Monday, June 29, 2009

Back to Basics

Last week I found myself so into keeping up with Tweets and Facebook and other social networking tools that I lost myself! I was so involved in reading and responding to tothers that before I knew it, time had flown by and things I wanted to do, other than this didn't get accomplished.

I really wondered at that and came to the conclusion that this is one of those things that as Paul said is "permissable but not beneficial"; for me anyway. (1 Cor. 6:12, 1 Cor. 10:23). So, now these things are on a schedule of sorts. I found a program/plug-in for MS Outlook called TwinBox that lets me store up and peruse on my time. It helps. Don't mis-understand. I really enjoy these things-they make me feel "connected" and in touch with everyone. I also understand that for some, this is part of their work and/or ministry. But for me-it is something that needed to be trimmed and tamed.

Along the same lines, I've lost sight of some of the basics of my faith as I do the work of building my little website ministry. It is hard work and take up a LOT of time. Time stolen from my time with the Lord. I could rationalize and say "But its His work"...and that would be true. But how good a job can I do if I don't keep in touch with the boss? And how easy it is to lose sight of who the Lord is.

So, this week my first priority is to re-visit who Jesus is; biblically, historically and personally. Sort of like a second honeymoon! I truly have missed that "first love" feeling.

So, where did I start? In the book of John, of course. John 1:1-4 reminds me that Jesus was, is and ever shall be as the "logos"; "the WORD". Did you know that John actually borrowed this term "logos" from greek philosophy? It was a term used to describe the "all encompassing, uncomprehensible Creator".

That is my Lord! That is my King! And I think that is where I will dwell for awhile. Its a lot to meditate on. And just think, He, the Word, is my friend.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I have been, and am blessed to have quite a few father figures in my life. Tantamount in my thoughts today is my dad, Chuck Brode (Charles M. Brode Feb. 4, 1930-Sept. 23, 2003).

I was a "daddy's girl" for sure. I looked like him and more than anything I wanted to please him. I think my fondest childhood memory is hanging out with him while he worked on one of our many used cars. Sometimes, he would even let me, a 10 year old, help him. While he was tweaking the carb or adjusting something or other, I would get to start the car and push on the gas. "Just a little harder, Sissy" or "Be sure to let go of the key after it starts".

Dad wasn't only a mechanic and a former stock car driver, he was a macho construction worker, and later a fine wood cabinet maker. With these occupations also came the "payday party" and afterward, the tensions of Mom and Dad arguing about his drinking. Needless to say, my own perception of my father changed as I grew older and more aware of his character flaws. Hero worship ceased about the time I graduated high school.

In later years, Dad also recognized that he was an alcoholic and at the time of his death he, with the help of "Bill Wilson" had been sober for almost 30 years. Even so, as his health allowed, he was active in Alcoholics Anonymous.

My greatest and last memory of my dad was the time I spent with him right before he left this world. Presumably for a short time, I'd gone to stay with him while he recovered from one procedure and prepared for another. At the time, well, I just didn't know that it was a "good bye" time.

The "two weeks" turned into almost 3 months. During that time, we more or less got into a routine. Dad was also the caretaker for my uncle who lived in the same senior complex. Uncle had had a stroke and needed help preparing his breathing treatments. Now, in addition to running errands, I had taken over this task. I was also blessed to have my own children around to help me! And the joy of grandchildren too. All were a help to me and even made sure I got out of the house!

During this time, my dad and I surpassed the father-daughter relationship. We talked politics, health, computers and of course, faith! After a study time, my dad said "Sissy, just so you know, I believe the same as you."
"I know Daddy, I walked with you when you made the altar call, remember?"
"Yes, but ...." (pause), "I just wanted you to know"

Soon after, Dad went into the hospital, and well, never came home. To this day, I hang onto this brief conversation, knowing that when I am called, he'll be there to greet me.

My beloved Scott: Thank you for being such an awesome example to/for my children and grandchildren! A leader, a counselor, a listening ear. Whether you believe it or not, you're God's most precious gift to me!

Most of all I am a child of the KING! Pastor Craig presented an awesome image of our Father God last night. You can see it again at Church Online

Scripture has LOTS of references to "father". My favorite is the one Jesus used: abba.

 ἀββᾶ* (→ πατήρ)
B. ἀββᾶ in Early Christianity.
As concerns the usage of Jesus, the probability is that He employed the word אַבָּא not merely where it is expressly attested (Mk. 14:36) but in all cases, and particularly in address to God, where the Evangelists record Him as saying ὁ πατήρ, πάτερ, ὁ πατήρ μου, πάτερ μου, and even perhaps πάτερ ἡμῶν. In so doing He applies to God a term which must have sounded familiar and disrespectful to His contemporaries because used in the everyday life of the family. In other words, He uses the simple “speech of the child to its father”.
When the Aramaic term is used in the Greek Epistles of Paul (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6), there may well underlie it a liturgical reminiscence, possibly the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer. In any case there can be no doubt that the use of the word in the community is linked with Jesus’ term for God and thus denotes an appropriation of the relationship proclaimed and lived out by Him. Jewish usage shows how this Father-child relationship to God far surpasses any possibilities of intimacy assumed in Judaism, introducing indeed something which is wholly new.
(from Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964-c1976. Vols. 5-9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (1:4-6). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

abid•ing \ə-ˈbī-diŋ\

Someone asked me the other day why I had chosen "Abiding Ways" as the name for the ministry.

After a few moments of thought, I explained that my nature is to always have a goal to work toward-and long ago this awkward, old-fashioned word popped out at me while reading my "life verse" John 15:4. At the time, all I had was a King James version. I realized that this was my personal goal as a Christian. To ABIDE in Christ as He commanded.

As I grew in the Lord, I discovered that the word used in the original language was μένω and that the richness of the word was so much more than what I had thought - and consequently not just a means to an end, but a lifetime pursuit.

Today, I am still working toward that goal, and the greater goal which Paul described in Philippians 3:14: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NASB).

This week has been an especially challenging one for me. I ask for prayer for my son, Eric. The Lord knows the circumstances.

Below are a few references for the intellectually inclined that have directed me along the way.


: enduring,
continuing 〈an
abiding interest in nature〉
(Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.)

3306 μένω [meno /men·o/] v. A root word; TDNT 4:574; TDNTA 581; GK 3531; 120
occurrences; AV translates as “abide” 61 times, “remain” 16 times, “dwell” 15
times, “continue” 11 times, “tarry” nine times, “endure” three times, and
translated miscellaneously five times. 1 to remain, abide. 1a in reference to
place. 1a1 to sojourn, tarry. 1a2 not to depart. 1a2a to continue to be present.
1a2b to be held, kept, continually. 1b in reference to time. 1b1 to continue to
be, not to perish, to last, endure. 1b1a of persons, to survive, live. 1c in
reference to state or condition. 1c1 to remain as one, not to become another or
different. 2 to wait for, await one.
(from Enhanced Strong's Lexicon (1966))

Monday, June 8, 2009

Online religion

I spent a lot of my weekend continuing work on Abiding Ways-my personal online ministry for Bible study and fellowship. Sorta like a small group or church but "always open".

It is a LOT of work which is likely why I took so long to get back to it, after having been invaded well over a year ago. This blog was the beginning. The last few days have been spent setting up a few things, primarily getting Moodle set up. This was especially fun (yes, I'm being facetious) because I had never used it before and like most everything I do, I was learning while doing. So far, it has been a good experience and I hope readers will visit the site and let me know what they think. Everything is, of course, free. I have subscribed to Google's AdSense both here on the blog as well as on the site itself. Does anyone have any experience with it? I don't want to make a million-but perhaps to just defray some of the costs inherent in any personal website that has the space for the ministry. In time, I hope to also have Amazon and CBD links but this is, after all, just the re-birth.

At the time this ministry was first conceived( Feb 2002) there wasn't a lot of online fellowship, resources etc. I was in the throes of post 9/11 depression, having just been laid off, at my Wall Street job. I felt the call to minister, to teach, and to have a place where agorophobic folks like me could meet to study, pray and fellowship from their computers. I also don't drive, and am blessed with a wonderful husband who happens to be an atheist so there is/was a lot of different motivations for me. The Lord had provided the opportunity and the time so I got to work! Quickly I became discouraged as I realized how little I really knew about web dev and what it really took to get a ministry going. Anyway, here it is over 7 years later and I'm getting back to where I belong.

In that time, I realized that there are a lot of web places now, for study and worship and fellowship. The "stall" in my ministry came as I battled with pride and discouragement. After all, what is my measily site? THEN the Lord spoke to me in a big way-sorta like "If you build it, they will come" only my field is a lot bigger than a baseball diamond. Ultimately, in that respect, I've come to understand that even if no one ever comes, well, its ok because I'm being obedient to God and perhaps, according to His will, someone, someday will show up and meet Jesus! In the meantime, it is my job to trust and obey.

OK-so where am I going with all this? To the ministry of

Two years ago, while I was again wandering in the wilderness of 'purpose" I picked up a book called "Chazown" by Pastor Craig Groeschel. This led me to investigate LifeChurch and "try it on for size". I had been looking for a church home for years and never found a peace about it. Initially it was kind of awkward for me as there wasn't the same connection as I had always previously experienced in worship but the teaching message was right on so I continued to drop in. In recent months I have started participating (sporadically) in a LifeGroup that meets on Friday nights online at 9P EDT and serving on the LivePrayer team on Sundays--ALL Online!

To get to the point, my church home is online! Available 7 days a week. While I sit in front of my computer, I can serve God as a member of the prayer team, worship and rock out with LifeChurch via video, fellowship with others right there in the Experience Chatroom, and listen to inspired messages delivered by Pastor Craig and others that really apply to 21st century believers. I also get to rejoice with those who receive Christ as Savior!

The best part is that this is an INTERNATIONAL ministry. During one Experience of ChurchOnline, there were folks from 40 countries!

Also, on a personal level, I can get to church EVERY Sunday( or most any other day of the week), be of service, study and discuss the Word, and also maintain peace in my home. Being a part of LifeChurch and ChurchOnline has provided and I am sure, will continue to provide the way to be an active part of a body of believers and, at the same time do it in such a way that it doesn't take time away from my relationships and responsibilities.

That this is possible and beneficial has re-ignited my own passion to serve Christ through Abiding Ways. Yes, it's a lot of work, and yes, I may be un/under-qualified. Lord knows my insecurities and faults and challenges. That being said, I will continue to trust and obey.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

This and that

It's been a few weeks since my first post, but I promised myself that I would blog only as I had the time.

Well its about 4 a.m. and here I am, up all night doing something at least moderately productive - at least from where I sit.

I have started working on the ministry that I believe God has given me. I'll tell you the whole story on the site someday. Yes, its rather skimpy right now but it's all good.

Please check it out and let me know what you think, ok. You can either comment here or email me at

OK, it IS time to get some sleep. The other work that I have been given begins at 10:30 a.m. (EDT). Come and meet with me in the Live Chat LifeChurch-Online We are starting OnePrayer