May 24, 2020
Young Ben grew up in a poor neighborhood; his mother worked two, sometimes three, jobs to support Ben and his brother. Ben wanted so badly to fit in with the other kids. One year, silk Italian shirts were the popular item at school. Ben begged his mother to buy him one of these shirts. So his mom made him a deal: for one week, Ben would be in charge of the family’s finances. She would turn all the money and the bills over to him. Once he paid off the necessities, he could keep any leftover money for himself.
Ben quickly learned that there was no money left over. None.
This experience gave him great respect for his mother. Ben went back to school determined to make his mother proud of him. Today, Ben is known as Dr. Ben Carson, a leading neurosurgeon before his retirement and the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
The influence mothers have in the lives of their children is awesome. Mothers can be great in teaching and inspiring their children with hope. Yet, we as a church take on that same responsibility with each child we come in contact with through our ministries. This week we are beginning a campaign to give books to our Project Transformation students through our unusual summer season. While we won't be able to welcome the children to our building we will be sharing our love and concern each week with a delivery of dinner and a book to each PT family. Click HERE to find out how you can give HOPE to the children in our neighborhood.
This Sunday I hope you will join with me as unwrap the final gift of Easter – Hope.
Grace & Peace,
May 17, 2020
A large number of the defendants on trial in Dade County are of Cuban and Haitian descent and still believe in the power of voodoo. Relatives of the accused have been caught breaking into empty courtrooms and sprinkling voodoo powder on the prosecutor’s chair and the judge’s bench.
In one instance, during a break in the drug possession trial, two dead lizards, their mouths sewn shut with string, were found in the courtroom. More common items found around the courtroom are: eggs, which will hopefully jinx a case into collapsing; corn kernels, which help speed up a trial date; black pepper, which keeps a prisoner in jail; and cakes, which sweeten a judge’s opinion of the defendant.
As I read the above article I was thinking about what we really believe as Christians. I was not only thinking about how strongly we believe, but also more importantly how we come to believe in God and Jesus Christ. I have come to a conclusion that our belief is a gift given in God’s grace. This Sunday I will explore what it means to receive the gift of belief.
I hope you will join me as we celebrate this fifth Gift of Easter – Getting It. See you in church on Sunday.
Grace & Peace,
May 10, 2020
In 1949, Jim and Alice Vaus became Christians. In their case, it was a radical and risky decision. At that time, Jim Vaus was employed as a wire-tapper for Mickey Cohen, the most powerful mob boss in Los Angeles. He was well-entrenched in the criminal underworld. But at a Billy Graham crusade, Jim and Alice gave their lives to Christ. The Vaus’ knew that their decision meant Jim must give up his life of crime. They also knew that few people who turned their back on the mob lived to tell about it.
Sure enough, a few days later two mob goons showed up on their doorstep. Jim knew their orders were to cripple him or kill him, whichever fit their mood. Suddenly, Jim Vaus knew he had nothing to lose. He began witnessing to the tough guys, telling them about his new life in Christ. The goons walked away. The hit was called off.
This week in our lesson from Acts 7:55-60 we will hear about the first Christian Martyr St. Stephen. He too changed his life to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. However, he paid with his life for his decision. In a real sense both these stories have a common thread of being about people who choose to be guided by a different compass. This week I will be sharing my thoughts on another Gift of Easter – The Compass.
I hope you will join me in worship as we seek direction for our lives from the real compass of our souls.
Grace & Peace,