Not Just the Hight and Mighty

Not Just the High and Mighty

As the early days of the Jesus movement were unfolding many things were happening to convince people about Jesus as the “One.” In Acts chapter nine there is the raising of Tabitha, a woman who cared for the poor, and the gossip about Saul of Tarsus changing sides, and then there is that little aside in Acts 9:43, “And Peter stayed a long time in Joppa, living with Simon, a tanner of hides.” It may very well have been that Peter was a well healed commercial fisherman but he did not mind associating with a “tanner of hides.” I take it that Simon the tanner may have been a shoemaker. So be it. The Gospel was for everyone. And there just a short walk from Lydda in Joppa (or Joffa) was Simon’s home as you can picture it in the photo above. This new world order continues to break into our lives when we learn to embrace everyone with the love of Christ. No matter our rank or status God’s love is everywhere and for everyone. That love heals, forgives, and comforts every day – hearts are changed and the world is better because of it. Peter befriended me that day too.

Be Well…

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What Moves Me

What Moves Me

As I stood on the beech at Tel Aviv this mid-February I could hardly imagine that I was here. A city that two decades ago was not nearly as spectacular and beautiful. Tel Aviv is a city near the historic Joppa which was part of the Biblical narrative that I know so well. It is a resort and business hub for Israel and it is where I arrived with colleagues from all over the US to experience this holy land. Did I ever think I would get here? It was a hope and a dream but thanks to Scott McAlpine and others who supported my nomination through Knights Templar I could now feel the cool salt seasoned breeze of the Mediterranean Sea. I sent this picture to a friend who said that it did not even look like it was from this world – and in a way it wasn’t. I was on an eternal journey to visit in the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth and prophets, kings, and potentates of old. What an honor and what an adeventure that was about to begin. I wanted to just feel this moment. I did not want to think much about what was next – just feel and sense what was taking place. Soon I’d be back at the hotel ready for sleep and the adventure continued.

Be Well…

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Israel

Sharing a few images from my pilgrimage. The internet connection for uploading is poor. More to come…

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When You Can’t Solve It

When You Can’t Solve It

There have been a couple of instances this past week that have just stumped me in the relationship department. Both involved phones, texts, and in general the lack of person to person communication to solve relationship issues. The tendency we all have when relationships break down is we blame someone. There is a failure in relating to the other. At times it results in outright hostility, anger, and abusive language or actions. We’ve seen it at the highest levels of our society. The #MeToo movement was spawned by abusive actions towards women but it goes far beyond that.

In the two instances that I have dealt with it was families both of whom experienced some kind of trauma and have not been able to resolve their differences. It’s been frustrating for me because I have not known what to do. I am in a helping profession but sometimes I can’t. I pray for wisdom but ultimately it takes people saying that it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong but let’s find a way to work this disagreement, this problem, or this hurt out. Is it better to be right or be well?

In one case it is a family rejecting a child – it’s abandonment and it pains me deeply. I cannot solve it and now officials who care for kids are working to solve it. The other is a family that is not speaking to each other and have said hurtful things to one another. The Bible says, “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Col. 3:13 or as Jesus said, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. …” Luke 6:27ff

If we would strive to be more like Jesus we would seek more tender and compassionate ways of dealing with one another. We would not avoid the tough conversations or the tender forgiveness. So until then I will keep praying.

Be Well…

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Invasion

Invasion

It was February 7, 1964 and the British Invasion began with the arrival of The Beatles at JFK airport in New York City. There were over 25,000 fans there to greet them. What a change began that February and it seems that things have been changing rapidly ever since. I was young and did not understand why the girls swooned so much over these long haired smart aleck Liverpool musicians. Yet, I wished I was as popular as they were. It’s funny how we look for our identity in those who are popular rather than in our own gifts and talents.

The media like a siren call lures us to compare ourselves and live in an imaginary world. Many people feel lost and then say need to find themselves. Looking inside is one way to combat the constant urge to compare but looking to the Word is an even better way. In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (MSG)  Who you are is a gift – a unique gift. You are designed to be a blessing to God and to others so don’t discount your talents or abilities. Don’t compare yourself to others. The invasion that matters is God’s invasion of love into the world. Look into your heart and know that you are treasured by the Creator. You are a blessing to become a blessing.

Be Well…

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Bowls for What?

Bowls for What?

Did you know that the term “bowl” originated from the Rose Bowl stadium? It was the site of the first post-season college football game. The Rose Bowl Stadium, in turn, takes its name and bowl-shaped design from the Yale Bowl, which became the design of many football stadiums in the United States. But there is another bowl I’d like you to think about. How about considering how much money you are going to spend for food, or bets, or tickets (if you are so lucky to go) and give the same amount to the needs of the hungry? Last year I may have spent just $30.00 for the day. I’m going to keep track this year and give double the amount to the World Hunger Program. Here is the link:

http://www.elca.org/Resources/ELCA-World-Hunger

They have a “give” button on the page. You can do what you would like. Maybe you only buy a bag of chips but that is something. Look at this information from “Feeding America:”

Even in the world’s greatest food-producing nation, children and adults face poverty and hunger in every county across America. In 2016:

  • 41 million people struggle with hunger in the United States, including 13 million children. In 2015, 5.4 million seniors struggled to afford enough to eat.
  • A household that is food insecure has limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.
  • Households with children were more likely to be food insecure than those without children
  • 59% of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the major federal food assistance program — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps); the National School Lunch Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (often called WIC)

Hunger is real and there are bowls that are empty – do one little thing this year that may not make the news or get you into a glamours stadium with lavish box seats with food and adult beverages – but do something good.

Be Well…

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Super Blue Blood Moon

Super Blue Blood Moon

According to NASA today, Jan. 31, the full moon is special for three reasons: it’s the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit — known as perigee — and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It’s also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.” The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.” So there you have it. Early this morning I wandered out with my faithful Lab, Pete, and we photographed the super moon. He did not howl as I hoped but I almost did – it was so cold. There were no clouds for a change just an eerie light and haze over the lake and the shadow of the earth across the lunar sphere.

I’m always amazed at creation and its beauty. I’m also amazed at people that can’t appreciate it and think that all this happened because of an explosion billions and billions of years ago. It’s as if you think that your iPhone developed from an explosion in Cupertino, California. Ridiculous thought but it seems like it may take a more reckless faith to not believe in an intelligent being creating the universe then for all these possibilities to line up just right and poof or boom. Scripture says, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” Hebrews 11:3 Creating really is to make something out of nothing and if something was made from something else who made the something before it was something else?

Anyway I don’t want to argue with anyone really. I just want to say that this moon that was so beautiful and it won’t be around again until 2037. May you be so fortunate.

Be Well…

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