From the Desk of the Lay Director – Aug 2017

De Colores Community,

Many of you know that I recently embarked on a new journey in my career. Early this spring I was introduced to an amazing Christian family by a friend in Emmaus. I knew right away that there was something special about the people. And, after much prayer, I knew that I was being led to partner with them in an emerging industry unique to our area, the Texas wine industry. Over 90% of the wine grapes in Texas are produced right here on the South Plains of Texas in an area known as the Texas High Plains AVA (American Viticultural Area). As with any business or organization, we have experienced our share of ups and downs, but we have seen God’s hands at work as we have relied on Him for guidance and leadership in our daily work.

I joined the organization in late April and one of the first things that I saw reminded me of Jesus teaching in John 15:1-4

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

The vines in our vineyard had been prepared for the 2017 season by an expert team of viticulturist who had pruned all of the growth from the previous season leaving a barren woody vine. Every branch that would not bear fruit for this year’s harvest was thrown away to wither on the ground. Soon, spring green shoots emerged on the vines and, before long, spring flowering began to fill the vineyard with beautiful greenery. Shortly thereafter the viticulturist returned and once again pruned the branches that would not bear fruit. This saddened me at first seeing how much of the greenery was taken away, but later I understood as the summer berry growth took over with abundance following the blessing of timely rains. Now we are poised for one of the most bountiful harvest in years. Recently, the viticulturist returned to protect the vineyard by applying netting over the fruit to keep the birds from stripping the vines. I simply cannot wait to see what comes from this year’s harvest.

As I think on the harvest to come, I am inclined to consider the fruit that is desirable to our Father in Heaven as shared in Galatians 5:13-26

Life by the Spirit
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c]you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

My prayer for our community, and more especially for myself, is that we will bear fruit abundantly, living life by the spirit and pleasing our Father in Heaven.

In Christ love,

Rod Smith
Community Lay Director
Llano Estacado Emmaus

Upcoming Opportunities

August Community Gathering: August 3rd, St. Josephs – Slaton TX
Join us at 6:30pm for Women’s Walk #142 Sendoff at Mercy Center followed by Community Gathering. No meal – Please bring food agape for the walk!!!

Women’s Walk #142: August 3-6, Martha Harrison – Lay Director

Young Women’s Journey: August 31 – September 3, Susan Gillispie – Lay Director

Young Men’s Journey: September 14-17, Dustin Johnson – Lay Director

Men’s Walk #100: September 21-24, Glenn Campbell – Lay Director

From the Desk of the Lay Director – July 2017

De Colores Community,

A few years ago, I was asked to lead a Young Men’s Journey for Chrysalis in our community. I had served on several Chrysalis teams and I knew the power of the Holy Spirit working in this ministry across generations bringing young people to a better relationship with Christ. Little did I understand the impact that Journey #23 would have on my family.

Team selection for both the Journey and Walk that I led taught me huge lessons in obedience. I quickly learned that the Holy Spirit takes over when we are obedient and that God is pleased with the result.

The team selection process is quite simple. The team selection chairperson sets a date for the meeting and contacts the Lay Director to share information with them in preparation for selecting the team. A blank form is provided to the Lay Director and team selection committee with spaces for three names for each position on the Walk or Journey. The Lay Director is asked to identify their first preference for the Spiritual Director, one of the Assistant Lay Directors, the Music Team leader, a past Lay Director who will serve on a table, and the Outside Team Coordinator. At the team selection meeting these names are placed in the first space for their respective roles. Following this first step each person attending the team selection meeting has an opportunity to name someone to fill the next blank on the page one at a time until three names are identified for each role. The Spiritual Director has responsibility for securing the Assistant Spiritual Directors for the walk or Journey.

As Lay Director, I chose to strictly follow the process calling the first name for each role as identified by the team selection committee, and then calling the second or third if necessary. I cannot begin to tell you how blessed I was in the process. The new friendships that were formed will be cherished for a lifetime. And the spiritual gifts that I witnessed from people I did not even know were a tremendous blessing to both the pilgrims/caterpillars and the team. Truly God blessed me through my obedience in Emmaus team formation.

During team selection for Journey #23, I asked if anyone knew of a possible music team for the Journey. A young lady spoke up and said, ‘you should get Terrell McReynolds.’ I knew Terrell as a leader from his service as youth lay representative on the first Journey that I participated in, but I had never heard him play music. At the first team meeting I was blown away with his ability to bring men of all ages together in worshiping the Lord. I found out later that Terrell had become a police officer along with another member of the praise team. In addition, one of the table leaders and one of the assistant table leaders were also police officers. For those of you who know my family, you probably understand that it was no strange coincidence that several leaders on the journey were public servants.

Our son Derick chose to attend Journey #23. Throughout the weekend, he formed many friendships as he came closer in his relationship with the Lord. We knew from an early age that Derick was cut out for public service. Prior to the Journey, he completed the Fire Academy and was working toward securing a full-time role with a fire department, even if it meant moving to another town. Shortly after the Journey, Derick announced that he had decided to apply for the Lubbock Police Academy. I immediately reached out to one of my closest Emmaus friends who was on the team and was also a policeman for a bit of advice. It was no surprise to me that Derick had already spoken with him about the decision. Derick not only found a friend, but also a mentor who would guide him through his decision. It is awesome to see first-hand the Holy Spirit at work through people we chose to surround ourselves with.

As you can see, here is a picture of Derick proudly carrying our nation’s flag with the LPD Honor Guard at the 4th on Broadway parade. God bless the men and women who serve, and God bless America!

In Christ love,

Rod Smith

From the Desk of the Lay Director – June 2017

De Colores Community,

As I learn more about my role in God’s plan for my life I find that prayer, study, and community are the pillars of my journey. 

At the May Community Gathering I shared with a few of you that I had been going through a very difficult time.  Due to the nature of the situation I could not share details regarding what I was going through, however; I knew that simply stating that I was facing a challenge would give others an opportunity to lift me and the situation up in prayer.  You see, God and only God knows every situation, and He hears our prayers.

I dug in deep and studied the situation learning everything that I could to communicate effectively with the proper people involved.  I began praying more often and specifically about how God would have me respond to the situation.  I consulted with my closest confidants within my inner community.  I sought their guidance and asked for their prayers.  And I am certain that God responded with an answer to our prayers with a resolution to this difficult situation in a manner which is pleasing to Him.  Now I can rejoice in knowing that through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I am for this time in the presence of God and He is standing with me.  I know that this could not have been accomplished without prayer, study, and community.

Now I am finally back to a place where I can focus on kingdom work in my role as Community Lay Director.  And I chose to do so with prayer, study and community!

Did you know that Emmaus has a Mission?

Empowering Leaders to be the hands and feet of Christ

Emmaus also has a vision…

Fourth Day Leaders Embodying Jesus Christ

Over the years that I have been involved in our community I have had the pleasure of knowing many of you and seeing several of you serve in leadership roles.  Whether it be on Walks, Journeys, Kairos, Kairos Outside or Epiphany teams, or serving on one of the boards supporting these ministries I have seen your leadership shine.  You may have served in the capacity of team member on a table or outside team participant.  It could have been as an angel giving a portion of your time at a critical point in a weekend, or at a community gathering.  In all cases, you are and have been Empowered Leaders Embodying Jesus Christ to our community and to the greater community of believers.  Thank you for giving to the Lord!

Presently we have a few vacancies on the Emmaus Board and we are looking for some of you to step forward rising to answer this calling.  I ask that each of you be in prayer and to please consider your response to Christ call to leadership in this capacity.  You might recall those simple words on the back of the cross that you received on your walk or journey, ‘Christ is counting on you.’  Trust me, He is…

As many of you are aware Emmaus is a ministry of the Upper Room.  Earlier this month I received a communication from the Upper Room regarding four new critical roles within the Emmaus Community Support System.  These include Communicators, Community Trainers, Start-Up Trainers, and Consultants/Coaches.  Over the next few months we will receive and share more information regarding these new roles from the Upper Room.  Please begin praying for the people who will fill these roles supporting our community.

Women’s walk #141 led by Margaret Rhode will be June 15 -18 at the Mercy Center in Slaton, TX.  This team is well prepared to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus.  Although we have several pilgrims already on the roster we have plenty of room and are needing your help in filling this walk to capacity.  Pray about who Jesus would have you ask to go on this walk.  Study your contacts and listen to the Holy Spirit guide you.  Reach out to your inner community and support each other through prayer as you ask potential pilgrims to join Margaret and the team on this weekend.  We already know that God has hand-picked the pilgrims, He just needs your voice, your hands and your feet to spring into action.

We have several upcoming events / opportunities to serve.  Please be in prayer for each of these and be prepared to answer the call to be the hands and feet of Jesus as you are called to serve.

  • June Community Gathering
    • Thursday, June 8 (Please note we are moving this month’s meeting to the 2nd Thursday)
    • First Baptist Church – Tahoka Texas
      • 1701 Ave K, Tahoka, TX 79373
  • Women’s walk #141 – Margaret Rhode, Lay Director
    • June 15 – 18, 2017
  • July Community Gathering
    • Thursday, July 6
    • Harvest Christian Fellowship – Lubbock Texas
      • 7116 82nd St, Lubbock, TX 79424

In Christ Love,

Rod Smith

From the Desk of the Lay Director – Apr. 2017

Rod Smith, Lay Director

This morning I woke up with a song in my heart. It took me back to my childhood in the formal living room of my grandparents’ home on a small farm near McCauley, TX. I could hear the beautiful voice of my grandmother, Jessie Maude Maberry, as she played the piano and sang the chorus to Blessed Assurance.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Grandmother was a music teacher in the public schools and the choir director at First United Methodist Church in Hamlin, TX where I grew up. She taught us to love music, but more importantly she taught us to praise the Lord. She intentionally retired from teaching before my older brother, younger sister and I were old enough to be in her music class. Over the years, I have heard many stories of how she lived out her faith in the classroom. Later in life she began to lose her hearing and did not sing as much because she was afraid she would be off key. She did not realize that the Lord had firmly secured those old beautiful hymns in her heart so that she could continue to praise Him ‘all the day long.’

De Colores Community,

I am Rod Smith, and it brings me great pleasure to continue with you on the Walk to Emmaus as community lay director for this year.

Several years ago, I was invited by my brother-in-law to join a men’s group that met at 6 am on Friday mornings. Reluctantly I showed up for that first meeting with a group of men who I knew mostly through church. I was not sure what to expect, I mean seriously ‘men’ sitting around talking about churchy stuff was way outside of my comfort zone at the time.

My first thought was about how inferior I must be as I had not been in intentional relationships with others regarding spiritual growth, they must be much better than me when it came to eternal matters. Was I ever so wrong. Yes, we were all in different places in our lives, but we were all somewhat in the same place. Later I found out that several of the men in the group had been on a Walk to Emmaus, however; it was pretty clear to me that they were not pushing me at first to go on my walk. Over time the artificial barriers that I had placed around myself began to fall as I learned to trust in the relationships that were forming.

Eventually they figured out that I needed to be walked to the edge of the cliff and pushed off. Two of the men invited me to breakfast one morning and shortly after the coffee was poured a completed application for a walk was pushed across the table along with a pen and I heard the words ‘sign this.’ After going on my walk all I can say is I wish I had done it many years before. Not such a unique story is it after all, I bet many of you felt the same exact way.

Small groups, reunion groups in the case of Emmaus, are the greatest opportunity to remain connected with the community of believers, and the best opportunity to connect others with Christ. Our Lord and Savior set the example with the disciples as He intentionally led them in a new direction, and we should continue to allow Him to lead us as we grow in our spiritual lives. Please consider joining or forming a reunion group if you are not already a part of one, I assure you that you will receive many blessings in the process.

I was blessed to start the year off on the right foot with Candlelight and Closing for Men’s Walk #99 this past weekend. The testimony of the seventeen men who participated in the walk magnified the mighty work that God is doing through our community. Please join me in thanking Ty Askew, Winfield Davenport, the conference room and outside teams for their servanthood and leadership on this walk.

We have several upcoming events / opportunities to serve. Please be in prayer for each of these and be prepared to answer the call to be the hands and feet of Jesus as you are called to serve.

May Community Gathering
Thursday, April 6
Powerhouse Fellowship, 210 E 98th St, Lubbock, TX 79404

Kairos Outside – Kathy Carlisle, Director
April 7-9, 2016

Young Men’s Chrysalis Journey – Justin Smith, Lay Director
May 4-7, 2016

Kairos #37 – Kevin Ivy, Weekend Leader
May 18-21, 2016

In Christ love,

Rod Smith

From the Desk of the Lay Director – Mar. 2017

Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the ROARING of a mighty WINDSTORM, and it filled the house where they were sitting!!! Acts 2:2

Hey Community, it’s the last day of February and that roaring you hear outside is March coming in like a lion. You would think someone born and raised in West Texas would be accustomed to sand storms or haboobs or whatever you call them where you’re from, but I will always be glad when this weather decides to leave. Nevertheless, my prayer this month, as my term as your Lay Director comes to an end, is that the Holy Spirit roars in and continues to cause a rumble in our community like it has never felt before. I have enjoyed serving you all, and will continually praise God for calling me and giving me the opportunity to see what can happen when a body of believers comes together with the purpose of growing closer to Him and following His lead in all we do.

There are several opportunities for us to serve Him and Worship Him in March. First please join us as we come together this Thursday, March 2 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Central Campus, 3708 45th St. for our monthly gathering. If this is your first time to attend be there at 6:00 for the Babe Chick meeting and Sponsorship training. We’ll share a meal together at 6:30, followed by our Worship Service at 7:15. If you haven’t been in a while please come. It’s always such a blessing to get together with our Emmaus Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

This weekend we have a wonderful opportunity to do what the Llano Estacado Emmaus Community is so good at, pray! Epiphany #20 starts Friday, March 3, and continues through Sunday, March 5 at the Garza County Detention Center in Post. Please pray for the Epiphany team, juveniles and the prison staff over this coming weekend. There will be some important God business going on down there that will make a big difference in the lives of some very special youth.

March 9 at 7:00 PM please be on the Holy spirit patio of Mercy Center for send-off of our next Young Men’s Chrysalis Journey. Milton Schober and his team have been waiting a long time to meet the young men God will be sending. Candlelight is at 8:00 PM, Saturday, March 11 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and closing is at 4:00 on Sunday, March 12 back at the church. Please come out and support the guys on this journey. These young men are our future and Chrysalis is such a vital part of our Emmaus family. There is still space available so get your caterpillars signed up just as soon as you can. Remember there is no cost to them or you for them to go.

Men’s Walk #99 is March 30-April 2. Ty Askew is the Lay Director and Winfred Davenport will serve as Spiritual Director. Send-off will be at the Mercy Center around 7:00 on that Thursday with Candlelight at 8:00 on Saturday and Closing at 4:00 on Sunday over at St. Joseph’s. Please come for all the weekend events you can. It’s always special for the pilgrim’s to see people they may or may not know come out and support them.

Now I want to close my year of serving as Lay Director of this awesome community by reminding you as I did when I first wrote that we are strong enough to do whatever God calls us to do. Who could have ever imagined I would have been called to represent such a great group of believers to the Father and represent Christ to you as well. I have loved being a part of our Community since my walk in 1996 and pray that God will continue to use me as He sees fit. I encourage you to do the same. Remember, God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. Help keep this revival we are enjoying going and make Jesus smile!

DeColores,

Sheila Kirby