Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What Christmas means to me (and others)!

I am guest blogging again at We Occupy Jesus. Today me and other writers are writing about what Christmas means to us. The titles are below and are hyper linked. Just click on the title and you will be taken to the page.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

On Ducks and the Bible

I am guest blogging today on We Occupy Jesus

There is no shortage of opinions out there on the Duck Dynasty Saga and Phil Robertson's thoughts on sin, race and faith and yours truly needed to weigh in. I know some of my co-workers are nodding there head yes to this. I decided to post my response at We Occupy Jesus as well as a fellow blogger. We come at it with different approaches but I think we can all learn something from each post. The excerpts below are hyperlinked so just click on them and you will be taken to the full posts. Leave your thoughts on the posts and let's have a conversation. 

From Biblical Principles

What happened next is so deafening I am astonished that Christians forget it. Every last scribe and Pharisee that brought the woman to Jesus, 
(To be condemned) walked away empty handed and the woman still alive.

From the Duck Dynasty Fiasco

Friday, December 13, 2013

Shameless Plug

a 1,000 word picture

Art and Photography by Adele Henderson

In April of this year I launched my personal business and it has been a slow go. I am really bad at self promotion so I am stepping outside my comfort zone and promoting it here on my blog. You can look to the right under Pages and click on the name of my business and it will take you to my business' facebook page. There you will find images that I have taken and some variety of edits. You will also find what little of my artwork there is.  I have pinned a post that includes my prices on the page. Below is a sample of my photography. In addition to checking out the facebook page I would appreciate you sharing this post with your family and friends. Thank you and may you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The BIG Love of God

In two days we will all remember the 20 young lives lost at Sandy Hook. The most important thing we can remember as we honor the lives lost is that evil did not win. We remember this by waiting in anticipation of the Christ child.

God chose a very interesting and maybe strange way to show us the love of our creator. God chose to come down to earth as a human. God came in the form of a little baby that Mary and Joseph named Jesus. Other names that are given to Jesus are Prince of Peace, Lord of Creation, Emmanuel.

Emmanuel is my favorite name for Jesus, it means "God with us". Though only a small baby God is with us in all circumstances, even in difficult times like the shooting at Sandy Hook last year. Before Jesus was born God could see the evil in the world but through her love for us God already had a plan to overcome the evil of this world. It would be accomplished through the birth of a baby. A baby that would grow into adulthood then willingly laid down his life for us.

While evil things still happen, evil has not won, for God has overcome and brought peace to us.

John 16:33, NIV
"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

May the peace of God be with you this Christmas season and in the New Year.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Here I am, Lord!

Yesterday, December 1 was the first day of Advent but it was also a day of reminiscing for me. I an my parents attended Heritage Baptist Church, of Wake Forest, NC for Sunday morning worship. This is our home church and where I was ordained in May of 2011. It was good to be home and my parents and I were glad to have been in attendance where we decorated the Christmas tree with chrismons. After I arrived back to my home in Roanoke, VA I and a couple of my youth attended the ordination of Cathy Harris to the Gospel Ministry at my church, Rosalind Hills Baptist Church, in Roanoke. At the beginning of my Sunday I physically revisited the place of my ordination and at the end of my Sunday I revisited my ordination spiritually. To say it was an amazing day would be an understatement. I do not have the words to describe except to say I was truly fed by the Holy Spirit through the two service. I want to take this time to thank some people for making yesterday a day that I will not forget, for many reasons:

The Reverend Cathy Harris: thank you for being obedient to call of God on your life. Because of your obedience I was called back to 1998 when God first told me that I would follow the path of ordination. You reminded me of my commitment to God and those I serve and why I gladly sacrifice much for the sake of the gospel. God bless you. I am so blessed to know you and have you in my life.

Rosalind Hills Baptist Church: Thank you for being a church that recognizes and affirms the gifts of those who are called regardless of gender. Last night (December 1) I never felt more at home since joining in October of 2012, as I did last night. I am thankful that I yielded to the Holy Spirit and joined the church. You are my Bethel in this season of my life.

The Reverend Nelson Harris: Thank you for being a man of God who is obedient to the Lord's command and supporting your wife in ministry and recognizing her gifts for ministry. Your presence reminded me of those men in my life who have affirmed and encouraged me in ministry: my father; Randell Henderson, my pastors through the years; Rev. Jack Coffey, Rev. Ken Altom, and the Rev. Jimmy Allen. The cause for women in ministry is only helped by the men of God who will stand with them. Thank you.

The Ordination Council: Thank you for taking time out of your life to sit down and hear Cathy's testimony and her call to ministry. Thank you for recognizing what she has felt and approving her for ordination. Your commitment to Rosalind Hills and Cathy reminded me of my ordination council and how they listened to my story and makes me grateful that they saw the call God had placed on my life and approved me for ordination. You truly exemplify how the Body of Christ is designed to work.

It is always good for us to look back at those times in our life that have had a significant impact on us and our walk with the Lord. Yesterday allowed me to do that, to revisit that initial call in 1998 and May 15, 2011 when I was ordained to the Gospel Ministry and what I said to God.

Once again I say to God's call, Here I am, Lord!

God bless you all this Advent Season!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Adults! Put your EGO aside!"

Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.
                                     - Proverbs 22: 6 NASB
We are well acquainted with the Steubenville, Ohio rape case because of Social Media. Social media can also be said had a role in the conviction of two teenagers for the rape of a young girl. What I want to talk to you today about is the what I heard on the news last night. A grand jury has indicted 4 adults in relation to the investigation of the rape in 2013 as well as another one.
Where are the adults, responsible adults whoa re entrusted with the care of our children when they are in school? When teenage boys, young men and older men alike think they can use any girls or woman for their own sexual gratification in our culture today we need adults to stand up, speak out and advocate for children and women around the world. When coaches and principles place sports above a person's humanity these crimes will continue to happen.
God has entrusted us to care for the children of this world and these 4 adults have failed. Many more adults around the world have failed the children in our community. I believe it all comes down to ego. They value themselves higher than anyone else's. They will do what ever it takes to save face, protect that which is most valuable to them even if it is at the expense of another person. We cannot expect anything to change, or our children and teens to learn how to respect one another if we the adults do not demonstrate and live out love and respect for ALL people, our neighbors. Minors were charged in this case and convicted and now 4 adults have been charged.
As a person who works with teenagers I tend to have more patience and tolerance for their behaviors than I do adults. Now understand that if a crime occurs or I suspect one I will report it. But the reason I show children and teenagers more grace and patience is because they are still learning and growing. Their brains are still developing and cannot be fully conscience of the decisions they make. We as adults know better, or should. We cannot as easily make an excuse for our behavior when our brain is fully developed. Whether you have children or not all children are looking to us as their example and with the behavior of the four adults I now am understanding the actions (though not condoning) of those teenagers that were involved in the rape.
If we want children to learn to respect and value others then we have to do the same. It is not enough to teach it we must live it. To train up a child in the way of respect we must respect each other.
As a Christian I want to speak to my Christian readers and point out one more area where our ego's can get in the way. The most important thing we can do when raising children is to let them come to Jesus, allow them to encounter God and be moved by the Holy Spirit. At times we ourselves can be a hindrance and stand in the way of the children coming to Christ. We think we know better, we think we should shelter them. But we don't know better, we need to admit them and allow our belief in God and the son Jesus Christ to guide our behavior. When we do we will step aside and allow Jesus to lead the children and us. I don't know a better example for what I mean than a post a friend made on Facebook last night. Take time to read it below:
Travel changes who we are - if we allow it to do so. Timothy travels with us everywhere, and I have been privileged to watch how formative travel has been in his life. Last week he stood by the graveside of JFK. He also heard a gun salute to another fallen soldier, whose graveside service was occurring simultaneously. Last week Timothy stood between an adult Asian immigrant and me, and together the three of us peered intently at the original document of the US Constitution. The adult Asian immigrant looked at my son with tear-filled eyes and whispered, "Look! Look! Isn't it incredible?!" Last week homelessness had a face to it. Timothy saw homeless children of God sleeping in boxes on street corners. He saw their dirty clothes and blankets. He saw them search through trashcans for discarded food. He smelled their humanity. He was spoken to by them. He assembled a bag of snacks (granola bar, banana, raisins, applesauce, Doritos, Welch's fruit snacks, and bottled water) for the homeless man who slept across the street from out hotel. He watched me give the food to the man. He saw the man every night. Timothy was changed, and so was I.

This was written by my friend Kheresa Harmon.
This is how we train up our children. This is how we let our children come to Jesus. Nothing is more important than this. For Jesus told us this.
But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me;
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

-Matthew 19:14

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Solution

Last week I wrote a post on a problem I believe effects all of us and that is perfection. I want to answer that post with a solution, have you.

I have been hearing a new song on the radio. I really love the rhythm and the message and finally yesterday I said, I need to know who sings this song. So is my custom I pick a line from the song, plug it into youtube and up pops the song and artist and the video that goes along with it. Take time now to watch the video. The lyrics are below the video.

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you.
The question: How do we let go of our need to be perfect?
Answer: Be brave enough to tell our story.
If you are anything like me you think about a lot more things than you actually say and you would never dare tell your story, thoughts or opinions, or if you do it is only in select circles, safe circles.
I read a blog post today by a friend and it is a part of a month long series titled, "What you meant for evil God meant for good", based upon Genesis 50:20.
Do we have the courage to share our story or will we hide it away? I have learned that there is freedom in telling my story and invite you to do the same.
Let's be brave and speak out.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Problem

So much has been going on in our world and in my own life that I have really be pondering the following question:

What is wrong with humanity?

I have come up with a preliminary answer. Please know by no means is this the final answer or event he only answer but I thought I would answer my own question and invite others to share their thoughts and other possible answers to the above question.

Answer: We think we can and/or should be perfect.

If we think that we can and/or should be perfect then we assume that of others and inevitably place to high of expectations on others.

Ever been disappointed by a family member or friend? You know that feeling. You getting angry first, then self-righteous and depending on how you handle difficulty you either write that person out of your life or you realize you place that person on a pedestal of perfection that they could never meet. You acknowledge your expectations were wrong and you readjust your view of the person and the relationship continues to grow.

I am only 41, old enough to know some things (No longer green) but not old enough to claim all wisdom in matters of life. But I think my answer to my own question may have some validity.

When I look back at my life (Choices, behaviors and relationships) and reflect on the stories friends, family and co-workers have shared with me I have to believe that we are to hard on ourselves, we expect to much of ourselves and in turn expect to much of others.

When I think of perfect I think of God and yet scripture says Jesus did not view equality with God to be something to grasp for. What? Wait! Jesus is God in Flesh and he didn't think equality with God was something to be grasp? Maybe he was on to something. Why do we even think we can be perfect? Why do we expect everyone else to be perfect, to make no mistakes?

When I write this you must know that I myself struggle with this very thing. As I meet more people and listen to their stories I find that my need for all things perfect and orderly is not just exclusive to myself. If God, who created us sees us as good why is that not enough for us? Can we learn to see ourselves as good people? Can we learn to see others as good people?

1 Timothy 4: 4 -5 says:

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. (Word is synonymous with Jesus here)

I hear a lot of talk about how God will destroy creation if we do not return to biblical teachings and principles. What I am fairly certain of is if we continue to relentlessly place expectations upon ourselves and others then we will destroy ourselves. God want need to do a thing.

Maybe that is why God came not as a wrath filled, vengeful god but as a child born to poverty and with a message of unconditional love. Maybe?

If the problem is that we are trying to be perfect when it is impossible then I think we need to look at ourselves through the eyes of our Savior and those around us through his eyes as well.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Best Friend

Kathryn Jones Swearingen is my best friend. We met in the summer of 1988 in a drivers Ed classroom. The odds of this occurring really are slim but with a providential God it is not. See Kathryn went to a private school and I went to public school. Just like my sister, my parents paid for us to take drivers Ed classes in a private class rather than through the public school system. Back then the school program had a poor record of adequately training teenagers to drive and pass the NC State drivers exam. Because of my parents choice and her parents choice we met. That was the beginning of our friendship. During the past 25 years we have shared so many experiences, both good and bad, and through it all our friendship has grown stronger and deeper. When I think of our friendship I remember things that Kathryn has said and done. During the early years of our friendship she shared with me that anyone who did not take the time to get to know me, they were missing out on a great friendship. I knew then that our friendship meant as much to her as it did to me. In 2002 she was my guest at the Campbell Divinity School Graduate dinner. Her going with me was a huge affirmation that I was on the right track. Making the decision to go to Graduate school was always a scary thing even up until the final semester. Her presence was such and encouragement. She did something else at the dinner that I will never forget, she thanked the school for being their for me and being a place that I enjoyed attending. Her words that night helped me see God in a bigger way. In 2011 she and her then fiancĂ©, Blake Swearingen, came to my ordination service. When we met in 1988 I could have never imagined May 15, 2011 but having her there on that special day was once again affirming of my life choices and the importance of our friendship to each other. But in November of 2011 she said something that took me right back to that day she said I was a very special person. She shared with me over dinner that Blake and her wanted me to officiate their wedding. Why does this mean so much? All of these things mean so much because we do not share a common faith, but none the less my friendship with her has brought me to two realizations:

  1. God's love extends to all, regardless of where they are in their journey on earth
  2. Kathryn is the closest thing to God I have here on earth.
Kathryn accepts me for who I am, loves me without condition and has always been a faithful friend. These are all the things God is to me.

God loves and accepts me just the way I am and works through my uniqueness to proclaim the Gospel, they same is for you. God loves me and us with out condition. I know this because God, my creator, chose to come down to earth, walk in human flesh and die on the cross for me and you. He did this for ALL of us. Lastly, God has never left my side and never abandoned me. In this life I have had people and institutions fail me, we all have but God, the God of creation is faithful always, to all of us.

Who I am as a person and as a minister is greatly influenced by Kathryn being in my life and I do not believe it is any accident that we met. When I think about our friendship I wonder if God teaches me to love and see creation as he does or if Kathryn, and who she is points me to God, to see God in a fuller way. I think it is a bit of both.

Within my belief system I see God, the creator of everything, as a relational God. God chooses to work in concert and cooperation with us. Through relationships we engage in the work of God whether we know it or not. We do so because we are living by example. Jesus' ministry was ALL about relationships. When we develop relationships we are living by example, God's example. Through us working with others we see God in a bigger and fuller way and those we have relationships with point us back to God. All in all we become better people, caring people, compassionate people.

Just as Kathryn is my best friend, God is my best friend.

Some pictures from over the past 25 years (including the wedding on October 18, 2013):

A friends wedding

Alive After Five

Beach Trip

Pink Floyd Concert

The Wedding

Monday, October 21, 2013

My 2nd Jump!

On Sunday, October 20 @ 8 am I went to make my 2nd tandem jump. Click here to read about the first one. What I did not know was there would be a video to share. On Friday, October 18 I officiated the wedding of my best Friend, Kathryn Jones and her fiancé, Blake Swearingen. Kathryn's gift to me was paying for a video to be made of my jump so here it is. But please stay tuned for a post later this week on "Best Friends"

I am definitely a jump junkie now and plan to take the classes next year and learn to jump solo.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sex Trade 101: Part 2

Today's post focus's on the children who are victims of the sex trade around the world. The most important thing I believe you should know is that the UN considers any girl or boy under the age of 18 engaged (even “willingly”) in prostitution is technically a trafficked victim since the international community deems a minor not old enough to make the choice to sell themselves for sex.

It is also important to know that many adults who are in the prostitution business were in it before they became a legal adult in the eyes of  American law. So while we may view their situation differently than minor children we can see them as victims who are in need of rescue. Read the image below and learn some statistics of the sex trade right here in America.

Sex Trade Facts
  • Human rights investigations have discovered that minors can be typically sold an average of 10-15 times a day, 6 days a week, totaling between 9,360 and 14,040 sex acts a year. The girls received none of the money.   (Source: Shared Hope International)
  • According to the California Child Welfare Council, kids as young as 10 are being peddled for sex every day in Los Angeles County ... the average life expectancy of children who enter the sex trade is seven years. This means, on average, a child forced into prostitution at age 12 will be dead by 19.            (Information collected from the Daily Breeze)         

If you have not joined one of the Investigative Teams supported by The Exodus Road please consider. Click here to read more about the program and how you can help make rescues possible. When rescues are made from funds from The Exodus road they are either:

  • an actual trafficking situation (ex. raid with police of a locked brothel) or
  • sexual abuse to an underage victim (ex. pedophile abuse).

Thank you for following my blog and learning more about Modern Day Slavery. Together we can end this.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Starving Jesus

The Sheep and the Goats

Matthew 25:31 - 46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

When it comes to Jesus' directions to us as his followers this passage is just as direct as his command that we love out neighbor. Truly, if we love our neighbor we will help them when they are in need.

I have to be honest with you and acknowledge my bias because I have never been able to understand why a person or a people would not feed those who are hungry, help those who need housing, care for those who are sick and love and offer compassion to those who are in prison. I just don't get it. What does it take for us to ignore the needs of our fellow man? When we do we are undoubtedly the Levi or the Priest, for surely we are not being the Good Samaritan when we ignore and walk on the other side of the road when we see someone in need.

Besides the direct command in this verse to care for those in need Jesus shows us where we can find him. If you want to be about the business of sharing God's love then you need to go where Jesus is.

Today we can find Jesus with people who are without a job or underemployed. Today we can find Jesus with people who have no home. Jesus is with those who are on government assistance and also with people who are sick whether in the hospital or not. Jesus is with the many children and families who are victims of Human trafficking and with the person who is undocumented. Jesus is with people who are currently vilified by those in government and American citizens.

Putting politics aside, those of us who claim a belief in Jesus Christ need to not only be with the people Jesus is with but also advocating for support that they so desperately need. When we sit comfortably in our homes and enjoy the blessings God has given us and not be a blessing to others we will be the ones that God turns away from as this passage in Matthew states. I think that we who follow Christ forget that we will still stand before God, when die or when Jesus returns, and account for our lives.

Do you want God to know you as the one who served the "least of these" or one who ignored them? Many people fall on hard times, I have myself, but that last thing we need to do is vilify those who are in need of our help or the governments help.

I hear many people talk about how we need to get back to the Christian principles that this country was founded on. If people really mean that then we need to embrace Matthew 25:31-46 and make sure that we as a country feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, welcome the undocumented person, ensure care for those who are sick and show compassion to those who are in prison.

If that is what people mean then I welcome it.

If you want to test your knowledge on Hunger in America click on this LINK
You can also see current statistics people who live in food insecure homes.

To see what CBF churches and Field Personnel are doing to combat hunger in America click on this link and read blogs submitted by people who are reaching people by feeding them.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sex Trade 101: Part 1

For the next five months my monthly blog for The Exodus Road I will be presenting information so you can get a better understanding of the Sex Trade around the world, how people are working to rescue victims and what you can do as well to help people who are victims of the sex trade.

Here are some statistics on trafficking around the world.

Now watch and see how the FBI rescued a girl from child sex trafficking.

Here is one more article on how trafficking can occur right in your own neighborhood. Yes, right in your own neighborhood. It just does not happen in urban areas. Suburban America is very much affected as well. Click on the title of the article below and read about trafficking in Ohio.

WARNING: Disturbing content!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

I still have hope

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

August 28, 2013 marked the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream" speech. I had intentions on going that day and participating in the celebrations but I had to wait to head up to our Capital till Labor Day. But nevertheless it was a wonderful day and I plan to go back next year to see more sites. What made this day so wonderful was not the beautiful architecture or the company of my friend Sarah, but the diversity of people that I saw as we walked along the National Mall. As a country, in a relatively short time have come a long way in terms of equality for American but will still have a long way to go.

We have witnessed the abolishment of slavery that stained our countries history. Women and the black community have earned the right to vote. I have to remember these things when I see evidence still of racism, sexism and homophobia. We are an amazing and unique country. What we have in this democracy is very special and it gives me hope that we can achieve that goal of equality for all.
 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that
"one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain
will be made low. The rough places will be made plain,
and the crooked places 'will be made straight, and the
glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see
it together. This is our hope.....
This will be the day when all of God's children will be
able to sing with new meaning. "My country, 'tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty, of the I sing."

I still have hope in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream
(These are pictures I took during my trip to DC on Monday, September 1, 2013)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Can I get a Good Samaritan?

Luke 10:25-37, NIV

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
I am no expert when it comes to international relations, specifically as it pertains to the governments around the world. So as I ventured to share my opinion on the crisis in Syria I ask that you read this knowing it comes from the eyes of a Christian minister.
I do not like war, never have never will. I believe that:
Hate begets Hate
Violence begets Violence
Love begets Love
I am among those Americans who are in disagreement that America should intervene in Syria with Violence; missile strikes BUT I am not one who feels we should do nothing. When I look at Syria I see the man in Luke's parable who is left half dead on the side of the rode. I see our country and others around the world as the Priest and the Levite. I long to see America as the Good Samaritan. I long to see the humanity of God's world cry out at the atrocities and do what we can to rescue those in need, those who are dying. I am very uncomfortable with us doing nothing. Luke tells us that Jesus calls us to care for the one in need. Our neighbor is one who is in need and Syria is in need.

Can I get a Good Samaritan?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Batman & Syria

Since the announcement last week that Ben Affleck would be playing the role of Batman people have been up in arms. One petition to have him NOT play Batman man has acquired over 70,000 signatures. There is even a petition to the White House asking for Ben Affleck to be removed as the actor for Batman.

All the why men, women and children are dying daily in Syria. To date they estimate that over 100,000 people have died in the two years this war has gone on. Where are the cries of outrage at this atrocity? Why is there no anger or disgust over the lives that are no longer here, that have died far to soon.
Seems to me that things are backwards in our country right now and it troubles me greatly. If we can only be upset that an actor is cast into a role with don't agree with rather than the lives that are dying needlessly then we may need to step outside of ourselves and think more of our neighbor rather than our own needs and desires.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sin is the Problem!

Women are not the problem in society.....

Genesis 1

The Creation

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light "; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good ; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. 6 Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." 7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse ; and it was so. 8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. 9 Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear "; and it was so. 10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas ; and God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation : plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind ; and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day. 14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years ; 15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth "; and it was so. 16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night ; He made the stars also. 17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness ; and God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. 20 Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." 21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind ; and God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. 24 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind : cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind "; and it was so. 25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind ; and God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness ; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed ; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food "; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day
God's creation is good. I have always liked the saying, "God don't make no junk" I know this is a double negative, common in the south but you get the point that everything God made is good. That includes women. See in verse 26 of Genesis 1 the Hebrew word we translate man is best translated as mankind or humanity. Mankind is made up of both male and female, we are both good.
Based upon this passage it always upsets me and offends me when people blame women for the problems in society or the bad choices men make. Here is the truth, we are good simply because we are a creation of God but we are also sinful. We are a fallen people, but that in no way negates the inherent goodness that is in all of us.
What I love most about God and creation is that we have free will. We have the ability to make our own choices with out interference from God and especially without interference from others. So when someone blames men's behavior on the behavior of women three things are negated:
1 - the inherent goodness of women is dismissed/negated
2 - women's role in creation and God's created order is dismissed/negated
3 - and men's (male) sinfulness is dismissed/denied
If we dismiss or deny our sinfulness then we cannot receive the redemption of the cross and the forgiveness that Jesus freely gives.
I implore and beg all Christian men to consider what they imply about God's created order when they place the blame of societies ills on women. Do we really want to imply that God created a flawed world and that God made a mistake when Eve was created?
Something I hope people will really think about.