Andyouinvitedmein’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Exodus

0214091038 Supplies available to clients are those necessary items that can’t be purchased with food stamps.

There is something wonderful going on in Dallas. It is an AIDS Service Organization called White Rock Friends…an outreach of the White Rock Community Church and its mission is to support the HIV/AIDS community by offering a variety of programs to assist individuals in their day to day lives. It is more than just your bag of groceries and a pat on the back until next month…

I don’t know who began the program years ago, but right now Douglas Shaffer is the go-to man with all the facts. It was his vision to take this from government red-tape into a program that’s available to meet peoples’ needs. Clients become friends who come to the church facility on Tuesdays (for the store, only) and Saturdays to get their supplies like Pinesol, bandaids, and toilet paper. They can also get clothes and have a wonderful lunch. Daniel is the head chef of these lunches and he has only missed one Saturday in eight years. That’s dedication! Everyone there is dedicated.

0214091037Another thing that Douglas realizes is that many times our friends who are HIV+ or have AIDS need food for their pet. Pet food is in abundant supply at White Rock Friends (and so is Emma, the Maltese and mascot of White Rock).

The word in a nutshell for White Rock Friends is caring. Everyone who serves cares for the clients. The clients feel the love. For Valentine’s Day there was an elegant meal of chicken cordon bleu, green bean casserole, dressing, salad (with nice greens), fresh fruit salad, chocolate covered strawberries, cheesecake with caramel or strawberry sauce…and it was YUMMY! My family got the honor of serving food that day. We also got the honor of meeting many of the clients.

If you are ever in Dallas visit White Rock Community Church and find out how you can help this wonderful ministry.

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Trans-Siberian Orchestra by Michael Tyler

Trans-Siberian Orchestra as photographed by Michael W. Tyler

On Sunday we went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and with all the lights and acoustics I suddenly felt like I could be on that stage performing. I was dreaming like when I was younger and it seemed like the sky was the limit on what I could do and who I could become. When you are young you don’t think about not seeing a loved one again.

The last twenty-four hours has been nostalgic in that I longed to be back at my grandparent’s house. There were certain things that could only happen there with them like my grandfather calling Santa “Santy”. Or my grandmother always burning the bottoms of cheap biscuits–those you buy in four pack for around a dollar for the four.

Everyone was welcomed at their home. Family members who might not be welcomed anywhere else were welcome to come and have a bite to eat and fellowship. Because my grandparents were peacemakers, no one who had an ought with another got mad at Jewell and Ercie for befriending the other party. This gift has been passed down to my parents as they could have hostile acquaintances come to their table and peace would take over everyone…there was no more family or friend “war”.

This is Christmas Day…the day our Savior was born and it was through him that our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled to God. Today is the day you need to find that loved one who has been outside the warmth of your embrace…if you can’t find them by traditional means search through Google, Facebook and MySpace. Make this a “Lost Sheep Day” and welcome them home.

I started this blog by talking about youth and things we don’t think of such as losing our loved ones. On Christmas Eve morning I lost a friend named Jack. He was a beloved pastor who had the heart of a child and embraced everyone. I’ve known Jack for eight years and suddenly time was gone: time to tell him how much I loved him or how much embodied the grace of Jesus in his everyday life.

On Christmas Eve night a close friend became a grandmother. That baby is just like the baby that comes to everyone. Remember that special love the first time you saw your child, sibling, friend? If you are not in touch…reach out and get in touch TODAY!!! Blessings…

Read a review of my book by American Library Association executive council member, Diane Chen. This is from her blog on the School Library Journal: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/830000283/post/700031070.html

…are the words to a popular Christian song. We sang it at CFO. As we sang I started thinking about grace being enough. You know it’s great to have grace extended to us, and (at those times) grace IS enough for us. Grace was and is all about the work that Jesus did on the cross. Yet in our neck of the woods we tend to enjoy meddling in other people’s business. Call it what you will, but we have an opinion on everything and how people need to do it. It might be the dress Sister Bessie is wearing. It may be the way our friends are raising their children. 

Does a worship service consist of three songs and a prayer, or is it an hour of rocking, jumping and swaying as we become deeply connected with the Lord? I personally don’t care much for Southern Gospel genre of music. Last night I went to a concert that was the Southern Gospel equivalent of Country Music’s Fanfare.  There in the middle of rose-scented talcum powder (no doubt applied with a fluffy puff) and Old Spice After-Shave, I found myself experiencing a little bit of heaven on Earth. I was caught up in the richness of harmony that’s sung (generally) with family.

In our Christian homes, sometimes there is a disruption of harmony. Family will be at odds over the silliest things…my closest friend’s sister-in-law was mad at her mother for four years because of dish detergent. Sometimes it is big: a child or sibling or friend announces (s)he is gay. Oh my…then we get all structure and legalistic on our dearest gifts from God. Then grace isn’t enough. At least grace from us—the grace that says “I’ll love you no matter what” to “until you change you can’t come home”. Maybe there’s even a hint that it would have been better had we died.

So if grace is enough, then grace is enough. Grace isn’t “love the shoes, love the dress” when we honestly hate it. That’s lying. Grace is laying down our expectations, desires, wishes and loving beyond reason. That’s what Jesus did, and it was enough.

I think if it was enough for Jesus, then loving beyond reason and when it is most difficult should be enough for us. And when you love beyond reason…heaven will open no matter where you are. Corrie ten Boom was able to tell the world: “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” Grace isn’t subtly wrapped in rules or ultimatums. His grace is enough!

About ten days ago my oldest daughter text-messaged me with a list of physical characteristics she wants in a guy. She asked me to save them, but I forgot and by the time I needed to retrieve them they were gone. Fast forward to last night when we were talking about guys, and if we had arranged marriages in our country who would I select for her. I gave her a list of spiritual attributes I thought she might look for in a guy.

This reminded me of what the Lord looks for in each of us. It isn’t about acts and actions. For example, a person can bake pies for everyone in the country, but if their heart is full of evil then they don’t reflect the love of Jesus. They are only a good pie maker. Let’s get past the pie to the scripture: I Samuel 16:7—But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

The problem with the religious people of Jesus time was they looked at outward appearances. Jesus was always about what is in a person’s heart. Therefore, the secret things we hide aren’t really a secret from God. And I’m amazed at how many church plum lines are all about appearances. Possibly it’s because you can’t see the heart, and it makes it real difficult to get a fix on motives and desires of a person. As well, when we only consider what’s in the heart, then we have to “leave it up to God.” We serve a big God who managed to create the entire universe and arrange redemption without our help.

I’ve heard there was a man named Starr Daily who was in prison—in solitary confinement—and was considered to be a sociopath; a man who would never be rehabilitated. From what I’m told Jesus appeared to this man in prison, and within a short time he was released and went on to write books and speak at Christian camps. While I have only heard this, and in part it might be an urban legend, I can speak for my brother-in-law’s experience.

My brother-in-law lived a fast life. A cocaine addict who was the body guard for a dealer in a large US city. After they were all busted and he ended up in jail, Jesus appeared to him on night, and he was immediately delivered from drugs. He’s stayed on a fixed path toward Christ these 25 years. The best testimony comes from his daughter who visited with him for two weeks every summer when she was a child. The year she came to see him after he became a Christian, there was such a change in his life that she committed her life to Christ—and her mother’s home was not Christian.

Jumping back to the top and where I started this blog as it relates to my book, And You Invited Me In—in our conservative Christian effort to convert the world and beat Jesus into people, we overlook the fact that he doesn’t need us. However, he uses us…and that would be as loving examples of forgiveness and unconditional love. Or the things that are inside the heart.

Your “fellow brother of major good works” might be a person with a heart of evil intent. Therefore, we can’t assume that certain groups are lost or don’t know Jesus just because their life is different from ours. As Protestants we can’t assume Catholics are going to hell. As straight people we can’t assume that gay people are going to hell.

First we can’t assume—God never mentions anything about assumptions on the “to do” list. Second we have to work on ourselves and that will take a great deal of time. Next, we have to rewire our thinking to understand that the power comes from forgiveness and unconditional love….and this is where I will stop for tonight, more tomorrow….

I have a video about the book in YouTube. Take a look and tell others! My video is submitted under: CherylMossTyler and it is called: And You Invited Me In. http://www.youtube.com/cherylmosstyler

Here is more information about the book:

Alex Marshall is dying of AIDS. Over his partner Scott’s objections, he asks his conservative Christian sister, Annie Whitley, to help take care of him. Annie must decide whether to hold to her position of separation, hoping to force Alex to repent of his sins, or go to him without expectations. Close family friend and football legend Jett Taylor insists she will become tainted by the sin of homosexuality if she follows her heart.
Annie and her family must learn the true meaning of God’s grace to show Alex and Scott who Jesus is. But nobody could predict the explosive series of events their decision sets into motion, not only in their town, but in other lives as well – including Scott’s father, a well-known conservative preacher. These dedicated Christians learn about sacrificial love.
And You Invited Me In is a bridge that embraces diversity with unconditional love. It is a life-changing, thought provoking, unforgettable novel that will capture the attention and hearts of readers from diverse backgrounds and faiths.