We are going to spend this new year praying for our Dayspring kids. We will add your children, grandchildren, etc. to a list and the congregation can be praying for them throughout the year as the Lord leads. Tracy will be updating the list each month as names come in. You can simply add a child’s first name or include more details about specific requests. The request basket and list of names is located at the church entry table.
In 2010 a movie came out from Emilio Estevez called The Way. Not being a big Hollywood production it didn’t really get much traction, but steadily gained a sort-of cult following, due to the powerful story and marvelous on-location sights in France and Spain, not to mention a terrific ‘acting job’ by his father, Martin Sheen, and a few other notable characters one won’t easily forget from other countries. Then it got ‘discovered’ by Christians beyond just the Catholics, and the growth spread to Protestants and others as well. Carol and I got to see this movie in January of 2013, and something happened to us, something rare, in that we BOTH were impacted with the desire to go follow in those steps.
Over the ages literally millions of people have followed this path, this Camino. In the Dark Ages though it began to dwindle, and the troubles of life and cares of this world diminished the Pilgrimage to just a few, and practically none from the USA. Most of us in the US don’t even identify with “Pilgrimage” at all, not knowing its power or meaning, much less its ‘calling.’ I don’t really know how Emilio Estevez discovered it, or how it compelled him to write and make a movie, but I’m beginning to understand why.
In 2013 (and 2015) Carol and I walked the Camino de Santiago, following the path (camino) of St. James, from the Pyrenees Mountains bordering France in the east, to the city of Santiago in western Spain. In 2017 we walked an ancient trail in Ireland, The Wicklow Way, and in Scotland, The Great Glen Way, following a course frequented by William Wallace. This year, 2019, we walked another ancient trail in Ireland, The Dingle Way, part of the larger, longer Kerry Way. To say that these adventures have impacted us is to miss the real import. We have been infected! We have been Blessed! We have been able to encounter God and our faith in new ways, which make us hungry for more.
“Why tell us this?” you may be thinking, as many of you already know about our compulsion. Forward to now…to Christmas time…and to all the gifts you want to give to those you love. The very best gifts are personal ones, and the best personal ones are those that connect our lives, not just add more stuff. Ever since we finished our first Camino we’ve been immersed in stories, pictures, songs, home-made videos and even some pretty good small-time film productions by others with the same experiences, same passions, same ‘infection.’ Facebook is alive with lots of Camino stories, and websites abound. Even Youtube is in the mix, as are many others I’m sure.
The ‘gift’ I’m trying to give you is encouragement to learn, and to experience this Blessing even if you can’t go in person. Check out www.americanpilgrims.org and tour around the site and learn about the Camino. Go to www.youtube.com and search for Camino songs, or Camino films, and enjoy the tour!
Once you enter the Camino ‘Zone’ you will be a bit like St. James was when he walked across Spain telling the folks about the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth. Christian ‘missions’ should include so much more that just quoting Scripture; it should include personal testimonies and urging others onward. In fact, once you’ve been on a ‘mission’ yourself….well, it changes you. You get dangerous. The infection wants to spread …
Merry Christmas, and Buen Camino to all!
I’m not writing to be a ‘basher.’ I’m writing to encourage being a ‘believer in/follower of… Jesus.’
There are so many things in this world that we Christians actually do participate in that are not God-honoring that we should pause from time to time to re-examine our ‘walk.’
Halloween is a gross thing when you think about it. The world therefore tries to make it seem like it’s harmless fun, and has lots of support from our enemy the Devil. Some take a very strong position here and assess Halloween as purely Demonic, such that those who participate are giving themselves to that enemy.
Others just brush it off as they do everything else the world has to offer that is not ‘of God.’
This, then, is the actual issue as I see it. Once we become aware, we become accountable, and after that we become responsible, and then we become a part of the thing, complete with consequences. Sometimes the process moves quickly, sometimes very slowly, but the fact that the ‘world’ is affecting us as Christians is undeniable.
I think the behavior we should be pursuing is that which is Godly. I think that if we concentrated on pleasing the Lord we would avoid displeasing Him. Some say this as “being IN the world but not OF it.”
Jesus said He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If we actually follow Him, with intentional pursuit, the Way that He takes us will be the right way, and the Truth that He speaks to us will strengthen and guide us, such that the Life He offers will be ours. Problem is, this seems to begin with our denying self and allowing the exchange of natures to take place….IN us….His nature for ours.
Replace the temptations of the world with the opportunities God provides in Christ Jesus, and you will be busy indeed! Instead of worrying about being dead to self, concentrate on being ALIVE in Him. When anything that is not Love shows up, go instead the Way of Love.
Just a thought …
This blog entry is the beginning of a thing, not the final word on it. This subject is too BIG for a short summary, although it can be grasped for further chew!
What does it mean to “be aware” ? The dictionary tells us it means to know something, and to be conscious about it, but these can be two very different things if you think about it!
I know a lot of things that I’m not particular conscious about , at least not at this moment. And THAT is a problem for us spiritually. For painful example, we can say we ‘know God,’ and yet go through our day completely apart from His leadership. He may be in our head, but not in our feet.
My mind may contain information about Jesus Christ, but my consciousness is devoid of His influence in the ‘right now.’ Get it? See what I mean?
To be aware of something is to have it active, and be participating in our life. Often we are aware of something and CHOOSE to ignore it, or go a different way. We are aware, but not guided. Our Christian walk is full of these contrasts, and I’m sure you can develop your own list occurring in your own life.
In some theological circles this is called the ‘walk of the flesh vs the walk of the Spirit.’ We’ve heard about this conundrum our entire church-going lives, and we certainly struggle with it daily. The thing is, are we AWARE? We may agree with the technical principle, but are we CONSCIOUS of it during the day?
What hope is there for us when we realize that we agree about God’s ways of living our lives and then keep ignoring them? “The devil made me do it!” may be the most accurate reply, but it’s really a defensive response to try to get us off the hook, which we jumped upon ourselves!
There has to be a way for us to gain victory, for us to become AWARE of Him in our daily lives, to be changed! Our faith has to be more than concept, knowledge, sets of facts and such. Our faith has to be a POWER in our lives, to CHANGE our lives, and this power has to be accessible to us in the now! The Holy Spirit of God has to be more than a Pentecostal term separating believers into ‘have and have not’ categories. We ALL need to have this have.
As you ponder these questions, and I do hope you will, don’t hesitate to send me any comments you wish. Agree or disagree, but do engage. As a final piece of meat to chew upon, consider this:
One of the major Doctrines in Christianity is Original Sin. The ‘fall’ of man is central to his ‘restoration,’ and much of what church teaching is about is how to overcome the ‘fall.’ But something came before Original Sin. First came Original Glory! First came the actual manifestation of God, by His acts of Creation! He made us in His image, right?, and gave us dominion. Jesus Christ came to provide the Victory for us, through His sacrifice, etc. So, are we AWARE of this? Are we allowing Holy Spirit to be a part of our consciousness? Our daily walk? Our thought life? Our foot steps?
What would you do if you suddenly had excruciating pain in your brain and spine, and the doctor tells you to relocate? What if you also had an autistic Down Syndrome child and the house you bought at the recommendation of a reputable contractor, is a money pit?
That’s exactly what happened to Gina. She needs your prayers above all, but also your help. James 2:16 says, “If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed’, but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”
Gina has debilitating pain yet is working to support her daughter and herself. She was advised by her doctor to lesson her stress, so she moved to Michigan where she has found an excellent school for her daughter. After many repairs, her home is still unlivable. She is forced to rent util repairs can be completed but has run out of funds.
Gina did her best to avoid these problems — now she needs your help. She’s been told it will take $75k to make the house livable. Please consider donating to help Gina finish repairs on their home. Search “Gina and Heather Ann” on gofundme.com
YOU CAN HELP is multiple ways: 1) Donate via GoFundMe. 2) Go to GoFundMe and share the link on social media. 3) Copy and display this flyer in any location.
Any amount is greatly appreciated. God bless you! I am writing this for the Dugan’s daughter Gina Borino — George Daskalakis
Some people keep Journals, writing down important happenings in their lives, or epiphanies they have. This is kind of like that for me, and I want to remember it.
First, a little groundwork, or foundation. Do you remember a time when you were really on fire for God? A time when you just couldn’t get enough of reading the Bible, or going to studies, or church several times a week? Do you remember a time when you spent hours with other seekers, discussing the Lord and His ways in your lives? Was there a time when you would rather be with other Christians searching for the big answers about life and the clock didn’t matter, you couldn’t get enough? Did you used to go to Christian camps, Christian movies, Christian conferences, Christian Bible studies, Christian home groups, even Christian restaurants, because you just couldn’t get enough? Do you remember a time when you were immersed in Jesus, almost continually baptized by His Presence? Do you remember a time when a friend would call you, and be so excited about a new book they just read, full of new discoveries of some kind about the life of faith, and you could talk for hours about…..the Lord? Do you remember a time when you were desperate about something and God showed up, just in time, leaving you breathless and amazed? Do you remember a time when someone asked you something about life, revealing how troubled they were and how lost they felt, and somehow, out of somewhere within you, you helped comfort them and leave them in peace, and you wondered “where did THAT come from”? Did you ever “experience God” in a way so real that no voice to the contrary could even approach you?
Did you ever have a time when the bullets of life were flying overhead, ready to hurt you, but you found the ‘peace that passes all understanding’ ?
Four questions may help make this personal instead of theoretical:
- Are you growing in your spiritual life?
- Or, are you treading water?
- Are you excited by and about God, and the life you have?
- Or not?
I got a call from a dear friend I hadn’t seen for some time. Dear friends are the ones that you can “pick up right where you left off,” and time doesn’t seem to matter. He lives in another city but was here for a conference and wanted to get together, so we did, on Wednesday night!
For a couple hours we just chatted away, like dear friends do, each of us ‘remembering’ a time past that we enjoyed together. What sort of overtook us was talking about a book, and then more books, about the Lord and His Ways, and about life and its ways. We experienced that feeling so hard to describe where you get excited about how God works, and you hunger to learn more, and you each remember one time after another or one book after another or one epiphany after another…..each one and all of them Glorifying God and giving Him praise, all the while rejoicing not only in The Lord, but in each other! That was Wednesday night!
Then, on Thursday night, it was time for our weekly Bible study at church, a continuation on the study of Spiritual Warfare. It’s a 12-week video study which we completed in the Spring, but so amazing, for me at least, that I had to have it repeated a 2nd time, and invited any who wished to “come again” and re-visit this so needed study. I’ve told several folks that the study should be re-named “Essential Christianity” because the title “Spiritual Warfare” makes some folks uncomfortable, almost wiggy, and what it really is about is the Power of God in our lives, ie: Christianity!
We may live in terrible times, and certainly terrible things are happening all over the place, but we have an Awesome God, Who is able to do exceedingly above what we can ask or even think! Ephesians 3:20.
These times are really no different than the times of history, except that these times are OUR times, and WE are the ones crying out to God! We have the same questions as the ancients had, and we try the same ways they did to get God to do what we want Him to do! Until, of course, we ‘get it,’ and begin to yield, or surrender, to the Lordship of Jesus Christ!
And then something happens: we have an experience; or an awakening; or an epiphany; or a happening. God shows up. Jesus becomes real. The Bible becomes like food we can’t get enough of. Church even seems worth going to!
The lesson this Thursday night was on angels, and it wasn’t goofy or weird in any way. It was Bible. It was reassuring us that God is on the job, all the time, and that He has His messengers and attendants working on our behalf. On our behalf! After the video lesson several folks shared about personal encounters with angels and you could ‘feel’ the tension in the room, as each person tried to relate, even to ‘believe’ that this could happen. I realized that my own personal encounters with God are real to me, for me, but that YOUR encounters with God may seem mighty strange! Instead, we should “rejoice with them that rejoice,” and let God have His way with each of us.
I do pray that each of you can have a dear friend to share your faith with; to search together and to ponder things with; to get excited with and remember the times when God showed up! I also pray that church can become so much a Blessing to you that you hunger for it, and can’t wait for Sunday, because God shows up!
It’s something supernatural. That is, it is something that is natural, in that it is about us, and yet it is so needed that we all crave it, all try to muster it up, and in doing so often repel the very thing sought.
We need divine intervention. We need the natural to be energized by the Lord God, thus ‘supernatural.’ Just the mere thought of the thing makes us pause and exhale in wonder and agreement. We then breathe in again, hoping we get it. It’s sort of a constant prayer we lift to Jesus, albeit more of a hope than a certainty, and yet we know it is part of our faith so we pray anyway, knowing He hears us, knowing He answers us, just not sure of how to ‘discover’ the answer.
Scripture presents this to us in several ways, using several words, and if we’re not careful we make the thing into a ‘work’ somehow, and that sort of defeats the entire concept. God is at work, we know, but we sure love to try to help Him out. We seem to believe that our effort will somehow move the mountain, even if it’s a shovel by shovel attempt.
And along come the super heroes, with their super powers, entertaining us with their ability to do the impossible, defeating all enemies with their strength and grace. Well, sometimes not so graceful. I haven’t seen most of these movies, and not because I object on spiritual grounds, it’s just I don’t like the comics so much. But I do like the idea of super heroes and super powers. We all like to dream of being a hero with incredible power to go out and do good! It’s all about the super power!
And so, all of this, to share with you a saying I saw on the back of a car the other day, sort of like a bumper sticker. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, and I’m not supposed to write a thousand words in a blog, make these words into a picture and ponder the thousand words! Here it is…for you to ponder….to study…to embrace:
CALM IS A SUPER POWER
In church calendar lingo we know that Thursday of Holy Week is called Maundy Thursday; the Last Supper was held, and Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, demonstrating not only Love, but Humility. Much more happened on Thursday…
On Friday….Good Friday of Holy Week….we remember the crucifixion. We remember the suffering, the nails, the crown of thorns, and the Blood, shed for us, so that we could live eternally with the Father. We remember, but do we comprehend. CAN we comprehend? Perhaps we stand at the Cross, along with all the others, in almost disbelief that the one we thought to be Savior somehow perished at the hands of mere men. And yet, we DO remember all the times we spent with Him; all the miracles we witnessed, or even read about! All the Love we received….that unexplainable Love. But He’s dead. They’ve taken Him down, put Him in cloths, and laid Him in a sealed-up tomb. Something’s not right. Something doesn’t make sense. We KNOW in our knower’s that God must be up to something! And it’s only Friday.
Saturday is a hard day for us. It’s still Holy Week, and we are grieving, yes, but we are also troubled and disturbed that the facts right in front of us don’t seem to line up with our hearts, full of hope, are saying. What is going on, on Saturday? The Scriptures tell us that Jesus descended into Hades, and led out of there those held captive, as He and they ascended. Saturday, it turns out, was a busy day. The grip of hell has now been broken, and cannot hold those who choose the Kingdom of Heaven through faith in Jesus Christ.
And NOW it is Sunday! Oh Glorious Day!
It’s called Holy Week to make sure we pay attention, but we’d be better off to remember these things all through the year. We celebrate Holy Communion more often, to remember, to keep our hearts current, to keep our hope alive and well. Let’s remember, also, that before Jesus left us He sent His Holy Spirit to us, for us. This HOLY Spirit is available 24/7/365….to lead us…to comfort us….to Resurrect a fallen day.