| Clergy Corner

CLERGY CORNER: A Legacy of Faith: CELEBRATING 90 YEARS

Posted on 30 July 2014 by L.Moore

“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations “(Psalm 90: 1).

Moses’ statement written for the benefit of the tribes in the wilderness is often borrowed and applied to contemporary communities of faith.

It is a declaration that beyond buildings and roofs, God himself is the abode of the believer.

In God, he puts his trust, his confidence and his faith. His offspring and succeeding generations inevitably follow the same pattern and make the same proclamation. It springs from the realization that God guides, comforts, protects and provides for those who put their trust in Him. He can be counted on to be faithful, dependable and true.

One such community of faith in our fair city is the Cathedral Church of God (365 S. Dixie Hwy).

For 90 years, the congregation has witnessed the faithfulness of God as they have served him and the community.

In August of 1924, at the corner of Dixie Highway and SW 2 Street, a small group of Christian believers proclaimed the “Full Gospel” and laid a foundation for what would become Deerfield Beach’s first Pentecostal church.

In the ensuing decades, the church would grow as many individuals and families began to put their faith in God and bear witness to the power of the Gospel. Many of the founding members’ progeny are still actively involved in this ministry of faith.

Today, the church is celebrating a rich history and legacy that has lasted for several generations. Cathedral Church of God is one of the leading congregations in the Florida/Cocoa Church of God (Cleveland, TN). It has produced numerous leaders who have served the state and national offices in administrative positions. Various other ministries and congregations have also emanated from the church.

Current community outreach includes an afterschool tutoring program, bi-weekly feeding program, and support for various social service agencies. All of which are an expression of an abiding faith in God and a desire to demonstrate that faith in service to others.

In honor of their 90-year milestone, the church is planning a host of activities for the month of August.

In addition to the dynamic worship and preaching that takes place every Sunday, there will be an outreach to the community on the church’s property August 13 to 15 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. each night. Activities include music, testimony, proclamation and praises, as well as distribution of bags of groceries and children’s backpacks on Friday, August 15th.

Saturday, August 30 at 3 p.m., the church will hold a celebration and homecoming service with many dignitaries (both civic and ecclesiastic), ministry partners, friends and former members.

The concluding event will be a grand banquet at the Westin hotel in Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday August 31 at 3 p.m.

The entire community is invited to come and help celebrate in any of these events.

More information can be obtained by calling the church’s office at 954-427-0302.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly,

Pastor

Cathedral Church of God Deerfield Beach

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CLERGY CORNER: From Small Beginnings

Posted on 24 July 2014 by L.Moore

My wife and I were thrilled this week to touch, feel and see one of life’s most exciting new possibilities. The occasion was to spend quality time with Lucy Anne, our first granddaughter.

Born the first day of July, Lucy Anne weighs all of 9 lbs. She is fragile and completely dependent on the loving care of those entrusted with her well-being. But Lucy’s delicate frame will strengthen and grow. Before we realize it, she will demonstrate signs of mobility. She will be turning over and sitting up. She will be crawling then walking. She will be running even before she is potty trained. I imagine her in pre-school tomorrow and driving a car next week, but, hopefully, not on I-95!

However quickly life passes, like cars in the far left lane of the interstate; however messed up the world appears to be, whenever God presents new life in the form of a newborn child, then we pray the sun keeps rising and setting perfectly. We have this hope because we desire yet another generation touch, feel and see the thrill of new possibilities too.

But how is it so engrained in our psyche that we look to the future with such optimism for a tiny infant so small and weak and vulnerable in a world so large and troubled?

Like deep roots of a tree tall and strong, the explanation is in our faith. Jesus speaks to his followers about this in a parable saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater

than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Matthew 13)

You see, we all may have small beginnings, but we are children of a big promise.

Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, “It is the Spirit that bears witness with our spirit that we are all children of God. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, then who is against us? For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8)

And so, my prayer is not only that the small will physically grow strong, but that we will all spiritually grow strong in our faith.

For, as we see a seed grow from small beginnings to become a tree strong and tall providing space for nesting and shade for resting, the roots of faith run deep to withstand the world’s testing. This is the ground of our confidence in Christ in whom we are heirs to a promise greater than the world. Through Christ our well-being is guaranteed.

Turns out we are not so fragile after all because nothing can separate us from the love of God in whose loving care we have been entrusted since before we were born….

Reverend Andrews is a minister at Community Presbyterian Church of Deerfield Beach (Steeple on the Beach), located five blocks south of Hillsboro on A1A. This Sunday’s chapel worship is at 10 a.m. and the message is “From Small Beginnings.”

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CLERGY CORNER: We will rock you

Posted on 16 July 2014 by L.Moore

Moses descended from Mt. Sinai, but as he sees the children of Israel singing and dancing around a Golden Calf, he lets his temper get to him; and what does he do? He takes those stone tablets and throws them down and breaks them. The tablets are no longer stone; they are just a bunch of rocks.

WE WILL, WE WILL ROCK YOU … ROCK YOU…

Later, in the Torah, we read about Moses and rocks again.

The children of Israel cry out for water. Moses turns to G-d and He tells Moses to speak to a rock and water will fl ow. But it seems that Moses still has a problem because, instead of speaking to the rock, he hits it. In the JPS translation of the Torah, rather than saying, “speak to the rock,” it says, “… before their eyes, you shall order the rock …”

No matter which translation you use, it is pretty apparent that Moses was told not to hit the rock, but rather, to speak to the rock.

But, why does G-d tell Moses to speak to a rock? The Sages wisely asked, “Does a rock have ears with which to hear or eyes with which to see?”

So who was supposed to hear Moses’ words? In Numbers 20:7-8 we read that Moses is “to speak in front of their eyes…” That’s right, the children of Israel have eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear.

It is no secret that when we try to teach Torah to some people, it is like talking to a rock. They are not open to hearing the words. It gets frustrating and sometimes we have an urge to lash out. But let’s learn from the greatest of all teachers, from Moses himself, that lashing out at the people is not going to satisfy their thirst.

I don’t know if you remember studying rocks in school, but there are three different types:

The first is Igneous. The word igneous comes from the Latin root, ignis, which means fire. Igneous rocks are formed as they cool off after a great heat. If you look in the Thesaurus, you will find the synonyms quite interesting, as they include hot-headed and impulsive. Yet it also includes passionate and enthusiastic.

Moses was passionate; he was enthusiastic. He also could be rather impulsive. As human beings, we all have a bit of the igneous rock within us.

Then there is the Sedimentary rock, a layered rock that comes from many grains, including fossils of just about everything from the past including remnants of the dinosaur. As humans, we have many layers and come in many grains, and, we all carry remnants of our past.

And last, but certainly not least, there are the metamorphic rocks. These rocks change over the years, as the things they go through, all the pressure and all the heat, give them new shape.

Again, I turn to the Thesaurus and find that the synonyms for metamorphic include to age or to mature. Also included in the synonyms are to develop. As humans, we should be constantly trying to grow and mature, to develop ourselves.

We are rocks Igneous ,and, as such, we need to learn to be less hot headed and more passionate. We are the rocks Sedimentary, and, as such, we need to learn to handle the heat and play it cool. We are the rocks Metamorphic, may the changes we make in ourselves and in this world be for a blessing.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is a member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and of the Association of Professional Chaplains. He works professionally in this capacity with a number of healthcare facilities in the area, and with hospice. He is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach.

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CLERGY CORNER: What a country

Posted on 09 July 2014 by L.Moore

I believe that we live in the greatest country in the world. I just spent a week in Ecuador on a mission trip. I was with a team of medical doctors, dentists and eye doctors. They were providing medical services for some of the tribes of the Quechua Indians in the mountains around Riobamba. It made me really appreciate the opportunities that we have here in America. Some lived in homes made with concrete block or bricks and some even lived in mud huts with grass roofs. They had no heat other than the fire they would use to cook and warm the house with. Most houses were one room houses where everything was all in one room and the bathrooms were all outside. There were some who needed medicine for medical issues, and some who were not able to see that received glasses. There were many who needed dental care and received fillings and there were a lot of extractions of teeth that were not able to be saved. Most of the Quechua Indians’ only mode of transportation was to walk wherever they needed to go.

The most amazing thing I learned is that the people in these villages we visited were all happy and not one had their head down about how they had to live or how cold it was in the mountains of Ecuador.

Most of the people in the villages have a good relationship with God and their contentment was in the fact that they trusted God, and they were very happy with God and God alone.

We are very spoiled here with all the stuff that we have. Last year, I wrote about the fireworks display at Deerfield Beach and how many people show up to watch the show. I was not able to go this year because I was in Ecuador, but my wife and two children told me that there were just as many people this year as last year.

When the fireworks are over, then it is over, but, if we could find a way to get all those people into a church, they would be given something that would last for more than 30 minutes worth of entertainment. More people need to have a relationship with God and learn how to be content with God and God alone.

Our country was founded on God and on His holy word – the Bible. We say we are the land of the free. How, then, have we gotten to the point that everything we have done for 235 years in this country is now suddenly wrong and unconstitutional? We are “One nation under God.” Why don’t we just tell those who do not believe in God to sit down and be quiet? Oh, that’s right, if I tell someone who does not agree with me to be quiet, they will say that I have no tolerance. Yet, that same person will tell me that I need to remain silent. It seems a bit confusing and very hypocritical if you ask me, but that is just my opinion. Everyone is entitled to have their opinion on any matter, but, facts are facts. The facts are that our wonderful country was founded on God and godly principles and that will always be true. Please don’t forget to pray for our soldiers who are still fighting for our freedom to come home safe and soon.

Tony Guadagnino is a pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Church. 801 SE 10 St., Suite 4, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

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CLERGY CORNER: Come on baby, light my fire

Posted on 03 July 2014 by L.Moore

When I was a kid growing up in the Midwest, we played a lot of sports, but soccer sure wasn’t one of them.

Then, one day, some young soccer star from out of the country appeared on one of the talk shows. And let me tell you something, I might have learned to shoot baskets in school, I might have learned to hit a ball with a bat, and I sure as shooting learned to duck from those games of dodge ball, but when I saw this soccer star doing what he was able to do using only his feet, well, it was miraculous.

You might not be aware of it, but the Torah talks about soccer, at least, sort of.

After all, do any of you remember the name of the man who brought soccer to America? That’s right, his name was Pele. The name Pele in Hebrew is Peli, or Peles, and means, “miracle.” And as we read about the rebellion against Moses that was led by Korach, we find the name of O’ne Ben Peles. Hmmm, could that have been who soccer legend Pele was named after?

O’ne Ben Peles is mentioned right along with Korach and Dasan, and Aviram. And, at the end of this horrific rebellion, Korach dies, Dasan dies, and Aviram dies. But O’ne son of Peles does not get consumed. How is it that the son of Peles survives when the others do not? Well, according to the Talmud, a good wife can literally be the difference between life and death.

You see, Korach’s wife kept hocking him a chinick, she kept pushing him with lines that in our modern day might go like this, “Why are you such a bum? Where is your ambition? Why aren’t you doing more to be in a higher position with higher pay, and more power? I would have been much better off if I had married Moses instead of you. You are nothing but a little grasshopper.”

But, O’ne Ben Peles’ wife does not make her husband feel small. She does not belittle him. She softly advises him, letting him know that if he continues to be involved in the Rebellion, he will gain nothing, because if Moses wins, Moses will be the leader, and, if Korach wins, Korach will be the leader. But, either way, you will not be the leader. You will be O’ne Ben Peles and I happen to love O’ne Ben Peles just as you are.

Korach probably had times that he had to listen to his wife kvetch and didn’t like it. But O’ne Ben Peles’ wife had a good goal in mind and she kept her eye on the ball and on her husband as well.

In the Talmud (Baba Metziah 59 b), we read, “Thy wife is short, so bend down and consult her.” O’ne Ben Peles was wise enough not only to bend down to consult with his wife,’ he was wise enough to take her advice.

Around the time we light the Sabbath candles, a husband recites an ode to his wife called “A Woman of Valor” (an Eishes Chayil). Fire in Hebrew is Aish. Wife in Hebrew is Eesha. For they light a fire within us. A fire can be used to warm someone or to prepare nourishment. A fire can also burn and be destructive.

On this Independence Day, let’s celebrate safely and may all our fires be warm and nourishing like those of an Eishes Chayil.

Shalom, my friends, and a very joyous 4th of July.

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is a member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and of the Association of Professional Chaplains, He works professionally in this capacity with a number of healthcare facilities in the area, and with hospice. He is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach.

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CLERGY CORNER: Meet to Beat the Heat

Posted on 26 June 2014 by L.Moore

They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

[Revelation 7:16-17]

I am one of those weird people who loves hot weather.

I love it when the sand on the beach is so hot it burns the bottom of my bare feet. The easy fix is with an inexpensive pair of flip flops in order to trade a scorched Earth run for a leisurely stroll to refreshing ocean water. But who hasn’t seen and heard the inexperienced tourist’s barefoot run “Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch” with every rapid step? Remember, don’t laugh at the tourists!

Despite a thousand things to do in South Florida year-round, the pace slows in the summer. And it is easy for me to marginalize the heat. I don’t work outside. Those who do work outside understand that the famously inviting Florida sunshine can be oppressive, even dangerous, if not respected.

Several decades ago, God planted Community Presbyterian Church a few blocks south of Hillsboro Boulevard between the Intracoastal Waterway and the beach. It is a perfect gathering spot to “Meet to Beat the Heat” in more ways than one.

Several years ago, the church and Montessori school decided to open church grounds Saturdays at Six p.m. in the heat of summer. This summer’s gatherings will be held the fourth Saturday of each month, the first being Saturday, June 28.

What to expect when you come? First of all, Meet to Beat the Heat is free, just like God’s grace and love. Even more important, Meet to Beat the Heat is wholesome fun. Face painting for children, great food, sodas and snow cones, music inside and out, even a short funny but meaningful video program with prizes for seniors all ensure an enjoyable outing. And to be certain we Meet to Beat the Heat, especially for the seniors, the video program is inside, where the air is cool.

Another feature of every Meet to Beat the Heat is to highlight community nonprofits and public health and safety services. Police officers, firefighters and the Bloodmobile are regulars. We’re thrilled this year to have Milo’s Dog Rescue committed to bring pets for adoption at each of our Meet to Beat the Heat gatherings. We are also looking forward to demonstrations this year by Grupo Capoeira Revelacao.

So come a bit early or stay late for a walk on the beach. There is no danger of burning your feet. And if, by chance, you need a prayer or a new friend to care, then this is the place for you. You may even become one of those weird people who love hot weather.

Reverend Dennis Andrews

Reverend Andrews is a minister at Community Presbyterian Church of Deerfield Beach (Steeple on the Beach) located five blocks south of Hillsboro on A1A.

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CLERGY CORNER: To lift up

Posted on 19 June 2014 by L.Moore

I was at one particular health center recently where the lift was broken. For those of you who may be unaware, a lift is another name for an elevator. There happened to be a group of students in the building getting a little real life experience as they hoped to work in healthcare in the future, and they, like everyone else, had to wait for the lift to come.

After what seemed like forever, it finally arrived and, after those who were coming down got off, several of the students started to get on the lift. The only problem was that there were four people in wheelchairs who were residents of the facility who were also waiting to get on and go up to their various floors, and not only did the students not help them get on, but the students filed into the elevator so quickly that there was no room for the patients in the wheelchairs. I had to say something and I did as I called out, “My dear students, our job here is not to lift ourselves up. Our job is to lift others.”

We hear so much about those who pull others down that I thought it would be uplifting to hear a true story of brothers who literally and figuratively lift each other up. Hunter Gandee is only 14 years of age. He is not a huge lad, but he is a big brother. And I think maybe he is the kind of big brother that all of us would like to have or to be.

You see, Hunter has a 7-year-old kid brother named Braden and Braden has a G-d awful time lifting himself up. In fact, he has trouble controlling even the simplest of movements as he suffers from Cerebral Palsy. So how does this little one get around? Well, his favorite mode of transportation is his brother’s back as, since he was a toddler, his big brother Hunter would lift him piggy back style and take him wherever he wanted to go.

Hunter happens to be on his school’s wrestling team. In fact, he is the captain of the team and he is also the president of his junior high’s student council. While he wants to have the ref at each of his matches lift his arm up in victory, he also wants to make sure to lift his brother up and make him victorious.

And while Hunter is busy lifting up his little brother, don’t think that it is a one -way street. Hunter will be the first to tell you that when he is in the midst of one of his wrestling matches, his kid brother Bradon is always in the front row, and just knowing that he is there, rooting him on, lifts him up and gives him that extra boost. So there you are two brothers who lift each other up as one wrestles on the mat and the other wrestles with Cerebral Palsy.

We all wrestle with something. May we have the good sense to learn from these two most loving of brothers; may we lift each other up and, as we do, may we realize that in so doing, we also are lifted ever higher.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is a member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and of the Association of Professional Chaplains, He works professionally in this capacity with a number of healthcare facilities in the area, and with hospice. He is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach.

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CLERGY CORNER: Peace

Posted on 12 June 2014 by L.Moore

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you; my [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

AMP

Why is it that when things aren’t going our way, or when trials arise, we can’t seem to handle things well? Fear, anxiety, worry, attitudes and life’s cares seem to get the best of us. The majority of the things that we worry about are tied to our past. Are we going to let yesterday’s problems dictate what we do today? We need to remember that yesterday is gone. There is nothing that we can do about it. We are able to start fresh each day (today). We choose each day, what kind of day we are going to have, so decide to have a great and peaceful day. Matthew 6:27 tells us that the things we worry about so often are the things that are beyond our control. We need to trust in the Lord. Shifting our focus off of God and onto the problems is a sure formula for worry. We then allow worries and problems to become bigger priorities than God. When that happens, the things we worry about begin to consume us! When life’s hassles get too big and you feel overwhelmed, stop, take a deep breath and focus on what God is doing today.

Philippians 4:7-8

7 Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

8 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

The Message Bible

When you worry about tomorrow, you’re worrying about what you can never control, and you rob yourself of peace today. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. Matthew 6:34 says “God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” When you begin to worry, don’t panic – pray. God is the one who has all the answers. God is waiting patiently on us. He’s saying I’m here, give everything to me. God knows what you’re going through.

How are we ever going to learn to have peace, if we do not trust the God we serve? In order for us to have peace and to be a peacemaker, we need to trust our God. Scriptures speak of the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. You have to be at peace in order to know you’re in the will of God. If you’re not at peace, then you’re not trusting God. Don’t let stress and worries rob you of the peace you could have —focus on God!

Tony Guadagnino is pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Church.

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CLERGY CORNER: Did you get my message?

Posted on 05 June 2014 by L.Moore

About a month before Shavuot began, a Director of Therapeutic Recreation, wanting to make the festival special for the Jewish residence, asked me what things she should get for the holiday. In fact, she went further than that. We have been working together for some time now, and she said that she knew that, on Passover, we have a Seder. She knew that, on Chanukah, we have the Menorah. She knew that, on Rosh Hashana, we blow the Shofar. She knew that, on Sukkoth, we build a hut or booth. And then, she admitted to me that, for the life of her, she couldn’t remember what we do for Shavuot.

Many of you might be in the same boat as she was. Many of you might not remember what we have for Shavuot, and there is a good reason for that. There are no distinctive things like that for Shavuot.

So, of course, we switched to looking at special foods for the festival. She knew that Chanukah was a time for latkes or jelly donuts. She knew that Passover was a time for Matzah. She knew that Rosh Hashana was a time for apples and honey. And she knew that Yom Kippur was a time of fasting. But again, what about Shavuot?

And, come to think of it, why do we have this food or that food for the various holidays?

The latkes and jelly donuts that are eaten on Chanukah are fried in oil, thus reminding us of the miracle of the oil. The matza on Passover reminds us of how, in our haste to leave Egypt, we did not have time to wait for the bread to rise so we ate the unleavened bread. The apples and honey eaten on the New Year are a way of wishing one another a very fruitful and a sweet year ahead.

So what do we eat on Shavuot? On Shavuot, we traditionally eat dairy foods and, of all of them, there is one particular one that stands out. I am referring to a delectable little thing filled with “yumminess” (yes, I made up the word)… a blintz.

A blintz is a little crepe-like edible filled with cheese. (And for those of you who are lactose intolerant, you can now get them filled with Tofu). Oddly enough, if you take two blintzes and put them side by side, they take on the shape of the Torah, and Shavuot happens to be the time in which we celebrate the giving of the Torah.

The Rabbis have long asked those under their tutelage why we say the “giving” of the Torah, instead of the “acceptance” or the “receiving” of the Torah. And one of the answers given is that on each and every given day of our lives, at each and every moment, we have to decide if we accept the yoke of the Torah into our lives or not. I think that is why I like the term “receiving” of the Torah. So many times I have been asked, “Did you receive my message?”

Getting the message is important. Hearing the message is important. Reading the message is important. But in the end, after all is said and done, it is in the doing that we bring the Torah to life; and as they sang so beautifully in Fiddler on the Roof; “L’Chaim, L’Chaim, To Life!”

Shalom my friends, Chag Sameach,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is a member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and of the Association of Professional Chaplains, He works professionally in this capacity with a number of healthcare facilities in the area, and with hospice. He is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach.

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CLERGY CORNER: Do not be intimated

Posted on 29 May 2014 by L.Moore

Paul was in Athens the first century after the resurrection. Athens was a center of Greek philosophy at the time. Men like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, philosophers from days gone by, had an enduring legacy. There were massive buildings and a population of several hundred thousand people. The culture valued human reason and intellectual reflection. I imagine intellects milling around like C-Span junkies in the courtyards in search of debates. I also imagine Starbucks on every corner …

Enter this little unsophisticated man named Paul with his ragged clothes. He walked alone unnoticed in the midst of stoics, philosophers and poets. He must have felt out-of-place, but he had world changing news to share.

The Book of Acts tells us how:

22Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23 For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26 From one ancestor, he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him – though, indeed, he is not far from each one of us. 28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being;’ as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.”

[Acts 17: 22 – 28]

Paul offers us a clinic on how not to be intimidated.

Some people are naturally more easily intimidated than others. We don’t exactly have equal doses of confidence. Some folks camouflage their feelings better than others too. My wife recently met with her doctoral committee to discuss her dissertation research. The purpose of the meeting was to establish the parameters of her research. Her research had to be approved in advance by people who have done this before who, by the way, are the same people who will approve it or disapprove it when the research is finished. Her situation was intimidating!

We’ve all been intimidated at one time or another, but should followers of Christ be intimidated? The short answer is “No.”

Paul offers a great character portrait of “If God be for us, then who can stand against us?”

Paul looks at his surroundings and gathers the confidence that comes with knowing who he is and whose he is; and he receives the assurance that comes with finding his purpose in Christ.

We can read the story about Paul in Athens and marvel at what Paul did and think, “Wow. I could never do that.” But Paul’s message is not really about preaching in Athens. Paul’s message is about Christ’s followers overcoming intimidating situations living out our faith wherever we are because we have world-changing news to share.

Join us for worship this Sunday at 10 a.m. at Community Presbyterian Church of Deerfield Beach (Steeple on the Beach), located five blocks south of Hillsboro on AIA.

Our worship focus is “Do Not Be Intimidated” based on Acts 17.

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