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Let’s See How Inventive We Can Be in Encouraging Love

Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. God always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

That’s Hebrews 10:22-25 in The Message version of the Bible.

Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it?

It is!

Rainbow — part 2.

Sun is shining, the weather is sweet
Make you want to move your dancing feet
When the morning gather the rainbow
Want you to know I’m a rainbow too
— Bob Marley, “Sun is Shining”
[QUICK REVIEW: if  the song “We Are a Rainbow” doesn’t sound familiar, zip to “Rainbow” on here from one week ago today, Saturday, August 1st, and come on back]
One appreciative critic of this particular Bob Marley song wrote, “On the surface the tune isn’t deep at all. The simple, sugary sweet reggae lyrics could almost be another  ‘Come to Jamaica’ tourism ad.
“Deeper examination, however, revealed that this is a song of praise, thanking Jah (God, Jehovah) for the sunshine and for another day.
“When I listen to it now it reminds me to thank Jah (God, Jehovah) for the sunshine, for this morning’s rising and for another breath.” [https://nadiromowale.com/bob-marleys-sun-is-shining-changed-my-life]
Permit me to suggest three Rainbow Take-Aways —
Genesis 1:1,2 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed the human of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the human became a living creature.
John 20:22 (The Resurrected Christ Jesus) breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit!”
— Light..breath…you.
How many colors are breathing in your rainbow today?
In how many rainbows are you a living, breathing color today?
After all, you’re one and so am I.
And like last Saturday’s “Rainbow” song reminds us —

There are many colors in a rainbow

all bound together as one

They are the promise of tomorrow

A hope for all the days to come.

We are a rainbow

Together we are a sign

To life for all human kind

We are a rainbow,

It’s time for us to shine

We are a rainbow

— Amen?

Don’t Get Fooled

“Don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”

Solid advice.

WIsh I’d written that.

A guy named John did.

A while back.

Quite a while, in fact.

Wish I’d remembered it.

“Don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”

That advice comes from 1st John 4:1, in The Message version of The Bible.

We’ve all been fooled.

Including me.

Not long ago. In fact, earlier today already.

And now?

Trying to make amends, and another great line surfaces: “I’ll get on my knees and pray we don’t get fooled again.”

Wish I’d written that, too. It’s from an old song by The Who.

Time to follow both pieces of advice, starting with

“Don’t believe everything you hear.

Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you.

Not everyone who talks about God comes from God.

There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”

 

 

 

St. Paul, Nelson Mandela, and You

God has not given us a spirit of fear, wrote St. Paul in 1st Timothy1:7, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

“May your choices reflect your hopes,” said Nelson Mandela, “and not your fears.”

Roll those two together and you have my hope and prayer for you today.

Schools and COVID-19: A Reminder to Remember to Say & Pray….

Much gratitude to my colleague and way-beyond-Uber-friend John Vidakovich for pointing me in this direction.

Let’s remember to say —

When someone says they’re sending their kids back to school: “I’m so proud of you! It wasn’t easy making that decision!”

When someone says they’re having their kids do virtual/online learning: “I’m so proud of you! It wasn’t easy making that decision!”

When someone says they’re homeschooling their kids: “I’m so proud of you! It wasn’t easy making that decision!”

— Before you start with “But Joe, I don’t think they should be,” let me interrupt you right there.

1st Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another.

There are no easy choices in these matters.

There are more opinions than facts flying around right now.

Encourage one another.

Join the rest of us in praying for students and their parents and those with parental responsibilities, and others like teachers, support staff, and School Board members.

And when you get the chance, encourage them.

Good Question, part 2 of 2.

Imagine my surprise when this appeared on my car’s dashboard —

— I was like, “Cool! Great new way to reach out! So is it who wants to meet for coffee?”

Then I realized it was yet another automotive safety feature.

But it’s still a good question to ask regularly.

And here’s an even better offer:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.

Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.

Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it.

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.

Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

That’s Christ Jesus, in Matthew 11:28-30, The Message version.

If only it appeared on places like our dashboards as needed, right?

 

It’s a Monday: Good Question

While driving last week, this suddenly flashed at me from my car’s dashboard —-

 

Let’s See How Inventive We Can Be in Encouraging

Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. God always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

That’s Hebrews 10:22-25 in The Message version of the Bible.

Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it?

It is!

So this weekend, are you worshiping together with others online, or at a drive-in setting, or in an appropriately-restricted-by-COVID-19 sanctuary?

Rainbow

Carlos was a high school student from Los Angeles. I was a pastor from rural, southern Illinois. We met when we were both on the National Youth Ministry Organization of the United Methodist Church. (Who but us comes up with names like that?!)

We got to know each other well when I became the Adult Coordinator of the Ethnic Minority Youth Council of the National Youth Ministry Organization of the United Methodist Church. (Again: who but us comes up with names like that?!)

In defense of both groups, “E-Mick” and “KNEE-Mo” is how we pronounced our acronyms EMYC and NYMO. Both of which sound fun. Because they were. (That might be where and when I first learned it’s quite possible to “have fun and get stuff done.”)

Carlos and I served on the Design Team for an international youth event. At the opening ceremony, we were sitting together at the side of the stage with thousands of people in the arena.

The song “We Are a Rainbow” caught our attention. Next thing I new, there was a group of about ten of us dancing together in the aisle to lyrics that included these lines —

There are many colors in a rainbow

all bound together as one

They are the promise of tomorrow

A hope for all the days to come.

We are a rainbow

Together we are a sign

To life for all human kind

We are a rainbow,

It’s time for us to shine

We are a rainbow

— That was longer ago than I’ll admit.

The theme of that song needs to be jump-started.

Today.

If not now, when?

And if not by us, by whom?

Church, are we listening?

BONUS BLOG: Hello, Unstoppable Church….

Tremble and do not sin;

when you are on your beds,

search your hearts and be silent.

Psalm 4:4

Woulda

Coulda

Shoulda

 

Should

Could

Would

…Shall?