On the way to Sunday … Check up Time

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The LORD showed me a vision of Himself standing beside a wall and holding a string with a weight tied to the end of it. The string and weight had been used to measure the straightness of the wall.  Then he asked, “Amos, what do you see?”

“A measuring line,” I answered.

The LORD said, “I’m using this measuring line to show that my people Israel don’t measure up”   Amos 7:7-8 CEV

I just had my annual ‘oil change and tire rotation’ as my primary Doctor likes to call it.

Or as Amos put it – I got a look at my Plumb Line.

Everything was good.  All the vital signs were healthy.

I could be better – lose some weight, eater healthier, work out, etc, etc ….  The choice is mine.  But I heard “I was Good for another year!”

That’s the good and the bad of check ups.

We hear what we want to hear and hope to not hear anything else.

Two years ago, after a routine annual check up, Sherry learned that she had breast cancer.  Not the news you want to hear.

We went to work – what shall we do? – what’s the best course of action?  We adjusted our schedule to take on the task of defeating cancer.  Thankfully two years later – She is cancer free. But we are not back to normal.

The experienced changed us.  We are more aware of life and more aware of what is important – and trust me there is lot of stuff that isn’t important!  And we keep getting check ups.

The sad part about our health is that research shows that 7 out of 10 people that have a heart attack make no changes in their lifestyle after the event.  Apparently having survived was enough.

So back to my check up … everything is good for another year … But I want more …

What changes will I make?

More important than our physical health … how is your spiritual health?

Join me Sunday for a FREE Check up.

See you then …

Fashion Lessons – What to wear?

People tell me I am easy to find in a crowd – not because I am tall, but because I seem to always wear bright clothes.  I guess it is one way to get noticed or remembered, but I am not sure it should be a goal in life.

I want to be known for fashionable choices they way Paul talks about Fashion.

image1112Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:12-17 NIV

Paul’s letter puts forth some “fashion rules” to apply to our lives, as we venture into the world.  He gives us a “wardrobe” to wear so that we might make the right impression on the world.

Put on Compassion.

The compassion you receive from God should be reflected in the compassion you give.

Put on Kindness.

Your spirit should be sweet, tender, and filled with acts of open kindness.

Put on Humility.

Be humble in your actions and thoughts.  Counting yourself as not first or the highest.

Put on Gentleness.

Be slow to anger and quick to find understanding.

Put on Patience.

That is a tough one.  How long can you wait?  As God has been long suffering with this world and us, we should show the same patience and restraint with others.

And over everything put on LOVE – don’t forget a hat … or don’t forget sun screen … or an umbrella

Here is the ‘nut’ of what I am trying to say …

Perhaps we have spent far too long as a church and as individuals wanting to look like the rest of the world.

And maybe, just maybe, the reason is that we are trying to hide … trying to blend …

And perhaps we are guilty of doing the same thing when we come to church …

Trying to be perfect … thinking that is what is needed here to fit in …

If we would act differently because of how we dress then maybe we have been dressing wrong all the time?

Maybe we need permission to look at ourselves the way God does …

God looks at the heart … not the outward appearance like we do …

Which is why Paul writes about clothing our lives with Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, Patience, and Love.

As you venture into the community this week … what will others see?

What will you be most concerned with as you look at others?

The clothes you wear … the outward appearance you put on display will not be the most important?

So What impression will you make?

Who will you be trying to impress?

How will you be clothed?

 

On the way to Sunday … Why?

75576_640x428.jpgA little girl asked her mother, “Mommy, why do you cut the ends off the meat before you cook it?”

The girl’s mother told her that she thought it added to the flavor by allowing the meat to better absorb the spices, but perhaps she should ask her grandmother since she always did it that way.

So the little girl found her grandmother and asked,

“Grandma, why do you and Mommy cut the ends of the meat off before you cook it?”

Her grandmother thought a moment and answered, “I think it allows the meat to stay tender because it soaks up the juices better, but why don’t you ask your Nana? After all, I learned from her, and she always did it that way.”

The little girl was getting a little frustrated, but climbed up in her great-grandmother’s lap and asked, “Nana, why do you cut the ends off the meat before you cook it?”

Nana answered, “I had to – my cooking pot wasn’t big enough.”

We do a lot of things in life (let’s call them ritual), and seldom do we stop to ask why we do them.  We simply develop habits, rituals, traditions, and if we’re not careful, we can forget why we do certain things.

In the church, and with our faith, we can do that too.

Why do the things we do in church?

Join us this Sunday as examine the ritual of Communion and discover the reason behind the practice of sharing the Lord’s Supper.

See you Sunday …

 

A Week in Guatemala

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We returned late last night to our homes in Indianapolis, but for the past week Mission Guatemala was our home. Forgive us for being stuck between two homes as we start our week. We are not the same people that arrived in Guatemala last week. We look the same – maybe a little more sun … or fatigued from all the work, but there is something different.

Epworth Team on Lake Atitlan
We learned about Mayan and Guatemalan culture through our visits to San Antonio and San Juan. We experienced the culture through food, shopping, futbol (soccer), and a special program.


Guatemala “The Land of Eternal Spring” blooms with flowers year round
Spectacular Views are all aroudn
Mayan prayers of blessing
Church Altar in San Juan
A rope bridge for travel especially when the road is washed out by rains
Tuk Tuks are the mode of transportation in town – 5 Quetzals (745 cents) will get you anywhere
Art Galleries fill the streets of San Juan
Coffee Shops are a great place of unwind and enjoy conversation
Did we mention that the Coffee is great
Back Strap Loom is the tool for Mayan woven products
The markets are filled with colors and trinkets
The church in Panajachel
The View of Lake Atitlan in San Antonio
We worked hard – I mean really hard – as construction continued on the House of the Teacher – a needed administration building for the teachers of the district. This building will help serve and train the over 200 teachers that serve over 5000 students in the District. Many of the teachers will travel several hours by foot to attend the training that will be able to take place here. The teachers purchased the land and provided the labor to pour the roof by hand – one bucket at a time.
Emma learns to Stucco
Riley breaks up the ground to level the floor
hand mixing stucco for the walls
The work site at the start of the week
Have tools will mix concrete for free!
The mixing begins
Smoothing out the window sill with a final coat of concrete
Laying foundation blocks for the walkway
Trying not to fall in the floor as we smooth it by hand
Did I mention our fine stucco?
It is a dirty job crawling on the floor and smoothing our concrete
Stucco makes the wall look much nicer
Brian works on building a clean out trap for the septic lines
Angel confers with Umberto on the process for pouring the concrete floors
The construction work is unique to say the least. This is complicated by the use of multiple teams of people from the USA that mean well, but have limited skill. By the time the project is complete it will have taken two years and over 80 teams of volunteers. Estimated completion is early Summer 2019.
The Home of Mission Guatemala
In addition to the construction work, we had a team of volunteers that worked along side Dr John to provide a free dental clinic at the Clinic in San Andreas. They were able to see over 60 patients in four days and extract over 120 teeth.


The Dentist will be here and see you for Free

While there were tears of pain and fear, there was also an overwhelming sense of gratitude from the parents and patients. To begin to understand the need consider the words (translated) from one of the older patients, “I have has this horrible pain for several months, but when I visited the dentist in my community, the cost was far more than I could afford. Thank you for caring enough to come and make me well.”

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Lake Atitlan from the hillside of San Juan
The need to come home to family, friends, and life is now joined by our need to plan a trip to return to Guatemala and the family and friends we have there.

As we each have returned with a story to share and memories to last a lifetime. Take time to ask and then listen to the stories.

On behalf of the Epworth Team,

Bethany, Emma, Leif, Riley, Nate, Natalie, John, Lucinda, Dick, Vern, Jane, Mark, Susie, Teri, Aaron, Brian, Angel, Mat, and myself

Thanks for supporting us …

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If you would like to join us on our next trip … just call or email me

A Mayan Blessing

Last evening we had the opportunity to experience and learn Mayan culture from Mayan Spiritual Leader. we heard music, stories, and receive a blessing from Dom Domingo. We cappped of the evening by eating a traditional Mayan Dinner.

Our work continues today. We are learning to work as a team as we are challenged to pour concrete floors by hand, stucco walls, and lay brick.

The Dental Clinic team had 16 patients and extracted 23 teeth!

We are tired, but ready for another few days of hard work.