God Smiled On A “Rock” Concert of Praise

Image: Drive-In Worship

On Sunday, October 18, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., my church did a new thing on Matlock Road in Arlington, Texas.  In order to sow seeds of brotherly love, compassion, inclusiveness, conquerors, celebration and hope, the pastor and his creative staff organized an innovative way to continue congregational worship services on the church’s parking lot.  And our Special Guest was God Himself! Our ROCK in a weary land!

Our pastor followed all the safety measures ascribed by city, county and state rules regarding Covid-19, including social distancing.  As you can see by the picture below, the instructions to church goers were to leave one parking space between each car.  We could either remain in our cars (masked) for the entire service or bring lawn chairs and setup in the empty parking space to the right of each car.

Actual Sunday Worship Services on the church’s parking lot.

This form of worship on a Sunday morning was a first time experience, and I must confess it was certainly a highly blessed and sorely appreciated experience of fellowshipping in the Lord.   Although instructions to participants also included not to engage in hugging, giving elbow-bumps, high-fives, removing your mask to shout out, or anything like that, everyone in attendance was allowed to see God’s glorious smile every time the sun made its appearance from behind a fluffy white cumulus cloud.

White Cloud With Sunlight
Introducing Our Special Guest, the Creator

Yes, God smiled on a “Rock” concert of Praise!

Several times I could hear car horns beeping in adulation as the ‘drive-by’ automobile occupants interrupted the worship singers or the pastor or MC announcers as they brought forth songs, preaching and invitations of welcome and thanksgiving.  I should also note that we celebrated the 37th Anniversary of our church at the same time of this regular hour of worship. And I believe the surrounding households and businesses were also blessed from the overflow of praising.

Worthwhile benefits ascribed to experimenting outside the box:

This 1950s drive-in ‘throw-back’ — and maybe the future of religious practices — method of worship service allows car occupants to privately comment and or briefly explain any biblical passages that might aide novice passengers. I read in a newspaper article where a young dating couple in Arkansas who attended a drive-in church service are now heaven-bound thanks to the mother of the young man who invited them to accompany her to church. Perhaps by accelerating this form of ministry, there is a possibility that it could bring hundreds of new believers into the fold of discipleship for the Lord.

There is no doubt that the Coronavirus has caused many businesses, schools and places of worship to alter their normal way of doing business.  But I believe that in addition to the Lord trying to get our attention and to tell us something, He also wants us to be more thoughtful of our responsibility to care for our fellowman.  Have you noticed that it is not just here in America that there is civil unrest?  Several other nations world-wide are experiencing it, too.  Social media, commerce, employment, politics and technology are just a few societal areas that are going through drastic changes. Change is good…but in all thy getting, get an understanding (Prov. 4:7b).

In our quiet time, let us converse and consult the Holy Spirit through prayer concerning our actions in responding to our obligation of discipling others. It is obvious that all houses of worship need to revamp their outreach programs. (What’s good for the goose might be good for the gander.) Let’s continue to bombard heaven through holy conversation and be vigilant to respond accordingly.

My personal experience derived from this religious practice:

I invited nine residents from my apartment complex where I live to accompany me to my church’s first parking lot church service. Three accepted my invitation. I prepared a lite lunch and furnished lawn chairs. What a hallelujah good time they all had in the Lord. They all expressed their desire to have an opportunity to join me again. When my guests returned home and shared their experience with others, one person who did not attend approached me and gave me an offering to forward to my church. That encounter also gave me an opportunity to witness to her.

Scripture Reference: And a MAN shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. Isaiah 32:2-3 KJV

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!

God Intends For His Children To Grow Up!

Man in Blue Knit Sweater Against Blue Wall
I am deciding to grow in Christ by planting His word in my heart.

A few days ago, I read a very interesting blog post on WordPress entitled “Growth”.  It was written by a young writer named Yanna Kami who lives in Engh, Nigeria.  The theme is about the struggling growth of a little wildflower just outside of Kami’s front door.  Kami skillfully develops the moral of the story by equating it to humankind’s life…highlighting the determination of that little flower’s will to survive, in spite of nature’s dilemmas.  And it is that ‘determination’ aspect that I want to present in my blog for this week.

When Kami first spotted that little beautiful yellow sprig of a flower, she was ecstatic.  It was a mystery to her as to how that seed had survived just outside of her front door in the first place.  For that area was highly trafficked.  Nevertheless, she was anxiously awaiting for that single sprout to mature into its full beautiful specimen.  But a few days later, Kami’s hopes were dashed.  A torrential down pour beat out and drowned that little flower.  The struggling plant was on the road to the ‘splendid garden in the sky’.  (Please click the website below to read the moral of Kami’s blog.)*

My personal reflection on Kami’s storyline:

The biblical comparison of that struggling little flower with humanities’ life struggles caused me to pray and inquire of the Lord, to reveal to me a deeper meaning of the comparison.  And in a few words, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and caused my understanding and conscientiousness to become enlightened.

A person’s spiritual growth is not automatic.  Various storms and turbulences in life can cause a person to shut down…to actually quit the race called spiritual development/growth.  Yes, we all start out at the gate looking fit and in perfect shape, but the least little interventions can cause you to throw in the towel and to surrender.  Therefore, you never cross the finish line of spiritual maturity and therefore remain a babe on milk and graham crackers.  While at the same time, leaving Jesus Christ at the finish line holding your crown which He has to put back into His sack of blessings. Without your determination to succeed, (your skin in the game), you will never transform into an all-star athlete.

My personal example of spiritual growth:

When I decided to become a serious bible study student as a young adult, I can remember attending a class on how to memorize scripture offered at a church conference.  The attendees were handed a perforated cardboard sheet with various scripture verses written on it.  We were told to take our scissors and cut along the perforated lines and to separate the cards and put them in a neat stack.  Next we were instructed on how to use the verses each day until all scriptures had been memorized.  The instructor said, if you faithfully follow my instructions, you will be able to memorize and recite all the scriptures at the end of this exercise.  Here are the instructions (the seeds for the planter…you) of how to grow your garden in the Lord. The exercise below was to be repeated each day with a new scripture.  How foolish I thought.  But guess what!   IT WORKED!!!

 1. On Day One read out loud the first scripture and several additional times each day. Perform the essence of each scripture several times during the day on behalf of others.
2. Early on Day Two recite from memory Day One’s scripture. Next visualize a Mercedes Bens parked in your driveway.  Place Day One’s scripture in the driver’s seat. Continue on Day Two by selecting a new scripture and repeat the exercise of Day One.
3. Early on Day Three recite from memory the scripture you memorized for Day two. Check the front driver’s seat to see if the scripture for Day One is still in the driver’s seat. Recite from memory Day One’s scripture.  Place Day Two’s scripture in the front passenger’s seat, next to Day One.
Recite out loud both scriptures for Day One and Day Two. Select a new scripture for Day Three.  Begin the routine for Day Three as you have done for Days One and Two.
4. Continue this routine until all scriptures have been read aloud, performed in action to others; placed in seats next to each other in the Mercedes Bens and recited out loud as you shut the car door. 
5. When the inside of the car is full, start placing the scriptures on the hood, roof, fenders, tires, etc., until the car is loaded down with God’s holy word. And guess what?  You will discover that from memory, and from the position of each scripture, you can miraculously recite ALL the Mercedes Bens’ inhabitants. Your acumen in memory will have grown in Christ by making a decision to plant His word (seed) in your heart.

1:43
youtube.com/watch?v=7IBpCv1X8zw(opens in a new tab)
1:30 MINUTE VIDEO SONG – “THY WORD HAVE I HIDDEN IN MY HEART”

I discovered that the instructor’s methods were not foolish…but my doubting and lack of innovative thinking and determination were what was foolishness.  “Father forgive me, for I knew not what I had spoken.”  Obviously, at that time in my life, I really didn’t want to grow.  I had not decided to grow.  Nor did I want to make a concerted effort to grow.  I did not understand that discipleship, which is the process of becoming like Christ, always begins with a decision.

(*) NOTE: To review Yanna Kami’s Blog, click here: Growth

Scripture Lesson: “I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.”
Psalms 119:11

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!

God’s Hand On My Life

MrGilson - Writer's Notebook 2013-2014
“Oh, my, where do I start.
Help me Holy Ghost!

Several of my friends and acquaintances have asked me what inspired me to compile a book of my relationship (via conversations) with God and his Son, Jesus Christ.  As I pondered the question, all I could say about those encounters were the words of Jeremiah 20:9

“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
Yes, every time I re-lived a personal experience of God’s goodness in my life, I felt like shouting and dancing as though my feet were on fire.  Many friends and acquaintances do not understand this exuberance and surmise that I am boasting or showing off or trying to draw attention to myself.  There could be nothing further from the gospel truth.  For once again I turn to the words of Jeremiah 9:23-24
“Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
There are numerous books out there on the subject of conversations with God.  Most of them are nonfiction literature based on data collected from persons who have experienced some sort of an encounter with the Master.  Some refer to these people as seekers of divine revelations.  While many receive a heavenly response, others sought an explanation to their query from a friend or an acquaintance.
I titled this weekly blog “Conversations With God Using Scriptures” because it usually peeks the readers curiosity.  Rarely do you find a book with the title embracing conversations with God that actually use God’s word to speak for him.  Generally, it is the authors’ interpretation rather than scripture references. I do not lean on my own understanding, but in all of my ways try to acknowledge God.
What information and confessions I reveal in my conversational blogs with God, it is my intent to be truthful and encouraging to others.  In other words, what God has done for me, he can also do for you.  The comments I receive express sentiments that it is obvious that exhaustive research of the scriptures was necessary in order for me to compile the dialog exchanged within the blogs. 
And I must confess that not only reading God’s word, but also researching the commentary notes at the bottom of the pages of my bible and studying the maps and charts included therein are also a source of enlightenment for me.  I love to do research and pour over the Begots (heritage/lineage) in the Old Testaments .

Often, when I re-read through my blogs, I am lifted to heights resembling the third heaven that Paul viewed on his heavenly journey. I find it humbling that God takes the time to correct me, to empower me, to humble me, to comfort me, to unite me with others, to whisper sweet oracles in my ears, to forgive me and to know my name. Which, by the way is ‘Sought Out’. I had a conversation with God and I asked him if he had changed my name. God revealed it to me one day as I was reading Isaiah 62:12: And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.”

So, through the above explanation, I trust I have dissuaded you from thinking that my writings are to be construed as a boastful or privileged relationship with the Lord.  I sincerely apology if I have offended anyone.  For God is available to us all.  Please pray for my persona and expressions of faith that they might be pleasing and acceptable in the Name of the Lord. Amen!
Toxic vs. Supportive Writing FriendsKristi Holl
Get thee behind me, Satan. For it is written…

Scripture Reference: Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
 bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!

God Implores Everyone To Forge A Relationship With Him

Allow The Holy Spirit To Speak To You

The one thing that is a certainty that this pandemic, labeled Covid-19, has done to our society is to alienate us one from another.   The Webster dictionary defines alienate as:  To estrange (to keep at a distance) as the affections one towards another. 

When humans are kept from socializing with one another, especially from our relatives and loved ones, our total lives generally reflect the strain and our fleshly hearts can eventually become harden.  But there is a scripture found in the Gospel of John 10:10, that we must hold onto: 

“Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps this period of isolation from each other was designed by God specifically to draw us closer to him and his plans for our lives?  Have you looked at this absentee time from others as an opportunity to renew a right relationship with his Son Jesus Christ and to sit quietly and commune with Him?

I can only imagine that some of you are surely catching up on your reading of Christian periodicals and tuning in to more Christian programming on Zoom, TV and radio.  And no doubt all of this newly acquired influx of information has helped you to realize just what is missing in your Christian walk.  But would you agree with me that perhaps now is the time to sit quietly at your table or desk with pen and paper and to write down just how effectively your personal daily actions truly align with God’s heart and his unconditional love for all humanity.

OUCH!!!

In other words, do you have an intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior?

Jesus Loves Us ‘Little Children

There was a time in my life when I did not have this intimacy. I confess that sinful ways, a lack of trust and unbelief, and just down-right stubbornness had kept me from surrendering totally to the virtues of Jesus Christ. May I suggest that before you start writing down your own list, concentrate on those things that may have so easily beset you and kept you from becoming ‘souled-out’ for the Lord. Was it disappointment in your receiving from God a favor or something more transparent like I just listed? Be honest! You can tear up the piece of paper after you are finished.

My Own Personal Confession of Disobedience:

Many years ago, my church in Maryland asked me to speak at a family retreat. This meeting was to be held at a camp where family units could be housed together at a very low rate. I felt honored to have been awarded this opportunity to contribute godly instructions to the men, women and children of our flock, all at the same time. The Holy Spirit had endowed me with biblical perceptions everyone in attendance could relate to.

My allotted time to speak was after dinner during the evening session. All during dinner, I specifically remember experiencing a slight tap on my shoulder and hearing an invisible whisper inviting me to return to my room to retrieve a message. I looked over my shoulder a couple of times to see who was trying to get my attention, but no one was there.

After dinner, a few single ladies invited me to join them for ‘girl talk’ and to relax before the evening session began. And although my inner most thoughts reminded me of the mystery invitation I had experienced during dinner, I brushed them off and went with the girls. Needless to say, our ‘girl talk’ got a little ridiculous and I excused myself and went to my room to dress for the evening.

To make a long story short, that evening, as I was delivering my talk to the attendees on the topic of the importance of developing a right relationship with God…I forgot my words. I stumbled over my presentation. All I could hear in my spirit was a still small voice whispering ‘how can you teach others on right relationships with me when you don’t even recognize my voice?’ Some how, by the grace of God, I got through my message, but after the meeting I went straight to my room and sequestered myself from all others. I spent the night repenting, crying and asking God for forgiveness.

I will end this blog with a prayer taken from page 65 of Live Loved, a devotional book by Max Lucado:  “Gracious Father, we know that we don’t always please you.  We fall short of your standards again and again.  When we are discouraged and feel we are failing you, remind us of your perfect love and your grace.  Thank you for reminding us that your perfect love casts out every wrong and keeps no lists of our failures.  Every time we fall, help us to reach for your grace, amen.  
(Perhaps you, too, should pray just before you begin writing your list.)

Scripture Lesson: “For he has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins.” Colossians 1:13 Living Bible

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!