There is power in thanksgiving and praise

For the last month I’ve been reading a few Psalms each morning.  The writers, usually King David of Israel, are telling us to PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY GOD!, SHOUT TO THE LORD!, CLAP YOUR HANDS, SOUND YOUR MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO TELL OTHERS OF HIS WONDROUS WORKS!, SING!, DANCE!, REJOICE!

That is beyond the pious quietness of our reverence for the Supreme Being, Creator and Sustainer of the universe.  It is very personal, very passionate, don’t you see?

The amazing underlying story is what was going on in the life of the writer at the time. SUFFERING, ANXIETY, INJUSTICE, FEAR, AND INSECURITY.  Like, with David, “My enemies are plotting to kill me all day long!”  Yet he would reaffirm his trust that God was Himself the secret place of refuge even while David fled for his life when pursued by various enemies in his lifetime.

So.  Shed the quiet piety and get outrageously passionate about the Almighty God of the Universe who is YOUR GOD. And He is my God too!

Enjoy your life adventure with Him!

in the Father’s hands

Marilyn, Healthy with Cancer

Some years ago now, I was called out to serve Communion to a church member who was unable to attend services at the church I served.  She had bone cancer; her name was Marilyn.  After we discussed her grave condition and enjoyed the fellowship over the elements of Communion she made this remark:  “Pastor Mike, I feel sorry for people who don’t have what I have!”

“Yes,” I said, “You have hope in knowing Christ and others don’t know Him.”

“No, that’s not what I mean; it’s the cancer.  I know how much I need Jesus every day; others don’t know how much they really do need Him.”

I Need Him

I left that day, stricken by her bold and brave words.  Soon, I’ll be doing Marilyn’s funeral and I will share that amazing insight at her memorial services.  I wrote them down and kept them by my phone, waiting for the call that she had passed away.  Weeks later, I visited her at a low budget rehab facility where she was nursing a broken leg, the one with the cancer.  She had been at the hospital, stopped for lunch in their McDonald’s and caught her wheelchair in a floor drain, throwing her out on the floor.  That broken leg on top of everything else seemed cruel.

Marilyn’s remark was: “Wasn’t that a blessing, Pastor, that I broke my leg right there; I was already at the hospital!

More time and more visits and Marilyn each time was so caring and encouraging to me and to all those in the nursing facility.  She asked about my wife and children and grandchildren, then said: “Does my head look terrible up here where they took out part of my skull a few weeks ago?”  Her hair had grown in to cover the scars already . . . “I have a steel plate in there now.”  Marilyn was radiant, full of joy and peace as usual though nearing her departure from this world and her reception in Heaven.

Each time I went to see her, I shared how much her example meant to those who heard me tell her story.  One winter night I told her story to a weary missionary near the China border in Kazakhstan.  It inspired hope in everyone who could grasp the meaning of Marilyn’s insight and perspective.

After a couple of years of joy through suffering, Marilyn did pass away and I did her services and I shared her story with those who attended.  I have also shared her story with you to encourage you to be healthy like Marilyn was.  Do we realize how much we really do need Jesus in our lives?

Disasters, Trauma, Eclipse How do you handle it?

This has been quite a week around Northern Colorado, beginning with the total eclipse of the sun as the moon perfectly blocked the much larger light that we depend on for life on planet earth.  This week alone I was involved in the response to two tragic accidents which changed people’s lives.  At the same time in Texas, record levels of flooding have left many tragic stories and changed the course of whole communities, families and thousands of individuals.

We are actually pretty vulnerable aren’t we?  Where do you go to process such things that cannot be absorbed, explained, prevented or even repaired after the fact?  I find peace with God and learn to be comfortable with the chaos of human experience.  We need Him.  He is coming again soon to set things right.  Things have been anything but right since He left mankind in charge of things down here.  He’ll be back and deal justly with us.  I have yielded and I trust in His mercy through Christ.  How do you handle trauma and tragedy?

In His capable hands, now and forever, I rest in His grip.

in the Father’s hands

Christmas – Do you believe?

Peace and Serenity in your heart while the world is crazy with sin.  He came to make peace possible between Him and us.  That Christmas Baby is God’s gift to us at Christmas.

If God had a gift that He could give to you, to let you know how precious that you are, He’d leave His Home to come here as a Baby Boy, and celebrate with His own Christmas star.
christmas

Status and Rights of Women

Abuse, domination, exploitation, second-class, property, subservience, weaker sex, domestic violence, male power etc.  Verbage such as this points out the historic human problem of unequal treatment of women.

True, women in Christian nations have been liberated and elevated into equal status with men, at least according to our beliefs.  Our actions as humans still fall far short of that and unfortunately that is true in the history of the Church.  Did you know that famous ancient fathers of the faith discriminated against women?  Thomas Aquinas was guilty of suggesting that clergymen might need to physically discipline their wives to keep them in order!

Many of our more fundamentalist type church family would exclude women from ministry based on texts that were aimed at disorderly conduct in the early church setting.  Back then, the Jewish synagogue was the model for believers assembling for worship and teaching.  They sat in different sections of the hall and of course it was disruptive to blurt out questions to one’s husband across the room!  Another passage directly speaks against a woman’s taking spiritual teaching authority over men.

In contrast, using Scripture to modify our interpretation of other Scripture, I would point out that deacon/evangelist Philip had four unmarried daughters who were known for prophesying (Acts 21:9).  Also, Priscilla was a co-laborer with her husband Aquila and the apostle Paul, involved for one thing in discipling the mighty apologist Apollos.  In Philippi, two women were credited with standing firm, “contending” for the message of Christ.  That clearly would require persuasive speech to preach the gospel or to defend it from erroneous teachers, or both.  Looking at the lists of fellow workers Paul greets at the end of his letters to churches one can see that women played an active leadership role in the early church.

Vestiges of old traditions, customs and prejudices still persist and cloud our judgment about involving women in ministry.  We need the full release of their potential into the vital life of church/family life!

Counseling Services

Since 1999 when we incorporated CROSSwalk People Helpers as a charitable non-profit organization we have provided counseling services to individuals, families, companies and organizations.

The key focus was to help people through the dangerous intersections of life and especially to help people who were given to helping and serving others, perhaps in foreign cultures and nations.

people helping people
people helping people

Those same services are available to you.  We can meet you in person or communicate electronically.  Your life can be better, healthier, happier and it doesn’t take a long time really to see big changes.

Contact us and we can plan with you a way to heal, change, and grow.

Merry Christmas . . . WAHOO!

amazed boyThe best news ever: “unto you a Child is born”!

The simple, humble, needy and despicable could hear it.

The busy, the independent, the self righteousness didn’t notice.Christmas

Be wise; seek Him.

Listen for Him to speak His peace on earth and goodwill to men.

In the midst of perversion, abuse, greed, war, hatred etc. we have such a pure hope, such a gift of pure love, such a God and Savior!

Enjoy Him!  Draw near Him!  .  .  .  . and KNOW Him!

Love to you all and thanks for your friendship in our journey/adventure together!

from Mike and Dottie Coen at CROSSwalk People Helpers

 

You Can’t Do It !

I’ve got good news and bad news for us:  We Can’t Do It!

Yes, that is both good news and bad news.  And, it isn’t very welcome news in our culture in the 21st century as Americans.

The song attached is by a local artist who captures this idea in a song about Nicodemus, a teacher of the Jewish law when he basically asked Jesus Christ: “how can I do it?”  “how can I inherit eternal life?

That story is in John’s Gospel, the 4th book of the New Testament in the Holy Bible.  The answer from Jesus entails the most basic, most profound info about humans relating to God – and vice-versa.

Here are some highlights:

God so loves people that He gave His only Son.

His Son (Jesus Christ) did not come to condemn people.

You can’t start over in human effort; You Can’t Do It!

You can start over in His power, He Can Do It!.

The power is gifted to you when you believe the above with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Please listen to Michael’s song, carefully, several times!

 

How Precious That You Are!

Jesus is God’s gift to us at Christmas.

Jesus came to us to bring God’s best.

As we celebrate this time called Christmas,

We pray the earth will know His peace and rest.

 

If God had a gift that He could give you

To let you know how precious that you are

He’d leave His home to come here as a Baby Boy

And celebrate with His own Christmas star.

 

Christmas as a child could make me happy.

Christmas as a man can make me cry.

Christmas through the years just grows more lovely.

Jesus came to us from God on high.

 

Shepherds in the field their watch were keeping,

Another night, their only bed the ground.

But, angels came and took all thought of sleeping;

The best gift of the ages they had found.

 

Wise men from the east a CURE were seeking

To mend the broken hearts of men on earth.

Bringing precious gifts they came and found Him

But did they know how much His gift was worth?

 

An old man in the temple courts was waiting.

God’s promised One would come before he died.

He held God’s gift, this tender Child, in fragile hands.

This Baby made his heart so glad, he cried.

 

Jesus is God’s gift to us at Christmas.

Jesus came to earth to bring God’s best.

As we celebrate this time called Christmas,

We pray His peace will bring this whole world rest.

 

If God had a gift that He could give you

To let you know how precious that you are,

He’d leave His home to come here as a Baby Boy

And decorate with His own Christmas star.