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Thursday, July 24, 2008

# 27 - Hamotzi

This is first of three great Jewish “Sacred Time” prayers I want to introduce you to. In the Jewish tradition meal time is one of those Sacred Times. This prayer is said at the beginning of the family meal by everyone at the table (and in the kitchen) and honors the truth that God is the one who provides everything. Here are the words: “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, who brings forth bread from the earth.” To the Jews, and in this prayer, bread is the symbol of life. To the Christian there is an additional reference, to Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, who was raised from the dead for our salvation.

# 26- Kum Ba Yah

Kum Ba Yah means “Come By Here” and is the title of a 1930’s Carolina Spiritual, often used as a campfire song. It is also a prayer, a very useful prayer when needs of the soul are overwhelming and words will neither come nor suffice. The words are simple.
“Come by here, my Lord, come by here” (repeat twice more), then “O Lord, come by here.” If you want, substitute your own words such as “Need you now, dear Lord, need you now” or “Lift me up” or “Show the way” or “Break my spirit, Lord, break me now”
Whatever words you choose, sing them over and over and over, like a mantra, until your soul finds the peace for which it so desperately yearns.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Talk with John

The other day I talked to a long-ago business partner. We remain good friends, John, his wife, Judy, and I. But we rarely find the time to talk. I’ve moved to Iowa; John and Judy have moved to Texas.

John is a passionate guy, which is cool for a guy of 60, and clearly understandable for an Irish Catholic from Boston. Open a conversation on a topic like corporate policies, contemporary morality, the economy, election politics, even the weather, and you can feel John’s energy rise.

We quickly got onto the topic of religion. John attends a huge Catholic parish near San Antonio, thousands of mostly middle class Americans. Retired from American Airlines, John works part-time in a large grocery store. He meets all kinds of people.

John said the Catholic Church in that part of Texas can’t get enough home-grown priests, so a lot of the priest in the area are from Ireland, the Philippines or from Africa. To John the cause is clear: Americans are all about the temporal realm, pretty much ignoring the spiritual realm. As a result they are dead in their faith, and even dying young.

Through the parish, and the grocery store as well, John has come to know several men who left the prosperity of high-impact, high-paying, high-stress jobs (even CEO-type jobs) on the East and West Coasts for “the less-money-and-more-life” values of the mid-West where they can spend more time with family and with God.

These men, like John, are re-discovering the spiritual realm and finding unbelievable satisfaction there, satisfaction they once thought would only be gained by personal achievement and a comfortable lifestyle. THEY ARE GOING BACK TO CHURCH, not for the dinners, activities and classes. They are going back to church to find and be with God. They are going back to church to feed their souls.

And in doing so they are finding
1. a passion for the souls of the lost,
2. a passion to steer teens and young men to the realm of things eternal,
3. a passion to offer hope to those who suffer, and
4. a passion to suffer with them.

Could it be that the word of the Lord is returning from the mission fields of Ireland, the Philippines and Africa to rescue us from Satan’s temporal trap of affluence and ease?

I think I need to talk to John more often.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July is 4 Kids

3 Weeks of evening Bible school ... So Cool!
** 7th-11th in Humeston
** 14th-18th in Garden Grove
** 28th-Aug1st in LeRoy

New Things at church
** Praise Dance Pads
** Wii
** Our Church Videos (our own YouTube)

All month long we will be raising money to buy Mosquito Nets in Africa. Through Nothing But Nets we are helping Bill Gates, the NBA, Sports Illustrated, and others keep kids from dying with malaria.

** 19th Watermelon Day in Humeston
** 20th Church in the Park in Humeston
** 30th-Aug3rd Country Music Festival in Garden Grove

#25 – Parenthesis Prayer

First thing in the morning, say, “Good morning, Lord.” Then, last thing at night, say, “Good night, Lord.” Put a parenthesis of prayer around the day. Wrap your waking hours in a blanket of prayer.