Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hope Deferred

From my lips,
“Hope deferred makes my heart sick.”

Seemingly incongruent,
Yet both hope and despair fill my heart.

I’m so small,
Incapable when seen through my own eyes.

In the delay,
You promise a purpose.

You pause,
Seeking to grow my faith.

My difficulties,
You delight to handling with ease.

Your word assures,
Nothing is impossible with You.

My burdens unbearable,
They are all small to my God.

An answer forthcoming,
Much greater than I can ask or imagine.

by Susan Bunts 9/23/07

As I walked to my car on Wednesday after Bible study I ended my conversation Mike quoting the verse, “Hope deferred makes a heart sick.” - Proverbs 13:12

My heavy is heart and grows weary as prayers seemingly go unanswered. But God had planned a message of hope in Pastor Philip De Courcy’s first sermon at Kindred Community Church.

Many tears were shed as we saw God’s faithful answer to our many prayers for a man of God, faithful to preach His Word. A man who speaks with authority because he speaks the Word of God. Yet humble…ever mindful but there for the grace of God, there go I.

I still wait for an answer to my prayers…and was reminded that there is no better person to put my hope in…Christ Jesus my Lord. To Him who is able to do more than I can even ask or imagine. Nothing, no nothing is impossible with my God. I wait expectantly upon my Lord.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Reluctant Gospel

How easily I compromise,
When failing to share the only Cure,
With those lost in their sin...bound for hell.

Reluctant…I don’t want to offend,
The Gospel message seems so narrow a path,
So I don’t share, lest they think I’m judgmental.

How ironic…if they had cancer,
I would be so eager to share the good news,
Medicine that would spare their terminal prognosis.

Whether they believe in no God or many,
Create a god of their own making,
Or deceive themselves that they are god.

Do I lack confidence,
Because I fail to know the Truth,
Or do I study God’s Word so I might know?

Not my own words,
Nor my own wisdom,
But the Truth from the infallible Word of God.

We are lost in our sin,
Unable to save ourselves,
Our own works…will never bring righteousness.

There is only One Way,
He Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life,
We can only come unto the Father by Him alone.

Instead I draw back…fail to share the truth,
After all I am no scholar or theologian,
I might not be able to answer all their questions or challenges.

So instead I stand back,
Let them go forth to eternity,
Lost…soon to share that which God created for Satan and his demons.

How pray tell is that walking in love?
Like letting one walk off a cliff,
Only to fall to their most certain death.

Those lost in their sin will pay the eternal price.
Will I choose to remain silent?
Or share the life giving message…salvation is found in Christ Jesus alone?

By Susan Bunts
September 16, 2007

The above poem was inspired by today’s sermon from guest speaker Kevin Lewis. Kevin addressed a concern, near and dear to his heart…the Christian church is influenced by today’s secular society and is weak and lacking in their Bible knowledge. So much so that we are ineffective in sharing the Gospel message with those who are perishing…lost in their sin. Kevin got down to basics as we started to delve into “Jesus Christ …the Only Way to Eternal Life”.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Next Leg

Tears of sorrow and praise,
Fall down and mingle,
Our hearts will never forget,
The one who ran the first leg of our race.

In eager anticipation,
We look to You, oh Lord,
Humbly we plead,
For the one whom You have called to come serve.

We offer thanksgiving,
For those who faithfully executed,
Bore the responsibility,
Searched diligently until he was found.

They faced a daunting task,
Through Your power alone,
Withstood the enemy’s attacks accurately aimed,
To prevent Your Word from reaching the world.

We praise You,
For the Elders that You raised up,
With uncompromised commitment to obey,
To call him who will preach Your Word.

Eternal security of those not yet saved,
Weighs in the balance,
Only the truth of Your Word,
Will save them to the uttermost.

By Susan Bunts
September 2, 2007

The above poem is dedicated first and foremost to Christ Jesus my Lord and His sacrifice on the cross…saving this sinner to the uttermost. He was faithful to answer our prayers and petitions to bring us a new Pastor. We at Kindred Community Church are humbled and most grateful for all that He’s done. First He gave us a servant by the name of Chuck Obremski…who sought Him with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. Through the power and work of the Holy Spirit…our dear Pastor laid a firm solid foundation based upon the Word of God.

When God called our beloved Pastor home…the search began for one who would pick up the next leg of the race. Our church Elders appointed members of our church…godly Christians mature in their faith to search for our next Pastor. We didn’t know how long the process would take...but it took almost two years for God’s plan to come to fruition.

I am most grateful and filled with praise and thanksgiving to share the news that the Search Committee members recommended a man who would soon be called by our church Elders to answers God’s call to serve the body of Christ at Kindred Community Church.

On Sunday…our Elders shared the good news that Pastor Philip De Courcy had accepted God’s call.

As soon as I heard who was to be named our new Pastor…I searched his current church’s website. I wanted to see what this man looks like…but more importantly how he preaches. Does he stick to the word of God…or fill it with meaningless fluff? I downloaded several messages and started to listen.

Tears filled my eyes…and I wanted to weep as I heard a man who boldly preached the word of God. Thank you Jesus!

Now lest you think that I will be feeling right fine sitting there every Sunday as Pastor De Courcy preaches…you are sadly mistaken. I can assure you that within minutes of listening to this dear man…God used him to convict my heart of sin. Not a blatant outward sin that the world may know…but one that is just as corrupting. Sin that unless purged makes me unfit in my Christian walk. One that will cause a break in fellowship with a Holy, Righteous God. But also sin that has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus shed upon the cross.

Pastor Philip De Courcy comes from Emmanuel Baptist Church in Toledo, Ohio. Although he will soon make a trek from the Midwest…he brings with him and Irish brogue…much to my heart’s delight. Our dear Pastor hails from Ireland. Now isn’t that lovely?

Recently when listening to a Beth Moore Bible Study called “A Woman’s Heart”…she brought up the point of whose voices are we listening too. For a married woman…the voice she hears the most is her husband. But what other voices do we allow to influence us because we regularly partake.

As a single woman…I am ever cognizant of the fact that I have no husband…no godly man to share my life with. But I still have an influence from other’s voices. I got to thinking about whose voices have most impacted my life. Obviously my parents when I was young…and those voices tend to never leave your head…both the good and bad messages.

Of the other influences in my life…one primary one was my beloved Pastor Chuck Obremski. It was my great privilege to sit under his expositional Bible study and teaching for six years. In addition, I have all the CDs from his teaching that have been made available. If you pull alongside my car…you will likely hear Chuck’s voice. Another influence I recently discovered is Beth Moore…and I have hungrily devoured her teaching. She is wonderful…and shares insights into God’s word that are most precious to me.

From a secular standpoint…Dennis Prager has been a huge influence on my life. I go back to his early days on the radio with “Religion on the Line” every Sunday night. To this day…I’m eager to listen to his program…now via podcast. For about the last eight or so years…I’ve been listening to Hugh Hewitt. Hugh was my voice of 911. That’s the program I was listening to when the planes struck the twin towers in New York. Hugh is the one influenced me to join the world of blogging.

Now this dear man Pastor Philip De Courcy will become a man who will greatly influence my life. I praise God that Pastor De Courcy is a man wholly devoted to preaching the full counsel of God’s word. That he has a love and reverence for God…and a love for people. A desire to reach the unsaved world with the Gospel message.

When I listened to Pastor De Courcy’s first words…I was aware that one day this man will be near and dear to my heart. That one day…we at Kindred will grow to love and hold him most dear. One day…he too will be my beloved Pastor. He will never replace Pastor Chuck…but he will be a fine compliment for the one who will pick up the next leg of the race.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Far Away & Once Upon a Day

Once upon a day,
I was your mother.

Far away,
In a foreign land,
We adopted you, took you in,
Made you part of our family.

When your own mother,
Had left you, abandoned you,
To a precarious uncertain future,
I took you in.

I mothered you,
I loved you,
I supported you,
I encouraged you.

Once upon a day,
You visited,
You called,
You cared and were there…but that was before Alzheimer’s set in.

Today I forget,
Even who I am,
Thinking clearly,
A thing of the past.

I might not recognize you,
But I’ll know you,
These days I might not be able to do anything for you,
But I need you.

So far away,
Birthday, Mothers Day, even everyday,
Not a card, not a call, nor a visit,
You tell yourself it’s too hard to see me this way.

Where are you?
How long has it been?
What do you tell yourself, to ease your conscience?
Now that you’ve abandoned me!

Once upon a day,
You loved me too.

Susan Bunts
September 3, 2007

Each Sunday after church I go over to see my mom Gayle who is in an assisted living place for Alzheimer’s patients. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago. With the foresight of hindsight it was easy to see that she had this for sometime…it just wasn’t bad enough to interfere with her daily functioning to the point of having to take control of her care.

It seems so long ago now. These days I’m most curious as to know what’s going on in that mind of hers. As her disease has progressed she has her ability to have a conversation that makes sense has diminished. She has days where she is more with it than others…but it varies…and her ability to function continues to decline.

Recently the nurses told me that Gayle likes to write. To keep her occupied…they’ll give her a sheet of paper and pen and let her write to her heart’s content. Normally Gayle won’t let them see what she’s written. Instead she hides the paper and goes to her room, tears up the paper and throws it away. I asked if they would try to get some of those letters she writes…and they have been able to snag some of them for me. Her handwriting is at times difficult to read and her thoughts are like her conversation…some what gibberish and not always based on reality. On occasion…there will be something profound or gripping.

The above picture is from a letter I got from the nurses yesterday. Most of the letter rambles on about who knows what…but the last couple of paragraphs she kept writing “Write to me and I’ll write you back. Write to me. Write to me.”

While the person who once was my mother has all but disappeared…the above letter is all too telling.

I am most grateful that she has found favor with the nurses. She is usually rather chipper and funny. I also learned recently that Gayle likes to play Gin Rummy…and at night she plays cards with the nurses and frequently wins.

Now you have a little picture of why Gayle was kicked out of a Baptist College in her youth. Between the dancing, smoking and card playing…not to mention the boys…she wasn’t quite ready for a prim and proper existence at a Baptist College back in the 1930’s.

There are days…when Gayle is being difficult that I fully understand why my grandmother noted that Gayle got a number of spankings as a child. She still likes to push the envelope. Contrasted with her sister Joyce…Gayle was a bit of a rebel.

The above poem may express some of what Gayle feels and why at times I feel frustrated and perplexed.

So many folks don’t feel comfortable in nursing homes or assisted living places. To some extend when you enter these places you feel the pall of once vibrant healthy people…now waiting to die. Most folks that check in will die there. Honestly…I can’t say I feel comfortable there. But it’s like anything…the more you do it…the more familiar it gets.

It’s certainly not what Gayle signed up for…she is now living out her nightmare. It’s certainly not what I signed up for. But isn’t that kind of what life is like? I think we are most fortunate when we get the good stuff in addition to the stinky. Hopefully at the end of the day…the good will outweigh the bad. When the bad is overwhelming…that's when I’m aware that God is carrying me through.