24 November 2011

As For Me and My House . . .

We attend church about twenty-five miles away at a little branch, which in turn is about an hour and a half from the Stake Center. This is the true "mission field"! We are the only active members in our town. Being here has been more challenging than any other place we've lived because there are more people on the rolls that don't come than there are ones who do attend. Visitors to the branch are warmly welcomed in hopes that they are not just passing through, but permanent residents within the branch boundaries.

I do not understand "in-actives"; nor have I cultivated any empathy or sympathy or patience as I have continued faithful attendance and participation through all the trials, challenges, and offenses of my life.  I can't imagine trying to face life without the church.

Today's reading in the New Testament included 1 John 1:5-7.

"This then is the message which we have heard of him,
and declare unto you,
that God is light, 
and in him is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with him,
and walk in darkness,
we lie,
and do not the truth:
But if we walk in the light, 
as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another, 
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

We can't claim to be members of Christ's church and then not participate, walking in darkness without the light of the gospel in our lives. We need the fellowship of each other to survive and progress; and it is in weekly partaking of the Sacrament that we renew our baptismal covenants and are cleansed again from sin.

A passage from 2 Peter raised a question in my mind: Does this apply to inactive members today?

"For if after they escaped the pollutions of the world
through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
they are again entangled therein, and overcome,
the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness,
than, after they have known it,
to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them."
(2 Peter 2:20-21)

This subject has been on my mind so much lately as my husband and I struggle to home and visit teach people who haven't been to church for over ten years, or who are "too busy" to see us, or who are somewhat antagonistic towards the church.  I have likened our branch to a very old fruit tree that is in need of a good hard pruning to get rid of all the dead wood so there is room and energy for new growth. A unit of the church can't grow when the few active members are so stretched with trying to revive the deadwood that missionary work, and fellowshipping the active is neglected.  Also, who wants to add more in-actives to the rolls?  In our branch all but one of the people baptized last year have not been back to church after their baptism. That doesn't speak well of either their commitment or our ability to fellowship.

I wish Elder Bednar (or his equivalent) would come here and visit these people to invite them to stop being offended and lazy, and come back to church; or sign the letter to have their names removed from the records. Today is a day of decision!

Here's a link to Elder Bednar's General Conference address:

And a huge thank you to Noble for teaching me (over Skype) how to make links live!  YEAH!

20 November 2011

As Promised . . . But a little Rambling

I carry a little spiral notebook in my church bag with a special pen.  I use the notebook to record things I hear in talks, thoughts that come to me, ideas for Family Home Evening lessons, or talks, scriptures I want to mark when I get home, even mute conversations with my husband, notes to myself about something I want to remember, etc.  It is a very useful little tool.  When I get home from church I look it over and transfer anything I need to into my planner or calendar or whatever.  Most of the notes just stay there waiting to be read again during quiet moments in church.  From time to time I'll share something from that little notebook.

One Sunday as we sang the Sacrament Hymn a line entered my heart with great power. "In the solemn faith of prayer, cast upon me all thy care." (Hymn #185 Reverently and Meekly Now)

I've always known that faith is an action word, but suddenly it made sense to me, that prayer is an ACT of faith and that we must do as James, the Apostle directs to ". . . ask in faith, nothing wavering." I struggle with having meaningful prayers daily. So often it seems like I'm just going through the motions and saying words instead of expressing heartfelt gratitude and desires. When I pray silently I am so easily distracted; it's much easier for me to pray out loud, but that requires privacy and time, two commodities in short supply.

I love my Father in Heaven and many days I wish I could just sit at his feet and talk to him and hear his immediate answers and counsel or some affirmation of his great love for me and the fact that he's pleased with this or that about me. But that's not going to happen very soon, I hope, anyway by then my mortal life will be over and it won't matter any more.  In the meantime, I'll read the scriptures to hear his voice to me.

We were reading in 1 Peter chapter one this afternoon and verse 17 spoke to me ". . . the Father, who without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man's work. . ." (Saved by grace, judged by works)

I also wrote in my notebook "We do to become." In other words the things we do lead to who we become. Something to think about as I'm making choices each day. I'd better make sure my work is the right thing to be doing, as I going to be judged for it.

11 November 2011

Soon! I Promise!

This blog is for all the talks I've written but never had a chance to give.  Also for my thoughts on the scriptures, living the gospel and such.