In-Studio Guest Phyliss Wright

Phyliss with her granddaughters Lily and Ruby

The next two Saturdays we will rebroadcast two programs we aired last year. My dear friend, Phyliss Wright, is our in-studio guest. Phyliss is a committed Christ-follower who understands the importance of disciple-making, particularly in the context of future generations.

Phyliss serves as Associate Children’s Minister at The Church at Brookhills. She is one of the most creative, energetic, and “crazy-in-the-right-way” people I know. It way my honor to minister alongside her for many years before we both moved on to different aspects of ministry.

Join us as we revisit the topic of “Women in Ministry” in the context of our discussions using the book, Paul the Counselor: Counseling and Disciple-making Modeled by the Apostle, edited by Dr. Mark Shaw and Dr. Bill Hines as our springboard. Ruth Froese and I co-wrote Chapter 11: “Paul and Women in Ministry.”

Live-stream, listen, or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Live-stream at: gleniris.net

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM or:
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody / Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV Channel 47

Ordinary Woman … Extraordinary God

In the days leading up to Mother’s Day, I have been thinking about my mom. I have talked and written quite a bit about her, so, there isn’t really anything new to say. But, just because there isn’t anything new to say, does not mean that I can’t REPEAT some things!

A Facebook post last week resulted in a long conversation with a friend about my mom and God. I thought I would share a recap of that exchange. In the post I said,

She was just an “ordinary” woman in so many ways, yet, “extraordinary” in so many other ways.

The friend, who dearly loved my mom, took issue with my calling her ordinary. And, while I understand what she was saying, my mom was ordinary.

My mom—Jeannie to people of all ages who knew her—was the eighth child (fifth girl) of nine children born to Callie (Hudson) and Olin Thomason. She always described herself as an ordinary, awkward, bucktoothed girl who was always the clown!

For those who knew my mom, ordinary is NOT a word that usually comes to mind when you think of her. Yet, she was ordinary in so many ways.

In her childhood and teens, she struggled to “fit in” at school, had grandiose dreams of what she wanted to do in her life, places she wanted to go, got frustrated with her siblings, she preferred having fun wherever she was … and the list goes on and on. Like most of us, she got angry at and hurt by people and circumstances, dealt with the effects of aging on her health and body, experienced a myriad of disappointments … and this list goes on and on, too!

She did laundry, cooked meals, ironed and mended clothes, did the grocery shopping, doctored a gazillion boo-boos, and kissed away her children’s fears and hurts.

Mom’s life wasn’t easy in many ways and she experienced innumerable hardships. Just six weeks before her birth, my grandmother had to have emergency gall bladder surgery, very risky surgery for both my grandmother and mom. The doctors really didn’t expect that my mom would survive the surgery, but she not only survived the surgery and remained safely in my grandmother’s womb—she thrived! While serving as a missionary in Nigeria, West Africa, a can exploded inside a wood stove, badly burning mom. She buried two sons and a grandson, and many other family and friends. She had a myriad of health issues in her later years.

Why is it that such an ordinary woman is remembered by so many people as extraordinary?

When teaching or writing, I always use my mom as my quintessential earthly example of a life exhibiting the joy of the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10 and Psalm 28:7).

In the midst of hardships, disappointments, fear, and great loss, mom would pray, “Lord God, strengthen me so that all those watching will know that You alone are my strength and hope.” That prayer was often followed by her singing, The Light of the World is Jesus (Philip P. Bliss, 1875, Public Domain):

No darkness have we Who in Jesus abide;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
We walk in the light when we follow our Guide!
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Come to the light, ‘tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me.
Once I was blind, but now I can see:
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Now, you need to know that in my mom’s later years her singing voice was raspy and a bit off-tune, however, in those moments, as she prayed and sang, often with huge tears running down her cheeks, she sang beautifully, as I imagine the angels sound. And, at that precise moment, there would not be a movement or a sound from anyone within earshot or eyesight, as this ordinary woman led everyone to look to Light of the World (Hebrews 12:1-2).

How did she do that?  How was it possible in the midst of such dire circumstances?

It was possible, because … God said Let there be light (Genesis 1:1-4).

It was possible, because … The Light dispelled the darkness of her sin (I John 1:5).

It was possible, because … she knew The Light of the World (John 8:12).

It was possible, because … The Light of the Holy Spirit taught her as she read, memorized, and leaned, the Word of God (2 Corinthians 4:1-6).

It was possible, because … she understood what it meant to present her body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God (Romans 12:1).

It was possible, because … she practiced being transformed by the continual renewing of her mind (Romans 12:2).

How was it possible for mom to lead people have such strong faith and to exhibit the joy of the Lord in and through every circumstance?

When people looked at this ordinary woman, my mom, they saw the work of an EXTRAORDINARY GOD shine in and through her because she knew, loved, and obediently served Him!

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining—they just shine.”  -Dwight L. Moody

My Mother’s Day celebration includes giving thanks to the Lord for the of my precious mom who shined brightly for her Savior and Lord, Jesus!

Putting Away the Old

In a few hours we will say goodbye to 2016. I am sure there are many who are struggling as they try to deal with the things that have happened to them and their loved ones during the past year.

You will not want to miss today’s discussion of “Putting Away the Old” with our dear brother in Christ, Dr. Howard Eyrich, as we look at what Scripture has to say about dealing with the past, and the Hope we as Christ-followers have for the future!

Dr. Eyrich is President Emeritus of Birmingham Theological Seminary; Pastor of Counseling Ministries at Briarwood Presbyterian Church; and an Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) Fellow.

ToTT logoLive-stream, listen, or watch at 2:00 PM Central.

Live-stream at: gleniris.net

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM or:
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody / Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

 

“The fact that God can bring good out of evil only underscores the power and excellence of His sovereign will.” Tim Keeter

TIM KEETER joins us today at 2:00 PM to discuss, “Suffering: The Gift No One Wants.” You will not want to miss hearing Tim speak about the things the Lord taught him, and continues teaching him, through his cancer.

ToTT logoLive-stream, listen, or watch at 2:00 PM Central.

Live-stream at: gleniris.net

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM or:
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody / Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Faith to Survive: The Lee Lucas Story

This is a testimony to the mighty power of our Sovereign God!

Many of my friends walked alongside side our family in the hours, days, weeks, months, and years that followed my nephew, Lee Lucas’ burn injury.

Protective Life (where Lee worked at the time of the injury, and continues working now) made a video about the book he wrote. Grab your hankies and watch Faith to Survive: The Lee Lucas Story.

His book, The Struggle Within, is available at Amazon in print and Kindle versions.

 

Preparing for Thanksgiving

give-thanksDo you realize that Thanksgiving is less than a week away! I’m sure many of you have planned your Thanksgiving meal, and some of you may even be celebrating with your families this weekend. Most of us spend time planning the menu, and who all to invite for quite some time.

It’s sad that we don’t spend at least the same amount of time preparing our hearts for Thanksgiving, isn’t it? Join us today as we look to Scripture to focus our hearts on Thanksgiving.

ToTT logoLive-stream, listen, or watch at 2:00 PM Central.

Live-stream at: gleniris.net

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM or:
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody / Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV Channel 40

 

 

A Blessed Woman

Yesterday, on my birthday, Psalm 34:3 kept running through my mind:

Proclaim with me the Lord’s greatness, let us exalt His name together.

I received so many birthday cards, emails, texts, phone calls, and FaceBook messages from so many family and friends. Some of those from whom I heard have known me my whole life, others I have just recently met. Yet, with each voice I heard or message and name I read, memories flooded my mind.

What do I remember from birthdays past? Presents? Well, a few of them, yes. However, the things I remember are the precious family and friends who have loved me year-round, and celebrated my birthday with me. So many have shared wonderfully fun times, and, have walked alongside me through myriad very difficult times.

In the wee hours of this morning, as I read back over my cards, emails, texts, and FB messages, and thought about my phone calls and those with whom I spent my birthday, another verse resonated in my heart:

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:3-6)

I’m looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for all of us in the coming year!

Paul and Women in Ministry – Wrap-up

Today we wrap-up our 25-episode series on “Paul and Women in Ministry.” Join us today for a wrap-up and review of the past 24 weeks.

Within these discussions we have talked about how important it is for every Christ-follower to be actively involved in a local church.

A special thank you to four godly and amazingly gifted women whom I have the privilege of calling sisters in Christ and friends:  Lauri Bucci, Patsy Howard, Harriet Michael, and Phyliss Wright. Thank you for giving your time to join us in these discussions, as you shared testimonies of God’s grace in your lives, and told about how you are currently serving Him.

ToTT logoLive-stream, listen, or watch at 2:00 PM Central.

Live-stream at: gleniris.net

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM or:
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody / Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV Channel 40

“Thanksgiving is the way to grow and learn, and become victorious in your life with Christ. ” – Lauri Bucci

Lauri Bucci
Lauri Bucci

Last week Lauri shared the story of her son, Daniel. This week we will talk about her health issues and how the Lord has worked in and through that situation and God’s people. Lauri Bucci joins us again via Skype as we continue our discussion on wht it means to be a disciple-maker, and how God uses evens and people in our lives to sanctify us.

Lauri is a committed Christ-follower whom I have had the privilege of ministering alongside for many years.

“Thanksgiving is the key to being a triumphant over-comer.
It is the way to grow and learn,
and become victorious in your life with Christ.”
-Lauri Bucci

Lauri and her husband, Fred, are active members of Cornerstone Community Church and serve as full-time biblical counselors with the Cornerstone Biblical Counseling Ministry. They also serve on the National Advisory Team of The Addiction Connection led by Dr. Mark Shaw, and Lauri serves as the Administrative Secretary for the ministry. Lauri and Fred have been happily married for 35 years and live in Mayfield Heights, Ohio with their daughter, Melissa.

Join us as we remain on the topic of “Women in Ministry” by continuing our journey through the book, Paul the Counselor: Counseling and Disciple-making Modeled by the Apostle, edited by Dr. Mark Shaw and Dr. Bill Hines. Chapter 11: “Paul and Women in Ministry” written by Ruth Froese and Shirley Crowder will be the springboard for our discussions.

Live-stream, listen, or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Live-stream at: gleniris.net

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM or:
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody / Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV Channel 47

I Can See, Hear, Smell, and Taste …

Paul & Lil-TimThis week marks the 30th anniversary of the deaths of my big brother Paul and nephew ‘Lil Tim. Rarely a day goes by that I do not think about both of them.

I shared my memories of that night and the next morning after the accident with my family and some close friends last year, and have expanded those to share with you.

That Saturday is one of those events in my life where I can STILL see, hear, smell, and taste, all the things that happened around me as the event unfolded.

I was at a hotel in Nashville, attending a Tennessee WMU Acteens Conference where I was to lead a seminar. I had already gone up to my room that evening when my mom’s brother, Uncle Bill Thomason who lived in Nashville, called me from the lobby of the hotel and asked me to come down.

As I made the trip down in the elevator, myriad questions flooded my mind: Why was he there? How did he know where I was? These questions were accompanied by a foreboding sense that something horrible had happened—someone had died.

I sat on the sofa as Uncle Bill began telling me the details about the train hitting Paul and ‘Lil Tim. I sat stunned, in silent disbelief, trying to process all that I was hearing. ‘Lil Tim, dead. Paul, seriously injured, will not live. Chas, cuts and bruises, but OK.

I can still see the tears trickling down my Uncle’s face as he gently and lovingly answered my question, “Are you sure you got this right? This is impossible!” I remember the scent of my Uncle’s cologne and remember the strength of his arms as he hugged me tightly. I remember hearing his gentle whispers, “It’s OK. I love you. You’re OK.” Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration” played in the background. I remember the smell of roses in a beautiful flower arrangement on a nearby table. I remember the taste of the salty tears I was crying. I remember seeing and hearing groups of people talking animatedly.

My friends, Carol Kelley and Sheryl Churchill, and all the WMU staff, were so thoughtful and helped care for me that night. I went up my room and called the ER waiting room to speak with my family. Paul had sustained serious injuries, yet at that time his heartbeat was still very strong. When the phone rang several hours later, I did not want to answer, because I knew it was my daddy calling to tell me that my big brother had also taken his last breath here on earth.

I remember sitting on the edge of the bed crying, trying make sense of it all. I remember talking to God and various Scripture passages running through my mind, mingling with the thoughts of disbelief, prayers, and yes, even anger.

Me: “God, I can’t do this.”
God: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities (weaknesses), that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

Me: “God the weight of this burden is unbearable!”
God: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

Needless to say it was a very long and restless night. I got a very early start the next morning, and went to my apartment to pack. As I chose a dress to wear for the visitation and funeral, I remember thinking that each time I wore the dress in the future, I would remember that I wore them for Paul and ‘Lil Tim’s funeral. I remember looking at the pictures on display throughout my apartment, studying the features of Paul and ‘Lil Tim’s faces as fond and bittersweet memories flooded my mind. I remember the coolness of the kitchen tile as I sat in the floor sobbing. I could hear Paul playing the guitar and singing. I could hear ‘Lil Tim’s infectious laugh.

I finally gathered everything I needed and began the trip from Nashville to Gadsden, which, although it was very familiar to me, this time it was a much-dreaded trip.

I dreaded the drive that morning because I did not want to face the reality of my brother and nephew’s deaths, and I did not want to be alone with my thoughts and emotions.

But guess what? I WAS NOT ALONE!

I sang hymns, and prayed, and poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father!

That day, I experienced in full the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding that will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV).

I miss my big brother Paul. He had a beautiful singing voice, played the guitar and numerous other musical instruments, wrote songs and poetry, could fix anything, had a wonderful sense of humor, lived life to the fullest, and loved his baby sister—OK, he loved his big sister and his little brother, too! Paul would be so proud of Chas, and would absolutely love being Mira’s granddaddy!

I miss ‘Lil Tim. He had a wonderful smile, he was always excited to see you and would run to you with open arms ready to be picked up and hugged, he loved to play ball with his big brother Chas and Grinnie (my mom), and run. I loved watching ‘Lil Tim and Chas play. I had them convinced that I could make the traffic lights turn red or green on command. I would say, “Light … turn … (pause)” and both the boys would start yelling “Now!” Finally I would say, “Now!” and the light would change. I wonder what he would be like today had he lived, and think about how he would dote on his niece, Mira, just like his Uncle “Big” Tim doted on him (and Chas).

There have been numerous events in my life—before and after Paul and ‘Lil Tim’s deaths—that I can still see, hear, smell and taste all the things happening around me as the event unfolded.

The constant in each of these events? The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirt!

In John 14:25-28, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.”

What do you do when your world is turned upside down? Someone has said, “When your world is badly shaken, begin with what you know to be true and build from there.”

What did (and do) I know to be true? Something my friend, Dr. Bryan Chapell, said comes to mind. He said that the first theology lesson we all probably learned is: “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

In the midst of these “world turned upside down” moments, did I—and do I now—know that to be true? Absolutely!

What did I remember next?

We love Him because He first loved us (I John 4:19 NKJV). And then, God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8 ESV). And, The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; (Psalm 28:7 ESV).

How do we have the strength to carry on when things seem unbearable and totally out of our control?

First of all, we must come to a saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as we read in Romans 10:8-13:
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (NKJV)

Once we have become Christ followers what do we do?

Psalm 1:1-3 gives us an idea:
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper. (NKJV)

Christ-followers are to be totally immersed in the Word of God, which, as the basis and preoccupation of our life bears fruit that is the result of living out (obeying) the Word of God. Some of the resultant blessings manifest as stick-to-it-iveness, steadiness, resiliency, and the ability to withstand whatever comes our way!

The job of the Comforter (Holy Spirit) is to “enlighten” darkened minds as He illuminates the Word of God in the hearts and mind of non-believers to bring them into relationship with Christ, and, in the hearts of believers in order for them to understand the Word of God, and to be strengthened and comforted by His presence within them.

In 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 we read:  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

When I was a GA (Girls in Action), I memorized Isaiah 46:4 which has stuck with me throughout the decades as a reminder of God’s love and protection, and, it has continually helped rekindled my Hope in the midst of difficult situations:

And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. (NKJV)

I am so grateful that the Lord has been with me BEFORE, DURING, and SINCE March 1986.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

AMEN!

 

Scripture references are from: New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible; New King James Version (NKJV