A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

Changes of the Season

posted by Linda G. Howard

The Changes of the Seasons

by Shelly Demeree

We look at the meaning of spring.

We know that spring can mean that change is here.

Spring means we will have fun in the sun.

We being to feel things around us with fresh hope.

That is good.

Good to be with our family.

Good to be with our friends.

So ENJOY the feeling and changes of spring.

Michelle Demeree is a member of Melbourne Special Gathering.  She serves as a deacon and on the Board of Directors for The Special Gathering of Indian River.  Her poetry appears in several venues.

Commitment–Not Excitement

posted by Linda G. Howard

Is there a way to insure that God is working in our lives and in the lives of those people we care about?  Perhaps it is the common and mundane that accents the Christian life more than any other attribute.

When I was in my early 20’s, God suddenly started moving in the youth group that my husband and I led.  The miraculous became almost routine.  We prayed and God answered in wonderfully amazing ways.  Young men and women were changed, healed and transformed in our home.

One Friday evening, we had invited a youth choir from another church to sing for our group.  After their concert, the Holy Spirit fell on the young people.  Without any prompting, they rushed to the altar weeping and seeking God to change them. We prayed for our town, our state and our country.  Into the night, these teens prayed for each other, seeking God with an earnestness that I never witnessed in the conventional staid churches where I had been raised.  Those of us who were leading stood back.  We wondered what we should do; and yet we were afraid to do anything, except let God have his way with those young men and women.

God was merciful to let us know that we were experiencing a revival and a move of His Spirit that was unusual in its scope and influence.  Later, this time period became known as The Jesus Movement.

As wonderful as that time was, we saw some of the young people walk away from the Lord.  They saw miracles but the bobbles of the world were much more exciting for them.  Then there was Cindy, Mike, Rick, Denise and twenty others.  They came and learned quietly.  They were faithful and consistent in their commitment to the Lord.  They took study of the Scriptures seriously. They prayed without seeking the limelight.  They weren’t shoot stars but beacons of light.

During those years, I learned valuable lessons about what it means to live the Christian life.  God seems selective about when he moves in the miraculous.  He prefers to anoint daily prayers and work by small increments in our lives.  It appears that He delights in our acknowledgments of His power and majesty as we view a sunset or witness a thunder-storm.

I think I understand.  One of the great things about The Special Gathering members which is a ministry within the intellectually disabled community is that they are grateful for even the smallest favors. They relish a smile or a handshake.  They delight in Dollar Tree gifts. The spectacular is good; but it isn’t necessary to garner their approval.  As I walk into their job sites, they are thrilled to see me.

While God is able to shower miracles on anyone at anytime, it must be thrilling to Him when a child seeks Him wanting a pleasant conversation first thing in the morning.  When we simply want to crawl into his lap and rest at the end of the day, our Father must breathe with peaceful approval.  Perhaps excitement is over rated and commitment is more what warms the heart of our Lord and is the sign of real spiritual growth.

Photos:  Light from Heaven by Hossein Ghodsi and Let’s shake hands by demarsman

Living History with the #STS134

posted by Linda G. Howard

Living on the Space Coast for more than 40 years, we’ve seen the ups and downs of a community with one major industry–space.  My husband is a retired Aerospace Technologist who worked for NASA.  He was a design engineer whose design work spanned from the early days of the Saturn rockets to design and maintenance of the shuttle.

When the first shuttle, the Challenger, exploded, I was standing in the church yard with a large group of school children.  As we watched the terror of parts flying in all directions in the azure, clear sky, our cheers screeched to horrified silence.  The teachers quietly and quickly herded their students back into the classrooms.  I rushed into my office to call my husband.  It was too soon for the phones to be jammed, which would be the case within a few minutes.  Frank answered the phone, “What happened?”  I asked.

“I don’t know but I would say it was the o-rings that failed,” he told me.  “That is the only thing that makes sense.”  After months, of investigations, NASA found that the explosion was caused by a failure of the o-rings.

For more than 40 years, our dinner conversations were filled with engineering problems and design kinks.  The last thing we talked about at night was the next launch.  The first thing in the morning was the problem of the day at Kennedy Space Center.  Discussion in and out of work with engineering colleagues still means talking about the future of space and what comes next.  As odd as that may seem to others, it was normal to us.  Space was our business.  Most engineers lived and breathed exploration.

From the most active and creative minds, to the skilled worker, we were a part of one of mankind’s greatest ventures, exploring the unknowns of space travel.  Even the mentally challenged community was actively involved with space exploration.  Brevard Achievement Center, a sheltered workshop in Rockledge, Florida, held several contracts with NASA to sort and package the information that went out to school children all over the world.

Today, everything will stop to see the shuttle Endeavour fly for the last time.  For the rest of the world, drama has been added because the commander is Mark Kelly.  His wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was nearly killed a few months ago will be here.  To add to the excitement,  President Obama and his family are in the audience.

But life won’t stop for us because of the important people who are visiting our wonderful space center.  These dignitaries are not the main attraction for the women and men who have lived, eaten and breathed this adventure.  The Endeavour will be the star of this show.

And time will stop for us because it is an end of an era. As always, traffic will pull over to the side of the road.  Drivers and passengers will spill out of their cars and vans.  Restaurants will empty.  Schools yards and parking lots will be filled with squirmy children and unimpressed teenagers.  The beaches will be filled.  Like children, in unison, we will count 10, 9, 8…and shout, “Lift off.”  Every eye will be looking toward the sky.  

Living in the center of history for more than 40 years has influenced all of Brevard County residents.  We understand the impact that our life’s work will have on the future.  Because of this reality and how our lives have been lived, I’ve often wondered if the Apostle Paul had any idea the great impact his life and letters would have on the entire world.  Did he understand that God was using him to initiate the establishment of a civilization?  Could he have known that one day he would be designated as The Architect of the Church?

Can any of us know the real impact our lives are having on others?  As Brevard County brings to a halt all other activity to view this mark in history, Christian and non-Christians will be praying for a safe journey for Commander Kelly and his crew.  We understand the significance of this journey.  But do we understand the equal impact of God’s hand resting on our lives?

David Wilkerson and you

posted by Linda G. Howard

The first magazine article I wrote that was accepted by a national magazine was entitled, “David Wilkerson and Me.”  

In the piece, I chronicled how much his book, The Cross and The Switchblade had been used by God to change my life.  My husband and I had just moved to Central Florida.  I was a brand new mother when a new friend came to the hospital.  She gave me Wilkerson’s book.  Because I respected her, I read it with fascination.

To read related story of Wilkerson’s death on Wednesday, CLICK HERE

This, Wilkerson person, was a young man–only 10 year older than I–but he had something in his Christian life that I didn’t have.  Yet, I desperately wanted whatever it was that he had.  He was able to share Jesus with people on the streets or in a small crowd.  New York City gang leaders became Christians.  Drug addicts were set free by God’s power.

During my  stay in the hospital, nursing aids and orderlies came to my room to “hang out.”  This was a new experience for me.  I’m not a magnetic personality but they came and they wanted to talk.  Several of them burst into tears and asked my help.  I was dumbfounded, scared and speechless.  No matter how hard I tried, I could not tell them about my wonderful Savior.  There was no power in my life, even when people were asking legitimate and heart wrenching questions.

At night, when the TV was off and only one light was shining, I would pull out my book.  I read and I cried. Why couldn’t I tell these hurting, hungry women about the wonderful Lord who gave me peace.  When a woman twice my age poured out her heart because her son was fighting an unpopular war, I sat numb and speechless.  When perky Maria talked about her boyfriend who was sick and could be dying, I could only smile and hold her hand.

I began a search through the Scriptures for what made Wilkerson different.  I wanted what he had.  I needed the power of the Holy Spirit to reach out and touch me because I’d seen a small glimpse of a hurting world who desperately needed the Lord.  In God’s time, I discovered what Wilkerson had found and so did millions of other people.

From the Jesus Movement of the 1960’s, the Church in the US was radically changed.  All of us still feel the affects of the outpouring of God’s Spirit on our nation.  Things changed from the music we sing to the length of our sermons to the way the Bible is taught.  Sure, not everything that happened was good but much of it was holy and powerful.

I don’t live in the past.  I don’t even miss the past.  There are many wonderful days ahead.  However, with the death of David Wilkerson, it seems good to stop hoeing God’s fields for a moment.  It’s a time to lean against my hoe and catch a vision of the past fears and God’s glorious release.  It’s time to reflect and rejoice in a young man who dared to follow God’s calling, risking all to “go into the highways and hedges and compel” us to come in.  His godly influence reached more than the gangs in New York City.  God’s spirit touched a young mama sitting in a hospital bed, crying out for more of the Lord.

Who is someone who has influenced your life for good?  What books have helped you to know God better?

Photos: Rev. David Wilkerson by John Baw and New Mother by Leannrlee

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