Please Forgive the Mess. . .

 

My new blogsite should be up and running very soon, thanks to my new web designer, Heather.  Thanks for your patience!

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

A Gift of . . . Worship

Eleven-year-old singer Jackie Evancho’s O Holy Night is my current favorite set of drive tunes. My unlikely favorite of these is “Pie Jesu,” originally penned as a Latin song written for the dead ( called a “requiem”). In Jackie’s shimmering soprano, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s arrangement of these very ancient lyrics is both beautiful and haunting. And very appropriate for this Christmas season—

As our Savior, Jesus faced human, physical death to bring us back to the Father.  .  .

He was born the lamb of Mary. Jesus is our Lamb of our redemption–!

Only through Jesus’ death and sacrifice, can we find peace. Eternal peace. . .

We worship and adore You, Lord, for Your inestimable Gift. . .given for us.

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

Pie Jesu, Pie Jesu
Pie Jesu, Pie Jesu
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona eis requiem
Dona eis requiem.

Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei
Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona eis requiem
Dona eis requiem
Sempiternam, sempiternam requiem.

Merciful Jesus, Merciful Jesus,
Merciful Jesus, Merciful Jesus, You who take away the sins of the world.
Grant them peace
Grant them everlasting peace

Lamb of God, Lamb of God,
Lamb of God, Lamb of God, You who take away the sins of the world.
Grant them peace
Grant them everlasting peace–
Everlasting, peace everlasting.

“Can God Use Me?” Guest Blog by Robin King

Can God use me?”  My friend, Robin King, can answer that question. She is wife to Rod, an avid fisherman and men’s outdoors ministry director, and mother to Caitlin who is recently married. Robin currently teaches a ladies’ Sunday School class at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Durham, NC, and I’m proud to say, she’s my Sunday School teacher.

            God wove many people into Robin’s life to help her along her spiritual path. I’ve looked at amazement at how far she’s come since I first met her—and know she humbly gives all credit where it is truly due—to the Lord Jesus Whom she serves.

                       

 

My name is Robin King. I am amazed how God can hear a small prayer, answer it in indescribable ways, and then turn it into shoe-leather service for Him, so others in turn might be blessed in Jesus’ name.

God has woven many people into my life to make me serviceable for Him. My husband Rod and I had been members at Ridgecrest Baptist Church since 1993, but it wasn’t until 1995 that God began working on me, a nominal believer. I attended a Disciple’s Prayer Life class led by Linda Reyner and Jean Huffman. I noticed the ladies in this class were mature Christians (Joan Dubuc was one and became a prayer warrior for me and Rod) and thus began my love and hunger for His Word. God grew an ever-increasing hunger for His Word in me from a small prayer I first offered up in this class. Little did I know where answers to my prayer would lead!

I found out everyone did not have to fit the “mold” of a person that I envisioned God using. This became clearer to me when Rod and I met in a monthly prayer group with Al and Jean Huffman and Shirley and Larry Clasey. Despite our very obvious differences, God blessed our meetings together and has used each of us in very different ministries in the church—it reminds me very much of Jesus’ disciples and some of the early church leaders—all very different but woven together to be used by Him.

Several years passed, and Rod and I did not become any more involved in our church family.

Then in 2001-2002, Rod’s failing liver and subsequent transplant became a major turning point in our individual spiritual lives and our marriage. The church overwhelmingly reached out to us and supported us with prayer and financially.  I knew we didn’t deserve their kindness and God’s provision for us! God used this time to strengthen us and our marriage. Rod underwent a successful liver transplant August 19, 2002. While it was a stressful time in our lives, I remember God’s peace being overwhelming.

I was asked to speak at a Ladies’ First Tuesday, a monthly women’s ministry event held at Ridgecrest, in the February following Rod’s transplant. Again, I found God had gone ahead of me and prepared the way. I got to share from my journal that I had kept all those months, detailing Rod’s and my journey during his illness. And my 20 years as an aerobics class instructor gave me the confidence I needed to be speaking in front of so many people. I found that God doesn’t waste anything—even training in a secular pastime can be used for Him!

From that point on, Rod and I became very involved in Ridgecrest’s ministries. I regularly attended the Ladies’ First Tuesday events and opened myself up to more female friendships. I quickly saw that God used these women, with all their imperfections, to make a difference in His service—and that I was not alone in feeling this way!

I participated in several more Bible study groups. One of these was led by Fran Tucker in her home. It had a relaxed atmosphere and was where I first learned how to handle a “small group.”  Fran called me her “Timothy.” My hunger to know more about the Lord and his Word grew and grew.

About this time, Sonya and Tom Holloway were Southern Baptist missionaries home on furlough and living in Ridgecrest’s missionary house. Sonya and I connected right away, and she introduced me to Kay Arthur’s Bible studies which continued to feed my hungry heart. I was struggling with the Holy Spirit’s stirring to do some type of ministry for Him, but what?  Sonya’s brutal honesty compelled me to begin thinking in terms of stepping out in faith, into the ministry where God wanted me to be, instead of timidly waiting on the sidelines for someone to “allow” me to participate. This was a brand-new revelation to me!

Our present pastor, Marc Francis, became part of Ridgecrest’s ministry staff soon thereafter, and Rod and I and Marc and Joanie became good friends. Marc was Associate Pastor of Education and Discipleship. I remember showing him my Kay Arthur books and expressed to him a desire to do one of those studies at Ridgecrest. But he mentioned that what Ridgecrest really needed a new ladies Sunday School class, and would I pray about becoming its teacher?

Rod and I prayed diligently and felt this was the direction God wanted me to proceed. In January 2008, we began our new ladies’ class that included Joan Francis as one of its charter members. We have shared and cried through many of our difficult life experiences together—including that of losing Joan Francis to cancer in September 2010.  I don’t know why things happen as they do, but our class became even stronger after Joan’s death and God has blessed it tremendously. Women will always need other women and that, in part, has led to its growth.

Satan constantly tries to tell me that I am unworthy, that my past should eliminate me from standing before the class, and that I am too bad of a sinner to teach others (yes, I am sinner, in that I agree!) But God looks past all of this baggage and has put me in a place of service where many years ago He knew I would be. Women come to the class and find that we all have issues, that our lives are not perfect, that we feel inadequate with our doubts and fears.  But God is greater than all that! Every Sunday when I stand before the class, I still say, “Wow! This is awesome, God.” But we serve an awesome God, Who will use those surrendered to Him.

I don’t know what the future may bring. Sometimes God plucks us out of our “comfort zones” and sends us somewhere else. I personally don’t like change. That’s just the way I am, but I pray I am always yielding to Him and His purpose. I have become a part of  Bible Study Fellowship, away from the cocoon of Ridgecrest Church. I feel I am now beginning the next “season” of my faith life. Who knows where God will lead next?