Tag Archives: God

Church-Part 9

4 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Back to my original thoughts on church…. 

Now I would like to talk about the church we are members of now.  We’ve been in that church since 1996, and love it.

Just six months after we joined this church, the pastor said the church secretary was leaving, as her husband was being transferred from the area, and they were accepting applications for the position.  I told Fred I wanted to apply.  He looked at me strangely and said, “are you sure?” (We had thought we would come to Orlando to play at Disney)  I said, “well, it feels right.”  And so I applied, and was hired.  That position lasted nearly nine (9) years for me.  I guess it was where God wanted me.

Judy’s picture as Church Secretary

Within just a few months of my becoming church secretary, both the Minister of Youth and the Minister of Music left to go to other churches – one in Texas, and one in Colorado.  There was no problem with the church – they both needed to take care of ailing parents.  The Senior Pastor was a bit beside himself!  When he found that Fred had two seminary degrees, he asked Fred to come on as a temporary/part-time Administrator.  That position eventually became nearly full-time, and he held that position for about 14 years.  Some temporary position, hmmmm?  He still dips his hand in whenever he is needed.

Fred’s picture as Church Administrator

This body of believers has about 40 different nations represented in our church – and we are all worshiping the same God!  It’s wonderful!  The first pastor we worked with said many times that “this is what Heaven is going to look like – all different nationalities and languages, all worshiping together.”

Recently our church held its 40th Anniversary as an established church. 

We had a Saturday evening worship service, with a young man preaching, that is the son of one of our members.  He is now a pastor in south Florida, and also a Seminary professor.  As a black man, growing up he said wherever his family lived, “there were white churches, and then there were black churches.”  Every single city/town/state they lived in.  However, he said, when he came to South Orlando Baptist Church to preach the very first time…he saw heaven – so many different races and tongues within the same congregation.  He was overjoyed with the blessing that gave him.  He is always willing to come and preach at our church.  That is another reason we love this body of believers.

I would like to quote myself from last week:   This congregation is not a mega-church, as so many are these days, but a nice-sized church of about 800 members.  Of course, not all attend at the same time, so we have between 300-350 attending each Sunday.  That changed when the pandemic hit, unfortunately, and we haven’t gotten back to full-strength yet.  However, between all those attending, and those watching through live-stream, we are close.  I am thankful for the live-stream, so I can still “attend” church when I am home on a Sunday for some reason or another.  But it’s just not the same as being with other believers and worshipers.

WE….ARE THE CHURCH!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

From My Heart

24 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I spoke with my son on the phone yesterday. I never take that for granted. You see, in September of 2021 my son had Covid really bad. As on a ventilator bad. The prognosis wasn’t good. In his early 40s he had tons of co-morbidities. He was in a local community hospital and eventually transferred by helicopter to a major medical center over 300 miles away. (Truly a God thing.)

And as per Protocol, no one could be with him. It was traumatic for those who love him. But praise God, after more than two weeks in the hospital he was off the ventilator and able to go home.

Here is what I want to share. As we talked about his time in the hospital, he said he didn’t remember anything. Not going to the local hospital, not been intubated. Nothing except being asleep and having weird dreams.

We were devastated that he was alone. My mother heart could barely endure that.without the comfort that only God can give, I don’t think I could have endured it at all. Yet, our son doesn’t recall experiencing any anxiety.

As we talked I felt that sharing his experience might bring comfort to the heart of someone whose loved one didn’t survive and was alone.

I truly don’t know if his experience was the norm, but I hope it was.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2022 goal is continue to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media.

Praise

20 Nov

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photo Credit: Pixabay
 
O God in Zion, to You, even silence is praise!
You are the God who answers prayer,
All of humanity comes before you with their requests
Though we are overcome by our many sins,
Your sacrifice covers over them all.
And your priestly lovers, those you’ve chosen,
Will be greatly favored to be brought close to you.
What inexpressible joys are theirs!
What feasts of mercy fill them in your heavenly sanctuary!
How satisfied we are to be near you!
Psalm 65:1-7


DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Church-Part 7 B

20 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

The Music

Still making that detour…. 

Our church in San Jose, California was small, but  I do remember they did a “musical” that Christmas, Love Transcending by John W. Peterson.  I remember the songs in that musical and how I loved it.  Apparently it made quite a impression on me.

Credit Google search and Amazon

Our church in San Antonio, Texas, was a HUGE church!  We had a nice-sized choir, and each Christmas we did some sort of musical.  I don’t remember much about acting done with the music, but there probably was some.  I do remember that the musical Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti was done one year with actors/singers playing their parts.. The “mother” in the musical was the wife of our Minister of Music.  She was a good friend, and a wonderful singer.  

Credit Google Search and Central City Opera

I also remember one Christmas season we did Sing We Now of Christmas by Mark Hayes.  Wonderful, beautiful piece of music.  And the final year we were there, we did Messiah by Handel.  That piece of music will always be a favorite of mine.  It is magnificent and full of praise to our God.

Our church in Panama City, Florida had a wonderful music department and Sanctuary choir.  I can’t remember much about “musicals” we performed, but I do remember one special program we did that had a lot of patriotic songs in it.  I suspect that we did more than one Christmas performance, but that it was probably more of a concert than an acting musical.

Our church in Seaford, Virginia was relatively small – about 200 active members when we joined there.  The choir wasn’t huge, but we had some great voices in that choir.  While I don’t remember all the names of the musicals we performed, we did them with such professionalism that people from around that area of Virginia would come to see our performances.  We usually performed more than just one service – three or four times – enough anyway that we could accommodate all who would like to see it.  Very seldom did we do just a concert – it was almost always a musical, with acting.  I remember one Christmas musical that had images of Christ going through his torture before His crucifixion, and I wondered why they put that in a Christmas musical!  But of course, we couldn’t have salvation without Christ coming as that baby and going through all He did on the cross.

I remember one Easter musical we did at Seaford, where they had rented a lift and a smoke machine, and actually had the actor playing Christ ascending in the “clouds.”  WOW what an impact THAT made!

We did another musical at Seaford Baptist church, that required our music director to purchase a recording of thunder.  During the performance, we had a thunder storm pass over.  The director said she wished she hadn’t spent the money on the recording – God provided the sound effects better than the recording!

I remember one of the Christmas musicals we did there, Christmas is Calling You Home by Mark Hayes, and that was a huge hit.  It was just so well-written, and well performed.  Fred and I enjoyed it so m

uch that we impressed it upon the Minister of Music at our present church to try it out – which we did.

Credit Google Search and Cloniger and Hayes

WE….ARE THE CHURCH!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Our Creator’s Compassion

14 Nov

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Everything I am will praise and bless the Lord!

O Lord, my God, your greatness takes my breath away,

Overwhelming me by your majesty, beauty, and splendor!

You wrap yourself with a shimmering, glistening light.

You wear sunshine like a garment of glory.

You stretch out the starry skies like a tapestry.

You build your balconies with light beams

And ride as King in a chariot you made from clouds.

You fly upon the wings of the wind.

You take your messengers into winds of the Spirit

And all your ministers become flames of fire.

Psalm 104:1-5

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Church-Part 7A

13 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

The Music

I would like to make a short detour here.  Still talking about The Church, but instead, some of the music we’ve sung, and performances we have participated in.

While I don’t really remember much about what we did in Albuquerque First Baptist Church, back in the 1950’s , it was probably mostly just sort of a “concert” of either Christmas or Easter music, perhaps with a narration interspersed between songs, depending upon the season of the year.

Photo credi Google search-t First Baptist Church, Albuquerque

But the beginning of my fondest memories of the “cantatas” or “musicals” started shortly after Fred and I married and moved to Fort Worth, Texas.  We joined Travis Avenue Baptist Church there, and were so impressed with the choir that when we joined the church, we didn’t even give the choir director an opportunity to invite us to choir.  We asked her how we could join in!  She was quite surprised!

Credit Google Search and Travis Avenue Baptist Church

I don’t remember a lot of the Christmas and Easter musicals we did at that church, but I do remember one special “musical” we performed.  It’s called God’s Trombones by James Weldon Johnson, and is a Negro Spiritual.

Credit Google Search

It is actually seven Negro sermons in verse – made into a musical.  It is a wonderful, beautiful musical, but because it is not “politically correct” to sing those wonderful songs, we never hear about it anymore.  But I loved the way our director staged it.  It was an evening service, and the choir was “scattered” around the sanctuary, in our “Sunday-go-to-meetin’” best clothes.  After all the preliminary church stuff was completed, one of our choir members took one of our handbells – the large, deep-voiced one – and began “tolling” for church members.  So we began rising from wherever we were sitting, and made our way to the choir loft (we had about 80 choir members).  That “picture” has stayed with me, all these years later.  It was a wonderful performance, with all the glory going to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Only one other musical event from Travis Avenue  that I/we remember was the year we performed The Seven Last Words of Christ by Joseph Haydn.  I don’t remember a lot of “acting” during that performance, but I do remember that we had an actor portraying Christ, and he was actually “hanging” on the cross, set up in the baptistry.  He “sang” the seven last words of Christ on the cross.  It was an extremely moving presentation.

Credit Google Search and synaxis

While it wasn’t at the church, I was able to join with some from the community to sing with the Seminary choir (Southwestern Baptist Seminary – Fort Worth, Texas) performing  Messiah by Handel.  The rehearsals were in the evening, and after working all day long, then heading to Seminary for rehearsals…well, I only participated in one performance.  I was just too tired to do justice to the music.  But it is a magnificent piece of music.

The Rotunda  – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

Credit Google Search and SWBTS website

WE….ARE THE CHURCH!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

The Shelter of the Most High

31 Oct

My Take

DiVoran Lites

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust! Psalm 91:1-2

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Church-Part 6C

30 Oct

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Back in September, in the posting I wrote, I mentioned the church we were members of in Wiesbaden, West Germany.  As it turned out, while we were in Heidelberg, Immanuel Baptist Church in Wiesbaden, was celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary as an established church (in 1957).   Since we were only one hour away from Wiesbaden, we took the girls with us and attended that celebration.

If you remember another previous posting, you might remember Immanuel Baptist Church had built a new building after we rotated Stateside.  It was in this building where the celebration was held.

Immanuel Baptist Church, Wiesbaden, West Germany Photo by Fred Wills

Photo by Fred Wills

Photo by Fred Wills

It was a joint celebration with the Americans and Germans together.  There was music by the German choir, there was preaching by the very first pastor of that church, Herman Dee Stout. 

Photo by Fred Wills

Pastor Herman Stout – first pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church

German choir behind him

Herman and his brother, Herbert L. Stout, had been military (U.S. Army, we think) at one time in Wiesbaden.  After they got out of the military, Herman came back to Germany and Wiesbaden to start that first church in Wiesbaden.  (Herbert was called as pastor to Bethel Baptist Church in Frankfurt the following year, 1958).   All the former pastors of the Immanuel Baptist Church were in attendance, except the gentleman who was pastor when we were there.  He was in ill health at that time and was unable to attend.

Fred was able to stand and bring greetings from our family – who were members 10 years before – and from the Grace Baptist Church in Heidelberg.

Following the upstairs festivities, there was cake, punch, and coffee downstairs.  It was a joyous time for us, as well as the Immanuel Baptist Church.  We felt blest to be able to attend that meeting, and be in Germany during that time.

Photo by Fred Wills

Downstairs, at the tables

Photo by Fred Wills

In another vein, I would like to tell a humorous story about our Heidelberg pastor, Greg.  In this picture, you will see a man with a very full beard – a former pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church who was pastor in Wiesbaden the same time we were in Heidelberg.

Photo from IBC webpage

Greg so admired that beard, that he determined to grow one for himself.  Unfortunately, Greg’s beard was not anywhere near as full or thick – or black!  One Sunday morning, he decided to shave it off.  All of us in the congregation were surprised to see him clean-shaven that morning, when he got up to preach.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember what the sermon was about, but I do remember that, in the middle of the sermon, he said, “folks, as you can see, I’ve shaved off my beard this morning.  As I stood looking at myself in the mirror, I realized that it was the first time in my life I’ve had hair on my chest!”

As you might imagine, we in the congregation erupted in laughter!  And that statement might just as well have illustrated a point in his sermon.  I just don’t remember – I only remember the laughter it produced!

WE….ARE THE CHURCH!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Quick to Listen

24 Oct

My Take

DiVoran Lites

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen; but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose. Therefore, (with the help of Holy Spirit) abandon everything morally impure and all forms of wicked conduct. Instead, with a sensitive spirit we absorb God’s Word, which has been implanted within our nature, for the Word of Life has power to continually deliver us. James 1:19

Photo Credit Pixabay

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Church-Part 6B

23 Oct

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Just a side note to finding a new pastor in our Baptist church in Germany.  There was one young man, from California, who expressed interest in becoming our pastor.  The Search Committee heard audio tapes from some of his sermons. 

Credit Pixabay

When he said he wanted to come in-person to interview – at his expense – we were agreeable.  Unfortunately, when he preached – while it was a good sermon – those of us on the Search Committee had already heard his sermon, on tape.  He wanted to come in-person, since he had relatives in other parts of Europe, and planned to visit them after visiting with us.

The Pastor Search Committee (Fred and I both were on this committee) met with him during the weekend he was with us.  When I realized we hadn’t talked about the “nitty-gritty” stuff, such as salary, etc., I offered to make lunch following the worship service on Sunday for the committee, and we could sit around our dining room table and discuss things in private. 

Credit Pixabay – French Onion Soup – which I fixed for lunch that Sunday

Everything seemed okay until he asked how we were going to get all his household goods to Germany, as well as his two cars.  We told him that he could bring 2,000 pounds of household goods and one car – the same as the military allowed the rest of us.  That put an end to the discussions, as he said he couldn’t live under those conditions.

Funny end of that story – the very Saturday night before the church was to vote on calling Greg to be our pastor, this gentleman called from California, and asked Fred to ask the committee to re-consider him for the position.

Credit Pixabay

He said his family had had a house fie, and had lost all his possessions,

Credit Pixabay

and one of his cars had been totaled in a wreck. 

Credit Pixabay

He stated that he felt God was trying to get his attention!  Fred informed him that the vote on another man was the next day, and Fred would tell him the result.  As it turned out – the church voted unanimously to call Greg as our new pastor.  

Our new pastor, Greg and his wife, Carol – 1981

Sorry about the clarity of this photo.

We enjoyed our three years with Grace Baptist Church, there in Heidelberg.  We became friends with Greg and his wife, Carol, and his three children.  As I mentioned last time, our Karen and their Brian fell in love, and later married.   Greg and Carol’s middle daughter, Michelle, was a delightful young lady.  She was one of the highlights of the young peoples group at the church.  Our Janet was the same age as their youngest daughter, Deanna, and they became fast friends, as well.

Last time, I mentioned that we had a family from Canada in our church membership.  The wife/mother of the family approached me at one time, about teaching her two boys piano lessons.  I had never thought to teach piano, even though I played, and was the pianist for our church there.  However, when she told me that Canada had a “conservatory” system of teaching and learning piano, I agreed.  Canada has a program where the child can be taught in any province of Canada, and if moved to another province, they can pick right back up where they left off.  It’s an interesting concept.  The boys had already had several years of learning, and it was a delight to work with them within this system.  That allowed them to keep up with the program, and not be far behind when they returned to Canada.

Credit ChurchArt

As with other churches we had been part of, that had a large military base, about one-third of the congregation left for the States every year.  Fortunately, they were replaced by incoming military members the following Fall.

Greg and his family stayed in Heidelberg for about five years, with Brian returning Stateside in our second year in Virginia, to study at the same University where Karen was.  They married in another year, and both completed their education.

WE….ARE THE CHURCH!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

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