Teacher Where Are You? – Good News for January 30

30 01 2011

Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

The Daily Path: When I see the crowds on television I want Jesus to climb the mountain and teach us again.

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Advent Day 22 – Good News for December 19

19 12 2010

Isaiah 7:10-14

The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!”

Then Isaiah said, Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.

The Daily Path: Today’s Gospel is a repeat of yesterday so I’m sharing the words of the prophet Isaiah that foretold the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary. Did you know that the Qur’an mentions the birth of Christ and of Mary? It’s true. Both appear dozens of times. After receiving a comment from noted author Kashif Shahzada on yesterday’s post (GNTG 12/18) that led me to this bit of enlightenment, I started to think again about the void of understanding between so many on this earth. Where do we come together? What have I done to bridge the chasm, if anything? As we prepare for the birth of Christ, it strikes me that instead of harping on what divides we should spend our time finding common ground to build understanding, tolerance, peace, and the love of God. Governments and political agendas can’t accomplish this, but I believe people who are “truly” enlightened by God can.

Kashif, thank you for reaching out. Peace be upon you.





Troubled Times – Good News for September 12

12 09 2010

Luke 15:1-10

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them he addressed this parable.

“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.

I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. “Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.‘ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Daily Path: I am deeply troubled by recent events in the world. The recent natural “acts of God” that have caused much suffering are not the cause of what weighs heavy on my mind, although all of those impacted need our prayers. Rather it is the words of men lashing out at one another in the name of religion and those scribes who chose to fan the flames of hatred.

I offer these three passages:

“I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.” Timothy 1:12-17

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28

Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.” Qur’an 7:199





His Laborers – Good News for July 6

6 07 2010

Matthew 9:32-38

A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

The Daily Path: I’ve been in the Sierra Nevada mountains for a few days now. This respite has provided time for me to live in the moment. The natural beauty surrounding us has cast out some of the worry associated with the future. As I look at these magnificent cathedrals – natural formations that took millions of years to create – I am reminded that it is God’s life plan for me… not my own. Glaciers advancing at a snail’s pace created the magnificence of God’s will. Who am I to worry at the timeline or path that God has created for me.

I must share an amazing moment I experienced while hiking amidst this splendor. In the afternoon, following a stream-side lunch, we stopped our hike above a waterfall. Here the water emerged from a rocky gorge to form a pool where it gathered before plunging downward on its journey to the lake some thousand feet below. It’s a spot known to hikers willing to trek a little beyond the beaten path. It’s also a place where no anxiety can exist, only peace.

We were joined there by a group of ten men who spoke in a dialect other than English. We all shared the boulders that formed a perfect rest area to enjoy this magnificent place. My wife took some photos of the kids who had climbed up onto a granite shelf above us. When they climbed back down, one of the men asked if he could be assistance by taking a group photo of my family. We took advantage of his offer and then shared some conversation that broke the ice. One of the men jumped into the pool to swim across the current. Soon my kids joined in and all cheered as one by one the kids – and me – emerged from the chilly water on the other side.

I offered my knowledge of the local area telling the group of a stunning alpine lake that was just 20 minutes up the rocky trail. After discussing the option in their tongue, about half the group decided to continue onward to see the lake.

At approximately 4:00 pm the four men who remained at the pool with us spread a light blanket on the ground next to a granite wall. One by one they removed their shoes and each in turn knelt on the blanket to pray. The men were Muslims following their daily calls to prayer. This was an incredible moment in a breathtaking venue. I wanted to join them on the blanket in prayer, but chose instead to quietly praise God for all His magnificence as I looked at my family and surroundings.

When it was time to head back down the trail, I said goodbye to each of the men shaking their hand and offering what a perfect place for prayer it was. Each broke into a big smile. In that instant, I felt we recognized each other as children of one God despite any cultural differences.

The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.

He has many names, but on this day, the laborers of God were united in true faith and His peace. There was but one Gospel of the Kingdom shared among men in their own way. God gave me a glimpse of heaven and I don’t think I will ever forget the experience.





The Compassion Couch – Good News for April 15

15 04 2010

Acts of the Apostles 5:27-33

When the court officers had brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders did we not, to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

But Peter and the Apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.

The Daily Path: I may get into trouble with some readers over today’s Path reflection, but I always share what is in my heart.

I’m deeply concerned about much of the dialogue going on in the United States. Conservatives are battling liberals. Christians are attacking other Christians. Those who have the blood of immigrants flowing through their veins attack refugees. People who profess belief in God hold up religion as a dividing principle. A lingering racial chasm lurks hidden just below the surface. Our God given Garden of Eden – Earth – grows sicker while industrialists fuel consumerism with inadequate regard for sustainability. Meanwhile we consume with unequal regard for those who do not have the means to achieve even the most basic human dignity.

I feel as though a modern Sanhedrin is at work in a world where the true teachings of Christ are overwhelmed by the shouts of crowds whipped into a frenzy by the high priests of our age. Where is the dialogue of compassion? Sure, you might say that it exists… but not before we get our cut. Not before our interest is met.

ME FIRST.

ME IS JOB ONE.

ME ME ME ME ME

“We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.”

When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.

How often do we figuratively “put someone to death” because WE is in conflict with ME?

I’m a flawed human being. A poor example of a follower of Christ. (Perhaps I harbor anger at myself because in so many ways I still allow the Sanhedrin to have power over me.) In my weakness I want to shake those who don’t see the teachings as I do… just as they want to shake me. But as weak and flawed as I am, the teachings of the Son of Man have touched me in ways that nothing else has. I know I’m not alone. Why then can’t we do more to find common ground and engage in the dialogue of Jesus’ teaching?

If I had the means I would buy a sofa and a van. I would take my sofa all over the country. I would ask people involved in the great debates – and those impacted by the outcome – to sit with me on my couch. I would ask them to tell me where compassion has touched their lives. And I would ask them where compassion exists in their position in the great debate. Then I would ask them to assume for a moment the opposite position and repeat the question. (If they answered that compassion didn’t exist in the opposite position, I would encourage them to try again!) After listening to their thoughts on the first three questions, I would ask: What can we do today – as soon as we get off the couch – to realize greater compassion together?

Would it do any good towards advancing the dialogue of compassion and the commonality we share as one in the eyes of God?

If you see me sitting on my sofa will you stop and talk with me?

Am I just a nut case? Don’t answer that.

Send your donation to Kin’s Compassion Couch Tour today! 😉





Travel Log – Good News for January 23

23 01 2009

Mark 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach  and to have authority to drive out demons. 

He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter; 
James, son of Zebedee, 
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; 
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

The Daily Path: The Apostles had a difficult road ahead of them when they answered Jesus’ call to follow. Persecution. Horrible deaths for some. The Gospel provides glimpses of the anxiety they experienced, even during the time they spent with Jesus, as the Twelve sometimes struggled to grasp what Christ was teaching them.

I can only assume they found comfort in fellowship with the other Apostles. My own journey has shown that comfort and joy can be found when sharing the experience with others. Relationships, parenting, career, education, personal interests and our faith all bring challenging moments. Especially faith. They also bring opportunities to find other travelers.  

I’ve been fortunate. God continues to bring people into my life, seemingly with each step I take, who bring encouragement, wisdom, fellowship, joy and love. 

Who has God brought into your travels? Take a good look. You might be surprised to find fellowship in the most unexpected places.

Room to Chat: I think looking for God’s presence all around us is a form of prayer. Seems to me that it helps keep God in mind throughout the day. Can you hear church bells above the noise as you walk down the street? Do you recognize a church steeple, cathedral, mosque, synagogue or other place of worship as you drive along the urban highway? Even watching a Japanese sci-fi film, like Mothra, can bring an opportunity for this form of prayer. Yes, I said Mothra!





The Enduring Hope – Good News for January 20

20 01 2009

Hebrews 6:10-20

Brothers and sisters: God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones. We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of hope until the end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.

When God made the promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, and said, I will indeed bless you and multiply you. And so, after patient waiting, Abraham obtained the promise.

Now, men swear by someone greater than themselves; for them an oath serves as a guarantee and puts an end to all argument. So when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose, he intervened with an oath, so that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

The Daily Path: Today, as Barrack Obama takes the oath of office as President of the United States, we will hear volumes about hope. It may be the day when a record for single greatest use of the word “hope” is achieved. In thinking about the new hope this country will embrace over the next four years, it provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the enduring hope that we are reminded of in this passage. The hope offered by God. A hope that is iron clad and offered to all who will embrace it. The one true hope guaranteed to last long after this president, or any who will follow, has left office. 

Room to Chat: “Abba” is an Aramaic word that means “father”. It was the word used by Jesus and St. Paul in the Gospel to refer to God, the Almighty Father, the God of Abraham. Today, when you hear the word “hope”, embrace the enduring hope offered by God by saying this simplest of all prayers: “Abba”