Intro to this blog!

As a transplant resident of Picayune, MS I have observed since we arrived in this area in June, 2006 that there are many people throughout this city and its surrounding communities who are strong in the Lord. As I've asked the Lord to show me something I could do to reach out to others I've had a strong leading to begin this blog. Also in the past few weeks Picayune's local newspaper has included some writings as to why people live in Picayune and what this city means to them. My goal here is to allow as many as would like, to share their love for the city and to blog why they think 'Jesus Is Lord Over Picayune, MS'. Come back often and see what kind of responses we get. This is an exciting adventure for me and I really do hope you'll enjoy participating. I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Please follow this blog and suggest your friends also do so. Thank you and may the Lord give you eyes to see as the Lord sees His desire for this city!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Pieces Ejay Harris

...anything to bring Glory to God and trade my ashes for beauty...I just pray that it may bring hope to someone who may be feeling broken and down trodden...

Love in Christ,
My Pieces .. by Ejay Harris

When I was age 12, I surrendered my life and heart to Jesus completely and innocently. Soon there after, my Mom and Dad passed away within 8 months time of each other. My Mom was the last to leave passing only two days after my 13th Birthday. She threw me a big party and away I went for the weekend with some relatives. Life was getting better after losing my Dad only 8 months prior to that. I remember the day she passed like it was yesterday...I also remember looking into the clouds and saying "Thanks God, some birthday present". After I gave my heart to the Lord, I begged her to start attending Church with me, which she never did, saying "maybe some day". Neither she nor I ever had that day, so in hurt and disbelief I turned my heart away from Jesus saying, "if there is a God then He certainly doesn't care about me".

I was immediately moved to the Picayune area where I lived in an environment of mental, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of not just one relative but several. When the secret was out, I met my social worker Tana Walker and was moved first to a girls shelter, then through several different foster homes, until I finally landed in the loving home of my Mom and Dad, Larry and Dottie Wilson and all of my sisters and brothers. Tana Walker reminded me through the example of her life and love that Jesus is real and that He loves me. Larry and Dottie and the rest of the family showed me, through their acceptance, what living as a person who is unconditionally loved is all about. Mom and Dad took me in when I was 18 years old and they, and the rest of the family, have always loved me and treated me as one of their very own. I thank Jesus every day for each and every one of them.

At the age of 17, I gave my love and soul back to my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. Though I now knew that Jesus loved me even though I was used and abused, I still had not learned to love myself. Those of you who have known me since school days probably remember the change. Between my 11th and 12th grade High School years I went from being a pot smoking, beer drinking, cussing like a sailor heathen, to a Bible thumping, Jesus loving, Jesus t-shirt wearing, Word preaching Child of God. Yet during all those years in school there were not many people who knew of the abuse and hell I was enduring at the same time.

During my walk with Jesus I have made some very bad choices such as abusive relationships, drugs and alcohol, wrong marriages, and divorces. I have been rejected, beat down, ignored, disowned, overlooked, hated, used and abused. I have lost so many loved ones that I started to feel like Job. The only difference is that each time someone I loved died, I cursed God and walked away. Eveytime I lost someone I became angry, discouraged and confused. I was saddened by the losses but angry because I felt that God chose them over me. You see I had prayed and begged for Jesus to just take me home almost every day of my life since I can remember. This life I had been walking, even as a Christian, was brutal and I was tired.

After my last divorce, I decided to take that leap out from under the covering of the protection of God. I am in no way blaming my ex-husband, infact I thank him for helping me get my life back once I gave my life back to Jesus. I soon found myself once again abused, used, on drugs, homeless, helpless, and hopeless. I was tired of the walk around the the Israelites in the I began to pray that Jesus would place in me a new heart. A heart that is not tossed to a fro with the winds of life, but one that is secure and at peace even during the strongest of storms. Jesus has answered that prayer in a way I would never imagine.

Jesus has taken my pieces that were so shattered and broken, He has carefully and purposefully placed each one in its place. Like the loving Creator He is, He has changed my heart, delivered me, restored me, accepted me, acknowledged me, caressed me, lovingly touched me, and set me at His right hand as His beautiful bride and the DAUGHTER OF THE MOST HIGH KING!!

Here is my hearts desire...I have allowed God to make me vulnerable and use my pieces to hopefully spark just a glimmer of hope in someone's life that may be feeling rejected, hurt, confused, and broken. If there is but just a glimmer Jesus will do the rest.

Here is God's promise to me and to anyone who will believe that He sets the captives free, brings sight to the blind, makes the lame walk again and restores back to all everything that the devil has stolen!!

Isaiah 42:3 "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;" (NIV) another translation Isaiah 42:3 "He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged." (NLT)

Matt. 11:28 Then Jesus said, "Come to Me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest."
At the feet of Jesus I have found my healing, deliverance, restoration, peace and rest!

Love in Christ,


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rise and Go Toward the Picayune, MS

Carl, Jennie & Jonathan Heberg
May 2010
The first part of Acts 8:26 reads like this:  Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south..."

This has been resonating in my heart of late.  As you continue on to verses 34-35 we see one particular man, who had been reading the Scriptures and really didn't understand their meaning.  Amazingly, Philip came up just at the time he needed direction and explanation.  When Philip asked him if he knew what the writing meant, his response amazes me, 'how can I know if someone doesn't explain it to me?'  Philip then had an opportunity to lead him through 'what we in our society call' the plan of salvation and upon coming upon a body of water desired to be baptised. 

What a great intro to what God is doing in our lives today.  We have lived the theme "Don't Limit God" throughout this year.  At the beginning of each year my husband is given a specific theme for the year.  This theme runs throughout the messages he preaches, passages he teaches on, and everything that occurs during that year.  Our family adopts this as a constant part of our daily lives.  At the beginning of this year, 2010, we had no idea how real it would resound in our daily living.  As having been a pastoral family in a particular denomination for several years, he felt that God had specifically instructed him to take 'a little time off' in that area.  However, that being said, we ARE NOT AT ALL to step out of the ministry He placed in our lives.  We walk daily in the reality of walking in ministry He places before us.  Having lived in the Henleyfield area for 4 years, going south for us is to Picayune, MS.  We sought the Lord and He truly spoke to us to make Picayune, MS our home on this earth.  I had told Carl that I'd be willing to go wherever he heard from God we were to go and even Jonathan wrote in his birthday card this year that no matter what we do for the Lord, or where the Lord leads us as a family he would be there for him and would encourage him and pray for him.  Jonathan, being a twelve year old and very close to his Dad, really touched his heart.  We are in full support of all that God calls Carl to do and we'll be with him and minister side by side with him, be at home when he has open doors to travel or can travel with him.  The Lord will do the leading and we'll all do the following. 
My husband has been in some sort of jail/prison ministry for over 20 years but within a week from actually relocating to Picayune the Lord opened wide a door for him to weekly lead a Bible study for Federal prisoners, those no one else would go see.  For various reasons these prisoners, even if they really want to attend a Bible study, were not willing to attend services out of their block.  The door has been opened wide for him to go into their block.  It began because 1 (ONE) person was interested in a deeper relationship with the Lord, however since then nearly a dozen men have joined in the study, although as in these type situations, they are not always allowed to continue in this group simply due to the fact that they are relocated in various facilities in the nation. 
There are also other areas of ministry Carl continues to walk in, (ie. Nursing/Assisted Living Homes, etc.)
As we've begun to attend church we have been able to plug into various areas of leadership and God is opening many doors for him in ministry as well as opening things for me to walk in also. 
So my reason for saying that 'Jesus Is Lord Over Picayune, MS' is that simply He, our Lord and Savior, called us here to Picayune, MS, minister to everyone He places in our lives.  We are to work on our own lives, keep ourselves ready always to be Jesus for others, and see just what 'Great and Wonderful things God will do', as Carl always says to end his prayers of benediction and blessings spoken over congregations.
We look for God to begin to open doors for us to minister in local and distant churches, retreat situations, revivals, etc.  When God opens a door we will know it, and will see Him walk us through that door.  We know that as God has promised He will allow us to only walk through those doors He opens and will close all doors that are not His.  What a great encouragement to know our Lord and Savior is so interested in our lives to the extent that He will keep us as we seek His face and direction in all areas of our lives.  This is true for everyone who will do so.
I'm probably the greatest advocate and supporter for the call of God on Carl's life and love his teachings as he has a great gift of teaching and administration on his life.  A variety of teachings have been developed over the past 21 years since God spoke the call to him.  Here is just a small list of topics God has developed in his spirit:
  • New Life in Christ (a concise yet expanded explanation and teaching of walking out our faith in Christ, including discipleship)
  • The Blessing (the importance of the blessing of the parents/especially the father over the children)
  • You Have Not Many Fathers (mentors, fathers in the faith, etc. for men who really are not walking in their proper place because they are not confident in God's leading due to the fact that they don't have a Father view of God as there are no Fathers of the Faith they can pinpoint in their lives)
  • Prayer Walking (taking the city/community for Jesus by walking, riding or coming together with others to pray, encourage and minister with a purpose to see Jesus' love permeate their lives)
  • and a host of other teachings
Contact me for info about his schedule.  Be blessed and always know that God has a plan and a vision for your life.  It is up to you to walk in it.

In His Love and Service,

Eph. 3:20

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Howard & Thelma Summers
Home Sweet Home

We moved to Picayune from New Orleans 35 years ago when we were expecting our sixth child and had outgrown our suburban home. After looking exhaustively for a country home near New Orleans, Slidell, and finally, Picayune, the realtor took us to see “just one more” down a country road, over a “cattle gap,” and up a long driveway. A picturesque panorama unfolded before us with two giant magnolias flanking the drive framing a sprawling, white, older home surrounded by birds and flowers. It would be our home for the next 20 years.

We raised our six children there, until our son who was born there went away to college. We gave them roots grown deep in the wonderful community of Picayune, watched them graduate high school, spread their wings and go on to successful lives of their own lived for God and reflecting their upbringing, reinforced by spiritual development in church attendance and participation. Our oldest became a minister, our second-oldest, a minister’s wife, four are involved in music ministry in their churches, with one a youth pastor and band director at an outreach church for Chinese in Houston, Texas. Besides ministry, they work in education, nursing, industry and finance. My husband, Howard, became a minister himself when God stopped him in his tracks in the middle of a business career. The then-pastor at Solid Rock Church, Rev. Joseph Kiley, guided him in getting ministerial credentials and placed him on staff as Administrator/Associate Pastor. We left Picayune when Howard was called to the staff of a large church in Wichita, Kansas. We later returned to south Mississippi where he was pastor of a church on the Gulf Coast, leaving after Hurricane Katrina.

Is Jesus Lord over Picayune? That was our experience. I know the demographics of the town have changed, but God hasn’t changed. As II Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” If that is the case, then we can say, “Jesus is Lord over Picayune.”

(Check out for more wonderful articles by this author.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

excerpt from Bubble Bath Moments compiled by Manthie Hayes

Let me give a bit of intro to this book for you.
The heart behind Bubble Bath Moments was -- to minister to a woman's heart....
devotions by everyday women.
...their stories - amazing, heart-warming, real stories of their experiences & what God has done in their lives.
Love this part.."I believe that new relationships will be built through this, that broken hearts will be healed, that the discouraged will find new hope, that the weary will find strength to persevere and most of all that you will gain a greater understanding of God's love for you."

Here is just one devotion by Manthie Hayes who compiled this book that includes several wonderful devotions from a variety of ladies from varied ages and backgrounds. A great example of Jesus Is Lord Over Picayune, MS (a publication of RLM Media)
shared with permission from Manthie Hayes:
Jennie Heberg

The Perfect Design

by Manthie Hayes

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14

My best friend started a t-ball league for special needs children. She was inspired to do this after their youngest son was diagnosed with autism. To me, this seems like such a huge responsibility and undertaking, but she just breezes through it. I got an opportunity at a fundraising event to watch her interact with the children. I watched and listened as she calmed one little girl, who no one else could get to listen, simply by the tone of her voice. I was amazed and inspired to be able to witness her with the kids. Maybe it touched me so much because that is not my element and not my gift, yet she doesn't think anything about it. It's just her being her. Seeing God's gifts in action with her increases my faith and wonder of the Lord. When she is working with these children, I can see God knitting her together in her mother's womb, putting a piece of compassion here, additional patience there, and being so specific as to make her voice a tone that would be soothing to the children she ministers to. What an amazing God! It is so exciting to see someone operating in the purposes that they were created to do. How neat it is to see God's hand in every part of their person that enables them to be effective. Somehow when I watch her with these children, God gets bigger to me, and it inspires me to use the gifts and talents He's given to me.

What are some of the things God has created you for? A mother, a teacher, a nurse, a wife, a business woman, a writer? Ask the Lord to show you what the compilation of you was designed to do. If you're still not sure, begin by looking at your passions. What motivates you? What inspires you? What drives you? You are fearfully and wonderfully made! Created in His image to do good works! Operate in your purpose! Fulfill your destiny! Discover the woman God created you to be.

Father, thank You that You have specifically equipped us with every little thing we need to do Your will for our lives on this earth. Begin to light fires in our hearts that prepare and lead us to Your purpose for us. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Additional scriptures: Jeremiah 1:5; Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 139; Ephesians 2:10


This is just one example of the wonderful works God has given to a variety of ladies who reside in the Picayune, MS area and most of which attend Resurrection Life Ministries. Please continue to keep these ladies and their families in your prayers and get on over to Melinda's to get your own copy of their book; a great source of encouragement for yourself or a friend or family member. If you know someone who needs to be encouraged in their faith this would be a very great reminder of God's faithfulness. If you aren't in the area of Picayune, MS you can check out and mail order you copy/ies.
Jennie Heberg
Eph. 3:20

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Branches of Mississippi

*I have no author to credit this writing to, however, the Branches have given permission to share this with you. Amazing read. Enjoy!

I will never forget the smell. It was a duck.
Five days earlier, Hurricane Katrina has rendered the family pet to nothing but a very small, very flat pile of feathers and goo, smashed quite efficiently under the weight of a giant pine tree. We laughed about "the fowl" odor as we applied chainsaws to the endless stacks of debris. It was actually a gumbo of aromas concocted from ingredients that included sweat, chainsaw smoke, pine trees, gasoline fumes, and this duck - whose spirit had departed its carcass 5 days ago. After being stirred by nature's brutal fury, the recipe was heated at 99 degrees in the Mississippi sun, and served to our waiting nostrils.
TV cannot convey the aroma of disaster.
All I could think about was that the stench must be really bad 40 miles away in New Orleans. There are thousands of ingredients and bodies in that hellish cauldron, and they must smell worse than this duck.
And I assure you a decomposing duck is plenty bad.

Some friends and I have just returned from a Labor Day weekend, round-trip from Nashville to Picayune, MS. We went to help our friend Richard Rose's parents dig out from Katrina's damage. The delivery included gasoline, a generator, tarps, prayer, food, manpower and moral support.
Dana and "Twig", both in their 70s, have never spent a night apart. They are the oldest married couple at the Solid Rock Bible Church *(now World Prayer Tabernacle) in Picayune. Before the empty nest, theirs was obviously the "fun" house that raised 4 kids on 12 acres. A yellow ribbon is wrapped around one tree left standing in the driveway. It is for the son who in the Navy in the Persian Gulf.
Dana is a vivacious, Spirit-filled woman, who often mentions the "Lord's healing" of a variety of ailments, and never fails to give Him the glory. "Twig" is in the MS State University hall-of-fame; a former football quarterback who in 1951 got his nickname because of his diminutive stature, and the fact that his last name is actually "Branch".
That's even funnier when I realize I've just spent the last 2 days removing trees from the Branch's house, for a guy named "Twig".
The Branches make their living selling "glitter plaques" to approximately 10,000 Christmas arts-and-crafts aficionado's throughout malls in the south. Although, the plaques are a little tacky, and Dana swears, "she'd never hang one in her house", she and Twig make thousands of them, by hand, throughout the year. Each contains a saying, an unsophisticated reminder of God's love, and the love of family. They are simple slogans applied to plaster castings(updated to wooden so they won't break), with glitter applied to the top. The plaques are stored in hundreds of poultry boxes, which now occupy the dry parts of their home.
The Branches have weathered many storms, but none like Katrina. The 145 mph wind shears brought two 100 year-old trees crashing down on their modest country home on the outskirts of town. Each limb pierced the roof shingles like nails driven in the outstretched palms of God's kindest couple. The night the winds came, they were sheltering others in their home.
One massive branch now pokes through the bedroom ceiling where it missed Dana's head by about 2 feet - and 4 minutes. She shows it me as evidence of the miracles that accompany their lives. In the aftermath she claims, "I had this peace during the hurricane" and "I was not afraid."
Right after we arrived, the police also came by to check on Dana and Twig. Five days earlier the couple's eldest son had called them to check on his parents. The police were just getting there.
The officers carried packages of single-spaced names, handwritten on legal pads, called in by hundreds of desperate relatives. No computer printouts. This was old-fashioned police work, one step at a time, across the fallen trees, electrical wires, scattered limbs, and death. They weren't the kind of police you see in the movies. They were just an average man and woman, probably deputized, wearing plastic vests with "Police" written on them. They assured Dana and Twig they were among the lucky ones.
And before any of us is critical of the authorities for being slow, unresponsive or inept, one must realize the scale of this disaster. Imagine a landmass the size of Great Britain was suddenly gone in 10 hours. And average men and women in plastic vests, whose lives are also damaged, must figure out what to do. It takes a while.
Even if the phones, and water and electricity were working - nobody calls in the say, "I'm dead."
The police have no clue how many are dead, hurt, injured until they can tediously walk through every single-spaced life on those pages.
There were eight of us to remove the debris, but it was still slow going. We used chainsaws to hack away one section at a time, and cut the trees into manageable sizes so that they could be carried away by hand. The neighbor loaned us a small tractor and trailer to pull some of the larger logs and piles of limbs. It was truly a Godsend.
There were other jobs to do: removing sheet metal debris, keeping the generator running, getting well-water flowing, nailing tarps to the roof, prepping meals, finding water and a mosquito-free place to sleep. I had to beg-off on the carpet removal, when an asthmatic attack (my 1st in 25 years) began closing my throat in a choking reaction to cat dander, wet moldy carpets, and mildew on damp boxes inside the 90 degree home.
Safety is a legitimate concern. With all communications gone, you can't exactly call the cops or an ambulance if some decides to pilfer you life. And it is happening, even in this small town. Twig keeps a rifle in the kitchen, and pistol in the candy bowl.
The logs must be cut to a manageable size. The debris must be carried away moment by moment, one limb at a time.
I think some people thing they will "get back to normal" after the hurricane. But there will never be "normal" again. Normal is gone. The task of a "new normal" is daunting, but people like the Branches will rise to the occasion. You can't really focus on the thousands of other details, like your family photos, your comfort, the rest of the world, your cars, or life as you knew it. Today's challenge is just food, water and a dry place to sleep. The "new normal" is years away, and they will need help to get there.
And normalcy comes especially slow if your "glitter plaques" and your livelihood are lying in a wet chicken box.
Still I have been amazed at how our 2 day trip provoked generosity, and people saying things like "hero", "bless you", "here's a free generator", "here's money", etc. There is a greater good that is revealed in people during times like this. This is also not normal.
I'll always remember the clarity, and poignancy of this 70-year-old woman, in the rubble of her life, staring me in the eye telling me that "happiness is a choice", and how she is choosing hope, joy and faith. This was her moment of choice.
And before everyone sinks into spirals of hopelessness and despair, Dana believes we must CHOOSE happiness. Through her tears I saw her choice. It was obviously a statement borne of pure faith and determination. Mountains will be moved by her choice.
So, as Twig and Dana modeled the choice, I also chose Happiness amidst the devastation. I experienced the simple pleasure of a pure sky as we ate dinner under the stars. I realized it had been years since I'd seen the Milky Way. I thought of how even marginal food could taste amazing, when seasoned by a heart of thankfulness over a camp stove. We laughed and told stories by candlelight. I learned about my friends' childhood. I found out what "Blue Johnny" milk is (don't ask). I learned how to file a chainsaw blade. We gave each other high-fives, as an attorney, a record producer, 2 teen aged boys, a pastor, and an accountant managed to fell a large pine tree EXACTLY where we wanted it.
Choosing happiness makes you feel alive again. But it's a hard choice to make in such devastation. The stars can be bright again, even if you are forced to sit under them.
People back in Nashville have asked me what to do? There is really only one thing you can do: Don't try to help everyone - just help "One". Jesus just said to love your neighbor. It is God's job to love the whole world.
Individuals like Dana and Twig are a good investment. I know the tiny deposit we made into their life will grow exponentially. After all, they emulate a man who fed 5,000 with a few loaves and fish. I'm not sure how the miracle works, but you've gotta trust the process.
Now that Dana and Twig have a band-aid on their house, and have been checked on, and are somewhat stabilized...they can help others apply their bandages.
On the way back to Nashville, I saw probably 10 convoys of military vehicles headed south with relief supplies. But the federal government is not going to be able to help individuals very well. They can only help "the many". So, it's up to us to help "the one". If millions of us will do that, the solution is waiting. Give whatever loaves and fish you have to another person, just do that one simple thing.
A miracle is desperately needed.

*I asked Dana tonight if I could put this on the blog and she lovingly said "it will be fine, dear". This is just one of things that make me see that Jesus Is Lord Over Picayune, MS. He brought so many to assist many of our city's residence from all over the globe to help and many of the recipients of their physical help were really a great and Godly influence on those applying the 'band-aids of life'. I praise the Lord for His goodness and love.