By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Yesterday I sat on a flowered 70's couch draped with sheets hiding see-through stains; the gold and red velvet flowers of someone's luxurious past still working to identify themselves from beneath, peaking out on the misshaped, uncooperative arm rests.
    Miscellaneous items of decor were proudly pointed out and exclaimed over:
    -Lamps with gold bases and soiled shades sitting on marred wooden end tables.
    -Pottery revealing beautifully colored "fronts' hiding broken and cracked "backs."
    -Matching wall hangings of dancing Italian couples discretely hiding holes in the stain colored cigarrette walls.
      Curb-bound items declared positively perfect in their newly sanctioned stations shown with pride and a glow of satisfaction.
    The creativity was positively excellent and delightful and easy to identify and exclaim over.
    The entire visual tour was seasoned with a wet-tongued puppy feverishly extending an invitation to be touched and finding me a willing and humored participant.
    The visit wasn't lengthy on account of needing to get home before dark;
    but the visit happened because this particular woman "happened" to be situated on my walking route. I took time to introduce myself to her, and the rest is now history.
    And I think to myself ...
    -beautiful things happen when we pay attention to those around us.
    -When we focus on our likenesses instead of our differences.
    -When we focus on the internal instead of the external.
    -When we see ourselves in the eyes of a stranger and welcome them in or get invited in.
    In extending ourselves,
    we reach ...
    and experience Jesus.
    Hmmm ...
    The scent of my new friend is still in my jacket, and the scent of "me" got left behind, and I appreciate the wonder and beauty of it all.
     The scent of God is a powerful thing,
    mingled into our midst.
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    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    "Start where you are.

    Use what you have.
    Do what you can."
    -Arthur Ashe
    A quote generally unveils an individual of illustration, inspiration, and perspiration.
    This is most certainly true of Arthur Ashe.
    Arthur Ashe was a professional tennis player who won three Grand Slam titles.
    He was the first African American player selected to the U.S. Davis Cup team and the only African American to win the singles title at Wimbledon and the US Open.
    Harry Hopman (world acclaimed Australian tennis player and coach) ranked him No.1 in 1968.
    The World Tennis Magazine ranked him No.1 in 1975.
    The ATP computer rankings ranked him as No. 2 in 1976.
    Phenominal at his game, Ashe succeeded in his determination to become the "singlehanded" best at the game of tennis.
    In 1980 Arthur experienced a severe trial that would alter both his life and his purpose.
    The HIV virus attached itself to him through a blood transfusion received during a heart bypass surgery.
    He publicly announced his illness in 1992 and began to educate the world about HIV and AIDS. As founder of the Arthur Ashe Fourndation for the defeat of Aids and Institute for Urban Health, he sought to educate and utilize his fame for educational purposes.
    He died on February 6, 1993, at the age of 49 of AIDS related pneumonia.
    Bill Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom postumously on June 20, 1993.
    We never know, until it's all said and done, what our earthly journey might entail and encompass.
    What we can be sure of is that God is preparing us for a task He has preordained for us in advance and none of us, not a single one of us, really knows what that is.
    God has the scoop and the scope on our lives and He alone determines what our lives will bear out for Him.
    "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained what we should walk in them."
    Ephesians 2:10
    This is God's truth to you and me.
    Trust Him when it's hard.
    Trust Him when you can't see.
    Trust Him when the tennis ball no longer bounces;
     and the blood transfusion rewrites the story.
    God is in control ...
    and He knows your name.
    "Start where you are.
    Use what you have.
    Do what you can."
    -Arthur Ashe


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Yesterday, an African-American woman cozied herself up on our gray leather couch and I sat riveted to the story of a beautiful "stranger turned friend" in my living room.
    Pummeled by enough life experiences to institutionalize even the heartiest, I sat in wonderment as I listened to her story.
    So brokenly redeemed.
    So beautifully restored.
    So valuable and precious.
    So truthful, real, and vulnerable.
    Together we "broke bread" in our conversation of Christ and we knew one another as friends.
    And I loved her.
    In getting into the adventurous habit of extending an invitation to the stranger, I'm finding myself host to an entirely new neighborhood and in sync with the movement of the Father:
    -I had no idea how easy it would be to find entrance into the stranger's life.
    -I had no idea that an invitation into our home would be deemed so desirable and grabbed hold of with such immediacy.
    -I had no idea how hungry the hearts in the world were for love and acceptance until mine became hungry and broken like theirs.
    In hindsight I see such value in brokenness:
    I see that in the bruising, busted, battered condition of sin and, in the conditioning and confession of it, we are brought home and made to see with the eyes of the Father.
    We are given ears to hear with the ears of the Father.
    We are given hearts to feel with the heart of the Father.
    We are given souls that beat with the eternal love of the Father and, somehow in the brokenness, we are made different.
    Knowledge and information are translated into compassion and transformation; a process only born and realized through the Father.
    It is surely one of life's greatest miracles ...
    this inside work and journey called transformation.

    I believe it to be stronger than a limb reappearing or a physical healing witnessed.
    Where the stranger meets the stranger,
    and together, we are welcomed home.
    This place of breaking bread,
    together as one,
    made whole ...
    by the Father.

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Two were the pieces that lay on the shelf:
    One was a vessel refined,
    Of beauty and grace and a dignified air,
    The other a much simpler kind.

    Clay, just a lump, but as little to see,
    Nothing to flatter the eye,
    The one would be bought at a price very great,
    And the other be simply passed by.

    Behold, but the potter, the maker of clay,
    He gazed upon what he had made;
    He picked up the one, for the work had been done,
    And he knew she was ready for trade.

    "You are a beauty, and you shall do well,
    Much you have learned and you know,
    But never forget that the day that we met;
    You were "this" clay long ago.

    A look of disdain on the beautiful vase,
    As proudly she gazed at herself,
    A great sense of pride had crept in as she dried,
    And a longing to leave the old shelf.

    "I will be sold for a fine piece of gold,
    And I will be put on display,
    But you shall remain, you are simple and plain,"
    Said the vase to the small lump of clay.

    Oh but the clay that was shapeless, unformed,
    Though little the eye would behold,
    The potter was pleased when he looked down at her,
    For she was so ready to mold.

    "You are potential unseen to the eye,
    A clay with a purpose and plan,
    Few will behold what I see here today,
    And hold in the palm of my hand.

    A clay in the rough and yet suited for use;
    In humbleness ready to mold.
    For beauty is not what you see with the eye,
    But what you are willing to hold."

    Oh how the clay would respond to the pain,
    Forgetting that there was a plan;
    But the potter undaunted, reworked, and remade;
    Forming her out of his hand.

    So much to endure and so little to see,
    Of what would the purpose be for?
    But the potter could see what the vessel would be,
    And he'd heat up the flame even more.

    Then out of the heat came a beautiful shape,
    No longer a wet lump of clay;
    But pressured and fashioned to beautiful form,
    Created for more than display.

    The beautiful vase gazed down at herself,
    And looked at the potter so wise;
    "Because of your hand, I am what I am,
    Thank you for merciful eyes."

    The touch of the potter was gentle and kind,
    His presence and purpose were true:
    "You shall go out as a service to man,
    For I've made provision for you.

    A vessel of mercy, a vessel of grace,
    You were created to be;
    Chosen, designed, and completely refined,
    To hold what is priceless ... to me."



    Hi, my name is Abby, I am thirteen years old and live in Sioux Falls. My little brother and I live with my Mom. My mom was recently laid off of work and wasn't able to find another job. I woke up one night to get a glass of water and found my mom crying. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she didn't know how she was going to get food for me and my little brother. I noticed that my mother had been losing weight, but never realized it was because she was putting us before herself and making sure that we were always fed. The next day when I was in school I could hardly concentrate on my work, because I was thinking about my mother, and little brother and how I could provide food for them. I got on the internet and typed "free food in Sioux Falls" on Google.
    The first website I clicked on was yours. The music had a calming, yet compassionate feel that I don't know how to describe. I saw that the giveaways were at the Nordstrom Johnson building at the Fairgrounds on Fridays. I talked with my mom and her, my brother, and I went to a giveaway. We walked in the door and saw a huge crowd of people. I could tell that my mother was nervous to be there and was hoping that no one that she knew would see her. The lady at the table gave us a number and showed us where the line was. While my mom talked to the lady in front of us, my brother and I watched all the food being unloaded. There was more food than in Walmart! As we started to go through the line my stomach was growling, and I wanted to start eating right there! The people who were giving out the food were really nice and one of them gave me and my brother an extra apple! My mom picked out some vegetables, and some bread, and then was my favorite section of the line. It was the candy and donut section! The lady asked my Mom if we wanted a cake, and she gave us a cake with a rose on it that said Happy Birthday.
    How did she know that it was my mom's birthday and her name was Rose?!
    Once we got out to the car my mom started crying. It wasn't like the time that I saw her in the kitchen, but this time it was almost like they were different kinds of tears. I just wanted to write to you and thank you for giving me, my mom, and brother food when we didn't have any. My mom found a job and we don't have to come to the giveaways anymore, but I will always remember the food that you gave my family.
    Love, Abby
    This letter was read by our beautiful Pastor this morning. I requested permission to share it because it touched me deeply.
    One person at a time ...
    we make a difference when we love.
    *See yesterday's "Words" on the ministry of the food giveaway.


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    The "Faith Temple Food Giveaway" partners up with "Feeding South Dakota" and other national distributors in its weekly effort of providing individuals with an extraordinary fresh supply of food provisions for a week.
    I love participating in it!
    As a volunteer, it's remarkable to watch people work together and shoulder beside one another to ensure the good of others in a difficult season.
    Empowering. Gratifying. Provoking.
    Yesterday, some 500 people (a typical number) worked themselves out into the cold and filed through the line in the warm sanctuary of the Nordstrom Johnson building at the Sioux Falls fairgrounds. My "station and job" was to dole out boxes of Chex cerial, Knorr flavored rice, and a Betty Crocker Fudge brownie mix.
    Individuals of all sorts passed me:
    -Women dressed in bright garb, speaking a foreign language, but wearing the universally understood smile.
    -Aged men cloaked in warm coats wearing a tired twinkle in their eyes.
    -Young moms entertaining active toddlers, holding infants, and tending to provisions of supplies before them.
    -And children, beautiful children, openly expressing their desires to be seen and heard.
    The little girl with the pink framed glasses who assumes a portion of my identity by qualifying our "likeness" of same colored lipstick and glasses wanting to know that "I" see the likeness too ... and I assure her I most certainly do. (smile)
    The little boy who says he likes my colorful earings, and then hides shyly behind his momma, waiting for a reciprocating personal affirmation in response, so easy to give.
    The 6 month old who shares an explosive uncontained smile and keeps his eyes on me while his momma thanks me.
    I love these moments ...
    This sea of colored humanity moving swiftly before me inviting me into their lives, their seasons, and their worlds ... if even for a moment.
    It's provokingly powerful.
    Everybody has a story.
    Everybody has a need.
    Everybody has a hurt and a sorrow they bear.
    And vulnerability, when it is shared, wields the power to breed life, hope, and giving into its existance.
    Each day we are presented with opportunities to love, give, and demonstrate compassion.
    Each day, we choose to give or withhold the love of Jesus to those we come into contact with. One opportunity might be all we are ever afforded.
    It matters the way we love ... 
    one another.

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    "If I could require fieldwork for each of you (and I suppose I can, because, honestly, who is going to stop me?), it would be to find a way to regularly break bread with the most random, regular people you can find. They're everywhere, once you make a habit of searching. They might be the ones avoiding eye contact or sticking to the smallest shreds of small talk. They're the ones you might overlook, for no other reason that the fact that they have learned to stay quiet. They're working at the pizza place. They're staring at their phones in the pick-up line. You have no idea how badly your random, regular self needs them near.
    You don't have to plan annual vacations together or go changing your will. With any luck at all, there will be some oversized personalities in the group and hopefully someone who grates on you just a little. This is precisely what keeps us tender.
    Find the strangest crew you can. 
    Pull them from the far corners of your reach and draw them in. Do you know someone who seems a little needy? Depressed? Hyper? Overly shy? Too opinionated? Extra cranky? Perfect. They're on the list. Have you noticed the mom who seems really nervous? Do you know how to reach the guy who had a recent brush with the law? Or the neighbor who seems overwhelmed by her kids? Or the cashier who always remembers you by name? On the list. I promise. I mean it.
    Our tendency to group ourselves according to demographics has caused us to miss out.
    Offering ourselves as a kind-hearted presence in a world that has forgotten the meaning of community is a courageous act of peace. Set a date. Make some calls. Bring a dish to share, your Bible, your nagging questions, and even your opinions.
    This is the way of growth, and renewal. This is where lasting change begins."
    Excerpt taken from The Ministry of Ordinary Places
    By: Shannan Martin
    This passage speaks to me and is being tangibly implemented in my life.
    New discoveries of the richest kind are being experienced.
    When we open our doors and invite the stranger in ...
    we meet our truest selves.
    -Come inside-
    -Darrelyn L. Tutt



    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    The past two weeks my shoulders have been unusually tight,
    my back has been out of whack,
    and a share of Advil and extra stretching has been mine.
    To no avail.
    Then it donned on me ...
    it's my new pillow.
    The purchase of a new Bamboo memory pillow was made several weeks ago on account of a good sale and a simple need. I found the best comparable I could to my old flat, firm pillow and made the exchange.
    I had no idea the effects would be so dramatically "felt" and didn't anticipate such consequential results.
    Bugger and Blast ...
    So here I am this morning, exchanging my new pillow for my old "retired" pillow with a little conversation ensuing in-between.
    Listen to what I hear:
    What we lay our heads on affects us.
    If we lay our heads against gossip, negativity, lies, emotions, circumstance, test, trials, people, we will most certainly experience issues and effects in consequence:
    -Tightness of spirit.
    -Misalignment of mind and thought.
    -Unsoundness in the soul.
    -Undesirable thinking patterns.
    Unneccesary, obvious, consequential effects will be ours, guaranteed.
    Nothing healthy, positive, beautiful, or notable results from laying our heads against anything or anyone in this world ...
    Nothing and no one but Jesus.
    We must take back what we once retired and remember and rehearse the words of God.
    We must lay our heads and souls upon the Ancient of Days, heal with the balm of grace steady applied to our spirits, and lean with repose upon the One who knows our souls, and grants true rest.
    We must lean upon God's promises anew.
    Pillow talk is tender talk for the soul,
    and when we rest our heads against the One who grants steady and sure repose,
    we experience the rejuvenating effects of mind, soul, and spirit He desires for us.
    We must pay attention to what we lean our heads upon, for the lives we live are its consequence.
    Pleasant pillow talk is sweet ...
     when our minds rest on Jesus.
    "For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, 'In returning and rest ye shall be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength ..."
    Isaiah 30:15


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    This season of life is allowing for the experience of joy:
    -Meditation and reflection are becoming liberating, daily habits.
    -Alone time with the Lord is ushering in a "core" soul development incomparable to anything ever experienced.
    -Opportunities to serve the Lord and love people are expanding.
    -Healing, health, and joy are forcible agents radiating from God the Father and quickening to new possibilities, landscapes, and peoples.
    The love of the Father is "leaking out" and desirous of flow.
    The strength, mercy, and grace of God is flooding my soul and filling with wonder.
    "Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house that Thou hast brought me hitherto?"
    2 Samuel 7:18

    The words of David, my beautiful "writing" companion and brother.
    I do love him and his heart for God,
    and I feel him "beating" in me.
    One time, I saw in a dream or vision of some sort, myself dancing, and leaping, and praising God down the center of a sanctuary,
    filled with radiant joy,
     and experiencing nothing but a childlike "Christmas wonder" in my dance.
    Totally captivated by the love of God,
    oblivious to the thoughts and presence of man, dancing forcibly and heartily with all my might.
    Feeling the experience and "oneness" of unity with Christ.
    It was really very beautiful and it's my perception that this "dance and leap of faith" will be experienced literally one day.
    Hmmm ...
    Maybe you'll take my hand and dance with me.
    Who can know?
    Come beside me, my friend, and dare to be ...
    the "one" God made you.
    See with wonder the beauty of your soul intermingled with His,
    enjoying holy camaraderie,
     indescribable love,
    and experiencing the joy of the Lord.
    To be "His" and to be called by His name;
    there's truly nothing like it ...
    "Thy words were found and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart; for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts."
    Jeremiah 15:16


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Mercy of God Monday
    *Scripture Meditation: Luke 10:25-37
    Monday's mercy emphasis: The "Marginal and Misplaced."
    These are the individuals I will be looking for, loving on, and praying for today.
    Tenderness of God Tuesday
    *Scripture Meditation: Matthew 18:1-5
    Tuesday's tenderness emphasis: "Toddlers - Teens" and everyone in-between.
    These are the individuals I will be looking for, loving on, and praying for today.
    Washing and Cleansing God Wednesday
    *Scripture Meditation: John 13:1-17
    Wednesday's washing and cleansing emphasis: The "Working, Weary, and Wounded ones."
    These are the individuals I will be looking for, loving on, and praying for today.
    Thirst-quenching God Thursday
    *Scripture Meditation: John 4:4-26
    Thursday's thirst quenching emphasis: The "Throw-aways, Cast-aways, and Toss-outs.
    These are the individuals I will be looking for, loving on, and praying for today.
    Faithfulness of God Friday
    *Scripture Meditation: Luke 5:4-11
    Friday's faithfulness emphasis:  The "Fearful, Forgetful and Forsaken ones."
    These are the individuals I will be looking for, loving on, and praying for today.
    Supplying God Saturday
    Scripture Meditation: 2 Kings 4:1-7
    Saturday's supplying emphasis: The "Sourceless and Sorrowing ones."
    These are the individuals I will be looking for, loving on, and praying for today.
    Seeking God Sunday
    Scripture Meditation: Mark 2:14-17
    Sunday's seeking emphasis: The "Seeking and Sinful ones."
    These are the individuals I will be looking for, loving on, and praying for today.
    The "attributes" of God have become the focal point of my prayer life.
     The redemptive activity which follows, leads  into an earnest identification with individuals in each audience.
    This beautiful, creative discovery was revealed to me on my "sacred retreat" with God.
    My love for words, letters, patterns, rhythms, and people are wondrously, methodically, and marvelously woven into each day.
    It's unforgettable in me.
    I rise in the morning with an "attribute and audience" immediately applied and supplied.
    In the short time of its implementation and practice, it has brought me great blessing and a deeper level of awareness about the love and mercy of God.
    Perhaps it will spur and encourage something in you also.
    Redemptive living and redemptive loving;
    this is the new life I'm learning to live,
    and the new love I'm learning to give.
    God's blessing ever attending ...

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