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Our Pastor Ponders Yom Kippur

 

This week, all around the world, the Jewish faith celebrates their most important day of faith known as Yom Kippur. Also known as Day of Atonement, it is also the holiest day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days sometimes "the Days of Awe".

  Historically, the Jews set aside this one day of the year to publicly acknowledge their sins and seek forgiveness via the sacrifice of blood from some animal they brought to the temple.  The Chief Priest would then, ceremonially speaking, transfer the sins of the people onto a goat.  This goat became known as the “scape goat” for it carried all the sins of the people.  The goat was then taken to the wilderness of Israel and killed, symbolically taking away the sins of the people.

After countless years of seeking forgiveness in this way – Jesus the messiah came into the world some 2000 years ago.  We know that Jesus is the true “lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”.  His blood sacrifice at Calvary was for all mankind. All who believe and trust in him shall have their sins forgiven and have everlasting life. Some will not believe.  Some are yet to believe. Some believe.  Which are you?

What do you think?  What would Jesus say?  Let’s Chat it up! 

Our Pastor Ponders Belief in Jesus Christ

 

Today on my flight to Chicago for our son Scott’s wedding, I sat next to a husband and wife traveling to the same city for a conference.  I found out that the couple was Jewish and had been to the Holy Land a few times.  When I introduced myself, he asked what I did for a living and I told him I was very blessed to be a Pastor.  In response, he said, “ I am a Completed Jew.”

 A person of this faith is a Jew from their heritage, but at some point they came to belief in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. They retain their heritage, but practice their faith as messiah believing Jews.   There is more to this, but the essential message is pure and simple:  Whether you are Jewish or Gentile salvation comes through belief in Jesus Christ as the savior. 

Everyone needs to hear the Gospel – please do your part in sharing it.

Our Pastor Ponders Hurricane Victims

 

Before reading my post below please read Matthew 25:31-46

A large number of our neighbors in the Bahamas are suffering.  They need to get to a place of safety, of resources such as water, food and clothing. 

What if, and maybe you do, have a family member there? Would there be any good reason to prevent them from entering the United States for these basic human needs?  The state and federal government are preventing their entry due to the lack of “proper paperwork.” Now keep in mind that their homes have been washed away, all their possessions, identification, passports if they had one – gone.  All they have is what’s on their backs. Of course they don’t have the proper paperwork.  Yet we prevent them from entering our country?  Does this sound like “love your neighbor"?  Does this sound like something Jesus would do?

I am greatly concerned that we Americans are becoming like the Pharisee’s, letting the law blind us to what is right. This is a humanitarian crisis for them and it’s a moral crisis for us.  The government can adapt and make exceptions – if they just would. The Matthew scriptures are not just about doing the right thing for our brothers and sisters – it’s also about the price to be paid for not following this restating of the golden rule (Matthew 7:12).  “in so far as you failed to do it for the least of these...the price is identified in verses 45 & 46.

What do you think?  What would Jesus say? 

Our Pastor Ponders Current Events

 

Each one of us encounters storms in our lives. Hurricanes, relationships, a bad diagnosis, financial challenges - all can impact our wellbeing. 

I thought a lot about the storms I’ve encountered this past week awaiting Dorian’s arrival.  Certainly I noted the storms that brought devastation, major life changes, grief, hurt and valleys of despair.  But the more I thought the more I recognized how many storms, just like Dorian, passed me by.  Proportionally, I’ve missed far more of life’s storms than I’ve encountered or deserved. 

The first spiritual question I encountered from our fellowship this week after Dorian passed by was, “Why the people in the Bahamas and not us”?  Can you answer that question?  Before I attempt a response it reminds me that we get better than we deserve. I prayed that the hurricane spare us.  I’m sure the Bahamians did the same.  We did the same in 2004 when Charlie came through too.  Why us then?  And think for a moment of how many hurricanes went around us in the last 15 years!  Wouldn’t you say God has been good to us?  Then there are all of those other countless storms of life God has spared us from.   Sure we’ve had a few, our just share probably, some have had even more than our share of life’s storms.

But in the big picture, putting things in balance, hasn’t God been good to us? I recall a tornado that missed our house in Kentucky back in 1973.  Right down the street, homes were cleaned off to the foundation. I didn’t understand why then, anymore than I do now. 

Two stelas of scripture stand out to me:

1st – “The rain falls on the just and the unjust” Mt. 5:45 Life happens, nature happens and we are part of both – occasionally it’s us, but most often its not.

2nd  - God is with us through it all.  Psalm 23 tells us that; “Yyea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death… thou art with me”.  If you feel fortunate to have avoided this storm be thankful, just know that life happens, there will be storms to come – but fear not, the God of all creation is with you!

What do you think? What do you think Jesus would say? 

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