52 Weeks of Gratefulness #19 – The Victory That Christ Provides

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #19 – The Victory That Christ Provides

I was overwhelmed.
I found strength in the presence of Christ’s people who were gathered in His name.

So, in Week 19 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for the victory that Christ provides.

I’ll repeat this nugget from Alan Hawkins again:

“Victory is in the Lord’s communion.”

When faced with challenges, sometimes all we need is to get in formation -we need to run to the Lord’s communion, that is, the fellowship with others in Christ, especially over a meal.

Sometimes, we don’t even have to share our problems or solve that of others.

There’s a transmission happening just being in the midst of Christ’s people who are being attentive to His Spirit.

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
—2 Corinthians 2:14

But the greater the intimacy, the greater the power.

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
— Matthew 18:20

So, there’s even more strength to be had if we do share our problems with those we discern love God, love us and have His Spirit.

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
— James 5:16

Are you a believer that’s struggling? Burdened? Overwhelmed?

“Victory is in the Lord’s communion.”

I’m grateful.

#52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #15 – Hanging Out With Our Boys

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #15 – Hanging Out With Our Boys
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #15 – Hanging Out With Our Boys

In Week 15 of 52 Weeks of gratefulness I give thanks for hanging out with our boys.

Mom’s out of town.

She’s the fun one, always coming up with fun things to do.

I’m not great at that.

I don’t think in terms of, “Oh, that would be fun to do.”

I think in terms of accomplishing things, “It would be cool if X existed, to accomplish Y or if the boys were exposed to Z”.

So, I plan “fun”.

I know. Horrible.

So, I Google “fun things to do with young adults” and break out a spreadsheets to sort possible activities by distance and time required.

True story.

As I discuss the possibilities with our boys: hiking, miniature golf, fishing with Granddad, etc., Chris said, “I don’t care what we do. As long as I’m with y’all.”

(How did pepper get in my eyes?!)

They then conclude together, almost simultaneously, “Let’s get on Minecraft! We haven’t played with you in forever, Dad.”

And, for three hours that’s what we do.

My eldest son, Chris, takes note of the spawning point as I figure out how to get logged in, remarking, “I’ll help Dad get to the camp” because we’re playing survival and he knows I’m horrible at the game.

We talk. Challenges we face in the game spur a host of conversations about all sorts of things like ambitions, experiences, ideas and attitudes about life.

We laugh as we each die in the most ridiculous ways, mostly me (e.g. “brainflurry dies attempting to swim in lava.”)

Afterward, my youngest son, Roman, says, “I made an awesome soup the other day, can I make you some Dad?” and then proceeds to cook for us.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

And, I didn’t plan any of it.

Awesome things happen around awesome people, when you let it.

My kids are awesome. My wife is awesome.

I’m grateful.

#52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #14 – A Special Day

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #14 – A Special Day
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #14 – A Special Day
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #14 – A Special Day
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #14 – A Special Day

In Week 14 of 52 Weeks of gratefulness I give thanks for a day.

On this particular day I start my day at 6:30 AM at a bible study being held in the equipment bay of a local construction company. I’m there because I was invited by a brother that I had met at a men’s lunch held at New Horizons because I was invited by another brother who I met because… and it goes on and on.

Then, at 7:45 AM I join a men’s prayer group for our schools that I became a part of because a brother that I met at… I’m sure you’re detecting a pattern.

I could go on and on about the various functions I’ve participated in with these men. I’ve done bible studies with these men. I’ve preached with these men. I’ve volunteered, worked, sweated and bled beside these men. But, today hit me differently.

Earlier this morning, Good Friday, April 07, 2023, I participated in an event called the Stations of The Cross, jointly observed by Catholics, Protestants and people of every denominational stripes where we walked through town carrying a cross to symbolize the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrow.

The weather was perfect for it, overcast, gloomy and raining.

It concluded powerfully with these closing words,

“Lord Jesus Christ, your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven and reconciles all people to you. May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Then we sat quietly solemn, the cross in the backdrop, the silence only broken by the ongoing but irregular sound of heavy rain drops upon the earth and on our heads -like tears from heaven.

Then this afternoon, I attended the Seven Last Sayings of Jesus at Mt. Peiler Missionary Baptist Church. There were congregants from different churches all across our city, as pastors and ministers from these varying fellowships expounded on the last words our Savior uttered while on the cross.

Many of these preachers were brought together because of the events and initiatives that I mentioned earlier. We sang together. We worshipped together. And, because of these men, people from their different churches were brought together too.

My point is this: what started as simply coming together for a meal or for prayer for our schools has resulted in us increasing our presence in each others lives.

God is doing something.

And, we’re just getting started.

My heart burns.

So, I’m thankful for a day that made all that possible. That day was the cross.

“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” Colossians 1:19–20.

I’m grateful. #52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #13 – Carrie Franks

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #13 – Carrie Franks

In week 13 of 52 weeks of gratefulness I give thanks for Carrie Johnson Franks.

“Paul, I think my computer has a virus,” Carrie says.

Then she whispers, “There’s pictures popping up of naked Asian men.”

“That’s very specific,” I joke. “Is there something we need to talk about?”

“Well…” she teases, “You caught me. Asian men are kinda my thing. And, peanut butter.”

We shared a good hearty laugh.

Carrie made work delightful.

Though I worked as an independent contractor, she made me feel like I was fellow colleague in the company, another member of the team.

And, she was thoughtful.

During the recent storm that wreaked havoc across the state, she thought to go into the office that weekend to check on things, and she sent me a heads up about items that may need my attention so that, to use her words, “I wouldn’t feel bombarded that Monday morning”.

That’s just the kind of person she was.

At every business I support, there’s the local techie, the first person other employees turn to for help and the person I can trust to help perform tasks on servers or network equipment to quickly bring something back online. I refer to them as my local I.T. pros.

Carrie was my local I.T. pro.

Each time she’d help me with something, I’d promise to send her some Asian men and peanut butter.

Carrie was my local I.T. pro.

But, because of her kindness, Carrie was more than helping hands at the office.

She was a friend.

I’m grateful.

#52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #12 – Enjoying A Meal

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #10 – Beauty In Mississippi

In week 12 of 52 weeks of gratefulness I give thanks for a meal.

It was nothing earth shattering or particularly special.

It was just a meal –fast food, at that.

But a little more than a decade ago, I suffered a devastating financial disaster.

Since then, I’ve been moving and navigating life like a bear is chasing me -running, evading on my worst days and rushing anxiously on my best.

Life was a scramble. I was always moving quickly to get to the next thing.

I remember one of the lowest days of my life was when I was picking up my dearly beloved son from elementary school. He was moving at a casual, carefree pace and I yelled, yes yelled unlovingly and angrily, “Would you come on here?!”

I’m so sorry.

I hadn’t really been living, not enjoying anything, rather just trying to survive.

I didn’t even enjoy food. I ate without really tasting it. All I wanted to do was get energy and end the hunger.

But on this particular day, I felt free to put the demands of the world aside and enjoyed my meal in contemplative silence.

No phone. No laptop. No work. No ministry.

Just me, a plastic fork and food on a paper plate.

I took time to register the textures, the flavors, the smell.

I ate it slowly, enjoying every morsel and thanking God for every bite.

I say it wasn’t earth shattering but, maybe it was.

Whatever it was, I enjoyed it.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #10 – Beauty In Mississippi

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #10 – Beauty In Mississippi

In Week 10 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness I give thanks for beauty in Mississippi.

One bright Saturday morning, I drive out to Noxubee Refuge to do some reading and studying.

I park on the bank of a quiet little inlet, the water dotted by young bald cypress trees.

A number of people come and go, fishing from the bank.

Then this man walks to the bank with a bucket and two fishing poles. He sits down on the ground and casts. Shortly thereafter a whole gang of young children, four or five of them, come bustling across the road with their fishing poles and start plopping their lures in the water.

The man seemed utterly unbothered. He interacts with them, talks with them, instructing them to be careful.

Then the mother walks past, trailing the children. She sees me in the truck, stops, locks eyes with me and yells, “You want some kids?” She smiles. We laugh and she takes a seat near her husband.

After some time, a young black boy with dreads and camouflage pants walks up to where the family is camped out on the bank. He starts talking to one of the other children, then one-by-one he and each of the kids hug each other, and finally the boy hugs the father and mother.

The boy stands on the bank chatting for a while and then goes back across the road to where his family is fishing.

At some point both families, as different as they seemed, come together on the bank and earnestly behave as though they were one big family.

This is not the picture people tend to paint of Mississippi, but here it was –clear as day and beautiful.

What stays with me, is the expression of the children’s faces. That wasn’t tolerance. That was joy.

The beauty I saw on a bank of the Noxubee Refuge is the beauty I want to call out everywhere and for everyone in our great state.

Yes, we have grave challenges in Mississippi, but there is hope.

These people, just being people, sharing a pastime and the natural beauty of our planet, reminded me of that.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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52 Weeks of Gratefulness #9 – A Birthday

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #9 - A Birthday

In Week 9 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness I give thanks for the ability to celebrate another birthday with the most important man in my life, Reverend Paul Luckett.

Happy birthday, Pop. Your example as a man and a father both guides and challenges me everyday.

I thank God for your life.

I thank Him more that I am able to share it with you.

I love you.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

Note: He’s a leap year baby (Feb. 29) so in a normal year, he has the special ability to choose which day he wants to celebrate his birthday on: Feb. 28 or March 1. This year he chose to celebrate it today.

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #8 – A Proposal

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #8 - A Proposal
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #8 - A Proposal
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #8 - A Proposal
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #8 - A Proposal

In Week 8 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness I give thanks for a proposal.

On May 6, 2022 my soon to be nephew-in-love, Leroy Williams, pulled off the coldest proposal I have ever seen to my niece Shannen Harris, who Melissa and I dearly love.

In this photograph of the proposal, you will see pictured our family’s beloved Willie and Mary Harris who have gone on to be with the Lord.

They are the trunk of the Harris family tree and this picture speaks volumes.

Jesus said in John 10:1, “Any who does not enter by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”

I believe Leroy would say himself that he probably wouldn’t be considered a big church guy, but what he demonstrates here is a Christ-like heart for my niece, wanting to go through the proper channels and do what’s necessary to secure his bride.

This picture is representative of Leroy going to the ones keeping Shannen (her family aka the door), to present himself, to demonstrate his willingness to pay the cost and to request the privilege and responsibility of now being the one to keep her.

I thank God and celebrate this proposal, their relationship and the things they’re doing to establish a firm foundation for their home. It is already having a powerful impact throughout our family and their community.

My soul has known few greater pleasures than their asking me to officiate their wedding. Not just that, they’re also allowing Melissa and I to walk with them in counseling leading up to that wonderful day when they are wed. Counseling is always a requirement of my officiating but before I could get it out they asked for it! My heart is so full.

Oh, how I cherish the opportunity to walk with people I love, into the Holy covenant of marriage, where a man and his wife are fitted and held together by the God of love that I love! May God use them to establish and deepen our roots in Christ so that our family will not be moved.

I love what this does for our family.

I love what this does for the future.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #7 – Our Son’s Decision

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #7 – Our Son's Decision
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #7 – Our Son's Decision

In Week 7 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness I give thanks for our son’s decision.

Today our son, Chris Luckett, turns 21 years old. And, throughout those 21 years, he has made the conscious decision to share his life with us.

Whatever ignites him: anime, athletics, Pokémon, nature, dancing or people dear to him –he has decided to make us a part of it.

For 21 years it has been a privilege to bask in its glow.

Happy 21st birthday our beloved son.

Thank you for sharing your your life with us.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #6 – Alex Romanov

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #6 – Alex Romanov
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #6 – Alex Romanov
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #6 – Alex Romanov

In week 6 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for Alex Romanov.

This guy loves me.

How do I know?

I just know.

There’s something about his spirit and approach to me that conveys it.

The first time I met Alex was at the gym. I’m trying not to die on the bench press and he walks up, handing out these little strips of paper with Scripture on it.

That’s right. Our first encounter was him “Bible thumping” as some might call it.

But Brother Alex could and should teach a class on witnessing.

His spirit and approach was that he was sharing someone dear to him with someone dear versus giving something to someone that he thought they lacked.

His example is how we should all witness:

Love God.
Love people how God loves you.
Then witness (share Him with them), because it’s not witnessing until I’ve done the first two.

I am grateful for his witness. So much so, that I now I seek him out asking, “What’s the Word, Alex?” (VeggieTales insider joke)

I am delighted to share the dear gift of Christ with such a dear brother. Thank you Brother Alex for the rare and precious gift that gets better the more you give it away. I love you too.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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