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A Place In The Family

Posted in Daily Devotions

The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4.11-12 )

My good friend Pastor Johnny Price shared something about the church that I believe is important. He said that the model many of us have in our minds for the church is the same model we have for secular organizations. That is, we think of the church as an organization that we join. Then we do what members of an organization normally do, we come to meetings and pay dues. Maybe, occasionally, we read the organization’s newsletter, if we have time. This is not Christ’s model for the church.

Christ’s intent is that his people will be joined to his church in the same way that members of a physical body are joined to that body. It is a living relationship. The body gives life to its members and they, in turn, are indispensable to the body. For the person in whom Christ dwells, being actively involved in church is not merely an option anymore than an eye has an option about being involved with a physical body. Losing an eye is a tragedy for both the eye and for the body. Christ is saying that each of us is indispensable. We all have a place in his family.

Loving God, help me to be an active and effective member of the body of Christ. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Funeral Poems

Posted in Funerals & Memorials

Funeral poems are often used during memorial services and funerals as a way to ease the pain caused by mourning the loss of a loved one who has passed. Funeral poems are used to depict the feelings of those left behind in a way that can be consoling and comforting during times of heartache and sorrow. Poetry is often used due to its ability to describe feelings and accurately capture heartbreak that could not otherwise be described.

Funeral poems may be used as part of the eulogy, may be printed on funeral programs, or may be used on prayer cards or other keepsake memorobilia to memorialize the deceased. Often times, guests will find poems stated on memorial gifts such as artwork, frames, or plaques and they provide these to the family and friends of the deceased. These poems are of significant help to those who have been left behind and who seek comfort in words.

When making funeral arrangements, finding a poem that is fitting is often a major part of the process. Sometimes family or friends of the deceased will decide to write a poem that more accurately depicts their feelings or the life of the person that has passed on. This can be difficult to do at such an emotional time, so many look to numerous resources available online. You can most certainly find something that is fitting online or in poetry books at your local library.

Additionally, many funeral readings and funeral poems can be found in the form of music. Perhaps a song or lyrics have special meaning to the deceased. Perhaps a special song or lyrics remind you or the family of the deceased and how they chose to live their life, or how they passed on from this life. Sometimes funeral music is actually played, and other times, the lyrics are simply read by someone conducting the eulogy or by another family member or friend of the deceased. There really is no right or wrong way to do this, just as long as you are sensitive to your audience and true to your feelings.

If you find yourself in need of a minister to walk you through this difficult time in your life please contact us at 713-208-2025 for a complimentary phone consultation. Together we can find the right words and funeral services to create a fitting tribute to your loved one.

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Carrot, Egg or Coffee

Posted in Daily Devotions

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (2 Tim 4:2)

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Then she said, “Tell me, what do you see.”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” her daughter replied.

Next, the mother asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich flavor.

“So, what does it mean, mother?” she asked.

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter.

And which are you, dear reader?

When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Ask yourself: Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water—the situation around you.

Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Heavenly Father, let me what You need me to be. Help me become fit for your kingdom and do the things you require of me. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Posted in Daily Devotions

Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! (James 5.9)

Are you a grumbler?

A grumbler is a person who doesn’t know how to handle the unhappiness which naturally occurs when parties disagree. Grumblers are people who do not know appropriate ways to express their disagreements with leadership. Rather than finding appropriate ways to show their discontent, grumblers stir up unhealthy conflict. That’s what makes a person a grumbler. Sadly, these are frequently people who have good intentions. Yet the results of their grumbling are disastrous to the church.

One recent writer compared grumblers to termites. They slowly chew away at the foundation of confidence and vision of the people of God. Grumblers simply don’t seem to know appropriate ways to have healthy conflict in their lives. They don’t know how to talk about their discontentment in ways that are honest. Grumblers destroy their children, destroy good marriages, completely destroy their own happiness wherever they go.

Don’t be a grumbler. With love and care of the people of God, be honest. Do all you can to build up the community of faith.

Dear God, move the grumbling out of my soul. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Posted in Daily Devotions

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul. (Acts 19.11)

The role miracles play in the life of the believer is awesome. God is not our servant. God is our Sovereign. God isn’t going to do anything that is not ultimately in our best interest. When we pray and Heaven seems to be silent, it is because God’s plan is bigger and better than we can see at the moment. But somewhere along the way God gives us experiences that build our faith that serve as watersheds along our life’s journey.

God gives us these events whether they be miracles or mountaintop experiences so that when we come to those difficult times when we pray but nothing seems to come from our prayers, we can say with confidence, “I know God is with me. God has been with me before and I know God is with me now.”

Miracles happen, but they happen for a specific reason; to build our faith. So, if you pray for the home team to win and they do not, or if it rains on your daughter’s wedding day, in spite of all the time you have spent on your knees, remember this isn’t what miracles are about anyway. Miracles are about helping us trust God.

Dear Lord, thanks for being the miracle in my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

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True Heart

Posted in Daily Devotions

Let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10.22)

A pastor in Winston-Salem, N.C., was teaching a membership class and explaining how some churches baptize by immersion and others by sprinkling. “Does anyone know how the Quakers baptize?” he asked the class. A young man responded, “Oats?”

Thankfully all Christians use water, not oats, but today we celebrate the washing away of all the junk that covers people and keeps us from being what God has created each of us to be.

Only one person who ever lived escaped being covered with this junk and that was Jesus. Still, he came to be baptized by John. The Jews already practiced baptism before John the Baptist, but their baptism had little to do with repentance and confession of sins. Among the Jews, clothing, utensils, and even articles of furniture were ceremonially cleansed.

The Feast of Weeks was a time when many believers from surrounding areas came to the Temple for the blessing of the “first bread made from the new harvest of spring grain.” It was a perfect time for many people to witness Jesus’ ministry and hear his message.

May we all be cleaned of our junk and ready to hear Jesus’ message.

Dear God, clean me today of all the junk I have collected. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Believing Heart

Posted in Daily Devotions

Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. (Hebrews 3.12)

After tucking in his six-year-old son Chris one night, Robert O’Brien tapped his son’s chest and asked, “Do you know what you have in there?”

Chris looked puzzled and responded, “My guts?”

“No, you have a piece of God,” his father replied.

After a brief silence Chris responded, “God is in my guts?”

“No,” said his Dad, “we have a piece of God inside of us; it is God’s gift to each of us.” Chris smiled, tapped his Dad’s chest, and asked whether his Dad had a piece of God in his guts. They laughed and together they began to ask this same question about the rest of the family.

“Does Mommy have a piece of God?”

“Yes,” they answered, laughing.

“Does Matt have a piece of God?” they asked about his older brother.


O’Brien knew that Chris attended a day care center with a little girl named Mary who was so spoiled she made the people around her miserable. He said, “You know, even Mary has a piece of God.” Chris looked stunned, and then he said emphatically, “No, not Mary.” When his father insisted Chris said, “Daddy, I have been with her more than you. She doesn’t have a piece of God.” O’Brien told his son that God never missed anyone; everyone has a piece of God inside. Chris pondered this a while, and then said, “Well, her piece must be all covered up with junk!”

Don’t let God be covered up with junk in your life.

Almighty God, don’t let me cover you up. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Unconditional Love

Posted in Daily Devotions

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3.16)

A young husband has a crippling, terminal neurological disease. His wife is carrying a baby which this unfortunate young man may never live to see. Thus he writes a letter to this unborn child to say something very important that is on his heart. Listen carefully as I read these words. They are very beautiful. Remember he is writing to his unborn child:

“Your mother is very special,” he writes. “Few men know what it is like to receive appreciation for taking their wives out to dinner when it entails what it does for us. It means that she has to dress me, shave me, brush my teeth, comb my hair, wheel me out of the house and down the steps, open the garage and put me in the car, take the pedals off the chair, stand me up, sit me in the seat of the car, twist me around so that I am comfortable, fold the wheelchair, put it in the car, go around to the other side of the car, start it up, back it out, get out of the car, pull the garage door down, get back into the car, drive off to the restaurant. And then, it starts all over again. She gets out of the car, unfolds the wheelchair, opens the door, spins me around, stands me up, seats me in the wheelchair, pushes the pedals out, closes and locks the car, wheels me into the restaurant, then takes the pedals off the wheelchair so I won’t be uncomfortable. We sit down to have dinner, and she feeds me throughout the entire meal. And when it’s over she pays the bill, pushes the wheelchair out to the car again, and repeats the same routine. And when it’s over, finished, with real warmth, she’ll say, ‘Honey, thank you for taking me out to dinner.’ I never quite know what to answer. . .”

If you have ever been the target of unconditional love, you know that young man’s predicament. If you ever get a grasp on all Christ has done in your behalf, you understand the uncertainty of this young husband with this tragic neurological disease. You simply do not know what to say. You and I are the recipients of an amazing self-giving love.

Dear God, thank you for your self-giving love. The words I need to say just don’t come, please allow me to serve you the rest of my life. In Jesus name, Amen

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We Are Loved

Posted in Daily Devotions

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4.1)

In the book, GOD’S VITAMIN “C” FOR THE SPIRIT, there is an interesting story of a sixty-four-year-old mother with an interesting library. Her bookcase is separated into three sections. The first rack contains books on psychology and theology. Many are thick textbooks full of mile-long words. The second rack in the bookcase is stocked with medical textbooks and journals. There seems to be a special focus on genetics and medicine on this rack. And the third rack is jam-packed with multiple issues of HEAVY EQUIPMENT DIGEST. Quite a contrast, don’t you think.

A stranger visiting her home might say that she is a woman of diverse interests. Her sons, however, know that she is a devoted mother. You see, one son is a Christian counselor, and so this mother reads all his old text books in order to learn more about his work. He is represented by the first rack in the bookcase. This mother also reads the books and medical journals on the second rack so that she can understand the work that her second son does. He is a doctor, and is active in cancer research.

And what about the subscription to HEAVY EQUIPMENT DIGEST? Well, that represents a third son who spent years in that field. This mother spends considerable time and energy to acquaint herself with her sons’ interests, in order to better understand them. Is it important to her to know about Freud and DNA and bulldozers? Probably not, but it is important that her sons know they are loved.

How do we know God loves us? Because Christ has walked where we walk. He experienced what we experience.

Dear God, thank you for loving me through the gift of my savior. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Christening Gowns

Posted in Baptisms & Christenings

Christening gowns play a major role in the baptism of babies and are worn by both male and female babies. Traditionally, christening gowns are white and are meant to symbolize new life, the purity of an infant and joy. Many times the gown is a family heirloom of sorts that has been passed down by generations of other members of the family who were also baptized in the same gown.

Many individuals view this gown as important as a wedding gown is to a bride, and some believe that the gown should be of the nicest quality that the family can afford to buy. Of course that is subject to the family and is not a requirement for those looking to perform a naming ceremony or a less formal baby blessing ceremony. In fact, many parents choose to baptize their baby boy in knickers instead of a gown. This is of course subject to whatever the parents decide is appropriate for their ceremony.

Catholics actually view christening gowns as one of the three white dresses that is worn throughout the life a female. Of course one of the other three is the wedding dress and the third is the first communion dress. Basically, the gown symbolizes a rite of passage for the child and most families will preserve the gown once it has been worn to save for those generations of babies to come.

Before having a baby christening many mothers or grandmothers will make the gown themselves. Either they will choose a pattern that they like or they will take material from a wedding gown to use. There are numerous materials available that are extremely affordable. Also, if you don’t want to take material from a wedding gown, many people will use the material from the veil instead. This is a great alternative to those who are unsure of cutting into the material on their wedding gown.

While it is a great way to have a keepsake for your baby’s special day, it is not a requirement to have a gown. This article is merely meant to provide some information regarding the purpose of christening gowns.

This is an important day for your family so please make it your own!

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation and let’s discuss your requirements and the type of ceremony you wish to have.
Please allow Houston Minister Services to create a ceremony that you and your family will cherish forever. Please also continue to view other articles in our Minster Services blog for more information.

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