“I have become convinced that ‘Obama’ and ‘Care’ are an oxymoron.” my friend Bob Cochrell
I have many thoughts on Obama and his care. But if you want to know what they are you’ll have to ask me personally because since I have used his name on this post, I know it is flagged by the NSA. Yes, I’m a conspiracy theorist!!! ha ha
I wonder as a nation if we really know what we are thankful for. I would like to hear the statements of citizens if they take the time to rehearse what they are thankful for. It might be fun to listen to the prayers of Christians in our nation as they are about to give thanks for the meal (feast) they were about to partake.
Now we switch gears and head right into Christmas. I wonder if we will take advantage of this time to share its true meaning. If you have ever heard one of my devotionals with Legislators or athletes, I almost always end with this statement, “So what have you done with Jesus?” Well I guess that is my only thought for this post, What will we do with Jesus. Pssst… Let’s shout about Him from the rooftop!
Thanksgiving has always been a holiday I have enjoyed very much. Not only did I enjoy them while living at home as a child but I remember coming home from college, knowing my family would all be home and of course the food that screams, “You are home.” Then marrying into Mandi’s family and learning all new traditions and some new food. Oh, and Mandi’s mother always tries to give me a taste of home in that she makes my mandarin salad and pecan pie. Two things that Thanksgiving Dinner just would not be the same without. The last couple years we have developed a new tradition of cooking the turkey in the fryer (this year I made a total mess by filling the fryer with oil, turning on the burner and going to Nan’s to prepare the turkey, only to have Mandi come yelling for me that oil was running all over everything – I had left the drain open). We always enjoy having friends over for dinner. I don’t remember the last time we had Thanksgiving with just our family and this year was no exception. Wednesday night at 7:30 pm I received a call from one of the Wilberforce basketball players saying that a few of them had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving and wanted to know if our place might be a possibility. We said sure to the number of probably four but not more than six. Mandi is such a trooper as she saw seven come walking through the door. We loved it and God always makes the food go far enough. We had plenty. Just another to remember.
Oh it was a big dinner all right! The big amount of premium roast beef that nearly melted in your mouth. The healthy serving of mashed potatoes with the delicious brown gravy sprinkled on anything you wanted. The green bean casserole was simply something that made your taste buds burst with joy and the cheesecake… Ooh the cheese cake covered with cherries or caramel – your choice. But the ‘big’ I was referring to was not about the food as much as it was some of the Central State University football players as they came to the church for their awards banquet. So much fun to watch as the entire offensive line received the “Most Valuable Offensive Player” award. One of the young men in our Bible study received the Most Valuable Player award. Coach Junior was so generous in expressing his thanks to Don and I working with the team and our entire church for our investment in their program. It was a great evening and will again continue to blow the doors open for the ministries we desire to be used in. Hey, who says ministry cannot be taste? Thanks Grace Baptist for your involvement and others along the way who also helped with the expenses of these meals. To God be the glory!!
Mandi and I are just back from 10 days of intense training in Harrisburg, PA at ABWE headquarters. This was our final training before being able to be cleared for our ministry full time by our mission agency. We are not quite done with our support raising but there there is a huge light at the end of the tunnel and everyone at the training these past 10 days had to meet the 85% of their support criteria. I may talk more of the training later but I want to share with you something else that truly stood out to Mandi and me. We have had the fortune of connecting with absolutely incredible people during this process. People who were in our classes and are getting ready to head to the great adventure God has called them to. People who are young and just getting started to people who have had lucrative careers and are walking away from them. After going through training on what to do if you are kidnapped, abducted, robbed or jumped and raped – I looked around the room to see the faces of those going to places where the likelihood of these types of things happening to them is far greater than here in North America. I saw no fear. There was no hesitation. No one said, “Maybe we should rethink this whole thing.” I saw steadfastness from people who are just like you are me. They are fun people who are also accomplished in their careers. They are intelligent and many of their peers question why they are giving up the ‘dream life’ and jobs. They are people who don’t feel like they are giving up anything but are preparing for the great adventure of the unknown. Their names are just like yours and mine: Steve, Katrina, Tyler, Sarah, Jared, Naldy, Giles, Jennifer, Bill, Chris, Bethany, Curt, Jason, Kristine, Ryan, Gretchen, Becky, Mark and more.
I count it an honor, in the deepest sense of the word to know them, be associated with them and call them my friends. Yep, they sensed the call and they answered the call. I say to them, “Go with all your heart toward the ministry God has called you to. We have seen His incredible hand already on our lives and now He will sustain you as you run your race. May your race be good. May also be hard and difficult because nothing worth doing is every easy. We love you and support you and count it and esteemed honor to be your coworkers around this great globe. Now go fight your good fight and we will have all eternity to tell ‘God stories.’” Be blessed!
Enjoying our time at abwe in Harrisburg, PA and visiting Mandi’s relatives. Long days but good…
FIGHT FOR FAITH
Recently you may have recognized what seems to be a barrage of attacks on Christianity. When I say recently, it has been going on for several years but it seems as if these last few years has escalated what many people have been trying to say all along – we are losing our abilities to freely practice what we believe. It wasn’t long ago San Antonio made minor news by voting that no City Council person could be Christian because their views are to narrow. We have the Ten Commandments being taken off our schools walls, not because the courts have necessarily demanded it but because the legal costs against the ACLU are simply too expensive to litigate. We are being forced to accept the actions of people we believe are contrary to the Bible (sin) and if the church disciplines the wrong person out of membership with the desire for them to see the bonds of love they willingly left behind, the church can be in real legal hardships.
As many of you know a number of years ago I was asked if I would refrain from praying in Jesus name at our State Capital in Ohio. While that had a good outcome at the time, other states have not been as fortunate. Now we come to this week, Wednesday specifically, when the United States Supreme Court decides the legality of legislation around our country, i.e. city, county, state or federal… as to whether prayer prior to legislative meetings violates the Separation of Church and State. This is a serious matter and although we as the church have stood by and watched with silence our freedoms erode, I am wondering when we start to stand and say to the gates of hell, “This far you may come but no farther!” If we won’t stand, will we at least pray?