• Hello - I am glad that you accepted our invitation to be a part of this group. It may be helpful for you to think of this as our personal Facebook Page without having to feel like Facebook is "spying" on you. Please take the time to surf through everything. This will become our main communication link to each other. Notice the sections just above the comment box (media, prayer, for sale (yes you can put up items for sale), announcements). There is a lot that we will be able to do with this page.
  • Happy Tuesday, everyone!
    1. Do you consider yourself a glass-half-empty or half-full kind of person? I ask because today's reading, Luke 10:1-20, invited me to think about that possibility. It seems to me that many Christians are more optimistic about God's judgment than they are about people welcoming the Good News. The seventy are given specific instructions for how they are to enter a town. When they enter the town, they go to a home and say, "Peace." If the condition of peace is reciprocated, then consider this place to be ideal soil for the work of the Holy Spirit. Along with these instructions was a level of urgency. Jesus had set His face towards Jerusalem, so He knew His days were numbered. He did not believe He had the time to linger and argue with people. The people either accepted the work of the seventy, or they would suffer the consequences. Jesus provides a lengthy explanation of what would happen to these towns if peace were not displayed to the seventy by the townspeople. In addition to the seventy being provided specific instructions about determining the level of receptivity, engaging the ministry with a high level of urgency, they are also warned that they will be like lambs among wolves. In other words, there were a lot of factors stacked in favor of this mission being a complete failure. The seventy engage anyways. Why? Now comes the point I want you to reflect on this morning, "The seventy returned with joy saying, 'Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us.'" (Luke 10:17). Despite overwhelming odds, not only the townspeople, even the demons welcomed the proclamation that the kingdom of God was at hand. No judgment was necessary. All the towns these seventy visited received their ministry. The prayer of the seventy had been answered. Remember the prayer? "Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers." When was the last time you felt like a lamb amongst wolves? Did you believe that the wolves would become your allies, co-laborers? Did you pray that the wolves would have a welcoming spirit? Or did you pray that God's anger would be released upon those wolves? I sense that the seventy were more hopeful that the wolves would become co-laborers than becoming recipients of God's wrath. What do you sense in this story?
      1. This week, I had the opportunity to visit with one of our homebound members.  I took home communion with me so we could celebrate together.  When I arrived, I asked her how she was.  She said that she was “betwixt and between.”  Her home health aide had not showed, and she was in physical pain.  So, we talked about that and what that meant to her.  We celebrated Holy Communion together.  Within 10 minutes, her eyes began to shine brighter.  She went from lamenting to praising God.  I listened as she shared her life’s journey and how Jesus continues to protect her and give her strength.  In the short time we spent together, I witnessed her “betwixt and between” become “joy!”        I am not saying that I had any skills or any impact on helping this person.  I was present and showed up, but it was God who transformed her.   God was there in our time together.  God was in the meal we shared.  God was in the talking and listening.  God was in her and even in me.        When I leave a pastoral visit, I truly marvel at how God works.  I am humbled that God can use even me to do His work.  I share that God can use you too.  IF you choose to show up, God will undoubtedly use you to minister to others and you will be blessed!      I am sure you have heard this litany, but I thought would remind you. Do you feel like God couldn’t possibly use you? Remember: Noah was a drunk Abraham was too old Isaac was a daydreamer Jacob was a liar Leah was ugly Joseph was abused Moses stuttered  Gideon was afraid Rahab was a prostitute Jeremiah was too young David was an adulterer and a murderer Elijah was suicidal Isaiah preached naked Jonah ran from God John the Baptist ate bugs Peter denied Christ The disciples fell asleep while praying Martha worried about everything The Samaritan woman was divorced (more than once) Zacchaeus was too small Paul condemned Christians Timothy had an ulcer Lazarus was dead!
        1. BRIDGING THE GAP Have you ever noticed the disconnect between the Old and New Testaments? There's a big gap of time missing. Scholars estimate that there is around 400 years of history that is not recorded in Scripture. The good news is that it is recorded in other documents and it helps to bridge the gap between the Gospels. These "Silent Years" of Scripture are fascinating to study. It was during this time that the Jews went from Persian to Roman rule. Also, the religious sects of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes arise. A simple Google search will provide this information and much more. Consider spending some of your devotion or study time reading about these Silent Years and post something you discovered.
          1. Autumn is a time for change! I absolutely love this time of year. The smell of pumpkin spice candles burning, the crisp air, leaves turning brilliant shades of yellows, oranges and reds…. Oh wait, we live in Florida! Well at least we get a break from the hottest weather, and we do have pumpkin spice candles. But seriously, autumn is a reminder that the year is ending, and the new year is just around the corner. It is a time to reflect on where we have been this year and where we want to be next year. This is the time of year when I make my lists for what I would like to accomplish in the upcoming year. So many endless possibilities! And the wonderful part about it is I know that I have God by my side to help me accomplish it. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I love this verse. It gives me such encouragement to just GO FOR IT! So, get out your notebook and start planning your new year. No matter what you’re planning just make sure you include God, and your possibilities can be endless!
            1. Happy Tuesday, everyone!