Sunday, March 23, 2014

And a Little Girl Led Them

When Granny arranges flowers mid-week, her granddaughter likes to pray from the pulpit.  This sweet anecdote made me smile.  I asked if Little Girl would like to pray during the service.

This morning six-year-old Little Girl showed up with a written prayer and song.  I love how seriously she approached worship leadership.  Little Girl sat with me until it was time for the prayer.  She asked God to help sick animals and people with broken bones.  What beautiful particularity.

"…and a little child shall lead them." (Isaiah 11:6)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Baptized in Water

Today was a celebration at Scottsville Baptist Church as we baptized Jen Gaines, Caleb Bouw, and Ashley Gaines!  You could feel the joy in the sanctuary.

Caleb, Jen, Ashley, and Katie
The call to ministry allows me the amazing privilege to baptize these folks.  What a beautiful, humbling thing.

Before immersing these friends I asked each of them "Who is your Lord and Savior?" Jen, Caleb, and Ashley each replied "Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior!"  I love that.  It is testimony.  It is ownership of the decision.  It is proclamation of Jesus Christ.  In a nutshell:  It's the good news.

When I was at the Jordan River last week I bottled up some of the water.  I poured some in the baptistry this morning to mix the waters of Jesus' baptism with the waters of Jen, Caleb, and Ashley's baptism.  I later invited those who wanted to remember their baptisms to come forward to receive the sign of the cross on their hand or forehead with Jordan water.  It was a special time.

You would think the day couldn't get better, but then…cake appeared! Thanks to the families of Jen, Caleb, and Ashley for providing lunch and cake for everyone.

Thanks be to God for a wonderful day.

(At press time UVA is beating Duke:  The wonderful day continues!  Praise be!)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Snapshots of the Old City

Walking the Via Dolorosa
Church of the Holy Sepulchre:  Traditional site of the empty tomb of Jesus.

Entrance to the traditional empty tomb site

The Western or Wailing Wall with prayers stuffed in the cracks.
Near Huldah's Gate on the teaching steps of Jesus.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sea of Galilee

I am praying for Scottsville Baptist Church as I type.  I am grateful for Rev. Ed Goodwin, pastor and person extraordinaire, who was willing to preach in my absence.  Ed has been a great encouragement and support to me.  I am eager to hear about worship and the youth mission trip. There are many great things happening at Scottsville Baptist!

The morning began on the Sea of Galilee.  It is more beautiful than I imagined.  As we sailed I could see Jesus preaching The Sermon on the Mount.  I could see him healing persons possessed with demons.  I could see him ministering to the least of these.  I could see him healing Simon Peter's mother-in-law and the man who was paralyzed.  I could see the love in his eyes and hands.

I see Jesus anew I think.  Perhaps that sounds trite, but it's true.  

The Sea of Galilee
Once we arrived on the other side of the sea, we had an opportunity to walk to the shore.  As a tactile learner I got my gazelle on and practically sprinted to the sea.  I was thrilled to put my feet in the water.



Friday, March 7, 2014

The Humble Door

As the people of Scottsville Baptist Church enjoy a second cup of coffee this morning, I am praying for those who will participate in God's mission this weekend!  I am praying for our leaders (Hallie, Matt, Sue, and Lynda) and our students (Caleb, William, Michael, Bruce, Kimberly, Brandon, and Mariah).  I am praying for the Mission Madness leaders and the CBF of Virginia.  

Yesterday we visited the Church of the Nativity (the traditional site of Jesus' birth).  Before entering the ornate building you must walk through a tiny door (named the humble door).  Nearly everyone has to duck to get through it.  The door is open to all, but you have to humble yourself to come inside.  As they say "That'll preach."

Dad entering the Church of the Nativity through the humble door
Today we visited Jerusalem.  It is magnificent.  There is more to say. When I find my words again, I will tell you about it.

View of Jerusalem's Old City

Katie and Dad In Jerusalem

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday in Bethlehem

We arrived in Israel at approximately 6:00pm Wednesday night.  It is now almost 10:00pm.  We are still awake!  If you know my dad this is no small miracle.  Here we are being happy, but also being tired.

We're in Israel!  

The drive from Tel Aviv to Bethlehem was full of new sights and sounds. When the Bible says "he went up to Jerusalem" it is spot on! The city on the hill was marvelous even at night.  I look forward to visiting Jerusalem at the end of our trip.

Tonight we are in Bethlehem.  After a delicious dinner, we shared an Ash Wednesday Service outside overlooking Jesus' birthplace.  It's hard to find the words.

From our Ash Wednesday Service:

God of our lives, out of the dust of creation
you have formed us and given us life.
May these ashes not only be a sign
of our repentance and death,
but reminders that by your gift of grace
in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer,
we are granted life forever with you.  Amen.