Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent-The Coming of the Kingdom of God

This past Sunday was a very special day on the Church calendar. It was the first Sunday of the Season of Advent and the beginning of the new liturgical year. Happy New Year!

I believe that Advent is probably my favorite season of the church year. It is a blended season - a mixture of hope, repentance, and joy. In this season we look back at Jesus' first advent when He came as the babe in the manger. But we also look ahead to His second coming and the establishing of His kingdom in its fullness. Meanwhile, Christ comes to all who are willing to receive Him.

Over the next weeks I will post thoughts about the season of Advent. So, check back from time to time. But there is one truth that we must begin to embrace if we are to have the impact on the world around us.

That truth is that the kingdom of God has already come and it is coming. Now I know that sounds like double talk but it is not. Let me explain. When Jesus came in the first advent his kingdom came to earth. His rule and reign is already established. So as we go about doing good and sharing the Gospel in real ways, His kingdom is expanded.

There is another part of this in that when Christ comes in His second coming it will be the consummation of all things and His kingdom will be made real in its fullness.

One problem that many Christ-followers have is they are just waiting for the second coming. They are ready to escape the world. But that was not the message that Jesus taught. He wants us right in the middle of the world sharing the love of the Father with all those around. So stop just looking for an escape and begin to expand the kingdom of God through your service to others this Advent Season.

Thanksgiving Thoughts 2009

I am sitting in CiCi’s Pizza waiting for my family to get here so we can eat dinner. As I sit here I am thinking about this past year and all that we have gone through. A lot has happened this year. I will not go into details but in the natural this has been one of the worst years of my life. As I think about it all I am ashamed for all the complaining I have done this year. Ashamed at my lack of faith in facing the many mountains. Ashamed at my lack of prayer and leadership in directing my family through it all.

As I sit here and reflect on this past year, I can now see God’s hand in everything that has happened. So many of the things that have happened have been because of my own mistakes. God has been faithful to be there and lead me out of the stuff that I have done. Even when I was so upset that we only had $1.132in the bank account until payday God was there because we made it until payday.

Yesterday I got a reality check. My only living brother called and told me that this past weekend he was burning trash. He lives in the country. He picked up what he thought was a can of Diesel but it was gasoline. The can exploded in his hand. He was able to drop to the ground and finally put the fire out. He has 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his arm and his leg. As we talked I was so thankful that God was watching over him. This could have been so much worse but his life was spared and the damage not as bad as it could have been. Although there are still weeks of skin grafts and therapy ahead he is alive and will recover.

How many times do we forget about the little blessings that God has given to us as we await the large blessing we so desperately need? We get so caught up in the here and now that we forget to look at what he is doing in our lives.

Tomorrow as my family sits down for Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for. It’s not all the big stuff but the small everyday blessings that God has given to us.

My goal for the coming year(s) is to always look for those small blessings and enjoy them while I can. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cuba Government Housing

Glories of the Revolution in Cuba

Prayer of St. Carlos of Brazil

My dearest friend St. Carlos, who renounced the power, honor, and riches of this world, you know how iniquity hurts and how hopeless it is, you who were humiliated and misunderstood. For this, I humbly ask you to watch over the homeless, abandoned, and rejected people, and for me also who is seeking for your special help. I confidently ask you for the grace of (say your request) even though it seems to be impossible, I want to count on and await your intercession as the saint of urgent causes. Amen.

Prayer of the Week

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well‑beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Prayer of the Week

O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might
destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God
and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may
purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again
with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his
eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Patriarch Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church Has Passed

On October 29, 2009 Patriarch Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez stepped out of this life and into his reward. Below is a post I wrote on October 26, 2007.

The above picture is of Patriarch Luis Mendez of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church. He is now in his 80's. When he was in his 20's and a young Roman Catholic priest in Venezuela he began to proclaim the grace of God and God's love. During the 1940's he even began to celebrate the Mass facing the people instead of having his back to the people. Many of the things he began to teach and practice were later accepted by the Roman Catholic Church.

The day came that the government arrested him, took him to a small room, sat him down at a table and told him to sign the piece of paper on the table . The paper was a statement that he was renouncing what he had done and what he was teaching. When he refused to sign this document, the officials took a hot iron and placed it in his hand - burning his hand. He still bears the scars today. He was given an opportunity to sign again, but again he refused. They hooked him up to electrons and shocked him with electricity. He still bears the scar today. Then they broke his arm before taking him to an island where they left him to die. He had no food, water, or clothing. Some local fisherman discovered him and helped him. Finally, his mother learned of his whereabouts and came to the island.

Word began to get out about what happened and the Mexican ambassador began to negotiate with the government concerning this situation. Eventually a boat showed up and he was told he had to leave the country and would be taken to Panama. He was further told if he ever came back to Venezuela he would be killed.

There was a former Roman Catholic Bishop by the name of Carlos Durate Costa who had been following these events. In the process of time Bishop Costa went to Panama and consecrated this young priest as a Bishop in Christ's one holy catholic and apostolic church. Bishop Mendez moved to Brazil and has been in Brazil ever since.