This passage has always made me sad. It’s just a for shadowing of the sadness I felt at reading of Jesus on the cross or experiencing the lamb who is the only one who could open the seven seals. We are to repent! And mean it!
https://www.bible.com/bible/111/lev.16.20-22.niv““When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.”
Leviticus 16:20-22 NIV
Lord Jesus, I thank you for inviting us on this journey. I thank you that those of us who have made it this far or at least this committed to the journey and we thank you for the power we know you will give us to go all the way with you to the cross and glory. Thank you for being the ultimate scapegoat, sacrifice and atonement for our sins. May we be better and may we become more like you. In Jesus precious and holy name we pray, by the power and the gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon us by God the father, amen!￼￼
Greetings of peace, love and joy! It’s been a while and I’m hoping to start blogging regularly once more. HMMM… I wonder if anyone noticed I haven’t posted in a while.
Well, it’ll be great to get back in here. A lot of exciting things has been happening as far as passing my interviews for commissioning as a united Methodist deacon, finding the Faith Foster Family Network (3FN) and CrossRoads United Methodist Church and more! I’ve even been certified as a monitored visitation coach for Department of children and family services. For today though, I’m just going to drop a little line of reflection on Psalm 127:1 Dash two. Be wise, be faithful and be courageous until next time!
Life can be tedious, hectic, drama filled and challenging. Life can be joyful, inspirational, amazing and full of laughter. My goal is to remember what Psalm 127:1 tells us: we need to live life on purpose and according to God‘s ultimate purpose. #Psalm127 #YourWillBeDone #ComeHolySpirit #LiveOnPurpose #InVain #NotInVain #LordLeadMe
“Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain. In vain you get up early and stay up late, working hard to have enough food — yes, he gives sleep to the one he loves.” Psalms 127:1-2 CSB https://www.bible.com/bible/1713/psa.127.1-2.csb-
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 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 bagsWill 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
I confess you as my Lord and Savior, and yet I continue to worry as if you were not. That anxiety continues to be a thorn in my side. I cannot deal with life, this ministry, this parenting thing without you. I know that you are with me; I am not alone. I am struggling to feel worthy, equipped and valued. This shows a lack of faith, because you said I have been created in your image and beloved and I feel like in a real way I reject this assurance. For all my sin, I repent.
Thank you for your patience, wisdom and grace.
Thank you for my family and friends.
Thank you for women’s Bible Study and wise women to learn from and grow wit.
Thank you for everyone reading this blog.
Thank you for the gift of languages.
Please forgive me and continue to mold me into who I am called to be. Please give us the victory as we, in small and large ways, fight for justice, love mercy and to serve with you and all of your children with compassion And grace. For this walk to the cross and beyond, I need an extra dose of your Spirit. And now, please grant a peaceful, restful and Rejuvenating night. May all of the workers of your field wake up in the morning ready and excited for the day ahead. Please grant us your energy and your light so that we can shine for you. In Jesus name I pray, amen!
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)
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.
Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy
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.
What do you think? How do you get unstuck?
Finally, I have been titled Sunday’s sermon Indulge Yourself.
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!
See ya Monday! Did you know that Sundays during LENT are considered mini Easters? Now, I know for some, that means whatever you decided to fast from or whatever new behavior/practice you are trying to cultivate to honor God gets halted for a day, but that’s not the way I see it. Take a weekly break from doing good? No! that can’t be right. The mimi Easter is a day in the midst of the contemplation to remember that the Christian walk is one, above all, of joy and hope. So, enjoy tomorrow and make sure to keep Christ first, center and always.
Look, I know I first said I intend it to post daily during the season and I do… Except Sundays. Saturdays might be a little abbreviated as well. It’s a family day, many conferences happen on Saturdays, such as today’s young peoples ministry conference, and then there’s preparing for worship on Sundays. If you also work in ministry in some capacity, you know exactly what I’m talking about! So, I am signing off for the weekend. If we don’t give our minds and souls breaks from time to time, we wind up broken and brittle. Take care. This might help. I am sharing a couple of vacation pictures with you as a way to exude peace and joy.
May God bless you and keep you now and forever!
Oh Wait!!! One More Thing
If you are enjoying my blog, please let me know By liking or commenting. Are you reading? Is the blog resonating with you? Do you have questions? Do you have ideas? Do you sense I am walking along this path of discipleship with you? Maybe you’ll take a moment sometime and let me know what’s on your mind. THANK YOU!
Fight for it Friday! This one, I love, because it is important for me to keep up a fighting spirit. Sometimes, we all get tired of fighting! We get tired of having to point out which should be obvious: that everyone deserves to live without fear; to have access to food and water; be able to earn a living wage, especially if they’ve earned a Master’s Degree in their field; have access to education; to not fear being shot by the police as they’re walking down the street, because of the color of their skin and/or their gender…and the list goes on. Justice is something so many of us have to fight for: for ourselves and for others. So fight for it Friday always reminds me to keep going!
But what can we do? One thing everyone can always do is pray. So many times those prayers open the door to action. Because I love acronyms and the use of this device is helpful for children as well, , I enjoy teaching my students the ACTS prayer.
Let us pray.
Living God, Mighty Savior, Spirit who indwells, I love you!
You are my all and all, and yet, I have failed to live as I ought!I am weak. I gossip about people and used foul language. I lose my temper however I attempt to control my tongue. Fear gets in my way, which proves my faith is not as strong as I wish it were.I need your strength, wisdom and grace. I confess all this and more.
I thank you, Lord, that you know my prayers even before I do. I thank you that you are working on my heart and disposition. I thank you for my family and for my new candidacy Mentor. I thank you for the young people in ministry workshop that is going on tomorrow. Since I know what it is to be hungry, thirsty and without clothing or a home, I thank you that I have all of these (even as the lack of rent control and the reality of rent increase threatens ) and so many other blessings. Thank you! You have blessed me abundantly.
Oh Lord, open our hearts to see the people around us as we journey with you to the cross. Help us persist and prevail. Help us see the value in the work we do for you and others every day. Please continue to provide the food and water, the shelter and spiritual care we need to survive. I pray tonight for those who live without rent control and in fear of losing their residences. I pray for those tonight fighting drug addiction and violence/impulse control and those who love them. Protect women, children and even men at the mercy ofthose without compassion. I ask that you give us the courage, knowledge, skills and heart to fight tonight to fight our demons and to stand along side of those who are fighting others. We need you and we need each other tonight tomorrow and forever. In Jesus precious name by the power of the Holy Spirit and giving all glory to God, I pray, AhMen.