| Clergy Corner

CLERGY CORNER: The most influential person in human history

Posted on 26 March 2015 by L.Moore

Palm Sunday observances in churches around the world mark the beginning of Holy Week, the days leading up to and including Christ’s passion and death on a cross.

During this time of year, thousands of believers travel to Jerusalem to trace the footsteps of Jesus during the days leading to His crucifixion.

Those unable to make the journey overseas will celebrate in their churches with palm fronds, Good Friday observances, cantatas, plays and Resurrection Sunday services. This is the time of year where, despite doctrinal differences of faith traditions, Christians everywhere are unified in their recognition of the significance of this period.

I was thinking about this when I reflected upon Jesus’ influence some 2000 years after His crucifixion and resurrection. In fact, believers and unbelievers alike are being impacted by His life and teachings to this day.

A quick Google search revealed that Jesus consistently ranks at the top of surveys and determinations of the world’s most influential people. A few sites put others ahead of Him, Aristotle in one case and Mohammed in another, but the teacher from Galilee is consistently in the top rankings.

As a religious leader, Jesus was and is certainly influential, but evidence abounds that He has impacted other areas of society as well.

Nearly a third of the world’s population, 2 billion out of 7 billion people, identify themselves as followers of Jesus’ teachings. The Bible, which gives details of Jesus’ life and ministry, is consistently the most read book in the world, and a bestseller as well.

The teachings of Jesus have influenced our modern valuations of human life and dignity. In the ancient world, children were abandoned or sold into slavery. Early Christians were known to rescue newborn babies who had been left in Rome’s trash dumps. Jesus’ interaction with children, women, the sick and the poor revealed His estimation of their value. The first hospitals, orphanages and feeding programs came into being through Christians’ efforts to obey His instructions.

In the area of education, His influence is evident as well. Only the elite of the ancient world had access to education. The libraries of the monks inspired the first universities of the 12th and 13th centuries. Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard were formed originally as Christian institutions.

In America, the Puritans were the first to pass laws mandating the education of the masses, and biblical literacy was the emphasis of children’s reading texts for two hundred years. Science and Christianity seem to have a combustible relationship in the thought and discourse of many today.

It can be argued, however, that the Christian view of a rational God who is the source of rational truth inspired the possibility of scientific laws. Many of the founders of modern science were influenced by Christianity, including Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur and Blaise Pascal.

Time and space would not permit me to detail the influence of Jesus and Christianity upon our concepts of liberty, justice and equality, or upon art, literature, music, words, symbols, holidays, our calendar and a host of other areas of life that we may take for granted.

Whether or not one agrees that Jesus was the most influential figure in human history, it cannot be denied that He has had a remarkable impact on the world. His 3 1/2 years of ministry and teaching have touched countless lives on every continent and His influence is an ongoing reality throughout the world today.

May the power of His life and teachings inspire you this season and for all time.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: Pass it over – pass it on

Posted on 19 March 2015 by L.Moore

This Friday is the first day of Spring and this Saturday is the first day of the Hebrew month of Nissan. Now is the time that we start our spring cleaning as we begin to prepare our homes for the Festival of Passover.

As we sit at our Seder tables, we will retell the story of our Exodus from slavery to freedom. Notice that I did not say that we will retell the story of our ancestors being slaves in Egypt, but rather that we will remember when we were slaves, as each of us is obligated on Pesach to talk about our personal deliverance from whatever has enslaved or oppressed us.

During the Seder, there is a moment when we follow a practice of the great Sage, Hillel, who was known to combine a piece of Matzah, the flat unleavened bread that we had to eat in our haste to leave Egypt, with Charoset and Maror.

This matzah was known as the bread of poverty. But as we got a taste of the freedom to observe our faith, that very same bread became the bread of freedom. And just as we shared that bread with each other in ancient days, we continue to share it to this very day.

But there is something else that we share during the Seder. We share the Maror, the bitter herbs that represent the bitterness of slavery. So why on earth did Hillel combine the two together? Why put the bitterness of slavery and the joy of freedom into one bite?

Perhaps we find the answer in the Haggadah itself. Each of us has tasted from the cup of bitterness and from the cup of freedom. And, since we have known both, there are a couple things we need to remember right off the bat.

First, in times of freedom, we must do what we can to help those who are enslaved or oppressed, as we know all too well what that horror is like. And second, in the times that we feel enslaved or oppressed, we must do whatever we are able to do in order to achieve freedom again. We must not give into despair; we must not give up hope. Indeed, the National Anthem of the Holy Land of Eretz Yisrael is “Hatikvah” which means “The Hope.”

Spring is a time of great hope. And, as it approaches, people often pray to get a little Spring back into their step. Even when death is approaching, faith and hope can most certainly make a difference.

Take for example Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame. Let me share with you two of his final tweets and, remember, he knew that he was nearing the end of his days as he wrote these messages.

The first said, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory;” and then there was what I believe was his final tweet, which read, “So grateful for blessings, Wish the same to all.”

And then there was the recent Op-Ed by Oliver Sacks in The New York Times as he reflected on his most recent bout with cancer, which is so advanced that there is little if anything that can be done. He wrote, “…my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return … above all, I have been a sentient being … on this beautiful planet, and that, in itself, has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”

Spring is here. Be grateful for the many freedoms you have and make your life a loving adventure. And, while you are at it, be sure to give something back.

Passover is coming. May all who are enslaved hold onto their hope and may we do whatever we are able to bring them to freedom. With G-d’s help, speedily in our day … and let us all say, Amen.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442). Regular Shabbat services are open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

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CLERGY CORNER: Dream

Posted on 12 March 2015 by L.Moore

Dream the impossible dream. Whenever I hear that song, I cannot help but think that with God all things are possible. We all have dreams and hopes that we want to see happen in our lives. Even dreams that come from God seem impossible at first. However, do not forget that all things are possible with God.

DEUTERONOMY 31:8

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

NLT

When you feel discouraged, take heart: God’s promise to never leave you or abandon you is always there to get you through your troubles. Why is it that we tend to turn to Him as the last resort when He is always faithfully by our side? Are you afraid of your future? Are you afraid to go after your dreams? Are you afraid to believe that you can achieve your dreams? Do you ever feel lonely? Do you ever feel like what you are going through, you are going through it alone? Do you ever feel like you were stuck in a pit with no way out? Reread the above verse, Deuteronomy 31:8. What does this verse do to your fears or feelings of loneliness? Read Psalm 23 and let it encourage you in times of trouble! Take a fresh look at this famous Psalm and be comforted that God has walked with you, not only during the good times, but through your bad times as well. Do you ever feel like you are in a pit and your dreams have no chance of ever coming true? Always remember that the dream never dies, just the dreamer. Remember that God is always with you leading you and guiding you, and protecting you. You are never alone. Don’t quit when you’re in the pit. You only lose if you quit. Don’t be afraid to dream the impossible dream and live each day to accomplish it. Continually encourage yourself with the Word of God. Does it remind us of an awesome poem we might have read before?

Footprints” poem

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him, and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, You said that once I decided to follow You, You’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You most, You would leave me.” The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

-Author Unknown

Even when we do not think God is there with us – He is! Be encouraged today and keep believing. Pastor Tony Guadagnino

Tony Guadagnino is the pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Church, 801 SE 10 St., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more info., call 954-428- 8980 or visit www.clfministries.org.

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CLERGY CORNER: Filled with glee

Posted on 05 March 2015 by L.Moore

On The Festival of Purim, the groggers, the noisemakers, were spun with glee. “Glee.” There is a TV show called “Glee.” It is about a group of young performers who love nothing more than to lift the spirits of their audience. They do so with their voices, their instruments and with their dance moves.

On Purim, we are supposed to be filled with “glee.” I looked up the word in a very old dictionary, a Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Edition and found these definitions: “entertainment”… “joy.”

But that just didn’t seem to do justice to the word, at least not at the times that I would say that, “I was filled with glee.” But, then, I saw the last definition given in that dictionary — “Glee – exultant, high spirited joy and merriment.”

After reading that definition, I think I am going to start using the word more often. I was in glee recently, as my congregation, Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach, had a wonderful Klezmer Band perform in our “On Stage” series. If you don’t know what Klezmer music is, you should be sure and hear some because, once you do, you will be hooked.

Klezmer music is filled with joy and, as you listen to it, your feet start stomping in rhythm with the music and, before long, don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting up out of your chair and dancing in pure delight.

By the way, there was something very special about the Klezmer group at our Temple. You see, according to their publicist, each member of the band is either a Holocaust survivor or the child of a survivor.

Yet, there they were on our stage playing Klezmer music and, even though many in attendance were up in years, by golly, they tapped their feet, and they got up and danced.

After the show, some of the Holocaust survivors who are members of my congregation were interviewed by the press.

While those interviews were going on, someone from the band asked me what my favorite part of the show was. I think he was asking me which my favorite song was. I told him that I loved all the music, and I loved the gleeful mood they had put the congregation into. But what I loved most about the concert was watching the faces of the band on stage.

These were individuals who lived through the horrors of the camps. So many people I know, after going through the horror of illness or of loss, be it of a loved one or of a job, or in the stock market, feel that they can never have joy in their lives again. Many even lose their faith.

But here were a small band of musicians who went through the horrors of Nazi Germany and, as they played their music, their faces began to light up with the brightest smiles you could ever hope to see. I could see the glee right there on their faces and that joy I saw in them … well, that was my favorite part of the show. The audience felt that joy and each of us was uplifted in spirit. We were all filled with glee.

As I write this, the Ramat Gan Dance Troupe is coming to us and I have no doubt that they, too, will lift our spirits. Most of us cannot dance like the members of that incredible dance troupe, but we can still get up and let the spirit move us. So, dance my friends, sing my friends. Let us sing and dance together and fill the world with glee.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442). Regular Shabbat services are open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

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CLERGY CORNER: Black History inspiration

Posted on 26 February 2015 by L.Moore

There are some today who wonder why we need to observe and celebrate Black History, particularly when society has made such remarkable gains in acknowledging and embracing the worth of the Negro. “Slavery is a thing of the past,” they say. “Blacks can live anywhere, work and lead in any profession, and have access to everything needed to achieve the American Dream. We have even elected the first African American president in the history of this country. Why then,” they argue, “Should continual emphasis be given to the trials and triumphs of a people who have essentially seen the fulfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream?”

In response, there are those who will readily point out that all is not as it may seem in American race relations. The past few years in particular have seen spotlighted accounts of injustice and prejudice in many areas of social interaction. Incidents of unarmed black men being killed in confrontations with police or armed white men has driven many to the streets in protest. In addition, the effects of 200 years of slavery, along with decades of segregation and Jim Crow laws in the South can still be seen in the psyche of some who struggle to find meaning and purpose in life. Many elders in the black community feel strongly that current generations of youth need to understand the cost of the freedoms and opportunities they now possess, and sometimes squander or take for granted.

Perhaps a more compelling reason is the same that motivates the Jews to keep the memories of the Holocaust alive in the public mindset: so that it may never happen again. History has proven, after all, that achievements and gains can be lost with the coming to power of a generation disconnected from its past.

I would add one more reason. There is something in all of us that responds positively to accounts of triumph over adversity, and progress in the face of tremendous odds. Those stories inspire and motivate us in our own unique journeys of life. Thus, we affirm Black History month celebrations.

Who could not be inspired by the achievement of Madam C.J. Walker? This entrepreneurial woman developed and sold hair care products which propelled her to become the first black female millionaire in this country. Frederick Douglass was a former slave who, mainly through self-effort, educated himself and became a prolific speaker, writer and leader of the abolitionist movement. Similarly, Booker T. Washington rose from slavery to become the most influential educator in the black community in his day. He argued for the education and self-reliance of the Negro as key to their betterment. Shirley Chisolm rode the wave of the civil rights movement to become the first African American female to serve in the U.S. congress in 1968.

There are numerous other stories of individuals whose lives have contributed to the development of our society and the betterment of all Americans. Thankfully, we have a month each year to review and benefit from the impact that they made. In the process, may all of us be equally inspired to make our own mark and leave a positive imprint for our generation and those yet to come.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: We are all special

Posted on 19 February 2015 by L.Moore

I was scheduled to officiate at a funeral for a young man who, in the past, we would have referred to as “mentally retarded,” but that is not just a politically incorrect term to use, it is a downright offensive one.

So what is the proper term? Well, it might seem open to debate, and, since I wasn’t sure, I asked some professionals and I also asked the family of this young man. The American Psychiatric Association would chart it as intellectual developmental disorder” or “intellectual disability.” One member of the family used the term “mentally challenged,” and several others said that he was “special” and used the term “differently-abled.”

This young man used to live in Philadelphia, but moved down here for several years before going back to The City of Brotherly Love to live near family.

And his family did something that was so loving, so touching, that it tugged on the strings of my heart.

You see, it would have been very convenient for them to bury their brother up in Philadelphia. But they traveled with that casket that held their baby brother and they brought him back here to be buried in Florida. They did so, because this young man adored his parents, and his parents are buried here. So they made sure to fulfill a promise that he would be laid to rest right by them.

In the Torah, we find a similar promise being fulfilled as when Jacob passes away it is up to his survivors to fulfill a pledge that his remains be taken to be buried alongside his ancestors.

Before Jacob dies, we read about him calling family members to his side to bless them. When most people think of getting a blessing, they think of words that someone says to them or of prayers recited on their behalf.

But one of the things we learn in the Torah is that we, each and every one of us, should be a blessing.

Each of us has our own individual strengths and our own individual weaknesses. In other words each of us is “special” and each of us is “differently-abled.”

Just before the funeral of the young man, one of his cousins said, “Of all the people in the world, I never thought I would learn so much from him.” The Talmud asks, “Who is wise?” and answers, “The one who learns from everyone.”

In keeping with this lesson, I chose to focus on the blessings that each person at that funeral could learn from that young man. For instance, The Talmud tells us that, in order to be happy, you need to be content with what you already have.

This young man never asked for more than he had. He was happy with his lot. This young man never had a bad word to say about anyone, and Lord knows the rest of us could sure learn from his example.

He lived a simple life and he was content, and, get this, while for much of his life, his parents assisted him, when his father passed, this young man (who many would assume incapable of much of anything) took on the role of primary caregiver for his mother, doing whatever he was able to see to her comfort, and doing so with the greatest of love and devotion.

Let us learn from Jacob in the Bible and let us learn from this young man whose name also happened to be Jacob … regardless of our weaknesses, we all have the ability … no, we have the Biblical imperative, to “be a blessing.”

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442). Regular Shabbat services are open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Don’t forget!

On Stage at Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach:

Feb. 22 – 1 p.m. – The Holocaust Survivor Klezmer Band

March 3 – 3 p.m. – The Ramat Gan Israeli Dance Theatre

Tickets – $18 per event for reservations, call 954-428- 0578.

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CLERGY CORNER: Love is a four letter word

Posted on 12 February 2015 by L.Moore

Have you ever heard of the term “tough love?” People will say, “I think that person needs some tough love.” There is a new saying that is true that I heard the other day, and I think it’s the opposite of that term “tough love” because “love is tough.” Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and it is easy to love on special occasions like this. However, there are still many days left out of the year where some days are easy to show love, and some days we have to work hard at showing love to others. How about showing someone love who does not love you back or even someone who may not treat you the way you believe you deserve to be treated? Love should be a big part of our lives. Love is something meant to be expressed, not something to be kept a secret. It seems like people even have a hard time saying “I love you” when we should say it all the time, and we should also show it all the time. It is tough sometimes, but it is not impossible. Why is it that we can say that we love our car, job, dog or even our favorite restaurant, but we cannot say it to each other? We have a hard time saying ‘I love you’ to the ones who really mean the most to us.

We have to understand that we need God’s help to love others in the same way that He loves us. We always want to put conditions on love, but God does not do that to us. We speak with our actions and say ‘I will love you’ if you do this for me, treat me this way, or buy me this, etc. God does not work on the point system and neither should we. God tells us to love others, period. There are no conditions on that love. God does not say love someone if they do something for you or make you feel a certain way. God says love each other, and if God tells us to love, we must be able to do it. Love is so many things, but it is not conditional. Let’s look at what love is.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud

5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

NLT

Love gives us the ability to be sensitive to the needs, hurts and desires of others and also to feel with them, and experience the world from their perspective. Love gives us the ability to give with no conditions or expectations. Love builds up and encourages; it is determining what is best for someone and doing it. Pray and ask God to help you love the way He loves and He will help you. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day. I LOVE YOU!

Pastor Tony Guadagnino is the pastor at Christian Love Fellowship church, located at 801 SE 10 St., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, visit www.clfministries.org.

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CLERGY CORNER: A journey through time

Posted on 05 February 2015 by L.Moore

I was invited to a Genocide Commemoration last week. But this was not a commemoration of the Shoah, this was a commemoration (the very first in the United States) of the 100th Year of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.

Most of you who read my column know that I have a passion for dance. So when I heard that the program would include a performance by the Sayat Nova Dance Company …well, how could I stay away? But there was another reason that I needed to be there. On Shabbat, just before the event, I sang a song during my sermon. The lyrics go something like this:

I am bound for the Promised Land …

Oh Lord, I am bound for the Promised Land …

Oh who will come and go with me …

I am bound for the Promised Land …

Who will come and go with me?

Which is it, are we coming or going? The same question was asked by the Sages in regard to what G-d tells Moses about a trip to pharaoh. You see, the Hebrew word, Bo, can mean “go” or it can mean “come.” So was G-d telling Moses to “go” to Pharaoh or was He telling him “come to Pharaoh?” If I asked you to go to the store, I would be asking you to go in my stead. But, if I asked you to come … that is what G-d was saying to Moses, “Come with me … I will be with you every step of the way.”

And that is why I felt I had to come to the Armenian Genocide Commemoration. As a Jew, I have a duty to remember the Holocaust and to see to it that it never happens again. The problem is that, before the Holocaust, there was a genocide perpetrated against the Armenians and there have been others since then in places like Darfur and Rwanda. So how could I not be there to remember the horror that happened to my Armenian brothers and sisters?

The dance program took us all on “A Journey Through Time.” The performers weaved the story of the Armenians from ancient days to the Genocide, to their rebirth. With each step the dancers took on stage, I could feel the connection between the Armenian Culture and the Jewish Community. We each went through an amazing religious transformation; each of us had and have those who would like to see us annihilated; and each of us not only miraculously survived an attempt at extermination, but both cultures have found a way to go on. No, each has found a way to do more than that; each has found a way to live, to laugh and to dance.

As I looked around the audience and saw so many children with parents and grandparents, I realized that the Armenians have the same aspirations that we have … to make our progeny knowledgeable of our past, of our traditions, of our culture and to be proud of being who we are. And, with the help of people like Arsine Kaloustian and the AGC (The Armenian Genocide Commemoration), may we be vigilant to speak out against any and all attempts at the Genocide of any people.

To Arsine and to all my Armenian brothers and sisters, we will not forget!

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

(AGC Inc. accepts contributions which are used to maintain and expand genocide education through outreach programs in The Tri-County area. Send donations to St. David Armenian Church, 2300 Yamato Rd., Boca Raton, FL 33431)

Be sure to catch these upcoming events On Stage at Temple Beth Israel …

February 22 – The Holocaust Survivor Klezmer and Multicultural Band

March 4 – The Ramat Gan Israeli Dance Theater

For tickets, call – 954-428- 0578.

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 South Military Tr.). Regular Shabbat services are open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Info.: 954-421-7060.

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CLERGY CORNER: Why your words MATTER

Posted on 29 January 2015 by L.Moore

The words you speak on a daily basis are powerful. They carry more weight than you may realize. Not only do they shape your thinking and, therefore, determine your actions, they also direct your relationships, your accomplishments, and, ultimately, define your reality. Still, it’s easy to underestimate the significance of words because they are so commonplace. You are immersed in them on a daily basis like a fish in water.

Stepping back and choosing to see the power and impact of your linguistic habits takes intentionality. But, when you are able to do just that, you’ll begin to realize that every word you say has the ability to change your life for better or for worse. The first step in using what comes out of your mouth to create the life you’ve imagined is to recognize three essential truths about the nature of words:

1. Words are a gift from God. The ability to use words at all is a gift from God. He was the first one to harness the creative force of words – and he has entrusted you with the same ability to use words to create the world around you. Given the substantial nature of this gift, you can’t just throw your words around any old way you please; they contain too much power and carry with them too much responsibility.

2. Words can build up or tear down. As a kid, you probably chanted the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Even though it sounds good in theory, the phrase is just plain wrong. Words can hurt. I bet you don’t have any problem remembering the last harsh words that were spoken to you, or the last encouraging words you received. Other people’s words have incredible impact on your heart, as do your words on theirs. Keep this in mind as you speak to your spouse, your children, your friends and your coworkers.

3. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your words. Words aren’t neutral. Every word that goes out has a consequence attached to it. How you speak to the people in your life will determine the quality of those relationships. How well you communicate with God through prayer will determine the quality of your connection with him. Your internal dialogue with yourself will determine the quality of your actions and interactions each day. When you consider all of these things together, it naturally follows that the quality of your very life is created by the words you speak. Using your words intentionally is crucial to living the life you’ve imagined.

As you become more conscious of the way you use language, you can begin to take advantage of its power to shape the life you want. In the process, you will be able to stop inadvertently sabotaging others and yourself with words that do nothing to help you.

To explore the power and significance of your words in more depth, be sure to check out my new book, Tongue Pierced: How the Words You Speak Transform the Life You Live (David C. Cook, 2015). Pick up your copy at Amazon. com, a book retailer near you or by visiting The Journey Church in Boca Raton. We would love to see you at our 9:30 or 11 a.m. service this Sunday! The Journey Church meets at Boca Raton High School.

Nelson Searcy is the author of 13 books and serves as the lead pastor of The Journey Church in Boca Raton. www.bocajourney.com.

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CLERGY CORNER: What Would Dr. King Say?

Posted on 22 January 2015 by L.Moore

The deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown spotlighted what has unfortunately become the perspective of many in this country: that while we have made progress in the experience of racial equality and justice, we still regrettably have a long way to go.

We all saw the public reaction to the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case. Many of us were even more flabbergasted at the decision in the Eric Garner case. From rioting in St. Louis to protests in cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, demonstrators took to the streets to voice their disapproval.

As we reflect upon the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we may inevitably wonder what he would have thought and said had he been alive to witness the current challenges we face.

While there may be some who would claim to know exactly what he would think and say, the truth is that none of us can say for sure. What we do know, however, is how he thought and what he said during the height of the struggle in his day. His words then may give us an idea how he would respond now:

I think we have to look deeper … if we are to find the real cause of man’s problems and the real cause of the world’s ills today. If we are to find it, I think we have to look in the hearts and souls of men … The real problem is that through our scientific genius we’ve made of the world a neighborhood; but, through our moral and spiritual genius, we’ve failed to make of it a brotherhood.” “Rediscovering Lost Values” (Feb. 28, 1954)

Violence creates many more social problems than it solves. And I’ve said, in so many instances, that as the Negro, in particular, and colored peoples all over the world struggle for freedom, if they succumb to the temptation of using violence in their struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. Violence isn’t the way”. – “Loving Your Enemies” (Nov. 17, 1957)

We must come to see that the roots of racism are very deep in our country, and there must be something positive and massive in order to get rid of all the effects of racism and the tragedies of racial injustice”. –“Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution” (March 31, 1968)

About two years ago now, I stood with many of you who stood there in person and all of you who were there in spirit before the Lincoln Monument in Washington. As I came to the end of my speech there, I tried to tell the nation about a dream I had. I must confess to you this morning that since that sweltering August afternoon in 1963, my dream has often turned into a nightmare. …But, I tell you this morning once more that I haven’t lost the faith. I still have a dream that one day all of God’s children will have food and clothing and material well-being for their bodies, culture and education for their minds and freedom for their spirits … I still have a dream this morning that truth will reign supreme and all of God’s children will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. And when this day comes, the morning stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy.” “The American Dream” (July 4, 1965)

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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