| Clergy Corner

Thankful for a hope that will not disappoint

Posted on 21 November 2019 by LeslieM

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, proven character, and hope; and this hope does not disappoint us, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 5:3-5)

This being the Thanksgiving season, I would like to help prepare our hearts with a message rooted in a hope that will not disappoint us . . . not ever!

Because we live in a fallen, broken world, as fallen and broken people, there is nothing we have ever been involved in that did not, at some time or another, deal us some kind of disappointment. Whether it was a job we hoped to get, a relationship we deeply desired or something we longed for and maybe even saved to purchase, that hope eventually failed to deliver on the happiness it seemed to promise us. But when we think through this sad reality, we realize that disappointment was the only thing it could deliver.

Take just a cursory glance at the evening news, and virtually any hope we are hanging onto seems to be dashed against the rocks by the unending waves of challenge that keep washing over our world. Virtually every story reinforces the notions that crime really does pay, honesty is not the best policy, and, as a 1980s song lamented, “The rats keep winning the rat race.” And, when all that dust settles, if we are still a bit hopeful, we find enough disappointment within ourselves to last two lifetimes. Speaking personally for a moment, I can testify that all too often, even when I am right about something, I deliver the message in the wrong way, feelings are hurt, and the hope that people placed in me is doused by disillusionment.

So what is the way forward when life seems to be continually marked by one step forward and two steps back? We must reevaluate where we have placed our hope. When we place our hope in anything of this world, we will inevitably be disappointed. And yet, even in the hope that disappoints us, we still have reason to be thankful, because God is working in us through the grace of disappointment. You see, if the things of this life actually could provide a hope that did not disappoint, we would grow into only a fraction of the person God is calling us to be, and we would become cold and distant in our relationship with Him.

The key that unlocks the door leading to a hope that does not disappoint is not to place our hope in something, but in Someone . . . and His name is Jesus Christ. At this level of living, we have a hope that simply cannot disappoint, because it is rooted in the One who cannot and will not disappoint us in any way.

As you ready yourself for Thanksgiving, would this not be a good time to prayerfully consider just how thankful you truly are for this hope that cannot and will not disappoint? Remember, “the certainty of this hope that promises the blessings of God comes through the presence of the promised Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:8). And if this message finds you in a season of storm winds and challenges, remember the ultimate hope: the return of Christ, who will wipe every tear from our eyes and who promises us an eternity with no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more death. Oh, what a glorious hope we have, a hope that cannot disappoint, because our hope is in Jesus!

Have a hope-filled Thanksgiving.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that . . . Amen!

Tommy Boland is the pastor for Cross Community Church located at 841 SE 2 Ct. in Deerfield Beach. For more information, call 954-427-3045 or visit www.thecrosscc.org.

Comments Off on Thankful for a hope that will not disappoint

Remembering the first Thanksgiving

Posted on 14 November 2019 by LeslieM

In this day, in which efforts are being made to rewrite history, the real meaning of Thanksgiving is fading quickly. For many, Thanksgiving correlates with nothing more than a day off work, downing a turkey and watching football. For that reason, I want to start with a brief history of Thanksgiving.

In September 1620, the Mayflower left England, carrying 102 passengers seeking a new home where the Pilgrims could freely practice their faith and find opportunities for prosperity. The difficult journey eventually took them to Plymouth, where winter and disease were so brutal that only half of the original passengers and crew survived.

The Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, to extract sap, and to fish. In November 1621, the Pilgrims organized a feast to celebrate their successful harvest and invited their Indian friends to enjoy a meal of celebration with them. This feast is remembered as the “First Thanksgiving.” On Oct. 3, 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated each November.

Too many want to act like this event never happened, but a little known national monument, located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, pays a great tribute to our Forefathers, those first English settlers who landed at Plymouth. The 81 ft. tall solid-granite monument is located in state park at 72 Allerton St. in Plymouth, MA. The cornerstone was laid in 1859 and the monument was completed in 1889. The monument was originally planned to be approx. 150 ft. tall, but was reduced during the Civil War due to lack of funding.

The placard on the northeast side of the monument reads, “National Monument to the Forefathers. Erected by a grateful people in remembrance of their labors, sacrifices and sufferings for the cause of civil and religious liberty.

The sculptures on the monument represent the virtues that the Pilgrims brought with them when they arrived in 1620. The largest and tallest sculpture is Faith. Other figures include Morality represented by a woman holding a tablet symbolic of the Ten Commandments which reads, “I am the Lord thy God…” Seen in Morality’s throne are references to Prophecy and Evangelism.

On the west side are figures representing Law, Justice and Mercy. On the south side is Education flanked by Wisdom and Youth. On the east side is Liberty flanked by Peace. Along with these figures, the monument also includes smaller sculptures telling the story of the Pilgrims’ leaving England, landing at Plymouth and interacting with Native Americans. The Pilgrims are also honored with a monument in Provincetown, MA that was completed in 1910.

There is no question regarding the Christian faith that the Pilgrims brought with them. Their quest was to find a place where they could worship God freely. In a day when people are rewriting history, let us pause to remember the Pilgrims who risked their lives to pursue religious freedom. Let’s pause to remember their sacrifices, which laid the groundwork for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Sure, eat the turkey, enjoy the family and watch some football this Thanksgiving; but also take time to count your blessings and to thank God for faith, family, friends and freedom!

Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Senior Pastor at Grace Church located at 501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach. For more information, call 954-421-0190 or pastor@gbcfl.org.

Comments Off on Remembering the first Thanksgiving

The most successful fundraiser

Posted on 07 November 2019 by LeslieM

Do you know what was the most successful fundraising event in the history of the American Jewish community, and arguably the greatest fundraising campaign ever in Jewish History? I discovered the answer recently when I saw a strange picture taken in Chicago, in 1921. What’s going on in this photo? A bunch of Jews sitting around candlelit tables, doing what?

Well, Gil Weissblei, a Jewish archivist, came across this photo in the collections of the U.S. National Library, but could not figure out what it was. The only information was the name of the photographer and the city, “Kaufman & Fabry Co., Chicago,” visible in the photograph’s lower right corner and, underneath it, a six digit number separated by a hyphen: 21-6591, which means 1921 (the other four digits are the running number of the negatives for that year).

The puzzle was solved after Gil came across a book The Jews of Chicago: From Shtetl to Suburb. He read a story there and immediately knew this was the picture of that story. Jacob Loeb, one of the Chicago community’s Jewish leaders, was perturbed by the horrific state of Jews in Eastern Europe following World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Persecution, pogroms and wars were the fate of our brothers and sisters there. Jacob dreamt of holding an extraordinary fundraiser that would collect millions of dollars, in 1921, for the Jews in Eastern Europe.

How do you do it? How do you inspire the crowd to give?

He understood what was needed were not words or slogans, but a physical experience.

So Loeb organized a gala dinner to which the crème de la crème of Illinois Jewish society, including Chicago’s greatest industrialists and businessmen, were invited. On the evening of Dec. 7, 1921, 800 men dressed in their Sunday best gathered at the luxurious Drake Hotel in Chicago for what they were certain would be an exclusive event at the center of which would be a lavish banquet.

The guests were in for a surprise.

As the last of them entered the hotel ballroom, the doors were locked. Loeb stepped up to the podium and began speaking: “For so many to dine in this place would mean an expenditure of $3500 (Today, it would be $50,000), which would be unwarrantable extravagance and, in the face of starving Europe, a wasteful crime. Thirty-five hundred dollars will help to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and heal the sick. What right have we to spend on ourselves funds which we want to collect for them? So that this money might be saved for them, you are brought here to this foodless banquet.”

The astonished guests suddenly noticed that the tables, with the exception of the long slender candles, were indeed bare. Not a single fruit, vegetable, dip or piece of bread was available. The poor Jews were left starving at a dinner without even a glass of water.

Their bewilderment was captured by the flash of Kaufman and Fabry’s camera, and recorded in the photograph commemorating this unique event, which you see here.

The result? Checkbooks were opened for the Relief of Jewish War Sufferers Fund like never before. The money was flowing. That night, the wealthy businessman Julius Rosenwald exceeded all others with a donation of $1 million (Today, it would be probably $15 million).

This was an unprecedented sum, even for a philanthropist like Rosenwald, who later went on to establish the renowned Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. (Word of the huge donation reached President Woodrow Wilson, who sent a telegram to Rosenwald thanking him.)

The fact remains: The success of the fundraiser was never duplicated. Why? Because the dinner was not about words, slogans, speeches and videos. It was about experience. They all came in hungry, and they remained hungry for the night! Their stomachs spoke more than mouths can. It allowed them to experience, if only a sliver, of the suffering of their brethren who were starving back in Europe. It made the experience real, tangible, concrete. They did not speak of starvation; they experienced it with their body.

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 The most successful fundraiser

The Magic of Stone Soup

Posted on 31 October 2019 by LeslieM

This is the time of year when many churches and other non-profits search for ideas to motivate their members to supply the resources they need to reach out and bring sustenance and comfort to the people they serve. My own search for ideas often leads to folk tales, such as one with the title Stone Soup. I’m sure you are wondering what a story with such a strange title can have to do with fund-raising – stick with me a few moments and I’ll try to make some sense of it for you.
The story concerns a weary traveler who sought food and comfort at a tiny village. He stopped at each of the homes along the main street, “Can you spare some food and lodging for a tired and hungry traveler?” Each of the villagers replied, “We are sorry, but we had a meager harvest and have barely enough food and blankets for our families. We don’t know how we will make it through the winter.” The traveler was discouraged and sat down under a tree in the village square. He felt his own hunger but also felt for the needs of the villagers.
Suddenly the traveler remembered the beautiful stone he had picked up along the way and put into his pocket. He gathered the villagers around him, “My friends, what you see in my hand is a beautiful stone that will feed you now and throughout the winter; with this stone you can make stone soup.” The villagers were unconvinced but banded together and brought a huge iron kettle to the traveler. They were astonished when he filled it with water and placed it over a roaring fire and gently immersed the stone into the boiling water.
The traveler sipped the brew, “Stone soup is better with a little bit of salt and pepper.” Several children ran and got salt and pepper. The traveler sipped again, “This stone makes a wonderful soup, but it would taste better if we had a few carrots.” One of the villagers spoke up, “I have some carrots I’m willing to share,” and his daughter ran and got them. “What about the cabbages I have in my pantry,” a woman asked, “would they help?” The traveler replied, “Yes, they would indeed!” The woman went home and quickly returned with the cabbages. The villagers spoke among themselves; they went to their homes and brought back potatoes, onions, barley, beef, and soon a wonderful aroma of stone soup hung over the village square.
The villagers set out tables in the square and brought large soup bowls, crusty bread and apple cider, enough for everyone. After they eat their fill, their talents for singing, dancing, and fiddle-playing was on display long into the evening. On the morrow, they gathered to bid good-bye to the traveler. A small child embraced him and whispered. “Don’t forget your magic stone.” The traveler replied, “I am leaving the stone with you. Why? because it not only fed you yesterday, and will feed you tomorrow, but it has shown you what is possible when you work together and share what you have.” With that he rode off and the villagers agreed the stone had accomplished everything the traveler had promised.
So . . what is the connection between making stone soup and having a successful stewardship drive? The answer is obvious. Both events only succeed when the participants are willing to pitch-in with their “treasure, time, and talents.” When that happens, the magic of the stone provides nourishment and comfort for all.
Rev. M. Tracy Smith, SSA, Rector is from the Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, 1416 SE 2 Terr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-695-0336. Wednesday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m., Sunday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m.

Comments Off on The Magic of Stone Soup

Thank you, Pastor!

Posted on 24 October 2019 by LeslieM

In a recent session of the 116th Congress, Congressman Ted Deutch offered a public commendation in honor of the ministers, pastors and priests in his district. It was done in acknowledgement of Clergy Appreciation Day (also known as National Pastor Day) which annually falls on the second Sunday of each October. October is also nationally recognized as Clergy Appreciation Month, and congregations hold special services, events or activities to honor their ministers for the spiritual guidance and leadership that they give. Many of them provide valuable influence and service to the larger communities in which they minister as well. We are blessed to live in a nation that recognizes the significance of the faith community to the overall well-being of society. The work and influence of ministers, in general, should not be discounted because of the negative reports of some that occasionally make news headlines.

The Bible provides numerous descriptions of the qualifications and work of ministers. One of my favorites is Jeremiah 3:15,And I will give you pastors according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” In Jeremiah’s day, God was unhappy with His people’s rejection of the covenant relationship He had established with them, in favor of worship and allegiances with foreign deities. Much of their unfaithfulness was caused by leaders who led the people astray (see 2:8). After calling them to account, God promised to provide shepherds (leaders and pastors) who would give proper guidance to the people. In a recent pastor’s installation service, I shared three considerations from God’s description of pastors in Jeremiah 3:15. True pastors will fit and model this description.

Pastors are assigned by God. The clear revelation of Scripture is that pastors are called and assigned by God to proclaim His word, minister to His people, and lead His church. As Moses and Joshua were called by God to lead Israel in the Old Testament, and the disciples and Paul were chosen by Jesus in the New Testament, so, too, God still calls men and women to serve today. No one can call and confirm himself to any function or ministry of the pastorate. Evidence of God’s call must be recognized by others and confirmed by the church. God says, “I will give you.” Though the function of pastors may appear to be a job, and some may make it a career, the truth is that the pastor is fulfilling a divinely ordained assignment. He functions in response to an undeniable calling upon his life. He goes where he goes and does what he does because he is assigned by God.

Pastors have God’s heart. They serve according to God’s will and function in a manner to His liking. Since they are called by God, they are duty bound to serve according to His word and His way. Though they may serve the people, they serve in the interests of God. They must, therefore, be God-pleasers not men-pleasers. Pastors after the people’s heart will tickle their ears but pastor’s after God’s heart will touch their souls. Pastors after the people’s heart will give them what they want, but pastors after God’s heart will give them what they need. Pastors after the people’s heart will change their messages to fit the times, but pastors after God’s heart will proclaim the timeless truths of an unchanging God. Pastors will one day give account to God for their service. They must, therefore, faithfully proclaim God’s word, promote God’s interests and represent God’s heart.

Pastors feed God’s people. Like a shepherd who provides green pastures for the nourishment of his flock, so the pastor feeds God’s people with the milk, bread and meat of God’s word – the Scriptures. His sensitivity to the heart of God will enable him to communicate spiritual truth to the human condition. Faithfully preaching and teaching God’s word will turn converts into disciples and believers into mature saints. Jeremiah 3:15 notes that pastors will feed God’s people with knowledge and understanding. This enables them to become like the sons of Issachar (1 Chron. 12:32) who understood the times and knew what to do. Don’t underestimate the value of your pastor to your life. Appreciate his spiritual guidance. Take time to give honor and thanks for his service.

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 Thank you, Pastor!

Things promised and present

Posted on 16 October 2019 by LeslieM

All things are yours, whether . . . the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ and Christ is of God. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

Sometimes, we shrink the truths of the Gospel down to things promised. To be sure, we have been promised an eternity with our Lord, and this eternity will be a place where there will be no more sorrow or sin, pain or persecution, fear or unfaithfulness, disease or death. In a word, it will be the paradise that was lost in the Garden of Eden by the sin of Adam and Eve. The apostle Paul describes this as the beatific vision of God: “Now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

But what about now? What does the Gospel promise us in this present life? What blessings can we expect before we cross the Jordan and enter into our eternal rest?

This article would indeed have no end if I were to try and set before you all that we have been given, for “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Here are just a few things, which I pray will be both a comfort and an encouragement to you. We are . . .

Unconditionally loved

Completely forgiven

Perfectly accepted

Totally empowered

Supernaturally strengthened

Utterly united to God in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit

We must always remember that the Gospel is not only a promise of eternal life. It also impacts our everyday life as well. As the apostle Paul wrote in the passage that opens this article, Whether things present or things to come, ALL THINGS ARE OURS!” And what was Paul doing, but simply advancing a truth that God had already set before His people.

The upright shall have good things in possession. (Proverbs 28:10 KJV)

Christian, it is important to remember that even a life full of “good things” does not mean we will not experience difficulties. Jesus promised that we will experience troubles in this life (John 16:33). The unbelieving world will present problems for the Christian, from intense pressure to intentional persecution.

And if that was not trouble enough, the believing world will present its problems too. Why? Because we are still sinners in moment-by-moment need of a Savior. We say things we ought not say; do things we ought not do; and think things we ought not think, making life difficult on ourselves and those around us. But remember this too: After the promise of problems, Jesus assures us, “But be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.” Because Jesus was an overcomer, we, too, are to be overcomers, regardless of the challenges and difficulties we face on this side of the grave.

In closing, as a child of the Most High God, you currently have good things in your possession. To live out this truth is to live a life marked by joy and thanksgiving to the One who has so graciously given it to you. And above all that you have been promised, you have the presence of your Lord Jesus everywhere you go. When Jesus walked with His disciples, they had Him with them physically, but not every moment of every day. But when Jesus left this earth, He sent His Holy Spirit and promised that His Spirit would dwell within us every moment in this life . . . and in the next. “Surely I am with you always,” He assures us, “to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

May this truth set us free to love our God and to proclaim His incredible promise to a world that desperately needs to hear it.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that . . . Amen!

Tommy Boland is the pastor for Cross Community Church located at 841 SE 2 Ct. in Deerfield Beach. For more information, call 954-427-3045 or visit www.thecrosscc.org.

Comments Off on Things promised and present

October is clergy appreciation month

Posted on 10 October 2019 by LeslieM

The following quote was found in the 1996 Sept./Oct. issue of the Saturday Evening Post, “In 1992, layperson Jerry Frear, Jr., was brainstorming with church colleagues about how they might be of help to their minister when he glanced at a calendar and noticed that it was almost Groundhog Day. ‘I thought, if they have a day for groundhogs, there ought to be a day for the 375,000 clergy people in America,’ Frear says. So…for the last seven years the second Sunday in October has been set aside to show appreciation for our clergy.”

Focus on the Family is credited with building on, expanding, and popularizing pastor appreciation week, by calling October “Clergy Appreciation Month.” Hallmark saw a market and wanted in on the action and the first “Pastor Appreciation” greeting cards were sold in 2002.

Those who only observe a minister from a distance may feel his job is an easy one. Too often, people misconstrue that a pastor works one day per week, studies only one Book and mooches off generous people who host him occasionally for supper. That may be true for a few “so-called” ministers, but that is far from the truth for those pastors who are serving the Lord with their whole heart.

Pastors who truly love people will invest themselves into the lives of their congregation. They will weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. They sympathize and empathize with those God has entrusted to them. In doing this, many pastors struggle to separate work from personal life. They cannot just leave the office and forget the events of the day. They take the needs of others with them, agonize over them in prayer and wrestle with them through many sleepless nights.

Pastors and their families live in fish bowls and get observed and scrutinized from every angle. Pastors attempt to lead those who are frequently resistant to change. They listen to those who have strong opinions, and love those who announce how they would have done things differently. Serving others can at times be overwhelming.

The data reveals that 95 percent of those who enter vocational ministry will NOT retire from it. Hundreds of pastors are leaving the ministry every month; many pastors say that the ministry has negatively affected their marriage and family; and many pastors admit they would quit, if they had some other career option. The majority of pastors admit to walking a very lonely road that lacks deep friendships and the suicide rate among pastors is rising rapidly.

Whether you think your pastor needs it or not, let me encourage you to do something special to encourage them during the month of October. A simple note, a word of encouragement, an affirmation of support goes a long way toward inspiring your pastor. Show your appreciation by praying, encouraging, attending, supporting, participating, and protecting him when others speak evil. Throughout the year, give him a gift card to take his wife to dinner. Offer free childcare, wash his car, give him a gas card, bake his favorite cookies/pie, etc. The little things say a lot and are even more appreciated, when they are unexpected.

So, during October, be a blessing to your pastor, as well as, in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, November and December. Your simple prayer or word of encouragement may be the thing that keeps him from being part of 95 percent that leave the ministry. I close with a special shout out to all of my pastor friends… thank you for your faithfulness and keep your eye on the Prize (Phil. 3:14).

Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Senior Pastor at Grace Church located at 501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach. For more information, call 954-421-0190 or pastor@gbcfl.org.

Comments Off on October is clergy appreciation month

The Processionary Caterpillars

Posted on 03 October 2019 by LeslieM

Jean-Henri Fabre (1823-1915) was a French naturalist. He was the author of many works on insect life, remarkable for their vivid and minute observations and received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1910. One experiment he performed on Processionary Caterpillars struck a profound chord in my heart, allowing me to appreciate what Rosh Hashanah can mean for us today.

The Processionary Caterpillar is so named because what makes this little furry insect unique is its instinct to follow the caterpillar in front of it in a procession. Processions consist of 300 caterpillars or more, often fooling predators into thinking the caterpillar processions are snakes. It is a fascinating and charming sight to behold, as they move along nose to tail and in the likeness of a miniature train, with their eyes half-closed, searching for food.

Jean-Henri Fabre took a giant flower pot and placed an abundance of the caterpillars’ favorite food (juicy green leaves) at its center, and then he enticed the lead caterpillar to start circling around the circumference of the flowerpot’s rim. The other caterpillars followed suit in a tight single-file process. Fabre then succeeded in getting the lead caterpillar to connect up with the last one, creating a complete circle, which moved around the pot in a never ending procession; the head of one caterpillar touching the rear end of the caterpillar in front of it. Each caterpillar followed the one ahead, thinking that it was in search of food.

Fabre was certain that after a few circles of the pot, the caterpillars would discover their predicament or tire of their endless progression and veer in another direction. But they continued their circle. Fabre thought that after a day or two, growing hungry and tired, one of them will break out of the circle and head for the food. But, quite unbelievably, seven days and nights passed and not one of them would break the pattern to fetch the food in the center of the pot, less than six inches away.

The end of the story? Each one of the caterpillars died of exhaustion and starvation. 

Not one of the caterpillars stepped out of line. So they all died.

Human Caterpillars

Is it not true that so many of us humans, in our own way, suffer from similar patterns? How many of us often fall into their very pattern of following the masses at the expense of our own food laying right there in middle of the flowerpot? Deep in our hearts we often know that we should or should not be doing something or saying something. But we just fall into the “herd mentality” trap. We know that what we have been doing for so many years is really not nourishing us, but we can’t get ourself to leave the cursed circle. We’d rather die than step out of line.  

We’ve all seen footage of people breaking out into a stampede on Black Friday and trampling others at Target. Viewers often make fun of these groups, wondering how so many customers could be so stupid. But the crowds aren’t really thousands of individuals making dumb decisions. The crowds are just crowds; that’s what crowds do.

We are programmed to follow herds, explained superstar Israeli economist Dan Ariely in his new book, Dollars and Sense, and businesses make use of this mentality. Have you ever been stuck waiting with a group outside a music venue when the spacious building could easily let you all in? They might be keeping you there to get passersby to come to the show.

We assume that, if other people are doing something, then it’s a good idea.

“That’s what we are designed to do,” Ariely says “It’s not something we are aware of.”

This tendency can be dangerous. When fires break out in crowded movie theaters, everyone often runs to the same door and gets stuck in a bottleneck, even when there are two other side doors going unused. It’s very hard to say, ‘Everyone’s running in that direction. Let me sit here and think and look carefully around.’

Like wildebeests on the Serengeti running from lions, our species depends on a tendency for many people to act like one big animal.

This same mental tendency helps us build skyscrapers together and distribute food around the world. It just also means we can be indiscriminate about which groups we join. If you’re in a group, your mind isn’t always your own.

Yogi Berra

The legendary baseball player, Yogi Berra, who died in Sep. 2015, was once asked by his wife: “Yogi: you were born in Missouri, you live in New Jersey, and you played with the New York Yankees. So when you die, where should I bury you?” 

Yogi replied: “Surprise me!”

Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur says: Surprise yourself. Step out of line! This year, give yourself permission to cross the imaginary or real lines that hold you hostage. Transcend the mold.

Surprise yourself. Don’t be predictable. Do it differently. People put all types of limits on themselves, inspired by fear and trauma and status quo. This year — break out.

LeShana Tova

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 The Processionary Caterpillars

Are you ready?

Posted on 26 September 2019 by LeslieM

When it comes to being on the alert and ready at any moment to do the job, it’s hard to beat the Pony Express. This historically famous mail service between St. Joseph, MO, and California depended on constant movement and readiness. Relay stations were established every 10 to 15 miles. A rider would shout aloud as he approached a station, giving the station master very short notice that he needed to be outside waiting with a fresh mount. We have this service’s intriguing example of what it means to be ever watchful. (Today in the Word, Dec. 1997, pg. 17).

Matthew 25:1-13 details a parable of the kingdom of heaven that Jesus gave to His disciples to teach their need to be watchful and ready for His return. Two groups of virgins were distinguished by their preparedness: those having extra oil were considered wise, while those who only had what was in their lamps were considered foolish. All of them were waiting expectantly for the Bridegroom to come. Verse 5 relates: while the Bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. When he finally came, only those who were ready (who could light their lamps because they had reserve oil), were able to go with him to the wedding.

The need for preparation extends to any area of our lives and Christian walk where we anticipate opportunities for advancement and advantage or have an expectation of God to manifest His blessings upon us. Will you be ready when an opportunity knocks at your door? Are you prepared for God’s blessing? It’s not enough just to expect His favor and the fulfillment of His promises. We must be prepared for them. An opportunity loses its value if you are unable to seize it.

According to Merriam-Webster, preparation is the “activity or process of making something ready or becoming ready for something.” This may involve education such as needed for a career or information regarding an appealing opportunity. It will require discipline to remain focused on the goal while avoiding distractions or discouragement. Patience and perseverance will be a necessity to endure the length of time the process may take. In the end, however, we will find ourselves ready and positioned to maximize the opportunity when it comes.

The danger in not being prepared is that, like the foolish virgins, when the time arrives for God to move, we may miss out on His blessing, favor, or power. Harrison Ford was a struggling actor in Hollywood getting small parts and supporting his family by working side-jobs as a carpenter. He was building cabinets at the home of George Lucas when he was given a supporting role in the film American Grafitti. That led to an opportunity to audition for Star Wars where Lucas was so impressed by Ford’s ability that he offered him the role of Hans Solo, and the rest is history. The carpenter became a successful leading actor because he was prepared.

Will you be ready for your next opportunity? Are you prepared for a demonstration of God’s favor in your life and circumstance? Are you ready to meet the Bridegroom? What steps do you need to take to position yourself for what you desire or intend for your future? You must remember that expectation coupled with preparation, will bring about manifestation. We must be ready!

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 Are you ready?

Progress . . . Not perfection

Posted on 18 September 2019 by LeslieM

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I meet far too many Christians who believe being a “new creation” means they are now to have the passion of the prophets, the discipline of the disciples and the strength of a superhero saint. Both sacred scripture and personal experience has taught me this is simply not the case. To be sure, through the sinless life, sacrificial death and supernatural resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, sin has been conquered and crushed. But, as I frequently remind our congregation, we must remember that inasmuch as sin no longer reigns in the life of the Christian – it still remains in the life of the Christian. We will fight the sin battle all the way into glory.
Now, before we were saved by the blood of the Lamb and made a new creation, we could only sin in the eyes of the Lord. Nothing we did brought honor, glory or praise to His name because everything we did we did for our own honor, glory and praise. Our selfish ambition and self interest ruled our hearts and shaped our lives. But when Jesus showed up, all that changed. As a new creation, we have an ability we did not have before Jesus. We now have the ability to resist the devil when he comes knocking at our door, and flee from the sinful impulses that still reside in the old nature. But if we think we will reach perfection in this life, we are setting ourselves up for certain defeat.
The ultimate outcome of the Christian life is perfection; when we cross the Jordan, we will be perfectly conformed into the image and likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ. But until that day, we will struggle against the sin nature that still resides within us. We must remember the same man who penned the above passage in his letter to the Corinthians also penned the following one in his letter to the Romans:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do . . . For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. (Romans 7:15, 19)
Paul was indeed a new creation, but he still battled against the sin nature that still remained within and so will you and me. Yet, the orientation of our lives has been radically changed by Christ. Instead of the heart beating for the self, it begins to beat for our Savior. We desire to live a life that is pleasing and acceptable to the One who saved us from sin, Satan, death and ourselves. When Jesus raises us up from death to life and makes us a new creation, He renews our mind, realigns our will and reorients our heart. At this level of living, because Christ is living in us (Galatians 2:20), we begin to make real and measurable progress against sin.
As new creations, we now have a new identity which cannot be shaken, because it is rooted in the unshakable One. Clothed in the righteousness of Christ, the Father sees us as He sees His son . . . perfect in every way. And, as a “new creation,” we now have a new power within us to fight against every temptation to sin that is greater than any power that comes up against us. Let the truth of who you are set you free to make forward progress and, when you don’t, fear not. You are unconditionally loved and completely forgiven.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that . . . Amen!
Tommy Boland is the pastor for Cross Community Church, located at 841 SE 2 Ct. in Deerfield Beach. For more information, call 954-427-3045 or visit www.thecrosscc.org.

Comments Off on Progress . . . Not perfection

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

front page

COVER