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Monday, July 30, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
"Or to be more specific, Messages and Messengers. Life today is often referred to as the information age because of the abundance of information that we all have access to. At this time we all are able to use technology to keep us informed about almost any event that is taking place on Planet Earth.
I can remember when “Blackberry” was the name of a wild fruit that grew in the fencerows of my Parents Farm and we picked them to place on homemade Ice Cream. Or, Mom would bake up a wonderful cobbler using blackberries.
The recent introduction of the Iphone enables any user to view messages, pictures, review the World Wide Web and even make phone calls. In my youth we had the Farmers Line. In my parent’s home, two short rings meant that the call was for them. No matter what the number or length of rings, everyone waited until the designated family answered the phone before they picked up on this party line. Very quickly everyone learned about everyone’s business or problems.
Yet in our technology burdened world of today, you may be asking yourself why we need all this information. That is a great question, however today we will focus on the Messages and Messengers that have or should have a greater impact on our lives.
In Exodus, chapters three and four we learn of the Mountain Top episode of the Burning Bush and how Moses was at first reluctant to follow God’s Plan, yet we can take great comfort in the fact that our God promised Moses that he would be with him.
Moses pleaded, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it,” when God tasked him with the responsibility to go to the Pharaoh and to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Unknown to Moses, God had already sent brother Aaron to visit Moses, so that he, Aaron could be the spokesperson. God, himself was the Messenger in this event.
The Old Testament tells us the history of the Exodus from Egypt to the Promise Land often referred to as the Land of Milk and Honey. This forty-year journey is filled with the history of God’s abundant Blessings to his people. For Example:
The crossing of the Red Sea.
The Manna and the Quail in the Desert of Sin
The Water from the rock
To list but a few of these Blessings.
Through out the history of God’s People of the Old Testament there are many, many examples of the prophets who were God’s Messengers to the People.
One that comes to mind very quickly is Nathan, who the Lord sent to King David, who had used his position to set up the execution of Uriah; so that he could then take Bethsheba as a wife. It was Nathan’s duty to confront King David. Nathan did as he was told and in the end King David made his confession as recorded in Second Samuel, Chapter twelve: “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your Sin. You are not going to die.” Here the Prophet Nathan was the Messenger.
Now, let us fast forward to the New Testament and learn of even more Messengers.
In Luke, Chapter Two, we learn of an Angel of the Lord appearing to a group of Shepherds near the town of Bethlehem with this message:
“Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
What happened next had never been experienced by a group of dedicated Shepherds in Judea. A great company of the heavenly host appeared with the Angel, praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on
whom his favor rest.”
Here the messenger was an Angel of the Lord, later joined by a great company of heavenly host.
A most welcome message. The people of Israel had been waiting for this message for many years. Now they had witnessed the fulfillment of God’s message to send a King to them. A leader to be certain, just as Moses was tasked with saving God’s people from Egypt, this new Savior surely could save the people of Israel from the trials and government of Rome.
The next event we will consider today, is when this baby, announced as “Christ the Lord” to mere Shepherds near the town of Bethlehem he was his own Messenger as he taught his followers. The lesson He taught is but one of the many lessons that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples as well as the Pharisees. I will quote this lesson from Luke Chapter sixteen, versus nineteen through thirty-one:
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them listen to them.’
‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead,’”
The Messenger in the above is Jesus Christ Himself, the Christ the Lord who the Angel announced to Shepherds just a few years ago.
The message from this “Christ the Lord,” was important then, just as it is today. This parable is regarded by some Scholars as a story told by Christ the Lord to simply point out that if a person’s mind is closed and Scripture is rejected, no evidence---not even a visit from someone who is dead and now resurrected—will change him.
I think that it is also evident that there will always be those who will not listen or who choose not to listen, no matter who the Messenger is.
That stated, is that now a valid excuse we can use when we are tasked to “Spread the News” of God’s great love for us?
May I suggest that the answer to the above question is an unqualified and also resounding: NO!!!!!
Because of God’s Great Mercy toward each of us, it seems appropriate that all of us should always be ready, willing and able to spread this “Good News.” Not because we must spread the news to gain Eternal Life with God, but because we are admonished in Holy Scripture “to Give Thanks, and to do all things with Thanksgiving because we love our Lord. Therefore we share with our Family, Friends, Neighbors and even Strangers the good news, which will allow everyone to enjoy Eternal Life in Paradise, in Heaven. By suffering death on the Cross-for our sins and the Resurrection from the Dead thereby conquering death forever, Jesus Christ took my place, your place and earned Eternal Life for all Believers. This is the great Blessing that our God has freely given to us and all who believe in Him and have Faith in Him.
With this God Standard in mind regarding spreading the “Good news,” I would like to reflect on Human Nature for a few examples.
Most of us over the age of thirty have been exposed to a “Soap Marketing Scheme,” where one individual informs Family, Friends and Neighbors about a powerful soap sold only by enterprising people who have signed on to market an abundance of household cleaning products. This scheme relies on people telling others about this great product line. Word of Mouth advertising at it’s best.
Another version of this people telling other people about a wonderful product is a “term life insurance involving multi-level or network marketing scheme.
Each of these marketing schemes enjoy periods of intense production and simply show us all that People can and indeed do succeed in promoting products to their Family, Friends and Neighbors.
Additionally, we can all cite a plethora of “home demonstration parties” that enterprising peoples use to sell merchandise.
I mention these examples to merely point out that we can all become willing participants, either by engaging in the direct marketing of products or services; or be simply hosting any of these events so that our Family, Friends and Neighbors can benefit from using a certain product or service.
Yet, when it comes down to the one most important, and even essential event in everyone’s life; we are often reluctant to Share or Spread the Good News concerning Eternal Life. Yes, we often hesitate, just as Moses did so many years ago.
To this end, we must be more like the prophet Nathan. While it was Nathan’s duty to confront King David, we also are to be God’s Messengers. Nathan was given a task to perform and he did it.
No where is this spelled out more clearly than in the Bible Verses known as the “Great Commission” recorded in Matthew Chapter 28.
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to do. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “’All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching, them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The above quoted verses conclude the Gospel of Matthew. Does that mean there is no More to Do? Here again, the answer is: NO!!
Here Jesus informs his disciples that He will be with them to the end of the age. Here, just as Moses was also told by our God, and also on a Mountain, that God promised Moses that He would be with him as he lead the People of Israel out of Egypt.
Sounds like we can indeed have Faith in our God. We have witnessed the events through these records contained in God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Our God has done what He promised and we can rely on these promises and keeping the Faith.
The Great Commission was delivered by our “Christ the Lord” who was announced by a previous Messenger – An Angel of the Lord!!
As members of this Fellowship, this Church, we have established a weekly worship scheme where we learn, praise and also receive the forgiveness for our sins, just as King David and all of mankind, since have received the forgiveness of sins.
Then twice a month after we here at this Church celebrate the “Lord’s Supper” and receive God’s Grace we quickly proclaim and sing:
“Thank the Lord and sing His praise;
tell everyone what He has done.
Let all who seek the Lord rejoice and
proudly bear His name.
He recalls His promises and
leads his people forth in joy
with shouts of Thanksgiving.
While this is a twice a month event in our Fellowship, let us not ever forget that we all receive God’s Blessings each and every day. In gratitude we must also daily express our thanks and we must also daily express our joy to each other and to all peoples around us.
I still hear this quote from our recent installation service: John Chapter One, versus twenty-nine:
“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the Sin of the world!!!!” This is the simple message we have all learned and are considering today. This simple message that Jesus Christ died for my sins and was victorious over death is the very message that we have all been charged to share with our Family, our Friends, and our Neighbors. With the powerful tools of mass communications and also by supporting missionaries we can also share this same message with all peoples everywhere on this Planet. This is the simple message we have all been tasked to share with all humanity. “God simply loves us all so much that he gave his only begotten Son that who ever believes him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
A simple task to be sure, but we are often reluctant to execute and deliver this vital message. “God loves You and I so much that he gave His One Son to gain Eternal Life in Heaven.”
While we are all willing to share good deals, which involve our short term earthly life, we all can do much better when it comes to sharing our God’s Great Love, our God’s Great Blessings with everyone as we sing – “Tell everyone What he has done!!!
Yes, this is the Good News that is for the Long Term, the Good News that endures eternity, the Good News about Eternal Life in Heaven with God.
The Eternal Life in Heaven with our God will be far more pleasant than the “Eternal Life” being experienced by the Rich Man when he pleaded to Abraham, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
Thus the challenge we all face today, and every day of our lives, you and I, each must “Go and Tell the Good News, God’s Good News that we all can enjoy Eternal Life in Paradise and how by our God’s Great Grace we are given this Great and Wonderful Gift.
Yes, we are all God’s Messengers, just as we have considered our role models:
God Himself as we studied the events of the Burning Bush.
The prophet Nathan when he confronted King David.
The Angel of God as the Birth of Christ the Lord was announced to the Shepherds.
The Parable of the Rich Man and the Beggar Lazarus related by Jesus Christ, and finally
The Great Commission where Jesus Christ charged his disciples and also us, to be messengers.
Please take the time today to reflect on how you, and yes, I have performed this awesome task. To simply Go and Tell!!!!!
May our God continue to be with us all as we continue in Faith.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Here you can note the ceiling decorations in the Jefferson Go-Hawks section of the Dairy and Beef Exhibition Barns. If my memory serves me correctly, this Club won the Barn Decoration Contest at least two years during the 1950s.
This entry about the Clayton County Fair was prompted by the fact that the 153rd Clayton County Fair will be held from July 31 thorugh August 6, 2007. The Flower Child has many fond memories of his participation in this Fair, which is still well regarded by the citizens of Northeast Iowa.
Should you desire visiting the 2007 Clayton County Fair please check out this Website:
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Greetings my Beloved Blog Readers. During the course of political campaigns and also during speeches by elected officials we often hear about their willingness to engage in activities that they will use “Best Practices” to be more effective Leaders or to even save Government funds. Today, the Flower Child would like to share a recent case history of one non-profit organization that he is involved with and how office copiers can be a money pit or better yet, with the use of proper procurement, a money saver. It is with this goal in mind that I share this true case history:
The former leased copier for 48 months required $160.00 a month for rent and maintenance for a total of $7,680.00. The value of toner if acquired is not known. Shipping the leased copier back: $362.00 for a total of $8042, however it must also be noted that the lease required a $40.00 annual payment of property taxes for a total of $160.00. Therefore the total expense for this leased copier was: $8202.00. Paper is not included in this summary. During the four years a total of 75,000 copies were printed.
The new copier cost about $650.00, which included a maintenance plan. After a $250.00 rebate the copier actually cost $400.00. Toner for this machine currently sells for $169.00 a cartridge and will print about 5,000 copies. Therefore a projected 75,000 copies would require 15 cartridges for a total outlay of $2535.00. Paper is not included in this summary. The total anticipated cost for the same number of copies, including the cost of purchase is: $2935.00.
It should be noted that the new owned copier can be replaced by simply buying a new one. No shipping back is required.
Savings with the new, current scheme summary:
Total cost for four years/75,000 copies: $8202.00
Projected cost for owned copier
for 75,000 copies $2935.00
A potential savings of: $5267.00
As anyone who has ever worked as a volunteer for any non-profit organization, $5,000.00 is real money. Now you know that savings can be achieved. Thank You!!!!
Monday, July 16, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Here you view Col Ben Hawkins as he introduces the Declaration of Independence which he also read. An enjoyable day in Macon, Georgia and also an excellent opportunity to learn History.
Mr. America, 1971 while serving on the USS Sellers (DDG-11) and deployed in the Mediterrean Sea our Captain determined that we needed to take a day off. We held a Swim Call. The Motor Whale Boat was put in the water with a coxswain, an engineer and a gunner's made armed to shoot any sharks. With this set up we all felt safe and we dived off of the Fantail into the water about fifteen feet below. We boarded the ship using a cargo net that was rigged over the side. A volunteer photographer for our Cruise Book took this picture and the Swim Suit has now become an icon for the "Flower Child" to model every Fourth of July. The bottom two view are from July 4, 2007 in the Pocket Garden near the Home of the "Flower Child."
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
- Woodstock 69, Bethel, New York. August 15, 16 and 17. Attendees estimated at 400,000
- Second Atlanta International Pop Festival, Byron, Georgia, July 4, 1970. Attendees estimated at between 350,000 to 500,000
- Wadena Rock Festival, Wadena, Iowa, August 1970. Attendees estimated at 10,000
With this background in mind I feel that we should also consider the state of affairs in our current society. People seem to avoid gathering together and promoting fellowship. Everyone is always so busy seeking out a lifestyle or livelihood. What a sad situation!!!
Yet, I see hope and promise in the future. Recently I observed a family gathering near Dublin, Georgia were a family, friends and neighbors gathered together to celebrate a Birthday. The food was home cooked and everyone took the time to talk and discuss the problems of the world, what was going on a work and every topic that was broached. A delightful day that lasted about ten hours. This event was conducted by a couple in their 30s and everyone in attendance enjoyed the Fellowship and the Bonding.
Another event that I observed was a recent Wedding here in Middle Georgia. The family, friends and neighbors from many states of our Country, of both the Bride and Groom gathered for an early Saturday Wedding. The reception commenced at 2:00 P.M., and the Fellowship lasted until about 4:30 P.M. A great opportunity for both sets of families, friends and neighbors to get to know the others in attendance. Another great Fellowship and Bonding event.
Yet we often hear and also observe communities and neighborhoods where no one knows who lives next door. I regret to also say that since my change of residence to the South and the Hospitality the South is famous for, that I have noted that much of this is a myth. At least in the current day and age. Think for a moment, When was the last time you had Southern Fried Chicken for Sunday Dinner? If it was recent, I will just bet you that it came from a box with a label displaying some fast food enterprise. I usually attend Family Reunions and must say that the Chicken is also from a Box. I would think that any great Southern Host or Hostess or Family that would bring Chicken to a Reunion could at least place it on a nice serving platter.
But please do not feel that I am in dispair. As I pointed out above, there are those who are much younger than Flower Child who are reinventing "Southern Hospitality," and showing us older folk that we have overlooked much in our desire to have it all and to multi-task to the point that we cannot pause and enjoy Fellowship with our Friends, Families and our Neighbors.
As I complete this post today, please be aware that I am not promoting the Pop/Rock Festivals of the Past. I simply desire to point out that the up and coming generation appears to have a much better handle on Fellowship and Bonding than we older Folk have achieved. I salute those who enjoy life and appreciate the opportunity to enjoy a great home cooked meal with their Families, Friends and Neighbors.
Please remember that you do not need an appointment to conduct Fellowship with the Flower Child. We should take every opportunity to appreciate each other. It is sad to know someone for years and then read their obituary to learn so much about them. Fellowship can be Fun and involve Food as well as the opportunity to learn so much about our fellow planet mates.
These images are from a U. S. Navy Web Site and all have been released. You will note pictures from Shore Stations, a U. S. Navy Ship, and a Flag composed of Elementary School Children in appropriate colors. As we Americans take time to celebrate Independence Day, the Fourth of July the Flower Child encourages you to think of the Many Blessings that We All Enjoy.