December 2011


This past week, activity reigned within our small cloistered community of believers.  I cannot imagine Special Gatheirng without the many people who work every day helping to make things right.  On Saturday and Sunday, as I plan to put the pieces together for worship or parties for more than 100 people, I know that the volunteers would be leading the way making things happen.  And I’m never disappointed.

Arriving early on the days we have special events or dinners planned, they cook large dishes of food or purchase large cakes.  They twist and turn the ribbon to make bows and they straighten tablecloths.  They decorate and plan. David, Francois and Tom move tables and chairs. Trish cooks and brings my “strange” decorating ideas into reality.  Diane does everything from wash dishes to insure that every person is in their place.  Joanne transports people.  Susie and Barbara cook yummy treats. Pam brings the chicken and helps to keep the peace.   And the list goes on and on.

While I don’t always remember to thank the people who make Special Gathering a reality, I am so grateful for how they dedicate themselves to introducing our members to a loving Savior.  The way they live their lives preaches of the loving Lord whose birth we celebrate on Christmas day.

 

Today is my first morning of the unstressed Christmas 2011.  This weekend at Special Gathering we had two Happy Birthday, Jesus! parties. One in Vero and the other was in Melbourne.  Decorations, cake, chicken, a pasta casserole, tuna/macaroni salad and sandwiches were  a part of my responsibilities.

These make up the fun, yet stressful parties we have each year for the members of  Special Gathering which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  Our only goal is evangelism and discipleship.  Part of our discipleship is fellowship and that means parties.  Functioning a lot like a youth group, as we minister, we desire to teach the truths of Christ and the gospel in as many ways as possible.

I am now on vacation and spending a late, casual morning.  Other people are cooking and cleaning and stressing.  I’m loving it.

My prayer blessing for you is that your children will grow up and actually (or pretend to) like you and invite you to their home for the holiday.  I pray you will have a wonderful Christmas and be blessed without stress.  I pray that Jesus become even closer to you this year and that you will enjoy H

is presence.  I’m enjoying my Christmas.

Joseph chooses to obey God

Matthew 1:24

Central Theme:   Obeying God is what we should want to do.

Introduction–Bring a menu from a restaurant and talk about how we all have some choices to make.  But everything in our lives are not a choice.  I have to obey most of the time–speed laws, my husband, my boss.  God wants us to learn how to obey just the way Joseph did.  Have a member read Matthew 1:24.

I.     Tell about Mary and the angel and how Joseph decided to obey God.

1.  Joseph did have a choice but his choice was to obey.

2.  Obedience was an option but if he didn‘t obey he would be in big trouble.

II.     Jospeh probably did not want to obey even after the angel spoke to him.

1.  He knew his life would be changed forever.

2.  He knew that this baby would not be his.

3.  He knew that for a lifetime he would live in shame because no one would understand

III.     Obeying God may take many forms.

A. When we get ready to do our support plans, who do we want to please?

1.  Our parents or ourselves.  Do we think about pleasing God?

2.  When we are at the dance and we are with our boy/girl friend, who do we want to please ourselves, our boy/girlfriend or God?

3.  When we are at a restaurant and someone else is paying for the meal, who do we want to please ourselves or the person paying for the meal? Or do we want to please God.  The Lord pr0bably wants you to offer to pay the bill some of the time, especially if you are eating with your parents.

Conclusion–Joseph did obey because God told him to.  Everything said that he would not have a good life, if he chose to obey God.  There are times that we obey only because we know that it is what God wants.

Through collaboration with Space Coast Early Steps, Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resource System, Child & Family Consultants, Brevard Public Schools, Brevard Community College Lab School, and others, we offer you:

January 28, 2012 (Saturday) from 8:30am-12:30pm

Brevard County Public School offices in Viera
2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, FL 32940

Sharon Tolson, (FDLRS) and Dr. Joseph Werner present Neurology/Physiology for Parents and Teachers 101: how the
brain & body work together, an overview of the sensory systems and using sensory-motor input for building effective self-regulation.

This training will be open to all parents, teachers, and health care
professionals working and living with children with sensory issues,
birth to 18 years old.

Keynote speakers will be followed by three 20-minute miniworkshops
to learn specific strategies & suggestions. Participants choose 3 sessions (at early registration-only) based on availability.

Please contact BCC Lab School: 321.433.7668 or labschools@
brevardcc.edu to register.

There will be no charge if registered before January 19.  Space will be limited. If there is room, there will be a $10 charge for registrations after 2pm January 19.

CEU’s will be awarded by BCC, only to those completing training and requesting CEU’s at early registration. BPS teachers may also submit
for Training Credits.

For more information, call:
(321) 433-7668 or visit
w w w. bre v ardcc .e du/l abschool

How May I Help You? Parent-Teacher Sensory Strategies for Children’s Self-Regulation

Mini-workshops include: Feeding the “Sensory” Child • Tools for Teachers • Using Rhythm and Movement • Brain Gym • Making a Sensory SAFE place • I Love You Rituals® • Building a Sensory Diet • Self-regulation in Daily Living • & more

Today, during a pastors’ prayer meeting, one of the pastors said to me, “Linda, I believe that you are feeling upset because of the IRS audit you are facing and God wants you to know that he isn’t upset with you and that your mistakes have been forgiven.”

This man had no idea that I had been agonizing about the mistakes I had made over a two-year period on my returns.  While my husband was dying during that time, it seems unbelievable that I made so many mistakes.

Hearing this, I couldn’t help it.  I started to cry.  As a couple of the men gathered around me to pray, I felt the Lord lift a heavy “something” from my heart.  I was surprised because I couldn’t believe that it felt almost as though a physical weight had been taken from my shoulders.

Often God allows me to go through hard times to purify me and strengthen me.  Over the past weeks, I’ve felt the Lord’s hand on me; but it has not meant a release from the concerns and worries that I was carrying.

This morning in my email, I received a daily message from a businessman–turned Bible teacher.  He wrote about Hosea 2:15.  The context is Judea’s returning to the Lord.  The Lord says, “There I will give her back her vineyards, and I will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope.”  I felt that familiar stirring as the Holy Spirit made this verse real to my situation.

Later that afternoon as I left the prayer meeting, I knew the Lord had spoken to me twice.  First, early this morning and later through these godly men.  I am praying that God will work a new integrity in all the areas of my life.

Imagine the confusion of the young mother.  Nine months before, her life had been interrupted by an angel.  He said she would conceive a child and that he would be the Son of God.  He was the Messiah–king of the earth.  When her fiance had not believed her, he had been visited by an angel.

Now they were stranded in Bethlehem.  Luke’s account of the birth tells us that she and her husband, Joseph, had traveled to this small hamlet to register to pay taxes.  While they were there, it came time for her to give birth.  But there was no room.  No place to stay.  No vacancies in the inns.

I can imagine Joseph searched frantically to find a place–any place that Mary would be comfortable.  Any room off the streets and away from preying, curious eyes.  Finally, he knocked on one door and the innkeeper offered them the stable.  Joseph looked down at Mary with hope in his eyes.

She was scared and confused.  Would the king of the world, Israel’s long-awaited Messiah be born in a stable?  Joseph wondered, What could Mary say?  She had to get out of the streets, but a stable?  Homeless and weary, Joseph escorted Mary to the small structure behind the inn.  “Where will we put the baby?” Mary asked.  Her voice filled with tears and deep, strained emotion.  “There is nothing here but a manger?”

Without a word, Joseph positioned the manger close to her as she lay down on the hay.  Knowing that there was no other choice, she pleaded,  “No, Joseph, the animals lick that thing.  We can’t put the baby in there.”  The long trip and nights sleeping outside had taken its toll on this young mother.  She was bone weary and her child would come tonight.  He would be born in a stable; and she would wrap him in swaddling cloths and lay him in the manger.

For Mary, the depth of her emotions flowed from the uncertainty of the moment and the inconvenience of this place.  Her mind must have raced, What have we done wrong?  Why has this happened?  Did I sin?  Did Joseph and I sin?  What did we do to bring us to this place?  How can I allow the Messiah to be born in a stable?

Within moments, the contractions and exhaustion replaced all thoughts of place and time.  Then, as the baby was born, Mary saw the most beautiful child she could ever imagine.  Strong, healthy and as radiant as the first morning light.  Now, he consumed her thoughts and heart.  Yet, the whispers of doubt kept trying to sweep through her mind.

Then a quiet knock and several shepherds crept into the stable.  Bowed reverently, they spoke in excited whispers about the swaddling cloths.   “Beg your pardon, Ma’am,” they said with awe through their Bethlehem accents.  Slowly, they told the story of a night spent on the hilltop keeping their sheep and angels–a multitude–too many to count.  “Peace on earth.  Good will to men of God,” the angels had said.

How could Mary understand that this child had to be born in a lowly estate so that every person would know that he was like them–even in his birth.

As we minister to people with disabilities, they have questions that often cannot be answered.  But some of them can be answered.  Did God make a mistake when he made me?  Did I sin to cause my disabilities?  Did someone else sin?  Will God reject me because of how I was born?  

The Christmas promise tells us that God does not make mistakes.  Our members weren’t a mistake.  Their sin didn’t cause their intellectual disabilities.  God made them; and when they accept Jesus as their Savior, they are made perfect in God’s sight.

Confusion can be erased in the hearts of people who know the Lord, especially within our sub-culture.  God doesn’t make juke.  He makes perfection.

I read from WordPress, there are three rules for writing a successful novel.  Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

It appears there are also three rules for building a successful ministry or church.  But sadly, no one knows what they are either.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that there are no successful ministries or churches.  Because churches are growing every day.  Thriving new ministries are in almost every town in the world.

Years ago, the pastor of a very successful church in our county was invited to the ministerium to share the secret of his success.  He gave a formula with which I agreed.  He said that if you preach God’s Word, people will come and your ministry will be successful.

There was one problem, however.  I had sat under his ministry and in the churches of every man seated around that table.  Yes, he preached God’s Word.  But so did every other men gathered there.  In fact, in my opinion, he was certainly not the best expositor of the Word among the 25 pastors who were attending the meeting.  One of the best.  But not the best.

Perhaps the real rule that must be followed is to do what God has called me to do.  The second rule is let God worry about the results.  The third rule could be desperately pray for God’s anointing and His mercy and grace to poured out on His people.

Now, if I could just figure out the three rules for writing a successful novel, I could… Nah, I better stick to what God has called me.

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