| November, 2017

CRIME WATCH

Posted on 16 November 2017 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach

Oct. 31: It was reported that wheels and tires were stolen from a vehicle parked in a back lot at King Hyundai at 1399 S. Federal Hwy.

Oct. 31: A man reported his scooter stolen from 959 SE 2 Ave.

Oct. 31: A man reported his car parked at 1041 SW 8 Ave., entered and an iPhone stolen.

Nov. 3: It was reported that a concrete saw owned by T & D Solutions was stolen from 790 NE 48 St.

Nov. 3: A man reported his home at 3801 Crystal Lake Dr. was burglarized.

Lighthouse Point

Oct. 28: A subject was trespassed from the coin laundry at 1810 NE 25 St. after causing a disturbance.

Oct. 31: Police responded to a call at 3860 NE 24 Ave. concerning two subjects on skateboards smoking marijuana, but could not be located when police arrived.

Oct. 31: A victim said he lost his wallet in the Publix parking lot at 3700 N. Federal Hwy. The wallet contained several IDs for the victim and his mother, a green card, debit cards and a Florida driver’s license. The loss was $35.

(This is a partial list. For Deerfield Beach Crime Watch in full, visit www.DFB.City and click on “Sign Me Up” to receive the city wide report.)

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HAPPENINGS

Posted on 16 November 2017 by LeslieM

An Evening with Gatsby”

Friday, Nov. 17, 6 to 10 p.m.

Sample-McDougald House

450 NE 10 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

There will be specialty 1920s cocktails, beer, wine & hors d’oeuvres, dancing and live Jazz band, a silent & live auction, valet parking, cigar-rolling station, awards for best Gatsby attire, vintage photo station & more. 1920s Cocktail & Black Tie Attire Encouraged. Funds raised at the event directly support the Sample-McDougald House’s ongoing preservation of the historic house, educational programming for all ages, interpretive daily tours and community programs. $100 (or $1000 per table for 10). For more information, call 754-307-5446.

Pompano Pier Food Truck Round Up

Friday, Nov. 17, 6 to 10 p.m.

Pompano Beach Fishing Pier

222 N. Pompano Beach Blvd.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Food Trucks, music and fun! Bring blankets and folding chairs since seating is limited. Great entertainment, full bar. For more information, call 954-786-7824.

Beach Sounds — High Tolerance

Friday, Nov. 17, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Main Beach Parking Lot

149 SE 21 Ave.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Family friendly concert series. Bring blankets or chairs, or sit on beach sand and listen as High Tolerance performs. For more information, call 954-480-4429.

MADD Candlelight Vigil

Friday, Nov. 17, 7 to 9 p.m.

Herb Skolnick Community Center

800 SW 36 Ave.

Pompano Beach, FL 33069

Please join the City of Pompano to honor and remember victims and survivors of impaired driving crashes. For more information, contact MADD Victim Advocate Maegan Aja at Maegan.aja@madd.org.

Granny’s Attic

Saturday, Nov. 18, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Emma Lou Olson Civic Center

1801 NE 6 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Bargain hunters rejoice! Huge garage sale with over 80 vendors. Features housewares, toys, collectibles, tools and more! Food and drinks available for purchase. For more information, call 954-786-4111.

Annual Community Turkey Giveaway

Saturday, Nov. 18, noon

Delta Lodge #519

159 SW 1 Terr.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Every year, the Delta Lodge and the Louise Court #84 Heriones of Jerico, PHA, along with the Broward Sheriff’s Office and a lot of sponsors host a turkey giveaway event for those in need.

Zonta Club meets

Tuesday, Nov. 21, 11:45 a.m.

DoubleTree by Hilton

100 Fairway Dr.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

This organization of executives and professionals works together to advance the statuses of women locally and worldwide through service and advocacy. Come find out more about the group at this luncheon. Guest speaker: Mary Reidel, executive director of Women in Distress. For more information, contact Sandy Manning at bosanboc@bellsouth.net.

Save the Date: Kiwanis West Annual Christmas Auction

Saturday, Dec. 2, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex

445 SW 2 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Holiday fun. Food will be provided free of charge.

Yuletide Parade

Thursday, Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m.

McNab Park

2250 E. Atlantic Blvd.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Yuletide Parade is back on Atlantic Boulevard! They are looking for parade participants. The parade will be starting from Riverside Drive, heading west on Atlantic Boulevard and ending at McNab Park. For more information, call 954-786-4111.

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CLERGY CORNER: Defiant gratitude

Posted on 16 November 2017 by LeslieM

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

Before I begin, I want to encourage all people of faith to set aside their differences and unite in solidarity behind the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Let us pray for the 27 who were killed, the 20 who were injured, the community and our nation as we mourn together at the wake of yet one more national tragedy, this time in a place of worship. It is a difficult request; please pray for the gunman and his family as well. He, too, was a victim of evil.

Forgive me, reader, as I allow myself to write as I think. This is my fourth attempt at writing this column and I have started and stopped three times leading up to this final attempt. Why, you may ask. The answer is simple. I am writing about Thanksgiving in the wake of another national tragedy, this time in a place of worship.

As a pastor, I feel a little vulnerable. I think that this is a natural reaction considering the fact that 27 were killed in a place of worship. As a living and breathing human being who is tired of this phenomenon, I am angry. And I feel that my anger is more than justified.

I think I stopped and started three times leading up to this final attempt because, quite honestly, I wasn’t feeling thankful. And I certainly didn’t want my emotions to get the best of me and, honestly, they were getting the best of me. And then I read this passage from Philippians 4:4-7.

I think anytime I read an epistle of St. Paul I consider two things, the writer and his audience. The reality for Paul, as well as the Philippian Church, was a reality of Christian persecution. While I, as well as most of you, was surprised by the atrocity in Sutherland Springs, Texas, neither Paul nor his audience, the Church of Philippi, would have been surprised at all. That was the reality of the early church.

That being said, Paul writes these words: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Is Paul unaware of his own circumstances or the challenges that face the Church of Philippi? Paul doesn’t seem to have a problem being thankful in a time when most people, me included, would.

And then I looked at the words again: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” He did not write “Rejoice in the Lord sometimes, and when you feel happy, Rejoice.” There is a something about Paul’s words that stubbornly cling to hope when society is on the brink of throwing in the towel. I read words of a faith that is, if you will, defiant, as if to say, I am not going to let the circumstances surrounding me drag me down. I will give thanks always, when I feel like it, when I don’t feel like it, when I am happy, when I am sad, when I am angry because I will not give the victory to those who would take this away. I call this defiant gratitude. It isn’t glib. It doesn’t ignore the painful reality and the challenges we face. It simply says, “You won’t win, Devil. The victory belongs to God.”

These words played a pivotal role in changing my attitude into an “attitude of gratitude.” But not only that, I have an “attitude of defiant gratitude.”

Thanksgiving is a national holiday as well as a religious one. It is a chance to unite all people of faith, whatever faith that may be. The reality of evil is something that we all face and even our places of worship are vulnerable.

Let us unite in Thanksgiving with defiant gratitude. Let us praise God no matter what the risk may be. Let our families carry on with their celebrations and let us never lose sight of the fact that that which unites us is much stronger than that which divides us. Our greatest common denominator is God. And to God alone, let us give our glory.

Pastor Gross is a pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, located at 959 SE 6 Ave., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-421-3146 or visit www.zion-lutheran.org.

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The Therapy Room: Exercise: Become Stronger, Smarter and Younger

Posted on 16 November 2017 by LeslieM

Why do Americans spend billions of dollars annually on elixirs and quick fixes to look better? Does any medicine exist today that can make us stronger, smarter and younger? The miracle medicine that truly works and can provide longevity, health and wellness is EXERCISE.

Our country is trying to untangle and reassemble the current healthcare system into one that works. There are many changes that must take place and I believe more emphasis must be placed on the many health benefits of exercise — for all ages!

The consequences of a sedentary lifestyle have been well studied and researched. People who do not or rarely exercise are at risk for various cancers, heart disease, chronic diseases, depression, and other mental and physical health issues. The National Institutes of Health recently launched a study aimed at what exactly happens to a human body that moves. The goal is to prove that exercise is the ultimate medicine.

Not every type of exercise works for every person. An effective way to make exercise more desirable is to incorporate a goal-orientated approach. I do this in my psychotherapy private practice. I promote brief therapy with specific goals spelled out clearly and carried forward for each of my patients. Achieving mental and physical health goals motivates my patients to move forward and achieve their goals.

Here are a few reasons why you should exercise:

Doing any exercise 3-4 times a week for 20-30 minutes will increase your energy and stamina.

Walking daily and monitoring your steps using a fitness tracking device will improve your health. Any number over zero is improvement, but 7,000-10,000 steps a day will help reduce visits to the doctor.

Exercising will ease symptoms of many chronic conditions. Consider meeting with a professional trainer to build strength and endurance and to reduce pain by increasing blood flow and releasing endorphins — those feel good brain chemicals.

Exercising will help you to lose weight. You will become conscious of the nutritional content and portion size of the food you eat. Strength training and cardiovascular exercises will ultimately help you to attain the body and overall health you desire.

Exercising reduces anxiety and depression. Move your body and do something different because sitting and watching television, or using devices for long periods of time can lead to stress. Take a walk, swim in the ocean, consider a spin or yoga class. Just move your body and your thinking will improve!

The strongest evidence that exercise is key to being youthful is that studies consistently show that people who exercise regularly have fewer strokes, fewer heart attacks and live longer than those who stay put. Your body in motion slows down the acceleration of aging at the cellular level. Why not consider exercising to feel and look better and stronger? Make your move today — change is possible!

Dr. Julia Breur is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private clinical psychotherapy practice in Boca Raton. For more information, visit www.drjuliabreur.com.

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Western shocks top-ranked bucks

Posted on 16 November 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Adam Ratkevich couldn’t have picked a better spot to coach Western High School to the first win in school history.

Ratkevich exacted a little bit of revenge against his former school as the Wildcats football coach piloted his team to a stunning, 20-17 victory over host Deerfield Beach in the regional quarterfinals last week.

We ended our season on this field last year and we had t-shirts printed up with ‘Unfinished Business’ and that was about the playoffs,” said Coach Ratkevich, whose team lost 27-13 to the Bucks in the first round of the playoffs in 2016.

I told our seniors last year they built this thing and we are gonna stand on their shoulders and I promised the juniors if we saw these guys again we’d do it.”

Ratkevich, who coached the Bucks in 2009 and 2010, left the program after making the playoffs despite finishing with a 2-9 record. It was the first losing season since finishing 4-6 in 1989 and only the sixth losing season in the 40 years of varsity football at the school. Ratkevich finished with a 9-13 record at the school.

Western’s Harrison story tossed two touchdowns to Jordan Smith, including a 7-yard score with 3:19 to go to clinch the team’s victory over the state’s top-ranked Class 8A team by the Associated Press.

The Wildcats (9-2) defense recovered four fumbles of the night to keep Deerfield Beach (8-3) at bay.

Deerfield Beach running back Jaylan Knighton led all rushers with 126 yards on 21 carries, including a 34-yard touchdown that gave the Bucks the early, 7-0 lead. Story tied the game at 7-7 with a 2-yard run before Linden Rivera gave the Bucks a 10-7 halftime lead with a 30-yard field goal.

Deerfield Beach Coach Jevon Glenn said his team just couldn’t overcome turnovers and penalties. The Bucks were whistled 16 times for 120 yards.

Story gave Western a 13-10 lead on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Smith with 8:54 left in the third quarter; however, the Bucks wouldn’t go down without a fight as Kyle Kaplan hit Donte Banton for a 34-yard touchdown with 2:50 left to play.

The Bucks, making their 16th playoff appearance since 2000 and 26th overall since 1977, could get no closer.

Pompano’s Christensen finishes 11th

Pompano Beach High junior Thomas Christensen tied for 11th with a 155 (80-75) at the Class 2A state tournament at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills last week.

He was medalist at the

regional tournament and helped the Golden Tornadoes to a third place team finish. Pompano Beach also finished an impressive 10-1 this season.

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FLICKS: FLIFF’S grand finale, featuring Karen Allen

Posted on 16 November 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

After You’re Gone is an appropriate title for the closing night film of the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) because the 32nd annual event will soon be a mere memory. From the Russian Federation, After You’re Gone features the story of a ballet dancer with a bad back who tries to understand the end of his career. Writer/director Anna Matison will be in attendance with a wrap-up party at Bailey Hall [at Broward College in Davie] featuring grilled wings, pizza and paninis.

Paninis and pasta sounds like appropriate food for the much-anticipated TOGA Party at the Villa Di Palma. FLIFF Executive Board Member Steve Savor is presenting live entertainment featuring Otis Day & The Knights from the 1978 classic comedy Animal House, starring the late John Belushi, the late John Vernon, Kevin Bacon, Peter Riegert and Karen Allen, who is in town to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Best known for her blockbuster body of work from the 1980s, Karen Allen is truly a renaissance woman. Besides owning her own fiber arts business in Barrington, Massachusetts, Allen teaches Yoga and acting. Born in southern Illinois and raised in Washington D.C., Karen was a camp counselor for special needs children during her teens. A natural writer, Allen was bitten by the acting bug after seeing a tour of the Polish Laboratory Theater in 1972. As an actress, Allen [perhaps best known for her role in Indiana Jones films] balanced her acting career between film and theater.

In theater, she found diversity of roles in classics written by William Shakespeare, August Strindberg and Tennessee Williams. Besides Patty Duke, Allen has portrayed both Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan in stage productions of Monday After the Miracle and The Miracle Worker, respectively. In the past eight years, Allen has directed theater productions in the Berkshires.

This Saturday evening, at 6:30 p.m., Allen’s cinematic directorial debut will be screened at the Savor Cinema before the TOGA party. Based on a short story by Carson McCullers, A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud is a quiet story about an old man who meets a boy at a roadside cafe. Usually published as part of Carson McCuller’s novella Ballad of the Sad Cafe, A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud. was a story Allen wanted to visualize since reading it in her early 20s.

While they never worked together, both Burt Reynolds [who received his Lifetime Achievement Award opening night of FLIFF] and Karen Allen have much in common.

Besides successful acting careers on the big screen, both have made a point of passing on their knowledge to the next generation. The Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theater, located in Jupiter, has been in existence for 40 years. Karen Allen is a Lifetime Member of the Actor’s Studio and is on the board of the Berkshire International Film Festival.

Given their participation at this year’s edition of FLIFF, both of their appearances have raised the cultural standards of our local community. Tickets & info: www.FLIFF.com

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FLICKS: Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival

Posted on 09 November 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

With genuine emotion, Florida history and the traditional glamour that goes along with it, this edition of Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF2017) is shaping up to be one of the best ever. The regular venues, Savor Cinema & Cinema Paradiso Hollywood, are hosting unique themed parties that are supporting the international flavor of the film being screened. Yet, it will be the opening night gala at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel that will be talked about for many years to come.

Executive Producer Stevie Salas’ Rumble: The Indians who Rocked the World delivered. This intriguing documentary provided an entertaining history about the roots of the Blues and the birth of rock ‘n roll overturning much mainstream education taught in public schools and academic institutions.

Salas had played guitar for the Rod Stewart Tour, which became the first concert at Joe Robbie Stadium on July 3, 1988.

While posing on the red carpet with actor Graham Greene [who showed off his Lifetime Achievement Award], Burt Reynolds and Chris Osceola, Salas acknowledged the moment, saying, “I performed with Rod Stewart in the first concert in the stadium. Now, the Hard Rock owns the stadium!”

With a chorus of reporters humming “Hail to the Chief,” Burt Reynolds arrived on the Red Carpet in an oversized golf cart, referred to as a “mini TransAm.” It was a fun and light moment as the gregarious Reynolds posed with the “Rumble” crew, students from his acting school in Jupiter, and cast & crew from Dog Years, the opening night film, including Nikki Blonsky (known best from Hairspray) and local actors Todd Vittum and Amy Hoerler.

It was after the screening of his film Dog Years, when a weepy Burt Reynolds took center stage to accept his second Lifetime Achievement Award. The silence was deafening as Mr. Reynolds apologized for mistakes in his life. He talked about working with great people through the years and how many of them are no longer around. He talked about Heaven and Hell, Florida State University and his childhood friend who ended up dying in Vietnam. You can find Burt’s speech on the Cinema Dave YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/cinemadave. For all the facets of fame and fortune, Burt stressed the importance of family, friends and coming home to Florida.

Burt’s message that had an impact on Blanche Baker, whose mom, Carroll, was the recipient of the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award. Blanche was in town to support a short film she directed, STREETWRITE, a 24-minute musical about free speech that encompasses all forms of Broadway musicals, operetta, rock, contemporary and hip-hop.

Baker utilized the students at New York Film Academy, where she teaches.

There will be more fun this Veterans Day weekend when writer/director Ken Webb’s comedy, Serious Laundry, screens at the Sunrise Civic Center as the featured centerpiece film. ArtServe President & CEO Jaye Abbate and I will introduce the documentary, Cries From Syria this Friday, Nov. 10 at 6:15 p.m. (location TBA), which may be one of the most important films released in 2017. For schedule and showtimes for all FLIFF films, visit www.fliff.com.

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CRIME WATCH

Posted on 09 November 2017 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach

Oct. 21: Someone entered a construction site storage container at 1802 W. Hillsboro Blvd., and stole tools and equipment.

Oct. 21: A loss prevention person reported that two men stole seven robotic vacuums from Target at 1200 S. Federal Hwy. The total loss was $2,173.

Oct. 22: Someone broke a $300 hurricane glass window at 1500 SE 14 Dr.

Oct. 23: A man said his vehicle parked at 915 SE 14 Ct. was entered and rummaged through.

Oct. 23: Someone stole a Ford F250 parked at 125 SE 5 Ct.

Lighthouse Point

Oct. 13: The victim lost his city ID and city access card while performing work at a park and was unable to locate it at 2200 NE 24 St. Both were attached to a lanyard that he was wearing around his neck.

Oct. 22: The victim arrived for work and parked his 2014 Nissan Sentra in the south parking lot at 2450 N. Federal Hwy. The victim left the vehicle unlocked and a witness observed a male subject inside the vehicle and thought it was a co-worker. When the victim approached, the male subject fled the vehicle. Nothing appeared to be taken.

Oct. 25: A fast food restaurant employee said there were customers who were being verbally abusive and told they would not be served. After driving around to the drive-thru at 4800 N. Federal Hwy. a couple of times and engaging the employee in an argument, the subject threw a water bottle at the employee striking her in the cheek.

(This is a partial list. For Deerfield Beach Crime Watch in full, visit www.DFB.City and click on “Sign Me Up” to receive the city wide report.)

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HAPPENINGS

Posted on 09 November 2017 by LeslieM

Fallen Heroes Ceremony

Thursday, Nov. 9, 9 to 10 a.m.

Pompano Beach High School

600 NE 13 Ave.,

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

There will be a ceremony celebrating fallen heroes with flag retirement, a gun salute and special guest speakers. For more information, call 754-322-2000.

Veterans Day event

Saturday, Nov. 11, 9 to 11 a.m.

Boca Raton Cemetery

449 SW 4 Ave.

Boca Raton, FL 33432

Featuring veterans groups, city officials, music by Ft. Lauderdale Highlanders and Boca Raton Community High School Band, drills by Boca Raton Community High School NJROTC, Boca Raton Police and Fire Honor Guards. Volunteers provided by Boca Raton Kiwanis. For more information, call 561-393-7807.

Veterans Day Concert

Saturday, Nov. 11, 7 to 9 p.m.

Mizner Park Amphitheater

590 Plaza Real

Boca Raton, FL 33432

Free concert featuring the Florida Wind Symphony: “An American Tribute.” For more information, call 561-393-7807.

Watercolor classes

Saturday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m. to noon

Emma Lou Olson Civic Center

1801 NE 6 Ave.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

The class is for all skill levels. $25 per class. Held every Saturday through April 2018. For information, call 954-920-4574.

Arts ‘n Crafts” Sale

Saturday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Butler House

380 E. Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Handmade arts and crafts. Loads of creative crafts for gift-giving. Be a vendor or a shopper. For more information, call 954-429-0378.

Gridiron Grill-Off Food & Wine Festival

Saturday, Nov. 11, noon to 4 p.m.

Pompano Beach Amphitheater

1801 NE 6 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

It’s time to gear up for a weekend of food, football, music and philanthropy at this event presented by the University of Miami Health System. Miami Dolphins legends and top South Florida chefs are in position to compete at the eighth annual culinary showdown. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.gridirongrilloff.com.

Hillsboro Lighthouse Tour

Sunday, Nov. 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Alsdorf Park

2974 NE 14 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

The first boat leaves the dock at 9 a.m. Boats leaving approximately every hour. Arrive at dock 10-20 minutes before departure time. $25 per person. For more information, including requirements to climb lighthouse, email information@hillsborolighthouse.org, call 954-942-2102 or visit www.hillsborolighthouse.org/tours.

Pompano Beach Garden Club meeting

Monday, Nov. 13, 12:30 p.m.

Emma Lou Olson Civic Center

1801 NE 6 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Open to the public. Topic: “Bromelaids” by Mike Michalski. For more information, call Cindy at 954-253-9938.

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CLERGY CORNER: Why sending thoughts and prayers amidst tragedy matters

Posted on 09 November 2017 by LeslieM

This is an open letter to those understandably frustrated at the “thoughts and prayers” sentiment made by people of faith during times of tragedy.

I confess that I am an idealist,. not always in the truest philosophical sense; think Clark Griswold (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation): high expectations followed by the disappointment of reality.

For example, I guess it was my years of watching Ponch and John ride tandem down California’s 405 that led me to believe all workplace duos share the same level of camaraderie. Imagine my surprise when one of the first captains I was paired to fly with wouldn’t shake my hand. I wish I could say he was a rarity in the profession, but sadly I flew with many jerks, albeit well-qualified jerks.

So I dreamed of the day when I would be the captain and could decorate my home with thousands of tiny, non-blinking, white lights. Oh, but when I flipped that switch, the lights didn’t come on. I thought once I was captain I could control all aspects of inter-personal relationships, that all would be peachy on the flight deck. Needless to say, I found myself disappointed. I learned quickly that there are far too many factors to control, and, though I may be in charge of the plane, I wasn’t in charge of much overall — a lesson in humility.

Have you ever tried to control a situation to no avail, or made it worse? Has a situation or tragedy made you feel powerless, defeated or overwhelmed? When I experience these feelings, I send my thoughts and prayers.

Why thoughts? For me, because I’m selfish and need to stop and redirect what I’m thinking about and fulfill my humanity by thinking of others, to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). Offering my thoughts says I am with you in that I agree you have been wronged. It’s that President Bush moment whilst standing upon the rubble of 9/11 saying, “I hear you; the rest of the world hears you.” My offering of thoughts says to the victims: I hear you and you will not suffer alone.

Why prayers? Because praying reminds me I’m not God. Praying reminds me that we have a God that, as we earnestly seek Him, will not abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). And just as it was naïve of me to think I could control everything as a captain, it would be even more naïve to think amidst a national or global tragedy that I am the solution or know the solution. However, on my knees, I am seeking God in if, how and when I am to personally respond, yielding to the wisdom of a God who is sovereign — measure twice, cut once.

Additionally, I find hope in knowing, as Jon Courson writes in Praying Thru the Tabernacle, “that the burdens that are so heavy to me are no problem for Him.” Hope, because in that time of prayer, I am reminded of God’s nature and character, that He is active: He sent His son to die on a cross for all our sins. My first action then, in any situation, is to humble myself and return to the feet of the One who acted first.

Sending thoughts and prayers is a healthy and humble way for the faithful to affirm unity and remind those affected where to find hope — their everlasting hope — and take the appropriate action without adding to the harm.

Romans 8:36-39 says, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” … despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below. Indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at The Church at Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. For questions or comments connect with him though social media: @thecjwetzler.

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