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“Who Do You Say I Am?” (continued from May)

Since the movie “God’s Not Dead 2”, I have been asked numerous questions about some of the themes and discussions in the movie. Questions such as: was that just movie jargon about other sources, what other writings and what is the historical Jesus? The interest has been so exciting and I will try to answer those questions. First of all, yes, Jesus really existed. This is often referred to as the historical Jesus or Jesus as a man who walked this earth. Many do not know that there is historical evidence for the life of Jesus outside the Bible. Michael Gleghorn (Bible.org) writes: “although there is overwhelming evidence that the New Testament is an accurate and trustworthy historical document, many people are still reluctant to believe what it says unless there is also some independent, non-biblical testimony that corroborates its statements.” Fortunately, there is such evidence. Last month I mentioned Tacitus, a senator and historian of the Roman Empire, and Pliny the Younger, the Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. There are others, such as Lucian of Samosta, a second century Greek satirist. In one of his works, he ... Read More »

Good Questions

Since the movie “God’s Not Dead 2”, I have been asked numerous questions about some of the themes and discussions in the movie.  Questions such as:  was that just movie jargon about other sources, what other writings and what is the historical Jesus?  The interest has been so exciting and I will try to answer those questions.  First of all, yes, Jesus really existed.  This is often referred to as the historical Jesus or Jesus as a man who walked this earth.  Many do not know that there is historical evidence for the life of Jesus outside the Bible.  Michael Gleghorn (Bible.org) writes:  “although there is overwhelming evidence that the New Testament is an accurate and trustworthy historical document, many people are still reluctant to believe what it says unless there is also some independent, non-biblical testimony that corroborates its statements.”  Fortunately, there is such evidence. First of all, there is Tacitus, a senator and historian of the Roman Empire.  Historian Edwin Yamauchi calls this Tacitus passage “probably the most important reference to Jesus outside the New Testament.” (Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ, p. 86) Nero fastened the guilt ... Read More »

The Black Dot

The following was shared at a Team Meeting recently and it was just too good not to pass on.  I just wanted to give you something to think about.      One day a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test.  They all waited anxiously at their desks for the exam to begin.  The professor handed out the exams with the text facing down, as usual.  Once he handed them all out, he asked the students to turn over the papers.  To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions – just a black dot in the center of the sheet of paper.                                          • The professor told them the following “I want you to write about what you see there”.  The students, confused, got started on the inexplicable task.  At the end of the class, the professor took all the exams and started reading each of them out loud.  All of them, with no exception, defined the black dot, trying to explain its position in the center of ... Read More »

“What Is Our Place in God’s Plans?”

I read this during my meditation time and wanted to pass it on.  It is from A Hobbit Devotional by Ed Strauss.  “A little over a month after leaving Rivendell, Bilbo once again walked through the Shire, the land he loved and knew so well.  He eagerly anticipated seeing his beloved hobbit hole again.  He arrived and settled back into his comfortable hobbit hole … and relaxed.      Seven years later, Bilbo’s friends Gandalf and Balin showed up at his door.  They told him the news from the north, and Bilbo was happy to learn that prosperity had returned to Laketown.  New songs were being sung, in fact, celebrating the fact that the rivers were now running with gold.  When Bilbo expressed surprise that the prophecies had actually come true, Gandalf asked why it amazed him.  Was it because he helped bring them about and couldn’t believe he’d been part of something so big?  Or was he so focused on himself that he still hadn’t seen the larger picture?      The truth was, as Gandalf pointed out, there had been far more than personal “good luck” at work repeatedly saving ... Read More »

“God’s Freely Given Love”

February is upon us and I am asking what happened to January?  Yes, it is still cold outside but our hearts should be warm as we think of love – you know, Valentine’s Day!  Valentine’s Day can be heart breaking for some, lonely for some – but there is a love that will always be there for us.  That love is… God’s Love! Sing to the Lord with thanks; sing praises to our God with a lyre! God covers the skies with clouds; God makes rain for the earth; God makes the mountains sprout green grass. God gives food to the animals – even to the baby ravens when they cry out. God doesn’t prize the strength of a horse; God doesn’t treasure the legs of a runner. No.  The Lord treasures the people who honor him, the people who wait for His faithful love.  – Psalm 147:7-11 All of us have known relationships that seemed to have dried up.  Often one of the signs and causes of such a breakup is the failure to express heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the other.  In other words, taking the other for granted.  ... Read More »

Baby It’s Cold Outside

I had been trying to write this article and just continued to have writer’s block when this song came on the radio: Baby, It’s Cold Outside. This particular version was sung by Suzy Bogguss and Delbert McClinton. There is also a Barnes & Noble commercial airing now with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga singing the song. My favorite version of it is sung by Darius Rucker and Sheryl Crow. The song was originally written in 1944 by Frank Loesser who premiered the song with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their Navarro Hotel housewarming party. Garland considered it “their song” and was furious when Loesser sold the song to MGM. MGM inserted the song into its 1949 motion picture, Neptune’s Daughter. The film featured two performances of the song: one by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams and the other by Red Skelton and Betty Garrett. These performances earned Loesser an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The song “debuted” at the Oscar ceremony via a performance by Mae West and Rock Hudson. Did you know this amazing and interesting history? Anyway, this song got me thinking. Yes, it is cold outside! ... Read More »

May It Begin With You – And I

     The last few days have been filled with violence.  Russian plane taken down by a bomb, a Beirut bombing and multiple terrorist attacks in Paris.  Over 400 dead and many more injured.  The media continues to focus on the negative and you just want to be like an ostrich and stick you head in the sand and hope it all goes away!      As you read this, Thanksgiving has passed (hopefully no one was hurt on Black and Blue Friday) and Christmas will be upon us shortly!  But we will be ok because Star Wars is back and, of course, light will overcome darkness.       Whoa!  Is that not what Christmas is about?  Light overcoming darkness.  Sorry Star Wars, but Jesus was there before you and promised to bring peace on earth.       Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.      Whether it is in the world or you personally are looking for peace, the Bible has many verses about ... Read More »

“Leap of Faith”

Have you ever asked yourself exactly what faith is? Merriam-Webster defines faith as: 1) a strong belief or trust in someone or something; 2) belief in the existence of God: strong religious feelings or beliefs; and 3) a system of religious beliefs. Wikipedia defines faith as a confidence or trust in a person or thing or a belief not based on proof. It may also refer to a particular system of religious belief. Now I agree these are good secular definitions but God tells us, in the Bible, the definition of faith in Hebrews: Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen and without faith it’s impossible to please God for whoever would approach Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1-3) Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen! Sometimes what is required in our lives is a leap of faith. Leap of faith in the secular world is defined as an act or instance ... Read More »

Leap Of Faith

Right then, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowds.  When he sent them away, he went up onto a mountain to pray.  Evening came and he was alone.   Meanwhile, the boat, fighting a strong headwind, was being battered by the waves and was already far away from land.  Very early in the morning he came to his disciples, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!”  They were so frightened they screamed. Just then Jesus spoke to them, “Be encouaged!  It’s me.  Don’t be afraid.”  Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.”  And Jesus said, “Come.”  Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on water toward Jesus.  But when Peter saw the strong wind, he became frightened.  As he began to sink, he shouted, “Lord, Rescue me!”  Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him, saying, “You man of weak faith!  Why did you begin to have doubts?” When they ... Read More »

Transition

This is new territory for me, but that seems to be the way of life for now- rolling with whatever comes along.  When asked by Pauline what we were doing for the Pastor’s note in the newsletter, I replied, “I have no idea.”  So here I am, giving it my best. Reading again Pastor Duane’s “final comments” from last month and many attended and listened to Pastor Duane’s last service on June 21st memories flowed and so did tears.  (Its our the church website if you missed it or want to watch it again – fennimoreumc.org)   God’s house was packed and if he ever thought he didn’t impact people’s lives, he was greatly mistaken. Pastor Duane’s last day at FUMC isThursday, June 25th.  He made a different in Fennimore, at FUMC, and the surrounding communities as well.  He’s done great things at FUMC but we also know how much he is looking forward to retirement, being able to spend time with his bride and he miraculous grandchildren he never thought he would be blessed with.  That alone gives us comfort in knowing he will be busy and enjoying it greatly.  ... Read More »

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