I recently read a story that caught my attention titled “Toilets with transparent walls installed in two Tokyo parks.” Well, that got my attention. It seems that in Tokyo there are public restrooms that have been designed by Shigeru Ban Architects that feature public restrooms with transparent walls. The idea behind them is that the person can see inside of them quickly to see if they are clean. It allows the park where they are installed to see if they need attention without going inside them. They say that two things that people worry about in using public restrooms is first cleanliness and the second thing people worry about is if anyone is inside. The transparent walls allow a person to determine both without going inside. The article says that at night the bathroom lights up, like a “beautiful lantern,” making it the envy of the park. Sounds beautiful, but I am sure you may be wondering but how do I…… you know? Once inside when the door is locked the transparent walls become opaque or frosted.
Sounds like a good idea, it does accomplish all of plans but it did require them to think outside the box. Today we live in a world, in which we all must think outside the box. The Coronavirus has challenged us in every area of our lives, and I guess in this case, even in private areas of our lives. Church is no exception. We have had to reevaluate how we do everything. That includes wearing masks, how we have bathrooms available, when to have Sunday School, whether to eat meals and how-to social distance. All of these things have required us to at times, think outside the box.
The Bible teaches us that it is ok, to try new things and to learn to think outside the box, however it does not mean we need to move away from our foundation, the Lord and His Word. James teaches us that when we face difficulties we should know what to do.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5) (NIV)
Thinking outside the box, has also allowed us to try some NEW things. These include going to two worship services, to allow for social distancing, fixing our classrooms differently and even moving some of our classes to new rooms. As a church, we need to still function, but it maybe we just have to function differently than we have in the past. This month, we plan on still having our Back to Church Bash but it may just be a little different. The function is still the same-invite people to church-get back into the habit of coming and to find a Sunday School class to join and to worship the Lord. This year our Back to Church Bash is scheduled for September 13th. However, this year it will look different with two worship services one at 8:15 and one at 10:45 with Sunday School at 9:30- it just means that some of those who come to the 8:15 may need to come back for our meal! Yes I said MEAL! While the past has always had a meal, we have not been able to have a meal because of the Coronavirus for some time. We WILL have a meal and while the function is the same, the method will be a little different.
We are planning on having all the cooking done by a very limited group, and the all the food will be served, to eliminate any possible contamination but it will still be a great meal and even greater fellowship. Our church has not been able to have a fellowship in some time and I believe it is time for us to begin to gather again as a family- with all the safety protocols in place.
I am looking forward to us beginning to be a church family again and I believe that we may look a little different our church will be the “beautiful lantern” on a hill. If you have not been with us in a while, I hope you will consider to come back and begin to see what God has in store for us, because after all God is still in control.
Enough. Sometimes I feel like I'm not...enough. Do you ever feel that way? Like you don't measure up...to the standards, whatever those standards are... I'm not a good enough wife, mother, friend, employee, Christian...just...not...enough. Do YOU ever feel that way?
When I feel this way, God reminds me of a few things and I'm thankful He does. First, He reminds me that only HE sets the standards. In 1 Samuel 16:7 God tells us his standards: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Saul had been the "people's choice," tall and handsome, the picture of success. God let the people have their choice and it didn't end well. God's choice was David, a scruffy boy with loads of issues but a heart for God. When I feel I'm not enough I need to remember that God's standards are so much different than the world's standards or even people's standards...and only HE decides how I measure up.
Second, He reminds me that His is the only measuring that counts. The header of my personal Facebook page says, "If their name isn't God, then their opinion shouldn't matter so much." God sets the standards and God decides how we are measured by those standards. But God has a really weird measuring stick. Called Grace. You see, God knows we CAN NOT measure up...we can never be ENOUGH. So, He sent His Son, Jesus to measure up for us by sacrificing His life on the cross. Paul explains this in 1 Corinthians 12:9-10, "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
So, it the world's accounting, in human accounting, even in my own feeble eyes, I am often not enough. But I need to remember that all of those measuring sticks are imperfect and false compared to the God of the universe. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Sometimes I feel like I'm not enough, but God defines me in a much more specific way. God calls me HIS.
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, who holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.”
One month. It’s been one month since my mother went to be with Jesus. One month ago I was sitting in a funeral home planning her funeral, deciding on pallbearers, picking out flower arrangements, writing down what I was going to say and picking out songs to sing for the service. Back in February her and I were picking out songs for her mom, my grandmothers, funeral. I remember back then, sending my mom a text jokingly asking her to tell me which songs she wanted played at her funeral, when the time came. I had no idea it would be her turn 5 months later.
As I began to pray and seek God to show me the songs to sing at her funeral, this song immediately came to me. It was one that I know she loved. Growing up in a Hispanic Baptist church, we sang this song often, “Por que El vive.” I remember my mom repeating the lyrics to herself often, as she battled cancer 12 years ago.
My mom clung to these words. She knew that God was bigger than the cancer within her. She knew that all her fears would vanquish because God was on her side. Regardless of the outcome of cancer, she lived life to the fullest. Praise God that she was given another 12 years after cancer. My family and I were very blessed to have such a godly women looking after us, praying for us and encouraging us.
Now as face one of my biggest fears ever, living life without her, I sing these words to myself now. I love the first line of this song, but in Spanish, “Por que El Vive, triunfare mañana.” Triunfare means triumph. Because Jesus lives, I can triumph over tomorrow. Whatever life throws at me, whatever obstacle comes my way, whatever fears I have, Jesus triumphs them all, the same way He triumphed over death.
Thank you, my church family, for your prayers, your condolences, your text messages, your voicemails, your cards, your flowers, for everything. My family and I truly appreciate it all. God bless.
Please stop by our Church Library in the Dorcas classroom and see the books that were added to the collection over the summer. There are about 65 of them! Thank you very much to those who donated. There is a list of the new books in the purple folder on the desk and “New to Our Library” bookmarks in the books on the shelves. To check out a book, just enter the date, book title and your name in the spiral notebook on the desk.