FAITHFUL TO OUR POST  By Lori A Alicea

It was just an ordinary weekend almost two weeks ago.

Beginning Saturday, a training session for the serve team volunteers at my church, although most would agree “A Day at the Emmy’s” minus the fanfare.

Awards…
Trophies…
Prizes…
Speeches…
Catered lunch…

Glam table touches of Valentine sparkle and chocolates…

Obviously missed were the couture dresses, swag bags and the paparazzi…

But great appreciation overflowed from leadership hearts towards those diligently committed each week for the sole reason of honoring God by serving his people.

Then Sunday came…

The serve team took their place as they do week after week; not for accolades, not for fame; just a servant’s heart to be found faithful to their post.

Chuck was no different.
He attended the Day at the Emmy’s.  E0E058B9-5B47-434E-9705-2224B3E5D3E0Facebook photo from Rachael Tucker

He was seen serving the very next day at church.

A true patriot; Chuck was faithful to God, family and flag, who never went AWOL to his post.

Chuck could always be found…

Leading worship in our life-group on Tuesday evenings…

Keeping the church safe through the undercover security team on Sundays…

Fathering and loving his family no matter the day…8E28E386-42CF-4AE0-AA18-A355E49E70E9Facebook photo from Ken Steorts

If Chuck was needed for any reason at all, look no further than at his post.

Yet, when Tuesday came only two days later, his post was found unattended, unmanned by our patriot, as Chuck had taken a brand new post in heaven.

With no warning to prepare for, God received a committed servant for Himself.

During the home-going service honoring Chuck as a veteran of the faith that he was, I kept remembering a man who showed up week after week, with my final sighting of him standing at the sanctuary’s entrance, praising God while keeping his post.F14E4995-A149-48E3-B25D-DD6322F16F5F

When our appointed time comes as it did for my friend, 

Let it be said of us from those who’ve been watching…

Our heirs…
Our family…
Our co-workers…
Our friends…
Our God…
Those unaware to us…

That we have been found faithful.

(an excerpt from a song echoing the same)

Find Us Faithful
By Steve Green

May all who come behind us find us faithful…

May the fire of our devotion light their way

May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe

And the lives we live inspire them to obey…

Yes, our brother in Christ was remembered faithful.
Chuck left behind his footprints for others to believe.

Chuck’s life was a true inspiration for those left behind to continue their journey of faith reflecting the character of God as He is faithful.

Even still, the presence of Chuck is terribly missed though we are comforted in our confidence we’ll see him again.

Life is a vapor; our time is accounted as a mere breath.

a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
James 4:14

Our days are already numbered and we know not when the Lord will stop counting.

Singers Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote and said it best in this song regarding the fleeting of time, a handful of moments in our hands.

We Have this Moment
By Bill and Gloria Gaither

We have this moment to hold in our hands
And to touch it as it slips
Through our fingers like sand
Yesterday’s gone
And tomorrow many never come

But we have this moment today…

May the moment we have in front of us become a great memory.

May the fullness of our heart be love, peace and joy with those in our circle of influence.

Because when the unexpected time comes and the Lord is ready to receive us…

May the examination of our life be found not wasted…

But found faithful…

Loving…
Serving…
Running after God…

Faithful to our post.

IT’S MORE THAN A TOWEL By Lori A Alicea

Towels.

More than a wrap after a hot steamy shower.

More than a stack of fluffy color coordinated terry cloth to complete the bathroom ensemble.

The delight of squirming wet babies scooped from their baths resembling zoo babies in their animal decorated towel hoods to keep them warm.

It’s more than a towel we dry off with after our bath.
It’s more than just a towel.

When I think of serving, I think of towels.

My husband David throws a towel over his shoulder each time he serves me at a sink full of dishes.  Maybe his shoulder is a convenient place for towels when dishes are ready to be dried.    Maybe it’s my reminder that great leaders are servant leaders; that no task is beneath them.

More than a Towel Picture

I could write a book filling the pages of dedication that have earned my husband his stripes for lifetime service to our family.

He proudly wears the uniform reserved only for servants, a high position for those willing to answer the call to go low.

Laundry, cooking, housework, yard work and car repairs make the short list.

My husband delighted in shining patent leather shoes to a sparkle for his little girls before church.

Blow drying their hair after baths was “special time” he believed all daddies enjoyed.

Neighbors could hear the laughter of “catch” in the backyard between a father and his sons.  Little league games stole the base a father’s heart in the summer,  yet gave away his heart through date nights and time over coffee with his wife.

Jesus answered the call of servant leadership

When as Lord, he bowed and washed his disciple’s feet, then dried them with his towel.
John 13:1-17 (NIV)

Though his disciples not understanding, Jesus urged these twelve to also take up their towel and wash another man’s feet.

Stating that “16no servant is greater than his master…”,
17that you will be blessed if you do…”
John 13:1-17 (NIV)

Throughout the decades the pages of our marriage boasts a best seller because one man understood the power of the towel; an attitude of his heart.

To lead you must serve.

In going low you will go high.

To wash another man’s feet you will be blessed.

To answer the call, you take up your towel.

A TABLE SET FOR THE UNSEEN GUEST By Lori A Alicea

 

 As an event decorator for more than a decade, I’ve been asked a myriad of questions over the years regarding my craft: “Why all the fuss?”  “Why go to such length regarding the details?”  “What about the great expense?”  While most of the time “It’s my love for what I do” is answer enough.  But to probe my heart one would discover I decorate with the thought of every guest, especially the unseen guest, in mind.

 Nobody loves a party more than I do.  I light up like a Christmas tree at the mere mention of making your event dreams come true.  I hyperventilate in the candy store of Pinterest.  I savor the hunt for napkin folds, centerpiece ideas, favors, intimate lighting and linens.  Glue guns are my weapon of choice and I dream in glitter of every color in the crayon box.  It’s a mystery that setting a beautiful table fills my tank, yet it does.  But it’s also the invited list of names I want to overwhelm in the details that motivates my passion, those selected guests who have no idea of the tables prepared just for them.

 If truth be told though, some guests rarely notice the trappings of the table.  A tablecloth would have sufficed; even a wrinkled one.  The decoration expense might be viewed as a waste and unappreciated favor gifts are left behind by many.  No matter the opinion though, this event decorator will continue to pour out her heart onto her guests, especially the unseen guest whom she truly decorates for, the Lord.

If the Lord is with us always and our standard for service requires, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Colossians 3:23 (KJV).”  Then I must always sense the presence of the unseen guest taking his reserved seat at the table, in hopes that my hands have prepared from a spirit of excellence befitting the Son of God.

As Jesus prepares for us a place in heaven, I’ve often imagined the banquet-table we will one day dine beside him at, pondering its splendor and extravagance.  If heaven’s streets are paved in gold and its gates layered in pearls, eyes can’t conceive what will take our breath away and bring us to our knees when Jesus beckons us to take our place at the table.  If we are called to bring heaven here to earth as Matthew 6:10 (NIV) reminds us, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Then it is my innermost desire that every table I set display even the smallest hint of our heavenly place.

Oh, that we all desire to bring heaven here on earth through the gifting we are called to.  May we always be mindful to serve in excellence, “as unto the Lord”, as he is the unseen guest in everything we do.  Never forgetting the ultimate end is that others might see Jesus’ amazing love for them through us.