Monday, April 10, 2017

Ladies Bible class April 2017

Once upon a time--not long, long ago like in some stories--but today, right here in Springfield, MO @ the church building, Mrs Willis answered the call to share a bit of God's word with the Wednesday morning Bible class.

Some of the ladies were wondering--

Who is Mrs Willis?  and.....  What is S H E doing here?

Reminds me of the story of a small local church during a member drive. All invitees are counted and credit given to the invite-tor.   There may or may not have been prizes involved.  Any how, just as the preacher stood to bring the message, a family of late comers entered the meeting area.,  With out hesitation,  (I am sure for record keeping purposed only.....) Someone shouted out:  Who are you and Who invited you?

Do you ever feel put on the spot like that?

Let me back up a bit, I am Mrs Willis, and Mikki invited me!

Now you are wondering--"Why weren't we warned so we could make an excuse to be absent.  Or,  "How can I sneak out now?  (Wait, that last one was on me-  my bad!!)

God our all-knowing Father in Heaven brought my sister in Christ, Mikki and me together many years ago.  Mikki was working with disaster relief and wouldn't you know, I was a disaster.  Well not me per se but areas of my town of Monett and the neighboring town of Pierce City.  

I am not a record keeper so I can't tell you how many years ago that was.  I can tell you that the following September at our then annual Ladies Night, Mikki was our guest speaker!  I like to think that I had a hand in "discovering" her.  I can still remember the thought provoking message she brought us--something about something and something about God and something about God and her struggle to prepare and deliver an epic life changing speech to the huddled masses yearning to be free.  I may be mixing up a few memories.

Mikki and I cross paths every once in a while.  I like her b/c she laughs at my jokes and she likes me b/c I am so easy to laugh at.  We share a love of our Lord, a love of His Word, a love of our times of fellowship and even a love of fabric.  I have been told we may even share a love of another "F"-word--"-Food".  You are planning on feeding me right?   Faith, Family, Fellowship, Fabric, Food and Fun they are all the 'bomb'  My daughter says that that is not what the F-word means.  I say it means whatever I say it means.  Last time I checked America is still a country that allows Free Speech (another F-word) and I claim my F-words are Fantastic!

Enough about me, let's talk about you....."What do you think of me so far?"

When Mikki invited me to teach the Ladies class I accepted the offer with out hesitation, on one condition--to be revealed in a bit.  -

Unlike Mikki, I have never had the joy of teaching a group of adults I didn't know.  I do pretty good in my own sandbox but the opportunity to research material and commit to a train of thought is a challenge I have wanted to undertake for awhile.

I have never stepped up (or out) into a lectureship role.  I am finding it exciting and challenging both at the same time.  I once told Mikki that I was going to write another book some day.  

My first book was titled:  Mrs Willis and the Mystery Reader Surprise-  I will give a spoiler reveal, the surprise is an interactive story with grade school students written in 1998 (revised in 2017).  Each student gets their own hand puppet to embellish and keep as a reading buddy for the school year.

My new book may be called:  Yes I am writing a book!  This will be in response to my older brother answering every question from him younger sister the same way--WHY are you writing a book?

 Back to my one condition-  I would love to teach a class, if I can write a "book/story" about the experience (or lack there and throw in a little "Cheryl" has been here while I am at it.

All books or stories have the same three things in common. A Beginning--A Middle and An End.   My lesson will be no different.  How hard can it be?

Let us start our interactive collaboration in a similar fashion to that of my greatest literary example, My Father,  I know you know Him and I know you know His Word too.  Let us turn to Gen 1:1  Here we see that "In the Beginning, God created"  I really must warn you that I normally teach 1-3rd graders on Sunday mornings.  I seriously have an over-whelming urge to start singing Day One, Day One, God made light when there was none.  We sing our theology!  (What an awesome chapter for the new book)  Sing on oh blissful pilgrims.

At the end of 6 days of creating spaces and things to fill those spaces Our Father records for us in Gen 1:31- that He (God-) saw all that He had made and it was very good.

This would have been a wonderful spot and time to end the story (our story, mankind's story) but God took time to rest on the seventh day and we all know what happens with children when the adult is resting.

Ask me later to tell the story of the time I took a nap and the kids dug a swimming pool in the front yard.  Funny now, not so much then.

I am going to jump ahead a bit to the Middle part of my lesson or our lesson-  this will be class participation so be prepared- you are being warned-  .  

God's story through us is very different individually but also very similar.  Let me explain using my good reporter/writer words:  The Who, What, When, Where, Why and even How of this very specific group of women being together in this exact time and place may seem different for each of us. ..........

--but  LOOK  around-- we are all here- any one not here?raise your hand!.  That's what I thought. Different experiences leading to the straight and narrow road that brought us straight together. 

1. Hear the Gospel. (Romans 10:17John 8:32)
2. Believe the Gospel (Hebrews 11:6John 20:31)
3. Repent of past sins (Luke 13:3Acts 17:30)
4. Confess faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:10Matthew 10:32)
5. Be Baptized (Galatians 3:27Mark 16:16Acts 2:38)
6. Be faithful unto death (Revelations 2:10) 

Yet we all have similar experiences too-think about this:  We have all-- Heard the Word, Believed the Gospel, Repented of our sins, Confessed our Faith in Jesus before men, we have been Baptized, we are striving to be faithful, we are studying to show ourselves approved, we are not forsaking the assembly.   The similarities continue:  We are sisters in Christ-  family,  co-heirs, our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and can speak universes into existence (back to the Gen 1:1 reference)  As my good friend Tammy Nibert is know to say:  We are the daughters of the KING.  He cares for the lily of the field and he cares for you and he cares for me..

I don't understand the reason why anyone would want to number the hairs on my head but I am secretly impressed that He has that job covered,  I can turn my attentions else where.

Please turn to Romans 12:
6We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If someone’s gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith; 7if it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is giving, let him give generously; if it is leading, let him lead with diligence; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.… 

 I Like what it says in Romans 12: 7-- I am paraphrasing-- if your gift is teaching then keep on teaching on!

Not bragging, but another gift I have according to the grace given me is prophecy.  I must admit when I was younger I was able to tell the future in proportion to my faith.  Many a time as a child looking out the window watching the grass grow, I could plain as day predict that my brother would get in trouble later from my dad for not getting the mower out.  I am 100% right on the money in a bet that if caught outside in a thunderstorm--someone's going to get wet.

Personally I have always thought my real gift was sarcasm, but that one is not mentioned or at least not in a good way. 

I am sure you have noticed by now that I veer of topic a bit.  I am aware that I am a bit of an acquired taste so to speak.  I talk to loud ( 2nd grade teacher 1967) I talk to fast (my boss and restaurant manager late 1970's)  I don't seem to know what I am talking about-(every conversation with my husband-ever!)

Makes me so happy to know that God knows me so well that He is always going to send the Comforter to help me in whatever wild rabbit trail I go running ahead on.

Helping me walk in the LORD today will be my good friend Dawn- who has mastered the art of not asking What? What? but just saying Yes, of course I will go with you.

Dawn recently lead our Wednesday evening Ladies class in a bible study of Ruth.  Our friendship takes the "where you go I shall go" verse very literally.  Sometimes we laugh together, sometimes we cry,  we are family- the family of GOD.

I mentioned before that I normally teach younger students. One activity/story that I would like to share from my class is the idea of a personal journal.  Each of my students gets their own note book and even in 1st -3rd grades they are excited to keep track of their time in the WORD.  In years past, wonderfully thought out lesson pages could be picked up off the floor within minutes of class being dismissed.  Now kiddos can turn back in their book and re-create or tell in their own words the message of the Sunday class.  The hope is to encourage a love of learning the scriptures.  Some of the kids take their notebooks home, some leave them in the class room.  All the students will let me have them back when they promote to a higher grade and I will re-gift the notebooks back to them at HS graduation.  (OK, maybe at middle school graduation)

To encourage you to start your own bible study notebook, I have stolen ideas from a past Pattern's for Living program we did for a Ladies Night many years ago.  I hope you enjoy getting to use your creativity and learn to use rain drops not puddles when you glue.

Let's begin:  Dawn and Mikki will pass out papers and other supplies needed for this next part.  Try to keep up or work ahead and take a nap, keep your hands and feet to yourself and yes you can take a restroom break.

Psalms 119:1-2
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. 

2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—

From the Beatitudes-  Luke 6:38--good measure
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

3 John 5--thread work w/dependability

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters,[a] even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God.It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.

Ephesians 6:10-18

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Proverbs 10:19  Button your lip
Solomon's Proverbs: The Wise Son
18He who conceals hatred has lying lips, And he who spreads slander is a fool. 19When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.

Other verses that remind us to practice open mouth insert foot- control.

James 1:19
My beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger,
James 3:2
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to control his whole body.
Job 11:2
"Shall a multitude of words go unanswered, And a talkative man be acquitted?
Proverbs 17:27
He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Proverbs 18:21
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Ecclesiastes 5:2
Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.
Ecclesiastes 5:3
For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words.

Col 3:16-- put some snap in your life
16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Matt 5:44 --expand your LOVE to include everyone
Cross References
1 Samuel 24:17
He said to David, "You are more righteous than I; for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you.
Proverbs 19:11
A man's discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.
Proverbs 25:21
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

Romans 12:20

On the contrary, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Luke 6:27
But to those of you who will listen, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luke 6:28
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 23:34
Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up His garments by casting lots.
John 13:34
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another.
Acts 7:60
Falling on his knees, he cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Romans 12:14
Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse.

Ladies Bible class April 2017  Cheryl Willis Monett MO 417-366-0057

Now all good stories/lessons come to an end---I would like to Thank Mikki for inviting me to 'show' myself, I hope you have approved.   I would also like to apologize to anyone who thought I was going to work more quilting/sewing stories into our get together. I do want to visit with the quilters later to express my appreciation for the support you have given me  towards our sewing mission in Monett.

If you are a Real Teacher or know a Real Teacher, Please don't grade this lesson, unless you grade on a curve.

Final Greetings--to share the language of love penned by our fellow bondsman, Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth--

2 Corinthians
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

I thank you for your time and fellowship and hospitality--love Cheryl

Friday, February 24, 2017

Another fun Mystery Reader day--

Good Friend, Deb H and I got to collaborate on surprising the Weaton, Mo 2 grade classes with an interactive 'mystery' story.  Using the same 'book' from last months visit to My grand daughter, (Breely's )1st grade class, I was able to re-write the first names of 40 students  from Deb's grand daughter (Kylie's) class into the story.  Very proud to say that I have learned a few new-to-me names.  I did fairly well with pronouncing the kiddos but not so well on the host teacher's.

Special Thanks to everyone who helped me get ready for the adventure.  We have sewn up over 100 puppets since January.  Our Ladies Bible class chipped in to cut out most of them--lol.  Donated yarns made for some pretty interesting "hair".

I am seriously considering re-writing the story w/puppet pattern & instructions so other parents or grandparents can enjoy surprising their child's peers with their own Mystery Reader Surprise.

Work table--scrap yarn rolled up to use as puppet hair.

Puppet reading buddy, embellished by 2nd grade student.

Bodie told me he is from Scotland.  He wrote :Best day ever" on his puppets shirt.

students lined up for a puppet parade and I enjoyed getting to High Five their new puppet buddies.

Kylie was so surprised to see us.  I enjoyed getting to visit her class.

Both 2nd grade classrooms participated in the project.  My skills at taking photos is a little off.  I thought I was getting two shots of the left and right sides of the group.  My left turned out pretty fuzzy.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Scrappy wedding quilt

Charlene brought her "scrappy re-gifted blocks" thrown together keepsake to be quilted today.   Blocks and other yellow and blue scrapes were donated to me from a friend of a friend.
I am such a fan of throwing orphan blocks together and seeing what a few hours and couple of bobbins of thread can produce.

Charlene's quilt is a reminder of how GOD can use the works of our hands to celebrate and bless others.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mrs Willis and Mystery Reader Surprise!

When our kids were in grade school  (Late 1980's- early 1990's) , I use to enjoy getting to be the "Mystery Reader" for the week.  The idea was that 'someone' was coming to read to the class but the students didn't know who or what the story was.  Sometimes it would be a parent, principal, the mayor, another teacher, it was always fun when it was my turn to surprise the class.

Years ago, our kids attended a small neighborhood school in Kansas.  The building had one grade of each 1st-4th.  Our family seemed to usually have several kids in the school at a time--ha ha  (That's what happens when you have them so close together!)

I made up a variety of hand puppets that I could use with the classes over the years.  The Reading Buddy puppets were always a big hit with students and teachers.

A few months ago I came across a booklet I had written in 1998.  The trip down memory lane inspired me to dust off the book, fire up the machine and sew a new generation of Reading Buddy Puppets.

These photos are from our grand-daughter, Breely's 1st grade class.  My good friend Debbie H. lent a helping hand assisting the kids with decorating their new Reading Buddy puppets.  As much fun as it is to stir the kids up, an extra sets of hands and eyes when 26 students are using permanent markers is a Must-Have!

Part of my 17 projects for 2017 was to use up fabric stash in fun ways.  The double knit is seeing a lot of activity this year.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Thanksgiving 2016

Thankful that GOD is good.  Thankful that the  Family takes time to hang out every now and then .  And blessed that all our girls are such good cooks!  Thanks to Mikes family for hosting this years get-together.  May our LORD continue to smile down on us.