Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Corn Harvest

Today I said goodbye to the lovely corn that has surrounded our house for the summer. When Ed and I moved into the parsonage on Friendship Rd., the corn was a little more than waist high. It was dark green, and full of life. I embraced our new home and took the corn as a sign of hope that God had placed Ed and me just where we need to be.

During the summer, the corn grew, and I felt safe and secure. I was surrounded by the family of God at Friendship UMC and the corn. It was like a big-acre cocoon that held us close as we settled in. The corn matured, tasseling, making ears, and turning to the bright yellow grain that when harvested is made into corn bread, corn chips, and corn oil, ethanol, cow food, people food, dog food and so many other life-giving products.  

I now look forward to the next crop the farmers will plant in the field, wheat, soybeans; something green, something growing.

In Ecclesiastes 3:2, the author (whom tradition identifies as Solomon, son of David and Bathsheba), couples the images of birth and death with seed-time and harvest. I am reminded by the cutting of the corn that we all will one day be called to our forever home with God. It will be a joyous day for the believer who goes, and a mournful day for those left behind to grieve.

Even as I watch the corn be cut and carried away in the big semi-trucks, which is a little sad, I am encouraged when I think of the divine cycle of living, dying and living again. Jesus said, “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, then it only remains one seed. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit” (John 12:24). Jesus was talking about himself. He was giving a sign that in his death, there is life. He was also incarnating the standard for how his followers should live and die as well; becoming the seed bearers, seed planters, and fruit producers for the world.

I wonder, when will I really understand the full force of Jesus' words? Moreover, when will I completely understand their meaning; that we have been given life so that we can till the soil and plant seeds so that when we die, others will grow. Dying is victory to those in Christ Jesus, and so is living. Being called to live here in N. Iredell, I'm coming to see that we all have farming to do!

Lord, give me strength to produce, plant, nurture, and grow all the seeds you give me… ‘til Kingdom come. Amen!

Thanks to Dale Bess, who planted, grew and harvested the corn by our house!!

©2014 Judy H. Eurey

Monday, August 11, 2014

But...Do As You Please

  I wonder if your mother was like mine. I remember that when I was a teenager, and she wanted me to do something that I wasn’t keen on doing, she had a way of convincing me that my actions were going to be on my own head.
  First, she would explain to me the exact course my choices would take. If I did thus and so, Outcome A would happen, and if I did the opposite (usually what she didn’t approve of) Outcome B would happen (usually something detrimental to me). Finally momma would wind up her counsel with these ominous words, “but do as you please.” 
   What teenager can combat such a psychological weapon as that? Most of the time I followed her advice, and I was sorry when I didn’t!
   I know where Momma got her knack of instruction. She got it from the Bible. Yes that is right, she was following much of what the bible tells us about self-determination. Namely, we all have a choice. I have a choice every day to follow the guidance found in God’s word, or in Momma’s words, “do as I please.”
   Being a minister, I have heard numerous people complain about the circumstances of their life and faith. They complain about their lack of peace, how everything seems to be going wrong, that they just can’t catch a break, and nobody cares about them. They complain about their church, the people there and how they act, the music, the preaching, the time they must spend there, and on and on. How am I to respond to those complaints?   
   I am just speaking for myself here, but if I am honest, when I find myself beginning to complain about such things, it is usually because I have been “doing as I please.” I have not been making the good choices that I should have. As Momma has warned me…I am living the consequences of Outcome B.
   In his book, A Guide to Prayer For All Who Walk With God, Reuben Job says that the bible is filled with stories of people, regular people who receive instructions from “Momma” God for their lives. Some of those people follow the instructions they receive, and others…you guessed it, do as they please. Reuben Job recommends that we cultivate what he calls, “practicing a preference for God and God’s will” (296).
   I find that his words have encouraged me this morning. Practicing a preference for God and God’s will, frankly, that guidance is fairly simple. Practicing, like when we practice a musical instrument, means that we do not always get it right. But it also means that someday a beautiful melody will appear and will be our Outcome A.
   Today, I want to set my mind on cultivating that way of seeking God, practicing a preference for God. I know that when I put God first, have a preference for God’s will for me, then I’m going to do less complaining about my circumstances, my peace, my church, my friends, and I will spend more time rejoicing at the presence of God with me and the abundant life God gives me.
   Practicing a preference for God…hum…Momma would like that!

(My mother is Lucy Collins Hallyburton, and she now resides with God in glory. I miss her!)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ordinary Blessings

It’s odd. Usually I am worn to a frazzle by Sunday evening. But God blessed me with a long nap in the late afternoon, which refreshed me and put me in a very good spirits. In fact this whole weekend has been full of blessings. Not so much of the grand nature, but more of the ordinary kind.

For example, on Saturday, Ed and I ventured out into the surrounding area. We are so new here, almost every time we leave the house it’s an adventure. A short drive from 907 Friendship Rd. is located a general store called Shiloh. It is just over the county line in Yadkin. We had heard about it from our new friends, so we thought we would check it out.

The store at Shiloh is not a place you just pop into. It is quite a ways off the beaten path or so it seems. The folks who operate the store are Amish, and it is filled with a bounty of fresh breads, cakes, herbs, nuts, fruit, jams, jellies, and produce.

When we got there on Saturday, I noticed a stretch limo parked right out front. Hey, I told Ed, we might get to see a famous person. But alas, inside we found mainly ordinary folks like us. Some of them may have been famous, but since I’m seriously media-challenged on a regular basis, I couldn't tell if any were or not.

Ed and I purchased some homemade ginger snaps (my favorite), and a pan of blackberry cream cheese rolls (Ed’s favorite).  I got some fancy popcorn too (again, my favorite).  So if you find yourself somewhere in Yadkin County, go by there. You’ll enjoy it, and the food is the best.

The country in North Iredell is beautiful this time of year, and I can’t wait to experience the change of seasons. The lushness of the growing corn and soybeans, seeing the dairy cows spread out over the pastures, and the hopefulness of the morning glories curling over any tall thing fills and nurtures my heart.

Best of all, worshiping with the saints at Friendship UMC this morning topped off the week-end. God was present, and we were blessed! I know God has brought Ed and me among the folks here for something special. We are not exactly sure yet what that might be, but if the blessings we are experiencing so far are any indication, it is going to be fantastic!

Feeling blessed and in good spirits and thanking God here in N. Iredell County!

Sunday, July 06, 2014


Oh the joys and frustrations of moving. Today I spent some time resting from the week’s work of packing, sorting, lifting, carrying, grunting, sweating and just plain hard work of moving. We euphemistically call this itineracy “our time of transition.” Ed calls it hell week. He is glad it is over, and he gets to return to his regular routine of opening locks and visiting with friends. I’ll admit, he has had the worst of moving as he has done all the heavy lifting, all the driving, and all of the taking apart and putting together.
I am so thankful for his wonderful spirit through the grand adventures God puts us through in ministry. He is a gentle person and has been worried that something may have happened to the toad who was living in the aluminum ladder on our carport in Lincolnton. “I should have brought him with us,“ he said. “But of course he may have a family there.” Leave it to Ed to always be thinking about the little guy.

We have this Sunday as our transition Sabbath, which means that I wasn’t allowed to attend our new church-Friendship UMC. So we scouted out a place to worship and ended up at Yadkin Baptist Church over on highway 115. It was good to worship with them. It seems like it’s been a month since last Sunday!
I am extremely excited to begin in ministry with the saints at Friendship UMC. The welcome here has been overwhelming. We’ve have had our socks blessed off already. I am thanking God for the blessings of my new brothers and sisters. We are going to do gooooood, because God is with us…and the best is yet to come!

Monday, April 21, 2014


What is more glorious than Easter? I ask you. What?! Yesterday was a day of days, one of our Christian high holy days. I for one was totally blessed, made joyful by the living presence of Christ with us. Frankly, on occasion I was nearly overcome by it all, tears of joy among the people, especially me. After all, it the day when we celebrate the event that changed everything forever. We told the story once again, that Jesus rose from the grave, stood alive among his friends, and invited them to tell the world about it. Go…tell everybody! He said. 

In Jesus, and by his sacrifice, we have life too! Even in death, WE have life. Hallelujah!

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, let me just say these words to you. If you are offended, I’m sorry about that. But you too are a part of God’s plan to save the world. Step into the light. Let the power of the resurrection take hold of you. Show up and be shown.  I promise, if you do, and you are willing, Jesus will rock your world like you cannot imagine. He has rocked mine!

I invite your comments. Are you a believer in Jesus Christ? If not, why not?

Monday, March 31, 2014

I am...

Creative Dare...I am...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Keeping It Real

              This month many of our area UMC ministers have been having confirmation classes for our young people. It has been such a blessing to us as because we have a lively, intelligent class of 26 kids going through this process of confirming their faith.
                If you are like me with no kids at home and over 40, you may have noticed that today’s young people are speaking a different language. Not only that, but that language changes every month or two. I stay behind the learning curve. Just this week I heard a few new terms, one of them was the encouragement to keep it real.
                The person who was using the lingo was a youth leader from one of the churches. And this guy was on the mark; OMG, too legit to handle. The man was totally fly in regards to teen lingo…I mean he could requestion better than anybody I ever heard, all the while chillaxing and fist-bumpin’ with the mix. I was totally wowed how he kept the haters lovin’ and the bouncers from bouncing.
                So I asked Mr. Fly, “What does it mean when you say keep it real”? He explained to me what term meant to the youth.  I was intrigued how even today, our life in Christ is all about keeping it real.
                I got from him that to keep it real means to live with integrity, maintaining honesty, and being able to live a life that keeps oneself from living a life of fantasy and make believe. 
                Confirmation in our church is one of the first places in a young person’s life when they come to grips with their personal (not mom’s or dad’s) life of faith, and how they will live it.
                Jesus was a keep-it-real teacher and preacher. In fact, his life embodied that idea. He was always shoving the make-believe world, which people thought they should live in, to the sidelines. He said things like:

“Do not judge, so that you will not be judged” (Matt 7:1).
“If you want to be perfect, go sell all you have, give to the poor and follow me (Matt 5:44).
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44).
                You can tell when somebody is keeping it real because, it causes people to respond like, “What?!....Don’t judge?! Love and pray for my enemies?! Sell my stuff and give it all to the poor?! Are you serious?”
People said the same things in the 1st century to Jesus, using different words of course, but the sentiments were the same. The Pharisees made it their life’s work to act as judges. The Romans thought killing enemies was how a ruling power kept the peace and increased territory. The rich spent their time building bigger storage units (barns).
                For keeping it real Jesus also heard the people shout, “Crucify Him.” And that is what happened.
                During confirmation, part of what the young people study is basically what it means to live a life of faith, following Jesus, and being part of our community of believers (the UMC). It is important that they also understand that such a life is a choice they make. We hope to teach them that the life of faith will not always be easy, is not make-believe, and is most definitely real.
                We ministers and teachers walk a fine line sometimes. We want to make the life of faith attractive by telling of the blessings, the peace, and the hope found in Christ, while at the same time identifying the suffering, the restlessness, and the confusion that is also part of our life of faith.
                The good news is: God is there with us through all of our life, helping us to keep it real, even in the face of everything that comes our way. God never ceases to love us, pour out mercy upon us, forgive us, save us and strengthen us when we are weak.
                Join me this month in praying for all confirmands. These young people are soon coming to times of decision, ones which will set the course of their lives. Pray for them to have courage, boldness, and wisdom so that they will be able to keep it real for themselves.

© 2014 Judy H. Eurey