Yesterday I went to my office, aka the coffee shop, to do some blogging and some writing. When I went to the Barista to pay for my coffee, I was done in by the sight of temptation.
There it was taunting me as if to dare me not to try it, a gluten free cupcake with blueberry filling. I only paid for the coffee and went to sit down to write, but that cupcake would not relent. It kept luring me in, so I caved in and got said cupcake.
You might be concerned about health issues, but for me those we allayed by the realization that an actual blueberry was on the top of the cupcake. Blueberries are considered a superfood and one blueberry surely offset the sugar used to make the temptation.
After consuming the gluten free cupcake, and while looking over that magical cup of coffee, a sense of joy and serenity overcame me, so the blogging and writing commenced.
There will not be a repeat of the incident from yesterday because there were only two of the cupcakes in the refrigerated display and solely out of concern for the other cupcake to not feel lonely or isolated, I may have eaten that one too.
This morning it is off to church and a return to the coffee shop with a detour to the park. It will be a rare nice day in the summer here, so reading in the park is called for.
With the recent Supreme Court decision and possible ramifications of it, my post is not about the decision itself or debating it. My post is about things the church could have been doing all along that will be sorely needed now. When I say church, I mean it in the overall nationwide sense not regarding any specific individual church. I also mean the members of the church as in Christians.
I have worked in Title I schools for thirteen years. Though my work is specifically with refugees/immigrants, my work has made me very aware of the plight of those living in low income neighborhoods. I have often wondered why Pro Life has not included adding being the hands of Jesus for people struggling in life.
Foster care is a huge problem. There are far too many children living in foster care. I will never forget a little boy in Kindergarten Jump Start, which is one week for the little ones to experience school before all the kids start. The first morning he told me he was nervous. As I listened, he told me he does not live with his mom or dad. His expressions and body language showed me he felt shame. What could happen if more Christians stepped up as foster parents?
A huge need for single moms and moms with partners in low income areas is childcare for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. What could happen if churches put more emphasis on something like supporting both financially and with staff free childcare centers in low income areas?
Adoption is perhaps going to be needed now more than ever. What could happen if more Christians stepped up to adopt babies who for whatever reason the birth mother cannot or in some cases it would be harmful for her to keep the baby? The video I am sharing is a powerful message about what can happen when a loving family adopts a baby.
These are just a few thoughts/questions that come to mind as I think about not only what could happen if the church steps up in such ways, but also what could have happened all along. If the church had been doing such things all along, how many of the 65 million babies aborted over the past 70 years could have been born?
I surprised my little sister in Jesus, Alicia, with a phone call yesterday. The call took place from the coffee area at my church where I was meeting with a person from the church office staff who I have nicknamed young computer genius friend. SADLY no coffee but I did order some delivery food. The purpose of the meeting was to take a look at my blog and possible other themes.
That is where the phone call fits in. As we looked at Alicia’s blog forhispurpose.blog, I called her to ask some questions. When we looked at Alicia’s post yesterday, Lessons From My Hedgehog, my young computer genius friend Ellen told me that she too has a hedgehog. So Ellen also talked a little with Alicia about hedgehogs.
Hedgehog is a strange name for an animal that makes me wonder if said animal lives in hedges of bushes, if I look under bushes can I find said animal, and if said animal is related to hogs that we get bacon from. Sorry I got off point. 🙂
So where were we? Oh yes. Alicia is a dear little sister in Jesus and I do hope to get out to her neck of the woods to visit her and meet her husband and family someday. I did have a chance to speak with her daughter Paige briefly as well.
One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is connecting with people from all over the world or even only a four drive way in my state like Alicia, three hour drive if one drives like Alicia perhaps.
In June/July 2015, I had the privilege of teaching English for a private university in Rio du Sol in Santa Catarina Brazil. I love being in other countries and Brazil is one of my favorites. I love the people and their culture. I taught three classes in the evenings with one of them being an Advanced English class.
While I love being in other countries, flying is a bit boring for me. Flying internationally presents a specific problem for me. Because I have asthma, being in an airplane for prolonged periods of time can cause me to have bronchitis. Such was the case for that trip.
So there I was trying to teach and coughing because of bronchitis. One of the students in the Advanced English class came up to me after class and asked me the same questions my doctor in my city asks when I have bronchitis. She came back to class the next evening and handed me a small bag that had medications with instructions she wrote in English in it. She told me that she is a doctor. The medications included and antibiotic and prednisone both of which my doctor prescribes for me here when I have bronchitis.
After a few days, my cough was gone. and I was ready to go for the weeks I would be there teaching. God knew I would have the problem and placed someone who would have the solution in my class. It brings to mind what Jesus said about God knowing what we need before we ask in Matthew 6:8.
I hope to return to Brazil in the future, but wherever I go, my international trips have underscored for me the truth of Matthew 6:8.
Recently I told a friend that I would give my whole bank account for clarity. He said, “No you wouldn’t.” I said, “Yes I would.” He said, “No you wouldn’t.” I said, “Yes… I would.” He said, “You really want clarity, huh? Okay, I will pray for that for you.” The next morning—less than 12…
Do you ever hear something and react-YES!!! that says what I have thought for a long time? I had that experience yesterday at my office, aka coffee shop, while meeting with two women who organize CLC in Title I schools in my city. CLC is Community Learning Centers.
We were talking about working with refugees and immigrants when one of them said, “we move at the speed of trust.” My reaction was, “I love that!! That is spot on. Who said that?” They told me Cormac Russell said it.
We move at the speed of trust. Why did that grab my attention?
My work and ministry with refugees and immigrants have shown me the importance of taking time to listen, to not rush in, to be patient, to let them share their stories as they feel is okay. Building trust is worthwhile. By letting other people develop trust with me, it fosters a relationship that can last.
I do not want to make the mistake of thinking just because I am a Christian that it makes me an expert on all things. My role is not to be the answer man about everything. My role is to share Christ, his love, and the saving message of the gospel.
My role in the lives of others may vary depending on the situation. Maybe my role is sowing the seed of the gospel. Maybe my role is watering. By moving at the speed of trust, it opens opportunities. If I rush, it can close a person down.
Peevee is a blogger I interact with. She is from the Philippines. Her blog is peeveeblog.wordpress.com. In a recent post she shared about what q country Africa has meant to her and asked if readers had a similar experience with a country. I replied that Romania had significance for me, so she encouraged me to write about it.
I read a book Tortured For Christ by Rev. Wurmbrand. He was a pastor in Romania when it was under a communist dictatorship and was imprisoned by the communists. When I read his book, I knew I had to go to Romania. It was an impression before God that Romania would be important for me.
My first of seven trips to Romania was twenty-five years ago this month. It was there that I realized how easily I connect with other cultures. It was there that I taught English for the first time.
It was through my trips to Romania that God called me to the work and ministry he has me doing now. As I look back over the past twenty-five years, it amazes me how one obedient step of following through on that prompting after reading that book has transformed my life. It also amazes me the numerous opportunities to share Christ with the nations that resulted from that first trip and subsequent trips to Romania.
I loved the people and the culture of Romania. I still hope to go back for one last visit someday just to catch up with people I have not seen since 2005. But that first step of following through to that prompting led to opportunities I could not have imagined at the time.
Have you experienced a first step that led to many blessings?
Sitting in my office, aka the coffee shop, this afternoon and writing, there are two books I have finished the first draft for. I woke up this morning not feeling very motivated, but Alicia of forhispurpose.blog messaged me that she had read the first draft of the book I am working on Jesus Understands Trauma. Her positive input motivated me to come to my office, aka coffee shop, and write.
The book I am writing about my journey with Jesus I am thinking about the title- Lifted From The Pit, Called To The Nations. My hope is that Jesus will use the two books to bring people to know him and to edify those who already know him.
After getting them published, my attention will then turn to Christian fiction books that I had started but got sidetracked. To say I am enjoying this summer break from teaching would be an understatement.
Then a thought occurred to me about my blog. I have been using the same theme for years. It is now called a legacy theme. I thought perhaps a new theme would be good, so I called the young woman at my church office, real office not a coffee shop, and asked if she would help me look over the themes. We will meet Friday afternoon.
Yesterday morning I called one of the women who attends my Sunday morning conversation group. She was late, so I wanted to check on if she was coming. She sounded nervous on the phone and communicated with me in Spanish. I had a young man from Honduras, he has the highest level of English in the group, talk with her. We found out she had gotten lost. He left and drove to her, so she could follow him to church.
It was completely understandable why she got lost and why she was nervous. GPS had misdirected her. She has not even lived in my city for one year. She is a single mom from Venezuela doing the best she can to work and take care of her thirteen year old son.
She made it to church thanks to our young friend and we had a good time practicing conversational English. Before she left, I shared with her that she will be okay step by step.
There are times we all feel lost in life and nervous about which way to go. It is comforting to know that Jesus came for those who are lost in life. In Luke 19:10 Jesus said: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
It is comforting to know that Jesus is the way. He is the way to heaven. He is the way to The Father. He is the way to eternal life. He is also the way for us in this life. He said in John 14:6: “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus comes to us when we feel lost. He said in John 14:18: “Iwillnotleaveyouasorphans; Iwillcome toyou”
Just as our young friend in my Sunday morning group went to find our friend from Venezuela and guide her safely to church, Jesus will come to us and guide us in life.