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Monday, December 9, 2013

Great Bible Study plus great friends plus cherry life savers

I love the Women's Bible Study at my church.  I love the learning and the sharing and the encouragement  and the accountability and the vulnerability and those are just a few of the things I love!  This year in particular has been really rich.  The study has been spot on for me. One thing we differently was after we shared in our large group about the homework we did, we broke down into small groups to pray and OH. MY. WORD.   I have a particular rough spot in my life at this point in time and lo and behold a friend that God put in my small prayer group has that too!!!!  We prayed and cried and prayed some more.  Another lady in our small prayer group said that it made her more aware that that particular rough spot could even exist and she is taking measures in her life to smooth it out.

One of the last assignments of the book was to make a commitment to have a quiet time for 30 days.  I have a hit or miss quiet time.  My pledge to myself and God was to truly meditate on my verses for 2013.  I have 4 more verses to memorize chapter 8 of Romans.  I will put another plug in for the Scripture Typer.  It has helped me with my memorization tremendously!!  As I was reviewing my verses with Carl here are his observations on verses 33, 34, and 35-

verse 33-Who shall bring any charges against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
verse 34-Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right of God,who- indeed is interceding for us.
verse 35-Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 

Carl shared that these verses are legal terms.  Who shall bring charges?  Who can condemn? Who shall send you away?  If you are a believer, no one!!!  What Good News that is!!!

As I memorize scripture, I picture in my mind a cherry life saver that I savor and prolong as I enjoy it.  I try to do the same with the verses that I am learning, letting them soak down into my brain and heart.  Let the above verse soak into your brain and heart for a minute.

  I am looking forward to all that I will learn in my 30 days of quiet times.  Stay tuned...

Our fall Bible Study book.  Highly recommend!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Let's all SERVE

As I pondered how to serve Christ this Christmas season and think less about self I read this great article.  This is now a goal of mine!

Last week I was well-served by an outstanding medical team.

Over a dozen people at the Billings Clinic pooled their training and talents to repair a small hernia in my abdomen. From beginning to end, they cared for me with the utmost in professional skill and personal attention.

As a result, I’m mending quickly, with no infection, little residual pain, and an even greater respect for the men and women who serve in our medical community.

As Corlette drove me to the hospital at 5:30 am, I prayed that the Lord would not only make the surgery successful but also give me grace to bless the people who would soon be caring for me. In particular, I asked him to enable me to live out the SERVE principle with each person I encountered that day.
  • Smile
  • Explore and empathize (show interest and compassion)
  • Reconcile
  • Value (express appreciation and admiration)
  • Encourage (put wind under their wings)
From the receptionist to the surgeon, I made it a point to greet each member of the team with a big smile and a cheerful “Good morning!” Everyone smiled warmly in return. Sometimes I had time to add, “Thank you for getting up so early today to take care of me,” which usually triggered  a chuckle and opened the way for conversation.

Exploring people’s lives takes so little effort and yet it’s so rewarding. “How long have you worked at the Clinic?” “What do you like most about your job?” “How many patients do you serve in a day?” “Why did you choose to be a surgical nurse?” “How do you feel after a successful operation?” “How can I make your job easier today?”

It’s amazing how much you can learn about people by showing just a little interest in their lives.

I love to tease, so when the technicians and nurses asked their long lists of standard questions, I looked for opportunities to catch them off guard. “Have you had anything to drink this morning?” “No, but someone promised me a coffee IV.” “Have you had any problems with choking lately?” “No, I haven’t done anything to provoke my wife that badly for months.”

Medical workers have trained long and hard for their careers, so they appreciate it when someone values their expertise. Whenever time permitted I asked members of the team to explain various processes and equipment. They seemed to genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge, which gave me more opportunities to learn about their work and express admiration for what they do.

Of course there is no substitute for saying thank you over and over again. To the aide who wheeled me from room to room. To the nurse who inserted an IV so painlessly. To the anesthesiologist who explained every step in my sedation. To the surgeon who opened and closed me so flawlessly. And, most of all, to my lovely wife, who was watching over me throughout the process and has thoroughly pampered me ever since.

All of these people served me with exceptional care, and I’m glad God gave me the opportunity to encourage them just a little bit in return.

You can do the same with the many people you encounter during the holidays. Whether you’re visiting your doctor or enjoying a family dinner, a company party, or a shopping trip to the mall, you can personally and warmly engage every person you meet.

Memorize the SERVE acrostic. It’s so simple. And just before you walk through the door to any engagement, pray, “God help me to serve every person I meet, to show a genuine interest in their lives, to value who they are and what they do, and to be used by you to encourage them in a way that puts wind under their wings.”

- Ken Sande

Reflection Questions:
  • Who is one of the most encouraging persons you know? What is it that makes him or her so pleasant to be around? What qualities can you imitate to encourage the people you meet in the days ahead?
  • Why are many people in need of special encouragement during the holidays? How could God use you to bless them?
  • How can you turn a casual conversation into an opportunity to talk about the real meaning of Christmas?
  • Memorize the SERVE principle and practice it in every social setting. You'll be surprised how quickly it becomes a relationship-building habit.
Let's all SERVE!!


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