Saturday, 24 February 2018

Our Kintsugi Souls

Broken Yet Together



"I'm not a Christian because I'm strong and have it all together. I'm a Christian because I'm weak and admit I need a Savior."
 -- Lecrae [1]

One night during a dark time in my life I lay on my floor praying and sobbing.  It seemed like my students at the time were going through difficult situations, while all of my close friends were struggling in their walk with the Lord.  I had an intense desire to help each of them, but what could I possibly do?  I knew that I wasn't capable of fixing a person's heart or saving their soul.  But I could hear God saying, "Anna, these people are my responsibility, not yours.  Just do what I have asked you to do."

I poured my heart out to the wise woman I call my mother, and she told me, "Parents often feel as though they are not doing good enough, and that they are not providing their child with everything she needs.  And they aren't!  But we must remember that a person's life is like a mosaic.  A mosaic has many small tiles and pieces of glass which make up a bigger picture.  Similarly, a person's life is made up of many people, and even if they are small or in our lives for only a short time, they play a role.  All you are asked to do, Anna, is to do what you are capable of, and God will provide whatever and whoever else your child, student or friend needs."

My Ceramic Heart


I had a vision once of my heart, which looked like it was made of ceramic   It was broken and had wide open cracks in it.  Then I saw the Holy Spirit like a brilliant orb of light descend and enter inside of it, and through the broken gashes the light shone out into the surrounding darkness.  I heard God say, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 

Paul quotes that passage in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, going on to say,  "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 

Our aching hearts can only be made whole in Christ, and God will use our brokenness and shortcomings to glorify Himself.  I have struggled with hating myself when I sin and being unable to forgive myself.  I used to think on some level that God loves me more when I'm doing good and performing the righteous deed.  Satan whispers lies and accusations, trying to distract me;
"You're too weak at heart; you're too far from God to be used by Him successfully."
"You're a failure as a pastor's wife."
"The only people who will ever love you are people who are needy for you...how could anyone love you if you're the needy one?"

However, the truth is very different.  I'm more sinful than I realize, yet I'm forgiven and more loved than I can ever fully know.  Ephesians 2:8-10 declares,  "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

Being Made Whole


Yes, we are messy, sinful, broken people, but God makes us whole and gives us the power to follow and obey Him.  There was a song by Casting Crowns called, "Broken Together."  The song is about a married couple going through a difficult time, and the lyrics have struck a chord with many people.  The chorus goes,
"Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I'll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we'll last forever is broken together" [2]

Much of Casting Crowns music has deeply blessed me, but I found this particular song troubling.  This feeling of brokenness resonates with the vast majority of people, but God ultimately has another plan in mind for His children.  James 1:2-4 says, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

There's a beautiful Japanese art form called kintsugi.  It involves taking broken pottery and piecing it back together with lacquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum powder.  Not only does this make the shattered pot whole and functional again, but it makes it more beautiful and valuable   This is exactly what God does with us after we've been beaten and battered by the world, and even after we've sinned.  Our shortcomings give God a chance to do what we can't, which will show the world around us just how good and powerful He is. This is why we don't need to get bogged down in shame or feel we're not good enough to bring glory to God.  

We are vessels carrying The Fire of the Holy Spirit.  None of us is perfect vessels, but it's The Fire itself we're carrying which is important.  So I encourage you, brothers and sisters, to be a conduit of the Holy Spirit's light.  You can't do this in your own power, but Christ will be faithful to work through you as you worship and seek after Him.






Author Bio


Anna Sojourning is a child of God and is the wife of a Christian pastor of the Asian persuasion. She enjoys travelling, going on dates with her husband, and drinking innumerable cups of tea while she writes. She has a passion for deepening her relationship with God, and she desires to show others what He has taught her through scripture and through life experiences.

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Sources: 
[1] LeCrae. AZQuotes.com, Wind and Fly LTD, 2018. http://www.azquotes.com/quote/865872, accessed February 17, 2018.
[2]  Casting Crowns, "Broken Together." Thrive. CD. Beach Street/Reunion. 2014.



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Thursday, 15 February 2018

We MUST Go to Others!

A Sermon on Mark 1:29-39



May the gifts of the love, the mercy and peace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ so accompany you in your life that you are aware of those who lack it, and may that lack inspire you to reach out to them with your greatest treasure!

Must?

As I tried to come up with a sermon title this week, knowing I was preaching on the gospel I tried to come up with something special, something that would inspire and catch on, a phrase you can’t get out of your mind, encouraging you to walk with Jesus, just as the apostles did,

I couldn’t come up with something, so I figured a great title is found in Jesus’s words,

“We must go on to other towns” or in these days, we can make it simple, “we must go to others.”

The problem using that as the title is that it sounds different than it really means.  It sounds like work and obligation that is demanded of us by God.  To use Lutheran-speak, it sounds like the law, and therefore it points out where we fall short, where we fail God and deserve to be punished.

But that isn’t at all what Jesus is telling the apostles when he says “We must go to others, and I will preach to them too, for that is why we came.”

We need to hear Jesus, and more than that, we need to understand Him.  This isn’t about us being good children of God or good members of the church.

It’s concerning understanding for ourselves those things Paul explained to the people in Athens,  Repeat along with me.

'In him, we live and move and have our being,'' Acts 17:28 


What did “they” do?

Let’s go back a few verses, as Jesus and the apostles go to Simon Peter’s house.  There, Jesus finds Peter’s mum sick, so sick that with a very important guest at her house, she is lying down, burning up with a fever.  I mean, think about it, how sick would our ladies here be, if they didn’t get up and be hospitable?

So Jesus heals her, helps her up, and the word spreads.

The next thing you realize, we have a people at the door and it seems busier that St Jude’s Hospital ER during flu period.  People with every type of illness and disease, people even possessed by demons, every one being brought to Jesus.

Mark’s gospel tells you that the entire town turned out to watch these miracles….

But how did they know all this was happening?

Someone, more excited than someone winning the Superbowl had to have told them.

That’s what happens when we begin to realize the depth of God’s grace, the depth of His mercy.  When we find out in Him we can live, really live.  When we see our souls begin to be healed, we see others who need it, and then rejoicing even more that there is no limit.  When the demons that torment us lose their grip. And we are freed from them and the guilt and shame that they try to plague us with disappears.

As we get used to that freedom, we never want to leave His side… so how will people know God’s love?  How will they have the blessing of God’s love, the blessing of His mercy and forgiveness revealed to them?

Remember those words


In him, we live and move and have our being!


Jesus doesn’t say, “I must” or “you must”

For that is why he came, to give us the knowledge that in Him is everything we are, our life, our breath, what we do, everything we are.

It is exactly what the cross is centered on, and all sorts of those church words, redemption, justification, reconciliation, renewal, revitalization, the many words picture that in Christ we have died to sin and all that isn’t of God, and our lives, our very being is found in Him.  It is why he was born of a virgin, suffered and died, rose from the ascended and sent the Holy Spirit.

So that He could transform us so that He could give us life.

You see that as He doesn’t just say, “I must go to others,”  and He doesn’t say “you must go to others.”  What does He say, “we must go to others”

We must, Jesus and all those who are with Him must go to others.  All those whom He has joined to Himself.   We Must Go, We being Jesus and you all and me.

And then He is the one who reveals Himself to them, as He draws them here. And we don’t have to go all that far.


Why He Came


Perhaps many of us are called to travel to another country, to go along with Bernie to Sudan, or with Christina to Turkey, however, if Jesus says “we must go to others” it may be to our neighbor, who might be from Sudan, or Guyana or Indonesia or France, or Germany or Switzerland or possibly somewhere really strange - like Boston or Wisconsin.

All of us live in a temporary age when individuals from every country on earth save 1 or 2 have arrived at our neighbourhoods!  We must go, with Jesus, to them, so that He can demonstrate to them His love.  They even come to us occasionally, as they did yesterday.  As I pulled up, 16 people were in the parking lot, playing a game called Pokemon go, a few hours later, I went to the bathroom and there were another dozen people.  Both times, as we waited for the game to set, they asked me how I heard about the game being live on our campus.  I said… uhm, I am the pastor here… and they asked questions about the church and about the school. People as young as a five-year-old, as old as all of us. came here to play a game on their phones,

At least that is why they think they came…

We, you, me and Jesus need to go to them and let Jesus reveal Himself, and the news of His love.

We, you and me and Jesus, need to go to others and let them know about the love and mercy and healing of their hearts and souls.  Whether that means going across the parking lot, or across the street, state, country or world.  We, Jesus, you and I must go..

Because this is why He came…

And as He goes to others, we simply go with Him, for in Him we live and move and have our being!

AMEN!




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Can the Church Leadership Quit Lusting for Power and Control?

Power and Control


Christian responsibility in work cannot be limited to just putting in the hours. It means doing the task with technical and professional competence… and, above all, with love of God.

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. -1 Peter 5:1-4 (KJV)

A society that tends to turn people into puppets of production and consumption always opts for results. It needs control; it cannot give rise to novelty without seriously compromising its purposes and without increasing the degree of already existing conflict. It prefers that the other be completely predictable in order to acquire the maximum profit with a minimum of expenditure.

I often receive advertisements for books and seminars about Christian leadership.  Books that talk about the management of the church, the proper way to administrate things.  Some bring the best and brightest of secular management and leadership theorists into play.  This is nothing new, as names like Peter Drucker, John Maxwell and Steven Covey have long tried to bridge the gap between secular leaders and leaders in the church. Most of the church consultants I know use those kinds of models, those kinds of systems.

By leaders, I mean anyone who leaders, whether it be the Sunday School leader, the deacons, elders, or altar guild, or the pastors and denominational leaders that go by terms like Bishop, President or even Pope. My favourite title for a leader and I have heard every Pope in my life refer to it, is their title, "servant of the servants of God."  Not the King, or the Lord, or high exalted leader but the servant of those who serves.

Back to leadership itself.  I think the problem we often see when secular leadership style and theory come into play in the church is the idea of profit.  Not necessarily monetary, but the idea of profit as in return on investment (ROI).  I've seen this as churches prepare budgets, as denominations determine where to plant new churches, and whether to close other, smaller churches.  The latter because they use up too many resources (money, land, building space)

St Josemaria calls us o think differently, to work with the love of God.  Not just putting in the hours, but truly investing our talent, our knowledge, our competencies, all bathed in the love of God.

Francis likewise warns of turning the church into a puppet kingdom, where we strive for results and growth, forgetting the person's needs, and basing outreach on maximum profit for minimum expenditure.  I've seen this in meetings where rather than come alongside smaller churches in urban areas, advisors tell them to become legacy churches, closing and selling their properties to help growing churches thrive.  We want predictable and sure methods for growth or revitalization, something with a quick turnaround, rather than something that might consume us.

We come full circle back to Peter's epistle then, where he tells us not to do out work for pay (whatever the "payoff is - it might not be money)  Rather we should do our job from a desire to serve, even as our Lord served.  To work, not demanding this and that of those we are entrusted to, but by being examples to those we care for, investing in them, not expecting them to invest in us first.  We need to love them, not manage them,  Just as Christ loves and guides us, with gentleness and care.

This is contrary to modern business practices, yet it is the nature of ministry, of serving others, it is the nature of imitating Christ Jesus, who expended it all to save a bunch of corrupt and often shameless sinners like you and me.

May we lead our people into the peace and wonder that is found as Christ is revealed, as He ministers to, cleanses and makes us Holy. May we all find that healing available only in Jesus, as we help others heal.

AMEN!



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Credit: Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 2578-2581). Scepter But Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Pope Francis. A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings. Ed. Alberto Rossa. New York; Mahwah, NJ; Toronto, ON: Paulist Press; Novalis, 2013. Print.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Slogans, Sermons, and The Celebration

Celebrations


Christian obligation in work should not be restricted to just spending the hours. This implies doing a job with technical and professional efficiency and, most of all, with love of God.

Yesterday, my birthday presents were delivered a bit early.  Actually, they came just in time for the Superbowl ( my second favourite part of tomorrow!)

The present included two items, a hat and a sign for my office.

The first is a new cap, with what I thought was my favourite slogan for sports and ministry.  "Do Your Job" which is actually a vital consideration in football, at the military (as the centurion noted) or in our relationship with God and the ministry which is created by God in our lives.

We merely should walk with Him and do as He leads.  Which takes faith, the dependence on God that provides the will and ability (Ephesians 2:13 (KJV)) to do what pleases Him!   Do Your Job, do it trusting in God.  Do Your Job, loving God

Another slogan now hands on my office door, a couple feet from me.  No Days Off!  Perhaps surprisingly, this slogan had not been revealed through the entire march to last year's Superbowl victory, but afterwards, during the victory parade.  What was the secret to the victory?  The coaches and players lived football, they lived the game, in season and out of season.  They lived based on the standard of their slogans... and did their job, whatever it required.

Can you imagine if the church did this?  If it made the sacrifices to walk with God each day?  If it dwelt in His presence, relied on His mercy, recognized His love and peace satisfies our lives?  If we ceased treated being Christian was a part-time gig, and wished to live in His love, not just part-time (as if to hit the minimum requirements to gain heaven) nor even full-time ( meeting what we think is our duty) but every day treasured our time with Him, and rejoiced in the love that is our, in and through Jesus?  That is really what our "job" is, everything else, worship, loving for others, caring for others, these things are just the impact of walking with Him.

Plus there is the motto I haven't got anything on, one which I could not find out relevant within the Kingdon of God.  The latest slogan, 'Not Done Yet"

However, I knew that where that slogan is actually in the church.  It happens the moment sermon ends, and for a number of us, this is actually the very high point of our church time together.

This is not even close.


For the sermon is merely enlightening God's plan in our lives.   Still, we're not near to being done at that point.  The finest time in the church comes when we approach the rail with each other, as we bow as a group, acknowledging the presence and invitation of God, and people who can kneel, and as a community of His people, share in the Eucharist as one.

As I preach, my hunger for the sacrament grows, and I pray it grows in my people.  To be accepted at the dining room table, completely righteous in the eyes of God, entirely washed by Him and made able to celebrate.  Even as we realize we are not done yet, as we take a knee, the Lord's Supper is the start of the celebration of Jesus finishing His work in us,  For He has done all it takes to make us His own.  And the Eucharist is His thanks to the Father, and our thanks to Him, for it is finished.

He Has done and is doing, His job.
He takes no days off...
And Then He is not actually done yet and maybe, while he brings in the very last prodigal home.

For the time being, allow us to walk with, work with and celebrate the love of God.  AMEN!



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Credit:  Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 2578-2581). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Prayer Requests

Today's Prayer Requests



AJ | Please intercede for me, I'm going through satanic manipulation due to lack of self control especially in the area of immorality. I've been praying constantly against it, but the more I pray, the more I engage into it. Please intercede for me, I'm getting fade up. Thanks

G.James Babu | Greetings. Pray for my salvation. I want to get heaven through lord Jesus.also pray for my family

Moshi Chang | Pls Pray to God w/ me for him to grant me complete healing & recovery this month Feb 2018 from this sickness/disease of auto immune that I suffer daily. To give me back my normal life & strengthen my body & soul.

VERA BANKSTON-JONES |  FATHER GOD, Hold and guide my steps!.......SELAH

vijay aggarwal | Plz pray for money in abundance for a comfortable life

Thu Thuy | please pray urgent to bind spirits od Phuong , Trong , Dung  and Van Anh , destroy  satan steal , kill and destroy and all attacks to me . n the name of Jesus   please destroy the witchcraft  Phuong , Dung , Van Anh used to  gain the money for them .  Plese pray to bless  everyone in Viet Phap hospital . God bless you

James O Ayodele | (1)God should release every of my hanging blessings to me (My Green card)before this month end(2)God should give me victory over debts and God should teach me his own way to serve him till eternity and help me to make heaven ijn amen

jennifer carrion | my husband has been gone for a 1 week and ill want is him to come home we have been married for 1 year i dont want our marriage to end we married in the lords house



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High Cost of Love

Cost of Love


The joyful love that satisfies the soul with happiness will depend on suffering. There is absolutely no love with no renunciation.



44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.   -Luke 7:44-50 (KJV)

There was a song when I was growing up called "Love Stinks" and though it was talking more about infatuation, there is some truth to the idea.

For love is a commitment, knowing that commitment usually entails us to go without, to make sacrifices, to lay all we are on the line, in order to genuinely take care of the one we love.

Parents know this very well, as they will go without to provide for their children,  From little things like watching television shows their kids like, and not watching the ones they want to because they are inappropriate for their child's ears and eyes.   Teachers who give up time to plan, or to think of how to reach "that" student understand this as well. 

It is a puzzle, a contradiction, that waiting or refusing your happiness in the interests of the one you love can bring about much more joy, greater happiness.

The woman in the gospel reading found this out. She did something very costly, anointing Jesus feet with oils that cost her much, oils she most likely bought to treat herself well, to help her ignore the discomfort of life, after having suffered the embarrassment of submitting to others desires.

However, in the wonder of God's mercy, she sacrificed the benefit of her labours to take care of Jesus with love, to absolutely adore the Man who didn't push her away.  Perhaps she was one of several people invited to Zaccheus' house, one of many sinners Jesus was accused of drinking and eating with by the Pharisees. She tried to pay back that love, with the most expensive thing she knew of, by using an action of love that demonstrated how much she reverend the man that didn't want sex from her, and still spoke with her and interacted with her.

The suffering that loves costs is high, and often it stinks.  However when it comes to loving God, what it really demands, though pleasurable, or rewarding, is really what stops us from finding joy.  We go without having pleasure, without having gain, to get ourselves free.

Just at the prostitute seen herself free of sin, and humiliation, and sense of guilt.   Instead, she knew love, and that she was welcomed in the presence of God. She gave up what was costly and pleasurable and found a joy so much greater, and happiness that comes from being accepted and loved.

knowing this, realizing it in our heart, gives us the motivation, the ability to desire to give up what we need to give up.  Not because we have to, but for the joy set before us, the same joy that drove Jesus to endure the cross, for us.

Lord, help us to embrace you, receiving your love.  And as our love and adoration "costs" us, help us to realize the joy that comes from knowing that love.  AMEN!




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Credit: Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 2743-2745). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Our Life in the Christ

Revealed in our Church’s liturgy, music, artwork...



10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11 When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13 And that their children, which have not known anything, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. -Deuteronomy 31:10-13

Christ has died. 
Christ has risen
Christ will come again
We were dead in our sins
Now we're buried with Him
We have risen in Christ
We are given new life
And Christ will bring us home
Making us his own
Christ has died
Christ has risen
Christ will come again!

The Christian images, as we find them in the catacombs, simply take up and develop the canon of images already established by the synagogue, while giving it a new modality of presence. The individual events are now ordered toward the Christian sacraments and to Christ himself. Noah’s ark and the crossing of the Red Sea now point to Baptism. The sacrifice of Isaac and the meal of the three angels with Abraham speak of Christ’s Sacrifice and the Eucharist. Shining through the rescue of the three young men from the fiery furnace and of Daniel from the lions’ den we see Christ’s Resurrection and our own. Still more than in the synagogue, the point of the images is not to tell a story about something in the past, but to incorporate the events of history into the sacrament. In past history, Christ with his sacraments is on his way through the ages. We are taken into the events. The events themselves transcend the passing of time and become present in our midst through the sacramental action of the Church.

The centering of all history in Christ is both the liturgical transmission of that history and the expression of a new experience of time, in which past, present, and future make contact because they have been inserted into the presence of the risen Lord. As we have seen already and now find confirmed anew, liturgical presence contains eschatological hope within it. All sacred images are, without exception, in certain sense images of the Resurrection, history read in the light of the Resurrection, and for that very reason, they are images of hope, giving us the assurance of the world to come, of the final coming of Christ.

324 Looking at his mercy, faith comforts and consoles us. Our opponents teach wrongly when they praise merits in such a way as to add nothing about this faith that takes hold of mercy

The readings this morning were just crammed full of thoughts that I needed to hear.  I could have doubled the amount I quoted, and foregone writing.  Except that I need to, for as I've said before, my devotions have to be thought through, meditated upon, and brought together in my writing.  It used to be called spiritual journaling, and someone once suggested I put it out there to be shared.

Today, it seemed like a lot of my readings were set up to talk about living within the story.  About faith is a life of dependence on God, living in harmony with Him, rather than a statement of what theological statements we hold to be true.

We see that in the words from the Lutheran confessions, as we take hold of mercy. That is faith, this incredible love of God that is revealed to us, that floods our lives so that we can hold onto it.  For faith is an engagement with God with not our mind at first, but our heart and soul.

Pope Benedict in the longest quote talks about this in the imagery in the early church and the synagogue, when visuals made our sacramental life part of the narrative poured out in visual representation.  And all of that representation is reflected in the resurrection, the very summit of our being made one with Christ.  For we are united to Him in His death, in order that we can rise to our new life with Him.

That is the reason for the reading of the entire community of Israel, over 2 million people, plus the foreigners that make their home among them.  (Note that part about the aliens!) They were to know the covenant so that they could be in awe of God's love and provision for them!  Even more than that, this awe was lived out before Him. In other words, not just in His are of vision, but right before Him, in His presence.

As I was reading all of this, I thought of my friend's version of the liturgical hymn, the Memorial Acclamation.  Chris is not only an incredible musician and professor of worship but has a great understanding of sacramental covenant theology.   So when he recomposed this ancient part of Christian worship, he not only told Christ's story, but he made clear what was inferred.  That we share in that death, and in that resurrection, and in Christ's coming again.  What has become veiled and vaguely visible, Chris revealed in a glorious way. ( You can hear a rock version of it at the link!)

Every aspect of our ministry, from the music to the artwork and images, to the words we speak and lessons and liturgy are geared to help us make this transition.  We are not just people reading about history, we aren't just witnesses to the story, we are the characters in the story, living and interacting in great awe with God.  Just as people have done since Adam and Eve walked through the garden.  Our people may not realize this, so we need, like Israel, to teach them more and more.  They need to know it, they need to experience His love. as do we, as do our communities.

May the Lord make this happen, opening our eyes more and more to His love!

AMEN!



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SOURCE
Ratzinger, Joseph. The Spirit of the Liturgy. Trans. John Saward. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000. Print.

Tappert, Theodore G., ed. The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: M├╝hlenberg Press, 1959. Print.

The Memorial Acclimation by Rev. Dr. Christopher Gillette

Sunday, 4 February 2018

The Struggle….of Brokenness

The Interior Struggle

The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome, Italy

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

735- The interior struggle doesn’t take us away from our temporal business-it makes us finish it off better!
Brokenness; It is real, I encounter it each day in my own life, and I try to shepherd others through it daily as well.

The Pantheon, a place once dedicated to worship of idols but reborn to host the worship of God. May our lives tell a similar story as we realize what God does to us in baptism!

Brokenness


It sucks.  And we aren’t the first generation to deal with it.  It goes all the way back to two people who weren’t broken but became broken.

The breaks may be physical, or social, psychological.  They may seem to others to be tiny fractures, for others life is simply shattered.  Some of our breaks we hide… not easily, and some we try to hide from, distracting ourselves, trying to find ways to numb the pain.

Some of our brokenness may be dealt with, for that is what doctor’s, counsellors, and mediators are there to do.  Other types of brokenness have to be endured, and that too sucks.  To deal with something broken for 40 or 50 or 70 years.  Never knowing how bad the brokenness and pain will be the next day.  We never know when we will be completely overcome by it.

As a pastor, I know this all too well, in too many areas I’ve tried to endure it.  Physical, emotional, social, and outcast. Been there, done that. Have the scars and the memories that still hurt.

I wish I could heal it all, I know sometimes it happens, as God’s mercy overwhelms us and the person’s shattered life is made whole.  I don’t understand why this one, and not that.  I only know the healing we all have access to, the brokenness that for everyone there is healing, that there is being made whole, as we are made holy.

Spiritual healing

The healing that comes from realizing God’s love.  The healing that comes from the cleansing and restoration that forgiveness is.  Our heart and soul freed of the burdens of guilt and shame.  The healing that comes from encountering the love of Christ, pure, faithful, incredible, without measure.

A love so graphically pictured in the cross, and in our baptism.  A love that invites us to share in Christ’s brokenness in communion, that our brokenness we would realize He shares in as well.  And in our promised resurrection united with Him, the brokenness fades into the past. Freed of it, spiritually now, but when Christ returns… completely as we dwell with him in Heaven forever.

This is our God, who loves us, who cares… who heals.

Find your rest in Him, and your endurance is guaranteed. This is what Paul tells us about, the struggle to hold onto Christ, realizing He is holding on to us. A struggle that as we are healed spiritually has an incredible impact on our lives, on our work, on the art that comes out of our lives.  Remind others of this as well, for that is what it means to be the church.   A place where people find healing in Christ while helping others heal.  AMEN!



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Source
Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 2662-2664). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Prayer Requests

Today's Prayer Requests


Thuy Nguyen | PLEASE PRAY URGENT FOR ME TO DESTROY EVERY ATTACK FROM PLEASE PRAYPLEASE URGENT FOR ME TO DESTROTHE EVIL , SATAN TO MY HEALTH , LIVER AND STOMATCH , SPIRIT AND SOUL  , PLEASE PRAY TO ME  TO  SIGN THE CONTRACT AND BEGIN TO WORK IN HOSPITAL FRANCE -VIETNAMESE SUCCESSFUL .  GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND CHURCH

vijay aggarwal | Plz pray for money in abundance for a comfortable life

Karen B. | Pray for me, I am in rehabilitation to learn to walk again. Pray for my son, that he finds Christ.

Joshua | That me and my family get approved for apartment building we filled out for


Peter Sidadasi | Dear sir iam Peter, 41 years old from India, sir iam doing His valuable work since 2003 among the Idol worshippers in four defferent places, very critically areas. so many people were accepting Jesus Christ as their own Saviour and took the water baptism so we have no permanent Church building, at present we are worshipping in rented houses and some people not able to purchase bibles so if you possible plz provide telugu old and new testament bibles for distributing to the needy people and pray for Church building and winning for soul's for Christ.

VERA BANKSTON-JONES | FATHER GOD, In You can only I come to rest, heal,accomplish the tasks set before me! I'm nothing without You Lord! Keep me afloat my remaining days!.......SELAH
My name is Dudu please pray with us my daughter is looking for a job or intership cause she completed last year her honours degree. I trust God that with your prayers join together miracle will happen in Jesus Name.

Elda | My desire is to be spirit filled every second of my life, to worship God in spirit and in truth! 

Jesual sona | Sir and mam praise the Lord. My wife name is premila sona. We kneed a baby so please pray for my wife and me.Thank you

Britannica Rodgers | I pray for myself as to get a job and be financial stable and also to get my own place for me and my son also pray for my sister and her spouse that they get a change to make it through the hard times

MW | Dear Lord my bless life and my family's life and lead me where you want me to go, and bless my hand and marriage to Chase Nash

FEMI MORONKEJI OLORUNFEMI |  Please help me pray that my Australia Visa Application with the Australia Immigration Department since last year August be approved. It has been a long awaited application and its been under assessment for over 5 months. Kindly help me pray for God's mercy over this application for it to be approved on time. That I may not suffer any bad news of rejection over it in Jesus name. Thank you.

BF | As a single parent l am having financial difficulties. This situation has caused a rift in my family.

sigesh | for my studies and my mom

eve | please help sir, i am trying to quit smoking. I have tried to pray in the past for gods guidance and help, but some how I may not be doing it right, for I ask strength to guide me and lead me to the right path..it goes unanswered. Please help, I really wish to stop this terrible addiction as it has claimed the vessel god has given me to live in.  I want my body to be a temple, and to be healthy. So many ups and downs.

MA | Applying for further studies. Needs God interventions.Amen

LJ |  I'm feeling like I am alone in this life, since I have gotten sicker with my condition MultipleSlacroise and I am trying to get stronger but I lose lots of strength and get tired quick, please pray to God to heal me from this disease in Jesus name amen. Hungry for God's healing over my legs, mind,body, and soul in Jesus name amen

Vera Bankston-Jones | FATHER GOD, Only in you can there be peace! Guide me Father!.......SELAH

Deborah Gomeyac | Hello i am deaf too. kindly please pray for me because i has seizure problem.pray for my daughter planning for studying other new school in the future. pray for my husband stop suffering sick about backpain.

Mercy Kalaga | Plz pray for job .I want get it bank job .so pl pray for me




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Saturday, 3 February 2018

hero of murderous jihadist

Palestinian kids' TV makes hero of murderous jihadist



Continuing the trend of making heroes out of cold-blooded killers, Palestinian children’s television recently aired a program that declares an Islamic terrorist who has murdered more than 100 Israeli Jews a “role model.”

In the kid’s 10-minute From My Country TV show, arch-terrorist Abu Jihad - who the Palestinian Authority (PA) credits with murdering at least 125 Israeli Jews - is touted as a “role model to be followed.”

“The opening of the weekly 10-minute program - which has been broadcast twice so far - shows a cube with photos of six different Palestinian personalities,” Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported. “One of them is terrorist Abu Jihad, who orchestrated numerous terror attacks against Israelis, among them the most lethal attack in Israel’s history - the Coastal Road Massacre - in which Palestinian terrorists hijacked a bus and murdered 37 civilians, among them 12 children.”

‘Hometown’ hero?


In the Palestinian television program broadcasted with the goal of recruiting future jihadists to brutally take over Israel in the name of the Islamic god, Allah, the young host of the show introduces the latest installment by inciting nationalism through portraying Palestinians’ selfless commitment to improve their so-called “homeland,” despite their “struggle” with Israeli Jews.

“Hello, my dear friends, and welcome to the program From My Country,” the Palestinian host opens up, according to PMW. “You certainly know how beautiful our country is: its villages, cities, historical, religious, archaeological and tourist sites. The most beautiful thing is that all of this beauty of our country is reflected by great personalities who have given and are giving much to the homeland, whether in the political, literary, artistic or scientific struggle.”

He then colors the aggression against the Israelis as being motivated by oppression, insisting that “weapons” are a valuable tool for Palestinians to artistically express the depth of their plight and pride in “their” land.

“The prominent personalities struggled by way of pens, paintbrushes, words, weapons, and knowledge … to express our appreciat[ion] and follow the example of these symbols,” the host continued. ”Let us always keep them in our memories.”

Like clockwork, the children’s TV show ties militant Islamic personalities with their hometowns to instill a sense of pride and duty in Palestinian youth, with the first episode featuring PA President Mahmoud Abbas, of Safed, and the second installment noting that late Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali was born and raised in Al-Shajara, where he accrued his jihadist beliefs.

“Each episode of From My Country is about a specific famous Palestinian personality and the town or city in ‘Palestine’ in which that person was born,” PMW’s Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus announced on Wednesday. “The other ‘symbols’ included in the opening of the new PA TV children's program are current PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Safed), former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat (Gaza), the Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish (Al-Birweh), and female singer Rim Banna (Nazareth). The opening lists the birth place of Abu Jihad as Ramle and Kanafani's as Acre.”

Furry friends encourage brutal jihad


Abu Jihad is not the only character Palestinian children’s TV has used to motivate youngsters to take their place on the jihadist battlefield.

The long history of promoting jihad includes the use of Assud - a bunny character who was “martyred” in the name of jihad after he called for Palestinians to occupy Israeli cities to initiate an Islamic takeover of the land.

“We should teach our children that we have a land to which we must return: Jaffa, Acre, Haifa, and Tel Aviv,” the bunny character incited parents, according to WND. “We will return to all these cities, Allah willing.”

The use of animated and costumed characters to produce cold-blooded Muslim killers is nothing new.

“Palestinian television also featured the ‘martyrdom’ of Farfour, a Mickey Mouse-lookalike,” WND’s Bob Unruh reported.

Terrorist twos and sinister sixes


As early as two years old, Palestinian youth are told via their TV sets to annihilate their Jewish neighbors.

It was reported back in 2015 that a two-year-old Palestinian boy was broadcasted on official PA TV singing a song about his hope to become a martyr in the name of jihad - a tune that the Palestinian faction group, the Fatah Central Committee, claimed was instrumental in instilling a sense of belonging for Palestinians.

“Daddy, buy me a machine gun and a rifle [so I can kill Israelis],” the two-year-old sang, according to WND.

Another PA TV show around the same time featured two six-year-olds being interviewed in military fatigues, which each bragging that they aspired to “blow up the Jews” with ruthless determination. The questions were being asked by a girl just a little older than the boys, who posed the following inquiry to Muhammed - one of the two six-year-olds - about his poetry.

“Who taught this poem, Muhammad?” the young girl asked.

After the boy’s mother interjected that “Muhammad Ali Zakariya Al-Astal” taught the poem, the boy started reciting the following verses:

“Oh Jerusalem, I shall redeem you with my soul and my blood,” the boy orated the first verse before chanting two more. “I shall liberate you from the Jews by means of the Al-Qassam Brigades, of course. I bring glad tidings to our prisoners: Salvation is near.”

Inciting violent jihad through poetry is not the only way Palestinian children are taught to unload their indoctrinated hostility against Israeli Jews.

Zakaria, another interviewee, was asked about the reasoning behind his occupational choice on PA TV.

“[I want to be an engineer] so that I can blow up the Jews,” Zakaria proudly stated.

The program’s hostess then clarified to boy’s response.

“You want to blow up the Jews? No, we want to blow up the Zionists,” the TV personality corrected the boy. “You mean the occupation, right? Okay, so that is why you want to become an engineer?”

The use of Disney-like characters to incite jihad is not off limits to the Palestinians, either.

“In 2010, the terror group Hamas’ Al-Aqsa Television ‘martyred’ Assud and knocked off a Mickey Mouse-lookalike for the cause of jihad,” Unruh recounted.

Hellish holiday greetings


The same year, a “holiday song” credited to the world-recognized Palestinian terrorist group Hamas was performed by children and aired on Hamas Al-Aqsa TV.

The song, called “Give Us Our Pocket Money to Buy Guns and Wage Jihad,” or “Holiday Gun,” was sung by Palestinian youth MuhammadAl0Madhoun and Ibrahim Shek Khalil, and below is the script obtained by MEMRI:

Children’s choir: Dad, we put on our new clothes.

Give us our pocket money. Today is a holiday.

Dad, we put on our new clothes.

Give us our pocket money. Today is a holiday.

Me, my brother, and the neighborhood kids want to arm ourselves with guns.

Dad: My children, I’m worried about you.

This toy might harm your eyes.

My children, I’m worried about you.

This toy might harm your eyes.

Think about another toy.

You are the apple of my eye, may Allah protect you.

Child: Dad, we are a steadfast people.

These guns need hands to carry them.

Dad, we are a steadfast people.

These guns need hands to carry them.

Today we play, tomorrow we will wage Jihad.

How joyous my heart will be on the Day of Return.

Children’s choir: Dad, we put on our new clothes.

Give us our pocket money. Today is a holiday.

Dad, we put on our new clothes.

Give us our pocket money. Today is a holiday.

Me, my brother, and the neighborhood kids want to arm ourselves with guns.

Dad: Your words have filled my heart with joy.

How fortunate Al-Aqsa is to have boys like you.

Your words have filled my heart with joy.

How fortunate Al-Aqsa is to have boys like you.

Here’s your pocket money.

Go and buy yourself a gun.

Don’t shoot anyone but the enemy.

Child: Okay, Dad. Have a happy holiday.

How joyous my heart is when you put your hand in mine.

Okay, Dad. Have a happy holiday.

How joyous my heart is when you put your hand in mine.

I keep my light for my loved ones and my fire for the enemies.

What happiness!

What happiness!

Children’s choir: What happiness!

What happiness!




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