A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

When we leak

posted by Linda G. Howard

jesus movementRecently, I’ve heard a great deal about the things the Holy Spirit was doing in the 1960′s and 1970′s.  It is interesting to me because those were days through which we lived.  There were times that it seemed that the Lord was tangible enough to reach out and touch.  Even though I was very young–bearly out of my teenage years–I had been a Christian long enough to realize that this kind of mysterious, glorious revelation would not last forever.

It is part of the curse that we live under.  We leak.  There are some things that we need to understand when we are faced with our leaky humanity.  Here are a few that I’ve learned over the years

leaking bucket1.  Though we leak, God does not moved away from us.

2.  Neither has He removed His love and compassion.

3.  Miracles don’t grow faith.

4.  Day-to-day living grows faith.

5.  Living out the Word of God when you feel nothing makes our faith strong and resilient.

6.  Leaking isn’t a sin.

7.  Leaking is simply a reality and part of our Adamic nature.

8.  Leaking doesn’t mean that we love God less than we did when there was almost a tangible presence of the Holy Spirit.

9.  Abundant faith and abundant faithfulness are different.

10.  Adundant faith is a gift from God.

11.  Abundant faithfulness is our gift to God.

A wonderful Christian Mentor–my mother–often quietly mused, “Will the Lord find a faithful people when He returns?”  It seems like a simple question; but she repeated it so often that I came to understand that Mother was expressing the plaintive cry of God’s heart.  Ministering within the mentally challenged community for many years has helped me to see the fruit of a faithful people.  Most of my members will never write a book, sonnet or poem.  About half of them cannot read.  Some cannot talk.  But they are faithful.  I’ve had several members who did not miss a week in 20 years.

Mighty deeds and amazing miracles are wonderful.  They attract crowds and bring great joy into our lives.  But I’ve become more and more convinced that God is looking for a faithful people who will love Him no matter what the circumstances, delights, hardship, joy or trials.

Providing a Safe Harbor

posted by Linda G. Howard

insecureOne of the most important things a person can provide for any person and especially for a man or woman who is developmentally disabled is a safe harbor–a place where they can securely share their thoughts, feelings and emotions.  Because of their intellectual development, many people within the mentally challenged community are also stunted in expressing their deep emotions.

There are only a few vehicles wherein this population where they would be expected or allowed to share their genuine thoughts.  All of us are heavily invested in teaching this population Scriptural principles.  Nonetheless, unless the precepts become practical applications in their lives, they will never learn them effectively.

Therefore, it is vital to give our members the space wherein they are allowed to share their thoughts.  How we do this is not easy.  Though the answers regarding a “how to” may seem simplistic.

  1. wrting on a boardYou must aske targeted and pointed questions.
  2. You must allow the members to share without interruption.
  3. You must allow the members time to answer.  When a question is asked, the leader of the group will often wait a few seconds and then answer the question themselves.  Waiting is hard but it reaps great dividends.
  4. You must be sure that the answer to your questions are not to complicated or a vehicle to showcase how smart the examiner is. In other words, don’t ask trick question.
  5. You must give the members many successes with their answers.  If a person give a totally off the rail answer, rephrase it until you have found an answer with which they agree.
  6. When asking an opinion question, be sure that every answer is given validity.  No opinion is incorrect.  An opinion is owned by the responder–not the asker.
  7. Give the answers extra validity by writing the answers down on a board of some type.
  8. It is most important that the answering party knows without a doubt that the questioner loves him or her.  It takes time and a great deal of patience to truly show that you love your members.

It takes an extremely secure person to be able to express their opinions, thoughts and emotions.  We must understand that most people within the disability community are not secure.  Many of them know full range of their deficiencies better than anyone else.  They must be given a safe harbor to insure that they are able to receive the healing that the Holy Spirit wants to give through your ministry.

The First Points of Light Award

posted by Linda G. Howard

Points of lightWhen President George H. W. Bush gave the first Points of Lights Award, it went to a NASA employee named Frank S. Howard who was a volunteer for The Special Gathering of Indian River.

fshoward

Frank S. Howard

The fact that Frank S. Howard was my husband and I am the area director for The Special Gathering of Indian River, I’m felt a close connection to the organization.  As President Obama and the Bush family celebrate this fine organization, I cannot help but remember the surprise and joy we shared when the award was given.

Frank Howard was an Technological Scientist at NASA.  He had five inventions to his credit and many award, including Kennedy Space Center Employee of the Year.  Frank Howard was a Bible teacher for the Special Gathering.  He loved and supported this the population and felt it was an honor to teach the members of his class.

The Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  Our mission is the evangelization and discipleship of mentally challenged (intellectually disabled)  individuals.  There are seven programs dotting the East Coast from Florida to South Carolina.

Eating fish

posted by Linda G. Howard

We all know that when you eat fish you will usually come across a bone or two no matter how carefully the fish has been filleted.  We also know that the bones aren’t digestible and should be spit out.  Fish bones, in fact, can be dangerous; but that fact never kept me from eating and appreciating fish.

I often approach authors in the same way.  I almost never agree with everything that I read.  At times, I’ve found that I’m wrong and that what I rejected was a truth that I didn’t want to accept.  That is usually became of some pride or greed in my life.  However, in reading, I simply spit out the parts with which I don’t agree.

In watching the new TV series, The Bible, I’ve done a lot of bone spitting.  In this way, I’ve thoroughly savored it.  The entire Bible is being speed-enacted in 10 hours.  When you condense 6,000 years of history into five segments of TV, there must be some distortions and misgivings.

I confess that portions of the enactments have made me laugh.  When one of Lot’s angelic visitors turned out to be a Ninja warrior, I roared with laughter as he whirled and spun with the ease and graceful moves of a Hollywood stunt man.  In contrast, the Negro Samson wasn’t nearly as unrealistic as the nearly blond Jesus.  I’d always picture Samson as a slight man who gained his strength when the Spirit of God came on him.  But that could because all my life I’ve been surrounded by extremely strong men who were short in statue.

Yet, all in all, the series has been mind-bending to watch. A good friend said, “I’ve read the Old Testament many times but seeing it has made me think about things a bit differently.  So many good men and women have been lured into sin by illicit sexual relationships.”  Another friend laments that men and women of God are still making the same mistakes and justifying them with the same lame excuses.

As the viewership has soared, I’m thankful for the non-Christians who are watching the series.  However, I’ve seen the most impact on people who know the Bible and love the Lord.  Nevertheless, there is a bit of fish-eating that must be practiced in the process.

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