A Call

If you have ever cut your grass the old fashioned way, you know that the blades in those old manual lawnmowers can get blunt. You sharpen the blades and place them back. But would you ever attempt to cut your grass with, let’s say…scissors? It might work, but….might take a while. Or would you go out there with a fork? Dig at the grass? Try to make it work.

There are reasonable used for tools. These are not good examples.

Why am I saying this?

I believe today that methods (or tools) have been brought into the Church which may work temporarily, but are poor substitutes for the real thing. Whatever we choose to use over and over again, because it “works” is in danger of becoming one of these tired tools. Coupled with a world in which immediate works better for most and anything other than instant is unacceptable, sometimes we want to see results. Results don’t always equal change. God doesn’t work the way we expect. From life experience, God is in it for the long game.

We hear reports in the Pentecostal experience of people we know losing faith in people and in God. We hear that the Gospel is not relevant enough, that it is too much of a sacrifice for most people. This has always been true for this generation and previous ones. I recall a movement some years ago where the church sought to make Christianity palatable to the common man. Amazing how we forget that Jesus was despised of men, forsaken by most, and crucified for what He espoused. Another very interesting aspect of this current era is the reawakening of people interested in the “old gods,” for example Iceland is officially worshiping Norse Gods as an organized religion. When you read further into the article, even though Iceland converted to Christianity about 1,000 years ago, there is a faction which appreciates what the old gods can bring.

Which brings me to the blurring of lines between the Christian and the other gods. I hear and see far more “spiritual” language today than ever. Having attended secular schools for my undergrad college experience, I had friends who would participate in pagan rituals before they would ever experience God, so their talk of “atmosphere shifting” and other spiritualist philosophies was common. However, I hear the same vernacular in the Church at times, and I wonder….where did this come from? And do we trace our theology to verifiable biblical passages or theologians? Or do we just adopt the practices because people are familiar with the terminology and it sounds cool? I would hope someone would take this and run with an answer, because we have become irrelevant to the world in reference to a viable option for belief.

We would hope that miracles could convince the wavering person—and perhaps there is something in seeing God’s power in a real life encounter. But again, God doesn’t work the way we expect. What may work in our sermons one week may not “work” the next. Are we less effective? No. We are only not effective when we rely on method and not on God’s Spirit to bring people in. People need to know we care, but also, what we believe. In this day, it will be difficult to take up the cross because the cross is a symbol of what people are beginning to hate: a boundary and a guide — a symbol of sacrifice and sacrificing self-interest to do what God desires. Yes, there are an abundance of things to argue about with the way faith is applied to the modern world, but simply, anyone who denies Christ is Messiah: that person is not to be believed. It’s very simple and complex at the same time: just the way God likes to work, calling our names with love.

4 Food Fails

drjennbowersnutrition

I refuse to be one of those food & nutrition bloggers who post perfectly picturesque dishes and  meals for their perfectly healthy eating family members.  Nope, you will not hear that from me!  In that spirit, I present you with 4 recent food fails!  (you’re welcome!)

My Daughter’s Lunch

So many good intentions in this one.  New bento-box lunch container from IKEA.  Super cute little sectionals.  Earthy green color.  My only complaint was it didn’t have an inclusive cooler pack, but that’s okay.  Because if it’s pretty to look at, that’s half the battle.  Packed it today for Mosaic Art Camp….. grilled chicken strips, shelled pistachios, whole wheat pretzels, fresh strawberries…. it was delightful.

What came home untouched and uneaten?  Everything except the pistachios.  UGH.

Freezer Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

Saw it on Pinterest.  Had to have it.  I personally LOVE those egg-canadian bacon-english muffin sandwiches.  Special trip to Trader Joe’s…

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Mexican Refugees Poured into Texas 100 Years Ago. How Did the Assemblies of God Respond?

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

TWMay29_Ball_1400 H. C. Ball (front center) with ministers at the 32nd annual Latin American District Council meeting in Los Angeles, California, November 1-3, 1948.

This Week in AG History — May 27, 1916

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 26 May 2016

The Mexican Revolution, a decade-long civil war beginning in 1910, changed the North American social landscape. Thousands of displaced people fled the armed conflict and social disruption in Mexico and sought refuge along the borderlands in the United States. It was among these refugees that Henry C. Ball, a young preacher in Ricardo, Texas, planted one of the first Hispanic Assemblies of God congregations.

H. C. Ball (1896-1989) accepted Christ at age 14 and joined the Methodist Church in Kingsville, Texas. Approximately 10 days after his conversion, Ball attended a service held by a missionary to Venezuela. At that service, he felt a tug in his heart to serve as…

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The Devil’s Dance

The Calderon Ballroom used to be the hub of community life in Phoenix, and it hosted everything from quinceañeras to wedding and birthday celebrations. Urban legends, such as the “Bailé con el diablo” cuento, became a part of El Campito folklore. It is believed that a young woman attended a party at Calderon’s and was dancing with the most handsome guy in the room.

“She was dancing away,” my dad told me, “drinking whatever he brought her. The dark haired man with the most expensive suit and the biggest wallet wanted to dance with her all night. But she notices as he pulls her close, the faint smell of rotten eggs on the dance floor. Worse, when he spins her around, she sees a horrible sight in the mirror. His forked tail is hanging out of his coat!” The story ends with the lady’s feet getting hot like coals, and her running out of there, never to be seen again.

Then, after telling me this story, he took us to eat at Calderon’s. I didn’t even want to go alone to the bathroom every time we visited for fear of seeing the devil in the bathroom, where, in fact, it did smell of sulphur.

A Conversation with a Threat.

When you try to place things, experiences and people in words, details that were clear become nebulous at best. So, it’s best to try to capture what the truth may be at that given time. This story is just a drop of life into the great ocean of life. It may just become a part of a giant tsunami; it may park itself somewhere as a lake – even a life that is stagnant and dark with moss might give birth if stirred with the right spoon.

                Morbid best describes the way my mother talked about death. She talked about death as if it was her Friend. To me, it seemed that death was always on the outskirts, threatening my time with her. She would play strange games with me.

                “What would you do if I died?” she asked me once as I colored in my superhero coloring book.

                “Cry,” I said, not looking up at her. This question was not new. She would come and hug me and say Oh, you’d miss me? or kiss my cheek. But I was about 10 when she asked this time. My mind and heart battled separately and my mind, intent on the color red for Superman’s cape, refused to submit to the question. She continued to press, asking me what I would do after the crying was over.

                “Maybe I would die with you?” I said. Separation from our little family of three would be impossible I thought. She looked at me.

                “Well, ok,” she said. “But what about your life? Don’t you want to live?”

                “Not without you.”

                She considered this. “I know it might be hard, but people do die, you know. And kids go on living.”

                I still didn’t look up from my drawing.

                “Well, we’ll see when that time comes,” I said.