been so intrigued by their journey that I check in twice a day for updates.

I lift them up in prayer, as well as many others I know of who are also facing such a journey.

Through it all, my God be praised! Amen.

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Whew!

I have finished the 5-week set of lessons for the Daily Bible Study publication for the Fall 2011 series and e-mailed them to the publisher this morning. I’ll have to admit that I am a little nervous as I’ve never done any of this type of writing before.

I’ve written a monthly column for a Picture Framing trade magazine on marketing and customer service as well as spoken to various groups on that subject. Plus, I’ve been a Certified Lay Speaker for more than 30 years and taught Adult Bible studies all my life (seems like, LOL).  But, this is a little different.

Oh well… I’ll post if they are accepted and when the study guide will be available. As for now, I’m going back to writing and sending my weekly Prayerlogue devotionals, which I’ve neglected for the past 4 months.

If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, the sign up is on the sidebar.

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(AKA) What I Did on My Summer Vacation

On my “summer vacation” I went to the Holston Annual Conference, where I laughed, cried, worshiped and prayed (and did a LOT of walking!)

I heard sermons and testimonies that touched my heart, and reports that encouraged and challenged me. I saw workings of the church that inspired me, and yes, even heard some things that concerned me, but overall, I was encouraged for the denomination as a whole and for our conference in particular.

There were a lot of things happening, new pastors, deacons and elders were ordained; (former pastor, Cliff Amos, was ordained as a deacon) older pastors retired, (former pastor, Cecil Baxter, retired) and those “gone on to glory” were remembered, but the following things stuck in my mind, and captured my attention during the 4 days.

I saw an auditorium full of people stand and lift their hands in prayer toward a couple who were leaving for the mission field in Sudan, and I heard the air horns of the tractor trailer as they left carrying the 7,037 health, school, sewing, and food buckets bound for Liberia and Zimbabwe. We, in the Knoxville District were given the task of filling food buckets. The goal for the District was 400 food buckets… we supplied 828! And we, French Broad Circuit, were a part of that!

During the time of reports, I heard about the children of Holston Homes, and what our monies were doing for them. I also heard about the Disaster Recovery efforts that the Holston Conference made possible. In fact, during the recent Nashville floods, the Holston disaster relief team was the very first on the scene, and therefore became the coordinating and lead team for the recovery. Yea Holston!

I heard of new church plants that were thriving with hundreds of people attending, and I heard of 1151 people (at last count) that were baptized in the “50 Days of Evangelism” initiative that took place between Easter and Pentecost.

 You’ll be excited to know that more than $62,000 was collected for the “change for children” offering and that from the monies collected last year, $35,000 in grants was given out this year. By the way, one of those grants went to Trentville UMC in our local area.

At last count, over $154,000 was collected for Sudan to dig wells and supply medical and other needs, and over $50,000 was donated by one woman (in memory of her husband) to build a home in Sudan for Boo and Phyllis Hankins, the lead missionaries there.

 As for the financial business of the Holston Annual Conference, the proposed change in the apportionment formula passed with an overwhelming majority. The formula will be changed to a simple 10% of “undesignated offerings”, which will be payable by the 10th of the month following the offerings. Also, direct invoicing for pastors’ pensions and insurance is set to begin in January 2011.

Conference began with the traditional singing of “And Are We Yet Alive” and as we spotlighted “Four Areas of Focus” which included “Developing Principled Christian Leaders”; “New Places for New People and Revitalizing Existing Places”; “Being in Ministry with the Poor”; and “Improving Health Globally”, I believe the answer is a resounding YES!

On Wednesday, Bishop Swanson led us in “Moving from Confession to Discipleship” as he preached on offering Christ to a world gripped with fever. (The text was Jesus’ healing of Peter’s mother-in-law.) As usual, it was a very moving sermon!

Finally, no “vacation” is complete without “home movies!” I have purchased the set of DVDs for this year’s Conference. I urge you to borrow them, invite friends and family, then experience for yourself what a great work God is doing in the Holston Conference!

Thank you for your support in my attending.                     

Betty Newman, June 19, 2010

(This was not a part of my report, but let me say that I’m still praying about my place in the UMC. May God lead me to where He wants me to be.)

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