As The Oil of Aaron

20150118-untitled (17 of 28)Yesterday I sat in a Sunday morning service, a special service, as it was the 5th anniversary of the pastorate of Rev. Patrick Garrett and his wonderful wife Holly in the city of Yucaipa, CA. I looked especially close at these three men; my husband, Gerald Buxton, the special speaker for the day, Chris Hodge, of Lake Isabella, CA. and Patrick Garrett. A sweetness infused the atmosphere. A certain holy presence moved as do fine draperies caught in a spring breeze, gentle and warm. and I was comforted. This morning as I recalled yesterday’s service, I was reminded of David’s writing in Psalm 133.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

Unity. David was quite taken with the subject and compared its pleasantness to the all-pervading fragrance of the oil with which Aaron was anointed: It was poured generously on his head and thus ran down through his beard and, finally, completely to their hem, infused his garments. The oil was precious, had been prepared in a particular way, and any use except for holy sacraments was strictly forbidden.

Such a demonstration tells the beauty of brotherly love, and of unity. How blessed we are today when we sit in the presence of such attitudes. Stay the bicker, the nit-picking, the questioning of motive, the press of organizational structure. While holding firm to Jesus Christ and to the essentiality of His shed blood, and to the precepts of God’s holy Word, let us set aside our petty differences, cast our vision ever upward, and embrace our brothers and sisters in Jesus.

It seems fitting that my piece is posted on the day set aside to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King.

Of Two Women

By an entry in a book titled The Intellectual Devotional, I recently was reminded of Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643) who was an early female religious leader in America and who was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony after she refused to stop having church services in her home, even though Puritan authorities had ordered her to do so. On Mondays she opened her home to women to discuss the previous day’s sermons, but John Winthrop, the colony’s governor warned her that these activities were “not tolerable nor comely in the sight of God, nor fitting for your sex.” She rejected his orders and was excommunicated from the colony.

The role of women in the church, and especially what God intends in that area, always makes for a lively discussion, and while in this piece today I do not wish to examine the issue, I must point out that in all Christian churches today, women play a much more visible and important role than they did in generations before.

My interest was piqued in the subject by the recent death of Jan Holmes, a Pentecostal pastor’s wife of Little Rock, Arkansas. I was not privileged to know this person, who by every account was a sterling, exceptional being. By internet radio I listened to her final ceremony; a magnificent service, fit for royalty. The music was stellar, nothing short of glorious, and varied from vocals to instrumental offerings. I am told that in attendance were 400 ministers from all over the country and from other parts of the world and that the total attendance was between four and five thousand persons. Numerous dignitaries from the political scene were there, representing the state, the county, and the city.

It interests me that in this very conservative Apostolic church the majority of the speakers were women. So far we have come. What a telling contrast between the opportunity given and grasped by Jan Holmes and by that denied in that long ago era to Anne Hutchinson.

God’s Unstoppable Church

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church transcends denomination, organization, or fellowship. The Gospel is supreme, stands on its own, and extends beyond culture, tradition, or man’s acceptance or rejection.

Yesterday morning Jerry and I attended The Lighthouse in Yucaipa, pastored by our dear friend Patrick Garrett and his remarkable wife Holly. Growth is evident there, Apostolic worship was apparent, and Brother Garrett preached from the Word of God. The Lighthouse is associated with the Worldwide Pentecostal Fellowship, commonly referred to as the WPF.

At 5:00 last evening, I settled myself into a comfortable chair here in my dining room, a cup of coffee beside me, and tuned in by computer live streaming to The Anchor, a church in San Diego pastored by James Larson and his talented and sweet wife Joni. The Anchor is associated with the United Pentecostal Church, commonly referred to as the UPC. A powerful move of the Holy Ghost unfolded, for as I watched, an associate pastor, Brother Sam Gutierrez, pushed past what seemed to be the “order” of the service, and called the congregation to an extended period of worship. Then followed the scheduled preacher for the evening, Youth Pastor Ron Boling, who was so moved in his spirit that he set aside the message he had planned for the evening, instead encouraging the congregation to continue in their deep worship. Several minutes into this distinct time, Pastor Larson took the microphone and said he believed Brother Andrew Buxton, a lay-minister, had a word from the Lord. Brother Buxton took the pulpit and spoke in a powerful way for 20 minutes or so.

Recently, in Tulsa, OK, the WPF concluded its national youth conference named PEAK. Last week, in Louisville, KY, the UPC concluded its national youth conference which it refers to as National Youth Congress. More than twenty thousand persons attended this meeting which some referred to as perhaps the best conference they had ever attended. One minister who attended PEAK told me it was an outstanding meeting. I have not been able to determine the attendance there.

In Gatlinburg, TN, on September 4-6, the national conference of the WPF will convene. On October 1-4 in St. Louis, MO, the national conference of the UPCI will convene. (There are other apostolic organizations which have similar meetings with similar results, but I am only closely acquainted with the two I have been mentioning, thus my use of them for this discussion.)

So, Apostolic youth from across the country have recently been invigorated as a result of their national conferences, and in early fall both of the aforementioned organizations will gather from around the world to do their required business and to encourage and prompt each other. Propagation of The Gospel is the theme of these meetings. It is a precious thing, and of little matter is the flag under which God’s full Gospel is preached. . . “Unstoppable” is God’s church, Andrew Buxton said last night.

………And so it is.

No Kisses for Baal

We found our seats quickly as the service had already begun, and we wanted to lessen the commotion of our coming in a few minutes late. Those around us smiled and made us welcome. Soon the preacher left the platform, came to Jerry, shook his hand and had a short conversation with him, which I learned later included an invitation not only to sit on the platform, but also to bring the morning message. Jerry hugged the young man, thanked him, and indicated he would just stay where he was.

Because Pastor Claborn was out of town, Brother Brett Bockmann would be preaching this Sunday morning, and when he stepped to the pulpit, he remarked about our being with them in service. “My heart fell when I saw Brother Buxton step through the door,” the young minister said. He went on to profusely welcome us but to explain how inadequate he felt to preach before an elder, a seasoned minister of the Gospel.

His humility touched me deeply. . . and then I was profoundly moved as he began to read from Scripture, and his voice broke significantly. Deeply affected by the Word of God he launched into his message concerning Roots.

God’s Church is in good hands with young men like Brett Bockmann–and there are many of his ilk. Beware, lest because of style changes we may not appreciate, problems in local churches, and in church organizations we become as Elijah who in I Kings complained to God:

“. . .I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left. . .”

…….see that whisper of a smirky smile on the face of God as he patted Elijah on the shoulder, gave him a little vision of the power of God, and said, “Don’t worry about it…got 7000 in Israel who have never bowed to Baal . . . nor kissed his mouth!”

Love it!

Preach on young men! God’s church will prevail!
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Of Flipflops and the High Calling

Cogitation, to my mind, ranks right up there with industry and integrity, for it is a good thing to long consider concepts and notions, to thoroughly examine each one, to hold them to the light, to examine their facets–to scrutinize for flaw and any possible deficiency. I’ve been considering this subject for some time now, but the point at issue is elusive–especially an inoffensive way to state it–and slithers from my hand and head, except that its roots grind steadily in my heart and in my soul.

Think with me about these words of Paul–words with which almost everyone who is a student of the Bible will be familiar. The riveting words are found in the 14th verse of chapter 3 of Philippians.

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.”

I have outfitted myself in like clothing as the great Apostle; on my feet are running shoes, the wind is in my face, my eyes are fixed on the goal. I, as he, press for the prize. Look now, he names the prize . . . he calls it the high calling. Now we could postulate that Paul is referring to Heaven, and certainly I believe we would be within the mark in so doing, but for today, I’d like to back up and consider that the prize is actually the high calling, for certainly that calling leads us to Heaven.

Not long ago, I heard a minister relate an experience when he and his wife were tourists on Victoria Island in Vancouver and were waiting to be seated for dining at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Those in charge were speaking with the persons ahead of my friends and there was a stall in their being ushered into the dining room, for the gentlemen in the group ahead of my friends were wearing casual clothes–no coats, no ties. They were kindly taken to an anteroom, and shortly the group returned, the men wearing coats and ties.

Now before I proceed, let me acknowledge that I am not a young runner; indeed next Wednesday, the 24th of July, 2013, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. Hear me though: I am blessed with lucidity, a continued interest in the world around me, a concern with the progress of God’s Church, and I’m the possessor of common sense. Because of my common sense and my clear thinking I know my thoughts and conclusions logically may differ radically from those of a much younger age. I give you that. There are, though, principles and established truths that do not change because of the variance of one’s age.

My heart is grieved, and I am soul-sick when I observe Christians who attend God’s house dressed in a casual, off-handed way. I can’t help myself; it troubles me. Oh, I know the arguments: God doesn’t look on the outward appearance, we want to relate, we want people to be comfortable, we don’t want visitors intimidated by suits and ties . . . I’m especially struck with sadness when I observe leaders, platform workers, musicians, and ministers who dress in this way. Does not God’s house deserve as much respect and honor as come from patrons of the Empress hotel dining room, symphony orchestra chambers, and other fine facilities and activities?

Are we not pressing for the mark where is the prize of the high calling? A high calling, a heavenly calling, surely suggests my finest effort, and while I am still called during picnics and as I work about my house, where I definitely will not be wearing dress clothes, when I go into His house, should I not wear my finest? Should I not attend with my keenest of thought? My mind stayed on Him . . . on pleasing Him?

Attorneys attire themselves in suit and tie when they appear in court where their job is to uphold the constitution. I suspect should they attempt to present a case with their feet ensconced in ragged tennis shoes and a tee-shirt covering their chest, it is likely they would be held in contempt. I was appalled when sometime ago I saw images of persons standing in line to visit the White House, dressed slovenly with flipflops on their feet. I submit that America’s deterioration in dress has contributed to, or perhaps is a reflection of the sad crumbling of our society. It has drastically affected our schools and our workplaces.

To have this same downward trend now edge its way into God’s house seems unacceptable to me, for though defending people’s rights and the constitution, and paying respect to our government is crucial, neither of those is on equal footing with that one who is part of the high calling of Jesus Christ.

I have no official office, am no one’s boss, and certainly have no intention of trying to “set straight” the ministry. I’m not here to judge anyone, and I certainly do not wish to be a crotchety old lady who finds fault with everything. My heart dwells not in those places, but deep inside my soul is a spot of grief, and when I see an image of disrespect today or tonight in God’s house, I will again be saddened.

But my high calling will prevail. I will close my eyes, look past those simple things that trouble me, and I will concentrate on Jesus Christ the righteous. I will offer myself to him–my pitiful, wretched self, made holy only by His grace and His mercy.

I definitely want to hear your thoughts about this subject–both pro and con. If you have come over from facebook and want to comment over there, please also comment here…..appreciate it. I’m interested in what you have to say.


In a conversation yesterday, someone noted that the UPCI–the ministerial organization with which my husband is connected–is now bigger than ever before, and “it literally has strengthened its financial position to a degree where we will soon began (begin) financing our efforts through the interest earned on our invested monies…”.

One of my sons is connected with the WPF, a ministerial organization that was founded a few years ago. I have friends in other ministerial organizations, and many friends, and family–also ministers–who choose to belong to no organization, but who are classified independent. Since many of those who formed the WPF came from the UPCI and the UPCI is now bigger than before, it seems to me that within the small circle of church work with which I am acquainted, the dividing and expanding has worked to grow the organism. I choose not to address my personal thoughts about all the ramifications of such a move for a couple of reasons: The primary reason being that I suspect few give a flip about my observations in that regard. 🙂

From the mix of the conversation yesterday came to me a reminder of the importance of doing the basic work of God wherever we are, however we can, and with whatever tools have been thrust our way. Humbly. Not as a peacock admiring his own tail feathers.

Within the minutiae of my notes, scribbled on a faded yellow lined scrap of paper in my handwriting is an account I read somewhere–who knows where?–I wish to share with you.

As the doctors were arguing over his care–who would put in the chest tube, the patient pled, “Somebody please save my life.

While the others argued, two other doctors took over and saved his life.”

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Blessings Today

Often, I consider how blessed I am. Today is no exception. This morning here at Christ Alive Worship Center in Lake Havasu, my youngest son, Andrew, will be the preacher. In Chula Vista, California in the church he pastors my eldest son, Stephen, will be the preacher. In our service here my middle son, Michael, will be the worship leader. How very blessed I am. Far beyond anything I at all deserve. I am thankful.

Besides that, merely lifting my eyes, engages me in spectacular scenery, and besides that someone gave me beautiful roses.

Happy Day!

Inland Lighthouse Celebrates

This past weekend Inland Lighthouse Church of Rialto, CA. celebrated several significant mile-markers in the life of that great church. Included was the dedication of their new building, the 76th anniversary of the founding of the church, and some important anniversaries in the lives of Pastor and Mrs. Larry Booker. Sunday night was designated a “home-coming” service and all who had ever attended there under the ministry of any of the pastors were urged to attend. Of course we went, and before the preaching of Rev. Nate Wilson, my husband, as one of the former pastors, made special remarks. It was a delightful weekend of celebration, beautifully organized and splendidly accomplished.

Our grandson Nathaniel stands with Jerry just before we entered the building for the evening service.

His House

Jerry and I arrived home last night around 10:30. In the morning, before 10:00, Jerry had gone to the church for a meeting; I had gone with Melody as she met with an attorney. When we were finished in the law offices, Melody and I went to the church where I sat in on the last part of the meeting where Jerry and Mike and Brenda had engaged with a person representing government funding grants and other options which we are hoping will develop into financial aid for our burgeoning Christian Intervention Program. Melody had received disturbing news from the attorney, so we talked more about that, then at the Red Onion had lunch with her. We went home for about two hours, during which time, Jerry drove out to George and Michele’s to check on them. By 4:00 we were back at the church preparing for the night’s activities; CIP, Ladies Bible study and Men’s Bible study. New people came to register for the program, people called with questions and to say why they would be late, or would not be there at all. A mom had left a message on the answering machine: Thanks for working with my daughter. She won’t be available for 20 days. She’s in Kingman. (The county jail is in Kingman.) A young man came to register, but because of the hours found he could only attend the Tuesday night sessions and would start next week, but as I continued to talk with him, tears welled in his eyes, and I knew God was talking to him. We stood together; a young man in his 20s with a stud in his upper lip, and I. He would leave and return for class on Tuesday, but first, I suggested, let’s go in the pastor’s office and pray. He sat on Jerry’s brown leather couch and we prayed. He sobbed. “I’m from a gang-banging family,” he told us, “and I’m tired of it.” He bent over, his forehead resting in his hand. “My brother is the chapter leader of the Skinheads in the ______________area. I have three children; my girlfriend just had twins, and they are not mine.” He wept so much his eyes were now red, and before he left, he extended his hand across Jerry’s desk. “Thank you. Thank you for your time.” A young woman came in with her father in tow. “He needs to register for your program.” Jerry was counseling another church couple in his office. Because of so much activity in the office, I was late now to pick up someone who needed a ride. “I’m on my way,” I spoke into my phone as I headed out the door. Sessions finished, few people lingering:   I fired up our new Hammond, we turned on the PA, and Mike and I jammed for a few minutes, his red drums aflame. The person I had picked up for class ambled onto the platform, thumbed through the songbook, and said, “Let’s do this one.” Night’s end: Jerry and I dropped off the student I had picked up and, at Black Bear, we met Job and Eliana–our newly weds–for food. Goodnight at 10:30.

Early this morning, I sat in our living room and thought about yesterday and how wonderful it was, and how I love God and His work, and how I delight in being at His house. I turned in my Bible to Psalm 84.

1How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!

2My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

3Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.

4Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

5Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

6Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.

7They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

8O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.

9Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.

10For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

11For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

12O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

In a bit, we will go again to the beautiful, magnificent house of God. How blessed I am.