Tag Archive | "Cathedral Church of God"

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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.

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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.

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CLERGY CORNER: Royalty watching in 2018

Posted on 26 April 2018 by LeslieM

Great Britain’s royal family has been receiving a lot of media attention lately. Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 92nd birthday on Saturday, April 21. A concert featuring numerous artists and thousands of adoring subjects was held in her honor as she continues to enjoy the prestige of being the longest reigning monarch in British history. In addition, the world had been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Prince William and Duchess Kate’s third child. On Monday, April 23, they announced the birth of a son at St. Mary’s Hospital in London. The latest royal addition is fifth in line for the throne behind his grandfather, father and two older siblings.

Prince William’s younger brother, Harry, is set to marry actress Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle on May 19. Their storybook romance and impending nuptials have drawn comparisons to the courtship and wedding of Harry’s parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, in 1981. It seemed as if the entire world paused to watch that ceremony, which was televised from St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Many people feel that Meghan’s good fortune is more akin to that of actress Grace Kelly, who wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956. The talented actress left Hollywood behind to assume the role as a sovereign of Monaco after a brief courtship with Rainier. Their ceremony at the time was touted to be the “wedding of the century.” To be wooed and wed by a Prince is the stuff that fairy tales are made of; but these accounts are real.

There is another form of royalty watching going on. The recent observance of Easter, where Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, brings to mind the beliefs concerning His second coming. Numerous verses of scripture confirm that He will return one day. Revelation 22:12 relates His promise to the apostle John, “And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Apostle Paul wrote, in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”

A Pew Research Center survey found that most Christians expect Christ to return soon. Another poll discovered that a large number of believers feel that we are living in the “last days,” or “end times,” which signal the return of the Lord. Jesus predicted, in Matthew 24 and 25 that certain events and behavior would indicate that His return was near. Many believers think that those indicators are undeniably apparent in our modern world. The Apostles Creed, which documented the doctrinal beliefs of the Church, states that He will return to judge the living and the dead. Many Protestants hold to the scriptures that refer to His reign over a kingdom and look forward to a time when He will rule on earth as King of kings, and establish lasting peace.

When you add the verses that refer to the Church as a bride and Christ as a groom (Ephesians 5:32 and Rev. 19:7), you understand why many believe that a royal wedding is in the Church’s future. To some it may sound like the stuff of fairytales. To numerous believers though, it is a soon coming reality as certain as the events we are observing among the royals of Britain. To remind themselves of this certainty, the first century believers used to greet each other with the word “Maranatha,” the Lord is coming. The question is, are you watching for His return?

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: The most influential person in human history

Posted on 22 March 2018 by LeslieM

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 or 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 1/3 of the world’s population, two billion out of seven 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 1st Century, 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 arena 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 200 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 upon the world. His 3 ½ years of ministry and teaching have touched countless lives on every continent of the earth, 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: Parkland, Black Panther and God

Posted on 22 February 2018 by LeslieM

Why did God allow this to happen? That was the question my youngest daughter asked as we watched the news coverage and wrestled with our emotions over the recent tragedy at the High School in Parkland. I’m not sure that my answer satisfied her, or me for that matter. The question is always difficult to answer whenever it is asked in times of personal or public heartache. I mumbled something about our freedom to make our own choices in life, and how God does not force His will or His way upon any of us. We are free to choose and, unfortunately, some choices result in pain and suffering, for ourselves and others. The young shooter made some decisions last week that have severely impacted families, our community, and our state. Much hand-wringing, anger, despair and frustration are being displayed as a nation comes to grip with another sad 21st Century reality.

If God did, in fact, intervene to give us all only what we desire, and prevent any loss, would we be happy or satisfied? An affirmative answer is too easy to express, and the question demands further consideration. We’re all different and have varying tastes, preferences and experiences that combine to make us as unique as we are. What pleases one horrifies or offends another, and, when we are thrust together in community such as we are, it is inevitable that conflict will arise. Laws are enacted to provide boundaries for our protection by limiting our freedom. For the most part, we all try to live peacefully and make compromises when necessary to maintain harmony; but, every now and then, something happens to remind us of our imperfection.

Why did you leave him behind? That was the question posed by T’Challa to his father in the movie Black Panther. A young boy, of royal lineage, was left fatherless and alienated from his ancestral people, which gave rise to anger and a warped view of reality that he would grow up to impose upon his people and the world. That decision to leave him behind ultimately led to a nation in turmoil and a world in jeopardy. The fictional conflict in Black Panther and the real tragedy of Parkland converge at the point of consequences to decisions that are made by broken individuals. The villain of the movie and the shooter in the school are both tormented souls in need of healing and guidance. Proverbs 14:12 notes, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” When we reject the collective wisdom of family and community, we are left to our own imperfect perceptions informing our decisions, with potentially disastrous consequences.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus offers us guidance as to how we should live. With respect to those with whom we differ and oppose, Matthew 5:44 records, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” The implementation of that directive alone would spare us from many of the tragedies we impose upon each other. God will not force us to do it, however; we are left to choose our own way.

It is my prayer that more of us would choose the way of love and peace, the way of God. My heart goes out to the victims of last week’s violence, along with prayers for comfort, peace and strength for their families. I pray for the tormented souls among us who need to be heard, healed and cared for. I pray for our government and legislators to heed the cries of the children in the streets, and to take steps to better protect them. I pray for a return to the safety, guidance and stability that used to mark the nuclear family. I pray that all of us would heed the wisdom of God and make better decisions for ourselves and those around us.

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: Living on purpose

Posted on 25 January 2018 by LeslieM

One understanding of purpose pertains to a person’s intent or resolve. The start of a new year provides an opportunity for many of us to make resolutions regarding the days ahead. A life of purpose is about more than making simple resolutions, however. It is about demonstrating commitment and dedication to what we hold dear, seek after and earnestly desire.

The biblical story of Daniel provides insight as to how we can fulfill our intentions. In the first chapter of Daniel, the young Hebrew is taken to Babylon and placed in a program of assimilation into the culture and learning of the king’s court. The daily diet, however, violated the strict religious guidelines that he had been taught to observe. Verse eight relates, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”

Daniel’s purpose was established in his heart and provided a strong foundation for its fulfillment. He had determined to honor his God by refusing to partake of the allotted food, choosing a simple diet of vegetables and water instead. It was a risky proposition since he was a captive. His decision made from the heart positioned him to succeed in keeping his vow. With regards to our own resolutions, if the heart is not in it, we will likely never accomplish it. Your noble pursuits will always face challenges, but you can succeed if you purpose it in your heart.

Daniel appealed to the chief eunuch to exempt him from the required diet to maintain his religious purity. The fact that he verbalized his intent further reveals his determination. He needed to activate his purpose by speaking up about it. There is a vital connection between what the heart feels, and what the mouth utters. Matthew 12:34 teaches, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” As Daniel proclaimed his commitment, so too should we declare our intentions and speak them into existence.

Having purposed and proclaimed his intent, Daniel next had to perform what he had spoken. The dubious chief eunuch agreed to Daniel’s 10-day challenge, after which he would examine and compare Daniel’s fitness with the other young men. It has often been said that actions speak louder than words, and Daniel had to back-up what he had declared by sticking to his regimen. He dutifully ignored the sights and smells of the king’s delicacies while enjoying his simple diet. We should be similarly committed to seeing our intentions through. Confirm your words with action. People of purpose keep their word and do what they say.

Finally, Daniel proved himself with respect to what he had purposed. He was willing to be tested at the end of the period to validate his intent. The findings revealed that he was in far better health than those who had feasted on the king’s food.

The evidence of our commitment is often revealed in the test and we should be prepared to so authenticate our purposes. If your intentions are right, God will support your endeavor. Let us determine to be intentional in our living. Let’s purpose, proclaim, perform and prove ourselves capable of attaining our goals. In 2018, let’s live on purpose!

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: Press for the prize

Posted on 28 December 2017 by LeslieM

The approach of a new year often brings hope and anticipation for a better tomorrow. It’s a time of reflecting on the things that didn’t get done, and planning how to see the desired outcome in the future. Write the book, lose the weight, finish the degree and start the business. These are the ideas and projects that beckon or taunt us as we look toward a new year and a potentially fresh start. But without a definite plan in place and a commitment to persevere, we may find ourselves in the same position a year from now. How many times have we made resolutions in January, that were abandoned by March?

In his letter to the believers at Philippi, Paul reveals his mindset and hints at a plan of action for accomplishment. “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize” (Philippians 3:13,14 NIV). While the apostle is dealing primarily with matters of spiritual development and Christian service, his insight points to undeniable principles necessary for achieving the goals we set for ourselves.

The first step has to do with “forgetting what is behind”. Put the past in the past and stop reliving the failures or successes of years gone by. No one can safely navigate a car forward by looking in the rearview mirror. There is a danger in constantly looking back at what once was or what used to be. Life is comprised of right-now moments that demand our attention and focus. Learn what you need to know from the past and keep moving forward.

The second step involves “straining toward what is ahead.” In other words, put your prospects in perspective. What are the opportunities in front of you? Where are your strengths more needed? Where are the areas that fit your unique abilities? Invest your time and effort in those things that are within your reach, even if you must stretch a little. This step will require focus and the ability to dismiss distractions so that you can stay on course.

The third step is to press for the prize. With the goal in front of you, and determination to get it you can push forward. It may not be easy. To press means to face resistance, and there will be challenges, obstacles, and frustration that must be overcome. But the goal is in front of you and you can reach it if you try. At this stage, you can consider how far you’ve come and find the motivation to finish strong. Why get so close, only to give up after you’ve invested so much effort? Shake off discouragement, refuse to quit and press forward.

There were many memorable moments of achievement in the 2016 Olympics. One of the more daring and outrageous accomplishments came in the Women’s 400m finals. Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas was the frontrunner for much of the race but the American champion, Allyson Felix was closing in fast on the last stretch. In a desperate move to cross the finish line first, Shaunae Miller dove headlong into the tape beating Allyson Felix in a photo finish. It was an unorthodox and unconventional move that caused a lot of stir on social media, but it was allowable in the rules of track and field. Shaunae won the race because she pressed for the prize.

As we prepare to enter another year of events and experiences, position yourself for the accomplishment of your goals. Put the past in the past, put your prospects in perspective, and press for the prize. Have a happy and blessed New Year!

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: How to live a grateful life

Posted on 22 November 2017 by LeslieM

A Peanuts cartoon shows Snoopy looking over his Thanksgiving dinner in a bowl. In the first frame he remarks, “How about that?” In the second he is eating and thinking to himself, “Everyone is eating turkey today, but just because I’m a dog, I get dog food.” In the third frame he concludes, “Of course, it might have been worse…” And in the final frame he remarks, “I could have been born a turkey.” It’s an interesting commentary on our propensity to be dissatisfied with circumstances in life only to perhaps discover a reason to be grateful after all.

In this season of Thanksgiving, we should be reflecting on the many reasons why we ought to be grateful. If we are not careful, we may fall into the trap of focusing more upon our dissatisfactions than upon our blessings. Issues that result in frustrations, anxiety and worry abound in our lives, but we don’t have to be victimized by adversity. It is possible to develop a lifestyle of gratitude and thankfulness regardless of what we may face.

In Philippians 4:6, Paul advises believers to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” He essentially offers a formula for living a grateful life in three practical steps. “Be anxious for nothing” translates into “do not worry”. Eliminate, or at least diminish, anxiety, fretting and worry from your life. Anxiety has to do with mental anguish and excessive concern, which can cloud our ability to think clearly or act rationally.

Someone calculated the average person’s anxiety in the following manner: 40 percent of our anxiety is focused upon things that will never happen; 30 percent is focused on things from our past which cannot be changed; 12 percent is focused upon criticism from others, most of which is untrue; 10 percent concerns our health, which only worsens with stress; and only 8 percent of our anxiety is focused on real problems with which we must contend. A whopping 92 percent of our anxiety is entirely unnecessary! We simply need to learn how to manage the remaining 8 percent. Paul’s strategy? Just don’t worry!

Next, we are encouraged to pray about everything. Prayer is conversing with God, sharing our hopes and dreams, as well as our fears and concerns. Many therapists will attest to the benefit of talking through your problems and challenges. We all need to have people in our lives with whom we can consult when facing overwhelming circumstances. Who better to converse with than the all-knowing and all-powerful God in prayer. Psalm 55:22 offers a promise: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.” An old hymn of the church adds, ‘take your burden to the Lord, and leave it there.’ And someone once remarked, “why worry when you can pray?”

Finally, Paul’s strategy for living a grateful life urges the practice of being thankful. Even when faced with dissatisfaction or disappointment in life, we can still find a reason to be grateful. Like Snoopy discovered, things may not always go our way but that doesn’t mean we have to be resentful. Rather, we can choose to be thankful.

In fact, there are three reasons why we can be grateful in adversity. It could have been worse than it is, there may be a life-lesson in the experience and it will work for your good. The Scriptures provide ample confirmation of this perspective. Believers live with the knowledge that God is ordering their steps and guiding them to perfection and maturity.

Enjoy this season as you spend time with family and friends. Consider the many reasons to be thankful and aim for a lifestyle of gratitude. Don’t worry about anything, pray about everything, and be thankful in all things. Happy Thanksgiving!

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: Changing Seasons

Posted on 26 October 2017 by LeslieM

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

King Solomon’s observation of life and human behavior resulted in numerous conclusions which are undeniably true. This particular truth relates to the fluid nature of the human experience. Nothing remains the same, everything changes, and there is an appointed time or season when change will occur. In nature, we identify the progression of time through the changing of the seasons from spring to summer, from summer to fall, from fall to winter, and from winter to spring. Each comes with its own unique personality and characteristics (colorful flowers, hot sun, falling leaves, frigid temperatures).

Depending upon where one lives in this country or on this planet, some seasons are more readily seen and experienced than others. Those of us who live in South Florida feel like it’s always summer here, but the seasons still change. An awareness of the coming change in a season enables us to prepare for it and to adjust to its uniqueness. Summer weather calls for t-shirts, shorts and sandals, while winter’s cold necessitates sweaters, hats and scarves. As we age, we also go through seasons of life with characteristics, expectations, and responsibilities that are unique to each phase. The one constant, however, is that there will be change. Nothing lasts for too long, and each season fulfills some purpose.

The varying experiences that we face (challenge, struggle, satisfaction, success etc.) also tend to be seasonal. Sometimes life is great, and everything seems to be going your way with the wind at your back and calm seas all around. At other times it feels like you’re in a storm and you’re struggling just to stay afloat. We would love to park at the particularly pleasant and rewarding experiences of life and live the remainder of our days there in peace and tranquility. The inevitability of change though indicates that we’d do well to be prepared when our situation undergoes a transition to something else. Though we may not appreciate change, especially when it involves moving from something good to something bad, Solomon’s wisdom indicates that each season serves a purpose.

If you are favored with good circumstances (a good season), celebrate your accomplishments and enjoy your life. Be mindful, however, that things may soon change. If you are in a bad situation (season), seek to understand what lessons it may offer for your future benefit, or for others who are around you. Know that it will not last forever, and that you may well come out the better for it. Sometimes the challenges and difficulties of life are necessary to release the hidden greatness, brilliance, and potential that lies in all of us. Consider that the caterpillar must go through a period (season) of isolation, darkness, and struggle before it emerges as a beautiful butterfly. And oysters must endure a season of agitation and discomfort before producing the precious pearl.

Whatever season you may find yourself in, make the most of it by adjusting to its demands and facing it with confidence. Thank God for bringing you to it, and trust Him knowing that He will see you through it. You have not arrived at it by accident. Though you may be incapable of controlling what happens to you, the power to manage your response is all yours. Be grateful to God for His blessing or His mercy in each circumstance. He has brought you to this for a season and for a purpose.

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: Preparing for the storm

Posted on 28 September 2017 by LeslieM

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have demonstrated why we must take every precaution whenever a storm threatens. We had scarcely come to terms with the devastating impact of Harvey on areas of Texas and Louisiana, when meteorologists began informing us that another, potentially more powerful hurricane was forging a path towards South Florida. Scenes of wind battered homes, downed powerlines, rising flood waters and boats flung onto shore struck fear in many hearts. State and local officials began warning residents to evacuate the most vulnerable areas, to stock up on water and other supplies, and to secure their properties from possible damage.

Almost immediately water disappeared from store shelves and gas stations were bombarded by long lines of cars. Home supply stores struggled to keep up with the demand for plywood, and contractors began working longer hours to accommodate calls for help in securing homes.

The level of preparation and response was tremendous. It is estimated that well over a million people heeded the advice to evacuate, and the clogged traffic on I-75 North and the Turnpike gave evidence to the concern of the public. There were even power and utility companies from other states making preparation to aid Florida once the storm had passed.

Thankfully, for the most part, Florida avoided the worst of Irma’s fury. Any loss of life is always regrettable, and the destruction in the Keys was heartbreaking to observe. The storm is gone, however, and there is time now to reflect and put things into perspective even as we rebuild, resume and restore. Storms of nature, particularly hurricanes, can be forecast, but they are largely unpredictable. No one can say for certain what path they will take, and what intensity they will arrive with. All we can do, as our governor repeatedly warned, is to expect the best but prepare for the worst. Storms of life (adversity, setback or heartbreak) are also unavoidable and unpredictable, but we should equally take precautions to minimize their impact as well.

While it is easy to secure windows with plywood and shutters, our hearts and emotions cannot be ‘covered’ in the same way. A hard heart and disconnected attitude are antithetical to the normative human experience. We need something more akin to hurricane-impact windows and doors that negate the need to cover-up during an approaching storm. Able to withstand powerful wind forces, they are made to protect while offering the intended function of allowing light in and visibility out.

How does one reinforce the heart and emotions to be able to survive the storms of life? Take time to cultivate and appreciate the relationships that matter most in your life. A devoted spouse, loving family and committed friends are indispensable aids to staying grounded during trying times. A fine house, fancy car, and even money, are unable to comfort the anguish of a bruised spirit. We were designed to fellowship with others and we will need them when the storms come. Proverbs 17:17 tells us, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Faith is also an invaluable asset to the strength of the heart and mind. Despite our knowledge and understanding, there are still things beyond our comprehension and control. Believers have settled on the fact that there is someone greater than ourselves, who holds our lives in His hands. It is comforting to put your trust in a God you cannot see but whose presence you can feel. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, will not we fear, though the earth be removed and carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters therefore roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof… The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” With this kind of protection in place we can survive the storms of life.

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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