Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Remembering Aunt Karen

“I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.”

Aunt Karen entered into eternal rest in the arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ, Friday morning, July 11, 2014, after a long battle with cancer.  Karen was 54 years old. Karen loved her Savior and family. She loved us all through her amazing country cooking skills! As she sipped on her Mountain Dew, she would fry eggs to perfection, make amazing sausage gravy, cook the best peas you've every tasted  or beat you at a game of Rook. She was a long time member of Willow Springs Baptist Church. Former employer of Levi Strauss for over 20 years. She was beloved by the Lord and will be deeply missed by her family.

Preceded in death by mother, Norma Sue Severs.

Survivors: ex-husband, Steve Beeler of Luttrell; daughter, Keyla Beeler of Knoxville; father, Everett W. Severs; and sister: Deborah  and Jack Tyler, Fall Branch; brothers, Chris and Lisa Severs of Karns, Jeff and Linda Severs of Powell; special friend, Shirley McLain;  Nephews, Travis and Becki Tyler of Elizabethton, Ryan Severs of Knoxville, and Christopher Severs of Jacksonville, North Carolina, Luke Severs of Powell; Nieces, Tiffiney Tyler of Kingsport, Jessica Severs of Powell and cousins; She is also survived by several beloved great nephews and great nieces.

I wanted to write about my aunt as part of my process of the grieving.  Our family will dearly miss her, because we had spent so much time with her over the last five years especially.  Over the last six years or so, due to unfortunate events, Karen lived with my parents.  During this time she became very close to my children like a second Mamaw. She made many trips to Indiana for all the major events in our lives like my seminary graduation, the birth of all my children, holidays, birthdays, and baby dedications.  In addition to this she also came up many times to help us, for example when Becki was on bed rest before and after Asher was born.

I loved her dearly, and the grief is more than I thought it would be.  I find great comfort in hearing her tell me about how she repented and placed her complete trust in Jesus Christ for her salvation.  She told me that she was "saved during a regular Sunday Morning at a little baptist church off Unaka Avenue in JohnsonCity, Tennessee".  We all tried to prepare ourselves for what is coming, and I knew that she was going to pass soon.  Being in the ministry for nearly 12 years now, I have stood by many bedsides and watched people slip into eternity.  Karen fought her cancer hard, she had stage four lung cancer for two years!  The average life expectancy rate is about 9 months for stage four lung cancer.  I want to share with you what I learned from my Aunt.  Without her help I would have no idea how to make homemade sausage gravy, dice veggies with ease, or make peas that taste amazing.  I learned from her and I thought I would give a little window into what she taught me/us.  Here goes:

Karen you taught us how to…

    Love passionately,

    Forgive completely,

    Work Happily,

   Cook correctly,

    Laugh heartily,

    Serve sacrificially,

   And fight fervently!

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." -Psalm 116:15

I love you, Aunt Karen and will miss you always, until we meet at Jesus' Feet!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How Does the Church Become the Church in a Culture and Time as this?

“From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live.” –Acts 17:26

This summer we have seen decisions and much discussion on the new sexual revolution, religious liberty and racial issues. This has left many in the church with their head spinning. We ask, “How do we respond?” I believe that it is not faithful to respond by saying, “everything is falling apart!”. We are American who are dealing with problems in our time and culture. We are no more wicked or better than the generations that preceded us. And at least one generation in the past was worse, remember when God only found one family living for him then He flooded the world!!!!! So things have actually been worse before.
  • Understand and believe that God only created one race of humans and only died for one race of humans. I wish I could say that the church and our nation is all healed over racial issues, but the shooting in Charleston, South Caroline recently proved that wrong. The young man had a demonically fueled hatred for those of a different skin color, which breaks my heart, because the Bible does not teach hate for differing skin colors. The Bible makes clear in the verse above that we all came from one race and that Jesus died for one race. 
  • Be Prepared to Receive the Sexual Revolution Refugees. The sexual revolution that is before us has placed the church in a unique position. Never before have we been so opposite the culture in our understanding of sexual ethics and expectations. The sad reality is that to chase our own fulfillment through sex or any means in the ends is empty (Ecclesiastes 2:1). We must be prepared to be welcoming but not affirming of those who struggle in these areas. We are called to lead by example a life lived for Christ as the way.
  • Remain faithful to what we have been handed down. With the cultural sand shifting beneath our feet, we now find that there will be many more opportunities for persecution than any time in recent memory in the United States. This is not all bad, in our afflictions we will be filling up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. We will also see those who are nominal Christians fall away form the church, bring about a purification. As one believer recently told me, “Christians are a lot like tea bags, we are most useful in hot water!”

Friday, July 3, 2015

How was Vacation Bible School at Grace Baptist this week?

We had a great week of vacation Bible School at Grace Baptist Church.  Jennifer Phelan did a great job of stepping up to the plate with passion and energy!  The theme was "Journey off the Map" and here is a breakdown of the week by the numbers:

  • Total Enrollment= 101
  • Workers = 21
  • Birth - Kindergarten = 19
  • Grades 1-6 = 32
  • Grades 7-12 = 7
  • Adults Attending a class = 12
  • Average Attendance each day = 87
  • Decisions to Accept Christ = 3