Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hallowed Eve! (Halloween in America!)

Halloween 1991

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. …which transcends all understanding…?”
(Philippians 4 verse 6)

            Halloween, October 31st in 1991 was a significant event in the northern part of the United States. In our family we had two significant events to prepare for; children trick or treating and June’s departure to the UK for a family visit on November 1st. Mother nature also had a plan that she had not consulted with me on; the great Halloween three day blizzard in Minnesota which was a piece of what is now known as “The Perfect Storm.”
            Paul told the Philippians “Do not be anxious about anything…” but millions of Americans were anxious that weekend! People died on lost ships on the Grand Banks and Minneapolis had 30 inches of snow. But it was not all bad on our end. Let me explain.
            In the early afternoon we had a temperature drop and a snow squall started. That is not unusual in Minnesota in the fall and we did not expect it to be anything but a fun Halloween! You see, I had already decorated the outside of the house with Christmas lights so we turned them on. The lights drew a large group of Halloween revelers. We met them with a special greeting, “Ho Ho Ho, Happy Halloween.” There was six inches of snow on the ground and we did pray for the safety of the children.
            In the morning there was 15 inches of snow and the visibility was near zero. A trip to the airport seemed impossible. Prayers were needed. We decided to depart after lunch for a 6:30 flight and the 20 minute trip took over two hours and was very dangerous. June’s flight departed 3 hours late and I had a three hour ride home. Happy Halloween.
            I assume you all know about the perfect storm and sinking of the Andrea Gail from Gloucester. Our trials are minor when compared with the loss of a ship and lives. When we heard the story, it put our events into perspective. We were stressed and blessed at the same time.
            Friday is Halloween, enjoy it with your neighborhood goblins!

Thought for Today: This Friday is a special day and we should enjoy it with the revelers. We should also think back to 1991 and be prayerful.

Prayer for the Day: Heavenly Father, this week we pray for children on a day they look forward to each year. We pray that they be safe and have a great evening. We give thanks for their presence in our lives.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Strength to Love!

(Matthew 5:14-16)

“You are the light of the world.
A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand,
and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

From "Strength To Love," Martin Luther King, Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.
Thought for Today: Today let us be thankful for those around us. Be at peace and demonstrate our passion and love to others. We are facing a long winter with short days and long nights. Let us be the light that people are searching for!

Friday, October 24, 2014

God's LOve and Grace! (Including Allah!)

Gods Love and Grace

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God;
He is the faithful God,..
 (Deuteronomy 7 v 9)
In the last decade June and I have been blessed by being close to people of varied faiths. Through our association with each, we have come to a strong belief that we all worship the same God in different ways and we all experience God’s grace.
Recently a Jewish friend that I have known and liked for years shared with me that he does bible studies so he can learn about the Christian perspective. His strong family values, general positive personality and strong ethical standards make him someone I am glad to know.
This last year we have spent several Sundays in Unitarian Meeting Houses when we return to Massachusetts with my family. We are learning more about my mom’s grand parents who were Unitarian ministers. Involvement with my brother’s memorial service at a Unitarian meeting house was a bit different for us.
To avoid making this a 10,000 word essay, let me summarize some of our other relationships: A son in law who is a southern Baptist, a brother in law who is a Catholic priest, a Mormon best friend who lost touch with his faith, a Native American friend who has involved us in some spiritual activities.
In each instance mentioned, June and I have experienced good friendships and observed strong Godly values in our friends. In most instances, we have observed God working in our friends’ lives and seen God’s grace at work in many ways. Most, importantly, we have experienced God’s grace through our friends.
Thought for Today:Today let us recognize those around us that are different and try to befriend someone new. Let us seek out someone that looks at God in a different way. The Lord blesses them also.
Prayer for Today: Dear  Lord, the world is a great and wonderful creation. There are many peoples of all colors and beliefs. There are generation gaps, social differences, and economic separations. Often the differences get in the way of social graces. Today we pray that we can learn from differences to have peace in our own lives and that we can contribute to the understanding of your will and  your Grace.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Spiritual Gifts

Good News 111202 Spiritual Gifts

"Now about spiritual gifts, brothers,
...There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working,
but the same God works all of them in all men."
(1 Corinthians 12:1-6 NIV)
        Often the bible mentions the gifts given to us by the Lord. However, in every case the same spirit is mentioned. Think about what that means to all of us. Think about us as a team, a Christian body, placed on earth to do God's work. Not alone but as a team.
        I have always preferred working with a partner. My belief is that two people working as a team is four times better than the best of the two working alone. If that is true, then how powerful is a small congregation working together doing God's work?
       In the 2004 super bowl the New England Patriots came out to play without the TV Network’s usual fanfare of individual introductions. They came and won as a team. Last week in the paper there was a page dedicated to the state girls’ soccer championship. It listed the rosters of the two finalists as well as the state all star team. There were no all stars listed on the rosters of the two teams playing in the finals. The championship teams won as a team without any all stars!
        So we all "have different kinds of gifts but the same spirit". We can all participate and use these gifts to do God's work but we do not have the gifts to do it all alone. We need each other; we need our Christian family to get the job done.
Thought for Today: Let us focus on our talents, God's gifts to us. Let us recognize our gifts and use them to do God's work.
Prayer: Heavenly Father we ask, "what is it all about?” We pray to you for the ability to better understand it all. We pray for the ability to recognize our gifts and the knowledge on how to utilize them to help.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Raising Expectations

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ,
set your hearts on things above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above,
not on earthly things.”
(Colossians3, 1&2; NIV) 

            We have talked a bit about how the head and heart lead our bodies. How often our thoughts may be negative and they can lead us into depression. Let’s face it, when we read or listen to the news, they talk mostly about negative events. However, most of what goes on in the world is positive. We need to focus on that!
            Remember the words to the old song. “When you’re down and out, lift up your head and shout, It’s going to be a great day.” We are often confronted with the local curmudgeon, the person who finds fault with everything. Let’s face it, they are right, it is always too hot or too cold! Too rainy or their lawn needs watering! Things are too expensive! Coffee is too weak or strong! Pray for them, they need us.
            We will have negative influences in our lives. As we move through our daily lives, we are blessed with the tools to deal with the negative side.  I read this on a sign in front of a local church recently, “The Lord does not guarantee us smooth passage, just a safe landing.” It is up to use our Christian tools to stay positive and be happy. 

Thought for Today: Today we will have to deal with negative issues. Let us turn them into a positive experience by dealing with them promptly. When we encounter some that seem to linger and not go away, let us remember to turn those over to God through prayer.

Prayer for Today: Today is the day you have made for us. Unfortunately the roads have bumps and there are unknown troubles out there awaiting us. Today we pray that your presence will guide us through the tough moments and that we may accomplish our goals in Your name.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Don't Fake It!

Good News100605- Don't Fake IT

Woe to you …you hypocrites!
 … on the outside you appear to people as righteous
 but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
(Matthew 23v27)

            One of my favorite themes is been being true to our faith by being open and honest. It is something that we all desire, but it also comes with some social consequences. There are way too many people in the world that have a different reality than Christians.
            In America and throughout most of the world, life is competitive. It is as if the resources are limited. As Christians, we are taught that the world has an abundance supplied by God and I believe that is true. But there is a major distribution problem in the world.
            Dealing with the wealth of Western civilization and how it relates to Christianity is scary. Recently when talking about a stewardship campaign at our church it was mentioned that if all Christians would tithe we would not need the government to run social programs. That would be “way cool”.
            Each of us needs to be as good as we can be to contribute to the positive factor in society.  We need to take the social risks to reach our real rewards.
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.
(Psalm 24v4,5)

Thought for Today: We will have to make a choice this week; to be straight and true or hold back a bit. We need to make the tough choices that improve the world around us. We need to keep a pure heart.

Prayer for Today: Dear heavenly Father, we give thanks for the many blessings and opportunities you bring to us. This week we pray for the chance to demonstrate our faith to others; to help. We pray to be able to do your will here on earth.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Now, brothers and sisters,
I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you,
which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
By this gospel you are saved,
if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.”
(1 Corinthians 15 vs. 1&2) 

            As a sales and marketing person over thirty years I saw markets change in many ways. In the old days we drove a lot of miles selling trinkets and gadgets that met customer needs. We often brought new technology and served as an educational force and consultant.

            Through technology the products evolved as did the communication. The advent of email and the internet minimized personal visits. In today’s world, the customer has reviewed my products and others on line and our challenge is to assist in his selection process. Rather than driving around all day, I sit on line with the customer reviewing our products on line and applying them. Our style is totally different but our message is the same. We can meet your needs.

            We have a project in our church trying to adjust to 2000 years of a changing market. We need to TWEET, POST, E-mail and use the latest technology to give out a 2000 year old message to an ever changing population. Our services are overhauled so we refer to them as traditional, combined and contemporary. We are challenged.

            However, even though our communication has changed, the message has not and cannot. Over these new mediums and through the different styles we must hold firmly to the word. The new market will find the help they need in a very old message. 

Thought for Today: For today let’s marvel at the message; never changing, always true. The lord is with us. 

Prayer for Today: Heavenly father today we are in a hurry. Our calendars are full and technology gives us very little time to meditate. Today we pray for your guidance through it all. We pray for grace and solitude through Jesus. Amen

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fill Up with the Spirit

“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh
but are in the realm of the Spirit,
if indeed the Spirit if God lives in you.
(Romans 8 verse 9) 

            We certainly do not feel filled with the spirit every day. (or at least I don’t!) Quite often when I sit down to write these messages there seems to be a writer’s block. To me that says that my spirit may need more coffee or better perhaps, a prayer. Often it is both.
            With our busy schedules today it is easy to jump out of bed and get into our daily activities without thinking about our spirit. I guess that is normal but it may not lead to a peaceful lifestyle. It is the way we achieve our material objectives.
            We are however given grace through our faith and we cannot escape it. The message is clear that when we feel empty or down and out, the solution is through the Spirit that lives in us. All we need to do is slow down and let it take over. 

Thought for Today: Today when we feel stressed and overloaded let’s remember Paul’s words above. Let’s take a break! 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and father, we often cannot feel the spirit that we know is within us. Today we pray that when we are too busy and too stressed out that we will remember You are the answer.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Peace be with You!

“Now we ask you, brothers,
to respect those who work hard among you,
who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.
 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
Live in peace with each other. patient with everyone.
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong,
but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
(1 Thessalonians 5; 12-18)
        Each week our pastor starts out with similar words. Something like, "We gather together to celebrate what we know is true; Our God is a loving and caring God who loves all humanity."  Hold that thought and realize that we were made in his image.
          Please note that term “all humanity”. Without checking all sources, all religions preach peace in their creeds and in Christianity it is said that love your neighbor is the most important commandment.
        Then why are we sometimes resentful, angry, depressed and concerned?  Why is there segregation and unwelcome people in our society?  Certainly, none of us are perfect and we have these emotions and thoughts. Truly, if we could "...Live in peace with each other. patient with everyone…" we would be meeting God's expectations and free ourselves of many of the anxieties of life. Paul in his letter tells us how, "...Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances...”
Thought for Today:  Today things will not always go in our favor. We will have opportunities to be resentful or angry. We must choose to be thankful, caring and joyful. In the words of Nike, "Just do it"!

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, our world seems to have slipped into a hate driven society. Around the world there are wars, terrorism and discrimination based on too many issues. We are confused by it all. Today we pray for some understanding, for knowledge of your role in this and insight on how we should react.
We pray that each of us may find a way to contribute to a joyful and peaceful society.