Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Godly Parents

In adding to what others have said,  I thank God daily for the Christan parents that God gave us.  They taught us that through rough times God is still there and never leaves us.  What could be more valuable?   (1)  One of the most special times growing up was when Daddy would sit in our living room talking to us about spiritual things.  (2) I remember people at church saying we lived in the Tibbs mansion,  I guess that made me feel good. (3) I still smile at the times I loved to mow, rake and bail hay.  To this day I fight Bart to mow our two acres with the riding lawn mower.  (4) I remember coming home from school and yelling through the house to find Mom,  she was always there for us. (5)  I remember about junior high age, sitting in church and being so proud of Daddy carrying the offering plate down the isle, and one particular Wed. night prayer meeting when the church members were all on their knees and Daddy was pouring his heart out for the church and the families.  How valuable is that memory? !!!!  there is no way to say thank you to Mom and Dad!!  Maybe that's why we have eternity to appreciate God and our family for all they meant to us here on earth. 
Bonnie  Bartholomew  (Tibbs)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Miracle From God

I was told about when I was 14 I was very ill.  I was having so many nose bleeds that I had been in  the hospital.  I was laying on the couch with my noise packed and all of a sudden it started to bleed.  I cried out to Mom to pray for me.  She prayed and it stopped immediately.  I have never forgotten it.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Lifelong Journey

At the age of 20, when I made the decision in May of 1980 to commit the rest of my life attempting to follow Jesus Christ, accepting His forgiveness, seeking His will, trying to hear His leading and calling... everything changed. 

It wasn't like I had not been exposed to the teachings of Christianity-- in fact, my whole life I had been taken to church by my parents, encouraged to learn about the Lord, to pray, to read the Bible, to have a relationship with God.  And through that childhood and at times during adolescence and early adulthood I tried to follow God.  But when I failed (sinned), I felt like a sinner (of course) and so being what I thought was a "Christian" seemed, well, impossible.

But, again, in 1980, I found out the whole experience is about a journey...

Fast forward to March 7th, 2012.  Like anyone who has been a believer for some length of time there are a few (thousand) experiences that can be shared about the journey of faith.  Today, I just want to give witness to the work of God in my life in the last few months (and try to keep it brief, too).

Last summer the Bartholomews were passing through, on their way to the family reunion at Emigrant Park.  I have not shared this with them, but while they were here in Salem a couple days, the Lord was working in my heart trying to get me back to a serious effort, i.e. more diligence with regard to my journey of faith.  Just by being around fellow God-seeking believers, I was convicted to "get a move on" with God.  I also know that many others, including my siblings, had been praying for me in many ways-- health problems, job seeking, etc.  And the Lord began to answer those prayers last summer.

Since that time there, of course, have been many ups and downs and ups, but the clear message was and is that, as ignorant as I feel about God (even after 52 years on the planet, Bible school, church, etc.), He wants me to be aware that He is walking beside me -- see Luke 24:15 and the context -- and that my exercise of faith is 1) to spend some time with Him each day reading spiritual material and praying, 2) fellowship with others who are on the journey, too, and 3) then watch, listen, wait and then cooperate with God in the journey He has laid out.

The late Henri Nouwen put it this way in his book Spiritual Direction: "For me, at least three classic disciplines or spiritual practices are particularly useful in the spiritual direction relationship.  They can help create space for God within us: (I) the discipline of the Heart, (2) the discipline of the Book, and (3) the discipline of the Church or community of faith.  Together, these spiritual practices help us overcome our resistances to contemplative listening and active obedience to God and free us to live an embodied and fulfilled spiritual life."

I am excited about "the journey" again and extremely grateful for a patient and loving God who walks every step with us.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

God At Work!

Here is one for the record books you're working on
Dan.  Brad has in fact declared his faith fearlessly.  As a junior in
high school, for example, he joined the Mormon Missionary class so that
he could interact in a spiritual environment with his Mormon friends.
When the Mormon leadership asked for testimonials from the group, Brad
stood in this class room setting and declared that he believed that "man
is fallen from grace and that he is born a sinner and that salvation is
through Jesus Christ alone."  "Through salvation one can have a personal
and abiding faith in Christ."  He declared, "I testify today to a
personal relationship with Christ Jesus".

Brad told me about this experience that night at the kitchen table.  I
asked him what the response was from the teacher.  His simple answer was
that "they threw me out of the class for good"! "However, they threw me
out too late", he said.  Later, I learned what his last statement meant.
It ended up that one of the students from that Mormon class later broke
away from the Mormon Church as she continued to talk to Brad about
Christianity.  Her family, in essence disowned her.  She raised her own
funds to go to Northwest Nazarene College and gives testimony of the
boldness of the witness that Brad yearned for in this 1995 note that is