Monday, September 27, 2010

Service as a Means of Grace

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
1Peter 4:1

     My view of service as a means of Grace has always been that Grace flows from God, through the servant and into the one being served. In time I came to see that through my service, God's Grace flowed through me into those He sent me to serve as well as flowing back into me from those I served. Those I served in the name of Christ were a means of Grace and a blessing to me. I call this the "blessing of sacrifice."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

God's Grace to Adam & Eve

     I have a wonderful professor for Old Testamena Survey.  Dr. Charles Odium, a South Africian and former Southern Baptist seminary professor. He made a very intresting statement the other night in class.
     The statement was in regard to the story in Genesis where God bans Adam and Eve from the Garden then protects or conceils the Tree of Life from them.

22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side [e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Genesis 3: 22-24

      God exhibited love for Adam and Eve by taking away their ability to eat from the Tree of Life and, therefore, live forever. Denying access to life eternal was a gift of Grace from God.

      Had God allowed Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever, they would have spent eternity living in sin. That IS HIS Grace.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thomas Merton's Prayer for Peace

Almighty and merciful God, Father of all men, Creator and ruler of the universe,
Lord of all history, whose designs are without blemish, whose compassion for
the errors of men is inexhaustible, in your will is our peace.

Mercifully hear this prayer which rises to you from the tumult and desperation
of a world in which you are forgotten, in which your name is not invoked,
your laws are derided and your presence is ignored. Because we do not
know you, we have no peace.

From the heart of an eternal silence, you have watched the rise of empires
and have seen the smoke of their downfall. You have witnessed the impious
fury of ten thousand fratricidal wars, in which great powers have torn whole
continents to shreds in the name of peace and justice.

A day of ominous decision has now dawned on this free nation. Save us then
from our obsessions! Open our eyes, dissipate our confusions, teach us
to understand ourselves and our adversary. Let us never forget that sins
against the law of love are punishable by loss of faith, and those
without faith stop at no crime to achieve their ends!

Help us to be masters of the weapons that threaten to master us.

Help us to use our science for peace and plenty, not for war and
destruction. Save us from the compulsion to follow our adversaries
in all that we most hate, confirming them in their hatred and
suspicion of us. Resolve our inner contradictions, which now
grow beyond belief and beyond bearing. They are at once a torment
and a blessing: for if you had not left us the light of conscience,
we would not have to endure them. Teach us to wait and trust.

Grant light, grant strength and patience to all who work for peace.
But grant us above all to see that our ways are not necessarily
your ways, that we cannot fully penetrate the mystery of your
designs and that the very storm of power now raging on this earth
reveals your hidden will and your inscrutable decision.

Grant us to see your face in the lightning of this cosmic storm,
O God of holiness, merciful to men. Grant us to seek peace where
it is truly found. In your will, O God, is our peace.

International Day of Prayer for Peace

Prayer for Peace
Remember, God of Peace,
the peoples of the world divided into many nations and tongues.
Deliver us from every evil that obstructs your saving purpose,
and fulfill your promises of old to establish your kingdom of peace.

From the curse of war and all that creates it,
O God, deliver us.
From Believing and speaking lies against other nations.
O God, deliver us.
From narrow loyalties and selfish isolation,
O God, deliver us.
From fear and distrust of other nations,
from all false pride, vainglory, and self-deceit,
O God, deliver us.
From the lust of the mighty for riches,
that drives peaceful people to slaughter,
O God, deliver us.
From putting our trust in the weapons of war,
and from want of faith in the power of justice and good will,
O God, deliver us.
From every thought, word, and deed which rends the human family
and separates us from the perfect realization of your love.
O God, deliver us.
Bshop Susan Wolfe Hassinger
United methodist Church, New England Conference

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Terry Jones Promotes Hate & Fear

      Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center plans to burn thousands of copies of the Qur'an on September 11, 2010 as a protest and a warning to Islamist extremist. In an interview on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Jones defended his planned Qur'an burning saying, "We have declared September the 11th 'International Burn a Quran Day' because we want to send a very clear message," Jones continued, "It is indeed a radical message but a very clear, radical message to Muslims, to Sharia law, that that is not welcome in America."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Recovering Joy

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.
                                                              Plalms 30:11-12 (NIV)

     Recovering Joy is what following Christ has meant for me. We often like to say, "You and I share the same history." or " We've walked the same path through life, hell, and back to God through Christ Jesus."
     The reality is nothing could be further from the truth. Maybe we ran into each other in a beer joint or a bar room. Maybe we had a common connection in the particular poison we chose to use to numb our senses and erase our pain, but that is pretty much where it ends. That’s not a bad thing, it's simply reality.

John Wesley's Covenant Prayer

 This prayer was written by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, in 1755. Wesley wrote the prayer to be used in a worship service he called “the Renewal of the believer's Covenant with God” United Methodist still celebrate Covenant Services as a reminder of who we are as Methodist and the call has on our lives as Christians.

I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

John Wesley’s prayer is a powerful prayer. It echoes the commitment God makes with us with through His son Jesus Christ. Not everyone can pray this prayer truly believing in their hearts the words written by Wesley. Knowing we cannot live up to the promise we make in Wesley’s prayer today, we pray we will some day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


by Wendell Berry
for Gurney Norman, quoting him

The woods is shining this morning.
Red, gold and green, the leaves
lie on the ground, or fall,
or hang full of light in the air still.
Perfect in its rise and in its fall, it takes
the place it has been coming to forever.
It has not hastened here, or lagged.
See how surely it has sought itself,
its roots passing lordly through the earth.
See how without confusion it is
all that it is, and how flawless
its grace is. Running or walking, the way
is the same. Be still. Be still.
“He moves your bones, and the way is clear.”

Wendell Berry is one of my favorite poets. 
     Berry's poem Grace reminds me both how to live and why I live. "Running or walking, the way is the same." What a beautiful reminder we are to slow down and take in all we can, while we can.  God plants us in "the place (we) have been coming to forever".

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hiaku for Zimbabwe

why ask the question
"am i my brother's keeper?"
we know the answer

Support United Methodist Emergency Relief in Zimbabwe

A $20.00 gift to UMCOR can help feed a family of five in Zimbabwe by providing about two months of maize meal.

To donate, click here: Zimbabwe Emergency Relief