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Polishing the Pulpit

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Honor Years (Digger Requested Audio)

It’s ironic that the honor due our parents has been the Digging Deep theme during this month of national transition; a month that has seen much disrespect of civil authority as well as the establishment of several key policies that fly in the face of Biblical authority. Rebellion in society grows from the failure of parents to instill within children the respect for primary parental authority.  It may seem an oversimplification, but when kids who have never had to submit to authority in the home grow into adults, they emerge as people who are unwilling to honor any authority—organizational or civil. When there are entire communities of adults who have grown up having their own way (without parental nurture and discipline), chaos and disrespect is the result. We’ve witnessed this phenomenon this month and in the past several months on a wide scale in the United States.

Throughout the month, we’ve been thinking about practical ways we can put respect for authority in the hearts of our children. Melissa Davidson suggested that one very powerful way is to let our children see, firsthand, their parents caring for their grandparents during the years of physical decline. When children see us making sacrifices; yes, even when children give up activities themselves to give honor by caring for their grandparents, the fifth command becomes very personal. Caring for those who once changed our diapers and provided our sustenance in all ways, is a great way to engrave some principles of respect for parents on the tender hearts of our kids. They won’t forget that Mom and Dad dropped everything, spent long hours and lots of money to provide comfort and support and supply physical needs in situations that were not always pretty. They will remember the tough days when the needs were overwhelming and the nights when sleep was interrupted multiple times. They will remember emergency room runs and waiting room vigils. They will not forget the daily regimen of therapies, the many doctor visits and perhaps dementia or incontinence. They will know you stopped thinking about what was convenient and, at times, just tried to figure out how to survive. They will remember that you missed some activities that you loved and went to great lengths to try to keep old minds thinking and old hands nimble.  They will come to understand that this care was a matter of integrity. They will know that these precious years during which you said goodbye, at least for a time, to those to whom you owed so much, were the honor years.

In this context, it’s been requested that the following two lessons from Polishing the Pulpit 2018 be shared once more. PTP was kind enough to allow us to do this. These lessons are given by myself and my sisters, Celine Sparks and Sami Nicholas and they are lessons we learned about THE Father while caring for our father as he prepared to go home. Maybe you could be blessed in some way by listening.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Here’s the Link for the New Digging Deep Study…. 5 More Days!

Whenever I drive, I grow, spiritually. The thumb drive in my SUV right now is PTP 2017 and I’m getting very close to having listened to the entire program for that year—scores and scores of Bible lessons packed with sound doctrine and practical tools for making my life better and richer in His service. Today I heard Sandra Oliver dispensing wisdom for elders’ wives. It was a blessing to me and I’m not even an elder’s wife. 

This is the week that lots of readers would normally be convening in Sevierville, Tennessee for this annual spiritual highlight called Polishing the Pulpit. If you’re a regular, you’re missing it this week. You are wishing we could all be there together. There will be no replacement for the fellowship from which we all gain stamina and renewal, for it just cannot be replaced. It’s just the next best thing to heaven!

If you’re not a regular, there’s a great opportunity for you to get a taste of the spiritual feasting that’s the focus of Polishing the Pulpit. You can do that this year right from your home. It’s hard to believe that creative teams have put together virtual renditions of almost every type of class or workshop that’s normally available onsite. There will be classes for children, teens, women and preachers. There will be elder workshops, Family Bible time segments and so much more! 

This year’s keynote schedule (which begins on Friday, August 14th) is here, along with access to the program through PTP365: 

https://polishingthepulpit.com/ptp-2020-keynote-schedule/

Finally, remember August 18th at 7pm CST is the big kick-off session for the 2020-21 edition of Digging Deep. We need this study this year! I hope you can join us. Here’s the youtube link. Go ahead and click now, bookmark it and set a reminder for this date and time! I’ve tried to be sure you’ll hear everything you need to know for this year’s study. Meanwhile, keep digging as we conclude the current study OF glory TO His glory!

                                                                                         pastedGraphic.pnghttps://youtu.be/5WZxG7PNW-Q 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Countdown to Digging Deep 2020-21!

This may be the most exciting thing in my world right now. Next to the birth of Eliza Jane a few weeks ago, it’s my favorite birth of the year. It’s the upcoming “birth” of Digging Deep 2020-21 and it will occur on August 18th directly from the PTP files. More information about how to watch this episode of DD with its give-aways, the unveiling of the new 2020 theme, info about where to download the free study or purchase the deluxe study guide — everything  you need to watch and study, will be forthcoming right here! There will be t-shirts and I’m trying hard to negotiate a very limited number of hoodies this year, because I love hoodies! Remember, you can watch this on August 18th. I know you are going to love the study. You may not know you are going to love it, when you first hear it, but, I promise, if you love the Word of God, His scheme of redemption and His mercy in your own life, you will love this study. At this time next year, if you participate, you will be closer to Him and to heaven. But then, it’s that way every year; not because it has to do with this website or me, but because it’s a saturation in His Word.  It keeps me doing it year after year. I’m praying especially hard this year, because I’ve seen the Covid-19 pandemic have such an unbelievable effect on processes, large and small. I’m praying that it won’t limit, in any way, the free flow of the Word through Digging Deep. I hope you will pray this with me. The way we overcome fear, illness, societal ills and injustices is ultimately through the Word; thus I’m praying for more of the Word in sisters’ hearts this year and not less.

I know there are lots of avenues through which you can organize your Bible Study. Maybe DD is not the best one for you. That’s okay. Find your best and prioritize the Word in every single day of the next 12 months. What I hold in my hand when I hold that brown leather volume is the product of many miracles. It’s the one book that has the power to convey the mind of God to a mere 21st century woman like me, who is lost without its message.

I haven’t finished the glory study yet. Lots of you have. I have started hearing from you. Be sure and let me know THIS week if you’ve completed through month eleven–every lesson, every practical application and either every podcast or every Dig-a-Bit. Notify me at byhcontest@gmail.com. Also remember that the video podcast for July is happening on the 30th and that’s a Thursday this month. (I’ll be out of town the first half of next next week recording lessons for the upcoming virtual Polishing the Pulpit. I really hope you’re planning to “attend” that!) The July DD study for me, so far, of those who could build an idol at the foot of the smoking mountain, is astonishing. It makes me know that even God’s people can quickly lose heart and turn from principles of righteousness in times of frustration.

Keep Digging! Hang in there. To God be the glory!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Representative Deberry of Tennessee: Blessed!

Today, I’d simply like to invite readers to be encouraged by my brother John Deberry, a great gospel preacher and legislator from the state of Tennessee for the past quarter of a century. This record of his exclusion needs no commentary except the commentary of Jesus when he said, 

“Blessed are you when men hate you,

And when they exclude you,

And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,

For the Son of Man’s sake.

Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!

For indeed your reward is great in heaven…

You can read about brother Deberry here. 

https://www.lifenews.com/2020/04/08/democrat-party-kicks-out-26-year-state-legislator-because-hes-pro-life-on-abortion/?fbclid=IwAR315sqTGZv2Y3ifN9fXHxuWiqTL4Vtx-ZXwby1JjRSsC9VvrlD9dX4XSMI

You can hear him preach here: https://free365.polishingthepulpit.com (and you will want to do that).

(All PTP365 content is free for a limited time. Follow easy access sign in and search John Deberry)

And pray for the pre-born.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: My Life on a Cart

Polishing the Pulpit (https://polishingthepulpit.com) is a conference for Christians, held annually in Sevierville, TN and it’s become a 5500-person fellowship/teaching event that’s unlike any other; both in great potential for the gospel’s spread and in popularity with gospel-followers. As you can guess by its name, it began as a little workshop for preachers and has developed in 25 short years to be a power-house conference (because of His power) that has meaty and practical sessions for all of God’s people. As one of the audio and video technicians, who gave his life to Christ in baptism at the end of the week said “Where can you find this many people who are just this nice?” I love that assessment.

I know the devil would love to worm his way into this event, but God’s people there, both leadership (the elders of the Jacksonville church of Christ) and attendees, are determined to keep a sound and unified event. It’s become a family (both physical family and spiritual family) reunion for the Colleys, to which we look with great anticipation every year. 

As we left the convention center this year, I took a long look at our luggage cart, and there I saw a huge conglomeration that’s now still a big pile in my bedroom floor. But looking at that cart, I saw a small cross-section of my whole world.  I could look at that all-too-familiar hotel cart and see my life–the things that I love and the things I do–rolling across that parking lot.  Some of the things were meaningful in a long-term way. Some, like the number of pairs of shoes I’d brought along, were just extra and unneeded baggage. I looked at that cart and contemplated for a minute.  

I saw all the Digging Deep paraphernalia…my new DD bag that had carried handouts, books, baby entertainment items for worship, and bread to give away before my classes began; my Digging Deep t-shirt and the old “Authority” book from which I’d taught a couple of times through the week. And my brand new “Glory” book was also somewhere on the cart. There was even a shovel, a rake and a hoe, given to me by one of the Georgia diggers . Digging Deep was everywhere on the cart.

There was stuff from the Digging Deep Israel trip: a large group photo given to us by John and Carla Moore as they packed up the Bible Land Passages table in the Exhibit Hall. At the very top of the cart was the ram’s head with real ram’s horns, given to us by fellow Israel traveler, Caysi McDonald. Lindsay VanHook put them on the head she crafted and Linzee Stephenson mounted the ram’s head on a wooden spatula. It served us well, at the climax of the Mount Moriah scene, in Family Bible week at West Huntsville and then at Family Bible time in the Atrium with a hundred or so kids.

There were a lot of grandchildren things on that cart. There was my Bernina sewing bag, a big white laundry basket that had served to transport a bunch of birthday gifts and decorations for little Maggie’s first family birthday party, held just outside the atrium, after the crowds had exited on Thursday. There was a big black plastic garbage bag that had served to hide the 34-year-old red and white wooden scooter that Glenn had made for Caleb for his first birthday; now being passed along to Maggie (She loved it, repeating over and over “Brooom, brooom!” as she pushed it around by the wooden handle bars.)  The big bag was now full of laundry awaiting the wash.  There were leftover snack bags and boxes; surprises we’d brought to tape on the hotel room doors of the grandkids. The grands were fully represented on the cart.

My sisters were there, too. The little trinkets and treats and notes of encouragement that so many sweet friends had shared were rolling, too, in various bags and cases.

There was a computer printer, two large Bibles, a portfolio for organizing lessons, two lap-tops and an iPad, a large commentary and a big package of computer paper. It’s the way we roll when we are speaking in a total combined  number of sessions that exceeds thirty. There was even a coffee maker and a bag of Keurig cups to keep us burning the midnight oil. And there were dress clothes for all those speeches. And dress shoes and ties and scarves and there was a bag of brand new socks for Glenn because he has that propensity for leaving his at home. (He has that propensity in common with Don Blackwell. We went to Israel and washed the same pair of socks every.single.day.) 

I guess I could go on listing blessings on that cart. But the thing that struck me is  this: Your stuff represents your heart. Obviously, the stuff on the cart is the stuff I didn’t want to do without for a week-and-a-half.  Jesus said something in the same vein over in Luke 6:34

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

By the time we left, I noticed the world was refilling the empty hotel. Carts were coming in with vastly different loads; carts pushed by people who were almost naked—carts that held luggage and beer and swimsuits and water shoes and tickets to the pleasures of the world around us. My husband commented that after watching Christians crowd those hotel hallways for a week, it was very shocking to see the world. We probably need to keep on being a little shocked. 

It’s also very motivating. Think about the diffusion of those 5500 people into a world that pushes the wrong load. Think about what we can do if every one of us invites one person to study the Bible with us monthly between now and our next gathering in Sevierville. Think about what we can do if each family has Family Bible Time daily for all 355 days between now and the next PTP. Think about how much stronger our families will be if every mother at PTP studies the Word deeply every day between now and next August 12th. Think about how much of an effectual working will occur if every woman who left that place is fervently in daily prayer for this entire year. Think about the power of a diffusion. How many carts could we load for heaven? 

How many? How many could I help load, given my opportunities in my little circle of influence? I’m going to try to have at least one more packed and loaded for heaven before that gathering on the mountain next year. Will you try, too? 

  

                                                 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“Martha, Martha”… “Cindy, Cindy”

Yes, this really happened. I was launching into a very full week of PTP speaking and my early Saturday lecture was about Mary and Martha. I had this in my heart already. I am going to really do my best to make those ladies understand that there are moments in life when we really just need to be quiet and persevere.

So I ventured, with all the boldness and volume I could muster, into a few preparatory remarks. I was rolling, when the door behind me, with a loud clanging noise burst wide open and the tech guy came running in, waving his hand across the front of his neck and shouting at the top of his lungs “CUT!!!” You had better believe I did. Silence enveloped the room and my sweet Kathy Carroll, tech-pro extraordinaire came and whispered to me  that tech was tangled and my voice had been projecting loudly into the men’s session in another ballroom.

I remained extremely silent until I was positive that the problem had been remedied and, wires uncrossed, then proceeded, though trying to summon the same bold projection was challenging. We laughed and rolled with it.

So later in the day, Glenn and I were walking to the car to go get some lunch. He was telling me about some conversations with various people through the morning and I said “You won’t believe what happened in my session…”, to which he responded…

“Oh I know exactly what happened.”

I said, “Oh dear…”

He said “I was up on the stage and had just uttered the words “Let us bow.” I opened my mouth to pray and your voice came blaring, full volume, through that sound system….You just brought that elders’ session to a very abrupt halt. Your son was standing beside me about to take the microphone and deliver the lecture, when the tech fellow just started sprinting across the front of that auditorium. When we finally got you out of that room the technician said, ‘I’m sorry, Caleb. I wish I could give you that time back, but, well…your mom.'”

What are the chances that my voice would be projecting over at that exact moment in that exact room with these TWO exact people on the stage? Only at PTP. We’ve come a long way since that first year in which we had a women’s session for the twelve or so of us who came with our husbands. But it’s been a journey of counting blessings and counting people…up to 5249. Two of my very closest friends have had daughters who became convicted by the pure gospel in this sweet setting. Many women have told me that PTP has provided the glue for a broken marriage, the will to never give up in a troubled time, the strength for a severe health trial, or the wisdom for a parenting crisis. For me personally, PTP is a great motivator. There’s not a time in the year when I’m not mentally storing things away for this golden mountaintop time. I pray that you are finding it everything you need for the other seasons of your year. Take the time to write a note of thanks to the elders of the Jacksonville church. They are at 329 Nisbet Street, NW. Jacksonville, AL 36265.