Life's Handbook Part One

I wish I had written this, I have not, so I will be passing these along to you in parts.


1. Drink plenty of water

2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.

3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy

5. Make time to pray.

6. Play more games

7. Read more books than you did in 2009

8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day

9. Sleep for 7 hours

10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Round One

Our Bibles vs. Our Cells Phones

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing.

Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you!

If you are one of the 7% who will stand up for
Him, forward this.

93% of the people won't forward this.


Windshield Wonders

Hey There. I am adding a new blog to my favorites. My friends are traveling through out the US in an RV. Please check out their activities and pictures.


Gaddafi's Egg and Nile Islands

Here is a link to great pictures from Sudan and an interesting article at BBC's internet paper. It speaks to the struggles between old and new, Arab and African, poor and not-so poor.



Episcopal Relief and Development

Episcopalians have a lot to be proud of and one of them is the work of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD).

Here is the link to the article letting us know that ERD has received its third 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. Enjoy then pass it along.



He's Available, Are You?

My friend and I were discussing a question from my discipleship group yesterday. It centered around forgiveness and grace. What would I say to someone who didn't really buy into the concept that God forgives us all, through Jesus, even if he did not think he was worthy.

That led us through other discussions about faith, working for the diocese and its people, strengthening our own faith.

My friends mother receives a copy of the weekly sermon from Concord Presbyterian Church in Delaware. The sermon from April 25, 2010 seemed to address some of the issues we were discussing. The Rev. Fritz Ackerman wrote the following:

John 10:22-30
A t that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly." Jesus answered, ' I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice' I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out or my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Fathcr's hand. The Father and I are one'"

In my former life,I was sitting in my office one day when the bank president called to say he needed me to come to a meeting in an hour to discuss a fast breaking opportunity to acquire another bank. What do you think my response was? Did I say "Gee Bob, I am really booked today, I do not think I can make it?"

You get a call from your friend telling you that her son has had a terrible accident and is being rushed to the emergency room. She asks if you will take her to the hospital and sit with her. Do you say, "I'd really like to help,but you know Tuesdays are cleaning days and the house is really a mess. "

Without question, the response to each of these circumstances is to make yourself available.

In our story from John's gospel this morning, the Jewish leaders who confront Jesus are guilty of failing to make themselves available to the compelling truth of Jesus Christ, God incarnate. They are angry and frustrated because Jesus' claims do not line up with their expectations. They are fearful that the beliefs and practices that are the source of their own power are being called into question. It's not so much that they don't want Jesus to be the Messiah; but they want him to be the Messiah of their own definition.

Jesus doesn't answer their demand for a straight answer to their question about his identity. He tells them their unbelief is not because he hasn't given them a clear answer, but because they haven't made themselves available to it.

Knowing the Messiah involves more than analyzing the answers to questions and arriving at a reasoned conclusion. Knowledge of the Messiah has to do with a reorientation of the knower.

Henri Nouwen suggests that "Most questions people ask of Jesus are questions from below..."1 He goes on to say, "We have to keep looking for the spiritual questions if we want spiritual answers."

Do you remember the story of Nicodemus, another leader of the Jews, found earlier in John's gospel? He approaches Jesus with what sounds like some pretty good knowledge __"Rabbi," he says, "we know that you are a teacher who has come from God" (3:2). But he bases this conclusion on the signs Jesus has been performing; and he comes to Jesus under the cover of darkness.

Nouwen would say that Nicodemus approached Jesus' identity "from below;" and Jesus responds accordingly, telling Nicodemus that "no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above" (3:3). In other words, the kingdom that Jesus represents, the kingdom of God, is entered not by our reasoning or cleverness; not by our ability to ask the right questions, but by a transformation wrought by God.

I began by relating two examples of phone calls or requests to act in situations where it seems obvious what the response has to be. In those situations, and many more that I'm sure you could name, there is no need for follow-up on the part of the requestor. In those situations it's hard to imagine what the consequences of failing to make ourselves available would be. In the first instance I may have been seeking new employment, in the second a good friend would be devastated and perhaps lost to us.

In today's confrontation over his identity the Jewish leaders are not condemned or mistreated by Jesus. They are simply told that they have not grasped the answer to their question because they have not been available to the message; the message that would transform them from one flock to another; from the flock preoccupied with their own fears and self-interest, to the flock of those who hear and answer God's persistent call to a loving relationship; the call from above that seeks us out, no matter where we are.

The good news of the gospel is that we need not be in hot pursuit of God. Jesus teaches us through his life that it is indeed the other way around. Like the lost sheep, God is looking for us. We heard it earlier in Psalm 23, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

God is seeking a close, intimate, personal replationship with each one of us. When we deny God by our sinfulness, we are not dismissed for insubordination, and we do not diminish God's love for us. When we run from God in confusion, sorrow, paid and despair we can know with confident that God has followed us into the darkness.

Simon Tugwell, a Dominican of Blackfriars in Oxford, England, says in his book entitled Prayer,2 that "Our part is not to shoulder the whole burden of our salvation, the initiative and the programme are not in our hands: our part is to consent, to learn how to love [God] in return, whose love came to us so freely while we were quite uninterested..." In other words, make yourself available.

Tugwell goes on to say that "wherever we have got to, whatever we have done, that is precisely where the road to heaven begins. However many cues we have missed, however many wrong turnings we have tsken, however unnecessarily we may have complicated our journey, the road still beckons, and the Lord still waits to be gracious to us."

Jesus did not give a straight answer to the Pharisees because their question came out of expectations that were at odds with the God revealed and embodied by him. Make no mistake, while we may tend to vilify the Pharisees, God loved them, and was pursuing them even in this moment in the temple. They needed only to make themselves available.

What questions would you ask Jesus? I suspect the answers to those from above are already there, in the stillness of your deepest self.

This I know, and this I proclaim to you with confidence-God is calling each of you right now.

Are you available?

1. Nouwen, Henri Bread for the Journey. Harper:San Francisco, 1997.

2. Tugwell, Simon Prayer, as quoted in A Guide to Prayers for Ministers and Other Servants. Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck, editors. The Upper Room: Nashville, 1983, pages 161-2.