An Amazing Story

Posted by on Apr 5, 2018 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on An Amazing Story

I found this today on Facebook and thought it needed to be read and thought about.  Blessings to all. .by Abhhey Bhisey Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, written following 9-11: On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic . All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that “All Business” look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta’s main office in Atlanta and simply read, “All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination.” No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, Newfoundland. He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately — no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request. While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings. We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander , New Foundland, to have it checked out. We promised to give more information after landing in Gander .. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that’s nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM …. that’s 11:00 AM EST. There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the US. After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason.” Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the US. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put. The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were US commercial jets. Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada . Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them...

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Challenges and Choices for Us!

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Challenges and Choices for Us!

The closing hymn at a celebration of life for a good friend was this:   “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God as our father, brothers all are we. Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” UMH#431 After some thought, I wasn’t surprised that this hymn was chosen to close the service for this person who was always a difference maker in the lives of people all her life. And I thought a little further about the words in this song. These thoughts brought to mind a challenge for all of us. Let us challenge each other to begin to bring peace to the earth.  You say, “How can I?  I am only______.”  Well, dear friends, we CAN start bringing peace to earth right where we are. Here’s how: We can pray every day for our country and for those leading to consider the good of the people, rather than themselves. We can pray every day for our leaders to show their maturity in their speaking and in their leading of those around them. We can make sure that if someone snubs us or talks against us that we pray for them and not stay away from our organizations, but continue to show forgiveness and work for the good of others. We can continually work toward forming disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by being difference makers in our towns, our churches, our homes, everywhere we go. We can work for building up our churches and congregations by accepting the people God has created…for He has created everyone. Show love as God showed love in creating us. Let’s challenge each other to make a difference! Let’s challenge each other to pray every day that each one of us can be a part of making “peace on earth”! Let us choose to be one of those to pray for and work for peace in our own environment. Dear Lord….We pray for our world, our nation, our communities and our churches to have peace and to offer ourselves as peace and difference makers. Show us the way you would have us work in your world. Amen.     Blessings….Pastor...

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What Would Jesus Do?

Posted by on Jun 16, 2017 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on What Would Jesus Do?

Why do we have to always “judge” people on a decision they have made when it doesn’t involve us at all? Why do we have to “separate” ourselves from others in our circle of friends, whether it be in our workplace or our church, when a situation someone was experiencing or trying to manage made their reaction to us a little different from a “normal” reaction? Yes…much of the media of these past few months have made this type of reaction much more “popular” to all of us. For whatever reason, there has been a tendency for adults to act like small children…point fingers….made adverse judgments…whine…and not make decisions for themselves. The question that arose in my mind yesterday was, “What Would Jesus Do”. We celebrated Pentecost Sunday on June 4th.  This reminds us that we have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us, strengthen us, and advocate for us in all situation.  Why?  Because we have been given the challenge by God to form disciples of Jesus Christ. What would Jesus have done if someone spoke against him? What would Jesus have done if (and when) someone disagreed with Him when He was speaking?  What would Jesus have done if a person had appeared to have ignored him? We are asked to form disciples for Jesus Christ. We need to think about these above questions at all times.  Yes…when we “slip” we are forgiven…and we can move on. We are called to be “difference makers” in the lives of all people. How can you make a difference in someone’s life? Please review this following diagram that I found on Facebook and adapted for our use.   Someone offends you (or me). Tell people all about it Go DIRECTLY to God in prayer. The listeners begin to think less of the offender God listens to me and give me a better perspective. The others join me in speaking negatively about the offender I feel PEACE! The need to vent to others is gone. I decide to not belong or go anywhere my “offender” may be. I talk with God and continue belonging to the organizations and forgive the apparent offender. I have succeeded in creating division in relations, become more upset each time I repeat the event and deliberately disobey God’s word I have honored God by valuing unity over the temporary pleasure of gossiping and gaining sympathy from others. I will continue to forgive and work for unity Dear Forgiving Lord….please continue to train and teach us as we do the work you have asked us to do in your world…to form disciples for Jesus Christ. Thank you for your love and forgiveness. Amen. Blessings to you all.. Pastor...

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Moving into Lent and Easter 2017

Posted by on Feb 25, 2017 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Moving into Lent and Easter 2017

Moving into Lent and Easter, 2017 We are going to be starting our observance of Lent on Wednesday, March 1st.  It is during this time that we consider what our Lord went through for us as we progress through the activities of Lent, Palm Sunday,  Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the celebration of Easter Sunday and His resurrection. During the weeks in Lent, many people often give up something they like for the days of Lent. Sometimes this isn’t easy to do for the many days in these 40 days and people often make sure others know what they are giving up.  They go back to enjoying that “something” after Lent is over. I found the following article on Facebook and thought this would be a good thing to consider as there are human traits we would consider changing to reflect that we are disciples of Jesus Christ in our world. Blessings to you as you consider these 19 suggestions during Lent. From: Monsignor Keith Derouen, Ponder These Things (Found in Daily World) Two years ago someone sent me 19 suggestions regarding Lenten penances. With Lent right around the corner, I thought I would offer them again to you readers. I published them again in our Queen of Angels Church bulletin, but someone from Lawtell suggested I put the list of 19 things in the paper. So here they are: 19 things you might consider giving up this Lent and beyond: 1.Fear: God is on my side. In Him I am more than a conqueror. (See Romans 98) 2.The need to please everyone: I can’t please everyone anyway. There is only one I need to strive to please. 3.Envy: I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. 4.Impatience: God’s timing is the perfect timing. 5.Sense of entitlement: The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace. 6.Bitterness and Resentment: The only person I am hurting by holding onto these is myself. 7.Blame: I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions. 8.Gossip and Negativity: I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic and bring other people down. 9.Comparison:I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me. 10.Fear of failure: You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fall forward. 11.A spirit of poverty: Believe with God that there is always more than enough and never a lack. 12.Feelings of unworthiness: You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. (see Psalm 139) 13.Doubt: Believe God has a plan for you that is beyond anything you could imagine. The future is brighter than you could ever realize. 14.Self-pity: God comforts us in our sorrow so that we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 15.Retirement: As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. That does not come to an end until the day we die. 16.Excuses: A wise man once said, if you need an excuse, any excuse will do. 17.Lack of counsel: Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum. 18.Pride: Blessed are the humble. 19.Worry: God is in control and worrying will not help. Editor’s note: Since the initial publication of this column, it’s been noted that the following suggestions were originally published as...

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Posted by on Dec 19, 2016 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on See…Dream…Follow:

Since the weather has interrupted our worship services the past two weeks, I want to share a few thoughts with you that would have been part of our services. First, the gospel for December 11, 2016, was from Matthew 11:2-11.  John the Baptist is in jail at this point and wants assurance that Jesus is the Messiah who was to come.  He sent out his followers (or disciples) to see if Jesus really WAS the promised Messiah as evidenced through His deeds and words, or if there was another one that was to come. Jesus responded to John’s disciples, “Go report to John what you hear and see.  Those who were blind are able to see.  Those who were crippled are walking.  People with skin diseases are cleaned.  Those who were deaf now hear.  Those who were dead are raised up.  The poor have good news proclaimed to them.  Happy are those who don’t stumble and fall because of me.” We, too, are challenged to look around and SEE what God has done and what God is doing.  Where do you see signs of God’s saving grace?  How have you seen the good news of Jesus Christ being made real for people…everyone.  How have you been blessed and renewed by what you have seen this Advent season?  Has it made a difference in your life?  Enriched your life?  Brought the celebration of our Lord’s birth new meaning to you? Now…the gospel for December 18, 2016 is from Matthew 1:18-25.  Yes, we know this story, but let’s think deeper about what we read of Joseph’s dream sent from God.   In the Jewish culture, when a couple was engaged and the woman was found to be pregnant, the man could divorce her and the charges were punishable by death. Joseph, being a kind, thoughtful man, didn’t want to cause Mary to experience any of that and was wondering what to do, when God came to him in a dream.  God said to him, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit,  She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  (Matthew 1:20, 21)   Joseph didn’t question his dream and obeyed what God had told him.  He “followed” the directions given to him. Have any of you ever had a dream that solved a problem that had been bothering you?  Have you had a dream that gave you peace when you were experiencing issues that were far from peaceful?  Have you had a dream that gave you a direction you needed to follow when you were wondering which way to go?  God often does this to us, as He did to Joseph.  Did you follow the directions in the dream? What we are celebrating this Christmas season is NOT a dream.   Jesus is our Emmanuel…God with us.  He is “Jesus” the one who has saved us from our sins.  He’s real!  He is SO real that our lives can be changed, we can move in a different direction and we can transform the world into a place of peace, hope, faith and love for all people. That is what God is asking us to do.  See who this Jesus is…follow the directions in the dream…and follow what Jesus is asking us, as His disciples, to...

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Watch….for you never know!!

Posted by on Nov 27, 2016 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Watch….for you never know!!

The following essay was written by Samson Komati in 2015 and was so meaningful to me….I just had to share this with you all…as we are preparing for the first Sunday in the Advent season. A True story…. A man from Norfolk VA, called a local radio station to share this on Sept 11th, 2003, TWO YEARS AFTER THE TRAGEDIES OF 9/11/2001. His name was Robert Matthews. These are his words: A few weeks before Sept. 11th, my wife and I found out we were going to have our first child. She planned a trip out to California to visit her sister. On our way to the airport, we prayed that God would grant my wife a safe trip and be with her. Shortly after I said ‘amen,’ we both heard a loud pop and the car shook violently.. We had blown out a tire. I replaced the tire as quickly as I could, but we still missed her flight.. both very upset, we drove home.. I received a call from my father who was retired NYFD. He asked what my wife’s flight number was, but I explained that we missed the flight. My father informed me that her flight was the one that crashed into the southern tower. I was too shocked to speak. My father also had more news for me; he was going to help. ‘This is not something I can’t just sit by for; I have to do something.’ I was concerned for his safety, of course, but more because he had never given his life to Christ. After a brief debate, I knew his mind was made up. Before he got off of the phone, he said, ‘take good care of my grandchild. Those were the last words I ever heard my father say; he died while helping in the rescue effort. My joy that my prayer of safety for my wife had been answered quickly became anger. I was angry at God, at my father, and at myself. I had gone for nearly two years blaming God for taking my father away. My son would never know his grandfather, my father had never accepted Christ, and I never got to say good-bye. Then something happened. About two months ago, I was sitting at home with my wife and my son, when there was a knock on the door. I looked at my wife, but I could tell she wasn’t expecting anyone. I opened the door to a couple with a small child. The man looked at me and asked if my father’s name was Jake Matthews. I told him it was. He quickly grabbed my hand and said, ‘I never got the chance to meet your father, but it is an honor to meet his son.’ He explained to me that his wife had worked in the World Trade Center and had been caught inside after the attack. She was pregnant and had been caught under debris. He then explained that my father had been the one to find his wife and free her. My eyes welled up with tears as I thought of my father giving his life for people like this. He then said, ‘there is something else you need to know.’ His wife then told me that as my father worked to free her, she talked to him and led him to Christ. I began sobbing at the news. Now I know that when I get to Heaven, my father will be standing beside Jesus to welcome me, and that this family would be able to thank him themselves .....

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