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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? 

Pastor Ponders Hurricanes!


Every since I can remember hurricanes have been a part of being a Florida resident.  From the first one I remember, Hurricane Donna in 1960 to Charley in 2004, we’ve grown accustomed to their threat and survived their strikes.  A hurricane is the most unpredictable of all storms and can cause catastrophic damage but we hardly seem to flinch when one is baring down on our homes and state.  We’ve become accustomed to the threat and we’ve learned to moderate our response to something that could wipe out our homes  and possibly kill us.

Contrast our response to hurricanes to the slightest downturn in the stock market, to a job loss, or a unfavorable diagnosis.  We panic as if there is no tomorrow.  We cry out “why God” when we loose a few dollars in our retirement accounts but hardly seem to bat an eye when thousands are left homeless by Hurricane Michael that hit Mexico Beach, Florida, just last year.

Have we become callous about catastrophe?  Are we so preoccupied with self that we simply consider it part of today’s news when others are bitterly suffering?  Whats has happened to us?  What are we going to do about being callous, accustomed and panic-free for our neighbors? 

Have you ever thought maybe God is trying to get our attention?  I am acutely reminded of the Old Testament stories of God getting the attention of his people. I pray we are not so hard headed. What do you think? What would Jesus say to these things? 

Our Pastor Ponders: Is it all about the economy?


At what point do we reach “okay” status?  Consumed with a financial focus, when are we okay so that we can then “love your neighbor” and “treat others as we would like to be treated”? 

So much of our personal, corporate and all of the political decisions are based on a financial priority.  Do you suppose that is the way Jesus intended us to live as Christians?  As examples: choose between the ever-increasing military machine spending or an achievable health care plan and a solvent social security program – which should we focus on more?  Is it more education and job opportunities or building more jails that should be prioritized? Do we choose between gun owner’s rights or being the parent of one of the murdered school children at Sandy Hook Elementary? Is it protection of our GDP or a comprehensive immigration plan that needs attention?

Think for a moment… what do you think Jesus would do in these situations?  We know God’s position: “the love of money is the root of all evil” and “whoever loves money never has enough”  What if personally, corporately and politically we refocused our spending with God's priorities at the top of our budgets.  Do you think the world would be a better place? What if you did it?  Do you think God would approve?  Do you believe that God would   provide for all your needs?

What do you think?  What would Jesus  say?  Let's chat it up.

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