Blog # 47 February 24, 2018
A THERAPEUTIC SUNDAY
Those that are close to me, as well as many of my friends, know that I am having a challenging time adjusting to retiring from pastoral ministry after 56 years. While it is very true I will always be a preacher of the gospel of my Lord, and will cherish every opportunity I have to preach, I have no plans to be a pastor again. Of course my Lord could change that if He so chooses, and I would obey His call.Coming next week:
My pastoral ministry has been a romance for Bess and me as we have pastored across America. Bess gave up her career as a public school teacher early in our ministry to become a full time pastor’s wife. I am sure you can understand what I am about to say. Our retirement would be much more comfortable had she continued teaching English in high school. However, we have no regrets, because our Lord is supplying all our needs. Everyone that knows Bess will agree that she gave her all to every congregation we have served. As a matter of fact, all of them have said, “Bess is the best pastor’s wife they have known.” Without reservation I have always agreed. As for me, it has always been a thrill to be called “Pastor,” much more than “brother,” or “reverend,” or “doctor” since 1978. I have said all of this to lead up to the main message of this blog.
Since our retirement from Lake Gibson Church last spring, last Sunday, February 18 was the most therapeutic Sunday we have experienced. Two wonderful things happened that really encouraged and inspired us. I will try to explain the best I can.
Bess and I attended the first of two Sunday morning worship services of the Florida Holiness Camp Meeting here in Lakeland that dates back to 1923. It really was a beautiful experience for both of us. The large crowd in the big tabernacle greeted, received and welcomed us royally. Of course we did not count, but it seemed like dozens, thanking us for our presence there, and our ministry at Lake Gibson through the years. Many of them have attended our services, and graciously let me know how much they miss us and my preaching.When hundreds of them have returned to their homes up north they watch the Lake Gibson services through the internet by live streaming television. Many of them have been regular worshipers at Lake Gibson through this amazing outreach ministry, thanks to Duane Kendall, our webmaster from California. When the president of the camp meeting, Rev. Allison, began the service, he introduced us and had us to stand, calling me a legend in Lakeland. Of course we were overwhelmed with this warm and kind recognition.
Sunday evening Bess and I went to see and hear our dear friends, the Collingsworth family at Victory Church here in Lakeland. As we were walking from our car to enter the building, people we did not know started coming to greet us. They told us how much we are missed at Lake Gibson and on the internet live streaming the services Saturdays and Sundays. Even after we entered the building people continued to greet us, expressing their appreciation for our ministry. The trend continued after we entered the worship center waiting for the service to begin. Once again most of these were people we did not know, but knew us from the Lake Gibson services and through the internet.
Since there were around 2,000 people in attendance, we had to sit in the balcony, One lady came over to greet us and kissed me on the check. As we were coming down the steps to the big lobby after the service, people saw us and started coming to where we were. A big number of these people were Canadians that watch Lake Gibson services when they are back home. My heart was tremendously warmed as I heard their expressions of love and appreciation for my ministry. Story after story made me very grateful once again for Lake Gibson’s internet ministry and for our webmaster Duane Kendall. One man told me how he was healed when he came to a service with a major back problem. He came to me after the service to ask for my prayers, When I said, “Let me pray for you here,” I placed my thumb on the spot on his back giving him trouble. He said he felt a warm sensation flowing through him and later discovered he was totally healed. He said he was so excited to see me and give his testimony that the back pain has never returned. We rejoiced together. I soon discovered we were fast becoming the only ones left in the building and left rejoicing over an evening to remember. By the way, we never did get to visit with the Collingsworth family. They had already left the building.
Friends are wonderful!
Blog # 46 February 16, 2018
ONE PLUS GOD ALWAYS MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Judges chapter 6 records one of the most amazing happenings in the history of mankind. It is the story of Gideon. He is one of my favorite personalities in all of God’s Word. The author of Judges, who is unknown, tells us Gideon was the least in his father’s house. As the incredible story in Judges unfolds, God is calling Gideon to save Israel from the oppression of the Midianites. God is saying to Gideon, “I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
Nowhere in the Word of God can we find a better basis to prove the value of one plus God. Gideon’s sword plus the sword of God...Gideon plus God...one plus God. What an army! It is just another way of saying, if God be for us, who can be against us! One plus God makes the difference in any situation or circumstance!
The value of one is illustrated in the Bible. Noah was just one, but his life was an unmuddied stream in an ocean of iniquity. Joseph was just one, but he brought deliverance to a world in a great famine. Moses was just one, but with his rod seas divided and a nation was born in one night. Paul was just one, but he rocked the old world with the message of Jesus Christ. It is a fact, one plus God has always made the difference through the centuries of time! Gideon plus God...You plus God. What a team!
As an old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Finally catching up with the youth, he asked why he was doing this. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun. “But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish,” the old man countered. “How can your effort make any difference?” The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves. “It makes a difference to this one,” he said.
You plus God will always make a difference in your life! You have the opportunity to prove it.
Blog # 45 February 9, 2018
The Lake Gibson story
In September of 1998 my wonderful friend and favorite district superintendent, Dr. Gene Fuller, called me to consider and pray about taking the pastorate at Lakeland Lake Gibson Church. After a special meeting with the church board, the Holy Spirit gave me a clear signal to be receptive to a call to become the pastor should the board and congregational vote be acceptable. The vote was very positive and overwhelming. It left me with a major decision. In my time of prayer and struggle to find God’s will for Bess and me, and for the church, the human element entered. I had to face the facts of a church in decline; a major financial challenge; a smaller congregation and a cut in salary. During the decision process, God really impacted me with an unmistakable, powerful mandate to accept the call to become the pastor of Lake Gibson.
The first Sunday for Bess and me at Lake Gibson was November 15, 1998. Prior to that beginning Sunday, I had challenged the board and congregation to reach out to former members, former attendees and friends, inviting them to be present for this special event. Bess and I had a lot of friends in the area since we had had a 10 year miracle pastorate in Winter Haven. With my daily weekday radio ministry of “Exciting Life” on WTWB in Auburndale, and the one hour “Sunday Song Time” on WPCV in Lakeland, I was well known.
We invited a great number to be present for our first Sunday. As I am now having a “flashback” on that day, I am seeing in my mind’s eye the people coming. It really was a sight to behold! The people came, and kept coming! Bess and I, standing at the East outside entrance to the church, kept greeting. We had over 50 people we had invited to attend this event, and we were off and running!
I began preparing for our first Sunday before we moved to Lakeland from Melbourne. Lake Gibson didn’t have a pianist, organist or a worship leader, so I had to recruit. My friend, Bill Hall, along with his pianist, Marlin Nichols, and organist Evelyn Fuller, wife of the district superintendent, came to help us have a good beginning. After that first Sunday, Bill Hall commited to be the worship leader for one year and Marlin is in his 20th year on the piano. Sharon Beeman became the organist on our second Sunday. Recently she has had to give up her ministry due to health challenges. Bess became the leader of a small choir of 10 to 12 since Bill Hall was not a choir person, I have always believed you can’t build a great church without excellent music, and we really did have wonderful music, but a new day was coming when Lake Gibson would become known as Lakeland’s singing church.
Three big events happened that inspired a growth explosion:
An annual Winter Crusade of Music and the Word
The beginning of “Saturday Nights In Lakeland” with the Florida Boys in January of 1999 brought in a great number of people
The worship center had to be expanded with 400 more seats to accomodate the large crowds.
More exciting growth happened as dropouts returned, and people started coming from all denominational backgrounds. The religion editor of the Lakeland Ledger newspaper became a good friend. He featured the church in a tremendous story entitled, “A Healing Church,” with colored pictures of people interviewed, a large worship center crowd, and me greeting people at the door. As a result, larger numbers of people started attending.
A major key to Lake Gibson is dedicated, loving, caring and compassionate laymen. In my 19 years as pastor the spirit of unity and harmony has prevailed. In the very beginning days of my pastorate at Lake Gibson, I was forced to take action against an ungodly spirit of a small group, the power structure of the church at that time. It involved two leaders and the biggest giver in the church that protested by walking out of a Sunday morning service when a special singer came to the platform to sing. When the singer finished, the group came back in. After the service, I told them their spirit was ungodly, and I could not tolerate it. As a result, all of them left the church along with their finances. My Lord and Dr. Fuller, the district superintendent, honored my stand, and the church rolled on with a wonderful unifying spirit. Every church board meeting through the years has been characterized with a sweet harmonious spirit of unity. Therefore, this blog is featuring and honoring all the great laymen that kept the spirit of unity, love and harmony alive in my 19 years. All of you are wonderful! You made it a joy and delight to be called your pastor. I will always love you!
Remembering the romance of being a pastor!
BLOG # 44 . February 3, 2018
REVIVALS STILL HAPPEN!
(A detour from my series on great laymen in my churches)
Twenty years ago, after arriving as the new pastor of Lake Gibson Church in November of 1998, I began the revival crusade series. I did the preaching and my friends, the Envoys from Charlotte, did the singing. We had ministered together in other places. It was a great way to begin my ministry in Lakeland. The response was tremendous, with good crowds and a large number of people seeking God at the altars. The revival fires from that first crusade gave us a wonderful foundation for our ministry at Lake Gibson.
Bess and I have been privileged to attend the 20th crusade as church members and not pastors. I must admit it was a major adjustment for us. However, the revival experience was wonderful! We still believe in revivals! The ministry of Dr. Jim Diehl and Triumphant Quartet was anointed by the Holy Spirit. This was the second time this team has ministered together in the crusade series.
Looking back on 20 years of crusades, I am remembering the preachers and the singers that have ministered at Lake Gibson. The preachers include Crawford Howe, Ted Lee, Jack Eyestone, Stan Tolor, Kip Laxson, serveral times and Jim Diehl several times. The Envoys, the Pfeifers, Wally and Ginger Laxson, the Browns, the Collingsworth family several times and Triumphant Quartet four times, make up the singers through the years. A wonderful crusade choir has been a feature since Darrel Gash arrived 19 years ago as music and worship leader. The crowds have been outstanding, and the victories without number!
It is with sadness that I am forced to admit that time has really made a change. It is a fact, very few churches have revivals in these last days. I cannot name another one in Lakeland or in Florida. I wonder what would happen if churches would schedule revival meetings once again and pray heaven and earth together. I really do know the answer.
Send a great revival in my soul!
Blog # 43 . January 26, 2018
One of the coldest days I can remember was in March of 1994. At zero degrees and the wind chill at 20 below, It was a brutal time helping to load our furniture in the truck in the move to Melbourne, Florida. As snow and ice covered the ground, we were able to survive by thinking about the warm sunshine of Florida. The big negative about living in the midwest was the endless days from November to May without very much sunshine. We had never lived in that climate, so it was a major adjustment for us.
Melbourne First Church offered another opportunity for the ministry of restoration. Jody and Jane Poston and their two boys moved with us to become ministers of music and worship. The church is located on Babcock, a major 4 lane avenue through the city, next to Florida Tech University. The church has very good facilities with a beautiful worship center. Some wonderful laymen were in leadership roles with a vision for growth. Mike Spencer was a very good Sunday school superintendent, and Marsha, his wife was tremendous with the children. Sue Price was an outstanding world missions director. Jessie Propst and Bob Shoff were key leaders in the ministries of the church.
A major outreach of the church was the Parade of Pianos, a brain child of Jody Postin. 10 pianos with musicians were the feature in an exciting God and Country concert unlike anything we had ever attempted. There were two levels of pianos with five on a second level and five on a lower level. It became the talk of the area and drew record breaking crowds.
After almost five years in Melbourne, I was asked by my district superintendent friend, Gene Fuller, to consider the challenge of restoration at Lake Gibson Church in Lakeland. I was given the strongest mandate by the Holy Spirit to accept the challenge. Bess and I began our ministry in Lakeland on November 15, 1998, and the rest is history.
I really wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now!
Blog # 42 . January 19, 2018
This is a detour from my series on great laymen.
IT IS A HAPPY TIME FOR BESS AND ME!
Our son Chuck, Charles Jr., and my former secretary, Kaye Simpson, are being married Friday January 19. It is my honor to lead them through the marriage ceremony. It really is a happy time!
Through God’s providence He has led them to this exciting time in their lives. Kaye was my secretary for over 16 years at Lake Gibson Church. I have had wonderful secretarys through the years, but none like Kaye. It didn’t take her long to learn how I wanted things done in the office and church. She ran the church administrative offices with a very professional and effective ministry. As I have said before, she learned to think like I thought, and could make decisions like I would make. After the passing of Tom, her husband over a year ago, I never dreamed there would be a possibility of Kaye becoming my daughter in law. However, it is happening, and I could not be any happier! I really do believe it is a providential act of God in bringing Chuck and Kaye together and to the marriage altar.
The spiritual growth of Chuck is making me a proud and grateful dad. Bess and I have prayed for God to give him a wonderful Christian wife, and our prayers are being answered. We have never seen him as happy as he is presently. I can say the same for Kaye. Both of them are being transformed together, and it is a beautiful sight!
In grateful praise and thanksgiving,
Blog # 41 . January 12, 2018
Indianapolis First Church story
After 10 glorious years at Winter Haven, the First Nazarene Church at Indianapolis gave me a call to be their pastor. It offered a great challenge of stopping a slow decline and leading the church in relocating the congregation to 25 acres of property on Interstate 70 at the edge of the city of Indianapolis. As I have looked back on this period of time in my ministry, I have concluded several times what I really needed was not a new challenge but a sabbatical. The challenge continued to be tremendous for me in Winter Haven. However, after 10 years of a non-stop ministry of dynamic growth, buying properties, building buildings and two years dealing with the attempted murder of my secretary in the church equipment room, I was totally “wiped out” mentally, emotionally and physically. My dear friend and district superintendent, Gene Fuller, told me later he should have insisted that the congregation give me a lengthy sabbatical to rest and recover. However, that did not happen, so I accepted the call and tremendous challenge of Indy First Church at the crossroads of America.
Bess and I began our ministry at Indy on the second Sunday of September 1990. We followed a wonderful pastoral couple, Pastor and Mrs. Bill Griffin, who had had an outstanding 28 year ministry at the church. The congregation gave us the most incredible welcome we received in all of our pastoral journeys, with several receptions in the homes of church members, in different sections of the city. It goes without saying, we really were received very well! The spirit of the people, and the atmosphere of the church services, were tremendous! It was exciting to watch the worship crowds swell every week, filling the sanctuary. The Sunday night crowds were amazing and thrilling for me to witness! The Sunday services ended with people seeking God at the altars. It was wonderful to be a part of all that our Lord was doing in a historic church! As a matter of fact, as I write these lines, I have had to stop and give my Lord praise for all He was doing back then!
The church was filled with outstanding and very talented laymen. The average age of the congregation back then was in the mid 30s. We had wonderful ministries for children, youth and music, with a fabulous choir, featured in a Singing Christmas Tree for many years. God helped me assemble a very good staff to minister to all ages. Ted and Patty Cox, Don and Arveda Brown, Gary and Linda Heller and Larry and Linda Spaulding were some of the key laymen that became some of my greatest supporters. Bess and I continue to cherish rich friendships with a number of other people in the church to this present time.
As I mentioned earlier, my big challenge was in the relocation process of the church to the 25 acres on Interstate 70. When I discovered that the congregation had never voted to relocate, I was amazed. It became one of the greatest challenges in all of my pastoral journey. A small group of people did not want to leave the beautiful church facility on Shortridge Road for the new location, while a large majority did. It became a big assignment for me to endeavor to bring the two groups together. God really had to help us and He did. Ground breaking day for the new church complex was an exciting event! It marked the beginning of the site work for the construction of the new building. That became my final assignment as the pastor of the First Nazarene Church of Indianapolis. Today a beautiful church complex sits on the 25 acres facing Interstate 70. When Bess and I have been back to preach at the church, the people have been very kind and gracious to us. Many of them have said, “We have this building because of your ministry here.” Bess and I give our Lord praise and thanks for all the ways He helped us during our time at Indy. As the Happy Goodmans made famous their most popular song, “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now!”
It is a fact, the past journey for Bess and me has been tremendous, but the best is yet to come!
Blog # 40 JANUARY 5, 2018
Part two about
The growth of the Winter Haven church was an incredible experience to witness! As a matter of fact, it was beyond my expectation. Through God’s providence, the Winter Haven News Chief, the local daily newspaper, became a great friend to me. They wrote about our growth, and named us the fastest growing church in the Winter Haven area. People were coming from all denominational backgrounds. We not only were known as the First Nazarene Church, but the Holy Spirit inspired me to expand the name to Winter Haven’s Inspiration Center. This really helped to attract more people to the church.
God had blessed me greatly with church growth in my other pastorates prior to Winter Haven, but none like I was now experiencing. It was an exciting, challenging, and also very overwhelming time for me. In my times of study, preparation, and planning, one day the Holy Spirit reminded me that Jesus had an inner circle with Peter, James and John. He inspired me to use this example and to choose three dedicated and committed laymen to help me dream and plan the future for the church. By the way, this was the first and only time I had an “inner circle” in all of my pastoral journey. I never made the names of these laymen known to the congregation. As a matter of fact, this is the first time they have ever been published.
With the help of my Lord, I chose Claude Ray, Hank Shell and Charles Davis, and they responded to my challenge.
The dreams and plans of these three dedicated laymen inspired the formation of the “Overstreet Six” group of six men. Since the church had outgrown the land and space it owned, more land was needed for expansion and growth. However, the church did not have the money to make it happen. “Overstreet Six” came to our rescue, and bought Riddle Printing building, Winter Haven Taxi building, Winter Haven Transmission building, Winter Haven Storage building and several houses. Earlier another miracle helped the church to purchase the Winter Haven Arts building for parking for the second worship center building. Now the church was primed and ready for another great miracle.
The tremendous growth that continued inspired my inner circle of three men to really think big and take a hugh leap of faith. We presented the challenge of a 2,000 seat worship center to the congregation, and they responded with a tremendous unified vote. In March of 1986 we celebrated crossing over from the second center worship to the third. The first Sunday with 2,000 seats was an exciting day! Dignitaries from the city and district joined the great crowd in celebration. At that service Judge Charles David announced that the church board had met secretly , unknown to me, and voted to name worship center number two Kirby Family Life Center. What an honor it was for Bess and me!
Since I am looking back with this blog, I am reminded of an outstanding, unified and dedicated body of wonderful people. I could name them all, and not just a few. Bess and I cherish these 10 wonderful years of precious memories. On our last Sunday in August of 1980, the editor of the Winter Haven News Chief paper named the day, “Charles Kirby Day In Winter Haven.” All I can say is to "God be the glory, great things He has done"!
I wish for all of you a wonderful 2018, This just could be the year our Lord returns! Are you ready?
Blog # 47 February 24, 2018
FUNCTION WITH UNCTION
( Part 3 of 3 )
Life brings a lot of twists and turns on our journey...a lot of unexpected stuff. Some things shake us to the foundation. (I’m glad my house is built on a solid foundation.) Sometimes we are lower than a snake’s belly. Well, children of the King, we can’t stay there. We have within us the power to get up and get going. It may take some grit and determination on our part; but, never underestimate God’s miraculous power working in us to bring the victory. “Everyday is a victory day when you put it in the hands of the Lord”...a line from a chorus I use to sing.
Here are the last eleven spiritual vitamin pills, making a total of 31; so that, should you decide to print these; you would have one for every day of the month. There’s nothing better than God’s Word, His promises, to make a life turn around; to make a life abound; to make us function with unction!
1. Eph.6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
2. Believe the Word; Believe God’s power; have faith. Eph. 6:16, “Keep the shield of faith with you to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
3. “I’ve got confidence; God’s gonna’ see me through. No matter what the case may be, God’s gonna’ fix it for me.” This powerful song was sung by the Downings many years ago. Phil.1:6 reminds us of our confidence, “being confident of this very thing that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
4. Hebrews 10:35,36 speaks to us about keeping on keeping on. “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward...so that after...you may receive the promise.”
5. Success requires diligence and discipline. No discipline seems joyful, but afterwards yields the successful fruit, brings the reward, so Hebrews 12:11 records.
6. Psalm 120:1 admonishes us to call on the Lord in our distress. “In my distress I cried to the Lord and He heard me.” You can count on Jesus. He hears and answers our prayers.
7. With every success, every victory, praise the Lord. Even praise Him before the victory, while in the valley of despair. So many of the Psalms begin with “Praise the Lord.” (Ps 111,112,113) Psalm 116:1,2 says “I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.”
8. “Pray without ceasing,” “Ask & ye shall receive.” Nothing is too difficult for Him.
9. Matt. 6:34a, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things…” The Collingsworth Family sings a song that I love; FEAR NOT TOMORROW. I’m not sure what you are going through, but God is already in your tomorrows. He will take care of you. Remember what Karen Peck tells us. When He’s 4 days late He’s still on time. Mark 5:36 tells us “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
10. Keep hope alive. Is. 49:23 tells us that God has promised those who hope in Him will not be disappointed.
11. Make your faith great. Have great faith. Jesus spoke an awesome Word to the Syrophoenician woman. He said in Matt. 15:28, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. He is no respecter of persons; man or woman with great faith can see mountains moved.
Oh God, I want to function with unction!
Blog # 46 February 16, 2018
KEEP PUTTING ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER!
(Part 2 of Spiritual Vitamin Pills)
Life is full of challenges. Often we get down in the dumps! But, it’s time to get up. Shake off defeat and pessimism! You can make it. So can I. God provided everything we need to make it...to thrive...and to live abundantly. So, now get up! God is good all the time.
1. Let’s begin by giving Thanks. Ps. 106:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.” Realizing our blessings, goes a long way to joy. If you want joy, real joy, get on God’s glory train!!!
2. Live, Laugh, Love. Enjoy the day. Sing praises. God inhabits the praise of His people. John 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.”
3. Think on this. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
4. How about this powerful Word? “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
5. Ok now, no excuses! His Word says, “Call unto me and I WILL answer and show you great and mighty things." WOW! What more do you need?
6. “Lead us (me) not into temptation, but deliver us (me) from evil.”
7. “Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” Oh my! Oh my!
8. “If you can believe, all things are possible.” Hey, rejoice! We can climb every mountain! Nothing is impossible when you put your trust in God.
9. “Be strong and courageous,” Joshua 1:6,7, & 9 state clearly.
10. Pray every day. Phil. 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Remember always, thanks is a good thing.
Hopefully, these 10 “pick me ups” have gotten you moving to a brighter day, a happier time, a productive season and a successful victory over your enemy. There are 2 things I know:
1. Jesus does not want us down and out (Why are you downcast?) and
2. We do not want to be downcast. It’s a lot more enjoyable, productive, and influential to live in the sunshine.
I’m getting up! How about you?
Blog # 45 FEBRUARY 10, 2018
Life is full of difficulties. And often, we get down in the dumps. Well, we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps! Does that saying ring a bell??? What about pulling ourselves up by using our minds, thinking on whatever is praiseworthy? (Phil. 4:8) I used to sing a little chorus about being on the happy side of life.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I’m hoping to print 31 of what I might call “Spiritual Vitamin Pills,” one for each day of the month. However, not all 31 in this blog; 10 now, 10 on Feb. 17, and 10 on Feb. 24. This idea came to me when our precious son was calling daily for a powerful Word. Here I go!!!1. Feeling down? Well, don’t forget...Remember that God is with you through thick and thin. He said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
So until next week, I’m climbing...on my way to the top! Bess
Blog # 44 FEBRUARY 3, 2018
A TRIBUTE TO MY FRIENDS
I am so blessed. I have a “million” friends!!! Well, not exactly sure of the number. All types of friends; shopping friends, decorating friends, neighbor friends, church friends, business friends, family friends, Christian friends, music friends, teacher friends, and on and on it goes; but, my best friend is Jesus.
“I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God. I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood; joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod. For I’m part of the family, the family of God.”
This popular song written by Bill and Gloria Gaither has been sung by thousands. How about millions???
I call my friends, Special People. Here’s what I think of them.
There are some people who stand out among the crowd, not because of
Their high-ranking position,
Nor their friendships,
But because of their heart.
You are one of these people who stand out among the crowd, because of
Your heart of thanksgiving,
Your heart of compassion,
Your heart of caring,
Your heart of sharing,
Your heart of love and devotion to God,
And yes, because of your overflowing heart.
This is my tribute to you. Because of your giving life, because you give, many are blessed. So may God’s bountiful grace, mercy and blessings, bring great joy to you and yours. Thank you for your kind and loving friendship. We never travel this journey alone, earthly friends come along side of us; and, Jesus, our greatest Friend, never leaves us alone, but always walks with us.
Blog # 43 . January 26, 2018
Saturday, January 27, 2018 begins the winter crusade of Music and the Word at Lake Gibson Church. It runs through Wednesday, January 31. There are so many exciting things about this crusade/revival! One, the workers are some of the very best; Dr. Jim Diehl, the evangelist; Triumphant Quartet, the singers...plus the outstanding church choir. Two, the crusades have been live streamed for many years...and so, you, out there somewhere, can view it online . And three, the Spirit of God is always present. That’s the crown jewel of the meetings.
So, because our world is in a mess; because our nation and our society is so in need of revival, renewal, and awakening, I’m praying… “Revive us again; fill each heart with Thy love. May each soul be rekindled with fire from above...and please, send a great revival in my soul”. May many be saved during these series of services.
This song of St. Francis of Assisi is my prayer.
“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console, to be understood, as to understand, to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying, that we are born to eternal life!” Amen.
Crying out to Jesus for help and hope for us all,
Blog # 42 . January 19, 2018
Every couple has their personal wedding date. Charles and mine was August 19, 1960. As you can tell, we’ve travelled many miles together, always strengthened by God’s almighty hand. As we look back over our years, we can truthfully say; we have had a wonderful life. And the joyful journey continues.
God ordained marriage; that is, one man for one woman. Gen. 1:27 says
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”
He first made the man Adam; then, the woman, Eve, and the two became one flesh in marriage. Gen. 2:24 says,
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Well, we are happy to declare the merger, the union, the marriage of our wonderful and loving son, Charles Jr., and his precious and sweet wife, Kaye, to you on this January 19, 2018. They tied the knot tonight. The private ceremony took place among family at the altar of Lake Gibson Church and of course, his Dad performed the ceremony. A little later, a public reception was held in the fellowship hall of the church.
I tried to find the lyrics to wedding songs that I would have remembered, like “Because of You” and “I love you truly," but couldn’t find them on “google.” But I found a portion of this love song in my collection of music; don’t know the author, and, maybe Chuck and Kaye saw in each other what these words say.
“ You are the promised kiss of springtime that makes the lonely winter seem long. You are the breathless hush of evening that trembles on the brink of a lovely song. You are the angel glow that lights a star. The dearest things I know are what you are. Someday my happy arms will hold you, and someday I’ll know that moment divine, when all the things you are, are mine.”
And so, the Bride and Groom have started their journey! We wish them well! Matthew 19:6b says, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
I’m still loving this man of mine!!!
Blog # 41 . January 12, 2018
We Kirbys have been so blessed with righteous forefathers. No one can take that away from the descendants of the Pearson/Kirby union. While I spoke last week primarily about the Pearson Family line, we have a rich heritage on the Morgan/Saxon line, the Kirby line, and the Bell line. Those descendants of ours who are outside the fold, must come on in and claim their inheritance, that is, their spiritual heritage, the solid promises of God.
The Morgan/Saxon line on my Mother’s side was filled with faithful, stalwart, and passionate Christians. My home church in Houston, MS was named in honor of this side of the family and the service rendered to God and His church by them. My home church was named “Saxon Memorial Church of the Nazarene. On a side note, the little boy sitting at the sign is our son, Chuck; the little girl was my sister’s daughter, Angela, Chuck’s cousin.
The Kirby and Bell Family trees are filled with hard working, dedicated, loyal servants of God.
Charles’ Dad would work all day; then go straight to the church property in Jackson, TN, to help his pastor build the church, laying concrete blocks. He was also involved in the music, leading hymns when needed. He also played the guitar; while, Charles’ Mom played the accordian. Mrs. Kirby was famous for her good cooking, and feeding the pastor and/or evangelist on Sundays. “Faithful” is the Kirby/Bell name!
Let me re-phrase a paragraph from last week’s blog. The world didn’t give all these shouting grandmothers & faithful grandfathers an inheritance among the sanctified; and, the world can’t take it away. Neither did the world give the continuing generations the inheritance among the sanctified; and the world can’t take it away. The death of these saints (young or old) does not (will not) annul the promises of God. God’s promises are for all who call on His name and are saved by grace through faith because of the shed blood of Jesus, who paid the ransom for sins.
How can we ever thank God enough for the plan of salvation; and, that it is for who ever wants it? He included you; He included me. Wow! We have a rich inheritance in Christ. Praise His Name! How can we ever thank God enough for Christian Parents and Grandparents? We are blessed; so blessed.
Thanking God for my Christian Heritage,
Blog # 40 JANUARY 5, 2018
I want my children and grandchildren to know of their inheritance...spiritual, that is. That’s why I loved recording in a Pictorial Family Directory in 2011 (along with Kaye’s help), our family tree, beginning with my Dad’s parents, my grandparents, Edd and Mattie Pearson. It was my grandmother, who raised 10 children, a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, who started a Sunday School in her home in the country that would eventually lead to a full-fledged church, organized on May 14, 1939, named Pearson’s Chapel. It was a Church of the Nazarene denomination; and, it is still going strong 78 years later in a beautiful new church building. Charles and I were there this past August, as we celebrated our Pearson Family Reunion.
Our wonderful devotional this morning reminded me of “what the world didn’t give me and what the world can’t take away”...family inheritance, family heritage, the promises of God. WOW!!! The covenant made to Abraham was renewed to his children. The death of Abraham did not dis-annul the promise of God. Nor the death of my Pearson grandmother, nor my mother, nor me, will affect the spiritual heritage, legacy, inheritance, or promises of God for my children. Great is His Faithfulness.
Enjoying these thoughts prompted me to hurry to my box that housed my family reunion “stuff”, and pull our the program I put together up in the mountains last spring as I prepared for another reunion. A picture of our family tree with grandparents, then the ten children ( My Dad’s name was Gus), on to the Grandchildren, Great Grands, Great, great Grands, and Generations to come. Included in the program were 2 great hymns, HOW GREAT THOU ART and GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS.
My challenge today for those who read this blog is that when you read God’s promises, you would be encouraged to know they don’t pass away; that God’s Word is true from cover to cover; that what God promises, He will perform; that the promises of God are for you, your children and for generations to come. Take this promise, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Phil. 4:19, and meditate on it and praise God for His everlasting promises.
Standing on the Promises,