| Clergy Corner

CLERGY CORNER: Thanksgiving

Posted on 07 November 2018 by LeslieM

Are you a complainer or a thankful person? You cannot be both, so you must be one or the other. Every group seems to have one complainer that everyone tries to avoid. If you do not have a complainer in your group, then it is probably you! Which do you think God wants you to be? Take a few minutes and write down the things you are most thankful for on a sheet of paper or index card. The reason why I want you to write them down is so you can go back and look at it, to remember what God has done in your life. So when things do not go right, instead of feeling down in the dumps, we could look back at what God has done for us. We tend to forget all that He has done for us.

1THESSALONIANS 5:18

18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. NLT

Right in the middle of whatever challenges you are facing, you need to be people who give thanks. I know that it doesn’t seem to make sense sometimes when we are going through very difficult circumstances, to say, “Thank you, Lord, for these difficult circumstances in my life,” when we really wish God would just fix it and make it go away. Instead of complaining about our situation, we need to look back over the year on how God has worked on our behalf and start to thank Him knowing that He is bigger than all our circumstances and will help us through them all.

PHILIPPIANS 4:6

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.NLT

Thankfulness is an attitude. It is a condition of the heart. What kind of condition is your heart in, not just this Thanksgiving, but year-round? If we are going to have an attitude of being thankful, then it must be something that we do all year long and not just one or two days out of the year. We need to have an attitude of gratitude.

PSALMS 100:4

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.— NLT

This is a Psalm of Thanksgiving and refers to a public acknowledgement of God. We all have things that go wrong in our lives every day. If we learn to focus on the things we are thankful for and not all the negative things in our lives then we can begin to learn to be truly happy and content. This is something that should actually show in our outward actions and attitudes. God has blessed us and given us so many things to be thankful for that, we should be full of joy and peace every day.

Remember the things that God has saved you from and do not live in the past. Our everyday lives should show that we are thankful and grateful for all God has done for us. As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, remember the original spirit of the oldest of all American holidays — gratefulness to God. In the middle of all the hustle and bustle, take time to give thanks and praise to God for all the wonderful things in your life.

(Reprint from 11-19-2012)

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

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Thanksgiving

CLERGY CORNER: What is a Jew?

Posted on 01 November 2018 by LeslieM

One of the greatest writers of all times, Leo Tolstoy, wrote:

What is a Jew? Let us see what kind of peculiar creature the Jew is, which all the rulers and all the nations have separately abused and molested, oppressed and persecuted, trampled and butchered, burned and hanged – and in spite of all this yet alive.

What is a Jew who has never allowed himself to be led astray by all the earthy possessions which his oppressors and persecutors constantly offered in order that he should change his faith and forsake his own Jewish religion?

The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from Heaven the everlasting fire and has illumined with it the entire world. He is the religious source, spring and fountain of which all the rest of the peoples have drawn their beliefs and their religions.

The Jew is the pioneer of liberty. Even in those olden days, when the people where divided into but two distinct classes, slaves and masters – even so long ago had a law of Moses prohibited the practice of keeping a person in bondage for more than six years.

This Jew is the pioneer of civilization. Ignorance was condemned in olden Palestine even more than it is today in civilized Europe.

The Jew is the emblem of civil and religious toleration. ‘Love the stranger and the sojourner.’ Moses commands, ‘Because you have been strangers in the land of Egypt.’ And this was said in those remote and savage times when the principal ambition of the races and nations consisted in crushing and enslaving one another.

The Jew is the emblem of eternity. He whom neither slaughter or torture of thousands of years could destroy, he whom neither fire nor sword nor inquisition was able to wipe off the face of the Earth.

He who was the first to produce the oracles of G-d. He who has been for so long the guardian of prophecy, and who transmitted it to the rest of the world – such a Nation cannot be destroyed.

The Jew is as everlasting as is eternity itself.”

Agents of love and hope

This is what hundreds of generations of Jews believed and lived. It is what they taught their children, it is what every Jewish mother shared with her child through lullabies and conversation. This is what our grandmothers, over thousands of years, taught us:

At Sinai, we were given a torch to illuminate the world with love, goodness, kindness, holiness and give history the dignity of purpose.

At Sinai, we were provided with the strongest argument for peace between people: that we were all created by the same G-d, and we all reflect G-d. Without this belief, is there anything that really unites us all?

At Sinai, we were entrusted with the Torah, a blueprint, a manual to heal the world, to reveal the innate organic oneness in every human being, as well as in all of humanity and the entire universe, and bring the world, step by step, to a state of redemption, to the coming of Moshiach.

At Sinai, we were summoned to pierce the veneer of materialism which eclipses the inner soul of every person and the inner soul of the world. The entire Torah and each mitzvah teaches us how to access our inner soul, our inner G-dliness, and the inner G-dliness of the universe. Our responsibility is to blast this truth to the world, with the way we live, the way we interact with people, the way we treat our children and our neighbors, until the entire world will bespeak the truth that “G-d is One and His name is One.”

At Sinai, we were given the opportunity to experience intimacy with our Creator, with the source of all life. With the study of Torah, we kiss G-d. With the action of a mitzvah, we embrace G-d.

And when Jewish children got this message, they naturally proclaimed:

How fortunate we are! How Good is our portion; how sweet is our lot; how splendid is our inheritance!”

This article is in Memory of the 11 souls ripped from this world by an act of Anti-Semitism.

May their Memory be an everlasting Lesson to us all That we all need to illuminate this world with love, goodness and kindness!

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: What is a Jew?

CLERGY CORNER: The value of patience

Posted on 25 October 2018 by LeslieM

One of the challenges that many of us face in 21st Century living is the ability to be patient. The advancements and conveniences of our modern day have conditioned us to expect immediate gratification rather than eventual fulfillment. ATM machines give us instant cash, drive-thru windows enable us to get our meals in mere minutes and self-checkout areas help us to avoid the lines at the grocery store. As a result, we attempt to get more done since we expect speedy execution, but we often face frustration when we are delayed in accomplishing our objectives.

Nature’s way to fulfillment always involves conception, then process and eventual manifestation. We are not born fully mature, for example, but must go through stages of development which lead to our becoming fully grown. In agriculture, farmers know that the seed they plant today will need time to develop into the crop that they desire. Wheat, the most widely harvested crop in the world, takes about 120 days between the actions of planting and reaping. Lottery tickets and casinos tease us with the promise of quick riches, but any financial planner worth his fee will advise you that real wealth is amassed over time. A quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson advises, “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

The Bible has much to say about patience and our need to possess it. In Ecclesiastes 7:8 (KJV), King Solomon observed, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” The apostle Paul proclaims, in Romans 5:3 (MKJV) that believers should “Glory in afflictions…knowing that afflictions work out patience.” A similar sentiment is expressed in James 1:3 (NKJV), “The testing of your faith produces patience.” Galatians 6:9 (NKJV) draws upon the agricultural principles related to securing a harvest: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

The value of patience is in its ability to keep us steady and grounded in the process between desire and fulfillment. It is cultivated in the delays and disappointments of life as we attempt to achieve our goals for work, family, education and the like. As Billy Graham once remarked, “Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” To resist the natural ebb and flow of life is to live with daily stress, anxiety and frustration. We cannot control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we respond. Better to relax and trust that if you wait, the good that you desire and work for will indeed come.

Pearle Wait, the inventor of Jell-O, wasn’t satisfied with the meager results he saw after a just few months of peddling his product door to door in 1897. He sold all the rights to it for $450 to a man who apparently had a better understanding of marketing and patience. In less than eight years, the $450 investment became a $1 million business. To this day, millions of boxes of Jell-O are sold in supermarkets and stores. If Mr. Wait had only waited…

In our fast-paced world we would do well to curb the penchant for immediacy. Not everything will lend itself to instant gratification. Things of value tend to develop over time. Diamonds, pearls, success, true love and strong relationships all require patience with the process necessary to make them a reality. Pray for patience and practice patience with yourself and others. If, as Saint Augustine is noted to have said, “Patience is the companion of wisdom,” we should passionately pursue and possess it.

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

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: The value of patience

CLERGY CORNER: An Act of God

Posted on 17 October 2018 by LeslieM

Our prayers go out to those who experienced the devastation of Hurricane Michael. In the aftermath, we pray for the restoration of the communities in the Panhandle. We continue to pray for our community as well through this season. When one part of our state is hurting, we all share the pain together.

I know that the phrase “act of God” is one used by insurance companies and will continue to be used regardless of my commentary. As a person who advocates God for a living, I do feel that I can weigh in on this phrase and its usage as well as challenge the people who use this phrase to broaden their perspective.

When a tornado devastates a town we call it an “act of God.” When a river floods acres of farmland, we call it an “act of God.” When an earthquake hits a poor nation killing tens of thousands of people, we call it an “act of God.” It seems that we avoid the word “God” in public lest we offend anybody, yet atheists, agnostics and believers alike use the phrase “act of God” when a tornado, flood, earthquake or a hurricane devastates their community.

Let us talk about times when you do not hear the phrase “act of God,” and you probably should. When my family rented kayaks and explored the mangroves on the gulf coast. I was so overwhelmed by God’s creation evident with the wildlife that I called it an “act of God.” When I went hiking with my Boy Scout troop through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and saw the majesty of snow top mountains in the heat of the summer, I couldn’t help but call it an “act of God.” When snorkeling in Key West with my church’s Youth Group near a natural reef with schools of colorful fish surrounding me I could not help but call it an “act of God.” We reserve the phrase “act of God” when we talk about the devastation of nature but what about nature’s splendor?

I know, in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, neighbors are going to pull together and help each other and form a lifelong bond. I call this an “act of God.” I know that families will mourn the loss of their home but come to a profound realization that they are blessed with their family who are safe and sound. When the gratitude of family eclipses the loss of material items, this is what I call an “act of God.” I know that people from all over the state and country will come from churches, synagogues and mosques lending a hand, praying and setting aside their divisions for the purpose of doing “acts of God.”

God created nature and nature seems to have a mind of its own. Hurricanes, tornados, floods and earthquakes have been our constant companions and when we experience “acts of nature” we respond with “acts of God.”

I grew up in a state where blizzards happen in the winter and tornados happen in the summer. I went to college in a community with a river that flooded almost every spring after the thaw of snow and ice. I did my pastoral internship literally on the San Andreas Fault and experienced an earthquake. And, for the last 20 plus years, I have lived in Florida and can recall several hurricanes.

I am pretty sure blizzards and tornados occurred in Minnesota long before my family settled there. I know that the Red River of the north flooded Fargo, North Dakota long before there was a place called Fargo. The San Andreas Fault went through the San Bernardino Mountains long before San Andreas and San Bernardino were even born. And you can bet Florida always had hurricanes even before we started naming them.

The only thing more constant than “acts of Nature” is God. Like “acts of Nature,” God has always been our constant companion. In the wake of natural disaster, it is my prayer that good things will happen. And when that does, then I will know what to call it. It is an “act of God.”

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.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: An Act of God

CLERGY CORNER: Clergy appreciation

Posted on 11 October 2018 by LeslieM

Since 1992, the month of October has been Clergy Appreciation Month. It is designed for you to encourage and thank the religious leaders in your life. You should let your pastors know that you love them and support them. In addition, let them know why you appreciate their hard work and labor of love. We tend to always hear about all the Ministers that mess up or make a mistake, but we don’t hear very much at all about all the good things that are happening in churches all across the country. Pastors are saving lives, helping families, feeding the poor, and helping hurting people and we do it with God’s help. The scriptures I have here are ones that you really need to pay attention to and apply them to your life.

HEBREWS 13:7

7 Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith. NLT

The ministry provided by pastors and their families is very unique. God has chosen them to watch over His children and take care of the spiritual well-being of their congregation.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:12-13

12 Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance.

13 Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. NLT

When a pastor becomes worn down and worn out, the very souls of his congregants are at risk. Pastors and their families live under unbelievable stress and strain. Their lives are played out in a glass house, with the whole congregation and the whole public scrutinizing their every move. They are expected to have model families, to be wonderful people, to always be ready to help, to never have problems, and to have all the answers you need to keep your own lives on track. These are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are let down when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems sad, lets us down, or totally burns out. That is why God teaches us to identify and honor His servants.

1 TIMOTHY 5:17

17 Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. NLT

The good news is that you can make a difference! Clergy Appreciation Month is one way you can return the favor and encourage your spiritual leaders and let them know that you care about them.

There are four easy ways to help your pastors and their families feel appreciated:

1. Buy them a card

2. Buy them a gift card to a restaurant, movie theatre, or department store

3. Share with them, in writing, how much they have blessed you and helped you and your family

4. Encourage others to do the same. Show appreciation and honor your pastor and his family this year. It will encourage them more than you ever may realize.

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

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Clergy appreciation

CLERGY CORNER: Strive to be a man

Posted on 04 October 2018 by LeslieM

On Yom Kippur, the High Priest performed the intricate and nuanced service in the Holy Temple. At the conclusion of it all, the Torah offers its final stipulation: Nobody may be present with him at the time. The High Priest must be there all by himself.

But why? Why does the Torah care so much if someone else was with him in the sacred space of the Temple?

Similarly, when G-d summons Moses to ascend Mt. Sinai to receive the second set of Tablets to bring down to the people on Yom Kippur, He instructs Moses: “Come up in the morning to Mt. Sinai… And no man should ascend with you. No man should appear on the entire mountain.”

Why? What’s the big deal if someone else ascends the mountain?

When the greatest Jewish leader is introduced to us for the first time, the Torah tells us that he left the palace where he was raised, went out to his brothers, and observed an Egyptian beating a Jew to death. The Torah says these words: “He turned here, and there, and he saw there was no man. He struck the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.”

This is the deeper meaning in the famous Mishnah in the Ethics of the Fathers, quoting the great sage Hillel: “In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.”

It is the source of the expression, “Be a Man!” But what exactly is the meaning of his teaching of Hillel? If everyone around me is behaving like a beast, I should still be a Mentch? Obviously! Do I need Hillel to teach that to me?

The Chassidic masters explain that Hillel was teaching us something deeper. How do you become a real man? A real person? How do you reach your potential? If you strive to be a man, you have to imagine that there is no one else. I have a task to do right here, right now, that nobody else in the past, present, and future, can achieve.

Every man is obliged to say,” say the Sages, “the world was created for me.”

This is not narcissism. It means that I matter. I matter for real. There is something only I can achieve in the world. And the whole world is waiting for me to bring that light into the cosmos.

For what you have to do in this world, there really is no man besides you.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Strive to be a man

CLERGY CORNER: Follow the instructions

Posted on 27 September 2018 by LeslieM

Most adults have likely felt the frustration of attempting to assemble something without following the instructions. A child’s toy, a bicycle or even a small appliance may seem easy to put together, but if there are extra pieces laying around afterwards or it doesn’t function properly, we must usually pull out the manual or instruction sheet to determine where we went wrong. In some cases, we may have to start all over again. Life is full of scenarios where we need the wisdom of guidance and directions. The doctor’s prescription outlines what medicine we should take, when we should take it, and in what amount. Traffic laws exist to help us navigate the roads and highways safely. Career-specific training enables us to effectively fulfill the expectations of the job and our employer.

Many people have wished that life came with an instruction manual. Couldn’t we all use a set of directions that guided our decision-making, helped us to avoid disaster, and positioned us for getting the best out of our relationships? There are all sorts of guides and manuals that offer tips for attaining success, making more money, solving relationship issues and so on. I would question if any of them could truly be considered a life-manual, however. That designation would have to be reserved for a set of instructions that speak to every area of life, not just one, two or a few. Thankfully, one does exist in the form of what we call the bible or God’s word.

Believers understand that the Scriptures reveal the principles and practices that govern our relationship with our Creator. He has communicated to us how He purposed that we should live, and what we can expect from Him. Often referred to as a covenant relationship, our interaction with God is outlined in the instructions, commands, practices and promises of the bible.

The blessings and benefits that He offers are given to us in return for our worship and obedience. That may sound archaic and bizarre to those who believe they can live according to their own way and get everything they want out of life. Reality has proven, however, that we need guidelines, directions and instructions on this journey. Too many people have come to ruin by attempting to do it their way, ignoring the guidance of God or others.

King Solomon long ago warned, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death(Proverbs 14:12 NASB).

The New Testament (covenant) offers guidance through the teachings of Jesus and His disciples. They show us how to honor God, live harmoniously with each other, and find fulfillment in life. Do you want to get along better with others? Try forgiveness (Matthew 6:14) and love (Matthew 5:44). Do you desire less stress in life? Trust God and stop worrying (Matthew 6:25). Does your marriage need help? Try mutual love and respect as God prescribes (Ephesians 5:33). Do you need to do a better job at managing the difficulties of life? Try viewing them as beneficial tests (James 1:2-3). Do you want to be a better leader? Live an exemplary life before those who follow you (1 Peter 5:3).

God’s word teaches us how to live humbly, compassionately, and faithfully. It speaks to us about proper ordering of our priorities and shows how we can govern our selfish desires. Its relevance is not just for preparation for the next life but in practical guidance for existing in this world. All of us will struggle to find peace, comfort and balance in life. We will all occasionally make mistakes and face obstacles. God’s word is there to assist us through all of life’s nuances guiding us to true fulfillment. We must learn to read it, trust it, practice it and apply it. We must simply choose to follow its instructions.

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

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Follow the instructions

CLERGY CORNER: The hands of God

Posted on 20 September 2018 by LeslieM

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”

(1 Corinthians 12:27 ESV)

There is a story about a church in the city of Berlin that suffered damage from World War II. Among the items damaged was a statue of Jesus. While the statue was, for the most part, intact, the hands of Jesus were missing. The congregation responded: “Let us replace the hands of Jesus.” The pastor of the congregation replied: “No, let this be a reminder to us all. We are the hands of Jesus.”

We are the hands of Jesus. We who are called to serve on God’s behalf are, in fact, the hands of God. And with our hands, we do God’s work.

Zion Lutheran Church, my congregation, is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Our national church designated Sunday, Sept. 9 as the national day of service. This day is appropriately called: “God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday.” Zion participated by collecting, organizing and packing shoeboxes with items that benefit mariners who come in and out of the Port of Everglades. We supported the inter-denominational ministry of the Seafarer’s House. And, through our efforts, 82 boxes were put together and distributed as a way to say to these men who spend months and months away from their family at sea: “Zion loves you, and we want to give you this gift.” Considering the fact that most of these mariners are from other nations, this project was both local and global.

The reason I share this with you is because of the nature of God’s blessings. We know that we are using our hands to do God’s work. At the end of the day, we hope to be a part of God’s blessing to the Seafarer’s House ministry. In truth, this was every bit as much of a blessing to Zion. In fact, the joy of this experience is still warming my heart.

We gathered in our fellowship hall after our worship service. All ages from elementary through senior citizen were represented organizing, stuffing boxes, wrapping boxes, writing cards, you name it. There was a lot of work going on, but there was just as much laughter and joy. We, of course, had food, music, and many opportunities for our members to visit with each other. And, when it was over, we were blessed to have 82 boxes stuffed and wrapped.

The Seafarer’s House was grateful for our work. I said to them “Thank YOU. You gave us an opportunity to serve, to bond, and to build the body of Christ. Thank YOU for YOUR gift to Zion.”

It is easy for a faith community to get into a rut. Sometimes, I think the word “rut” comes from “routine.” We get fixed into patterns and every once in a while we need to be challenged to get out of our routine, our patterned behaviors, our “ruts.” Serving people is the easiest way to make this happen. And there are as many ways to serve as there are people willing to serve. Our imaginations can run wild thinking of ways people could benefit from our communities of faith.

Imagine if an effort was made that was more than a denominational effort, as was “God’s Work, Our Hands.” Imagine what would happen if every faith community designated a day of service. I can only imagine how many people would be blessed.

But I remind you, among the number of blessed would be the ones being a blessing. As a pastor of a congregation that values serving the community, I am extremely blessed. And when our community of faith puts our heads, hearts and hands together, I was blessed again. And there is one other thing that I almost forgot to mention, “It was fun!”

I know that if I asked the average faith community: “Do you want to be blessed?” The answer would be “Of course.” The good news is that you already are. You have within your community people of all ages with many gifts. You can put those gifts to work and be blessed again, and again, and again, if you put those gifts to the work of community service. We are God’s hands.let us do God’s work.

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.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: The hands of God

CLERGY CORNER: Footprints

Posted on 13 September 2018 by LeslieM

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

Dream the impossible dream. All 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 (Maybe even to dream 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 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?

Psalm 23 can be such an encouragement in times of trouble! Take a fresh look at this famous Psalm (read it today, do not wait) 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? Don’t quit in the pit. Always remember that the dream never dies, just the dreamer.

Remember that God is always with you leading you, 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.

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

Reprinted from 3-31-2011

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Footprints

CLERGY CORNER: Don’t let the world change your calendar

Posted on 05 September 2018 by LeslieM

A student at Stanford University asked his professor permission to skip class because of Rosh Hashanah.

I am sorry,” the professor said. “You must attend this class. Your holiday cannot cancel it.”

But professor, it is Rosh Hashanah!”

Sir, do you realize that the Academic calendar of Stanford has been already arranged 10 years ago? A decade ago, we planned out our entire academic year, to ensure maximum achievement and success. Do you really expect me to change that for you now?”

The student went to his fraternity room, came back a few minutes later with a Jewish calendar.

Sir, look at this calendar. It has been established not 10 years ago, but 2000 years ago, by the great sage Rabbi Hillel, who established the exact date for every Jewish holiday over the next 3000 years!”

The professor remained silent.

Jews often say “Rosh Hashanah is late this year” or “The holidays are early this year.” In fact, the holidays never are early or late; they are always on time, according to the Jewish calendar!

That student in Stanford inspired me. Don’t let the world change your calendar; let your calendar change the world!

The Hebrew word for ‘secular’ – chol — also means ‘sand.’ This tells us how Judaism views secularism. Secularism is not bad. It is just like sand. Sand does not possess the power of stability. It shifts and moves; it is swept by the sea and blown by the passing wind. It lacks roots.

This is what our children lack without religion in their life. They can be wonderful people, but they are deprived of roots. They are on their own, detached from any constitutive commitments to the past, the future, tradition, a set of relationships, a substantive identity, a sense of binding loyalties, a firm foundation of values, ideals, dreams and morals. That individual, the bearer of rights but not responsibilities, free to enter any lifestyle but at home in none, is the human equivalent of chol, “like chaff blown by the wind.”

What is kodesh — holiness? Our connection to the past and our face turned to what is above. Kodesh – holiness — is the antidote to the rootlessness of chol — Secularism. In this world view, Rosh Hashanah is never late. We do not fix and bend our calendar to every passing wind. A person needs roots, a person needs an unshakable core. That is religion.

Kedushah — holiness means connection, to the universe beyond the self, to generations past and future, to a community of meaning, and to a transcendental reality that links us, ethically and existentially, to the totality of being. It is a voice which speaks persuasively of the covenant of marriage, the sanctity of the family, the moral challenge of parenthood; it is the Jewish view of community, collective responsibility, and the values of tsedakah and faith. It is the importance of education as the conversation between the generations, and the school as the citadel of civilization. It is the deeply humane Jewish view of the sanctity of life and its implications for medical ethics. It is our responsibility as guardians of the natural environment for the sake of future generations.

Above all, it is the voice teaching us of the dignity of human life, our power to change the world one mitzvah at a time, and the meaningfulness of history as the arena of redemption.

Have a happy and healthy sweet new year!

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com. See Pg. 7 for information on their Rosh Hashanah services, and more about the holiday on pg. 6.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Don’t let the world change your calendar

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

front page

COVER