In That Week


Another Repeat
Quadruple combination opened to the Book of Is...

In that One Week, in the World

In that one week,
there was an anniversary party,
with 60 years remembered and celebrated and re-lived,
and friends found and met and recalled.
There was cake and movies and photos.
There were children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren too.
There was joy.
We were sent there, and Christ filled us.
We celebrated parents.
In the world, with all that is there,
we were filled with Christ.
Dinner and hugs, laughter and audio squeals,
chances for stress and moments for what-ifs,
We were awed by the love.
In that one week,
there was Billy in the park,
sober and thinking of coming in,
in appreciation and thoughtful,
hugging us.
There was solemn joy there too.
We were sent into the world,
and Christ filled us in that week too.
In that one week,
we texted a missionary in Michigan,
and he texted back, and he inspired us.
We shared words from Isaiah, and
domestic, routine words too.
In that one week, I connected with a son,
And Christ was there.
In that one week, we shared pillars at work,
and heard each other and calmed each other,
and Cared for each other,
and Christ filled us when junk crept into us.
In that one week,
we shared what we could.
We shared cash and Spirit-filled fruits too.
In that one week, we saw that we
were sent into the world,
and we shared with servants planning and supporting
Head Start.
We knew at each turn,
We are sent into the world.
Christ filled us at each turn,
And there was room for no more.

© Tom Bolton, Milwaukee, 2 July 2013

John 17:18 New English Translation (NET)

Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.

1 John 2:16 The Message (MSG)

15-17 Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

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On Surgery Times


Last year I had surgery to have a tumor removed from my right kidney. I have been blessed that it was found early, and I had a top-notch surgeon. I was doubly blessed that many friends and members of Christ’s body were praying for me. I believe in the power of prayer.  Recently I have had lots of tests and radiology scans as one-year follow-up to my treatment.  Good news:  The cancer is all gone and there is no metastasizing.  There was a new diagnosis related to my thyroid, but that is being cared for, and it has actually led to better treatment for my diabetes.

Most of my thoughts and discoveries are the same as when I was preparing for surgery in May 2014:

I am thankful that I have a wonderful wife who supports me and looks out for me;  she and I both need to work on the treats that we like to share–the sweets and rich foods are not good rewards;

I don’t fear death, but I do fear the idea of having no control while I’m laying in the hospital;  I still fear the lack of control, but found that there was less of that than I expected;

I learned over the past year that I am really ready for death and do not have fear;

I hate anesthesia and worry about it, and I think it was helpful that I had that discussion with the anesthesiologist;

I did not hear voices while I was out, and I do not in any other circumstances; in dreams I have some lively conversations, but I rarely remember dreams after I am out of bed:

I am happy to report I was a good patient–I followed directions and did everything well to recover;

I did not do well after my recovery to lose weight and build back my old strength.  I thought I would be highly motivated to lose weight and get stronger, but as time passes, I let it go too easily;

It was easy to return to work in 3 weeks, but I found that I was really tired at the end of each day, and I still am tired at the end of most work days;

I identified many more steps to include in my last instructions, and I need to fully document these items;

Light Streaming Through the Crown of a Tree

I am most fully convinced that God is good!

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On Revivival, from 2013


I originally wrote this in 2013 after attending a Revival at Solomon Community Temple, dove-holy-spiritand I am thinking about it as I prepare for a Wesleyan Revival class at my Church this summer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfL7Xf4SJMA

Time to Come Clean–John 13:9

We sang a different arrangement of “I am on the Battlefield” last night at the 2 Night Life Changing Revival at Solomon Community Temple, but it was just as good!
Preaching by Rev. Dennis Oglesby Jr. was awesome.
“The modern English word revival descends from the Latin word, revivere, which means to live again. In the context of Christian revivalism, which initially found expression in America during the First and Second Great Awakenings (circa 1730-1740 and 1800- 1840), revival related to repentance and conversion.

“Churches conduct revival services in myriad ways. From tent settings to the traditional sanctuary venue, churches host worship services geared at shifting the mood, activity, and commitment of congregants, leaders and cities. Revivals energize the community…”
I love the energizing.
Thank you Solomon Community Temple for hosting this revival.

  • Revival (gttaylor0780.wordpress.com)
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Lisa’s Offshoot


I am again sharing Offshoots Newsletter by Lisa Hernandez.

Offshoots

May 2015

 

Mineral Street Programs and Services, Inc.

Cultivating healthy individuals, healthy families, for a healthy community.

Offshoots

May 2015

Dear Friends,

Exciting news! As you know in the months of March and April we were able to serve breakfast four times. The average number of guests we have been serving is 25. That is wonderful news in itself. But, the rest of the good news is that starting May 9th we are going to start serving breakfast weekly out of the pavilion at Clark Square Park!  

Would we prefer to have our own building? Of course! But as one gracious volunteer said to me not too long ago, “Work out of the pavilion to the fullest. The building will come in time. But right now…this is where we are at and take full advantage of it and grow out of it.”  That is exactly what we are going to do.  

The Milwaukee County Parks has agreed to lower the weekly cost to us as long as we are using the building weekly and not bi-weekly. The County Park workers and some of the police in the area have also been telling those who are homeless that we are there.  

I was recently contacted by a church that would like to donate bibles to us. There have been a few more churches looking at volunteering to serve breakfast as well. The more the merrier! God will use each and every one who wants to volunteer. He will provide. 

With that, we will continue to put our trust in Him. We know that He will care for His people. We just need to be open to being used by Him. Will you allow God to use you as well? Will you move when He says move? There are many different ways that God will use us. We just have to be willing to be ready when He calls.  

1 Samuel 3:10 – And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” and Samuel replied, “Yes, I’m listening.”

 

May God Bless this Ministry and You!

 

In Christ,

Lisa Hernandez

Morning Glory Director

 

Please note: We have a new email address contact@mineralstreet.org.

 

Donations can be made to MSP&S and sent to Tri-City National Bank; 4295 West Bradley Road; Brown Deer, WI 53209; ATTN: Penny Tillman

 I have also started a Go Fund Me page where you can make donations. http://www.gofundme.com/Mineralstreet

You may also visit our website to learn more information about us at www.mineralstreet.org.  We have PayPal on the site.

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Confirmation on Mothers Day


I have been thinking about our upcoming Confirmation on May 10.

I had decided in 2012 to present this sermon by Bonhoeffer to our Confirmation Class in

Dietrich Boenhoeffer

Dietrich Boenhoeffer

the form of a letter, handed to each of them and each parent, before our Confirmation Service in May. In 2013 I did that at our retreat weekend actually. This year I distributed the document to the Confirmands when we talked about What’s Next After Confirmation.  I asked them to share it with their parents.  I hope that it will be as powerful for each of them as it is for me. I think it may be inspirational for some others who read this blog.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1938

Confirmation Sermon on Mark 9:24

Mark 9:24: “I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief.”

Dear confirmation pupils! This is a very sober word. But it is good that from the very beginning we get used to not bragging about our faith. Faith is not like that. Precisely because all depends today on our really keeping the faith, all desire for great words fades away. Whether we believe or not will be evident every day; protests do not change a thing. You know from the Passion story that Peter says to Jesus: “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you,” and Jesus answers: “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And the story ends: “And Peter went out and wept bitterly.” He had denied his Lord. Great assertions, even if they were said truthfully and were meant seriously, are always closest to denial. May God protect you and all of us from this.

This confirmation day is an important day for you and for us all. It is not an insignificant thing that you profess your Christian faith today before the all-knowing God and before the ears of the Christian church-community. For the rest of your life, you shall think back on this day with joy. But for that very reason I admonish you today to full Christian soberness. You shall not and may not say or do anything on this day that you will remember later with bitterness and remorse, having said and promised more in an hour of inner emotion than a human being can and may ever say. Your faith is still weak and untried and very much in the beginning. Therefore, when later on you speak the confession of your faith, do not rely on yourselves and on your good intentions and on the strength of your faith, but rely only on the one whom you confess, on God the Father, on Jesus Christ, and on the Holy Spirit. And pray in your hearts: I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief. Who among us adults would not and should not pray the same with you?

Confirmation is a serious day. But truly, you know that it is still easy enough to confess one’s faith in the church, in the fellowship of Christians, your parents, siblings, and godparents, in the undisturbed celebration of a worship service. Let us be thankful that God grants us this hour of common confessing in the church. But all of this will only become utterly serious, utterly real after confirmation, when daily life returns, out daily life will all its decisions. Then it will become evident whether even this day was serious. You do not have your faith once and for all. The faith that you will confess today with all your hearts needs to be regained tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, indeed, every day anew. We receive from God only as much faith as we need for the present day. Faith is the daily bread that God gives us. You know the story about manna. This is what the children of Israel received daily in the desert. But when they wanted to store it for the next day, it was rotten. This is how it is with all the gifts of God. This is how it is with faith as well. Either we receive it daily anew or it rots. One day is just long enough to preserve the faith. Every morning it is a new struggle to fight through all unbelief, faintheartedness, lack of clarity and confusion, anxiety and uncertainty, in order to arrive at faith and to wrest it from God. Every morning in your life the same prayer will be necessary. I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief.

“I believe.” Today, when the Christian congregation acknowledges you as autonomous members of the church, it expects that you begin to understand that your faith must be your very own individual decision. The “we believe” must now grow more and more into an “I believe.”

Faith is a decision. We cannot avoid that. “You cannot serve two masters”; from now on either you serve God alone or you do not serve God at all. Now you only have one Lord, who is the Lord of the world, who is the Savior of the world, who is the one who creates the world anew. To serve him is your highest honor. But to this Yes to God belongs an equally clear No. Your Yes to God demands your No to all injustice, to all evil, to all lies, to all oppression and violation of the weak and poor, to all godlessness and mocking of the Holy. Your Yes to God demands a brave No to everything that will ever hinder you from serving God alone, whether it be your profession, your property, your house, your honor before the world. Faith means decision.

But your very own decision! No person can relieve you of it. It must arise from loneliness, from the solitude of the heart with God. It will be born out of the hot struggles against the enemy in your own bosom. You are still surrounded by a church-community, by homes that carry you, by parents who pray for you, by people who help you wherever they can. Thanks be to God for this! But God will lead you more and more into loneliness. He wants to prepare you for the great hours and decisions of your life when no human being can stand by your side and when only one things is true: I believe, yes, I myself, I cannot do otherwise; dear Lord, help my unbelief.

Dear confirmation pupils, the church therefore expects of you that you will come of age in your dealings with the word of God and in prayer. Your faith today is a beginning, not a conclusion. First, you must dive into Scripture and into prayer, you alone, and you must learn to fight with the weapon of the word of God wherever it is needed. Christian fellowship is one of the greatest gifts that God gives us. But God can also take this fist away from us as it pleases God, as he has done already to many of our brethren today. Then we will stand and fall with our very own faith. Someday, however, each and every one of us will be placed in this solitude even if he has evaded it throughout life, namely, in the hour of death and the Last Judgment. Then God will not ask you, have your parents believed, but: have you believed? May God grant that in the loneliest hour of our life we can still pray: I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief. Then we shall be blessed.

“I believe, dear Lord…” In life, it is not always easy to say, “Dear Lord.” But faith must learn this. Who would not wish sometimes to say: I believe, harsh Lord, severe Lord, terrible Lord. I submit to you. I will be silent and obey. But to learn to say “dear Lord” is a new and difficult struggle. And yet we will have found God, the father of Jesus Christ, only when we have learned to speak that way.

Your faith will be led into difficult temptations. Jesus Christ was tempted as well, more than all of us. At first, temptations will come to you not to obey God’s commandments any longer. They will assault you with great force. Satan, Lucifer, the bearer of light will come to you, handsome and alluring, innocent and with the appearance of light. He will obscure God’s law and call it into doubt. He will want to rob you of the joy you will have in God’s path. And once the evil one has caused us to waiver, he will tear our entire faith out of our hearts, will trample it underfoot and cast it away. Those will be difficult hours in your life, when you tend to become weary of God’s word, when all is in revolt, when no prayer passes your lips anymore, when the heart refuses to listen any longer. As certain as your faith is alive, all of this must happen. It must happen so that your faith is tested and strengthened, so that you will be able to cope with increasing tasks and struggles God works on us through these temptations. He never plays a game with you, you can be confident of that, but the father wants to make fast the heart of his children. That is the reason why all of this will come over you. And even if the temptation is very confusion, if our resistance threatens utter collapse, indeed, even if defeat has already arrived, then we may and should cry out with the final remnant of our faith: I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief. Dear Lord, it is after all the Father who tests us and strengthens us in such a way. Dear Lord, it is after all Jesus Christ who has suffered all temptations like us, yet without sin, to be an example and a help for us. Dear Lord, it is after all the Holy Spirit who wants to sanctify us in this struggle.

Your faith will be tested through sorrow. You do not yet know much about this. But God sends sorrow to his children when they need it the most, when they become too overly sure on this earth. Then a great pain, a difficult renunciation, a great loss, sickness, death, enters our life. Our unbelief rears up. Why does God demand this of me? Why has God allowed this to happen? Why, yes, why? That is the great question of unbelief that wants to suffocate our faith. No one can avoid this calamity. Everything is so enigmatic, so dark. In this hour of being forsaken by God, we may and shall say: I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief. Yes, dear Lord, also in the dark, also when in doubt, also in the state of being forsaken by God. Dear Lord, you still are my dear father who makes all things serve my benefit. Dear Lord Jesus Christ, you yourself have cried out: My God, why have you forsaken me? You wanted to be where I am. Now you are with me. Now I know that you don’t leave me even in the hour of my need. I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief.

Your faith will bring you not only temptation and suffering but, above all, struggle. Today’s confirmation pupils are like young soldiers who march into war, into the war of Jesus Christ against all the gods of this world. This war demands engagement of the entire life. Should or Lord God not be worthy of this engagement? The struggle is already being fought, and you shall now join in. Idolatry and fear of human beings confront us everywhere. But do not think that great words here can accomplish anything. It is a struggle with fear and trembling, for the hardest enemy stands not opposite us but within ourselves. You shall know that precisely those who stood and still stand in the middle of this struggle have most deeply experience this: I believe, dear Lord (yes, dear Lord!), help my unbelief. And if we, despite all temptation, do not flee but stand and fight, then this is not due to our strong faith and courage in battle, our valor, but rather it is the sole fact that we cannot flee anymore because God holds on to us so that we can no longer disengage from him. God leads the struggle within us and against us and through us.

“Help my unbelief.” God answers our prayers. Amid temptation, suffering, and struggle, he has created a sanctuary of peace. This is his Holy Eucharist. Here there is forgiveness of sins; here is the conquest of death; here are victory and peace. It is not we who have won it. God himself has done it through Jesus Christ. Righteousness is his; life is his; peace is his. We exist in unrest, but rest is with God. We exist in strife, but victory is with God. You are called to the Lord’s Supper. Come and receive in faith forgiveness, life, and peace. Ultimately, only this remains for you in the world: God’s word and sacrament. Amen.

[1] Sermon preached on April 9, 1938. Text quoted from Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Theological Education Underground: 1937-1940 (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works). Ed. Victoria J. Barnett. Trans. Victoria J. Barnett, Claudia D. Bergmann, Peter Frick, and Scott A. Moore. Vol. 15. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012. Print. 476-480.

http://www.workingpreacher.org/theologypreaching.aspx?article_id=130

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On Word, Law and Life: Pathways


Originally posted on Hopeful:

English: Scroll of the Psalms

Pathways so bright, your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light for my
Path–so well-lit and safer than others.
Promising freely, I took an oath, and I will keep it!
Righteous regulations show me your way–
even when I fall from righteousness.
Oh grace in your word!
Pathways from suffering,
I seize your new life, Holy One, as you
promised me this life of grace.
Pleased to present all praise to you, God-of-grace,
Proud to learn your words, I am joyful in your word.
Perilously, I live life here,
but I am safe in your word for the long-haul, the long journey.
Peril and evil seem to be everywhere, but
principled life keeps me free to find joy.
Penned words, and listening to the word, fill my heart,
and I am blessed to recall: Joy in the word!
Pleased to obey and to be free in obedience,

View original 218 more words

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Faithful


As I prepare for our Confirmation Sunday on May 10, I am thinking about, and writing about, my faith.   Mark 9:24 was the text for worship the year after I wrote this poem, based on the very famous Scripture, in 2012.

Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand

My Faith, fragile, Help my Faith

I believe, I believe, I believe,
I believe, and yet:
Help my unbelief today and yesterday and all this week and forever.
How can it be?
Redeemed and healed, I am often filled with joy,
And yet,
Where does this unbelief come from? Where was it hidden?
Was it hidden at all?
When this faith becomes doubtful of itself,
it stands in temptation again,
as it was in the beginning, in the edge of the garden.
Fragile in our faith, we are sorely tested
each day.
But we have not been saved by our faith. It was
God’s love—his grace—in Jesus that saves us.
It is our faith that takes us there to gaze on Jesus,
To grab hold of His grace, His forgiveness, His empowerment;
Lord, I ride my faith to return to your power.
My faith is in a great, great God. handhead
Yet my faith can be so small;
Help me Lord.

© Tom Bolton, December 12, 2012, Milwaukee

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