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Motivation Monday: What About Suffering?

Commissioned UMC Deacon #ForSuchATimeAsThis

Greetings of peace, joy and solidarity! Today’s entry is actually a post I posted on Facebook. And Instagram. As you may know if you’ve been following the blog, I’m going through a Bible in a year project. I’m on is the book of Job at the moment. I always receive great inspiration and hope from this sometime is very dark and very disturbing book. The most powerful message is that God is always with us and for us. When life is suffocating and difficult, God is still working God’s will. I pray for all of us that as we continue living through this epidemic of COVID-19 as well as the epidemic of rampant racism and police brutality we remember that God is with us and for us. I pray for you. I pray for the souls of those who have been murdered. I pray for peace and assurance as well as the bestowing of hope upon those left behind. I pray for the police and lawyers and lawmakers that they would be given wisdom and hearts of compassion and justice according to the will of God. Amen.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

MotivationMonday – Black fathers are losing their wives, daughters and sons. Black daughters and sons are losing their fathers. Black mothers are losing their husbands and children. Black children are losing their mothers. Loss, murder, and countless numbers of tragedies and travesties befall people of all creeds and stations. #LordHelpUsAll.

Most authentically though, I speak from my own social location and to the issues burning most on my heart right now, which include the suffering and injustice perpetrated upon black bodies, minds and spirits.

I am a black daughter, mother, wife, sister, niece, aunt, friend, mentor, minister/teacher/preacher and advocate, and I want a better world for my people. We don’t know why horrific things happen and evil, power-hungry and vindictive people gain and maintain power. We wonder where God is in all of this and why setan is giving so much freedom to torment God’s people. We blame ourselves and we blame others and we seek solutions. Some of us are already in states of despair and some may be considering or have given into the temptation to self-destruct or comit suicide, because the pain is too much.

We’ve had enough for a very long time!!!!! I can’t answer your questions just like the book of Job doesn’t answer your questions, but I can help be the friends as they were at the end of chapter 2 before they started giving such fearful and condemning advice, they were good friends who sat silently with Job for seven days. I am with you not only for seven days but for as long as we need each other, which will be as long as there is life breath in you, because we are gods answers to each other’s prayers. As I read these verses from Job chapter 2, this is the message GOD put on my heart for you.

Job 2:4-5, NLT.

Dear Sisters & Brothers

Sisters and brothers, #JesusLovesYouAndSoDoI #Job245 #Job2 #RejectTheLies #BlessingsAndCurses #NoEasyAnswers #NotAlone #LordInYourMercy #BlackLivesMatter #RebukeSatan #HoldOn #IllStandByYou #BlackLivesMatter

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Jesus Renember Me: A Good Friday Reflection on Luke. 23:42-43

Second Word Luke 23:43

Matthew 23:43 – Bible.com

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.””

https://www.bible.com/bible/111/luk.23.39-43.niv

Let Us Prwy

Father/Mother God, thank you for sending your only begotten son! He would not come down from the cross to save himself. He decided, O God, to die just to save me! May we learn to be so loving, so gracious, so courageous and so selfless. Change us, O God! Create in us clean hearts that we might truly be Christians who love selflessly, forgive endlessly and die to self purposefully as did the one we follow, Jesus the Christ. Amen

One of my zoom video test photos, of me

Story of Self (personal story)

Troubled, violent, bad-mouthed, out-of-control, hard-to- place! These are the words foster children hear carelessly and cruelly aimed at and about them. Apparently, I used to think, they also think we are death and dumb! When I was 16, I served time at McLaren Hall, which has since, thank the Good Lord, been closed. It wasn’t technically Juvey, but from what I gather, it wasn’t much better. At the time though, I didn’t know it was a harsh environment, because I was so used to abuse, it was only another form of the same. In fact, at least I was in a group institutional setting and the staff did not have as much time as foster parents had to home in on me. I was simply another case! Another teen with a bad attitude and a lack of gratitude for what the state had done for me. This makes me bleed for mercy upon the criminal on Jesus’ left. Some are blessed to find the light shining in the darkness, yet others can’t see, can’t rise and thus cannot hope. But for the grace of God go I.

That light for me came in the form of two female ministers who would come to McLaren to speak with the residents. Unlike most of the adults of my acquaintance, they seemed to see and hear us. They helped us find empowerment and constructive ways to voice and express our guilt, shame, rage and need for belonging.

In return, we gave them bad attitudes and disrespect. We challenged them, because we did not trust them or their God. If your God is real, tell him to give you something better to do and get us out of here! They warned us, as the man on the right reminded the man on Jesus’ left, not to test God, and to take responsibility for our own actions. We mocked them and God, at least I did, at least at first.

These women couldn’t save us or change us, or could they? Well, they, or rather, the Holy Spirit within them, did. I stand as a living testimony that God speaks through angels on earth, and years later, I give thanks to those ministers. We don’t know if the man on the left accepted Christ in the last moment, we are not told, and I do not know the fate of the teens I lived with at that time, but as the man on Jesus’ right, and as Jesus himself most of all caused many hearts to turn toward God, these women spoke power, truth and love into my story, and I have decided to ask Jesus to remember me when he comes into his Kingdom. Glory to God

Story of Us (scripture story)

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, today, you will be with me in paradise.” Having seen experienced the cruelty and injustice humans were/are prone to, Jesus the Christ made this astounding promise. Bloodied and beaten, already bruised for our transgressions and abandoned by many of his disciples, Jesus made his way to the Cross. Jesus is guilty of a multitude of sins. You ask how? Or perhaps you already know. Jesus, the lamb of God, the scapegoat, the Son of David has agreed to take upon himself the sins of the world! How could he stand and walk? As difficult as the walk would have been anyhow following the abuse suffered and with the physical heaviness of that old rugged cross, those burdens would have, I believe, been nothing in comparison to what Jesus the Christ carried in his spirit and in his heart; the guilt of humanity throughout history. Stoically, Jesus went on. Without protest, Jesus was hung and nailed painfully to the cross. And here, we stop to consider, the criminals hanging with him.

Luke 23:39 text from Bible.com Ha

The words of the criminal on the left remind me of the temptation of Satan when Jesus was in the desert after receiving Baptism. Satan challenged Jesus at that time saying, “If you are the son of God, jump from this cliff. Surely, God will not allow you to stub your toe on a rock.” Jesus responds to Satan, It is written “do not put the Lord your God to the test.” The criminal on the left is definitely putting God to the test, rather or not he sees God as his God, and he is trying to tempt Jesus Christ who has been pushed to extreme limits, yet Jesus does not respond. Thanks be to Jesus, for he chose not to come down from the cross.

Luke 23:41 text from Bible.com

The man on the right is no less a criminal, yet he has the one vital key to salvation: he knows he is a criminal who deserves no less than death, and yet in faith and repentance, he asks Jesus to remember him and his acknowledgement of Jesus as an innocent man. Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom. We are all guilty and fall short of the Glory of God, but we pray nevertheless, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

We may not be able to see ourselves as worthy to sit in the seats of honor or even to enter the Kingdom. We may only ask to be remembered; remembered with compassion and perhaps affection. Yet Jesus offered the criminal on the right more. Jesus offered entry into that Kingdom. Jesus offered immediate words of forgiveness and absolution. Jesus offered immediate acceptance. He saw the heart of the criminal and Jesus sees your heart and mine!

We aren’t on the cross. Most of us aren’t on death Rowe or on a cross. Most of us are still carrying our crosses. At the same time, many of us are bearing the crosses of those who have fallen and stumbled, and some of those who have too many emotional and physical wounds to make it up life’s hills with the burden of their sins and decisions on their backs. So, we may understand a little of Jesus’ pain and understand our place in this grand story of love and sacrifice. Jesus’ has a message for us: don’t stop! Don’t let go! Just a little further! It hurts but letting go will hurt more and for longer.

Hold on my sister! Hold on my brother! Ask Jesus to remember you! Confess your crimes and acknowledge his sacrifice and the injustices done to him and countless of our powerless and marginalized sisters and brothers, and the reward may just be more than we dared hope. Jesus may turn to us and say, “today, tomorrow, whenever your time comes to end your race, you will be with me in Paradise.”

Story of Now (shared calling)

Today, we are under the shadow of coronavirus. We are not in physical churches, because we are under “shelter in place” and “stay at home” orders. Yesterday, we partook of the Lord’s Supper and observance, some of us, of Maundy Thursday, at home alone or a few family members or roommates. We hear the criminal on the left taunting us, “if you are the daughter, if you are the son of God, get down and save yourself and save us.” We have, I hope ignored that lying voice of self-centeredness, faithlessness and pride. I have heard louder the voice of my Savior saying, truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” because you have run a good race and stood firm until the end. Jesus sees my bad temper and cabin fever, and he loves me anyway. He sees every fear we allow to control us, and he loves us anyway. He is waiting for us to see our wrong-doings, confess we deserve nothing good and once we empty ourselves, we may be welcomed by him.

I don’t know how much longer I, an extrovert, and all the rest of us, will be forced to shelter in place. I do know we are invited to ask Jesus to come into our shelters and be our shelter. If we are homeless, Jesus wants to be our shelter. We have the opportunity to come out of this a more just, humble, merciful, faithful and loving community. But are we willing? We will overcome. This is my prayer.

Holy God of love and life, we are gathered from around the word via technology. We thank you for this virtual community as well as our physical communities. We thank you for the example of the criminal on the right and the criminal on the left. May we be more like the man in the middle; more like Jesus, the Christ! Thank you for the graciousness and mercy of Jesus Christ. Infuse us with the Spirit that we may come through these current struggles stronger, more faithful and ready to be instruments of healing and peace. We love you. We pray all this and more in the name of Jesus Christ by the Power of the Holy Spirit, giving you, O God, all the glory and honor forever, Amen!

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Knowledge Is Power;; Wisdom Is blessing; Coronavirus Resources for California & Beyond

Greetings of peace and hope: I hope you acknowledge the blessing of being here and being functional in this moment. Because I am here, I am here for you. Please feel free to leave any prayer requests in the comments below. because there is so much information and false information out there, I’ve been inspired to provide a list of resources I’ve found helpful, and have been recommended by both governor Gavin Newsom and congresswoman Maxine Waters among others. As I said, these are resources I have personally found helpful. Now, I know some of you are beyond the borders of California. Some of these resources are national. Let us all use our powers of reason, experience and intuition to discern the best resources for ourselves, our families and our communities.

these resources

Colorful letters on a purple background saying resources for coping with COVID-19

Resources for California and Some Beyond

National Domestic Abuse Live Chat Website: – https://www.thehotline.org/2013/11/14/live-chat-services-have-arrived/

California Health Corps (volunteer and hire for medical personnel):
https://covid19.ca.gov/healthcorps/

Unemployment Programs:
State of California Employment Development Department (EDD)
https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

IRS Economic Impact Relief Program:
https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

SBA Small Business Loans:
https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans

General Info (including shelters) : Call 311

Representative of California’s 37th Congressional District, Karen Bass: 323-965-1422

General CountyInformation in LA: https://covid19.lacounty.gov/

For Testing Appointments – https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing/

For housing and homelessness questions and information , and to obtain resources, call 211 or go to the site: https://covid19.lacounty.gov/covid19-2/homelessness-and-housing/

Congresswoman, Maxine Waters (Rep. of 43 District):
323-757-8900

California Govener, Gavin Newsom: https://www.gov.ca.gov/916-445-2841

Centers For Disease Contro (CDC):
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

Up-To-Date CA Resources, COVID-19 cases, ets.
https://covid19.ca.gov/

Control What You Can

My prayer is that the resources you see here help direct your searches for information. My prayer is that what you find here helps you relax and control aspects of your environment, which will grant you a greater sense of peace and purpose. My hope is that you will lean into God for true healing, and lean into the understanding that God has granted certain people gifts and graces to get us through this time. Those gifted people include you. Never forget that.

And at the last, remember Jesus’ parting words to his disciple which include the promise that he will always be with them. When Israel was still going through their trials and tribulations, not that they’ve ever fully stop in during hardships, the prophet Isaiah spoke to them words of comfort. No, God would not remove all of the trials and tribulations and consequences, but God would be present in them. Take piece from Isaiah 43:2

Isaiah 43::2 text

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬);

My Prayer

Father God, thank you for your blessing that when we are going through the waters, you are right there with us. Thank you for holding us up and giving us yet another day. May we be granted the power, wisdom, strength and endurance to be your hands and feet in a world filled with darkness in pain. We pray for those who are ill, those who heal and those who have no hope. Please protect our children, our homeless, our orphaned and our widowed. May we embrace the marginalized instead of demonizing them and pushing them even further away during this time. Remove our fear, O Lord! May we convey to the world that you are the help and you have overcome all death and disease, even the coronavirus. amen! 

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Resource Queen With Youth & Family Jewels

Greetings of peace, love, Joy and solidarity!

I am thankful. While I have my struggles with these shelter at home orders, I realize I am thankful for the opportunity to spend time with, good to know, and get to teach and encourage my 12-year-old son. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend so much time with my husband. I am thankful for the spirit of resilience and for my health. Remember that the best way to deal with these stressful situations is to control what you can and contribute where you were able to the welfare of yourself and others. Here, I am taking my own advice because Isee myself as a resource queen!

My son on his laptop

And, I am grateful for the opportunity to share with you some of my favorite resources for Aeducating and motivating children be at my own son or children and youth served by the churches I have ministered with. I hope these are of service to you or those you know and love.

K-12+ Resources

Youth and children resources are abundant, and if you have some, I welcome you to share. This is what we use a lot. They are apps and websites. #KeepYourHeadUp #Resources

Duolingo
https://www.duolingo.com

This one is why I put K-12+. My I love using this app probably more than my son does even. You can learn French, Spanish, Portuguese in almost any other language I can think of. my son mostly works on French, and I’ve worked on Spanish, French and Italian. Mostly, I’ve been building my skills for years in Spanish with this app.

– Prodigy
https://prodigygame.com/play

This is a great math games with levels to attain and characters they can purchase. I think my son has gotten about as high as the game currently allows, so we’re still waiting for some new developments. It’s a great site for learning math and having fun.

– Smithsonian Tween Tribune
https://www.tweentribune.com/category/teen/

Here you can create an account and create classrooms if you have one child or tons of children. You can assign the articles and the questions that go along with them. The articles are on all sorts of subjects and are geared toward age groups that you select. Have fun! Let’s teach our children about science, developments in the medical field, space travel and so much more. I love this.

– Newselahttps://newsela.com/

Current events including the current coronavirus latest news are here. The stories are customized based on age level. My son uses this in school and we’ve continued using it at home. Just this week, we’ve learned about penguins in the aquarium in Chicago which was forced to close, and Jean therapy, which could help those who have genetic blindness receive their vision.

Typing
http://www.typing.com

Pretty self-explanatory, but if you and your children wish to increase typing accuracy and speed, where else would you go beside a place called typing.com?

Lumosity
https://www.lumosity.com/en/

This app has games designed to help sharpen focus and increase brain function. If you have a preteen or a team, I know you are invested in helping them increase their focus! LOL! If I hear I didn’t know where I didn’t remember one more time…

– Khan Academy
https://www.khanacademy.org/

Another one the teachers use and encourage us to use at home to supplement our children’s education. Science, math, language arts, social studies, it’s all here!

– Los Angeles Public Library
https://lapl.beanstack.org/users/sign_in

Sending Virtual Hugs

We all have Library-‘s in our counties, of course! My son still loves physical books although we have Audible and Kindle and all the other digital formats. It’s interesting and will continue to be interesting to see how the library’s answer this current challenge. I pray for our library’s in librarians as keeping brick and mortar library is open was probably already a challenge.

It’s Me!

My prayer is that each parent and guardian take this opportunity to learn with and learn from their student. Children are blessings from God and even when they are at their most challenging, they encourage us to be at our best. I hope these resources help you enjoy your time just a little bit more. I’d love to hear any of your stories in the comments. enjoy the journey. You are not ever alone.

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Fruitfulness – My Psalm 28 Story

Fruitfulness Devotional

Lenten greetings of peace, love and joy! Today is a special day! It is the 13th day of Lent. It is also the day that my devotion entry has been published by #PictureLent. I will include the link to it below so that you may see my contribution as well as the contributions of the other authors all the way up through Easter. I’ve also included the text here, because what are our personal blogs for it not to showcase the gifts and talents God has blessed us with??? Make sure you let me know what you think of what you read, and how God is blessing you through this look at Psalm 128.

Gardens, Children and Ministry

“How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!” ‭‭ (Psalms‬ ‭128:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬)
https://www.bible.com/bible/116/psa.128.1-2.nlt

Walking this journey to the Cross with Christ is often demanding, rigorous and disorienting. I pray that you also experience Lent as hope-filled, energizing, and life-giving. On this, the 13th day of Lent, let us take a moment to breathe in that hope and life God provides as we breathe out the struggle and disorientation life sometimes offers. As the Psalmist prays for abundant blessings on Israel, I pray for abundant blessings upon you, your family and community.

As we walk, work, eat and drink, play and love, we seek to find the balance most pleasing to God. If we have children, we hold their hands so that they remain close to us and close to Christ. Scripture says we are blessed if we walk in the way of the righteous. So, I implore you to persevere on this journey to the Cross.

The Psalmist confidently asserts that all who fear/revere/respect and obey the Lord will be abundantly blessed. For Israel, if a person had fruitful lands and many sons, these were signs of God’s favor. Thus, the man blessed with a wife who bore many children who in turn worked the land and bore more children would have been seen as most highly favored.

Today, bearing numerous children and working the fields and vineyards may not be the symbols of fruitfulness in our culture. However, many of us, myself included, find happiness and blessing through our relationships with others, including our spouses, children, family, and friends. Lent is an ideal time to ponder the gifts God has given and still has in store for us. Now may be an ideal time to identify the gifts and talents we possess and how God is calling us to employ them for the journey.

Even today, we identify with the blessing of fruitful soil. Many of us live in urban areas where we are fortunate if we have small gardens where we may plant flowers, cucumbers, squash and potatoes. Yet, when we look around, we see the land bearing fruit. Down the street from my apartment, there is a family who grows oranges and another who grows grapefruit. Thank God for this fruitfulness.

Every summer, the children who participate in Saint Mark United Methodist Church, Los Angeles’ summer enrichment program work in the garden. We provide cups/containers and they plant and water their projects. At summer’s end, they take home the fruits of their labor. The children also help tend the garden and sometimes take home vegetables if they are ripe. God’s ministry through us is bearing much good fruit: literal crops planted, harvested and eaten; children and families who have the means to plant and eat healthy food; and a church and community better able to appreciate the amazingness of God’s creation and the vitality of our service as stewards. Inthese endeavors and others, only God truly knows how fruitful our prayers, plantings and plucking-up will be. Lord, bless your faithful people with fruitfulness.

Let Us Pray

Lord, take our stumbling, sometimes grudging and often uncertain steps, infuse them with your grace and assurance, and remind us that you are the source of our blessings and fruitfulness. You have given us Scripture to make straight and give light to our path. We give you thanks. Bless us, O Lord, as we scatter the seeds you have entrusted to us. May they bear fruit for your Kingdom for generations to come. Amen!

Let Us Do

Fruitfulness Bag: Put together at least one non perishable food bag to give away to a person in need. Please include applesauce or some other non perishable fruit cup, and if you include a juice pouch or box, please make sure it is 100% fruit juice. Preparing one bag for each household member or group member (if you are participating as part of a group or household) would be ideal.

Let Us Reflect

  1. In which ways has your life been fruitful (children, spouse, ministry, acts of kindness, answers to prayers, etc.)?
  2. How is your observance of Lent pruning you for greater fruitfulness for God?
  3. Discuss Holy and fruitful fear vs. debilitating and counterproductive fear. Which fear does God desire of us, and how does our understanding of fear impact our understanding of and relationship with God?

Website https://mailchi.mp/riotexas/picturelent-march-11-fruitfulness?e=e87b03a3e3

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Confirmation: choosing A Savior Who Already Chose Us

Greetings of peace and joy!

We are in the second week of Eastertide, and I haven’t blogged in weeks. Lent was so heavy this year. So much death, so much injustice, so much disillusionment and of course so much to do! I know my sufferings were nothing compared to that suffered by our Christ on the cross, but Lord!!! Jesus, it was tough. I hope you made it through intact, and that your struggles, Temptations and blessings remind you of the Jesus who chose us and loves us whoever and wherever we are. I’m praying for us all. It is a season of resurrection, new life and new Hope and I hope you are experiencing just that today.

So, What Do I Have To Say Tonight?

Confirmation Experience 2019 Flyer

Created by Ainise ‘Isama’u
Confirmation Experience 2019 is taking place as a partnership/collaboration between Saint Mark and Holman! These are both united Methodist churches in Los Angeles. Let’s pause for a brief exclamation for those who may not know what Christian Confirmation is. No, it isn’t only for Catholics. (A Question/sentiment I get a lot).
In the United Methodist Church, we believe in infant baptism, because we believe that baptism is a gift of grace from God. Just as God chose us even before we knew to choose God, the infant is baptized into the body of Christ without knowing to choose to do so. However, at some point, everyone must make a choice. So, at adolescence, we have a right of passage where youth choose to accept the grace freely given and accep membership in the church inherited. These beloved young people take a series of classes where they learn about God and the church, receive practical instruction on discipleship and ministry and experience life as members of a community and at the end we pray they choose to become full and active members of the church. The choice is theirs.

Session ONE Is Tomorrow

Session 1 is going to be fun, and if it goes well, it’ll definitely set the tone for the rest of the sessions. It will of course be the longest, because it includes our mission project. The youths and their teams, including a mentor and parent/guardian per youth, will work together to create Manna Bags. These bags Will comprise of non-perishable items the families can carry with them and pass out as needed when out and about in their cars. Following that, we will have pizza, and then, our first class, which is all about loving together, living together and traveling together will take place. Rather befitting! A huge part of this will be starting off by identifying ways we can pray for one another and our world, be present for each other and those hurting in our world, share our gifts with those who need them, serve each other and others, and bear witness to the grace and the love of God with all we come in contact with. This is all life together, and we hope to impart to our young people and those who surround them with the belief and knowledge that Christianity is an active faith calling for active discipleship and storytelling. We have to know who we are before we can tell others and invite others to travel together with us. So, keep us in your prayers!

1Timothy 4:12. Respect the wisdom of the young when the wisdom is God-given.Until I Write Again….

Be wise, gentle, courageous, bold, faithful and hopeful. When we seek God, God is found and when we don’t feel the presence of God, let us keep reaching and praying and asking that God reveal God’s self to us. Christ has risen and so too have we. Not fully, but within from the holder of the grave. God bless you.

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A Day In The Life

Greetings! How’s your week going? It’s only Tuesday and it’s already Tuesday! I’m not sure about you, but I’ve pretty much did nothing but work today and it’s been pretty fun. We’re ironing out our Easter production and celebration for the children, still getting ready for summer and for Youth Confirmation. I’m not going to speak a lot on any of that, because I have in previous posts and will again. What I’ll do today is upload some of the flyers for the event so you can see and comment if you wish. Some are still works in progress. I’m rather wordy, which you probably noticed. That might be good for blog posting and for sermons, but not so much for flyers. Still, I know I like to get all my information in one place, so I tend to cram it in.

I also took an EQ, emotional intelligence, test today. I did OK. We don’t need to get into that though. I also purchased the book that goes along with that, which is Emotional Intelligence 2.0. I know they’ve been saying for years now that the IQ is less accurate as a predictor of intelligence and success especially for minority populations, but I was amazed at how much more important EQ is. If I remember correctly, it’s something like only 20% of the most successful people had higher IQ versus EQ, or emotional quotient. That’s vital to this period of reflection, repentance and revitalization.

Let Us Pray

Christ, may we all know ourselves and love ourselves as your children, created in your image and capable of greatness! Your will be done. Amen!

Super Training University Vacation Bible School PosterConfirmation Experience Announcement Marks of Heroism Summer Enrichment Program Brochure

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Hold On Until Your Blessing Comes: God Is Coming

And The Journey Continues

Cover Photo of KTLA NEWS STORY ON THE MURDER OF WRAPPER, NIPSEY HUSSLE, MARCH 31, 2019

Blessings of peace and hope to you! Today is Motivation Monday, and we need it. Today has been a tough one. Yesterday, I went to church as I always do, led Sunday school, worship and hosted youth group, as I always do. We hosted a table after church desplaying all our activities from now through Summer. We hope this visibility and engagement with the with entire congregation will gain enthusiasm and involvement for our youth programs. We need the adults to donate/invest that God’s love and joy may spread. Pray for and with us. 

Today, I called one of my youth to check in with her, let her know about the college prep workshop Friday and make sure she will be at the Easter production rehearsal Sunday. I wasn’t thinking about Nipsey or the impact his murder would have on my students who would know more of him than I do. She is the age I was when Tupac was murdered, so once I thought about it, my heartHURT for her.. That was heart-breaking for me, and this is for her. I hope the support I intended came through. I hope I offered the peace and comfort of Christ to her. I hope she sensed my love. I pray the pessimism I sensed from her will pass. When our young men and women continue to kill each other, it is difficult to keep hoping for a brighter tomorrow, but as God never gives up on us, may we never give up either. 

When we arrived home–my husband, son and I–we learned about the murder of wrapper and local hero, Nipsey Hussle. We are in lament over the death of this 33 year-old Black entrepreneur who came up on the streets of LA and worked to bring money, opportunity and hope to our inner-city. We often ask why our young and brightest grow up and leave for greener pastures, so to speak, and then something like this happens, and we know. I do not know all the details of what happened and why, but I do know envy, back-stabbing and alienation is the reality of what many face when they choose to be successful and return to pull others up. Returning to South-Central LA from attending college in Monterey, grad school in Pasadena and my first ministry job in Redondo Beach has been challenging. It is not easy, but it is worth it. Jesus, I am sure, thought the same when he returned to Galalee and faced suspicion and rejection. 

Even the most faithful believers ask "How Long?" (Psa 13:1-2)
Psalm 13:1-2

How Long? 

At times such as these, Psalm 13:1-6 ceaselessly plays in my head. It is the cry of my heart and perhaps yours, too: How Long, LORD! How long will I be rejected, poor, depressed and anxcious? How long will I/we have to struggle through with little view of the sun to come? I would read this to this student to let her know these questions are timeless and they are okay. We have and serve a God strong enough to bear our sarrows. We need to sit in the grief of Good friday and Holy Saturday. We need to support those in the desert with us, because together, we shall overcome. 

Lord, I pray we have the patience, peace of mind, assurance and courage to sit in our pain, and then I pray we also have the wisdom to learn from those hard times to ask for what we really need. When we ask, may our hearts be strong and full of conviction so we recieve our blessing, and may we then remember to return to you with praise and thanksgiving. We love you, Almighty God. You will bring us through. You will heal our hearts. You will use us to bring peace and love to this broken world. Walk with us and sit with us. Never leave us. We pray for those who grieve and those who cause the grief. Heal us so that we do not lash out in rage, anger, greed and selfishness to harm others. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen! 

Praise God In The Storm

May we never forget that the Psalmist moved from How in the first 2 verses to the concrete request for deliverence of verses 3-4 and ultimately the praises of verses 5-6. Whenn 5-6 were prayed, deliverance had not come; the Psalmist BELIEVED/KNEW it would come. Sit first where you are so that when you pass through the waters, you are sure God has been with you and has delivered you mightily. 

God A Reason For Hope

Psalm 13:5-6: Praise God in the storms and praise the Lord when deliverance comes!
Don Peterson, Pastor, “A Reason for Hope”

Christy Clark | April 2, 2019 at 5:06 am | Categories: Ministry | URL: https://wp.me/paM4qz-3KComment

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When we arrived home–my husband, son and I–we learned about the murder of wrapper and local hero, Nipsey Hussle. We are in lament over the death of this 33 year-old Black entrepreneur

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Making Young Disciples During Lent & Easter

Alpha and Omega - Pass It On
Alpha And Omega

Breathe deeply, ask God to provide peace, patience and endurance, and remember why we work and strive every day to build the kingdom of God. Lent Is a season of preparing our hearts and minds for Christ death and resurrection; emptying out so that God can fill up. Advent comes before Christmas, end it tends to be more festive and feels more joyful. Both seasons, however, tend to get too hectic and frantic and busy and it is hard to keep the peace and hope of the season. Like Christianity itself, I see this as backward, but in a good way! God does not value what the world values and conversely, Easter is the season that should bring us much joy, because although Jesus being born as human is a critical point in our history, Jesus dying and suffering so that we can have eternal life is why we are here. Lent, perhaps can never be joyful and festive, because the focus is on repentance and on the struggling walk to the cross. But, Easter is a season, not only a day. Easter Season (50 days beginning with Easter Sunday) deserves at least as much joy and recognition as Advent and Christmas.

So today, I am talking to myself as much as other ministers and pastors. I am speaking to parents and teachers and all those who get busy with the practicalities and duties of the holidays. May we all find those moments to be Mary seated at the feet of the Messiah listening and enjoying the word of God and resist the temptation to always be Martha, hard at work. May we be aware of this tendency to do rather than be so that we can resist. How do we balance the two? Trust me, I am no expert, but I know the ONE who is, and I am praying, come Holy Spirit, come!

I am taking a moment away from work and I hope that this post will calm me and bless you. As I prepare for youth confirmation, Easter and into the summer, may I continue to have the wisdom and ability to take these moments to write and keep this discipline. May be a blessing and not another chore to add to the list.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Passing On The Faith

Marks of Heroism Brochure, by Christy Ann Clark Speaking on passing our faith down to the next generations, Every summer, Saint Mark LA Host to summer reading program. This year, I have named it Marks of Heroism 2019. We will learn, play and pray together five days a week for six weeks during the summer. Here is the brochure I created. it is one of the fliers and announcements that will be on display after church on Sunday so that more of our church family made yet involved with all that we are doing and all the Holy Spirit is doing through us.

SJudges 2:8,10 after Joshua and his generation died, Israel reverted to their old sinful way.

Judges 2:8.10

ince I’ve been focusing on our youth confirmation so much these past days, it is not a shock that tonight my heart is set on why we as Christian leaders focus on making disciples for Christ. It took me back to the Old Testament, of course. After a faithful generation rose and served, an unfaithful generation often followed and I was thinking of Joshua here. After Moses and Joshua another generation died, but people forgot about God and failed to follow. Maybe that generation dropped the baton and got too comfortable. I cannot say. I’m sur the situation was entirely too complicated for us to assume we know anything. I do know that our example today can help brighter tomorrow for our children, and create a more hopeless world for our children. So I press on. We press it on.

We plant, water, nurture and reap, yet only God can really produce the harvest.

Let us rest well so that will have the energy, endurance, patience and wisdom to keep doing God’s good work, praying and playing with our children, and loving God above all! Amen.

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If We Are What We Read, What And Who Am I?

I wonder if I didn’t say anything, would you notice I didn’t post yesterday! Mostly, because my son was out of school, it just slipped my mind that it was even Monday. Still, I got plenty of work done including my worship plan for Sunday, and had dinner with my brother-in-law, who is in from San Franciscot, and the rest of the in-laws. Tacos is always a family favorite though noone makes them quite like Marlon, ask my son! I hope you are all having a great week thus far.

I have to get back to writing these budgets and getting ready for Sunday, but I need it to get to my outlet, which is writing for fun. So, let me talk about a couple of books I am or have read, and influence me.

Festive In Death, by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)

Festive In Death Book Cover Amazon

Lieutenant eve Dallas is a homicide Lieutenant! She is a victim/survivor of the foster care system around 30 years from now give or take. I don’t want to give away too much of a story in case I’ve wet your intereste, and you’re going to go read this 50 books series! Of course, this is fiction, which allows her to be a super superhero. Nevertheless, she overcomes horrific trauma to become an amazingly dedicated public servant. I can empathize, which is why I identify so much with her and love the series. I, too, grew up in foster care, and it was definitely ugly. I find this example to be both intimidating and inspiring. I can’t figure out if it helps me get to work or if it makes me feel like I’m completely not doing anything. Perhaps both. Still, I’ve read this series over and over again.

I like this book in the series particularly, because it forces Eve to have more balance then she tends to and it forces her to celebrate the holidays, which she would pretty much just let fall by the wayside if it were up to her, or so she’d have us believe. She’s a hard ass, but not brittle. Remember my post of Saturday? If we don’t take a rest, it increases The chances of our being brittle and broken… Well, good thing she has people to give her that same message, because she definitely needs it. My guess is most do; especially if, like me, you’re a Perfectionist/Type A personality.

As Eve gives thanks for Rourke, her husband, I give thanks for Marlon, mine. True LOVE definitely makes a difference and when we find it, we have to hold on tightly especially through treacherous and torturous storms. She is irreverent, belittles even the idea of faith in God and cusses entirely too much… She is imperfect. She lives every day of her life fighting for justice and she definitely knows her WHY. I want that confidence and won’t stop until I have it. Lord, I won’t let you go until and unless you bless me (Genesis 32:26j.

Wrestle with God. God can take it!
Pinterest images for Genesis 32:26

Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog is a book, which has helped me fight my procrastination tendencies. I’m not good at procrastinating, and hate that I’ve developed that habit lately.Eat That Frog Cover

Perhaps it was the image of eating a disgusting frog that first got my attention! I love this book and have quoted from it quite a few times on Facebook and Instagram. When I suffer from anxiety, I list everything I need to do and that leads to inactivity, because then I get overwhelmed and anxious and I start to feel so small! It is a vicious and sometimes seemingly endless cycle. Can I get an Amen!

I was just talking to my husband about the fact that I don’t want to take the bus to the gym, work out, then either walk back from or take the bus back from the gym because it takes too long. I realized though that of course I spend so much time worrying about it and worrying about what I have to do that the time I think I’m saving, I’m wasting anyway! During that time, I’m beating myself up for what I’m not doing, and doing things that don’t necessarily need to be prioritized or… So, I have to remind myself daily and multiple times daily to eat that frog.

Which one? Bryan tells us the biggest one, but when everything is vital and urgent, that can’t be that easy to figure out all the time either. So, I am working on it.

If it’s your job to eat frogs, eat the biggest one. If it’s your job to eat two frogs, eat the biggest one first. – Mark TwainThis quote from Mark Twain inspired the title
  • What do you think? How do you get unstuck?

Finally, I have been titled Sunday’s sermon Indulge Yourself.

Returned to me with all your heart. With fasting. With weeping. With mourning.Bible greeting card for Joel 2:12-13

My sermon will actually be on Isaiah 55:1-9, so this is the background text for a series. Lent is a time to unclutter our lives, clean out the junk and mess and return full heartedly to following Christ. Repentance is not a happy emotion in the way we are used to thinking of it, but in repenting, we enter the abundant life. We are invited to indulge in water and bread from heaven, and unlike physical water and bread, when we partake of these, we never hunger or thirst again. I love this promise and I’m comfortable walking and sitting in the reality of the almost and not yet partial for filament of this promise. As long as I am here on earth, I will hunger and thirst again physically and spiritually. I don’t walk perfectly with Christ all the time and sometimes I feel abandoned. Even knowing that I may be doing things to block my blessings does not lessen the anguish of these moments. So , I cry come Holy Spirit, come!

Let Us Pray

God, thank you so much for sending your son to be born and live amongst us, to die and fight for us and to rise up again that we might have eternal life. Thank you Holy Spirit that you continue to walk with us and sit with us and live with us so that we may have the wisdom, courage and compassion of Christ in the world. Thank you that you continue to help us walk in the way of Christ. Jesus, we love you and we praise you. We give you all the honor and glory. Thank you for your sacrifice and for your perfect example. We are not worthy in our own power, and yet, we continue to try and to be our best, because that is what you ask of us. Amen!