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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 Mon 11 May 2009, 10:37 am

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


A Norvell Note

Vol. 12 No. 19 May 11, 2009

Here To Serve

What if we, God's people, shifted the way we treat people? What if we, God's people, stopped thinking about what people can do for us, God's people, and started thinking about what we, God's people, can do for them?

Oh, I know this is not anything new. Jesus has been telling us from the beginning that He saw people differently and that if we are going to be His people, then we should look at people differently. In fact, it was Jesus who said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:42-45, NIV)

That's what He said and that's what we know, but what if we started doing it? What if we started living like Him...here to serve, not to be served?

For instance, maybe we, God's people, could adopt the same policy as a popular Chick-fil-A whose employees are trained to say, "It's my pleasure." They take your order and say, "It's my pleasure." You thank them for handing you your sandwich at the drive-thru window and they say, "It's my pleasure." These people really act like it brings them pleasure to serve you. What if we, God's people, greeted people who come to our assemblies like it is our pleasure to have them join us?

Or, maybe we, God's people, should learn to treat strangers who came into our midst like a group of golfers were treated when we arrived at the FarmLinks Golf Club where every person we talked with asked, "Is everything okay?" "Is there anything we can do for you?" "We are really glad you are here?" "Let us know if there is anything we can do to make your stay here more enjoyable. We hope you'll come back to see us." What if we, God's people, made it obvious that we are glad when people visit our assemblies and made a point to tell them that we their time with us to be as enjoyable as possible, that we are really glad they are with us, and that we genuinely hope they come back?

Maybe we can learn something from the waiters and waitresses at one of our favorite restaurants, Maggiano's Little Italy, who work very hard to make sure that our dining experience is as good as it can possibly be. The workers are constantly scanning the patrons for an opportunity to bring more bread, refill a glass, clear away empty dishes, and make sure our meal is perfectly suitable to our tastes. They look for ways to serve. They don't wait to be asked and seldom make you wait for whatever you may need. What if we, God's people, looked for ways serve people? What if we stopped waiting for people to ask and making people ask, before we served them? What if we just served them? Whatever they want? Whatever they may need to make their experience as enjoyable as possible?

What if we, God's people, started trying to make one's encounter with Jesus and with His people an absolutely enjoyable experience? What if it became our goal to make "coming to church" such a positive experience that people would be talking about it days and weeks after? What if we went out of our way to treat people seeking to find Jesus like we really valued them, valued their time, and really wanted to help them find Him?

Maybe it is time we, God's people, imitated the One who came to serve. We too are here to serve.
Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 27 Apr 2009, 10:50 am

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


A Norvell Note



Vol. 12 No. 17 April 27, 2009

Where's Your Mind?



After a terribly busy weekend it's Monday morning. First, you overslept. Now, the family is in chaos. The kids are not even dressed yet and they have to be at the bus stop in fifteen minutes. Your wife left early for her work and you assured her you could get the kids off on time. You can't find the envelope with the lunch money, and you wonder what snack you can hand them as they rush out the door. They are finally on their way and you head to work. You hit every red light possible. Halfway to the office you realize that you forgot your brief case with the notes you need for the meeting you are almost late for. You pound the steering wheel and say, "Where is my mind?"

You plan to spend an hour or two taking care of all the errands you promised your family you would do today. You are make great time and feel really good about being home in plenty of time to have a quiet moment before the kids get home. When they walk in the door you feel fulfilled and confident you are surely one of the world's greatest moms. Then, your youngest asks, "Mom, did you get the poster board I asked for?" Oops! Then, your oldest says, "Mom, did you pick up my dress from the cleaners? I have to have it tomorrow?" Oops! Again. Then, your husband calls and asks, "You do remember that we have a dinner engagement tonight?" Oops! Another time. "Where is my mind? How could I have forgotten all those things?"

It's Sunday morning and you pull into the church parking lot. You reach in the backseat to retrieve your Bible. A piece of paper falls out. It's last Sunday's bulletin. You pick it up and see the note you had written last Sunday: "Read chapter 9 and jot down your thoughts. Be ready to discuss them next Sunday." That's when you realize you haven't even opened you Bible since last Sunday. Worse, it's been on the backseat of your care all week long. "What am I doing? Where's my mind? I didn't give this a second thought!"

Sound familiar? Is your mind cluttered and littered with "stuff"? Is all that stuff crowding out some of the important matters of your life?

It's easy to do. In fact, it is quite common among good-intentioned, well-meaning, overcommitted, overwhelmed, and overloaded followers of Jesus.

If any of this sounds even remotely familiar to you, let me suggest you deliberately take a few minutes to slow down, find a quiet place, open your Bible, and read these words.

Paul told the Christians in Philippi, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8,9, NIV)

To his son in the faith Paul said, "Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them." (1 Timothy 4:13, The New Living Translation)

The writer of Hebrews said, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV)

Think. Focus. Fix. Three simple actions that can help you reclaim your mind for God. Think about God's things. Focus on God's Word. Fix your eyes on God's Son.

Try it today. Try it for a few days. You may still have a rushed week. Your schedule may be just as busy. But, the next time you find yourself asking, "Where is my mind?" You'll have a new answer. My mind is on God.

Think. Focus. Fix. Simple words. Good results.
Tom

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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 20 Apr 2009, 11:18 am

A Norvell Note

Vol. 12 No. 16 April 20, 2009
Lord, I've Got Nothing!

Lord, I've got nothing!
My mind is jumbled with thoughts that range from excitement, hope, and anticipation, to confusion, discouragement, and frustration. I am amazed at the way things have happened in the past, and I wonder what sort of things will happen in the future. I dwell on the mistakes I have made, and I marvel the mistakes You have helped me avoid.

Lord, I've got nothing!

I read Your word and I understand that You direct my path and that Your Word lights the path that I walk. Yet, there are times when I am afraid to take another step. I read of how You have delivered Your servants from all types of disaster and calamity, and I realize that I have often been a recipient of that deliverance. I read of how You hear me when I have no words and answer me before I speak.

Lord, I've got nothing!

I look ahead of me to the tasks on my calendar for the week and wonder how I will ever get it all done. I don't have the energy. I don't have the desire. I don't have the motivation. Then, I look back and see all the things that You enabled me to do last week when I had just as little energy, desire and motivation.

Lord, I've got nothing!

People ask me questions for which I have no answers. People come to me for advice as I go to others for advice. People look to me for wisdom and knowledge as I come to you for wisdom and knowledge.

Lord, I've got nothing!

I am tired. I am weak. I am worn. I am a struggler. I am a sinner. I am a child. I am a human. I have questions. I have fears. I have temptations. I have pride. I am self-conscious. I am selfish. At times I am a mess.

I cry out to You, Lord, and I confess that I have nothing! As my cries grow silent I hear You say:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)

"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. 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. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 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? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 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. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 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)

"You can do all things through me for I will give you strength." (Philippians 4:13)

Lord, I have nothing! But, when I stop, listen, and hear Your voice I realize I have You, and You know me, and You have me. That's all I need.

Tom

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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Mon 09 Mar 2009, 6:25 pm

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


A Norvell Note

Vol. 12 No. 10 March 9, 2009

The Lost Hour

We lost an hour. Before going to bed, as instructed, we pushed a few buttons or turned a knob and an hour was gone. Some forgot to make the change and arrived at church an hour late not even realizing they were an hour late. That hour is gone. Supposedly we will get the hour back in the fall when we change the clocks back to real time. But, is that really possible?

When I woke up my body told me, "You lost an hour of sleep." When I looked outside and it was still dark I felt like I lost an hour. When we met for the Sunday night gathering it felt like we were meeting in the middle of the afternoon. It seems strange to just skip an hour. It seems like a waste.

After pondering the hour I lost (due in part to my preference for the real time which I inherited from my Granddaddy in the 60s when it started), I acknowledge that there are many other hours that I have wasted that just as frivolous. In fact, if you count the hour we lost with the time change and the time I spent thinking about not being a fan of the change, I probably lost two hours. We find many ways to waste time, don't we?

There's the hour spent daydreaming about what we would do if we had...

There's the time spent through the years sitting in useless meetings, discussing solutions to problems that most likely will never occur.

There's the time spent in conversation about the weather - how cold it is, how hot it is, how we need rain, and how we can't wait until it quits raining.

There's the time spent worrying about what we did wrong yesterday, and worrying about what we may do wrong tomorrow.

There's the time spent wondering about where we would be today if we had made a different decision ten years ago.

There's the time spent trying to change other people and being frustrated because we could not change them.

There's the time pretending to be working at the computer when actually all you're doing is browsing the Internet.

There's the time spent reading emails, getting upset, and forwarding emails about things that never really happened but sounded really true when you first read them.

Some (very uninformed people) would say I've wasted time watching golf on television, and wasted of time (and money) playing golf.

The fact is we are very creative in finding ways to waste time, aren't we? Chances are we'll never recover the hour we lost this weekend, but we can commit to use the hours we do have more wisely.

Paul gives good advice, "Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is." (Ephesians 5:15-17, NIV)

The lost hour is lost. The next hour is not. Live it wisely. Live it with joy. Live it with hope. Share it with someone you love. Live it for God.

Tom
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Re: A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Tue 24 Feb 2009, 3:14 pm

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com
A Norvell Note
Vol. 12 No. 08 February 23, 2009
God Is My Help

David writes in Psalm 54:3, "Strangers are attacking me; ruthless men seek my life - men without regard for God."

Does this sound anything like the week facing you? Does it describe the week you had last week? Does it describe every week of your life? Are strangers coming at you from every direction with no regard for God and determined to see you fail? Are troubles coming at you fast and furious? Maybe the attacks are not from ruthless men, but they are schemes of the devil: negative thoughts, destructive thoughts, tempting thoughts, vengeful thoughts, greedy thoughts, or hateful thoughts.
If you are committed to following God and living as one after God's own heart, like David, these may very well be in your future, or perhaps they describe your life today. Whether the attacks come from "ruthless men without regard for God," or from strangers from the unseen world of Satan, the plan is the same: to slander you, to destroy you, to ruin your reputation, to discourage you, to frustrate you, to weaken your influence, to damage your family, and to devastate your world.
Notice how David responded: "Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me." (Psalm 54:4, NIV) "But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive!" (NLT) "You will help me, Lord God, and keep me from falling;" (CEV)

These thoughts should go with us as we face the strangers, the enemies, and the attacks that fall in our path: The Lord is the one who sustains me. The Lord keeps me alive. The Lord will keep me from falling.

If your husband comes home and tells you that he has decided that he no longer loves you and wants a divorce, remember: The Lord is the one who sustains you. The Lord keeps you alive. The Lord will keep you from falling.

If you receive a notice that your company is not immune to impact of the economic crisis and layoffs may be unavoidable, remember: The Lord is the one who sustains you. The Lord keeps you alive. The Lord will keep you from falling.

If your friend tells you that she thinks she is in love with a man she has worked with for several years, and cannot continue to pretend she loves her husband, remember: The Lord is the one who sustains you. The Lord keeps you alive. The Lord will keep you from falling.

If your parents inform you that they do not love each other and are separating, remember: The Lord is the one who sustains you. The Lord keeps you alive. The Lord will keep you from falling.

If your doctor suggests exploratory surgery, remember: The Lord is the one who sustains you. The Lord keeps you alive. The Lord will keep you from falling.

If you find yourself alone in an empty house with no place to go and no one to talk to, remember: The Lord is the one who sustains you. The Lord keeps you alive. The Lord will keep you from falling.

If you are forced to accept that the dream you have dreamed your whole life is probably never going to come true, remember: The Lord is the one who sustains you. The Lord keeps you alive. The Lord will keep you from falling.

If you find yourself discouraged, defeated, and deserted, remember: The Lord is the one who sustains you. The Lord keeps you alive. The Lord will keep you from falling.

These words are not intended to minimize the difficulty of any painful situation mentioned above, or your own unique struggles. Instead, they are written with the hope that whatever attack you may face this week you will remember that it is the Lord who sustains us, it is the Lord who keeps us alive, and it is the Lord who will keep us from falling. We cannot survive the attacks of this world or the demonic world on our own. We must depend on the Lord. David's source of strength is our source of strength. The Lord is the one who sustains us. The Lord keeps us alive. The Lord will keep us from falling. He will deliver us from all our troubles.

The Lord is the one who sustains me. God is my help.

Tom

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A Norvell Note Because We Are Human

Post  Admin on Tue 13 Jan 2009, 5:39 pm

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

Vol. 12 No. 02 January 12, 2009

Because We Are Human

Because we are human we cannot understand the things that happen in life. We do not understand why young people die. We cannot understand why good people suffer. We cannot understand why hurricanes destroy neighborhoods, why tornados blow away homes, and floods wash away dreams. We cannot understand why diseases shorten lives. Because we are human we struggle to make sense of the twists and turns, the ups and downs, and the ins and outs of life.

Because we are human we cannot see the future. We do not know what lies ahead. We do not always understand or learn from the past. We see only a part of the picture. We often only hear what we want to hear. We forget that God has plans for us.

Because we are human we cannot see God's wisdom for taking us down a path filled with struggle, pain, and disappointment. We cannot imagine the blessings that God has in store for us when we trust Him to lead us. Because we are human we try to explain why God does what He does when He does how He does it. We try, but we cannot explain it.

Because we are human we complicate things that were intended to be simple. We complicate life, we complicate worship, and we complicate relationships. We complicate forgiveness, we complicate faith, and we complicate grace.

Because we are human we cannot make ourselves holy. We cannot remove the sin in our life. We cannot get life right no matter how we try. We cannot do everything exactly right all the time. When we mess up we cannot make it right.

Because we are human we cannot see God clearly. We are blinded by our sin. We are blinded by our lack of imagination. We are blinded by our determination to make God look like us.

Because we are human we cannot fathom God's love. We cannot imagine why God would want to rescue us from our sin. We cannot understand how God could love us. We cannot grasp a God who would love us so much that He would sacrifice His Son for our sins.

Because we are human God sent His Son to dwell among us. "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

Because we are human God gave His one and only Son. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Because we are human God is preparing a place for us. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." (John 14:1-4)

Because we are human God understands our need for a Savior. Because we are human...Jesus.

Tom
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