Sharing our Poetic Hearts for National Poetry Month

So, I’ll start with a haiku that mourns the loss of my beloved dog, who has passed from this life. The thought came me as I was shooing the geese off our dock¬† …yet again! ūüė¶¬† I don’t mind the geese claiming our yard as their nesting ground, but they have absolutely no sense of decorum concerning appropriate dock etiquette and care!

“Oh, Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?”¬† ¬†Geese are on our dock. ¬† I will have to shoo them off.¬†¬† Where did my dog go?

From earlier this April:

“Cast Away” ¬† Dreams, like branches, fall.
Casualties of stormy springs.
Half buried in snow.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).

The Lord gave this next poem to my friend…as she sat in silence during the early morning…lamenting the death of her beloved son:

“As I come downstairs early in the morning
You, O Lord, are waiting for me
You meet me in the darkness of the early morning
You meet me in the darkness of my life..my grief
As the light of day appears
Your WORD pours LIGHT into my heart
The LIGHT I need to face this day‚Ķ..”
(‚ÄĒshe prefers not sharing her name)
You, Lord are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
(2 Samuel 22:29)
“PEARL”
(by a dear friend since college days, Phyliss Hammerstrom)
Every poem begins
with some uncomfortable,
aching,
irritating grain,
around which I layer
word
after sibilant word,
encasing it with shimmering
veils of opalescence,
until its sharp edges are smooth,
until I can live with it.
–Then the knife
that digs the treasure out of my flesh!

Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he makes sore, and binds up: he wounds, and his hands make whole” (Job 5:17-18).

Carri Cassarino“Anxiety”
(by Carri Nelson Cassarino, September 20, 2017)

When anxiety was great within me,
Your consolation brought joy to my soul.
You say worry is against your kingdom,
So we must seek and must know.

Truly your best effort is to shield us from worry.
Your best hope is to keep solid for you and be in awe.
For the joy before us is your great joy,
And the way forward to trust your law.

For the glory of Him who loves us is His great and wonderful love,
We must ever trust him and give him our love,
For the way forward is to obey what He says.
And never seek our own way and be His beloved.

For the joy is found in obedience.
And the glory of Him for us is love.
For the hope He gives is eternal.
Then He will take what is His, above.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Please Share With Us!

I’ve noticed that our fellowship of Summer Setting readers includes members from around the world representing¬† many different nations and occupations, including ministers and those retired from ministry, students, professionals, moms and dads, and many people who are writers, poets, or otherwise enjoy writing. Every once in a while, someone writes to ask if I ever accept essays for my blog written by others, and I want to assure you, the answer is a resounding: Yes! If you’re a reader and have something you’d like to share, please send it to me!

The parameters are:
1.¬† The material needs to be true to the Bible and hopefully inspired by the Holy Spirit’s work in your life.
2.¬† Submissions can be any length, but unless it’s a short poem (which can work fine), most posts are between 250-600 words.
3.  If you have a photo (or photos) to illustrate, please include them.
4.¬† Because the goal of Summer Setting is to uplift and encourage people in their faith, it would be ideal to have a scripture verse that relates to your topic. If you can’t think of one, I’ll try to come up with something appropriate.
5. Send your text and photos to me as an email. (My address is my entire name written out as one word [kathrynwarmstrong] at gmail.) I’ll proof it and send it back to you for your approval. We can work together until we’re both happy.¬† Interested? Please don’t be shy! Take up your pen and share with our fellowship! The mysterious Body of Christ is both local and universal, and as such, we can all minister to each other without degrees or credentials! It’s not who we are, but what the Lord is teaching us!!

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

What’s the Aqueduct Project?

Thank you to my many Facebook friends who hit the “Like” button in support of Aqueduct Project’s new Facebook page. I also got a number of messages and questions asking about both the Aqueduct Project and my son, Jonathan, so this morning I want to share just a little bit about what’s going on.¬† Jonathan (Dr. Armstrong) accepted a new position with Moody Bible Institute, who are very graciously allowing him to develop a “Center for Global Christian Theological Education” (which he refers to as C-GATE).¬†¬† This center will be based in Chicago, so they sold their home in Washington State and have moved back to the Midwest. Jonathan has also been given a sabbatical for research and writing,¬†so after a wonderful visit with us this summer, Jon and his family have gone to Germany for the fall semester (which is his wife, Gerlinde’s, homeland). They will rejoin us for Christmas and then go on to Chicago to look for a place to live. The new center will open at the beginning of January, 2018.

Last night, I got a wonderfully encouraging call from one of my Facebook friends, who directs a Bible school in New Delhi and is interested in materials from this new program (which will be a coordinated effort on Jon’s part, orchestrated both through Moody and the Aqueduct Project). Right now, the program is in the developmental stages, but the goal is to be able to provide high-quality evangelical Christian training wherever around the world there is a desire to learn about the Bible. Jon has been producing lectures and developing a network of resources for several years now, so a limited amount of training is already available, but this should exponentially increase in the next few years.

From this mother’s viewpoint, I think Jon’s passion started as a young teenager, when we visited China together and he saw the great need for teaching in the churches there. Back in the 1990’s, I believe the Chinese Christian church had become the largest in the world, with thousands of people coming to Christ each day but precious little scripture to read. Beyond that, there is the challenge of reaching the global Church, many of whom live in countries where financial constraints make college-level courses an impossible dream even if they are available in some of the largest cities.

Moody Bible Institute is enabling Jonathan to partner with them in trying to meet this overwhelming need!¬† Here’s a note from his last adventure two weeks ago: “I attended on Saturday the graduation ceremony of 281 Ghanaian pastors who completed Moody Bible Institute’s experimental certificate program. This is an experimental program for which audio recordings of Moody theology classes have been translated into the local language by a Ghanaian ministry partner. These translated courses are then uploaded onto solar-powered audio-players and distributed for free to students. This system allows us to conduct a form of theological education in extremely remote locations (where there is no electricity or internet, and perhaps most amazingly, even where there is no literacy!).”¬† As a believer with a heart to “go into all the world” with the joyful gospel of redemption, peace and good will that God desires for all men, this thrills my soul no end! If you’re a Christian, would you please pray with us for wisdom and grace as Jon moves forward with the development of resources for the global church community? If you have a lifetime of study and experience in the ministry and would consider contributing study materials that you’ve generated over the years, would you please let me know? If you’re interested in participating in learning yourself, or in helping develop a study group in your area for fellowship and learning (since education is much more enjoyable when there are real, live people with whom to discuss issues and think about things), please let me know that too! Or, go directly to The Aqueduct Project Facebook page, or connect directly with the Aqueduct Project through their website: https://aqueductproject.org/

Sometime after January 1, there will also be more ways to connect via C-GATE (Center for Global Theological Education) at Moody in Chicago, IL (America).

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

 

Experiencing the Spirit of Christmas with Michael W. Smith and the GR Symphony

Michael W. Smith The Spirit of Christmas 6¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Have you heard of Michael W. Smith?¬†Michael_W._Smith_in_June_2014 To me, he is to contemporary Christian music what Louis Armstrong was to jazz or DJ Kool Herc is to rap. In 2014, the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) honored Michael W. Smith as “the cornerstone of Christian music.” His accomplishments are legion: 3 Grammy Awards, 45 Dove Awards, 31 #1 hits, 13 books, 3 movies, and on and on!¬†Michael_W._Smith Although his music is distinctly Christian, he’s also been recognized by American culture at large, including being named as one of People magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” in 1992. His worship songs have been sung in churches everywhere for the past 25+ years, and I love both the lyrics and ethereal orchestrations he composes.debbiemichael One of the things I most admire about Michael W. Smith is that he’s remained married to his one and only wife, Debbie, and he lets everybody know that being with his wife and kids is what makes for his happiest Christmas memories. He’ll be home for Christmas. Michael W. Smith The Spirit of Christmas 4However, last night Alan and I had the opportunity to see him in person…a first for us! In concert with our own beloved Grand Rapids Symphony and Resurrection Life’s glorious choir, Michael W. Smith led a congregation of some 4,000 worshipers in experiencing The Spirit of Christmas.Michael W. Smith The Spirit of Christmas 1 As we were leaving, Alan said he couldn’t remember ever being more moved by musical program…and that’s saying a lot, considering we’ve enjoyed venues like the Sydney Opera House, London, Boston, Hillsong in both the U.S. and Australia, etc. Michael W. Smith The Spirit of Christmas 2I was bubbling over about our experience while talking with my “Little Sister” Lizzie this morning, and she said she and her husband have tickets to see Michael W. Smith with Amy Grant on December 20 in Washington D.C. I see he’s got about 9 more stops on his tour scheduled between now and then, and I have no clue if you live anywhere near one of the cities, or if the tickets are already sold out, but if you’re looking for a memorable Christmas program, The Spirit of Christmas definitely warmed the cockles of our hearts.Michael W. Smith The Spirit of Christmas 3 On the other hand, my son Joel and a bunch of his friends went to hear the Boston Symphony’s “Holiday Pops” last night, and they had a great time together too. Michael W. Smith The Spirit of Christmas 5Maybe what I’m really trying to say is this: I hope you get out and have a magical, musical experience sometime this Christmas…whether it’s hearing someone famous in person for the first time or gathering with a group of friends to go caroling door to door. The spirit of Christmas is really the Spirit of Christ, who is Love, Light, and Life, so you know it will be awesome no matter how you celebrate! Joy to the world, the Lord has come!Michael W. Smith The Spirit of Christmas 7

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

(Pictures of Michael W. Smith from Wikipedia
Picture of Michael with his wife from Christianity Malaysia, http://christianitymalaysia.com/wp/michael-w-smith-songwriter-singer-times/
I took the pictures of Michael W. Smith at The Spirit of Christmas, Resurrection Life Church, 12.08.15)