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A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Wed 20 Oct 2010, 12:31 pm

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 41 October 18, 2010
A Simple Yes Or No
Have you noticed that there is an election going on? One estimate indicates that three billion dollars will be spent on political campaigns. In our area we have reached the point in the season when the ads have become ugly.

The days of “I want your vote because I am the best person for the job” have passed. These are the days (and nights) of “My opponent is a liar, a cheat, a womanizer, a witch, a crook, and the worst person in the world for this position.” On the contrary, “I can deliver on every promise I make. I will do amazing things. If you will vote for me I promise to change the world in the first six months I am in office.” Nothing to prove they are trustworthy. Nothing to show they are people of integrity. Instead of highlighting one’s own qualifications a significant portion of the three billion dollars is being spent on shallow promises and negativity.

After being barraged by commercial after commercial during the 10:00 PM news I find myself saying, “A simple yes or no will do.” Then, I remember the words from Jesus’ sermon:

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Mt 5:33–37, NIV)

Then, before I can venture too far into a tirade on lack of integrity in local and national political leaders, I remember that Jesus was really talking to me, not them. So, I pose the question to me: What if I let my “Yes” be “Yes” and my “No” be “No.” No outlandish promises. No shallow pledges. Just a simple “Yes” or “No.”

When I am asked to do job, I will say either “Yes” or “No.” I won’t promise more than I can deliver. I won’t promise and then back out. I simply do what I promised to do.

When I am asked to participate in an activity, I will say either “Yes” or “No.” I won’t say I will be somewhere and then not show up. I won’t give the impression that I will give my full and undivided attention. I simply do what I promised to do.

The words from the Lord were not directed to the politicians, they were spoken to me. He is speaking to me. It is a matter of a simple yes and no. It’s a matter of me living like I am supposed to live. He’s talking to me

Tom

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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 11 Oct 2010, 11:46 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 40 October 11, 2010
Something Meaningful
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. [The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Mk 6:30–34). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.]

One of the characteristics of Jesus that I long to possess is His ability to give people what they needed most. In the passage above His disciples needed rest and solitude, so He took them to a quiet place. The masses needed food, so he fed them. In other places we read that a crippled man was made to walk, a diseased woman was healed, a blind man was given sight, children were given love, a woman caught in sin was given hope, His disciples were given instruction, purpose, and correction. He knew exactly what people needed, He had the ability to supply the need, and He met the need. So often in my own walk I feel only inadequacy.
Jesus knew exactly what people needed. I cannot count the number of times I have been in a situation where I had absolutely no idea what a person needed. Do they need money? Do they need prayer? Do they need transportation? Do they need words of wisdom? Do they need to be heard? Do they need words of comfort, instruction, exhortation, or correction? How I long for the ability to enter into a situation, more importantly, into a person’s life, knowing exactly what they need.
Jesus had the ability to supply the need. Even more frustrating are those times when the Holy Spirit gives me the ability to understand what a person needs, but I can do nothing to supply the need. I don’t have the words. I don’t have the financial resources. I don’t have the medical, mechanical, or technical expertise to do what they need most. On more than one occasion I’ve made my best attempt only to fail miserably.
Jesus met the need. I disappoint myself, and surely the Father, when He reveals the need, gives me the means to meet the need, but I fail to supply the need. I’m too tired. I’m too busy. I’m not the best person for the job. I’m afraid I might do the wrong thing. I’m selfish.
How did Jesus do it? The easy answer is that He was the Son of God. He had all power. He had all the resources at His disposal. He could do anything and everything. Not only is this an easy answer but it also gives me a legitimate way to excuse. I can justify my action, or inaction.
Until I read His words in John 7:

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. [The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Jn 7:37–39). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.]
And then in John 14:
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. [The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Jn 14:12–14). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.]
With all my heart I desire to be like Jesus. I want to be able to discern exactly what people need, have the ability to supply the need, and meet the need.
Obviously, I’ve never been confronted with the dilemma of needing to literally feed several thousand people, or to literally give a blind man sight, or to literally make a sick woman healthy. But, on a regular basis I encounter people who are dying of spiritual thirst and starving for spiritual food. I regularly am confronted with people who long to see Jesus. And on a daily basis I meet people who are suffering from all sorts of spiritual illnesses. In those settings I want to do more than offer a cliché answer and pass on by. I want to be like Jesus and give them something meaningful.
The desire is there. And, according to what Jesus said, because His Spirit lives within me, I can. The question remains: will I rely on His Spirit and live like Jesus so that I will see the need, realize I have the ability to meet the need, and then supply the need?
Today I will try. I invite you to join me.

Tom

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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 04 Oct 2010, 11:33 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 40 October 4, 2010


Travel Lesson #6: A Bridge That Spanned Forty Years

Originally I had planned for last week’s article to be the last of my “Travel Lessons” series, but a journey over a bridge that spanned forty years has produced one more article. Although it did involve some physical travel, this was more about traveling through time. This weekend I have been blessed by joining my classmates from the 1970 graduating class of Hope High School as we celebrated with our 40th Reunion. What follows are a few of the reflections from a journey across A Bridge That Spanned Forty Years.
As the school bells rang in the halls of Hope High School (Hope, Arkansas) in the Fall of 1970 the world was seemingly, as poets might have described it, spinning hopelessly out of control. The news stories of that period included the war in Viet Nam, newsreels of revolutionary protesters storming college administration buildings, political confusion and corruption, and the air was extremely tense as racial segregation of public schools was coming to an end. The seniors of 1969-70 would be the first class of Hope High School to be completely integrated. Yeager High School was closed and the students moved a short across town to be consolidated with the predominately white population of Hope High School. According to the prophets of our day it was to be year filled with fear, anger, rage, destruction, violence and protest.
I borrow from the words the Buffalo Springfield song (For What It’s Worth) to describe the mood of those days: “Something’s happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.” We knew something significant was happening to us, with us, and around us, but we were not sure what it was. All we really knew was that our world was changing in dramatic ways more rapidly than we could comprehend. Now, four decades later, as we look back we realize that we actually played at least a small role in that change.
Through God’s gentle guidance of sixteen, seventeen and eighteen year olds we were able to help transform what was expected to be a disastrous year, into a year of peace, unity, friendship, victory and growth. It produced a championship football team. It produced a student body that grew closer in spite of intense pressure to fracture and divide. Most recently it produced a gathering of many those same students (older, wiser, and more reflective) forty years after the fact to celebrate a year that has become a symbol of triumph and hope.
As I prepared for and experienced the journey across a bridge that spanned forty years I have been reminded of these lessons for traveling through life.
We can accomplish much more by working together than we can on our own.
Friendship is a precious gift from God, it should not be taken for granted, and even though you may only see one another once or twice in a decade the relationship can remain strong and may grow even deeper.
When you lose a friend or someone you love – whether by time, circumstance, distance or death – it’s hurts.
Life does not always turn out the way we think it will, hope it will, or wish it would, but if we pay careful attention, God will show us amazing things as He leads us through days of uncertainty, struggle, and confusion.
When we take what we are given, accept the challenges that face us, rely on God for our confidence and strength, and do the best we can we will grow from the experience and be better people because of it.
For forty years a group of people I call friends and classmates have been an inspiration and a symbol of unity and peace. To these friends and classmates and all those who supported, taught, and encouraged us, I offer my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude. After spending a few hours them my affection for them has been renewed, and it has reminded me of how blessed I have been to be a member of the class of 1970.
Tom

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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 27 Sep 2010, 10:12 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 39 September 27, 2010
Traveling Lesson #5: It’s Good To Be Home

As I sit down to write this final installment of my travel lessons it is really late at night, or maybe it’s really early in the morning. I’ve not waited until this hour intentionally. Normally I finish these writings much earlier. Bringing this five-week series of articles to a close has been more difficult that I anticipated.
As you can see from the title It’s Good To Be Home I am finding some relief in the fact that my busier than usual travel schedule is coming to an end. Although I do have a few other short excursions left before the end of the year, for the most part I’ll be enjoying home until the Christmas holiday. So, yes it is good to be home. It is always good to be home. But the joy I am experiencing in being home involves more than sleeping in my own be, sitting in my own chair, watching my own television, and going to my refrigerator any time I please. The joy I find in being home and the difficulty concluding this series comes from, as Michael Card so beautifully sings, because “There is a joy in the journey[i].”
There has been joy in the journey. Every trip I have taken in recent months has afforded me both quality and quantity time with those dearest to me. In most cases the trips could not have concluded more closely to what I had hoped they would be as they were planned. The days seemed to pass at an enjoyable and appropriate speed. The nights were restful and filled with a suitable amount of conversation, laughter, and tears. When it came time to say good-bye, though it always came sooner than I’d prefer, it also seemed to come at just the right time.
So, in this the last of these five simple travel lessons I find myself feeling very much at peace with myself and my God over the time, energy, and financial expense involved. I find myself very grateful to the members of my family and the friends who have given their time, opened their homes, and shared their hearts with me. And, I find myself feeling very confident that as I made each trip, arranged each visit, and engaged in every conversation I was exactly where God wanted me to be.
It is for those reasons that at the end of each jaunt, whether near, far, long, or short, it has been easy to say that, it’s good to be home.
It is for these same reasons that when I approach the end of this longer journey I call my life I am confident that I will be able to say the same. As long as I receive each day as a gift from the Lord, look for the image of God in every face that greets me, and treasure each moment as a once in a lifetime event, then I will know that my life has been pleasing to God. If my life has been lived to be pleasing to God, then when this life ends it will certainly be good to get home.

There is a joy in the journey
There's a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey

And all those who seek it shall find it
A pardon for all who believe
Hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind

To all who've been born in the Spirit
And who share incarnation with Him
Who belong to eternity stranded in time
And weary of struggling with sin

Forget not the hope that's before you
And never stop counting the cost
Remember the hopelessness when you were lost

There is a joy in the journey
There's a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey

And freedom for those who obey...

May you find joy in your journey, so that when your journey ends, you will also find joy in being home.

Tom

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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 20 Sep 2010, 7:15 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note

Vol. 13 No. 38 September 20, 2010

Traveling Lesson #4: Wherever You Go Children Are a Blessing from the Lord

From the east coast to the west coast children are the same. In big cities, in small towns, and in rural communities children are the same. In the north and in the south children are the same. In the wealthiest of neighborhoods to the poorest slums children are the same. In our country where children have every luxury imaginable to foreign soil where they struggle food, water, and shelter children are the same.
Children are innocent. As I type this article a 4-year-old is sitting on the row behind me on an airplane singing her heart out. Not loud enough to be annoying. Just sweetly singing her song. Her mother asked her if she could sing a little softer (concerned that she might be bothering other passengers). She started singing again at about the same volume, then paused and said, “Mom, that’s as soft as I can sing.” This passenger was not annoyed at all. Her singing was beautiful. Her giggles are just as beautiful. Wherever you go children are a blessing from the Lord.
Children are kind and loving. Their innocence leads them to be loving and kind. They seem to come into the world with the built-in ability to be kind and loving. Watch them when they sense that one of their parents, a grandparent, a smaller child, or an animal seems to be in distress or sad. Their love and kindness flow out of their nature. While on a New York subway a little girl did all she could to gain the attention of a gentleman as she shyly pointed to the words on the door: “Do not lean on the door.” He was leaning on the door. She did not want him to be harmed.
Children are trusting. If a dad tells a small child to jump from the side of the pool, chances are he will jump with absolute confidence that his dad will catch him. Tell them that Santa Clause in coming to town and they are ready to sit in his lap (at least most children are). Tell them to leave a tooth under their pillow so the Tooth Fairy can leave them a gift and you better make sure the tooth fairy doesn’t fall asleep and forget to leave the gift.
Children need our guidance and protection. Because of their innocence, because they are kind and loving, and because of their unguarded trust children need our guidance and protection. Children were not created to be on their own to fend for themselves. Parents, teachers, coaches, and adult friends should always be prepared to lend a hand should a child be in danger of harm. They need us to guide and protect them.
Children are an example for us. Because of their nature – innocent, kind and loving, trusting, in need of guidance and protection, it should not surprise us that Jesus would instruct us to look to children as our example for how we are to live. Here’s how He said it in Mark 10:13–16:
The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. (The Message)
When you travel, whether it is to the other side of the world or to a park in your neighborhood, watch the children. Protect them. Treat them with gentleness. Listen to them talk (or sing). Watch how they play with one another. God may be using them to teach you how you about your relationship to Him. Enjoy them and let them teach you.

Tom

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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Tue 14 Sep 2010, 10:31 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com
A Norvell Note

Vol. 13 No. 37 September 13, 2010

Traveling Lesson #3: There’s More To Hearing Than Just Listening

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."
Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. (The Parable of the Sower, Mark 4:1-10, NIV)
When Jesus introduced the use of parables through His teachings to His He was teaching them a new way to hear the words of God. For the most part they were accustomed to hearing from God in a form that involved rule-keeping and authoritative order-spouting leaders. Jesus shows them a new way by telling them stories. He began with, “Listen!” He wanted their attention. He concluded the story with, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Beyond the immediate message in the story He seems to be saying there’s more to hearing than just listening.
As I have traveling to different parts of the country and interacted in several different settings with several different people I have also discovered that there is more to hearing than just listening.
If you have a home in the country you learn to hear things others do not hear. While a visitor may be alarmed with the sound of an owl in the middle of the night, or the distant howl of wolf or coyote, because of your familiarity those sounds may go completely unnoticed by you. I remember the first time I ever heard a peacock scream. As a child I imagined that a mass murder must have certainly been taking place at our neighbor’s house. The adults who were familiar the sound of the peacock never seemed to be startled. However, when a siren breaks the silence of a country road, everyone pays attention. We learn to listen differently in different settings, and we realize that there is more to hearing that just listening.
For a city-dweller, the sounds of traffic, honking horns, and the thunderous rumble of the subway are common. Either through the use of headphones or the conscious (unconscious) process of tuning them, these noises are ignored. Those who live in the city seem to be able to carry on normal conversations without a thought. For the out-of-towners, the sounds of trains, delivery trucks, and automobile engines can be such a distraction that carrying on a conversation seems almost impossible. Frequent visits to the city parks and green areas become a place of refuge. Once there for a time of reflection you wonder how much has been said to you that you have not heard. You have listened as intently as possible, but you really did not hear.
As you sit on your deck admiring the mountain beauty you may see the trails of a jet flying overhead, but never hear a sound. A squirrel scratching on the ground to bury an acorn gets your attention. A bird’s gentle song can provide the soundtrack to a peaceful time of solitude. You may find yourself straining to other sounds of nature. You listen differently because you want to hear the different sounds.
In our quiet neighborhood the sounds of traffic during the early morning hours is the norm. A neighbor closing their garage doors as they leave for work is easily recognizable. The occasional “Roof!” of the dogs next door only concerns us when it disrupts our sleep in the dark of night. The surround sounds system connected to our televisions enable us to hear bullets flying past our ears, the sobbing of a broken heart, and the click of a golf ball dropping in the cup.
When Jesus spoke in parables He was intent on teaching his disciples that are times when we must listen intently to really hear the message. The nugget of truth may lie beneath the words. Unless we really hear what is being said, and perhaps unsaid, we miss the message. We must learn to listen differently.
In our day-to-day conversations we must pay careful attention to how we listen what we hear. If we have grown accustomed to listening to the sound of our loved one’s voices, but fail to really hear them we may be missing terribly important messages from their hearts. By hearing without really listening, or listening without really hearing, the person we have worked with for years may share the contents of their troubled soul but we fail to hear it. Even in our day of texting, emailing, and all the other means of networking we may read words with our eyes, but never hear the message of the heart from the sender. In our study of the Word, personally and corporately, we need to be careful that as we are reading the words we also are hearing the real message. It is not just about the reading, is it?
I find it amazing that at a time when the primary means of communication was one-on-one face-to-face conversation Jesus said, “Listen!” “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” If it was important then, it’s probably important today. There’s more to hearing than just listening.
Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Tue 07 Sep 2010, 2:48 pm

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com




A Norvell Note

Vol. 13 No. 36 September 6, 2010

Traveling Lesson #2: Every Community Is Unique



From West Texas to the streets of New York City...and several points in between...every community is unique.

Our neighborhood is a small sub-division made up of mostly middle-classed working folks. A few are probably a little above the middle and some are retired. As a general rule at least one person from each household gets up and goes to work every day. Lawns are maintained. Junk cars not parked in the driveways or on the street. It is typically quiet. The loudest noises come from the Music City Star and the garbage trucks as they make their regular stops. Our neighbors tend to keep to themselves and disturbances are unusual (of course, there is “that one house” up the street). Although we mind our own business we stand ready to help one another when needed.

Our daughter lives in a house with two other college women, in a neighborhood full of college students, in a college town, with a college town atmosphere. My sister and her husband live in the same town (or a few miles outside of town) where we all grew up. They are really good people, who have worked hard to have what they have, always ready help friends and family with their burdens, and are grateful that life is fairly slow, easy, and somewhat predictable. My oldest brother recently retired and moved “to the country.” They are remodeling (perhaps building would be the better choice of words) the house in semi-rural community where neighbors do their own thing but take time to visit and lend a helping hand when needed. Our son and his wife live in Brooklyn, New York. They love the city, are active in trying to spread God’s love with co-workers and friends, and have embraced ways of life in the big city.

It was one of those walks through the streets of New York City that sparked the idea for this article.

On two occasions we had lunch in Manhattan and began walking. One day we walked south. One day we walked north. Both were unusually leisurely walks. We walked a couple of hours in both directions. As we I could not ignore the diversity of communities. We navigated the busy hustle and bustle of Manhattan. We passed high-dollar residential buildings, expensive restaurants, department stores, and the theaters. We walked through a park. He hustle and bustle calmed down as we moved in to blue-collar areas. Graffiti decorated walls, signs, and storefronts. We visited a cathedral and one of the most distinguished universities in the world. We smelled the aromas coming from street vender hot dogs, bakeries, grocery stores and flower shops. Every community is unique.

Though every community is different and distinct from others, all have one thing in common: they are all part of one city. The common thread that binds the city communities with the suburbs and the country towns to metropolis is that each one claims citizenship of one nation. It is that union that we cherish as our heritage. In our pledge of allegiance we proudly proclaim we are “One nation under God.” Because of that tie that binds we can respect one another’s differences and travel freely from community to community.

Within the Kingdom of God we have unique communities. We have churches that are considered “Mega” and we have churches that meet in living rooms. We have churches that minister to single ethnic groups, and we have churches that are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. We have churches that are bound to unalterable traditions and we have churches that are determined to destroy all tradition. We have “high” churches and we have churches that would not know where to put a liturgy if someone gave it to them. One thing binds us all together and assures us that we are part of the Kingdom of God.

The truth that keeps us together is what Paul described as of “First importance” in 1 Corinthians 15.

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter,​​ and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of who are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1-7, NIV)


Neighborhoods, communities, and cites unite under our state and national flags. We live and work together in peace and harmony because we remember our common citizenship.

Christians unite under the cross. Every spiritual community is unique. The desire to be like Jesus Christ brings us together. As long as we focus on being transformed into the image of Jesus we can work and live in harmony with one another. Jesus Christ is the chord that binds us together.

[By the way, I'm sending this from a McDonald's in Jonesboro, Arkansas. When I was in college I ate here often because I could get 2 Big Macs for $1. Today I came because a cup of coffee only costs me $.64, and they have free WiFi. Every community is unique.]



Tom



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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Wed 01 Sep 2010, 7:56 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 35 August 30, 2010
Lessons From Traveling: Lesson One
During the last five weeks I have traveled a bit more than the norm. There have been day trips for funerals, overnight trips for reunions, a week long vacation to the beach, a trip to Texas and points in between, and most recently a five-day, four-night trip to New York City. Every trip has in some way been family related. A funeral. A family reunion. A family vacation. Taking getting my daughter settled at her university. Spending time with my son and daughter-in-law.
On many occasions during my travels I have been along -- driving, flying, walking. I have found myself in the very familiar surroundings of my own home, the extremely comfortable surroundings of the town of my childhood, and in very unfamiliar territory of new places. This time alone has provided me with lots time to think, reflect, ponder life, dream, and day dream. I would also like to think I have also gained some wisdom in the process. During the next few weeks and through these articles I want to share some of what I’ve learned from watching people, listening to conversations, participating in discussions, and being alone with my thoughts as my relationship with the Father, the Spirit, and the Word have served as a filter through with all things pass. [Just for the record I know many of you travel much more extensively that I do, and you could possibly add to my observations. I'd love to hear some of your observations.]

Lesson Number One: Life seems to go better when we develop the ability to stop judging by mere appearances.
Jesus spoke instructive words about this in John 7: 23-25, “Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”

At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, ‘Isn't this the man they are trying to kill?’”
External appearances can fool you. From the outside a restaurant may not look like much but once seated inside you may discover that the menu is varied and the food is delicious. The sign out front may say excellence and classiness. On the inside you may discover poor service, impolite workers and lousy food.
From the outside a person may appear to be “all together,” but when you get to know them you may discover that their life is a wreck. People may give the appearance of failure, but when you listen to them talk you may discover they possess the peace that passes understanding.
From the outside the church may appear to be in disrepair and outdated. Once on the inside you may feel the presence of God. From the outside a church my appear to have it all together. Once inside you may discover the coldness and impersonal atmosphere of sheer professionalism.
From external appearances a child be appear to be well adjusted, happy and content. When you get beneath the surface you may discover fear, insecurity, and low self-esteem.
As Jesus spoke He was sincerely pleading with those were following Him and those who wanted to destroy Him to look deeper, to get below the surface, and to see what is behind the smile, or the tears, or make-up. When we hear Him and when we follow His lead we may discover that people are longing for someone to know them for who they really are. We may discover they have the same desire we posses to be known and loved and appreciated.
When we stop judging by mere appearances we will begin to see people as God sees them, respond to them like God responds to them, and love them like God loves them. When we do that. We can leave the rest to God.
Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 23 Aug 2010, 6:42 pm

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 34 August 23, 2010
Overwhelmed By God
On Thursday morning I read chapter 5, “Exploring the Unthinkable” in Lynn Anderson’s Talking Back to God*. It worked, Lynn. I read the chapter. Even read Psalm 88 aloud as Lynn suggests. Finished the chapter and thought, “That’s good. I will be surprised if Lament Teams catch on, but the thoughts were good.” Placed the book on my desk and continued to finish preparing for another day. As I showered, dressed, gathered my things and drove to the office those words lingered with me. The 88th Psalm ends with these words, “The darkness is my closest friend.”
When I got to my office I opened the chapter again and followed Lynn suggestion at the end to “Pick a psalm that helps you explore the uncomfortable. Consider one of the following: Psalm 2, 42, 51, 88, 13.” I read them all. When I began Psalm 42 the tears began to flow. It reads:
“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Where can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
‘Where is your God?’”
I wonder if the next time we sing that song if I’ll be able to sing without crying.
By the time I reached Psalm 51 (the text I was preparing to preach from on Sunday) tears were streaming down my face.
“Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”
Rest easy. I have no intension of unloading a confession of some deep-dark-never-before-confessed-sin on you. However, as Lynn’s words suggest, “The Psalms give us a praying voice that is not stuffing, not venting, but something much more. Reading, praying, singing, memorizing, and ministering the Psalms gives us an emotional and spiritual health that helps us deal with the dark side of our hearts.” (p. 68)
On this day these Psalms have opened the flood gates of emotion that, for one reason or another, apparently have been partially closed. The thirst to have a genuine encounter with God. The desire to be in God’s presence. The yearning for my spirit to be renewed. The open expression that at times “the darkness is my closest friend.” And the admission that there are times when tears have been my food.
Some may ask, “Tom, are you depressed? Are you sad? Are you losing touch with reality?” No. I am simply overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the God who created me. Overwhelmed by the longings in my soul for a deeper relationship with the Father. Overwhelmed by the desire to have my soul refreshed, renewed, and restored. Overwhelmed by the feeling that the God who created the universe will listen to the cries of my heart without judging me, rebuking me, or rejecting me. Overwhelmed by the power of opening God’s word and allowing it to work within my heart and spirit. Overwhelmed by the realization that God loves me enough to provide an outlet for the thoughts and emotions that can only be expressed with the help of His Spirit.
So, what’s my point? Open God’s word, particularly the Psalms, and allow God to overwhelm you. Allow His greatness to amaze you. All His presence to change you.
Tom
By the way, I highly recommend Lynn’s book.
* Lynn Anderson, “Exploring the Unthinkable” in Talking Back to God Abilene, TX: Leafwood Publishers, 2010), 65-76.
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Sat 21 Aug 2010, 11:50 am

A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 25 June 21, 2010
Something That Will Last Forever
I recently have been challenged to think about my life by this
question: What are you going to do with your life that will last forever?
One can hardly answer that question without also dealing with this:
what you are doing with your life right now that will last forever?
Sobering thought isn't it?
Will it matter in eternity if your bank account shows that you are
worth millions of dollars?
Will it matter in eternity if your resume is impressive and includes
all your great accomplishments as a professional?
Will it matter in eternity if you approach the throne of God with
deeds to the property of your summer home, your winter home, and your
private home
in the islands?
Will it matter in eternity if you can tell the Lord that you were the
president of your company, and that you were responsible for starting it,
maintaining
it, and leading it?
Will it matter who wins the U. S. Open, or the NBA finals, or the
World Cup, or American Idol, the lottery, or any of the countless other
competitive
events that occupy so much of our time and attention?
Will it matter in eternity if you can say you have driven the fastest
and most expensive automobiles money could buy?
Will it matter in eternity if you have spent thousands and thousands
of dollars to keep your body looking young and vibrant?
Will any of this matter in eternity?
Let's go back to the original question: what are you going to do with
your life that will last forever?
Suppose your life ended today. Would you leave behind anything that
will last forever?
I'm not trying to scare you, or guilt you, nor am I trying to say you
need to be busier or work harder to prove your value to God and the world. I
simply want to encourage you to think about your life. I want you to think
about how you are living your life right now, and how you will live your
life
in the future. Just think about it.
Many must admit that your life is being lived for the here and now,
for pleasure, for all the rewards and awards you can accumulate in this
life.
You are living for the stuff. You are living for your glory. You are living
to satisfy your desires. Is that really what you want to be doing with this
life that was given to you by the giver of all good things?
Others could send me a long list of names that represent individual
lives that you have touched which inevitably produced fruit that will live
forever.
Because you have spent, or are spending, your live investing in people. You
have done or are doing things that will last forever. Praise God for making
yourself available to Him. Please don't stop. There are so many others who
need you.
People will last for eternity. Relationships will last for eternity.
What are you doing with your life that will last for eternity? Who are
the people you investing in who will join you in Heaven? You spouse. Your
children.
Your parents. Your closest friends. The neighbor. The worker in the next
cubicle. That little boy on the Tee Ball team you are coaching. That little
girl
on your daughter's soccer team. That student in your class that knows every
button to push.
These are the things that will last for eternity.
So, what are you going to do with your life that will last forever?
Tom

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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 16 Aug 2010, 11:01 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 33 August 16, 2010
Settling In

The focus of the last few days has been to assist my daughter as she moved into a house near the university she attends. It is a great place. She’s loves it and is going to enjoy the time she stays there.
As we moved her stuff into her house I noticed that this move was different from the previous move-in days to the dorm. We hung photos and art work on the walls, situated her bed, desk, chest, and bookshelf just where she wanted them. We put her kitchen items where they needed to be. We even bought her a few gardening tools so she can plant flowers and vegetables. As we finished the move I teased her saying, “I sure hope you’re planning to stay here a long time.” She agreed.
As her roommates arrived their experience was similar. Each one settling in to new surrounding. Each one doing what they can to make this new place feel like home. Each one trying to create a space where they can feel safe and comfortable.
As I have watched her get settled in, I remember all the times I have done the same thing. Each time we have moved to a new home I have had trouble resting until all the boxes are empty, or at least stored out of my sight. My typical routine involves developing a space where I can retreat for quiet and calm. A place within the place where I can feel at home.
I have done the same with my offices. I want my desk to be in the right spot. I want my books on the shelves. I want to sit where I can have a comfortable view out the window. The lighting has to be just right. I’ve been known to arrange, rearrange, and then rearrange my furniture multiple times (sometimes in the same day) trying to create that place where I can settle in.
In my home and in my office, I try to make myself, my soul, feel settled. It works for a while. Then, I get restless. Jimmy Buffet calls it, “Pacing the Cage.” I begin to feel there should be something more...something better. Nothing seems to fit...no matter how I arrange my office.
Several years ago I came across this quote from C. S. Lewis that not only expresses my feelings and brings comforts at the same time. "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." [Mere Christianity, Collier Books: New York, 1943, p. 120]
The Scriptures seem to paint a similar image. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10, NIV)
My quest for home continues. I will return home to my house with my stuff and go back to my office where I will do all I can to settle in again with the life I live. It will be different from how it was last week, and perhaps completely unlike it will be next week. Assuming there is a next week.
My prayer for my daughter is that she will settle in for the semester, the year, perhaps two or three years before another move. It is my prayer that this house will be like a home to her for as long as she lives there. I pray that when she is in her place she will look around her room and will feel safe, comfortable, and at rest with her collection of items that remind her that she is loved. I pray that she will enjoy this life she has today and live it to the fullest to the glory of the Lord.
My greater prayer, however, is that she will never settle in so much or become so attached to the things of this world that she loses the “desire which no experience in this world can satisfy.” This is my prayer for my daughter. This is the prayer for my son and his wife. This is the prayer for my wife. This is the prayer for my friends and church family -- near and far. This is the prayer for you. This is the prayer for me.
Wherever you are in this world, settle in, enjoy your surroundings, and try to rest. Please remember, however, that this world has not been designed to completely satisfy the deepest longings of our heart, so the best we can do is to try to settle in while we are in this temporary place we call home.
Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 09 Aug 2010, 11:34 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com


A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 32 August 9, 2010
Time With God

Father, I miss You. I miss the times I spent with You.
It was not so long ago that You and I were alone at the ocean. We walked. We talked. We sometimes just sat and I listened to power of your voice as the waves pounded the shore with their thunderous roar. There were times when I felt the breeze of Your presence as it cooled my skin and refreshed my spirit. I heard Your gentle words in the sound of the birds flying overhead, the children playing in the surf, and conversations with my family. I miss those days.
It wasn’t so long ago when the only thing on my schedule was to be with You and with my family. We talked. We ate together. We laughed. We shared our hearts with You, and You shared Your heart with us. It was such a good time. No rushing. No plans. No agenda. Just time with You.
It wasn’t so long ago that we were together on the mountain. At a friend’s house. The mornings were quiet. The evenings were calm. The view was spectacular. The only thing we had to do was enjoy the time with each other and with You. It was such a special time. You were easy to see. You were easy to touch. It was easy to feel Your touch.
It wasn’t so long ago that we were together with the brothers and sisters as we praised You in song and as we tried our best to express to You how much we loved you and how blessed we feel to be loved by You. We felt You with us in every song, in every reading, in every prayer, as we broke the bread and drank the wine, and as we listened to Your Word.
It wasn’t so long ago when we walked together along the shady path near the river. The air was cool. The smells of spring were fragrant and refreshing. You were easy to spot in the faces I met, the smiles that were exchanged, and the flowers blooming along the path.
It wasn’t so long ago that we were together and everything was wonderful. Now…
Now, life is crazy. I’m running here and there at breakneck speed. When I finish one task I start another. There is no time to recover. No time for reflection. I barely complete one project before it’s time to start another one or to get back to work on a previously unfinished project.
Life has gotten more difficult. I feel alone and isolated. I feel weak and weary. I feel confused and forgotten. Friends are too busy for me. I go to church only to sit alone on a pew. I know no one. No one speaks to me. I leave feeling more lonely than before I came.
Life has worn me down. I want to rest. I want to sit and be quiet with You. I miss the time with you. I miss the peace. I remember your invitation.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28, NIV)
Father, I miss You. I feel weary and burdened. I’m coming to You.

Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 02 Aug 2010, 12:28 pm

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 31 August 2, 2010
What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What To Do?
What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
You are awakened in the middle of the night by a strange sound. What do you do?
The lab reports from the doctor come back and they are not what you had hoped for. What do you do?
You get a notice that your job must make some tough decisions and your job is one of the ones being eliminated. What do you do?
You receive a notice from the bank that your account is overdrawn...again. There is no money to deposit. What do you do?
You have called your son’s cell phone for three or four days and still no answer. It’s not like him to ignore your calls. You are beginning to fear the worst. What do you do?
When things are not going well, when life is tough, and when things are not turning out the way you had hoped they were supposed to do, our tendency is to react, to try to fix it, or to resort to our own resources. When things are not going the way we want we assume that we have done something wrong, or someone is out to get us, or that God has forgotten us. When life is not treating us like we think it should be, we may even begin to think that God is not good.
So, what can we do?
Here’s one suggestion: Be still. Stop as much of the activity as you can. Be quiet. Back off making decisions. Be quiet and listen to what God is saying to you. Remember that God is good.
Be still and read Psalm 46.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Stop, be quiet, remember that God is good, and listen to what He is saying.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Stop, be quiet, remember that God is good, and listen to what He is saying.
8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields [b] with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Stop, be quiet, remember that God is good, and listen to what He is saying.
What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Stop, be quiet, remember that God is good, and listen to what He is saying.

Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Tue 20 Jul 2010, 4:20 pm

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com


A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No.29 July 19, 2010
Robert Redford, Gordon Lightfoot, Tom Watson and Me
I just watched an interview with Robert Redford concerning the oil spill in the gulf. For my last birthday my wife bought us tickets to hear Gordon Lightfoot in concert at the Ryman Auditorium. As he completed what his last round of golf at St. Andrews in the 2010 Open Championship Tom Watson stopped on the Swilcan Bridge and waved to the crowd to say farewell and thank you. I am writing this article.
In one way or another, for one reason or another, all three of these men have played a significant role in my life. I have watched almost ever movie Robert Redford has ever acted in, produced or directed...some of the multiple times. I have been listening to Gordon Lightfoot’s soothing music since my college days. I have appreciated watching Tom Watson conduct himself as a true gentleman on and off the golf course for decades.
So why would I include my name in the same paragraph with these men? What could I possibly have in common with these men?
Two things?
First, we are all getting older.
Robert Redford will turn seventy-four years of age in a few weeks. During the concert Gordon Lightfoot mentioned at that he is seventy-two years old. Tom Watson is sixty years old. I turned fifty-seven in March. We are all getting older. We have more wrinkles, more gray hair, and we have all slowed down a bit compared to how we once lived. The aging process is real and unavoidable.
Second, we are still active.
Robert Redford, at almost seventy-four, though involved less in the movie industry, plays an active role in efforts to protect our environment. Gordon Lightfoot travels the world playing his songs and entertaining his fans even though his seventy-two year old voice is not nearly as strong or as smooth as it was four decades ago. Tom Watson, at sixty years of age, is still competes on the golf course. He almost won the Open Champion a year ago, and he continues to be a force to deal with on the Champions tour. At fifty-seven I am as committed as ever to learning new skill and technology to enable me to communicate God’s love for His people.
We are all getting older but we’re still active.
Redford, Lightfoot, Watson and I, for different reasons and from different perspectives, are determined to do what we can to make a difference in our world. By using the gifts we have been given and our respective realms of influence we are trying to make life better for those around us. We are rebelling against the voices that tell us: “You are too old.” “You are too tired.” “You are beyond your prime.” “You have nothing to offer.” “Give up.” “Quit.” “Get out of the way.” We are refusing to retire, to do nothing, or to sit back and let someone else do what needs to be done. We are proclaiming that this is no time to quit. This is no time to make excuses. This is no to fade away. This is a time to be who we were created to be.

From God’s Word we see another who continued to live with purpose throughout his life.
By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:11-16, NIV)
I don’t know where you are in life. I don’t know how old or young you are, or how old or young you may feel. I do know, however, that whoever you are and where ever you are in life, you have people who are watching you, listening to you, and in some ways perhaps depending on you to lead them, to be an example for them, to speak for them, and to speak for them.
Will you continue to compete? Will you continue to influence? Will you keep playing? Will you keep sharing? Will you keep moving?
When this life ends it is my prayer that someone somewhere will write about me: He was “still living by faith when he died.”
Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 12 Jul 2010, 1:28 pm

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 28 July 12, 2010
We Get To Play Baseball!
“Brooks, you know what we get to do today? We get to play baseball!”
Those are the words that Jim Morris, The Rookie, delivers at the turning point of his story. After being on the road with his minor league team for a couple of months he reaches his low point. He’s tired. He’s discouraged. He calls his wife to tell her he is coming home. During the conversation she tells him to make sure it is his decision because she does not want him to live with regret the rest of his life. Pondering what to do, he hangs up and walks away from the phone booth when he sees the lights of a baseball field. He makes his way to the field and discovers it is a little league field. He leans on the outfield fence as he takes in the scene when he makes eye contact with a young player. It is only a brief exchange between a boy on the field and the boy inside of him, but it’s long enough for him to remember why he loves the game.
The next morning he bounds through the locker room with a huge smile on his face. He finds his best friend on the team, puts his hand on his shoulder and says, “Brooks, you know what we get to do today?” Then, without giving time for an answer he says. “We get to play baseball!”
I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve watched that movie. I cry every time. The reason is that every time I see this scene I think, “That’s how I want to live!” I want to wake up each day thinking, “Do you know what I get to do today? I get to live life to the fullest!” That’s how I want to live. That’s how I want my friends to live. That’s how I want Kingdom people to live.
Here’s how it would work.
Teachers would get up in the morning and say, “Today I get to teach children! I get to help them understand English, teach Math, take students on a journey through History, introduce them to the marvels of Biology, or walk with them through the faith building stories of the Bible.”
Lawyers would go to their jobs with a smile on their faces and say, “Today I get to help people who have legal issues. I get to help bring justice to the world!”
Construction workers would step on the job site and say to their coworkers, “Guys, today we get to build a building!”
Librarians would be going into the “Quiet please” world of books say, “Today I get to help people expand their imaginations with a book!” “Today I get to help a student do research that will in turn help them complete their education!”
Business men and business women would take delight in their day when they say, “Today I get to use my gifts and my talents in the business world to make the community a better place for all to live.”
Police officers and firefighters would approach their duties with a confident, “Today I get to protect the citizens of our city.”
Preachers would be waking up on a Sunday morning knowing, “Today I get to introduce people to the Creator of the Universe!”
What do you get to do today? Not what are you required to do today?
As Children of God every day is a gift from our Father to be used to glorify Him by loving people, by shining a light into a dark place, and by bringing hope to a hopeless soul. We get to live with God’s Spirit flowing through us to demonstrate that we have been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven of our sins, and we have been brought near to the living God.
Paul said it this way, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV)
Let’s do it. Beginning now...as soon as you finish this article...look at yourself in the mirror or tell a person close to you, “You know what I get to do today? I get to live for God!” Sure, they make think you are a little off your rocker, but who cares. You just might be the voice of hope they need that will give them a reason to live another day.
Today you get to tell someone that they are loved by God. Today you get to bring joy into a joyless heart. Today you get to share a story of how God has worked in your life. Today you get to show someone how God has revealed Himself to you. Today you get to live the abundant life God has planned for you.
You know what I get to do today? I get to share these words that come from the depths of my soul that may bring refreshment to a tired and weary soul! That’s what I get to do today!
Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 05 Jul 2010, 9:57 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com
A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 27 July 5, 2010

What You Were Meant To Do

In one of the all time great sports movies, The Rookie, Jim Morris (played by Dennis Quaid) has lived with the unfulfilled dream of playing baseball in the major leagues all of his adult life. A series of injuries and surgeries has kept him out of playing baseball and instead he finds himself teaching high school Chemistry and coaching the high school team in a dusty Texas oil town where baseball takes a distant back seat to football.
As another dismal season begins Coach Morris challenges his players to do more than settle for mediocre and to strive to follow their dreams. His players pledge to play harder and win the district if he will agree to tryout for the majors. The team rises to the challenge. They do win the district. Then they hold Coach Morris to his part of the bargain by saying, “It’s your turn coach.”
He tries out. He impresses the scouts and gets the invitation to play minor league ball with the hope of eventually reaching the majors. As he struggles with the idea of staying with what he knows how to do or reach for what he dreams to do, he stops by his estranged father’s house one evening hoping to receive the support that he has longed for. Again his father disappoints him when shares the advice he had received from his father: “It’s okay to think about what you want to do until it’s time to do what you were meant to do.”
Is that your story? Is there a dream out there waiting to be realized? Have you spent your life “thinking” about what you want to do? Do you live every day thinking about how you would like to live and what you would like to do, but allowing what’s practical to keep you safely where you are and doing what you do? Is it possible that what we want to do and what we are meant to do might be the same thing? Must we make the choice?
Matthew 14:22-33 is the story about one of the disciples discovery that doing that what he wanted to do and what he was meant to do are not is possible.
The disciples are in a boat well after dark when the wind and the waves begin to get rough. They see Jesus coming toward them walking on the water. As he often did, Peter simply reacts to the situation and says what’s in his heart, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Peter wanted to be with Jesus.
Jesus tells Peter, “Come.”
He does. Peter steps out of the boat and begins to walk toward Jesus on the water. We give Peter such a hard time because he became afraid, began to sink and had to be rescued by Jesus. Yet, the deeper truth is that Peter was able to do he wanted to do as well as what he was meant to do. Peter was meant to walk on water.
He sinks and stumbles and falls and fails, yet Peter did things that no other disciples ever did. Jesus used Peter in mighty ways because he was willing to accept that what he wanted to do, he was meant to do. (If you don’t know the rest of the story, read the book of Acts.)
Now back to the movie. Although those were not the words Jim had hoped to hear from his father, he tries to rationalize that maybe he’s right. Maybe staying home and giving up on his dream is the more practical thing to do. Surely it is the safe thing to do. After all, he has responsibilities. He has a good job offer in a major city with more pay. He has a family. Maybe he should just settle for what he knows is the sure thing.
Jim chooses another route. He decides to take the advice he had given to his players: live your dream. Don’t settle. Step out. When he did he learned that what he wanted to do, he was also meant to do.
What about you? Are you trying to choose between what you want to do and what you were meant to do? Do you find yourself wondering if you will ever live the life of purpose you were created to do? Are you standing in the boat wishing you were out on the water with Jesus?
Maybe it’s time to stop thinking about it and talking about it and dreaming about it. Maybe it’s time you let go of the comfortable, the secure, the predictable, and the mediocre. Maybe it’s time to realize that those thoughts about what you want to do are really God’s words of affirmation to you that it is also what you were meant to do.
You’re in the boat. Jesus is inviting you to come to Him out on the water. You wonder what it would be like to walk on water. There is only one way to find out.
Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Tue 29 Jun 2010, 11:11 am

A Norvell Note

Vol. 13 No. 26 June 28, 2010

Something Is Missing

Something is missing.
We spend enormous amounts of energy when it comes to sports, business deals, and political conversations. We show great excitement over good grades, delicious meals, and the latest blockbuster movie. Yet, we sit on our pews acting bored while someone simply tells the story of the cross.
We are completely engrossed in a story about an abandoned puppy, the latest political gossip, and information about our newest electronic gadget. We participate in grand displays enthusiasm when our team scores, when our candidate wins, and when our favorite performer wins an award. Yet we check our voicemail while our daughter tells us about her Sunday School lesson.
We arrive at the theater twenty minutes before the movie begins, we are in our seat an hour before kick-off, and we arrive at the golf course thirty minutes before our tee time. Yet we cannot seem to leave home early enough to make it to a church gathering until well into the service.
We shed tears when the movie gets gushy, we get weepy during greeting card ads, and we get choked-up when we see photos of a newborn baby. We scream and shout for the home team, we put team logos on our vehicles, and we travel long distances to show our support for our team. But, we make sure we keep our emotions in check when we stand in the midst of our brothers and sisters singing praises to the Lord so that no one will accuse us of being "out of control."
We rush to the bookstore and stand in line for hours for the latest bestseller, we make sure we get our name on the list for the not-yet-out-still-being-designed smart phone, and we push and shove our way through the crowds to get a glimpse of a super star. But, we see no need and have no desire to take advantage of quality opportunities for spiritual enrichment in our own church or in our own community.
We have lengthy conversations about weather, sports, work, a delicious meal, what great gas mileage we got on our last trip, and love to catch up on our favorite television show. But we can't seem to find a way to ask our friend about his spiritual life.
We'll stay up late to watch the replay of the game, we'll get up early to be in the woods before daylight, and we'll work late to make the overtime. But we rush through the Lord's Supper and skip Bible class on Sunday morning because we have really important stuff to do.
We sit for hours in front of our televisions watching news from around the world, celebrity cooking shows, and comedians telling us what is wrong with our culture. But we find it almost impossible to sit through a twenty-minute message from the Word of God without losing our concentration or needing to go to the rest room.
Something is missing. What is it?
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3, NIV)
Is it possible that the something that is missing has to do with the direction of our heart? Is it possible that our minds are more focused on things on of this earth than on things above?
Something is missing.

Tom

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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 21 Jun 2010, 1:50 pm

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note

Vol. 13 No. 25 June 21, 2010

Something That Will Last Forever

I recently have been challenged to think about my life by this question: What are you going to do with your life that will last forever?
One can hardly answer that question without also dealing with this: what you are doing with your life right now that will last forever?
Sobering thought isn't it?
Will it matter in eternity if your bank account shows that you are worth millions of dollars?
Will it matter in eternity if your resume is impressive and includes all your great accomplishments as a professional?
Will it matter in eternity if you approach the throne of God with deeds to the property of your summer home, your winter home, and your private home in the islands?
Will it matter in eternity if you can tell the Lord that you were the president of your company, and that you were responsible for starting it, maintaining it, and leading it?
Will it matter who wins the U. S. Open, or the NBA finals, or the World Cup, or American Idol, the lottery, or any of the countless other competitive events that occupy so much of our time and attention?
Will it matter in eternity if you can say you have driven the fastest and most expensive automobiles money could buy?
Will it matter in eternity if you have spent thousands and thousands of dollars to keep your body looking young and vibrant?
Will any of this matter in eternity?
Let's go back to the original question: what are you going to do with your life that will last forever?
Suppose your life ended today. Would you leave behind anything that will last forever?
I'm not trying to scare you, or guilt you, nor am I trying to say you need to be busier or work harder to prove your value to God and the world. I simply want to encourage you to think about your life. I want you to think about how you are living your life right now, and how you will live your life in the future. Just think about it.
Many must admit that your life is being lived for the here and now, for pleasure, for all the rewards and awards you can accumulate in this life. You are living for the stuff. You are living for your glory. You are living to satisfy your desires. Is that really what you want to be doing with this life that was given to you by the giver of all good things?
Others could send me a long list of names that represent individual lives that you have touched which inevitably produced fruit that will live forever. Because you have spent, or are spending, your live investing in people. You have done or are doing things that will last forever. Praise God for making yourself available to Him. Please don't stop. There are so many others who need you.
People will last for eternity. Relationships will last for eternity.
What are you doing with your life that will last for eternity? Who are the people you investing in who will join you in Heaven? You spouse. Your children. Your parents. Your closest friends. The neighbor. The worker in the next cubicle. That little boy on the Tee Ball team you are coaching. That little girl on your daughter's soccer team. That student in your class that knows every button to push.
These are the things that will last for eternity.
So, what are you going to do with your life that will last forever?

Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 14 Jun 2010, 6:30 pm

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note

Vol. 13 No. 24 June 14, 2010

You Are Christ's Body

If you open The Message to 1 Corinthians 12:27, you find these words: "You are Christ's body-that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your 'part' mean anything."

The message seems clear. Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is speaking to you and me. "You are Christ's body-that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your 'part' mean anything."

We are Christ's body. Not your neighbor. Not they elders. Not the preachers. Not the Sunday School Teachers. Not the Deacons. You are Christ's body. You. Me. Us. Not the adults. Not the youth group. Not the group going on the mission trip. We are Christ's body. That's who we are.

You must never forget this. What happens if we forget that we are Christ's body? If we forget that we are Christ's body the world may never see a genuine living image of Jesus. The message of His love and mercy will not be proclaimed. The prisoners will not be visits. Those in bondage will not be freed. Those who are blind will not receive their sight. We must never forget that we are Christ's body.

We must accept our part of the body and do our part. This is the language of a legalistic. This is the language of one part of the body longing for all parts of the body to accept our part of the body. When we do that we will see more amazing things begin to happen than we have ever imagined. We will see lives changed. We will see communities rebuilt. We will see injustices corrected. We will see souls saved. We will see families strengthened. We will see broken families mended. We will see churches that experience revival.

All that can happen. But it all begins with me. It will begin when I accept my part of the body and do my part. I don't need to wait. I cannot wait. Now is the time for me to accept my part of the body and do my part. That's when it will mean something.

Here's the challenge for the week. Accept your part of the body and do your part. Whether I follow through or not, you do your part. Even if nobody in your church seems to be accepting their part of the body, you do your part. When it seems as if you are the only part of the body concerned about doing your part, you do your part. When you get tired of doing your part, keep doing it. When you want to quit doing your part, don't quit.

We are Christ's body-that's who we are. We must never forget that!

Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 31 May 2010, 2:23 pm

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com
A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 22 May 31, 2010

Be The Church

It's time. Maybe it's beyond time. We have talked long enough. We have taught, preached, written articles, published book, created websites and blogs, and spent massive amounts of money to purchase airtime on the television and radio stations. We have recorded and sold tapes, videos, DVDs, and movies for adults, teenagers, and children. We have argued, debated, predicted, rationalized, prophesied, excused, explained, justified, rationalized, judged, ridiculed, condemned, and waited for the right time. We have fought meaningless battles among our own people, within our own fellowships, and with people we probably will never even meet. We have erected buildings, purchased property, established financial and real estate empires, and we have retreated into seclusion behind our walls to prevent being contaminated by the people and the events that exist beyond those walls.
We have told people "This is what the church is about..." We have described with correct Biblical terminology, "This is how we are organized and this is how we do what we do." We have written impressive mission statements, laid out elaborate plans for "reaching the lost," for growth and expansion, and devised beautiful organization charts which explain to anyone who might possible be interested our master plan for doing church work.
We have fought battles on how we should sing, whether we can clap, if it's okay to raise our hands in praise to God, and whether or not it's a sin to worship with a musical instrument. We have condemned people (even those we once called brother and sister) for things they do during one hour on Sunday morning. We have taught our kids to "Rejoice in the Lord always," but when they join the adults in "Big church" we insist that they sit quietly and do things "Like we do...decently and in order." Yet, we continue to be shocked as we ask, "Where did they go?"
We have gathered inside our buildings and held meetings to discuss how we are going to "Reach the world for Jesus," but we have failed to walk next door to ask if there is any way we can serve them. We have posted bold statements, even Scripture, on the walls of our Internet communities about who we are, what we believe, and the reasons for our faith, as we demand the respect we rightly deserve because we follow God's teaching. We have spent millions of dollars and countless hours traveling to foreign lands to "Share the Good News of the Gospel" with people who speak another language, then we've come back home give our reports and ignore lady who works in the office next to ours.
As we have done all these things we have memorized, quoted, printed, framed, carried signs, and written on our faces these words: "For God so loved the world (emphasis mine) that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16, NIV)
We have done all these things with these words of Jesus from Mark 2:16-18 echoing in our mind:
"But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, 'Why does he eat with such scum?'
When Jesus heard this, he told them, 'Healthy people don't need a doctor-sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.'" (New Living Translation)
Surely it is time to do something different! Surely it is time we stopped trying to out-do, out-shout, out-shine, and out-grow the group that meets down the street. Surely it is time we moved beyond words to action. Surely it is time for us to stop talking about acting like the church, stopped talking about what the church is supposed to be, stopped talking about what we will do once we get the right programs in place, and stopped promising that the church is going to do great things once we get everything and everyone in the right place at the right time and with the right attitude. Surely it is time we stopped all the talk and started being the church.
Surely it's time to read these words from Scripture with fresh eyes, open our hearts so we will not only hear what God says, but commit our lives to be what He desires.
From 1 Corinthians 12:27, Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (New International Version)
From Colossians 1:27, To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (New International Version)
From 2 Corinthians 5:15-21, And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (New International Version)
From John 1:14, "The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood." (The Message)
So, how do we do it? The answer to that question may be simpler than we realize. We begin. We take one step. We accept this truth: we are the Body of Christ. The hope of glory is Christ in us. He is the hope of glory. He is life. He is security.
Then, we take the second step. We do what Jesus did: We move into the neighborhood. We live the life wherever we are. We move out among the people and live as ambassadors of Christ. Speaking words of hope. Offering real help to hurting people. We do so knowing God's Spirit is within us to empower us, to strengthen us, to guide us, and to give us wisdom and discernment and confidence and peace.
Surely it's time for God's people to move out, beyond our sanctuaries of safety, and move into the neighborhoods where God has placed us. Where we live (literally). Where we work. Where we play. Wherever we are.
Surely it's time for us to be the church!

Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Tue 25 May 2010, 10:34 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note

Vol. 13 No. 21 May 24, 2010

Washed Clean

As the flood waters in Nashville and the surrounding areas have receded they have left behind stories of near death experiences, amazing accounts of how quickly the waters reached flood stage, and devastating reminders of how powerful and destructive the forces of nature can be. Each day seems to bring more reminders of the loss of property and oppressing sense of frustration and hopelessness that many are experiencing as they attempt to restore and rebuild their homes and their lives.
Among the images that are being indelibly imprinted in our memory banks are the watermarks left on automobiles, houses, bridges, roadways, hillsides and tree lines. As you stand in once flooded basements, or walk through neighborhood streets and stroll down walkways which were completely underwater it almost takes ones breath away when you realize just how high the waters were. On the Stones River Greenway it appears that there are areas where water levels were easily twenty to thirty feet above normal levels. In one neighborhood located on the banks of the Cumberland River you can now stand in a backyard that once was covered with four to five feet of water and look down the bluff to where the river now flows harmlessly peaceful on it's way a good forty to fifty feet below the yard level.
On a recent walk through one of these areas I was stunned as I thought of how quickly this area was changed and stained and some in cases destroyed by the destructive floodwaters. What was once a lush green walkway along the bank of a gently flowing river is now covered with a dirty dingy brown layer of mud and silt. One can only hope that in time it will be restored to its former natural beauty. One can only hope that with the assistances of future rains and winds these stained branches and leaves and pathways will eventually be washed clean. In spite of the present ugliness, there is hope of renewal and restored life.
As I continued the walk my thinking shifted to how quickly our lives can be changed, stained, and destroyed by the destructive power of sin. A life that was once vibrant, fresh and clean can turn into a dark troubled weak imitation of what once was. A soul can instantly be tainted by a careless decision. A heart can be broken with a thoughtless decision. Sin creeps in. The damage is done. However, the situation is not a hopeless. As with the landscape that is stained by floodwaters, the sin-stained soul can be cleansed by the blood of Jesus. There is hope of renewal and restored life.
"So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth." (1 John 1:6-8 New Living Translation)
The people who have been affected by the recent floods are doing what they can to move forward toward some sense of normalcy. With help from family, friends, churches, insurance companies, and government agencies our community is coming back to life. With help from family, friends, churches and accountability groups the person trapped in sin can find their way back to a better place. With the blood of Jesus Christ the sin-controlled life can be washed clean.
There is cleansing and hope through the blood of Jesus.

Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 17 May 2010, 9:19 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note

Vol. 13 No. 20 May 17, 2010

My Words and My Thoughts

Psalm 19:14 reads,

“Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord, because you are my mighty rock and my protector.” (Contemporary English Version)
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (New International Version)
I like the simplicity of New Century Version “I hope my words and thoughts please you. Lord, you are my Rock, the one who saves me.”
I’ve prayed this prayer countless times. “Lord, I hope my words and my thoughts please You. I know you are my Lord, my Rock, and my Savior. I hope my words and thoughts please You.”
I’ve prayed it before writing articles, and after. I’ve prayed it before preaching sermons, and after. I’ve prayed it before teaching a class, and after. I’ve prayed it before conducting funerals, and after. I’ve prayed it as I prepared to preside at weddings, and after. I’ve prayed it when I’ve shared communion, and after. I’ve prayed it as I’ve entered hospital rooms, and after I left. I’ve prayed it in meetings. I’ve prayed it in conversations over coffee and around the dinner table, and in the car. I’ve prayed it before, during, and after heated discussions. I’ve prayed it while writing in my prayer journal. I’ve prayed it while talking on the phone. I’ve prayed it before I started this article. I’ve prayed it when I’ve paused and reflected on what I’ve written. I’ll pray it again when it’s finished. Then, I’ll pray it again when I hit the “send” button.
Lord, I want my words and thoughts to please You because You are my God, my Rock, my Savior.
As often as I pray the prayer, I realize the many times my words and my thoughts have not pleased the Lord.
My words do not please Him when I use them to hurt someone with my anger. They do not please Him when I am careless with my words. They do not please Him when I fail to speak words of life into people. They do not please Him when I speak too much or too often or too quickly. They do not please Him when they are more my words, and not enough His words. They do not please Him when I fail to give people hope. They do not please Him when I use them to win the praise of men, more than to please God.
My thoughts do not please Him when they end up being selfish words. They do not please Him when they are more concerned about my needs than the needs of others. They do not please Him when they are focused on how I can be glorified more than how He may be glorified.

Lord, today I hope my words and my thoughts please You when I talk with a friend, when I listen to someone who is hurting, when I must correct someone who makes an error, when I counsel someone who is weak or heartbroken or confused, when I write a note or send a card or post something of my wall or respond to a text, and when I am alone with my words and my thoughts.
Lord, I hope my words and my thoughts please You.

Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 10 May 2010, 12:48 pm

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com
A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 19 May 10, 2010

Lessons From the Flood

Lessons I've learned or been reminded of as a result of the flood

When you're standing in your front yard with all your earthly possessions piled on the curb waiting for it to be hauled to the dump, it doesn't matter what color your skin is, how rich or how poor you are, how old or how young, or what kind of education you have, or what political party you belong to...the pain is the same.
When you've lost everything you have it's the love from family and friends that sustains you, and helps you find the strength to put one foot in front of the other.
When you have sorted through pile after of pile of the clothing, photo albums, and household items you have been able to salvage and think you can do no more, with God's help you can.
When you look at what has happened to you, whether good or bad, and try to find a reason that makes sense, sometimes you can't.
Flood waters can wash away houses, automobiles, bridges, highways, personal property, but it cannot wash away the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When your life seems to be nothing more than a pile of rubble, God can help you find some things that are good.
In spite of all the bad things I see in the world and all the horrible stories I hear, there are still some very good people living in our communities who genuinely care about their family member, their neighbors, and total strangers.
God is working through all of life's events to shape us into the image of His Son.
These words from Romans 8 provide comfort and peace during times of trouble and sorrow.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:28-39, NIV)

Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 03 May 2010, 10:46 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com



A Norvell Note


Vol. 13 No. 18 May 3, 2010


A Prayer For Our City and State


If you've watched the news or weather this weekend you may have heard that Nashville, Middle Tennessee, West Tennessee, and many areas around us have received record-breaking rain amounts, severe thunderstorms, tornados, and extreme flooding. Many areas are under water in Nashville. Sections of Interstate highways have been under water causing huge traffic backups and many stranded travelers. As of Sunday evening there have been 8 confirmed dead (this number is sketchy at this point) across the state and tremendous loss of property. Church services were cancelled all over the city as the local officials pleaded with people to stay home and off the streets and highways.
If you want to see information, photos, or video go to this link for one of our local television stations for photos and more information: WSMV-TV.
On behalf of all those who have lost loved ones, homes, businesses, automobiles, personal property, or been displaced by the storms I offer this prayer.

Father, of comfort and peace, in this time of distress and sorrow, we seek You.
For those who are wondering where they will sleep this evening, we ask that You provide them with a safe place where they will be able to feel safe, and warm, and dry. May they sense of Your powerful presence in such a strong way that they will be able to sleep and rest this evening.
For those who are grieving the loss of a loved one this evening, we ask that You comfort them, and surround them with people who love them, sit with them, listen to them, hold them, and give them an appropriate amount of space to cope with their loss.
For those who are in shock from what they have experienced and trying to come to terms with the reality of what has happened to them, we ask that You assure them that You were with them, that You are with them, that You care about them, and that You are at work on their behalf.
For those who have lost all their possessions and now are faced with rebuilding their world, we ask that You help them come to terms with their losses, but also come to terms with the fact that life and family and friends are their most valuable possession.
For those who are still waiting to be rescued, we ask that You calm their fears, reduce their anxiety, and fill them with Your Spirit and give them courage through the darkness.
For those who have been, are, and will continue to be involved in the medical care, rescue, recovery, and restoration operations of these communities to some sense of normalcy, we ask that You give them extra energy and stamina as they risk their lives and use all their skills to help people.
For those who have escaped injury or damage or loss and feel completely helpless as we see the distress and damage, we ask that You show us what needs to be done and what we can do, then give us the desire and willingness to do what we can to help.
For all of us, we ask that whether we go through storms or sunshine we will always look to You for wisdom, comfort, and peace, and know that nothing happens to us without Your awareness. Thank You for Your love and reassure us of Your presence. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen.


Tom

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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 19 Apr 2010, 10:42 am

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note

Vol. 13 No. 16 April 19, 2010

It Might Be Hope*

As I prepared for my jog/walk, I placed my earbuds in my ears, set the timer on my iPhone, pulled up my music and selected "New" on my Genius Playlist, and selected a song. Within seconds the Genius within iTunes had pulled up twenty-five songs with a similar theme as the one I selected. (No, this is not a commercial for Apple or iTunes or iPhone...but it could be.)
I had listened to "It Might Be Hope" by Sara Groves several times, however, it had never connected quite like it did on this afternoon when include in this playlist.

You do your work the best that you can
you put one foot in front of the other
life comes in waves and makes its demands
you hold on as well as you're able

You've been here for a long long time

It's hard to recall what blew out the flame
it's been dark since you can remember
you talk it all through to find it a name
as days go on by without number

You've been here for a long long time

I listened to the song, hit repeat, and listened again. Faces began to appear in my mind. I saw people who know what it feels like to lose hope. I saw people who know what it feels like to feel like they are losing hope. And, I saw people who wonder if hope is gone forever.
I saw a daughter sitting in the surgery waiting room anxious to hear the doctor's report on her mother's surgery. The word comes. She's not sure it's hope.
I saw a mother longing for days gone by with her children, and a mother who watches the days pass much too quickly with her children, and a mother who wonders where the days had gone.
I saw a husband who works two jobs to make ends meet when he came home to discover that the water heater has gone bad.
I saw a shepherd who gets another call from one of his flock asking for help and explaining that her marriage is in trouble.
I saw a pastor who struggles to remain hopeful even though there are few tangible indicators that better days are ahead in his ministry.
Then, I heard the chorus to the Sara Groves song:

Hope has a way of turning its face to you
just when you least expect it

That is the way hope appears. "Just when you least expect it." Just when it seems life is the darkest. Just when you think you cannot bear one more piece of bad news. Just when you think that knot you've tied at the end of your rope is about to unravel.

You walk in a room
you look out a window
and something there leaves you breathless
you say to yourself
it's been a while since I felt this
but it feels like it might be hope

"It's been a while since you felt this, but it feels like it might be hope."
I am reminded of the phrase from Paul's writings as he describes the mystery of the gospel, "Christ in you, the hope of glory". (Colossians 1:27) Just when we need it most He confirms that hope comes from Him. He is living in us. He gives us "the hope of glory."
As I continued my walk, this thought also came to me. What if God wants to use me to help that daughter, that mother, that shepherd, those people who have lost, or those people who are losing hope, to feel it again, to find it again? It is possible that I might be the "something" that God wants to use when someone walks into a room or looks out a window that will leave them breathless and give them that feeling that they have not felt in a while, that feeling that might be hope.
Thank you Sara for your words and your music. Thank you Paul for your words and the hope we see in your writings. Thank You God for being in us and giving us the hope of glory. Thank You for this feeling that just might be hope.

Tom

A Norvell Note ©️ Copyright 2010. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.

* Title from Sara Groves, "It Might Be Hope" from her album Tell Me What You Know, 2007
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