a Bike, a Pool and a Cross

When I was a little girl, I didn’t want anyone teaching me how to do anything new. Not because I was too independent, but because I was too shy to try in front of anyone and possibly fail. Since the most meaningful and fulfilling endeavors in life take a lot of trying, I’ve spent a lot of my lifetime in excruciating embarrassment. 

I remember two learning adventures from my childhood when the adults thought I needed to learn a new skill. The first was learning to ride a bicycle. My foster dad did all the right things. He held on tight and walked beside, letting me find my balance. He sped up to a fast trot, and I peddled my chubby little legs harder. We were zipping along now. Don’t let go! Of course, he couldn’t keep holding on. Legs can’t go as fast as wheels. All was going well for a few seconds, until I began to hear yelling. What were they yelling? Turn! Turn! I looked up and saw the tree, but couldn’t make my arms respond to the instructions. I was locked in. I didn’t turn.

Not surprisingly, that lesson ended painfully and with much embarrassment. I did eventually master bicycle riding, however. Those few seconds of feeling the wind in my face were enough to make me practice in private until I could stay up on my own. The cause was greater than the embarrassment.

The second learning adventure was much like the first. The adults thought I needed to learn how to swim. Again, my foster dad was tasked with the duty. There we were in the pool. He finally coaxed me into letting him hold me up on top of the water so that he could teach me how to float on my back. I can still remember his hands solid against my upper and lower back, the sun warming my front. I had barely started to relax when I felt his hands gently turn loose. Of course they were only an inch beneath me, but I didn’t know that. My body, which had only seconds before felt so light and unencumbered, now felt like a rock. I was sinking. There was thrashing and flailing and coughing and crying.

That lesson also ended traumatically with much embarrassment. I did, however, eventually master the art of swimming. Those few seconds of delightful buoyancy were enough to make me go to the kiddy pool by myself and practice in six inches of water until I felt myself lift up off the hard bottom. The cause was greater than the embarrassment.

Today, all grown up, I’m still that same little girl inside, extremely embarrassed to learn something new in front of anyone. Therefore, this newly launched blog ministry has been excruciating. Oh, I’ve written a lot…in private…where it was safe to fail. But I’ve taken another look at Jesus’ Cross and realized His Cause must be greater than my embarrassment.

Hopefully, some of you will come along with me as I put my face in the wind and feel the delightful buoyancy of His Spirit lifting me. I cannot guarantee that there won’t be some flailing and crying, but I’ll try to keep it to a minimum.

Perhaps you have a ministry tucked safely inside, away from public view, that God is moving on you to bring out into the light. Let’s learn together. After all, the cause is greater than our embarrassment. 

-Pat Vick

X, Y, ZZZzzz

So, the whole transgender movement has me shaking my head. Not only at a President who has dictated his own agenda outside of any legislative process, not only at humans who insist that mine and my children’s rights are taken away so that they can pretend to be something other than God made them, not only at a country that has forgotten it was formed as one nation under God and His laws, but at a Church who is snoozing softly as the very foundation of our great America is being jack hammered away beneath us.

People get confused all the time. Some confusion is from lack of concentration, some from lack of teaching. Some confusion is from too hectic of a lifestyle. Some is because of an underlying medical issue, or some simply from the aging process. This gender confusion issue, however, is an all out deception from satan, himself.

Sometimes, the Church can even get confused, especially by issues that are marketed under the label of Human Rights. In times when we need clarity, we should always go back to the Word of God.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply…” (Genesis 1:27-28a)

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)

These scriptures clearly reveal that from the beginning, God created man and woman with their own gender specific roles and a clear distinction between the two.

I know there are many people whose core belief system is not founded upon the Bible, but on science. True science, however, will prove, not contradict the scriptures. If the transgender issue is looked at from a scientific point of view, it should all become clear, as well.

If you take a DNA sample from any person, living or deceased, it will clearly reveal whether that person is male or female. According to recent scientific research, the human body has approximately thirty-seven trillion cells (give or take a trillion). The majority of those thirty-seven trillion cells each has a nucleus which carries your genetic code. Within each of those microscopic nuclei there are 23 pairs of chromosomes. These 46 chromosomes are your genetic identity. They are who you are. One pair of these chromosomes are sex chromosomes. If you are a female, you have 2 X sex chromosomes (XX). If you are a male, you have 1 X and 1 Y sex chromosome (XY).

I’m sure that someone might point to random genetic flukes, abnormalities, anomalies, variations or mutations that I don’t have the medical knowledge to even converse about, and claim these as validity for transgender tendencies. To that I would simply say, because sin first entered into the world, death now works in our bodies. But it wasn’t so from the beginning, and since Jesus Christ offered Himself as our sacrifice for sin, it doesn’t have to be that way in any of our lives now.

Others might conclude that people should identify with whichever gender feels right to them. To that I would say, feelings are tricky things. They are manufactured in our hearts that do not always know, believe or live Truth.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

I am not any kind of medical professional, but I have been reminded by a few internet searches on “DNA” that our bodies were created by God Almighty by specific design. He wasn’t confused when He coded our genetic identity within each of us trillions of times over. Furthermore, no amount of alternative clothing choices, restroom preferences, hormone treatments or surgical alterations will change the truth of who you are.

There is no reason for the Church to keep hitting the snooze button on this one. Be who you truly are, and encourage others to do the same.

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…” (Jeremiah 1:5a)

The Moment I First Felt Apostolic

I was walking through the Galleria mall with my husband in Birmingham, Alabama, when I heard them. The words that made me truly feel Apostolic.

My husband had been raised in this Jesus’ Name Truth, but it had only been revealed to me during my junior year of high school. Our personal conversion experiences didn’t come until the early years of our marriage.

I had been in that “in between” stage for a while. The place where every new convert has a rite of passage through. That place where part of your wardrobe looks like you’re going to church, and the other part looks like you’re going to a barn dance. That place where your hair is too long to leave down, but too short to put up. That place where any photos taken of you draw looks of sympathy from saint and sinner alike, and for the same reason. I wanted desperately to look like I belonged in the Church. I wanted to look Apostolic.    

I know many young ladies today who are shedding layer after layer of anything that resembles separation from the world, but when I came into this Holiness way, I longed to look the part. I wasn’t embarrassed to look like the Church. I was embarrassed to look like the world.

So, as my husband and I were walking through the mall, two young men in their early twenties approached us and gave quick nods as they passed by. After they had only gone a few strides, I overheard one say to the other,

     “Now, there goes an Apostolic lady.”

There are moments in our lives when everything comes into focus for a fraction of an instant. This was one of those defining moments for me, the moment I first felt Apostolic.

Of course, someone noticing that I finally looked Apostolic did not make me so. I had been born again according to Acts 2:38 for several years. Knowing that I was visibly identifiable as an Apostolic Pentecostal, however, did wonders for my sense of belonging.

If you have been Apostolic Pentecostal all your life, like my husband, remember there are people who weren’t born into this Truth. People who are learning as they grow. Be kind. Be helpful. Be supportive.

If you weren’t born and raised Apostolic Pentecostal, like me, but you have set out on this biblical journey, remember that being born again according to Acts 2:38 is only the beginning. Be faithful. Be consistent. Be holy.

If you don’t have any real working knowledge of what it means to be Apostolic Pentecostal, like many, but you’re interested in finding answers, remember your first source should be the Bible and secondly, someone who actually is Apostolic Pentecostal. Be inquisitive. Be receptive. Be prayerful.

-Pat Vick

A Lesson on Making Salmon Patties

While opening a can of salmon yesterday, I was reminded of the first time Granny (my husband’s maternal grandmother) ate my salmon patties.

The men in my husband’s family were farmers and because of this, the women were fantastic cooks. Now don’t get me wrong, the women in my family were great cooks, as well, in more of a gourmet meal kind of way. The women in my husband’s family were meat and potatoes, stick to your ribs, country cookin’ kind of gals.

Any time of day or night, you could go into Granny’s house and there would be pots on the stove with yummy smelling food inside. Any hour the men came in from the field or a grandchild wandered through, there would be something to eat. Inevitably, there were stewed potatoes, green beans, meat, a pan of cornbread and dessert.

I admired their cooking ability and aspired to learn their trade, knowing it would impress my husband if I could cook like his mother and grandmother.

Deciding to start with salmon patties (which my husband only tolerates to this day), I gave Granny a call and she walked me through the process on the phone. “A little of this. A pinch of that.”

I remember that salmon falling open in the bowl and seeing that long line of vertebrae and spindly rib bones. Mashing a little chunk of backbone between my fingers, I commented to Granny that the bones were surprisingly soft and did I have to remove them.

Now what she said and what I heard were obviously two different things. I thought she said I could leave them in, so I smashed them all as best I could, mixed up the whole batch of this and that, formed beautiful round patties and fried ’em up just like I thought she would do.

Granny and Papa came over that evening to do a taste test and I was so proud and eager for her approval. There they lay all golden and crispy on the platter (albeit a bit lumpy). I’ll never forget the expression on Granny’s face as she chewed that first bite. Slowly.

“You didn’t take out the bones,” she said in a hesitant voice as she swallowed. Slowly.

“I thought you said I could leave them in,” I replied, realizing that this wasn’t turning out as I had hoped. I wasn’t going to get Granny’s Blue Ribbon Seal of Approval for this batch of salmon patties.

She looked me in the eye and gently said, “I said if you missed a few you could leave them in. I didn’t say you should leave them all in.”
Of course, I was embarrassed. We laughed about it through the years, and I learned to make salmon patties with no bones.

The most important lesson that I learned, however, was in the wisdom she imparted to me that day which I have applied time and again in all areas of my life…Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.