Sunday, October 24, 2010
7:43 p.m. Today's project was to attend two wonderful celebrations with Steve, hosted by lovely friends. In fact, this evening's Home Fellowship was my third event since Saturday! (You could say four this week, if I count the TEA Party rally in San Diego Thursday). And the official "holidays" haven't even begun!
Yesterday, I enjoyed celebrating Pete and Rita's new home, and was encouraged greatly by a new friend who ministers healing to the hurting through the recovery ministry she leads. Yet, the gathering was fun and upbeat, with kids in and out from the snacks to the jumphouse, and tours of the Garza home. Psalm 133:1, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is, for the brethren to dwell together in unity!" is a verse written for a "people person" like me.
The first celebration of today was for recognizing a different kind of achievement. For the second week in a row, our friend Kathy Malone has given game day parties so that all of the friends of her son Robert can enjoy his accomplishment of becoming a punter in the NFL, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last week we met at Romano's Italian Restaurant for a great debut game for Robert, but a losing effort for the team. By the time Steve and I joined the party at her house after church, the game against the St. Louis Rams was in full swing, with the Bucs only down by 5. We were welcomed and introduced to everyone, and helped ourselves to tables full of main dishes and goodies. I had my first "corn candy" of the season, too--my bad! No one needed the "false cheer" of alcohol to be totally revved up for this game. Many of the old friends and "freshly renewed" friends are believers, who like Kathy attend The Grove Community Church in Orangecrest, their neighborhood. Our kids went to Earhart Middle School and King High School, and some, like my son Steven, played football with the Malone kids.
To our delight and amazement, the Bucs won by 1 point with 10 seconds to go! I wonder if the Florida fans could hear all the screaming from Riverside. We were very excited!!
Steve and I went home to rest up for our next gathering, our Home Fellowship out in Moreno Valley, off of Moreno Redlands Blvd., in the home of the Reyes family. Gilbert Reyes and son
Gabe both play in our Calvary Chapel's worship band, singer Ed from the team attends, as does the keyboardist and her husband. Our home pastor Mark Murdaugh is the church's worship leader. So you can just imagine how our worship "rocks the house" on Sunday nights!
This is the second year most of the group has enjoyed together, a good option since we are continuing with the Gospel of Mark. It especially works for Steve, because the group members know about his Alzheimers and don't have to wonder why he doesn't join the discussions or why I get his food for him in the buffet line. What a loving group we have, and the newer members are fitting in beautifully. I am delighted to see Jo Hoffman with us, because at 79, she is the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up, still ministering and full of the Holy Spirit! Bible study buddy Malinda Fairbanks has joined us this year. A co-worker of Pavel's, John Justice, and his wife are now in the fellowship, and he even stepped up and played guitar with Mark during worship. Cristina and Manuel Rodriguez are back; as are Tony and Sandra Perry; Sue, Matt,and Sam(antha); and oustandingly cheerful Michelle Pierce. It's only our 3rd week, so I'm working on getting to know the new people as soon as possible.
Mark had warned me he was going to call on me to share the testimony of the book I have coming out next spring, Walk in the Word Series: Galatians. I joyfully and factually explained to the group that this book was of God from the day He first called me to teach women's Bible studies in 1980. His concept, His leading, His command, His work, completely. Only God can get the glory for this book, even using my early retirement to provide the time for me to do the intense conceptual edits. "Nothing is wasted in the life of a saint," Kathleen told me yesterday.
And, no matter what the purpose of friends and family when we gather in celebration, we who are indwelt with the Spirit shed light, love and wholehearted enthusiasm for living for our Lord, that is contagious. Matthew 5:14-16 says,
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Gather for celebration, gather for recognition, gather for Bible study--just make sure your light is on!