Hard to believe that it was Thirty Seven Years Ago, Today, that we heard the news that John Lennon had been Murdered at his home in New York City.
John, the Most Radical and Avant-Garde member of the “Fab Four”, was always persistent, teaching one Word to anyone that would listen and hear. LOVE.
It seems to me that John’s murder was the beginning of the “Make Me Famous” killings, soon followed by the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981, and the proliferation of senseless acts, that are far to common today. Some would say that it’s all about access to Guns. I believe it’s more about wanting to be famous and the Press following their “If It Bleeds, It Leads” philosophy.
On this sad day, let’s remember John’s message of Love & Peace; and let us work to put an end to Hate and Vitriol in ANY Form. After all, the Word Is Love!
“The Word” by The Beatles
PLEASE CLICK BELOW to Listen:
Before you say it… This is NOT a Political Commentary.
Instead, it is about culture and the responsibility of Leadership
Way back in 1995-6, we now know that a sitting President had a lewd and inappropriate relationship with a 22-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.
We spent most of Bill Clinton’s Presidency debating one aspect or another of the story that led President Clinton to be only one of two Presidents successfully impeached.
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
How well I remember the banter from Both sides. The Right would say that Clinton’s actions were morally irrepressible, and set the wrong example for the Nation’s youth. Meanwhile, the left was voraciously working to sweep it under the preverbal rug saying, “What Happens in Private, between Two People, should remain Private.” And, not standing up for their hallowed Women’s Rights. Hypocritical to say the least.
Inevitably Clinton’s actions were a stunning example of extremely Flawed Leadership.
First, with the Act itself. Secondly, and arguably more Importantly, the example it presented. Not only to the Nations youth, but also for all men in Power.
Is it really any wonder that thirty years later we are in the midst of a Sexual Harassment deluge?
After all, the “Most Powerful MAN in the World” set a glowing example… Do what you want, when you want, with whom you want. Then, Deny, Deny, Deny. Sound Familiar?
Growing up, My Sister, Brother and I were so Blessed to have a wonderful mother that believed in each one of us deeply, giving us all so much strength. She always wanted us to live our lives to the fullest; and would never miss an opportunity to tell us that we could do and be anything we wanted.
A little over a decade ago, my Mom was dying. She had fought the good fight and showed us all, what it meant to always work to be a better person.
Her last battles started with lung cancer some fifteen years before she passed. Then after beating the Cancer in her lungs, it creeped into her brain causing a tumor and subsequent brain surgery. Like the trooper she always was; she fought back, and gained five more years with her beloved Grandkids, and the family she was so dedicated to.
Now, on her death bed, she was succumbing to another bout with brain cancer. Knowing her fate, she held my hand and said “Mark, please promise me that you’ll lose all the weight and take care of yourself.” “Your family loves you, and needs you.”
That was so much like her. Here she was dying… and her main concern was about me, my health and my future! I miss that lady every day.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!.” -Luke 11:36
So, the end of the story is that I promised her I would lose the weight. No doubt, if I hadn’t, I’d be dead. Turns out that was just the beginning of my personal reformation. All glory to God as he was “Ordering” my steps even through the loss of my wonderful Mom.
Does the idea of Time Travel make your head hurt? We’ve all seen the movies, or read the books about people that go back in time and meet themselves when they were kids. Or, when a couple falls in love and the man travels forward in time, not aging at all, and meets his girl when she’s in her 80’s.
The concept is literally mind boggling.
The linear path of time is infused in the human psyche. It seems we spend our lives working toward that next goal. Some are monumental like “I’ll start doing that once I turn Thirty.” Others are mundane like “I’ll get up off the couch when this show is over.”
We think of the past in linear concepts as well. “If I only would’a, then I could’a.”
For God, time is only a measuring stick without constrain. He was there at the beginning, and he is there at the end. He knew you before you were born, and he knows every step, thought and need of your life.
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” -2 Peter 3:8
One day, decades ago, I was watching an Army of Ants as they traversed some sandy soil in the back yard at the house where I grew up. Someone had thrown a sandwich into the yard. The orderly battalions of Ants were steadily dissecting the sandwich and moving it to their Ant Hill about ten feet away. While watching, I remember thinking what a long journey for those Ants. What would have taken me a couple steps from one point to another; probably was a day’s work for the Ants.
That’s when it dawned on me. This must be like how God see’s our life. I could see the busy “dissectors” at the sandwich, I could see the caravan moving the sandwich pieces, and, I could see the sandwich disappearing into the inner sanctum of the Ant Colony. Imagine, what if I picked up a piece of the sandwich from the beginning of the caravan, and placed it at the mouth of the Ant Colony? What would the Ants think? Truly, a Miracle in their eyes?
In my early twenties, God touched my heart with the understanding that he could and would Make Me who I needed to be, in fulfilling HIS purpose for my life. All I needed to do, was to have Faith and Believe in Him.
A few years later, I was praying and begging God for his forgiveness with something that I had done in the past. I remember thinking how that stupid act would be with me always. It was then that God touched my heart; explaining that time was irrelevant to him, and reminding me, that he would “Make Me” who I needed to be, fulfilling HIS purpose for my life.
There I was, considering that new understanding of “Make Me”; when, that day in my back yard with the Ants popped into my thoughts. Wow, God could “Make Me” forgiven before I committed that Sin. Confirming that thought, I remembered reading about the difference between Forgetting and Forgiveness. Forgetting is simply, not remembering. However, the memory is still there and can be called up at will. On the other hand, Forgiveness is forgetting without any memory or recollection.
Think about that. When God says he will “Forgive” our sins. By definition… they never existed!
Every day my prayers start with “Thank You God for Making Me…” What a blessing to know that I have been re-born, before I was Born!
Here’s a wonderful song called “Here I Am” from my friend and Pastor, Rowdy Van Horn. Every time I hear it, I think about those Ants.
Over the past few years we’ve all seen how people that are typically silent regarding their politics can become unified around a cause, and then Change the world. This “Silent Majority” gets so fed up with the “Status Quo”, they bind together in their cause for change. Setting aside ALL their differences; they can truly move mountains. We saw this with Reagan, the TEA Party, Bernie Sanders, the BrExit movement and recently with the Trump election.
All politics aside, the power of the silent majority has changed and redirected events when all thought it was too late. Powerful.
As Christians, we are way to Silent. Talk about a silent majority. Studies show that there are 2.2 Billion Christians in the world today. That’s more than a third of the people on the planet! One out of Three people identify as Christians. Unlike more vocal religions, Christians are taught early on to be humble. This has led to the largest religion on earth to be consistently silent and unassertive.
Compounding the silence is the number of Denominations of Christians throughout the world. Estimates say that they are 33,000 separate denominations of Christians. Simply, by the math, that divides the Body of Christ into 33,000 separate voices representing an average of 65 million Christians per denomination.
I love my Church, and have complete faith in my understanding of God’s Word. As I’m confident most of you do as well. Please considerthat Jesus never taught that “the Church” was the Body of Christ. You, and the rest of the 2.2 Billion Christians are the Body of Christ.
“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:27
As individual parts of the Body of Christ, we need to make our voices heard. No longer can we be silent as the ways of the World engulf all aspects of life on Earth. When confronted with a World that contradicts our faith; we MUST speak up and not be silent.
Sure, it can be frightening, or intimidating, to contradict the trends and ways so prevalent in life today. That’s where Faith comes in. Know that if you are Honoring God, he will protect you.
“But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!” – 1 Peter 4:16
My message is simple. Unite as the Body of Christ and be Vocal about it. No, this is not a call for you to change your beliefs, nor leave your Church. Instead, it is a call to Rise Above differences and Speak Out in the name of our Lord and Savior, the Christ Jesus. A call to NOT Be Silent!
Here are some lyrics from “I Will Not Be Silent” by the late Dan Peek. Founding member of the band America.
I Will NOT Be SILENT
“I Will NOT Hold Back, I will Cry Out Loud, Though the Dark Clouds are Gathered, HIS Light is Shining Down I Will NOT Look Back, I Will Stand My Ground, Though the Enemy Surrounds Me, The Battle HAS Been Won!”
To Hear All the Song, please click the link below.
Have you ever been in place where it seems that no matter what happens, you can’t hold on to any joy or happiness? Trust me when I say. “Been Dar’ Dun’ Dat”!”
For those that know my story, they have heard how there was a time in my life where I felt like my soul was attached to a Huge Vacuum Cleaner. Every bit of happiness or joy that I found was quickly “sucked” up, like a yesterday’s dirt.
One day, circumstances took me to the end of my spiritual rope. I felt like I was in a Long, Soundless, Dark Tunnel. Then, an almost indistinguishable voice seemed to be whispering in my ear asking… “What Are You Doing Here?” Well, I didn’t have an answer except to say I’m sorry, please forgive me.
Understanding that I had walked into that tunnel ALL by myself.
Then, as if to say, “Come with Me, I got this.” That still quiet voice, that I knew to be God, wrapped around me and guided me out of the Tunnel; and set me on a new path where God would always light my way.
Well, from that moment forward. That vacuum turned into a Huge Fire-Hose, filling my soul with God’s Promise and it’s never stopped flowing and filling my soul.
Every time I hear the song “The Ocean” by my Pastor, Rowdy Van Horn, I relive that wonder full moment again. The song is from Rowdy’s seemingly forgotten CD, that I Highly Recommend called Rowdy Live. From the first time I heard the song it quickly became one of my favorites. I love the poignant lyrics including:
I Need You Lord, You Are All I Know, My Heart is Overflowed, Please Don’t Let Go, I Need to Feel Your Mercy Flow, For You’ve Become the Water, in the Ocean of My Soul
I Just Want to Say, Thank You for the Change, You Opened up My Heart, And Poured Down Your Rain, I need You, And Called Out Your Name, And Since that Day, I’ve Never Been the Same