Tag Archives: encouragement

Unemployment it’s especially hard during the holidays. Enjoy the holidays, but on Monday try this

I have developed a heart for those dealing with unemployment. I worked in corporate finance for twenty years and went through my share of. Corporate challenges  I do know the drill. If you are dealing with this I am sure you have been working hard, doing all the things that are recommended and still keeping a great attitude. I would certainly encourage you to keep trusting in God, looking for His will and trusting that he is moving you where you should be.  I truly hope that you will take your foot off the pedal for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Keep a positive attitude, keep regular hours do what you can do but take time to enjoy family and friends to let a group like ours give support, for your pastor to encourage and give comfort. I know how you’re feeling and you need to stop beating yourself. This time of year is particularly tough for two groups, those who have lost a loved one and those who are unemployed. Please be with brothers and sisters in Jesus and enjoy their support. If you are in the York, Pa area and we can provide support of clothing, food, fellowship, please don’t hesitate to contact me at bm2driskell@aol.com.

Now something to think about for next week, maybe you’re kind of in a rut so try this. This is something we suggest to people in the group we facilitate, but now it is backed up with professional opinion. The following is from “Men’s Health” Jul/August 2014 page 20:

“Donating your time really will help you get ahead. In a study in the “Journal of Career Assessment”, unemployed people who volunteered weekly were far more likely to have a job within six months than those who didn’t lend a hand. Even those who volunteered less than two hours a week had a better shot at being hired elsewhere, says Varda Konstam PhD, the study’s lead researcher. The key word here is “elsewhere”. The ability to ladle out soup doesn’t mean you’re qualified to work only in a cafeteria. Interviewers are increasingly viewing such basic skills as indicators of broader skill sets. That means serving soup isn’t about serving soup; it shows that you’re good at customer service and work well with others. Try telethons to show off your sales and marketing tactics  or find another opportunity in your area at volunteermatch.org ”

i have seen at least two people in our group end up with really great positions by following this advice. One other note we are more and more seeing ages forty and over with this group. Either they’re the only ones taking the initiative to be part of such group or it’s hitting older workers. I’d be willing to be a combination of both. Any discussion on that would be appreciated we would like to get better in this area and input would be appreciated. Again Happy Thanksgiving and God bless.

Some thoughts on thankfulness that you can share this coming Thanksgiving.

I reblogged Dr Hamilton’s post about why gratitude is good for you, certainly there are positive physical effects when we are grateful. Too often we are not just ungrateful, we are envious and resentful of what others have. The ninth commandment is quite specific about coveting what others have.

With just a few days before Thanksgiving we should also discuss being thankful and also how we are blessed. Henry Blackaby gives a good definition as to how a Christian should be thankful: “Thankfulness is foundational to the Christian life. Thankfulness is a conscious response that comes from looking beyond our blessings to their source. As Christians, we have been forgiven, saved from death and adopted as God’s children. There could be no better reason for a grateful heart!” (Henry and Richard Blackaby “Experiencing God Day by Day” p 324). I might add that not only are we saved to eternity which is huge by itself, this gives us the hope that we are living for a purpose, that even in suffering we know that God sustains us, He provides for us, He is watching over us and even in the “worse case”, death, for those who are saved in Jesus, death delivers us to be in His presence. But we shouldn’t just skim over what God does provide for us, that we are kept safe. Sure there are times where we have less than others, there are times when we are sick, injured and even seriously incapacitated. But when you think of the possibilities it is remarkable that for the most part we are kept so healthy and capable.

I often point out that the Book of Revelation tells us that at some point in the end times, God does remove His protective hand. If we think there is evil now, just imagine what it will be like when God takes His restraining hand away and the evil that is unleashed. Blackabys write: “We, too, have been healed and made whole by the Savior. We are free to enjoy the abundant life the Savior has graciously given us. Could we, like the nine lepers, rush off so quickly to glory in our blessings without stopping to thank our Redeemer. … Our worship, prayers, service and daily life ought to be saturated with thanksgiving to God (Phil 4:6) (Ibid p 324)

Blackaby goes on to point out that we should also remember our blessings and I couldn’t agree more. I’d like to say that I faithfully recount my blessings and remember what God did for me. I’d like to say that … One way I try to be pro-active is to record in my journal the circumstances that brought on my need, the way God responded and the way that my situation is worked out by God. Even now I have a tough time thinking of specific incidents, but I know that there have been so many times and each time I often sit back in amazement and I always think “wow, I would never have seen this working out that way. Glory to God for His greatness, His wisdom and His mercy.” Even when things don’t play the way  I think they should or that does cause me loss, I still always understand what God is doing and that it is ultimately for my own good.

The Blackabys point out that our blessings often come in what seem to be “ordinary” ways and our attitude is “gee, that was nice, glad things worked out” and don’t really take time to see God’s hand. Our Gospel reading for Thanksgiving this year is about the ten lepers. Jesus healed them all, how many came to tell Jesus how grateful they were? One, one out of ten. Today, even for us in the church, even ten percent is probably a high percentage. Appreciation in the form of telling others  how much you appreciate them and offering them encouragement. I get encouragement once in awhile and often won’t really appreciate what was done. I know that I need to show more appreciation, encouragement and blessing for those around me, that I minister to. But I too often fail to do that. It does not seem hard to understand that when we bless others we show gratitude to what God does for us, and what others do for us, but most importantly be grateful to God.

We need to show gratitude, we need to show it in public, grateful to God and to those that God has put in our life. In addition, yea, we should break out that journal and write about how God has blessed us, what happened and what God did in response. We should take some time to be in wonder of what God did, what He does, and the promises of what He will do. We should go back through our journals and re-remember what God did, I should be a lot better about relating in my sermons how God has blessed me. Too often we skim over the blessings and spend too much time whining and complaining about what we think we should have, what we feel we’re entitled to.  In this time of Thanksgiving let’s focus on being grateful for the things that we often take for granted and let go of what we think we are entitled to.

Happy Thanksgiving (again don’t call it Turkey Day or I will snap). Have a great time with family and friends and take some real time to tell them what you are grateful for, especially our Lord and the family and friends He’s given us.

Meyer Minute, Dr Dale Meyer, David’s Psalms read by Jesus which makes them important to us.

The Rev Dr Dale Meyer has had a varied and tremendous ministry, filling the pulpits of prominent churches of the Lutheran Church, in broadcast and now as President  of Concordia Seminary St Louis, Mo. one of the largest Christian seminaries in the United States. The following is a “minute” describing the connection between King David’s (most of them at least) Psalms and Jesus, who of course is linked to us. Friend Dr Meyer on FaceBook to get his daily “minutes” he’s at Dale Meyer
So check out
2 hrs ·

Meyer Minute for November 20

The print on your phone or tablet isn’t large enough? Want the picture bigger? Do the magic thing with your fingers and presto, the print is larger and you get it.

When a follower of Jesus zooms in on the Psalms, the picture of the ages gets clearer. At first blush, each psalm is about something in someone’s life long ago. For example, the writer of Psalm 118 had survived a battle and so he exults. “Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous… I shall not die, but I shall live.” (Psalm 118:15-17) OK, good for him. You read further and come across this, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” (22) Whoa! As a Jesus follower you know that the New Testament uses that passage for Jesus. You reread and see the psalm also describes Jesus. “I shall not die, but live” came to fulfillment in Jesus, who did die but arose and lives forever. Zoom even closer. Since Jesus promises, “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” you also see your future in the psalm. (John 11:25) You shall not die but live! “Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous.”

The Psalms are the prayer book of the Bible. There’s probably no emotion of your life that isn’t talked about and prayed about in the Psalms. More than that, the Psalms were Jesus’ personal prayer book. He prayed these very words you are reading and praying. Now you’re zooming wide! The psalmist long ago, you, Jesus…people of the kingdom, members of the Body of Christ, all united with Jesus in praying the psalm. “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (23-24) The picture of the ages gets very clear!

Holy communion, a time of great reverence and thankfulness, Jesus gives us His Body and Blood for our forgiveness and strengthening

I did a blog awhile ago on the Lord’s Supper and I have wanted to pick that discussion up in more detail because this is a real sore spot with people who try to make this out to be some sort of egalitarian issue. It’s not and I need you to put aside your prejudices, and your idea that it’s all about you, it’s not, it’s about God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I intend to do a series of blogs on this, the issue is not as simple as many would like to make it out to be, the reason why I’m doing it in a series of discussions.

The Lutheran view of the Lord’s supper is unique in Christianity. There are two sacraments in the Lutheran Church, baptism, where the Holy Spirit gives the recipient new life, they are born again in Christ. The Holy Spirit becomes part of that person and that person becomes a child of God. The second is the Lord’s Supper, where we receive the true Body and Blood of Jesus. As God’s child, we receive our Savior’s Body and Blood in order to be assured of our forgiveness by Jesus’ sacrifice and to receive the nourishment that we need as I say ” to strengthen body and soul to life everlasting”.

So here’s the rub, this is exclusive, you have to be baptized, a triune baptism, and you have to be a member of the Lutheran Church. This is not to impose some arbitrary exclusivism, this is to honor and treat with great reverence the Body and Blood of our Savior. We are in agreement with Roman Catholics that the Lord’s Supper is about the true Body and Blood. We however disagree on the means, but that will be part of a later discussion in this series and yes that difference is a fundamental issue.

I don’t make membership a long process or jumping through hoops. I take people through what we are about, why we do what we do and to impress upon people that it is about God, not about us. A lot of the discussion in the previous post was in the sense of “that’s not fair to me”, “I should have what anyone else has”, “Why can’t I”, etc, etc. Basically, it’s all about me and how I should be treated and very little in terms of treating the Lord’s Body and Blood with due and extreme reverence. I am a Lutheran pastor, I take the responsibility of administering the Lord’s Body and Blood with the utmost reverence and giving me arguments that it’s all about me is not going to be received with any respect and is just not valid. After I go through instructions, we take time during worship to ask them if they understand the teachings of the Lutheran Church and if they vow to abide by these teachings. This is the sense of a wedding, as I wrote about in an earlier blog, we treat weddings as worship, taking vows, making promises in the presence of God and brothers and sisters in Jesus. We do the same with membership, that you understand what we are doing and you promise before God and brothers and sisters that you will honor and uphold these teachings. It’s not your call, it’s what Scripture tells us it is. I am retired enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. Every four years I had to re-enlist and take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. I took those vows very seriously and I should, my country is important. But by far God is more important. If I take the U.S. Constitution seriously, I take God much more seriously. When people take a vow before God you need to take it seriously. At that point, knowing that they understand and accept the Church’s teaching, I with great joy welcome them into the Church and happily give them the Lord’s Body and Blood, there is no higher act, the Body and Blood that was sacrificed to pay for our sins and to give us the assurance of life everlasting in the Resurrection. Why someone thinks I should take that less than seriously is totally bizarre to me. In short, those of a Reformed, Arminian or other Protestant, non-denominational etc church do not have this understanding, why would they with any integrity still insist on taking the Lord’s Body and Blood?

It is a very deep issue and deserves much more discussion than the superficial treatment given by many other Christian churches. I welcome you to join in that discussion as I try to honor the Body and Blood in subsequent blogs.

Rev Dr Kurowski quotes the following in his book and it underscores the discussion about how our worldly attitude towards the Lord’s Supper is just not valid, God tells us what it is and that is what we honor and not our “opinion”: “In their case the god of this world has blinded the mind of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as servants for Jesus sake.” (2 Corinthians 4: 4-5)

I would highly recommend a book by Rev Dr Peter Kurowski on the discussion of close/closed communion “Close Communion Conversations”. I am sure your order will be happily received at  lawgospel@lawgospel.com  or 877-CMS-1962

We serve the ultimate Commander in Chief Veterans Day observance First St Johns Nov 9, 2014

Traducción española sigue el Inglés

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know Jesus as the leader of their life said … AMEN
Before I begin the planned sermon, I would like to take a moment to remember our brother, the Rev. Donald Biggs. Pastor Biggs has been a member of our congregation since he retired from the ministry. I have very much appreciated his guidance and support as I started my ministry. We certainly offer our condolences to his wife Mary Lynn our beloved sister and their two sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. We continue to keep Mary Lynn in our prayers as she has been suffering from health problems and we trust in the promises of Jesus that Pastor Don is in the presence of Jesus, now in perfect health and in perfect bliss before the throne of our Lord. (Time for silent prayer)
Today we honor our veterans, men and women who made a commitment to serve, protect and defend. Many of whom were often put into, at least, uncomfortable situations far from home, if not outright dangerous situations. The military teaches leadership right from the very beginning, even the most junior people are put into leadership positions or responsibilities. Beginning in boot camp there is a recruit company commander and other recruits put into leadership positions. Even in day to day situations junior people are often given authority for different tasks. The U.S. Military is unique among any other organizations in the world, often you are expected to follow commands without question, but quite often responsibility is pushed down to the lowest level to make decisions, part of being in the military is to not just be a good follower, but also a good leader. It has been recognized throughout history that quoting Aristotle: “’He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.” Despite the stereotype of those who have served in the military, you usually find people who are much more balanced, much more aware of the need to be an effective leader, much less concerned about their own gratification. There’s a very good reason for that, in politics, in government, in business, science, academia, it’s all about me and how I get ahead. There’s no danger, there’s no sharing, there’s no need to watch out for someone else, unless it’s to your benefit, it’s all about how anything enhances your life, everyone else just has to take care of themselves. Yea, in the military the consideration can be to your benefit, that you don’t get killed. But because you have built that sense of camaraderie with brothers and sisters, you also want to watch their backs. It is also much more about the common good, the good of each individual, when one benefits usually everyone does.
Again, too many times our “leaders” are only about how they are enhanced by being a leader. That’s simply not leadership. Leadership is about that agape love, that selfless love, that love that wants what is truly best for each person God leads you to, that love that Jesus showed to us on the cross and gives to us everyday through His grace, His hope, His promise. Napoleon said “A leader is a dealer in hope.” No doubt Napoleon’s motivation/definition of hope was in a very worldly sense and he wasn’t thinking about Jesus when he said that. But it is certainly true in Jesus, not in a cynical way, but in that true agape love way. The hope that He gives us in His resurrection, in the hope that He gives us for life eternal. Pastor Don liked to tell me how on Easter everyone was kept out of the sanctuary at sunrise, he came out on the roof of a tomb that had been built and with the sun at his back announcing to all who gathered “he is not here, He has risen”. We have that hope of eternal life, “He is risen…[He is risen indeed, hallelujah!]
Imagine a world where you did not have that love/leadership, not knowing that Jesus did step up, as Jesus tells us: “I have overcome the world.” This is so empowering, so comforting, so reassuring. In a recent study it was show that when people were monitored at work their quality and productivity was worse, they were stressed over being constantly watched, versus being enabled to be productive. Business is not a very forgiving environment, there may be ‘love’ when you’re on top, but there sure isn’t any if things aren’t going well. That’s what the world is all about, an old saying: “The world doesn’t want to hear about the labor pains, they just want to see the baby.” The further implication that not just having the baby, but also that the baby better stack up in terms of the expectations of the world, otherwise both mother and child have failed.
We know that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, we are a temple of the Holy Spirit. We are loved, we are inhabited by love and leadership, we have ready access to the forgiveness that is Jesus. He knows when we try for Him, when we demonstrate that sacrificial leadership of discipleship. He encourages us, He strengthens us, He picks us up, He dusts us off, maybe gives us new direction with promise and hope and then puts us on our feet, makes sure we know that we are loved with an everlasting love, squares our shoulders in the direction He wants us to go and then leads us on the path He puts us on. The Law/the world, monitors and checks us and usually intimidates the toughest of us. The Law/the world, never loves, it keeps us in fear and bondage and because of that we suffer, we don’t live to the level that God intends us to live at and when we fail (not if), the world just casts us into the junk heap. True leadership picks us up, equips us, loves us, is always with us “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20 ESV) The Coast Guard motto is Semper Paratus always ready and we are always ready in Jesus.
Like the military you can be a new disciple and still be used mightily by the Lord, it is a lot like the military when you can be a junior person and still have responsibility over more senior person. I was in Puerto Rico for Tall Ships in 2001 to do security as coxswain of a 41 foot boat. Ended up doing a lot of taxiing, because it was the biggest most comfortable boat. Had to drive the zone commander from one end of the harbor to the other, going past where all the tall ships were moored. At one point a helicopter roars overhead and the commander tells me to hurry up because the vice commandant of the Coast Guard is on the helicopter. I had about a dozen passengers on board going past a bunch of historic ships and chose to ignore the commanders request. The safety and integrity of other people and boats took priority. He was just going to have to be a little late for the vice commandant. Often we have to ignore the world and rely on what the true CNC tells us, God is always our commander in chief, He wants what is best for us and for us to minister to those around us accordingly. When we are true leaders, true servants of Him, ready to serve and sacrifice as so many who do who are serving or have served in our military, then we are truly doing His will.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.

Servimos el último comandante en jefe Día de los Veteranos observancia First St Johns 09 de noviembre 2014

Hacemos nuestro comienzo en el Nombre de Dios el Padre y en el nombre de Dios el Hijo y en el Nombre de Dios el Espíritu Santo, y todos los que conocen a Jesús como el líder de su vida dijo … AMEN
Antes de comenzar el sermón planeado, me gustaría tomar un momento para recordar a nuestro hermano, el reverendo Donald Biggs. Pastor Biggs ha sido miembro de nuestra congregación desde que se retiró del ministerio. He apreciado mucho su orientación y apoyo cuando empecé mi ministerio. Ciertamente Ofrecemos nuestras condolencias a su esposa Mary Lynn nuestra querida hermana, y sus dos hijos, hijas-en-ley y nietos. Seguimos mantener Mary Lynn en nuestras oraciones como ella ha estado sufriendo de problemas de salud y confiamos en las promesas de Jesús de que el pastor Don está en la presencia de Jesús, ahora en perfecto estado de salud y en la felicidad perfecta delante del trono de nuestro Señor. (La hora de la oración en silencio)
Hoy honramos a nuestros veteranos, hombres y mujeres que hicieron un compromiso de servir, proteger y defender. Muchos de los cuales fueron a menudo ponen en, al menos, las situaciones incómodas lejos de casa, si no en situaciones francamente peligrosas. El ejército enseña liderazgo adecuado desde el principio, incluso las personas más jóvenes se ponen en posiciones o responsabilidades de liderazgo. Comenzando en el campo de entrenamiento hay un comandante de la compañía recluta y otros reclutas puestos en posiciones de liderazgo. Incluso en el día a día situaciones de las personas jóvenes a menudo se dan autoridad para diferentes tareas. Los EE.UU. Militar es única entre las otras organizaciones en el mundo, a menudo se espera que siga órdenes sin cuestionarlas, pero muy a menudo la responsabilidad es empujado hacia abajo al nivel más bajo para tomar decisiones, parte de estar en el ejército es no sólo ser un buen seguidor, sino también un buen líder. Se ha reconocido a lo largo de la historia que citando a Aristóteles: “.” El que no puede ser un buen seguidor no puede ser un buen líder “A pesar del estereotipo de los que han servido en las fuerzas armadas, que se suele encontrar personas que son mucho más equilibrada, mucho más conscientes de la necesidad de ser un líder eficaz, mucho menos preocupados por su propia gratificación. Hay una muy buena razón para ello, en la política, en el gobierno, en los negocios, la ciencia, la academia, es todo acerca de mí y cómo me pongo por delante. No hay peligro, no hay intercambio, no hay necesidad de mirar hacia fuera para otra persona, a menos que sea para su beneficio, es todo acerca de cómo nada mejora su vida, todos los demás sólo tiene que cuidar de sí mismos. Sí, en el ejército la consideración puede ser para su beneficio, que no te maten. Pero debido a que usted ha construido ese sentido de camaradería con los hermanos y hermanas, que también quiere ver a sus espaldas. También es mucho más sobre el bien común, el bien de cada individuo, cuando uno se beneficia por lo general todo el mundo hace.
Una vez más, muchas veces nuestros “líderes” son sólo sobre la forma en que se ven reforzadas por ser un líder. Eso simplemente no es liderazgo. El liderazgo es acerca de que el amor ágape, el amor desinteresado, ese amor que quiere lo que es realmente mejor para cada persona que Dios te conduce a, de que el amor que Jesús mostró a nosotros en la cruz y nos da todos los días a través de su gracia, su esperanza, su prometer. Napoleón dijo: “Un líder es un distribuidor en la esperanza.” No hay duda de la motivación / definición de Napoleón de esperanza fue en un sentido muy mundana y no estaba pensando acerca de Jesús cuando dijo eso. Pero lo cierto es en Jesús, no de una manera cínica, pero en la que el verdadero camino del amor ágape. La esperanza de que Él nos da en Su resurrección, en la esperanza de que Él nos da la vida eterna. Pastor Don gustaba decirme cómo en Pascua todo el mundo se mantuvo fuera del santuario al amanecer, salió en el techo de una tumba que había sido construido y con el sol a sus espaldas anunciando a todos los que se reunieron “él no está aquí, ha resucitado “. Tenemos la esperanza de la vida eterna, “Él ha resucitado … [Él ha resucitado, aleluya!]
Imagina un mundo donde no tiene que el amor / liderazgo, sin saber que Jesús intensifique, como Jesús nos dice: “. Yo he vencido al mundo” Esto es por lo que empodera, tan reconfortante, tan reconfortante. En un estudio reciente se muestra que cuando las personas se controlaron en el trabajo de su calidad y la productividad era peor, se destacaron por haber sido constantemente vigilado, frente está habilitado para ser productivos. Negocio no es un ambiente muy indulgente, puede haber ‘amor’ cuando estás en la cima, pero no seguro que no es ninguna si las cosas no van bien. Eso es lo que el mundo es todo alrededor, un viejo dicho: “El mundo no quiere oír hablar de los dolores de parto, lo que quieren es ver al bebé.” La implicación, además, que no sólo tenga el bebé, sino también de que el bebé mejor apilan en términos de las expectativas del mundo, de lo contrario la madre y el niño han fallado.
Sabemos que el Espíritu Santo mora en nosotros, somos un templo del Espíritu Santo. Somos amados, que están habitadas por el amor y el liderazgo, tenemos fácil acceso al perdón que es Jesús. Él sabe cuando tratamos de Él, cuando se demuestra que el liderazgo sacrificial de discipulado. Él nos anima, nos fortalece, nos levanta, nos desempolva, tal vez nos da una nueva dirección con la promesa y la esperanza y luego nos pone en pie, se asegura de que sabemos que somos amados con un amor eterno, plazas nuestros hombros en la dirección que quiere que vayamos y luego nos lleva por el camino que Él nos pone. La Ley / el mundo, los monitores y los controles de los Estados Unidos y por lo general intimida el más duro de nosotros. La Ley / el mundo, nunca se ama, que nos mantiene en el miedo y la esclavitud y por eso sufrimos, no viven al nivel que Dios nos tiene la intención de vivir en y cuando fallamos (no si), el mundo sólo nos hace caer en el montón de chatarra. El verdadero liderazgo nos recoge, nos equipa, nos ama, está siempre con nosotros “Y he aquí que yo estoy con vosotros todos los días hasta el fin del mundo.” (Mateo 28:20 NVI) El lema de la Guardia Costera es Semper Paratus siempre listo y estamos siempre listos en Jesús.
Al igual que los militares puede ser un nuevo discípulo y todavía ser usado poderosamente por el Señor, que se parece mucho a los militares cuando se puede ser una persona menor y aún así tener la responsabilidad sobre más persona mayor. Yo estaba en Puerto Rico para la Tall Ships en 2001 para hacer la seguridad como timonel de un barco de 41 pies. Acabé haciendo un montón de rodaje, porque era el mayor barco más cómodo. Tuvimos que conducir el comandante de zona desde un extremo del puerto al otro, más allá de ir a donde estaban amarrados los barcos de altura. En un momento un helicóptero ruge encima de la cabeza y el comandante me dice que se diera prisa porque el vice comandante de la Guardia Costera está en el helicóptero. Tuve una docena de pasajeros a bordo que van más allá de un puñado de barcos históricos y decidió ignorar solicitan los comandantes. La seguridad y la integridad de otras personas y embarcaciones tomaron prioridad. Él sólo iba a tener que ser un poco tarde para el vice comandante. Muchas veces tenemos que ignorar el mundo y confiamos en lo que el verdadero CNC nos dice, Dios es siempre nuestro comandante en jefe, Él quiere lo mejor para nosotros y para nosotros para ministrar a los que nos rodean en consecuencia. Cuando somos líderes verdaderos, verdaderos siervos de Él, dispuestos a servir y sacrificio como tantos que hacen que están sirviendo o han servido en nuestras fuerzas armadas, entonces estamos haciendo realmente su voluntad.
La paz de Dios que sobrepasa todo entendimiento, guardará vuestros corazones y vuestros pensamientos en Cristo Jesús. Shalom y Amin.

Weddings are for worship and should not be a lot of money, period!

This is based on an article in the Wall Street Journal dated Oct  5, 2014 (sorry cut off the page number). The average, AVERAGE wedding in America costs $29,858. That is more then I made when I started my first job at Chase Commercial Corp. ( one wedding in ten cost between $50,000 and $100,000! This is not a typo) I’m going to say it and I’m sure someone won’t like it, but that’s insane! Turns out that the article would tend to agree. The author Brett Arends quotes research done by Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon, two economics professor at Emory University in Atlanta (A Diamond is Forever and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration). Their findings were, at least to the current culture of excess and overkill, that: “We find evidence that marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony.” That is, the more you spend on the wedding/engagement, the more likely that you will not stay married.

The authors found that “women whose weddings had cost more than $20,000. ended up getting divorced 60% more often than those whose weddings were cheaper. And men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on their engagement ring got divorced 30% more often than those who spent between $500 and $2,000.” Mr Arends talks about the likelihood of an expensive wedding raising expectations, etc. He also writes about the very real possibility that the couple may feel trapped into the wedding after a lot of money has been spent and maybe now they’re having second thoughts.

The upshot is this: “The evidence suggests that the types of weddings associated with the lower likelihood of divorce are those that are relatively inexpensive but high in attendance,’ write Messrs. Francis and Mialon.” Didn’t see that coming didja? My translation; there is a lot more intimacy, a lot more feeling of being together with a modest cost wedding. You don’t start your married lives already trying to outdo people or impress people, creating problems right from the start. Instead you have a nice group of those you want at the wedding and you treat them nicely, but hey, who’s kidding who and trying to wow everyone? It’s just not the way to start a marriage.

Now I think I have a different perspective on this than most people and for that matter most clergy. I think even clergy have fallen into the trap of conceding the ceremony to other people and really just being a prop. I get it, most important day, want it to be perfect, everybody look at me, yada, yada. Feeding into the immaturity and narcissism that is so prevalent in today’s society. I think we all know a bride that felt the entire event was about her, center stage, look at me, with very little understanding of the fact that there was going to be a marriage after the wedding. The marriage is supposed to last for decades, not months.

I am a Lutheran pastor and I would probably be smitten if George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin came to me and asked me to perform their wedding. Nonetheless, it just is not going to be at their level, at least not for the ceremony. Yea, a couple is going to do what they want for a reception, but in the church I pastor, that ceremony is going to be about them coming before God and understanding that their marriage is all about living a Christian life, in all they do.

Ladies you aren’t going to like this, but a Lutheran wedding is about worship, the pastor is the center of attention, not you. You will get your moment, but the pastor’s responsibility to you and frankly to the rest of the people in attendance is to impress upon all, the seriousness of marriage and the commitment you are making before God. Isn’t that the way it should be, isn’t that the way you want your marriage to start? Versus a big show “it’s all about me”? The wedding ceremony isn’t especially long, but there is no mistaking the emphasis. You have come together before God and these witnesses to make a sacred commitment and take sacred vows. You better take them seriously from the start. It is a reminder of what marriage is about, and yes, between a man and a woman. It is entirely what God’s intention is for marriage, the union between two complementary persons, man and woman, how God created us and how we should live that union together, one flesh.

It is also worship for those attending, many of whom have probably not been in worship since, well let’s be upbeat and say since Easter or Christmas. It is a reminder to them that marriage is sacred, it is important, it’s about all the trials and tribulations of life and marriage. It’s not about giving up the first time things don’t go your way, it’s about living through all those things to God’s glory, not yours. Towards the end of the ceremony I close with this prayer and it is not just for the two who are now married, but for all the married couples in attendance: “O God, our dwelling place in all generations, look with favor upon the homes of our land. Embrace husbands and wives, parents and children, in the arms of Your love and grant that each, in reverence for Christ, fulfill the duties You have given. Bless our homes that they may ever be a shelter for the defenseless, a fortress for the tempted, a resting place for the weary and a foretaste of our eternal home with You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Lutheran Service Book Agenda p 70, Concordia House Publishing) And then the Lord’s prayer. So ya, this isn’t some Hollywood movie, this is about marriage that is for all the right reasons and things and that’s the way it should be. Sorry to my brother pastors, but if you have a couple whose purpose is something else, just shut it off then. I didn’t go into the ministry to be popular, I am a minister of Jesus Christ and I serve Him and am here to help and serve those that I come in contact with to know Him and His will. Not to be someone’s prop at a Hollywood wedding, so George and Amal, I’d have to respectfully decline if the wedding is anything other than that. The reception, hey, you’re on your own on that.  And now I get to start wedding  counseling with a couple tonight and that’s is so great and they know the drill. I can’t wait to help them start this exciting adventure to a wonderful life in Jesus and to the glory of God.

Los santos de Jesús, los que viven con autenticidad Primera Saint Johns, 02 de noviembre 2014

Hacemos nuestro comienzo en el nombre de Dios Padre y en el nombre de Dios el Hijo y en el Nombre de Dios el Espíritu Santo. Yo voy a decir buenas santos de la mañana de York y vas a dar los buenos días en Saint Jim, buenos santos de la mañana de York …
Y todo el pueblo de Dios dijo AMEN! Celebramos hoy el Día de Todos los Santos, que es también el mismo día como Día de la Reforma que observaremos en el culto de esta tarde, el día en que Martín Lutero clavó sus 95 tesis.
Halloween, que se observó el viernes, tiene sus raíces en un día de fiesta pagano gaélico llamado Samhain [Sawin pronunciado], que es cuando se pensaba que los espíritus y hadas podían moverse con mayor facilidad en el mundo físico. Las almas de los muertos visitaban los lugares donde vivían. Halloween es la segunda fiesta más observado después de la Navidad. Para aquellos en el mundo secular que les gusta pensar en cómo pragmático y la realidad que son impulsados​​, un escritor señaló que “Halloween es él último día de fiesta de fingir … nos vestimos y ‘pretender’ ser alguien o algo distinto de nosotros mismos. .. “En otras palabras, simplemente pone de relieve la falsedad del mundo en que vivimos. un mundo que niega la realidad de un cariño, Dios Creador y trata de hacer en algo mucho mejor que no lo es. El mundo ama a preocuparse de su auto con el aspecto falso de “espiritualidad” que muchas personas hoy en día comprar fácilmente en y negar la verdadera espiritualidad que es Jesucristo. Sigo buscando, pero no encuentro donde explica que lo que la gente realmente piensa que tipo de espiritualidad va a hacer, excepto que les da la sensación de estar en control, pero nunca realmente cómo se realiza ese control. ¿Cómo funciona en términos de la eternidad? Nadie parece ser el más mínimo interés. El mundo habla un buen juego de ser “auténtico”, de autenticidad, pero que rara vez se ve, es sólo en términos de su percepción ilusoria de un mundo sin Dios y luego se preguntan por qué siempre se siente perdida, asustada y sola. Sólo hay una fuente de autenticidad y que está en Jesús. Cuando estamos a un santo en Jesús son verdaderamente auténtico, parte de la cual está siendo humilde, que es cuando confiamos en el Señor para vivir la vida que Él nos ha salvado para. Para estar seguro de ser cristiano es mucho más que las Bienaventuranzas, nuestra lectura de hoy, pero sin duda modelar autenticidad cuando hacemos nuestro mejor esfuerzo para vivir esa vida a través del poder del Espíritu Santo. Las Bienaventuranzas no son nuestras obras, que son el fruto del Espíritu Santo que está trabajando a través de nosotros. Todavía el pecado, el mundo piensa que debemos vivir en la perfección. No, los santos siempre serán personas falibles, el anciano vive en cada uno de los santos, pero el Espíritu Santo nos mueve una y otra vez a la altura de las Bienaventuranzas. El mundo trata de vivir sus propias virtudes, pero es muy claro que esas virtudes son sólo para mejorar su propia vida y el fruto de su propio espíritu, el espíritu del mundo y no del Espíritu Santo. Roy Lloyd dice lo siguiente: “… un hombre que llegó en 1953 en la estación de ferrocarril de Chicago para recibir el Premio Nobel de la Paz. Como él bajó del tren … como las cámaras destellaron y funcionarios de la ciudad se acercaron … él les dio las gracias cortésmente. Entonces él pidió ser excusado por un momento. Caminó a través de la multitud hacia el lado de una mujer de negro anciano que lucha con dos grandes maletas. Él los recogió, sonrió y la escoltó hasta el autobús, la ayudó a subir y le deseó un buen viaje. Luego Albert Schweitzer se volvió hacia la multitud y se disculpó por mantenerlos esperando. Se ha informado de que un miembro del comité de recepción le dijo a un reportero, “Esa es la primera vez que vi un pie sermón. ‘” Schweitzer fue un teólogo alemán, luterano, un organista que estudió Bach, un médico, un médico misionero a África. Fue galardonado con el Premio Nobel de la Paz por su filosofía de “Reverencia por la Vida”, se evidencia en su fundación de un hospital en Gabón alrededor de la vuelta del siglo XX. Es interesante cómo un santo de Cristo, que produce tanta fruta como un discípulo cristiano, por lo realizado y aún en una gran multitud, era el único que se dio cuenta de una anciana que necesitaba ayuda, entonces y allí, para hacer su próxima conexión para su viaje. Un simple acto de un hombre que sirvió a nuestro Señor de una manera tan magníficas, un gran santo de Cristo.
David Kinneman fue el orador en la conferencia en Carolina del Norte que asistí. Una cosa que él regresó a una y otra vez en su presentación fue que las generaciones más jóvenes de hoy en día y, a mi juicio la mayoría de la gente en el mundo, están buscando, es authenticty, genuinness. Ellos saben y nosotros, los que están en Cristo saben que el mundo no es genuino. Todas las instituciones del mundo fallan en repetidas ocasiones y, sin embargo tratar de convencer de su autoridad y autenticidad, incluso mientras ellos imponen en nuestra sociedad y en repetidas ocasiones fallan. Todos nosotros podemos relacionar con la forma en que podemos ver a través del fino velo de la hipocresía que nos rodea. La iglesia es a menudo acusado de hipocresía y, a menudo por una buena razón. Tratamos de convencer al mundo de que somos santos perfectos en Jesús y sin embargo nuestro intento se hizo añicos cuando nos fijamos en los santos verdaderos. Pablo llamó a sí mismo el jefe de todos los pecadores. Él no dijo que en un intento de que parecen ser piadoso, él sabía de los pecados que había cometido en contra de Jesús y su iglesia y él los reconoció y continuó a producir el fruto del Espíritu Santo. No es como una especie de forma de expiar sus pecados. ¿Por qué? Sus pecados han sido pagados a la Cruz, Pablo sabía que no había nada que pudiera añadir a sacrificio de Jesús por nosotros. Jesús pagó por nuestros pecados a través de Su sufrimiento y sacrificio. Nosotros, como sus santos, somos salvos en Su sacrificio, sino como sus santos que fielmente seguimos el liderazgo, ánimo, esperanza y promesa del Espíritu Santo, que es la única manera en que podemos vivir las Bienaventuranzas. Reconocemos nuestras faltas, nuestros pecados. Cuando tratamos de convencer al mundo de que somos perfectos, y sobre todo el mal del mundo, el mundo puede ver a través de nosotros. Pero cuando reconocemos que la única manera de que somos perfectos es a través de Jesús y sólo a través de su gracia y el perdón, que todavía luchamos y todavía fallamos en el pecado, entonces el mundo conozca la salvación a través de Jesús.
Estamos valioso, nosotros somos su creación y somos salvos por Él a través de Cristo. Tenemos que recordar lo valioso que somos para Dios. Juan escribe: “ver qué tipo de amor [que es el amor ágape} el Padre nos ha dado: que seamos llamados hijos de Dios; y así estamos. La razón por la cual el mundo no sabe de nosotros es que no lo conocía … pero sabemos que cuando él se manifieste, seremos semejantes a él, .. “Vamos a ser sus santos y vamos a ser perfecto, no en nosotros mismos, sino en Aquel que murió por nosotros, y debido a que somos valiosos para el Padre y Él ama a sus hijos con la expresión más alta del amor.
Dr. Lutero escribió: “Mañana tengo que dar una conferencia sobre la embriaguez de Noé [Génesis 9: 20-27]; así que deben beber suficiente esta noche para poder hablar de que la maldad como alguien que sabe por experiencia. “Lutero era auténtica, no te estoy diciendo que imitar autenticidad a ese grado, pero es reconocer que somos tentados y ocasionalmente fallar.
Dado que los ancianos, los santos en Cristo se reunieron alrededor del trono de Dios en el cielo, como leemos en Apocalipsis 07:12, los santos alabando a Dios y lo adoran, vamos a tirar hacia fuera las letras insertadas en su boletín y Alabemosle aquí y ahora: Te amo Señor, letra de Petra …
La paz de Dios que sobrepasa todo entendimiento, guardará vuestros corazones y vuestros pensamientos en Cristo Jesús. Shalom y Amin.

Where are you being guided to in Jesus? First St Johns, York, Pa. October 26, 2014

Please click on the above link to hear the audio of this sermon

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who are led by and follow the Holy Spirit said … AMEN
Paul’s charge to the Thessalonians tells us that: “…we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thess 2:12) Those who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ are constantly being guided, are constantly being charged to walk, to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Marge and I were moved to pick up our lives in Massachusetts to go to St Louis for a season, complete education and then to be led to where? We didn’t know, but as things unfolded and we were faithful, we were guided to be in York, Pa. Dr Jerry Kieschnick asked me, as I received my call papers if I knew where York, Pa was? Not really, but in our faith we didn’t question where York was, we were led here and have been made a part of this great family in Jesus here in York.
On this Reformation Day, we remember Dr Martin Luther, posting the 95 Thesis on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on All Saints Day. As I’ve said before, Dr Luther wasn’t looking for some kind of showdown, too many times we see him depicted as a Christian version of a gunfighter at the OK Corral. That was not his intent. He was a brilliant man who never stopped studying, as he studied, the more he realized that there were problems with the doctrines that the Roman church was teaching. He was a teacher at the time and the more he had to deal with these doctrines, the more he felt led to start a journey of inquiry. He never anticipated what would happen as he nailed his document to that door. His whole intention was to raise these issues in a genuinely collegial sense. He wasn’t looking for a brawl, a battle, but I have no doubt that God led Luther to do this in order to raise issues about God’s church that demanded discussion. The Roman church, at the time, chose not to discuss those issues. Luther wrote: “In the year 1516. I began to write against the pope. In the year 1518 Doctor Staupitz released me from obedience to my order and left me alone at Augsburg when I had been summoned before Emperor Maximilian and the pope’s legate, who was then at the place. In the year 1519 Pope Leo excommunicated me from the church and so I was released a second time. In the year 1521 Emperor Charles excommunicated me from his empire and so I was released a third time. But the Lord took me up.”1
Many times when we are led to leave, by God, we’re told to leave by the world. Luther has the distinction to be told to leave three times, you think you have it rough, you may be told to leave your work, your school, wherever, because of your Christian beliefs, but probably only once. Luther got “shown the door” by the head of the Augustian Order where he had lived and served as a monk, by the head of the Roman Catholic Church and then by the head of state of the largest empire in the world. Luther could honestly say that he had been thrown out of better places then most people. Sometimes to be thrown out of places that are just frankly not good to be in to begin with, is a badge of honor. No one wants the shame of being publicly asked to leave, but afterwards you realize that being thrown out was the right thing, was something that needed to happen in order to glorify God, then so be it and God speed.
It is then usually a case of not just being led somewhere, but also a commentary on being thrown out of somewhere. Jesus told His disciples that they would be thrown out of houses and towns; “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.” (Matt 10:14, Mark 6:11 and Luke 9:5), each of the Synoptic Gospels. The Synoptic Gospels, do not tell all of the same events or sayings, but apparently they were all so aware of the fact that they would get tossed out of places, that they all made a point of relating this direction of Jesus. Did that mean that they had failed, or were somehow not completely adequate disciples? No, it could well mean that Jesus was making sure everyone knew that they had a chance to hear the Gospel, if they rejected it, well too bad for them, Matthew 11:23-29: “And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” If any place had its chance it was Capernaum. Jesus had been led there, most of the disciples lived and worked there, all sorts of miracles and preaching went on there. What happened? Luke 4: starting at verse 17, do you remember what Jesus did? After reading Isaiah He declared that He fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy that “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me…” Jesus was the anointed of God, the Messiah. Their response? Woe, wait a minute there, this is Joseph’s son, He’s saying that He’s the Messiah? No, I don’t think so. Jesus responded, yea, kinda figured, because no prophet is acceptable in his hometown, and that is when the people in the synagogue tried to hustle Jesus down to a cliff to throw Him off of it. Yea Jesus got run out of Dodge, but did that make Jesus find a corner to sit and cry? “They threw me out of my hometown, wah, what will I do?
Sometimes we are moved as Paul described to the Thessalonians. Now Paul had certainly been moved around by the Holy Spirit, a lot of places we don’t know about. But he tells the Thessalonians: “…like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2: 11). The Greek word Paul used peripate,w like the English can mean how we conduct ourselves and to also literally walk. No doubt Paul expected that some of those in Thessalonica that he was preaching to would be led on their own literal walk or journey.
Luther was led on a walk, to initiate that walk he was thrown out of somewhere else. The door was closed on him at the monastery he was at the church he preached at and even the country he lived in. Clearly God was using an exclamation point to emphasize that it was time for Luther to step out in his Christian faith. That wasn’t Luther’s perception, no doubt he was otherwise comfortable and at home where he was. God emphatically moved Luther so that Luther was left without any choice. He had to pursue the issues that he raised. These issues weren’t going to be in terms of some hypothetical debate, something that maybe would result in changes or maybe not. No! God didn’t leave any room for Luther to maneuver, there was only a straight line and that was to see through the establishment of a church that would faithfully preach the Word of God. A church that would be faithful to Scripture, God’s Law and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The question before you is this: Are you truly listening to what God is saying to you? Are you faithful in prayer, not the kind of prayer that’s “OK God listen up, this is what I need from You and what I need You to do!” But prayer that is also asking and seeking God’s will in your life, where he wants you to walk to? I doubt that most, if any of you, are being asked to pick up and leave York. Dick and Gloria have already gone and returned from their mission trip in Liberia. But, God might be guiding some of you to short term mission in Africa, Haiti, Guatemala, or maybe to Helen Thackston charter school, your next door neighbor, the man or woman in the cube next to you at work, to a young man or woman who may be making bad decisions and needs someone to turn them to Jesus. You might have to walk across the world or across your lawn.
Ya, here we go, take out that journal and pray over it and listen for God’s guidance. Where is He directing you to and who is He directing you to witness to or to serve, to faithfully build a relationship with in order for them to come to know the love of Christ? What comfortable place are you being asked to move out of? You may have to stand up against the powers, but the Holy Spirit will give you the words.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.

Be a man and not a one-way creep

I will admit, I’m not a really empathetic person, you may think that’s not where a pastor wants to be, but more and more I’m learning that too many people would rather bring you down to where they are, then to try to start rising up from their pit. I’m simply not going to let people drag me down, God’s got a lot for me and I have to remain faithful to Him. God wants to raise me up, He wants to raise all who are Christians up. He wants them to all be faithful disciples. The original disciples were very ordinary men, God took them, gave them the Holy Spirit and these men went to various points of the world to bring Christ to the nations, The Great Commandment.

For those people who want to strive, who want to keep pushing, who want to move in faith to Christ, I am with them. For others, I try to set a strong example, I try to model strength, perseverance, creativity, desire to learn, curiosity. Too many people want you to be an enabler, simply support them in their habit, their sin, their little comfy place, well frankly I’m not the right guy.

Too much of secular counseling, psychology, as it were, is simply enabling, not pushing someone to where they need to be. The Holy Spirit is always pushing us, always encouraging us to grow and mature as disciples. This lead up is in regards to an article in “Black Belt Magazine” (Aug/Sep 2014 pp 32-33). Point taken to Keith Vargo, the author. In this particular issue he has made me much more empathetic. For the “there’s no difference between men and women” troglodytes, yea the narrow minded groovy/hippy types of the 1960s, the ones who never let the facts get in the way of their opinion, please, for once, try to keep an open mind.

Mr Vargo is talking about women involved in martial arts, but is certainly across the board. “Women are most often assaulted by men. Worse still, it’s usually by men they know… the fear of rape and abuse changes how women see us.”

Yea, ok, right. I have no doubt that women need to be more cautious. Mr Vargo points out that men generally think of people as well as themselves, as trustworthy, we would be more concerned with danger from strangers then someone we know. Ya, point taken. I was the oldest of five boys, we moved to Brockton, Ma. when I was ten years old. Brockton is an old mill city, very much on the decline when we moved there. Rocky Marciano grew up there. Rocky is the only undefeated heavy weight champion in the history of professional boxing. He was killed in a plane crash the summer we moved there. I, kinda, grew up with Marvin Hagler, knew him just a little. Marvin was the middle weight boxing champion of the world. There were others guys who were not quite so good, but believe me, I knew plenty of guys who could fight, often finding out the hard way. Brockton was not a gentle place for me growing up. For those little girls who look like males (and I really hate that neutral term, but I hesitate to call such whimps “men”), and who are only tough with a gun in their hand, who are scared to death of anything and everything and try to look tough, you need to straighten up and start acting like men. Quit the nonsense you’re involved with, grow up, get your life together, find a woman you can serve and protect and start acting like a man.

As a kid, it was pretty routine for me to fight my way to and from home. I was active in athletics, mostly swimming, football, basketball, other stuff here and there. Not good at that, or much else. In a way I think God used this to make me really reliant on Him. [Note- I was not a Christian at the time, or maybe just vaguely so] No talent, having to regularly confront physical abuse, no one to rely on to help, having to stand up on my own. God provided for me, taught me to be physical, gave me a good strong body, through football, basketball, the military, taught me to not only be strong, but stay strong. Learned self-defense as a civilian police officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, so yea OK, guess I’ve been pretty well indoctrinated and if there’s a lack of empathy, well maybe that’s not a bad thing.

But in terms of Mr Vargo’s comments on women, yea, I get it: “…It doesn’t matter that the majority of men will never beat their spouse or rape anyone Somewhere among all the decent men in a woman’s life, there’s a man with bad intentions. He could be a family member, a friend, a co-worker or even a guy at the dojo. Because women can’t know for sure who the bad guys are, it’s reasonable for them to be cautious anytime they get attention they didn’t invite.”

As men become more about themselves, no longer provider or protector, but just whining and demanding, obviously women become even more vulnerable. Heck, don’t want to judge there now do you? As men are just more wheedlers or demanders, as Vargos points out: “What happened to them [women] didn’t start with the overt aggression you learn to handle in self-defense class. It started out with persistent interest and slowly edged into coercion…”

So yea it is time for me to man up, that doesn’t mean try and saddle me with every fuss, but in terms of protecting from the fear of and actual physical violence? Yes! For being more empathetic and ready to listen yea. That means guys, knock it off! Quit being creeps, find that women, help her to feel safe, loved, provide for her, have children who will see what a really great man you are and maybe we might start to turn around this crummy one-way, secular, whimpy, society and oh yeah, get yourself and them to church, mine! Ladies, I am your big brother in Jesus and you should expect that from every man around you and not tolerate anything less. Any “man” who thinks he’s got it altogether and doesn’t need that Jesus stuff, lose him and find a man you can rely on as a husband and a brother in Jesus and then treat them as the men they deserve to be treated as too. This way you both grow in each other, keep bringing each other up and reaching for the Lord. Yea, now that’s the way to go.

Our brains designed by God to be receptive to Him, our sin messes up that design.

I’ve seen a lot has been written lately on the unique design of the brain. That the case could be made that  the human brain was designed by God to be receptive to God’s guiding. The point is also made that the human brain is very elastic, very malleable. This means that the brain was made one way and intended by God for His guidance. Because the brain is so elastic, though, it is very subject to being changed from its intended purpose and to our human thoughts and deeds. Meaning, by our sin, by our lusts, obsessions, hatreds, substance abuse, lack of exercise, poor diet, anger, bitterness, we change our brains to be very different from what God intended them to be.

The research I’ve seen has shown that damage to the brain either physical or psychic can impact the brain very negatively. The “prefrontal regions” of the human brain is responsible for what is referred to as the “executive functions of the brain”. This part of the human brain is vastly different than any other animal brain. As Gary Sibcy PhD points out: “Spirituality is not some separate part of our functioning, but refers to how well all the different components work together in a synchronized and coherent fashion. Just as the term ‘team’ is about how well all the players work together, spirituality is about how well our thinking, feeling, behaving, relating, communicating and problem-solving operate in relation to others and God. Jesus’ life itself represents a living example of perfect harmony across all these domains.” (Christian Counseling Today Vol 20 No 3 p 42)

One thing that does come out in the research is that this part of the brain is rather vulnerable, subject to physical trauma and also psychic trauma (issues like bullying, sexual abuse, trauma, stress etc). I know that there are people who have been affected this way and have become bitter and anger, often against God and those who try to help them. But, it does seem to me, albeit my lay mind, that the elasticity of the brain can be used to shape the brain back to being receptive to God and away from anger and bitterness. Seems to me, that secular ways of dealing with this simply reinforces the anger and bitterness, trying to find a way to justify the anger and bitterness and resentfulness against Christians who are trying to help someone by adjusting their brain away from the bitterness and toward the love, care, compassion of Christ and Christians.

Well this doesn’t seem to play well into the secular. It frankly seems that the secular is much more interested in justifying the anger, justifying striking back and dispensing with any hope that they can come back into a healthy relationship with others.

Anyway, the prefrontal regions regulate/coordinate the higher functions of the brain. The claim seems to be that when the brain is operating properly, when we are allowing God to guide the Executive functions, instead of what people usually do and resort to the use of the lower functions of the brain. Sibcy writes: “…the prefrontal region … plays a critical role in spirituality because it provides the underlying biological platform that supports a wide number of neurocognitive processes and allows us to achieve ‘maturity in Christ’.

I’m not going to camp on this or bet the house, but it seems logical; God operates the higher functions of the human brain, we take our brain to the lower functions. It’s not to say someone is “smarter” because, I believe, there are other parts of the brain more engaged in just pure intelligence. But it seems that we are allowing God to manage and coordinate the brain when we rely on Him to guide us by our prefrontal regions and that does give us maturity, emotional depth, warmth, patience, humility etc. I’m sure you know someone who is quite brilliant but has little ability to effectively coordinate their brain between their brilliance and having emotional depth, empathy, humility etc., a great example is Sheldon the off the chart brilliant astro-physicist on the television program “Big Bang Theory”.

Again, I am a lay person, but for some reason, lately, I’ve been reading some very deep material in the elasticity of the brain. This is a rather new development in science and a factor that isn’t taken into account in secular psychological treatment. It seems as if secular treatment allows the mind to be hardened into the trauma by repeating the trauma,  establishing who is the victim and villan and allowing the patient to be divided and enabled in their trauma, instead of trying to use the plasticity of the brain in order to overcome and move beyond the trauma.

As Christians we have to continue to pray and encourage those who are dealing with trauma, but we also need to challenge them to grow in maturity. We need to encourage them to trust healing in the Holy Spirit who, I have no doubt, will influence the patient, as He does with all of us, through the higher/executive functions of the brain. Through our encouragement and prayer I have no doubt that we are helping this person to use these executive functions in order to coordinate all the parts of the brain to rest and trust in God and follow His leading. It frankly seems that the secular says, “no you have to do everything by yourself, continually relive the trauma and let your brain harden into the bitterness and resentment of your trauma and you can simply sit and stew in your anger at the world and God.” We are called to a higher solution. God’s love, compassion, comfort, healing works through the prefrontal parts and heals, the world appeals to the lower parts of the brain and allows bitterness and anger to build. Obviously we are called to encourage, pray, include in community and turn from anger and bitterness to God in Christ.