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Quotes for You

I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do today.
Will Rogers

I’m not a real movie star. I’ve still got the same wife I started out with twenty-eight years ago.
Will Rogers

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
Will Rogers
I’m a study of a man in chaos in search of frenzy.
Oscar Levant
Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m schizophrenic, and so am I.
Oscar Levant
I don’t drink. I don’t like it. It makes me feel good.
Oscar Levant

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Daily Devotional from The Upper Room

I wish I were selfless enough to heed this call.  I’m too weak but I keep on thinking about it and praying.


Today’s Devotional

Following a series of major surgeries, my older brother, Lewis, reminded me that growing old “ain’t for weaklings.” Many of us will eventually have to deal with the struggles of aging. But there can be a silver lining. Generally, in our later years we retire or work less and have more time to devote to our spiritual life. So aging isn’t necessarily something to fear because it is a time when we can flourish in serving the Lord.

At the age of 82, Lewis is a good example of serving others as his body will allow. He works with various charities at his church and in his neighborhood and recently took a seriously ill friend to the hospital and waited while he underwent surgery. Everyone can serve no matter the circumstances. Even if we have to use a cane or a walker, we can visit an ailing friend or make hospital calls, and we can always pray for others. When we share the love of Christ by caring for those who are sick or disabled and by encouraging their caregivers, God blesses all of us.

If we make it a point to be aware of the many needs around us, we can find many ways to serve our Lord. God has equipped each of us in some way to be an agent of grace.

 

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Church Ramblings

I can’t help but to keeping comparing today’s church to the traditional church I grew up in.

There is no pulpit at the front of the church, just a stage filled with musical instruments and the preacher stage on the stage or kind of wanders around. Speaking of the preacher they don’t wear the tradition robes anymore, just a casual shirt and slacks.

The music is more modern Christian music that most of us (at lease in the older crowd) have never heard of. Traditional hymns are rarely sang but the younger folks like it so it does have it’s benefits. I have noticed though when I look around that most people are not singing along with the music; so the modern music is not inspiring people to participate in the service by singing.

In the church I am currently going to, the pews were taken out and replaced with rows of chairs. The chairs “are” more comfortable than the wooden pews were but as an old fart I do not like change.

I do like the screen at the front of the church showing the song lyrics and other information, but, I do wish they would increase the font size just a bit and leave each slide on just a couple seconds more.

A lot of churches have moved the service time around to accommodate peoples other activities. I am sorry but it seems to me people can and should sacrifice that hour or so to God and not have the Church/God sacrifice for us.

In the old days there was also a responsive reading where the Pastor or Elder would read part of it and the congregation would read the response to it. This allowed the congregation to participate and become a part of the service.

I know that church will never be like they were when I was growing up, I’ve attended enough churches in recent years to know that those traditional churches do not exist anymore.

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What Church To Belong To

Since leaving my last church I have been going off and on to a local Weslyan church and it looks like I might just join it in the future. I feel comfortable there and have attended a couple small groups so I have been slowly meeting people and talking with them. I really wish I could find a local church that is more similar to the one I grew up in but those traditional churches just do not exist anymore.

I have gotten kind of used to the modern Christian music that contemporary churches play/sing. But I do wish that sometimes I could hear the old hymns that I remember from days gone by. One thing I have noticed is that while people like the modern music they really don’t sing along they just listen, tap their fingers etc but don’t actually get into singing them and yes sometimes I do kind of look around while trying not to be too obvious about it.

I guess I am at that time of life where I look backward more than I look forward, or maybe I just resist change. Anyway it looks like I will be joining the Waterford Weslyan Church at some point in the future.

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Coal Basket Bible

I found this a few years ago and it sure is a lesson I knew that I and others should learn.   I know that I have had those thoughts myself;   what good is reading the Bible when I can never remember what I read and I can’t quote verses and such like others can.


The Coal Basket Bible

The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountains of Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible. His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?”

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.”

The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You will have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was “impossible to carry water in a basket,” and he went to get a bucket instead.

The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all. The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Papa, it’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” the old man said. “Look at the basket.”

The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old coal basket, it was clean. “Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out.” That is the work of God in our lives. To change us from the inside out and to slowly transform us into the image of His son.

Take time to read a portion of God’s word each day, and remind a friend by sharing this story.

“Live Simply, Love Generously, Care Deeply, Speak Kindly, Leave the Rest to God

 

 

 

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From the blog I read called “Beauty Beyond Bones”.  I don’t know the writers full name but let me tell you she has the best and most interesting blog posts.   A young lady who has deeper and more interesting thoughts than I have even on a good day.   Without further ado I am going to copy it and past it in here because I think it is a subject that the world needs to think more about.


 

Is Christianity Dead?

 

Well folks, another Christmas is in the books!

Christmas 2K16 is officially behind us. The eggnog has been consumed. Gifts gifted. Food coma endured. And for those brave souls who took on a real tree this year, its pine needles are officially all over the floor and will be mysteriously appearing in random crevices for the next 4 months.

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Ever since I was of “appropriate age,” my family has always gone to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. It is one of my favorite memories and traditions. The caroling at 11pm. The candles. The trumpets. For the past, say, 15+ years, we have been going, and every year, we’d always get there right at 11:00, throwing elbows, and staking out our pew, as it is always standing room only. And don’t even bother coming at 11:15…because there will be no parking and you’re guaranteed to be standing – two deep – in the back.

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But over the past couple years, I’ve noticed that each Christmas, we don’t have to arrive quite as early. And the full-court-press/box-out/battle-to-the-death to get and save a pew has ever so gradually deescalated.

Until this year.

When the church was half empty.

Half empty.

For Midnight Mass. Christmas Eve.

There wasn’t a snow storm. The zombie apocalypse hasn’t happened….unless of course, I am terribly mistaken about that one..


But where the heck was everyone?

And I couldn’t help but ask myself, as I looked around and saw several dozen teenage boys counting the ceiling tiles, looking as though they wanted to die…is our faith on life support?

Are we experiencing the decline of faith and church as we know it?

Is Christianity dead?

And that friends, is not the type of thought pattern you want to be mulling over while in church, literally celebrating the birth of Christ.

As with everything in life, looking in the mirror is a hard thing to do. Facing the truth, acknowledging and accepting it…is an exercise in extreme humility, to say the least.

But let’s call it how it is…we are experiencing a decline in Christianity. Look it up. Pew studies. People identifying as Christian. Church attendance. Prayer. Christians actively living their faith are going down. Especially in Gen X’ers and Millennials.

And that. Is scary.

Leafing through the church bulletin after mass, I was almost in a fog. Nevermind the fact that it was nearing 2am and I had just come off a 7am flight from NYC the day before…but my mind was just swirling after witnessing the stagnant, lifeless state of my once vibrant and spiritually ablaze childhood parish. So I was numbly flipping through the pages.

And there was something that caught my eye.

There was, of course, a big “welcome” section in the front. Offering Christmas greetings to parishioners, out-of-towners, guests, non-Christians joining us, etc. All nice. Great.

And then there was the line, “We are your church family and are here for you!”

And I hate to admit this, but I’ve got to be honest….that really rubbed me the wrong way. It felt painfully disingenuous.

There’s a stereotype about “church people.” And I for one, hate even giving the time of day to negative stereotypes about people. Because they’re always hurtful and typically untrue.

But desperate times…

There is a decline in our faith, and it’s time to not mince words and take a cold, hard look in the mirror. Because like it or not, we are the face of the church.

But the stereotype is that “church people” are incredibly “judgey” people. That they prance around all hoity-toity and look down on “non-church people” and scoff at their “heathen ways.”


And we, as the face of the church, what are we going to do about that?

How are we going to fix that?

Because I can attest to the fact that that stereotype is, for the most part, false. 

But the commonly accepted (albeit misconceived) notion is that church is a boring, out-of-touch institution that is full of either judgy snobs, dowdy/orthopedic-shoe-wearing shut-ins, or “Jesus-freaks.”

And people don’t want anything to do with that.

So they just don’t come.

And I want to pause here for a second. I know this is only one factor. There are a lot of other issues – people having different priorities, having other interests, adopting “spirituality” while leaving behind “religion.” Not to mention the church’s often unpopular stances on hot button social issues, such as abortion and the sanctity of marriage, etc. This stereotype is only one contributing factor.

But you and I…we have a personal responsibility.

We have a job to do: and that is to change that stereotype. Turn people’s minds around. Change their hearts to be open to Christ and open to faith.

Is Christianity dead?

Only if we let it.

You can’t give away what you don’t personally have.

And if I want to share Christ’s love and have it be attractive and inviting to another person, I need to have it in my heart myself. I need to have His love be overflowing in my own life, so as to attract another person to Him. And attract them back to church.


The pathetic church attendance on Christmas Eve…I partially blame myself. Because I ask myself…how am I personally fighting to set the record straight on how a “church person” looks and acts.

Because I’m going to be honest…(and I hate to admit it)…but I don’t really wear my faith outspokenly on my sleeve, for fear of being labeled a “church person.” 


And I am filled with such shame typing that out, but it’s true. I don’t want to be labeled as “weird” or “out of touch” … so I keep my faith private. Let that be a personal part of my life that is between me and God.

But I realize now, that I am part of the problem.

My faith can’t be hidden. I can’t just be a silent by-stander as my church is red lining, in desperate need of rebranding and resuscitation.


Christianity is not dead. It is alive in our hearts. In our homes. In our prayers. But that is not enough.

I’m going to go out on a limb. For God. Invite someone to church with me.

Because at the end of the day, if Jesus can stretch out His arms and die on a limb for me, I can go out on one, for Him.

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