Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Homecoming


Sometimes, you CAN go home again!

Dick was invited to speak at the annual Homecoming services at Ohio United Methodist Church in Morgan Run, PA. He served as pastor there from 1985-1990—five of the very best years we have spent in ministry. It touched our hearts when we walked through those double glass doors and were greeted by old friends with huge smiles and open arms. What a wonderful blessing and privilege to share in the celebration of what God has been doing in the lives of the faithful at Ohio UMC!

How home-like it felt to sit in the same pew I sat in nearly every Sunday; how much like family it seemed as we chatted with friends at a picnic lunch that followed. It was as though the 27 years since we moved away never existed!

The church building itself is well-kept but evidence is all around that it is “lived in”, not for display. Pictures of this year’s VBS, containers for donations to the Soap Pantry, sign-up sheets for upcoming events speak of continuing ministry. More importantly, the people testify to their ongoing faith and hope in Jesus.

At 89 the song-leader, Jack Woods is as vibrant, energetic, and Spirit-filled today as he was back in the late 80’s! I kid you not!!! Jack shares the gospel every bit as much as the preacher, offering spiritual challenges throughout the service and giving testimony of what God has and is doing—as well as what He will do for anyone who turns their life over to Him. His enthusiasm is contagious and reviving. I count it a privilege to worship with him—he truly ushers us into the presence of Jesus, dancing along the way.

After the morning service, we trooped down to Fosters. Joy Foster is the quintessential hostess, opening her arms and her home to anyone and everyone. We have so many fond memories of hours spent in their two-car garage (where I have never seen a car parked), eating big, golden-brown homemade rolls, hot from the oven or one of Joy’s many artfully-decorated cakes, while sharing funny stories about one another. The tables were always loaded with delicious dishes like fresh corn cut from the cob and tender baked ham. The conversations were good-natured and sprinkled liberally with laughter as we reminisced about old times and swapped opinions on current happenings.

We gathered back at the church for evening services where good friends of ours, Grace and JoAnn, formerly known as The Baughman sisters, livened things up. Grace and JoAnn have played and sang in venues all over the state—Joann plays the piano and the two of them blend their voices in harmonies that bring tears to your eyes. Remarkably, neither of them read music! Even more remarkable, JoAnn has been totally blind since the age of eight! Dick and I were so excited when we learned they would be singing at Homecoming! It was every bit the blessing we expected—and Dick got to bang out some duets with JoAnn following the benediction. (By the way, he doesn’t read music either!) 😊

Dick and I thank God for the happiness and warmth we felt at Homecoming—a time of coming Home in the spiritual sense of the word, renewing not just friendships, but also our faith. Homecoming assured us that God is still at work, still using His faithful servants, still spreading His love, still sharing His offer of salvation.

Life just doesn’t get any better than a Homecoming like this—except for that Great Homecoming with Jesus that we are all invited to!

Jesus said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19

Be encouraged!

Pam

©2017 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Transfigure-Transform


Our grandson, Kodey, spent last week in a place of both transfiguration and transformation.

“Camp was soooo much fun and really opened my eyes to God even more! I watched people be healed all throughout the week and people be changed and their hearts be changed. It was an experience that was unlike any other. 😁 God is so very good! I prayed for this one guy who was kneeling and crying at the pews. The next day my friends and I saw this man and he not only was changed himself but was helping others change, too! 😧 It was a mind-blowing experience. Very cool! God can change lives in a heartbeat! 😁 I watched so many people grow even more in Christ, including myself, all throughout the week!” ~ Kodey

Kodey’s experience reminded me of Matthew 17:1-9, which tells us about a time when Peter and John and James went with Jesus up a mountain. During their time there, God shared several truths about Jesus. He let these three, and now us, know that Jesus is His Son and we are to listen to Him—powerful truths, to say the least. That place is often referred to as the Mount of Transfiguration.

According to Entangledstates.org, “Transfiguration does not mean the same thing as the word Transformation. Transformation implies a remaking of the nature of a person. Transfiguration implies a revelation of the true nature of a person.”

The transfiguration of Jesus, the revelation of more of his true nature, transformed those three disciples. For my grandson, Kodey, church camp was a “mount of transfiguration” that brought about transformation. Jesus revealed more of His true nature to the youth who attended; and those who were listening were transformed. Kodey’s excitement and enthusiasm about Jesus were evident even in his texts! His closing words say it all:

“I'm so very thankful and glad I got the opportunity to go to camp! 😁 And I want to go every year till I can't anymore! 😂”

Doesn’t his witness make you hunger to know Jesus better? To be ever changing into the person He desires you to be? When was the last time you experienced a transfiguration of Jesus that transformed your life? I would love to hear about it!

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Romans 12:2

Be encouraged!
Pam

©2017 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sauntering

Innisfree Gardens, Millbrook, NY

“The word saunter evokes a sense of holy ground, where a pilgrim might linger and reflect on the wonder of life. [Sauntering allows us] to read the map of this world’s holy ground, taking off our shoes as we tread its sacred pathways through the ordinariness of every day. All ground reveals its holiness, if we walk upon it with gentleness and mindfulness. God is in every particle.” ~ Excerpted from Compass Points by Margaret Silf

Innisfree Garden, Millbrook, NY

This summer Dick and I have been taking a day a week to do some “sauntering”. Like everyone else, we get caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle of life. We hurry to and from the duties of our jobs, grab the quickest meals possible, and rush off to other obligations.

Cape May, NJ

It’s easy to miss God’s handiwork when we are scurrying here and there. We overlook the awesomeness of what, at first, appears commonplace. When we take the time to breathe deeply, to stare in wonder, and to quietly contemplate, we find rest, peace, and a renewed hope—in short, we find God.
 
Cape May, NJ

Included are just a few pics from our “sauntering”. I urge you to take the time to meander through life, at least once in a while. It will revive your soul.

St. Cyril and Methodius Basilica, Danville, PA

Be encouraged!
Pam

St. Cyril and Methodius Basilica, Danville, PA

©2017 Pamela D. Williams