Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reflections on February

As February comes to an end whole sections of America celebrated Black History Month, while other communities simply ignored or failed to recognize the valuable contributions that African-Americans made to life. Also, during February the world took pause to remember the Holocaust and the tremendous and unbelievable suffering visited upon a people simply because they were different. Permit me to reflect, in these closing days of February, by sharing a small journey I took in my mind and spirit.

This small journey begins at the Goodwill Store. I was browsing through the book section and picked up a book by Leon Uris, an author that I had read in the past. The book was QBVII referring to England’s Queen’s Bench Courtroom Number Seven. I have to admit that it wasn’t one of his best works, but it did unfold the horrible story of what took place in the concentration camps under Hitler’s reign of hate and injustice. Mr. Uris was effect in telling the depth of the pain within the Jewish community and how that pain continues in the memory of every family affected by the inhumanity that can be inflicted upon others, as well as the role and responsibility that all Jews have in trying to address the injustice.

Hitler was able to apply his inhumanity upon a whole people because of the silence of others … including those within the Christian church. Out of fear or apathy the voice of the majority was not heard throughout the land which gave raise to the horrors that the world is still only beginning to comprehend. A quote from the book: “There comes a moment in the human experience when one’s life itself no longer makes sense when it is directed to the mutilation and murder of his fellow man.” And, I began to wonder how my voice has been silenced.

The novel is built around a libel suit brought by a British knighted doctor of Polish decent against a best selling American Jewish author who had defamed him in his novel on the Holocaust. As the fly leaf states: “But the real issue was the duty and responsibility of man to fellow man, that demarcation line of human morality beyond which no man can cross for any reason.”

In the novel Leon Uris, after the month long trial, has the English judge, the Lord Gilray, reflecting on what had just transpired in his courtroom. Here is the paragraph, which jumped off the page: “Yet, as time stood suspended, Gilray was all gentiles who never quite understood Jews. He could befriend them, work with them, but never totally understand them. He was all white men who could never quite understand black men and all black men who could never quite understand whites …” Try as we may there is a threshold of understanding over which we can never cross and so, our voices fall silent for whatever reason.

Silence is often golden, but when people of a particular nationality are murdered in concentration camps, or abused under the accepted practice of slavery, or wholesale genocide in parts of the world … silence is deafening. Silence is the lone sentinel that stands in judgment against us when we fail to cry out against the madness of hatred and prejudice.

We can either learn the lessons of the past and effectively bring about a change in the course of the present … or we can remain silent. Taking one month out of year for Black History month or taking one day during the month of February, as Holocaust Remembrance Day or hearing various reports from our news media from various parts of the world who find themselves caught in civil war, starvation, etc. is a start. BUT, where does it go from there?

Dear Lord, may your people be silent no more. Help us to understand that, though our hands might not commit the mutilations of a concentration camp nor hold our fellow human beings in bondage of slavery nor wheel the machetes of a rebel army, when our voices are silent we stand convicted. Lead us ever forward so that all people can experience your Shalom.

Quote for today: “Prayer doesn’t work. God works. And God works when people pray.” Mark Herringshaw and Jennifer Schuchmann

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A lighter side of life

Here is a little bit of laughter for a Saturday. Plus it reminds us that there are more ways to get something done than what would normally come to mind.

An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard.

His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent, I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days. Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Pop, Don't dig up that garden. That's where the bodies are buried. Love, Vinnie

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.

That same day the old man received another letter from his son..

Dear Pop, Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances. Love you, Vinnie

Quote for today: "While the average child laughs 150 times a day, say researchers at the University of Michigan, the average adult laughs only 15 times.” Reported in “Signs of the Times,” August, 1993

Friday, February 26, 2010

Setting ambitious goals

One of my favorite Olympic stories was shared from the pulpit of my home church back in the early 1960s. I do not remember who included it in a sermon, but I’ve used it multiple times over the course of my ministry. It never has failed to inspire me.

“A gentleman, while taking his daily walk, would pass the local park. He noticed a young man throwing the shot put and so he stopped to watch. But, this young man was doing something rather curious. Instead of measuring from the throwing circle out to where the shot landed, which is the normal procedure, he would measure from a white flag back to where the shot had landed. Finally the man’s curiosity got the best of him and he asked, ‘Young man, excuse me, but aren’t you doing that wrong? Shouldn’t you be measuring from the circle out to where the shot landed?’ ‘Well, sir,’ responded the young man, ‘I would if all I wanted to know was how far I had thrown the shot. That white flag is the Olympic record and by measuring from it back to where my shot landed tells me how much further I have to go to reach my goal of being in the Olympics.”

Life is made up of various goals that we set for ourselves. Some are ambitious while others are just simple every day type goals. And then there are those “other” goals that simply cause us to stretch well beyond our natural abilities before reality sets in and we finally admit that we cannot achieve or accomplish the desired goal. But, and that is a rather large “but,” should that mean that we shouldn’t set such ambitious goals? Absolutely not – regardless of age or ability – those goals need to be ever before us… the “white flags” of our lives. After all, you will never know unless you try and isn’t that the basic building block of living – giving it your best and trying to reach the ultimate prize?

I thought about this upon hearing of the young woman ice skater from Turkey. She is the only ice skater ever from that country. She came to the Winter Olympics knowing that she didn’t have a chance of winning a metal of any color, but just skating on the Olympic ice was her goal. It was such a dream of hers that her parents literally gave up everything in Turkey to move to Canada so that she could receive the necessary training in order to be talented enough to skate at the Winter Olympics. Talk about “white flags” – you go girl!

And so it is with goals – those various “white flags” of our lives – they are there so that we can improve ourselves a little every day!

Quote for today: “Don't be afraid to take a big step. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.” David Lloyd George

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Revelations of introspection

Interesting time this season of Lent … a time of introspective thinking. Introspection is not something that we do naturally … especially as adults. We, or should I simply state, I would rather not spend a whole lot of time taking stock of my inner mental, emotional and spiritual state of being. I would much rather just get on with living – after all I am retired which is suppose to be a time of enjoying the various activities that life can lay at my front door.

The introspective time of Lent is like going to the doctor for your annual check-up. The doc will run you through a full battery of tests probing you where you would rather not be probed! Taking blood samples, asking revealing questions, having you stand before him in a somewhat embarrassing pose – nothing is hidden, no place to hid, just hanging out there for the doc to see all and know all … introspective!

Then the reports start coming in. Do I really want to know what they reveal? Well, there is a disease, like a cancer that needs to be removed via painful surgery. The chances are good for survival, actually the doctor can guarantee a 100% survival rate, but dealing with the pain, rehab, and besides, I have lived with this “disease” this long why not a bit longer – after all it will not kill me so why change now?

The doc does share that he has a better life in store for me, a full life, an abundant life, but it will require getting rid of this disease and going on a diet, spiritual in nature, that he has designed. Because of free will the doc simply waits for me to make the decision.

He is a very patient doctor because he has revealed this same disease on other Lenten spiritual examinations. Will this be the year for change?

Quote for today: “Everybody thinks of changing Humanity and Nobody thinks of changing Himself.” L. Tolstoy

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sacrifical love - a lenten journey of sorts

During morning devotions I’ve been thinking and praying about the sacrifice Jesus made in his last journey here on earth. I’ve been trying to come to gripes about the magnitude of such a sacrifice, as well as some deeper understanding of its impact upon me personally. I came across this story that has helped me a little in my search. It caused me to pause to ask myself deeper questions: What am I willing to give up, sacrifice, for those I love? Would I be willing to make such a sacrifice for individuals that I did not know? Or, even harder, people that I do not necessarily like? The first question was easily to answer, the second one I’m still thinking about and the “jury is still out” concerning how I would respond, if at all, to the third one. These are hard questions during this introspective season of Lent.

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, 'If I could only see the world, I will marry you.'

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.

He asked her, 'Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?' The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.

Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: 'Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.'

Lord, be in my mind and in my understanding; be in my emotions and in my response with those around me; be in my commitments and in my desires. Amen

Quote for today: “Do not waste your time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less." C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Daily opportunities

Some people make some unbelievable statements. These are experts in their particular fields or individuals using “market research” to arrive at their decisions. Here are a few from an article entitled, “Wisdom of Experts!!!” in the July, 2007 issue of Senior Lifestyle Digest magazine:

* “Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances.” By Dr. Lee DeForest, “Father of Radio & Grandfather of Television”
* “There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.” by Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923
* “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” in Popular Mechanics, 1949
* “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” by Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
* “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” in a Western Union internal memo, 1876
* “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” by David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
* “The concept is interesting and well-informed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.” – a Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing overnight delivery service (Smith went on to found Federal Express).
* “I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper,” by Cary Cooper on his decision not take the leading role in “Gone With The Wind.”
* “A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.” in response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.
* “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” by Decca Recording Company in rejecting the Beatles, 1962

There are many more of these, but it goes without saying that all of these people were wrong in their assessments concerning the matter that they were addressing. They based their decisions on some false assumptions. Hindsight and Monday morning quarterbacking is usually better than when you find yourself in the thick of things. “If I had only known then what I know now …” so goes a popular phrase.

And so it goes … life presents so many opportunities that go unfulfilled because we operate out of a set of false assumptions concerning the people involved and/or the situation. The opportunities that we have today will never be there again. We should take hold of every chance because we have no guarantees for tomorrow!

Quote for today: "You know its been a rough week when the receipts in your wallet outnumber the cash!” from the Born Loser

Monday, February 22, 2010


I’ve heard it a couple of times recently, especially as it relates to the Winter Olympics … “What are you passionate about?” or “What floats your boat?” or “What are you willing to dedicate every ounce of time and energy to accomplish?” And, lastly, “Do I care about it enough to try to convince others to join me?” Then it dawned on me that real passion is the driving force of society or as another person states, “Nothing happens until you sell something” and whatever you are passionate about you are going to sell to others.

Do you consider yourself a salesperson? Probably not, but the truth of the matter is that we are all salespeople in one fashion after another. It might be only sharing the latest great bargain at the local grocery store or the neatest new restaurant in town, but underlining the process is really nothing more or less than sales. You are selling an idea, place or thing. We do it all the time.

As Angie Segal, a business coach out of Silver Springs, Maryland shares in one of her recent articles: “Who amongst us considers themselves to be a salesperson? If you answered, not me, I’ve got news for you. Whether we like it or not, we are all salespeople … Ask yourself – Do I possess these attributes?
· Do I have a contagious, positive attitude?
· Am I self-assured, but not arrogant?
· Do I genuinely like people and do they like me?
· Am I having fun? If not, why am I doing it?
· Am I visibly honest and operating with unspoken integrity?
· Do I get excited about the prospect of helping others?”

She goes on to share: “I carry these questions in my car and review them every time I am about to go on a sales call. It is a valuable tool to put myself in the right frame of mind.”

Looking at passion a little differently a colleague of mine refers to passion as “’the gut factor’ … what grabs you at the deepest level and won’t let go?”

Interesting question for a Monday morning!

Quote for today: “Optimists choose action over inertia.” Loretta LaRoche

Sunday, February 21, 2010


While sitting and waiting for “Mary H,” one of my American Cancer patient who I transport occasionally, I was taken by the continuous flow of individuals through the doctor’s office. Cancer is no respective of station or position, of money and wealth, of family support or the lack there of. Some were brought by friends, some by family members and still others by caregivers. Every now and again someone was able to drive him or herself. Some came in new expensive cars while others were in cars that had long since seen better days.

Age was not a deciding factor either. Many were well up there in years, but every so often a young person would enter for their chemo treatments.

Attitude was also an interesting measuring guideline as to how these people were handling the challenges of their illness. Some entered, as they were already defeated. Some entered angry at the world and probably at God for “giving” them the cancer – by-the-way God doesn’t do that. There were those who just were so tired with the whole ordeal that they would have just preferred to give up, go home, climb in to bed, pull of the sheets and go to sleep … for ever.

My mind always came back to “Mary H.” Her situation is hopeless. The doctor has done all that he can do, except to keep her “comfortable” through chemo drugs. Monday-Friday, everyday for the rest of her life, she will have an appointment to get her treatments (4 to 5 hours long) or a shot (20 minutes). But, her attitude is so positive, so upbeat … she talks to everyone, greeting her “friends” with a smile and a warmth of caring.

Every time I pick her up she has a little more personal tragedy to share. Like the time that she had received the news from the weekend that her mama in Mexico had passed away. Yet, she still goes on. She has discovered the real lesson to living – it is all about attitude and a deep abiding faith that God is still in charge.

I’ve started to call her the “Queen” – it makes her laugh and God knows “Mary H” needs to have something to laugh about.

Look around you. There are a lot of people who are hurting and need to discover that there has to be something to laugh about. Who knows God just might have a “Queen” waiting to enter your life.

Quote for today: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: To choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way.” Viktor Frankl, Nazi concentration camp survivor.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A lighter side of life

While serving First UMC, Hudson, FL I fell “victim” to a church bulletin blooper. The special announcement read: “Please attend worship this Sunday. We will be honoring Laura S for her long service as our volunteer choir director by presenting her with a plague.” Everybody seemed to enjoy the good nature humor based on their comments… all except Mary Joe, the church secretary, who made the mistake.

Do you know of any "church bulletin bloopers"? If so, please send them on to me. Here are some Church bulletin bloopers that I have placed in my collection:

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.

Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

Quote for today: “Happy is the person who can laugh at himself. He will never cease to be amused.” Habib Bourguiba.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Winter Olympics and Sacrifice

During the Olympic Games there are always many unbelievable stories of individuals going well beyond their abilities, competing with pain or broken bones (like the woman who won a bronze metal with 4 broken ribs) and/or providing a WOW factor to a super human effort.

In the last few days all of the events have provided more of those experiences … more than anyone can imagine. One of the neat things about being retired is that many of the daytime telecasts can be enjoyed without looking over your shoulder to see what isn’t getting finished!

Beyond these Herculean athletic efforts are a touching series of commercials. If you have been watching any of the Winter Olympic Games I am sure that you have seen one particular commercial. That is unless you have chosen the commercial time to get up and go do something different.

The commercial depicts children as Winter Olympians marching into the stadium, giving interviews, signing autographs, and about to compete in various events. The tag line is: “To their moms they will always be kids.” It is not the only commercial being offered by this particular company all with the same emphasis.

It does remind me of the sacrifice that parents of these young men and women have made so that their child could prepare for realizing their dream. Many parents simply uproot their lives and move to a place where their offspring will receive better training. Bradenton, Florida is home for such a training facility and families come here from all over their world.

The bottom line is sacrifice – by the athletes, siblings and parents. Sacrifice as the driving force to reach where others can only dream of reaching. Sacrifice that demands more from a body, from ability, from inhuman effort – Sacrifice that brings a huge cost to all that are touched by the realization of a dream.

As one observer I appreciate their sacrifice!

Quote for today: “Ministry that costs nothing, accomplishes nothing.” John Henry Jowett.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Running the race

NASCAR is up and running again. You might not pay attention to these “weekend” events… but, it does get my blood flowing. I won’t be “glued” to the TV, but a good portion of my “down” time is spent watching the races.

In retrospect, it does seem a little ridiculous … consuming hours watching a bunch of grown men spending millions of dollars to run around in a circle … until you “hook-up” with a particular driver. Then, you have someone to root for. You have gained an identity by association. You live vicariously through the driver. They win you win!

Do you not feel some exhilaration when the USA athletes win a gold, silver or bronze medal during the Winter Olympics Games? Those young men and women are racing and winning for us … for me! Yeah, team!

As I gear myself up for another exciting year of NASCAR racing (especially since “my” driver Mark Martin is still racing) I am aware of a correlation between the life we live and the races we watch.

In life, we have a tendency to run around in circles … faster and faster and faster we go always thinking that we are making great time. We are not really sure where it is we are heading or why, just that somehow this is what we are “suppose” to do because “everyone” else is “running” the same race.

Running around in circles, heading who knows where, we are spending a lot of time and money. Not really sure for what … just that this is what is “expected” from us and because that really is what everybody else IS doing therefore, it must be correct. Right?!?

Who are we “running” for? Ourselves? Others? God? And why are we running? To gain purpose or meaning in our life?

I don’t know about you, but I keep hearing “old tapes” from childhood. My “tapes” talk about “what other people might think” and something about “starving children in China.” Do you hear something similar?

My “tapes” define my “running” and it is extremely hard to re-program my mind and spirit to listen to God’s “tape” … allowing His words to define my purpose and direction.

So there’s the choice: “old tapes” producing running in circles and getting nowhere fast vs. God’s “tape” which produces meaning and purpose and direction. The choice isn’t hard to make, but getting this “old dog” to learn a “new” trick and redirect my energy is … except when I rely on God’s Spirit to do it for me.

Here’s to running a great race!

Quote for today: “Life by the yard is hard--by the inch it's a cinch.” Source unknown

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On being a winner

Some random thoughts about dissimilar events… the start of the NASCAR season, March Madness, Ash Wednesday, beginning the days in Lent, a baptism of a baby, and a wedding!

NASCAR is the celebration of speed as the drivers run to win the prize!
March Madness celebrates the athletic commitment of young men and women to reach the heights of their ability!

Ash Wednesday is a summons to reorder ones life that is both dedicated and committed to God.

The days in Lent … a time for meditation and prayer to see what needs to be changed so that we can obtain the full purpose of ones life as designed by God.
Baptism of a baby is an affirmation that God holds out hope for life which is cradled in the heart of love.

A wedding is the biblical imagery for the relationship between God and his church. It is an analogy that permeates the teachings of Jesus as he instructs us about the Kingdom of God.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24 … “You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win.” (The Message)

All of these “dissimilar” events are all about “doing your best;” about “making a commitment;” about “surrendering your time, energy, and resources to a higher purpose;” … In short, they are all about winning!

Every race car driver straps themselves in believing that today they are going to win ...

Every basketball player puts on their uniform believing that today another miracle is going to happen and they are going to win …

Every couple brings a baby into this world, as a direct result of their love and commitment to each other, believing that today this child is going to be perfect and a real winner …

Every young man and woman, standing before the altar of God, pledging their undying devotion to each other, believe that today their marriage was made in heaven and they will be winners …

Every Christian who has ever accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior with a commitment to seek God’s purpose in their lives do so believing that today they are special and are winners …

AND … you know what? They (we) are! Through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, God has made us all winners!
Yeah, God!

Quote for today: “A winner makes commitments; a loser makes promises.” Source unknown

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mixed feelings about Black History Month

Every February I am conflicted. During this particular month our young men and women observe Black History Month and I struggle with a set of mixed emotions.

A part of me celebrates this emphasis. There is just so much that has been long ignored and we are lesser for it. After 12 years in elementary, junior and senior high school; after 5 years of college and 3 years in a master’s program – I know only what I have pursued on my own. The study of Black History is long over due.

Another part of me cringes at the idea of such an emphasis.
· It is regrettable that such an emphasis has to be mandated from “on high” to become a part of the standard curriculum.
· It is regrettable that the desire to know the contribution of a large portion of our society is not a natural desire.
· It is regrettable that the study of Black Americans is relegated to just one month.
· It is regrettable that other ethnic groups are relegated to simple footnotes – especially the Native Americans.
· It is regrettable that after many years of having this emphasis we still have huge amounts of racial hatred and misunderstanding spreading its ugliness throughout our society.

When will we grow up as a society and begin to treat each other as God expects us to see his beloved creation?

Dear Lord, take away my feelings of inadequacy so that I might accept my fellow human beings as equals. Amen.

Quote for today: “History is the record of an encounter between character and circumstance.” Donald Creighton

Monday, February 15, 2010

The lesson of the weeds

Here are 10 things I learned from the weeds I pulled this past week.
1) All weeds are not the same.
2) Some weeds come out easily.
3) Some weeds are stubborn with deep roots.
4) Some weeds twine their roots around the things you want to keep – maybe they think that by association I would leave them alone.
5) Some weeds stand up tall and get easily noticed.
6) Some weeds try to hide among the leaves and mulch.
7) Some weeds can be easily removed when they are just starting out, but become extremely difficult later on as they grow.
8) No matter how hard you try you will always miss some.
9) It doesn’t take to long for weeds to take over a flowerbed if left alone.
10) Weeding is a constant, daily chore.

Sins are like weeds – some are small and easily handled; some seemingly go on forever no matter how hard we work at getting rid of them; some have “roots” which go very deep into the “soil” of our hearts/lives and are very painful to remove; just when we think we have the “garden” of our soul cleaned out there is a new crop of sin to deal with; and dealing with sin in our lives is a daily … hourly … second-by-second task.

Dear Lord, stand guard at the door of my soul so no sin will take root. Please alert me when a “sin-seed” enters so I can get rid of it quickly. Thank you for helping “weed” my spirit. Amen.

Quote for today: “The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.” Ben Stein

Sunday, February 14, 2010

St. Valentine's Day and Love

I believe that the Greeks had it correct. We use one word, love, as a means to describe a rather wide range of emotions and relationships. On the other hand the Greeks had multiple words to be used depending on the type of relationship and/or the depth of feelings involved.

They had a word to describe love for an inanimate object such as a pair of old shoes or a favorite piece of clothing or your abode. It was a love that could not be returned, but nevertheless there were emotions involved for this inanimate object.

Then there was a different word that spoke of the love that you have for friends and casual relationships. While we have several words that attempt to bring about an expression of this particular connection they just do not approach the level achieved by the Greeks. And still another word for describing relationships that were with family and/or others, but at a deeper level.

Then there was their word that illustrated an emotional and physical relationship that one person will have with another. The sex-traders have high jacked Eros and made it sound dirty, but when used within the Greek context it is quite beautiful because it involved more than just the physical relationship, but an extremely deep emotional connection as well. Soul-mate comes close, but does not embrace the full extent or depth that the Greeks understood about a lasting relationship between two people.

The fifth Greek word, Agape, was a self-sacrificing, self-giving word which meant that you gave 100% of yourself to a person or a purpose – holding nothing back regardless of the personal cost. The best example of this kind of love was Jesus’ willingness to accept the Cross and the dynamics of the consequences of that painful death all for the purpose of freeing us from our self-centered decisions called sin.

Today is St. Valentine's Day. It is a day when any one of these descriptive words for love could come into play when attempting to express one’s feelings for somebody important in your life. It has long been my belief that divorce is most likely if only the first four kinds of love are to be found in a marriage. While being in love with the object (the concept of marriage itself) is important – you will need to want to be married and in love with the idea of being married to make marriage work; a couple should be each others best friend – this often takes a life time to achieve; the emotional and physical side of a relationship is vital and a tremendous gift from the Creator; but it is the selfless and sacrificial dynamic that makes a marriage long lasting.

Those couples who shared that they have “just fallen out of love,” or “grown apart,” etc. are people who have limited their definition of love to only the first four. The reality is that there is a day here and a day there that you really want to take your spouse to the highest mountain, push them off and tell God they slipped. At those “reality points” is when the Agape type of love needs to take over allowing two people to once again fall in love with each other. After all it is “for better and for worse” … just make sure that there is more “better” days then there are “worse” days. And, there will be if Agape is present!

Quote for today: "Whoever loves much, does much.” Thomas a’ Kempis

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The lighter side of life

The following is from an e-mail entitled: Ramblings of a Retired Mind

I was thinking about how a status symbol of today is those cell phones that everyone has clipped onto their belt or purse. I can't afford one. So, I'm wearing my garage door opener. I also made a cover for my hearing aid and now I have what they call blue teeth, I think.

You know, I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people didn't like me anyway.

I was thinking that women should put pictures of missing husbands on beer cans!

I was thinking about old age and decided that old age is 'when you still have something on the ball, but you are just too tired to bounce it.'

I thought about making a fitness movie, for folks my age, and call it 'Pumping Rust.'

I have gotten that dreaded furniture disease. That's when your chest is falling into your drawers!

I know, when people see a cat's litter box, they always say, 'Oh, have you got a cat?' Just once I want to say, 'No, it's for company!'

Employment application blanks always ask who is to be notified in case of an emergency.' I think you should write, 'A Good Doctor!'

Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do... write to these men? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen could look for them while they deliver the mail? Or better yet, arrest them while they are taking their pictures!

I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older. Then, it dawned on me, they were cramming for their finals or looking for a loophole. As for me, I'm just hoping God grades on the curve.

Quote for today: “’Enjoy Your Days and Love Your Life.’ Because: 'Life is a journey to be savored'” source unknown

Friday, February 12, 2010

When death comes

What do you say to people who have experienced a death such as a baby or an adult child ... or a spouse or parent? In our attempt to comfort we often say well meaning things which in reality only make the hurt deeper.

Often is heard the phrase: "It is God's Will." Or, "God wanted another angel in heaven." Or, "They have suffered long enough." Or, a thousand and one other little "catch phrases" we have used over the years. They all sound good, but it is really, really bad theology and offers little if any expressions of true caring for the person struggling with the death.

The bottom line is this: How can something that produces so much pain be a part of God's Will? The truth of the matter is that it isn't. In fact, it isn't even a part of God's Will that anyone dies. God affirms, loves, cares, supports, sustains, and, above all things, gives life.

Then how do you explain death? Death is a crude reality of life. It robs life from the very ones who deserve to live.

We live in a very fractured world. It is filled with disease and illness. Life as we know it on earth is imperfect and so death is a part of the cruelty of life. The hard truth is that we do not need to have an answer as to why. It just is!

In biblical days people wanted to have an answer for everything and so literally everything was blamed on God. They believed that every illness, infirmity, death and lack of the ability to bear children was a direct result of a person or parent's sin. Jesus was even asked once, "Who sinned? His parents or him?" Jesus turned that discussion around by stating that this illness can bring glory to God.

Therein lies the real truth ... not that God causes illness and death (life does that all on its own), but that out of the tragedy of illness and death God can bring victory and triumph. Where is the victory and triumph in a baby's death? I do not know as I didn't know when our son passed away. All I did know was, as the Psalmist states: "Joy comes in the morning!" After you walk through the darkness of illness and death, sunrise does come and joy can be experienced once again.

Victory and triumph comes in different ways to different people. For us the victory came in the person of our adopted daughter and our life together with our other daughter. For others it comes in a commitment to change the world so that others will not suffer a loss. And still with others it comes through organizations such as Compassionate Friends who care for parents who have lost a child. Each person finds their own path through this maze of life, but there is victory at the end.

So what do you say to the grieving family? Sometimes - nothing - other than just sitting silently with them and allowing their grief to flow through you and around you. The simple act of your presence and a caring touch on the shoulder is all that is needed.

Or, according to Jess Decourcy Hinds in her article on "My Turn" page of Newsweek magazine, May 28, 2007, writing about her own recent journey at the age of 25 and the death of her father, she writes: "We need to stop being afraid of public mourning. We need to be open to mourners. We need to look each other in the eye, and say 'I am so sorry.'" Here are her "guidelines for mastering the Art of the Condolence:"

1. Always begin directly and simply. "I am so sorry about your mother's death."
2. It's better to ask "How are you?" or "How are you feeling?" instead of telling someone how she should feel.
3. Never say "I can't imagine what you're going through." To me this translates as "This is too hard for me, I don't want to think about it."
4. Never give advice about how someone should get through the loss. ... Be open to the mourner's individual needs. Be open to the possibility that these needs will change day by day.
5. If you want to offer something upbeat, share a funny anecdote or memory about the deceased that might bring a smile to the mourner's face.

Quote for today: "Fight the good fight with all thy might, Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right; Lay hold on life, and it shall be Thy joy and crown eternally." John Samuel Bewley Monsell

Thursday, February 11, 2010

About Parenting

Have you ever wondered if you are a good parent or not? Or for those of us whose children are now adults wondering if you did a good job in raising your child?

I believe that there is a simple test … look at the heart of your child. In a biblical sense the heart is the seat of the person. The entire person’s personality is defined by the condition of the heart.

Too often as parents we look at their accomplishments, their success in obtaining a good education, the awards they receive and the decisions they make. While those things are all good, they do not measure the stature of an individual… at least that is my opinion.

If the choice is between a financial successful career or a caring, kind, generous spirit I will take the latter every time. Do they have a good heart? Do they care for others?

I learned this lesson early in my life. Donna was one of the foster children that my parents were privileged to care for as I grew up. Donna, though only 4 or 5, cared deeply for others. If she saw you upset, or even worse, crying she would come, sit in your lap or sit next to you and putting her little arm around your shoulder would say, “That’s okay I cry with you. I make it better.” She had a caring spirit.

Just look at the heart of your child if you really want to know what kind of job you are doing!

Quote for today: “The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them.” Source unknown

I also like the quote from President Theodore Roosevelt when it was commented that he should control his daughter Alice, “I can either be president of the United States or control Alice, but I cannot do both!”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reducing Stress

An unknown author shared the following:

An angel says, “Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn’t happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.”

Here are 36 ways for a Christian to reduce stress.
1. Pray
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say NO to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule or that will compromise your mental health.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time don’t lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget it.
12. Live within your budget; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.
16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don’t wait until it’s time to go to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with Godly people.
25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good “Thank you Jesus”
27. Laugh
28. Laugh some more!
29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
32. Sit on your ego.
33. Talk less, listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36. Every night before bed, think of one thing you’re grateful for that you’ve never been grateful for before. God has a way of turning things around for you.

Quote for today: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The power of desire

Desire is a highly motivating factor within the psychic of some human beings. Desire is a powerful emotional driving force that can bring about unbelievable results.

A grandfather, in the Hudson community, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in February of that year. The doctors gave him less than a month or so to live. Upon receiving the prognoses he said, “Well, doc I don’t think that I can keep your date with destiny. My wife and I are planning to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary a year April. She has threatened me that I better not leave this earth until we have that celebration because there has just been too much work already done in making the plans. And then I have a granddaughter who will be graduating from high school the following June. And then after that I am supposed to walk my other granddaughter down the aisle at her wedding in August. So I’m sorry doc I just cannot keep your appointment with death, at least not yet.”

And he didn’t. He lived to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary, the high school graduation and the wedding. And then, two days after the wedding he hugged everybody in the family, laid down and passed way. Desire is a powerful emotional driving force.

Between the Colts and the Saints I just think that the Saints were more motivated by desire. Desire is a powerful emotional driving force.

Tim Tebow has been highly criticized about his non-NFL level abilities, but they haven’t factored in his desire to play football at that level. A comparison has been made between Tebow and another University of Florida quarterback by the name of Danny Wuerffel. Danny also won the Heisman Trophy (1996) and was highly successful at the college level, but just couldn’t bring the same success at the professional level.

But, I believe that there is one big difference between these two young men … desire. Only time and a few seasons at the professional level of football will tell the true story. I know that many in Jacksonville, FL are hoping that the Jaguars will draft Tebow and maybe, just maybe their desires will translate into a decision when the draft takes place on April 22nd.

And then you have the story of Michael Jordan who was told that he would never make it as a basketball player.

Desire is a powerful emotional driving force. It often it determines the difference between success and failure.

Quote for today: “Attitude not aptitude determines altitude” Popular phase at high school and college commencement addresses a few years ago

Monday, February 8, 2010

Being victorious

Sitting in the stands just to the right of us during one of the Dolphins home games when they had their perfect season was a group of people clothed in yellow and black. They had definitely come to party. They stood for nearly the entire game, sang songs, danced in the aisles, and every now and again broke into a chant that none of us could understand until the about the third or fourth time through. Those of us who watched yesterday’s Super Bowl game could hear it in the background amongst the other cheering … “Who dat, who dat, who dat say dey gonin’ to beat my Saints?” Well, yesterday it wasn’t the Colts turn to beat the Saints! It was a long journey, often painful for the Saints to finally arrive where few teams end up … Super Bowl Champions!

But victory is so fleeting. Here today, gone tomorrow. Oh, the celebration along Bourbon Street in New Orleans will be going on for many days, but eventually work beckons, the money runs out, and the hangovers takes over the body. Victory is so fleeting especially when next season starts up and your beloved team ends up losing a game or two or more. And then, another team holds up the trophy at next year’s game.

We like to associate ourselves with winners. We believe that just maybe, if we get close enough to a winner, it might just rub off and we can become winners too! Not only do we like to associate ourselves with winners, there is buried deep within our psychic the need to be a winner. For far too many of us we have picked up somewhere along the path of life that we simply do not measure up … that we can never be the winner ... that there is something wrong with us and no matter what we accomplish or do it just won’t change the reality that we are not worthy of being called a winner.

Well, there is another reality … a reality that I have to keep reminding myself almost daily. It is a truth basic to life itself and it doesn’t come via a victory by your team in the artificial setting of a football game one evening during the year. This truth is: “I’m somebody because God don’t make junk!” When God created the human person he stepped back and said, “That’s good!” You are a winner so dance the dance, sing the song, and enjoy the game of life for victory is yours!

Quote for today: “Err on the side of generosity: You get more by first giving more.” Danny Meyer

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Church and Sports

Recently I was driving to another city and was listening to Christian talk radio. I didn’t have time to pull over and take notes on what they were actually sharing with the listeners so if I miss represent the intent of those participating in the discussion I am deeply sorry.

The discussion centered on the Super Bowl and what should be the church’s proper response to the event and the hype. The book in question (again, I apologize to those involved, but I didn’t catch the title of the book) has a quote from Frank DeFord, a sports commentator. Mr. DeFord refers to sports as the “tar-baby” of today’s society. When the church gets close to the “tar-baby” it gets caught and the harder the church tries to free itself from the entanglement the harder the “ol’ tar-baby” takes hold.

I witnessed that first hand as the associate at First UMC, South Miami the year the Dolphins went undefeated. It was quite a ride and it was very easy to get caught up in all the excitement that it brought to the great city of Miami … especially since the senior pastor and I got to see most of the home games thanks to a generous member. In retrospect, I’m not really sure how the Rev. John Few, the senior pastor, was able to do it, but we could hold 11 o’clock worship, have him preach a full sermon, greet everybody after the service, change clothes, grab a bit to eat, drive over to the stadium, make it through the crowd, and find our seats for the 1 PM kickoff. It was a great ride, but oh the compromises we made in the process. We got caught by the ol’ tar-baby!

And so the ol’ tar-baby takes hold as churches that traditionally have Sunday evening services will either cancel them on Super Bowl Sunday or change the format in order to include a big screen TV along with a party. Other churches decide that they will take the higher ground, so to speak, and carry on with their regular Sunday evening activities even though very few people actually do attend. As one Baptist preacher shared once that there is a trade-off … something about the football fans and the baseball World Series fans trading off their church “responsibilities” concerning attendance during their seasonal activities. I’ve also seen a drop in attendance of the tennis group when breakfast at Wimbledon is televised. It sure is easy to get caught by the ol’ tar-baby!

And then there was the Rev. O. Dean Martin (no relationship to me) who was the pastor at Trinity UMC, Gainesville, FL and the chaplain to the Florida football team who would pronounce the benediction with an “Amen. Go Gators!” during football season. The congregation loved it!

And then you have the youth sports leagues that no longer bow to the wishes of the churches to stay away from Sundays for their games, practices, etc. Here the excuse is made that there are too many different religions with too many worship times to consider so they just throw away all requests operating as if the young boys and girls do not have any activities on Sunday morning. Go figure on that one!

Anyway … have a great Super Bowl Sunday and may, amongst all the hype and activity, God be included in your life! Amen. Go, Saints!

Quote for today: “God keeps an infinite equilibrium in creation; in every conflict, there’s an opportunity to serve God and restore that equilibrium. Everything points you in that direction.” Margaret Tomback

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A lighter side of life

With the recent heavy snow/ice/sleet storms that have hit the nation in the last couple of weeks, especially the one last weekend, crippling or drastically limiting all vehicle traffic even on Sunday reminded me of a story told by The Rev. Wallace Chappell.

A horrible ice storm hit the community this particular weekend, but the preacher heated up the church just in case anyone showed up. Out of all the members only one hardy old farmer came to church that morning. He sat in his normal pew and the preacher decided to “hold forth with church” … he led the old farmer in everything – all the hymns, announcements, prayers, Apostles’ Creed … everything including the 30-minute sermon he had prepared for that morning. It was a “where two or three are gathered” kind of thing … so the preacher did his best even for only one old farmer. After the sermon the preacher asked the old farmer what he thought. The farmer scratched his head and said, “Well, preacher, if I goes out to feed my cows with a load of hay and only one shows up I don’t give him the whole load.”

Stay warm and stay safe!

Quote for today: “Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. By visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as a possible.” Ann Roulac

Friday, February 5, 2010

Coach Tony Dungy on Football

With the Super Bowl just around the corner and the daily reminders of all the hype that comes with this particular game I am reminded of a passage from a book that I read a couple of years ago. The book’s title is “Quiet Strength” by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker. I read it for a couple of reasons: 1) it was a birthday present from one of my daughters; 2) I really like Tony Dungy as a football coach; and 3) I know Nathan Whitaker. Nathan and Amy (they married just after I left the church) were college students and members of First Church Gainesville when I was the pastor – though I only got to see Nathan when he wasn’t attending school at Duke and then Harvard. I was close to both families while serving that historical downtown church and they gave valuable leadership at some challenging times. I came to discover that Nathan and Amy were/are outstanding Christians and simply a joy to be around.

And now the passage that appears in the opening chapter. Mr. Dungy and Nathan wrote the following paragraphs that have caused me to stop and reflect upon my life and its purpose:

“But football is just a game. It’s not family. It’s not a way of life. It doesn’t provide any sort of intrinsic meaning. It’s just football. It lasts for three hours, and when the game is over, it’s over.

And frankly, as you’ll see throughout this book, that fact – that when it’s over, it’s over – is part of football’s biggest appeal to me. When a game ends, win or lose, it’s time to prepare for the next one. The coaches and players really don’t have time to celebrate or to stay down, because Sunday’s gone and Monday’s here. And no matter what happened yesterday, you have to be ready to play next Sunday.

“That’s how it works – just like life.

“It’s the journey that matters. Learning is more important than the test. Practice well, and the games will take care of themselves. Whether you’ve been kicked in the teeth or life just couldn’t get any sweeter, it keeps rolling on … and then there’s another game.”

Wise words from a great coach … those are words to live by!

Quote for today: “Second is so good, Daddy.” Amanda Mickelson, 7 year-old daughter of Phil Mickelson

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Doing the Green Thing

Let’s starting thinking GREEN. You have heard the question all too often, “Paper or Plastic?” Thanks to Matt Lauer and his report on the TODAY program let me share with you the real cost of using paper or plastic.

First, consider the plastic bag: there are 1 million plastic bags manufactured every minute in America … 1 MILLION-PER MINUTE! We dispose of over 100,000,000,000 – that is ONE HUNDRED BILLION – plastic bags each year. Further, only 5% of the plastic bags get recycled each year AND the recycling process requires energy, water, etc. Another sobering thought, it takes 12 Million barrels of oil to produce the 100 Billion plastic bags manufactured each year.

Secondly, paper – it takes 14,000,000 trees – 14 MILLION – to produce the 10,000,000,000 – that is 10 BILLION – paper bags that we use each year.
Your grandmother, or possibly even your mother, took a cloth or mesh bag(s) with her went she went out shopping, because “paper or plastic” wasn’t an option. I doubt that any of you are old enough to remember when the shopkeeper would wrap your purchases in a cheese cloth or gunny sake or burlap … which was all recycled into play clothes, curtains, or something else which could be used around the home. I haven’t witnessed that either, but I’ve watched enough old westerns where this was a general practice. What I do remember is that when I went shopping with my mother I would witness many individuals who shopped at SHELLS CITY in Miami (a local giant shopping center in Miami in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s – and by the way, it was as large or larger than the modern Wal-Mart Super Store) who used their own wire shopping cart.

Another sobering thought shared by Matt Lauer was that if every household in America would use just one (1) reusable cloth bag each year we could save enough oil to power 50,000 cars per year.

As to the question concerning biodegradable qualities of paper and plastic the jury is not unanimous concerning length. It all depends on the thickness of the bag and the elements to which the plastic is exposed. The “normal” time period for the bag to breakdown is 100 to 1,000 years – but could take longer if the bag is thicker and/or isn’t exposed to the oxygen and the Sun. Paper really isn’t much different. It takes the exposure to certain elements (oxygen and Sunlight) for paper to breakdown. If buried in a landfill … guess what … paper can stay around for a long, long time too!

Confession is good for the soul. I have the reusable grocery bags, but I don’t always remember to put them in the car. Therefore, if I end up purchasing more than I can physically carry I usually end up with several plastic bags. BUT, I was feeling pretty good because I always recycle my bags (all plastic bags regardless of where I got the bag or how thick it is) and yet, because of Mr. Lauer’s report, I am rethinking that because of the amount of energy required to recycle. Won’t you join me in trying to be more conscious about our use of paper or plastic?

Quote for today: "When faith is absent life collapses under the pressure of a challenge." from a church sign

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blessings on a daily basis

I’ve heard most of my life that good things come in packages of three. Maybe it has something to do with the legendary visit of the 3 magi to the young child Jesus or, maybe it has something to do with the Holy Trinity. I’m not sure where this “concept of 3” began, but I have found myself looking over my shoulder when something good happens … looking for the next blessing. Anyway, this all came flooding back to me when I read the following.

Three things in life that, once gone, never come back -
Time… Words… Opportunity

Three things in life that can destroy a person -
Anger… Pride… Unforgiveness

Three things in life that you should never lose-
Hope… Peace… Honesty

Three things in life that are most valuable -
Love… Family and Friends… Kindness

Three things in life that are never certain -
Fortune… Success… Dreams

Three things that make a person -
Commitment… Sincerity… Hard work

Three things that are truly constant -
Father… Son… Holy Spirit

Each of us is blessed in more ways than we can imagine. Some of the blessings we simply take for granted. Others too often go unrecognized. As the old gospel song goes, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings, see what God has done!”

Quote for today: “I’m on a first name basis with Holy.” Author unknown

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Faith and Football

Many avid football fans approach this week with mixed feelings. There is incredible joy because the Super Bowl has always been promoted as the football game to end all football games. Actually that might be closer to the truth this year. There is also great disappointment because it signals the end of the football season. I must be counted among this group.

Several observations:
Among those who will fill the stadium will be Christians who had attended worship prior to going to the game. Many will lose their voices as they shout and scream their team on to victory. And yet, their voices are too often silent when it comes to witnessing to their relationship with Jesus Christ.

Along with losing their voices they will spend large sums of money for their seats and eats – more than they would have dropped into the offering plate that morning. One fills the coffers of multi-million dollar organizations that pay obscene amounts of dollars to a few men to play a crazy game. The other, the offering plate stuff, supports outreach ministries that changes lives and heals emotional wounds. Something is terribly wrong about this particular picture!

Then there is the comparison of face painting and outlandish costumes worn by followers of a particular football team along with magnetic signs placed on their vehicles and/or fly those window flags which communicates to everyone which team they support vs. them stating that they wouldn’t dream of witnessing to their relationship with Jesus Christ out of fear of the possibility of offending someone.

Another perspective, at least within the financial picture of professional football, was captured by an unknown author who wrote: Imagine another world looking down at 60,000 people who pay $900,000 to sit in a stadium that cost $45 million to watch 22 men being paid $7 million a year dispute the possession of a ball that costs $16.95.

Having said all of this I will confess that I will be in front of my TV Sunday evening rooting on the New Orleans Saints. I actually do not have a “dog-in-this-hunt,” but after hurricane Katrina and the fact that the Saints have never been there … why not? I just pray that I become as excited about my faith as I do about a silly little game played on a pasture of green grass and watched by millions of people.

Quote for today: Breathe a prayer of gratitude. And give those you love an extra measure of affection. Life is fleeting and love is precious. Cherish both.” Galen Guengerich

Monday, February 1, 2010

Believing in miracles

Do you believe in miracles when nothing seems achievable?

Do you believe in hope when there is absolutely no reason for hope?

Do you believe in possibilities when everyone suggests that you should give up?

Do you believe in moving forward when you are standing on the edge of a precipice?

Do you believe in life when death seems so certain?

Do you believe in slaying giants when you only have a slingshot and a small stone?

Then let me recommend a movie … “Extraordinary Measurers” staring Brendan Fraser (John Crowley), Keri Russell (Aileen Crowley) and Harrison Ford (Dr. Robert Stonewell). It is based on a true story of John Crowley’s fight to find a medical answer for his children’s fatal disease, Pompe.

Quote for today is from me: A miracle is simply God’s regular activity taking us by surprise.