Saturday, June 22, 2019

Annabelle's 20th Birthday Poem

Annabelle, you are our little Otter
Fun and Funny and you love the Water

But now you are growing up and we couldn't be prouder
So, with our poem we will shout our kudos louder…

The Summer of your 20th year,
You’ve done great work with your career.

A rare internship, A U.S. Presidential award,
Exceptional Volunteering as you go toward...
Your goal as a Childlife Specialist.
They’ve discovered what we already know…
As You drive to and fro...
that your work with kids is the specialest.

You are helping cancer kids and all their healthy siblin’s
While you’re guarding safe and teaching little Snublins

You are adulting well
But you don’t let your head swell

You’re Great with Kids,
And now no skids...
As you are learning to drive a stick
You are not making the wheels slick!

You are out of the Beemer and into the Dink
They both look okay from far away,
but at the end of the day,
up close they can kinda stink.

The best part is… You are driving aware
and learning to stay calm and share…
the road!!!

Inside and out you are so pretty
And you are learning to stay that way when life gets gritty
You are learning to be in charge of your own emotion
Whereas before you did whatever you got the notion.

You are still learning to get your clothes off the floor and your cups to the sink…
We know an otter can clean the clothes they wear and the bottles they drink.

You have learned to breathe in and out calmly when you want to freak
And you’re learning to tame your tongue when you really want to speak.
We’re still trying to figure what’s happening in your head,
Especially when your sister’s trying you make you give up meat and bread...

A little overscheduled, so cut yourself some slack
Love yourself more and don’t over stack
You need some margin, so schedule it in
Take care of yourself, it's not a sin.

Keep on loving Jesus, He’s taking you to some great places
He loves you well so you can smile to little troubled faces!

Annabelle we are so proud of you,
We love you so much... even the times when your life is like a zoo
“We love you no matter what!” is what we do
We know God is accomplishing His great plans for you…

So, love yourself well
Stay away from Taco Bell
Just because it has part of your name
It will kill you just the same.

Enjoy the kids and love them well
Let them keep breathing when jokes you tell
Don’t let them pull out their picc line
When you bring them sunshine…

We think its cool
That God lets you sit at a pool
When you are not coming alongside
The hurting kids at Nationwide.

Our poem is over, but we’re not kidding
We are proud of you for all of your work and not skidding…
Jesus loves you and so do we
Let His love shine for all to see...

Monday, June 10, 2019

What does Zebu Dung have to do with The Gospel?

A Zebu is a small South Asian cow. They are less than half the size of regular cows and they have a distinctive hump on their back near the shoulders. They look like a miniature Brahman cow.
We have a very creative and energetic children’s minister, Jackie Frazier. She has a great ministry with lots of volunteers, kids, and their parents.  Vacation Bible School is one of her specialties. She hosts statewide VBS clinics and her preparations and decorations are among the best I’ve ever seen.  This year’s theme was “In The Wild” from LifeWay. Her decorations were exceptional with every hallway decorated with a different habitat: Arctic, Antarctic, African jungle, African plains, and Asian animal habitats. She had live animals each night: from sloths, to bunnies, to llamas and alpacas; she also had kangaroos, goats and sheep… and this year she had a Zebu! The kids loved them all. They added to the enhancement of the theme and excitement of the whole VBS experience.
On the third night of VBS, the Zebu was the featured animal. This Zebu was small even for a miniature cow, had large charming cow eyes and a calm disposition in spite of the wild surroundings, loud music, and kids singing.  The Zebu had just completed its session of petting and parading, when, as all animals do… it did another p word… it pooped! Fortunately, it was not around the children but it was near one of the entrances to the building where children and their parents would soon be exiting. Several people quickly got to work doing Zebu dung remediation.  Mind you this is a cow, they don’t drop biscuits, they leave piles of manure. At first, I was a little taken aback… as if I expected the poor Zebu to have better manners than to relieve itself at the entrance of the church building. But then, I had to laugh. I began to think how many people in United States churches can say, “yeah, I cleaned up Zebu dung at VBS last night.”  Then I started thinking, “Wow, I’m a part of a church that will go to any length to reach kids with the Gospel, ‘that by ALL means we may save some.(1 Cor. 9:22)’”
This was a messy ministry night, but Rick Warren reminded me years ago at a conference that ministry is messy (and not just when we have animals at church).  Warren points to the principal behind Proverbs 14:4 that says, “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.” Warren says, we want to love people, disciple them for Jesus and bring them into the church, but humans have messy lives and when we love them well, we eventually find their mess.  When we follow Jesus, we become people who love each other especially well through our messes. We could have squeaky clean churches, but they would all be empty. When we do real life ministry, there is always some dung to deal with.
Those who love me well, deal with the not so pleasant stuff in my life.  They help me clean it up and I’m grateful. I hope you soon get to enjoy the great privilege of loving or being loved so well that life's mess gets cleaned up. If we love each other well, I believe we will get to see the increase.