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Ponder. . .  What is a Church?

“Dynamic” is one response.

This may seem an elementary question, but the views people carry about the cares in their life, in no particular order — faith, family, jobs, friends, hobbies — matter.  We invest in the things we care about with our time, efforts, and money.  We bring energy and ideas to projects.

Obviously, there is more than one answer to this question, “What is a Church . . .?.”  Feel free to elaborate if you desire.  I thoroughly believe Christians should share their ideas and beliefs with one another.  Through my eyes this is what fellowship is mainly about:  Spiritual enlightenment.  Sharing with the faithful creates an environment for exchanging the concepts of our faith that help us to learn new views about our faith and, in so doing, sharpen our ability to share the faith to those who need to know more of God.  What better way to expand your own knowledge of God than to share with those made in God’s own image.  In Genesis, God makes humans in, “Our own image,” — which means you and each of those you worship with are somehow an “image of (the plurality of) God.”

“…this is what fellowship is mainly about: Spiritual enlightenment.”

We receive back in measure to how much we give, or in New Testament terms, “Reap what we sow.”  And as our knowledge increases about a subject we understand it better and tend to be more supportive towards it.  In this instance we are talking about ‘church’ and any of its aspects.  If the question seems awkward, rethink it a little.  Maybe “At church we…”  or “What I like is …”  So write us something…

Jeff

 

Work towards the im-perishable

John 6:27

Jesus makes reference on how important it is to live your life the way God wants us to live.  In this instance some people followed Him after He journeyed overnight to another location.  Jesus perceived their wanting another meal, after all, who would not like a second meal if the first was pleasing and, quite frankly, a bit of a miracle?  He uses the situation as a springboard to highlight the importance of listening to God in our daily life.  Eating is important — we can’t live too well without it.  It’s just that living in the Kingdom is also necessary and healthy for us.

Paul correlates eating and the Kingdom of God in Romans 14:17. The Holy Spirit’s entanglement with righteousness, joy, and peace in his comparison means more than the eating of food.

Take time to truly nourish your soul: build some time with Jesus, set apart some time to pray, listen.  Chew the cud on God’s Word.  Consider Luke 16:13 (and surrounding verses).  You either serve God, or you are tied to the tethers of this world.

for george floyd and all of us

not what i signed up for

this is not what i signed up for
this is not the way it should be
this is not what i voted for

injustice from
those who know justice
maybe they dont

but george
is an awful lot like me
human and divine like you, Lord

i wanted a nation of free peoples
but look at where we are
see what we have become

the spider spread its web over the area
waiting to cull
catching the biggest prey

reminds me of Jesus
pharisees rigging the jury
the ones who decide the fate

this is not to see
this is not to be
my eyes

this time 4 officers
for Jesus
a crowd

each of us with sins to hide
an officer with too much force against blacks
a black who has seen that force

the one who knew the spider’s heart
and could offer the best testimony
against the spider

what IS truth
“it is as you have said”
“i can”t breathe”

innocent of requiring death
not denying power
the power to save or destroy

killed for the fear of enclosed spaces
an officer unable to de-escalate
please, sir, i cant breathe

the gloating over the prey
parading around on display
for all to see

the crown of thorns
mocking
who will save you now

George, the one slain
is a little bit like me
i could interact with authority

Big Lesson from “Little” Jude

Build yourself up.

Jude — Ah-a-al-l-l-l-l-l of it

Jude is tucked away at the close of the New Testament, just in front of Revelation.  When perusing through the Bible don’t blink or you’ll miss it.  It is 1 chapter in length, sincerely compelling us to “contend for our Faith”.  But the word “contend” is used in many translations.  It is defined as an ongoing effort, a struggle — I think upwards or uphill against gravity like climbing a mountain, with thorn bushes and obstacles along the path — towards a goal.  This goal is knowable, defined and is obtainable, reachable.

Jude’s unction for writing is to preserve a genuine Faith, the True Faith.  Giving examples of how God rewards the faithful he then begins a laundry list of worldly ideas.  Sometimes to know what it is we a talking about we take a look at what it is not.  I wish we could do without this but to know the True Faith it is sometimes good to remind ourselves what to stay away from.  This litany seems to drag on but verse 17 turns a corner.

In verse 20 you look to yourself and in prayer in the Holy Spirit you “strengthen” yourself.  Do not turn aside but keep the goal in mind.  Continue to tread towards the summit.

To carry this Faith you must know what the task is.  And use the Faith you already possess.  Could it be you are honing your Faith?  Like a pilot of an airplane flying to a destination making course changes along the way.  At takeoff the heading is established but nudges are needs to stay on course.  The Faith is summed up pretty well in Matthew 5.

Another practical application in these Covid 19 times is to watch yourself and stay healthy.  Watch how often you expose yourself to catching this disease or spread it to others.  I live in New York State and Gov. Cuomo has become the herald for lowering the transmission of Covid.  I applaud this attitude, others do not, which is their right to choose.  But for you: you take responsibility for your health and the health of people around you.

In Him,
Jeff

Evagrios the Solitary – On Passions and Thoughts #3

The voids inside oneself from social distancing can become a time to deepen your relationship to God.

Evagrios the Solitary, also known as Evagrius of Pontus
Lived 346 – 399CE (disputable) as an early ascetic pioneer
Texts on Discrimination in Respect of Passions and Thoughts
Number 3

Let us stand firm in the fear of God, rigorously practicing the virtues and not giving our conscience cause to stumble. In the fear of God let us keep our attention fixed within ourselves, until our conscience achieves its freedom. Then there will be a union between it [this freedom] and us, and thereafter it will be our guardian, showing us each thing that we must uproot. But if we do not obey our conscience, it will abandon us and we shall fall into the hands of our enemies, who will never let us go. This is what our Lord taught us when He said: ‘Come to an agreement with your adversary quickly while you are with him in the road, lest he hand you over to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer and you are cast into prison (Matt. 5:25). The conscience is called an ‘adversary’ because it opposes us when we wish to carry out the desires of our flesh; and if we do not listen to our conscience, it delivers us into the hands of our enemies.

Continue reading “Evagrios the Solitary – On Passions and Thoughts #3”

Covid Outbreak – We’re at War!

Can you see we are at war with the adversary tiny?  The “unseen enemy” is upon us.  Watch our flanks.  No, the enemy is directly ahead.  It’s within our ranks, one of us has succumbed.  What are we to do now.  Don’t let down your guard.

CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!  (Thank you, Professor Moody.)

But, maybe, the true fight is inside ourselves.

To be at peace with myself and God.

Continue reading “Covid Outbreak – We’re at War!”

talk about your social distancing. . .*

“I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life.  I am it.” Astronaut Michael Collins, Apollo 11

Remember Astronaut Michael Collins on the first moonwalk 50-years ago?  No, I don’t either. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Actually I do.  About every 2-hours Michael Collins, in the Command Module, Columbia, flew over Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong after their descent to the lunar surface in the Lunar Lander, Eagle, and were the astronauts who first walked on the moon.

. . . and one plus God only knows what on this side.  I feel this powerfully — not as fear or loneliness — but as awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence, almost exultation.  I like the feeling.

Let’s backtrack a little.  3-Days earlier the Columbia crew fired their main engine, for TLI, that is Translunar Injection.  This ‘burn’ set their trajectory away from orbiting earth in favor of traveling to the moon.  That is: they pointed the Columbia to travel to where the moon’s position would be 3-days (approximately 40-degrees) ahead of the moon’s present position.  You have to plan ahead, you know.

I have fortunately lived in the space-era, the ‘space race’ — ‘we HAD to beat those Russians’ to the moon, no second choice in the matter!  Amazing what a little ‘friendly competition’ can accomplish.  President Kennedy said in outlining the mission to go to the moon AND RETURN safely, “. . .not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” Continue reading “talk about your social distancing. . .*”

Pray: for Covid 19, itself, to flatline

The book of James has much to say about deepening prayer.

I am cautious when combining these particular Bible verses in this way because they relate independently.  Chapter 1 is about how we think.  Chapter 4 is on material goods.  Chapter 5’s subject matter is on  remission of sins.  Never-the-less. . .

 

I am asking you and those whom you share this with to pray the Corona virus outbreak out of existence.

1:5-6  Wisdom can be gained by asking in Faith

To me, ‘Wisdom’ that comes from God gives us hope and a backbone to seek God and His strength.

4:1-3  If you fail to ask you just might end up with nothing.

The simple truth is we want stuff without asking God first.  And without asking God we turn to our own way of accomplishing our goals — by massaging our passions.

Thus, I am asking you and those whom you share this with to pray the Corona virus outbreak out of existence.  Let it flatline.  Let God do His work.  Let us be aware that people are of much greater value than money.

As James 5:16 says the prayer of the Faithful can accomplish things with its great power.

-Jeff
(obviously, paraphrasings are mine)

Covid Prayer this April 14th

I would set in motion a prayer for healing.  I have been pondering this for a week and the wording for what I want to express is a little evasive to me.

Sometimes it is worth defining something by what it is not:  the economy, travel restrictions, possibly even life or death issues.

But it is about you, as you take God’s Peace out of the box, to grip it.

Allow it to grip you.

You are on God’s mind.

 

Thomas Merton’s Joy (by way of prayer)

“The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message. . .” Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton is portrayed as owning a great joy.  In Dialogues With Silence, a book of Merton’s writings and drawings, Jonathan Montaldo, editor, embodies Merton’s thoughts.  And captures the “joy” surrounding Merton with Merton’s own words:

(this is verbatim from pages xii and xiii)

. . .situated him among those rare human beings who love the life they are leading and who have found their own true place.  He reflects his typical joy as a monk in this journal entry dated May 21, 1963: Continue reading “Thomas Merton’s Joy (by way of prayer)”