Monthly Archives: September 2009

Finding The Silver Lining

Rain falls on the church roof. It pours through a gaping hole and splashes onto the pews. Against the plop, plop, plop of gathering water, a pastor urges nearly 100 weary men to believe in the future. They wear old jackets or sweatshirts. They line up for chili and cornbread. They sleep on the floor, atop vinyl mattresses.

“Enjoy the meal,” the pastor tells them as they line up. “There’s a place for you here. See that man for a blanket…”

This is my hometown, Detroit, in a devastated economy, in a crumbling church, on a cold, hard floor at the bottom of the world.

And still, there is hope.

If there is any advantage to living at the epicenter of the economic crisis, where our main industry—the auto business—has imploded, where abandoned houses seem to dot every corner, where the unemployment rate is a staggering 25%, it is this: You get to see what man is made of.

What I have seen is that man is made of tough stuff. Man can rise to the occasion. One such man is the pastor of this church. His name is Henry Covington. Thirty years ago, he was in prison. He’d been a drug dealer, a drug abuser, a thief, and an armed robber. He had every excuse to see the world as hopeless.

But on a night when he truly hit bottom, hiding behind trash cans, certain he would be murdered by angry drug dealers, he promised his life to God if he lived to the morning.

He lived.

He kept his promise.

These days, Pastor Covington, 52, runs the I Am My Brother’s Keeper Ministries in downtown Detroit. His huge brick building was once—more than a century ago—the largest Presbyterian church in the upper Midwest. Now, like much of Detroit, it’s been overgrown with poverty, and there are broken windows and a hole in the sanctuary roof through which the rainwater collects in buckets. Several times, this ministry has been close to folding. Local drug lords even offered the pastor money to let them use the church for their dealings.
But Henry Covington was done with that life.

Instead, he dug in. He found a way. Today, he conducts services through the cold, through the snow, even under a giant plastic tent when the gas company shuts the heat off due to unpaid bills. He takes little salary and lives with his family in a tiny, nearby home.

And yet, he says, “I’m where I’m supposed to be.”

What he means is that he is where he can make a difference. In that way, Covington is typical of many people in this economy who find new meaning in their lives despite losing jobs, homes, or status: They find it by giving to others and reconnecting with their faith.
(The above is part of a story which ran in yesterday’s  Parade Mag. Read the rest about this Pastor which is making an impact Finding The Silver Lining.)

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Book helps students cope with boy’s death

When Kala Rempe and Sarah Reynolds learned their classmate, Ben Petrzilka, had been killed by a tornado at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Iowa last summer, they were overwhelmed with sadness.

But the support of their families and classmates at Mary Our Queen School in Omaha helped them cope, they said.

So did working on a tribute book to Ben.

The book “Our Soles, Our Souls” is an anthology written as a tribute to Ben. It takes readers on a journey with Ben’s classmates, teachers, family and friends as they share a “sole” story.

The idea was inspired by Ben’s practice of pointing out abandoned shoes on the side of the road as “lost soles” and wondering about the spiritual journey of the people who wore the shoes.

In the collection of stories, the writers offer insight into God’s role in their spiritual journeys and share how they’ve been inspired by Ben to seek God’s path.

“The book helped our class get through it and express feelings in a safe way. No one judged anybody. It was a good way to let it out,” said Sarah, now a freshman at Marian High School in Omaha.

The book‘s forward is written by Father John Schlegel, SJ, president of Creighton University in Omaha. He has been involved with the Boy Scouts for many years.

(Read the rest of the above story Book helps students cope with boy’s death.)

A Blessed New Year (Rosh Hashanah )

A  Blessed Jewish New Year  to all of my Jewish readers. To find out more about the Jewish New Year read Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year): Spiritual Life in God

or   read what  Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein  who is the President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews
 has written about the Jewish New Year
Stand for Israel:

 You can also check out the video sermon I did yesterday on the holiday A Blessed New Year (Rosh Hashanah September 20th)

Why I Admire A Killer who was Put to Death (Updated)

This last Sunday  I posted a new video on my You Tube Channel. Take some time to watch it   – Why I Admire A Killer who was Put to Death (September 13, 2009)  and post what you think.

Below is the written transcript from that video.

Today I want talk about  a man who lived on death row  before he was  executed who I admire. So he was Jesus no. Well he must have had true repentance and  remose for what he did. He  did not.

First let me back up. I have for a number of years been writing letters to those behind bars and living on death row.

A number of years ago my home state of Nebraska was about to have it’s first execution  in along time and the first one of my lifetime. A man named WiliOtey was going to be put to death. He had murdered a lady named JaneMcManus. I was very pro capital punishment at the time today I struggle with it. However after debating some people on it back then the Lord spoke to me in my heart if Walking  Wili Otey was executed do you know where he is going heaven or hell.

So I wrote him a letter asking him what he thought of Jesus  and shared the good news of Jesus with him. In fact I wrote him  three/four letters before he was put to death. He wrote me back a few times basic telling me to save my stamps and that he wanted nothing to do with God. I admire that let me explain. But first let me read from the Bible . Matthew 7:21-23.

This man WiliOtey  admitted right off he didn’t know God or wanted nothing to do with Jesus. Today people act like they are right with God when they are playing games with God.  because they go to church, or live a good moral life. Different polls have said the majority of Americans are followers of Christ. If that is the case why does America have the crime it has. Why is there so much immortalty    from drugs. Why do we have the breakdown of the family like we do. I believe many people have had some kind of experience with God but have not become a true followers of Jesus. Again I am not teaching if you do so many good works like go to church , live a good moral life that will make you right with the Lord. Eph 2:8-9 tells us it is only by the grace of God through faith in Christ one becomes a true follower of Jesus.

To become a true follower of Jesus one has to admit

  1. Romans 3:23 applies to you. You are a sinner and have missed God’s mark.
  2. Jesus died for you.  Romans 5:8
  3. Jesus death, burry,   and  resurrection  paid for it all.
  4. You must receive Jesus

  I am sorry WiliOtey   far as I know never got right with God but what about you?  It doesn’t matter   if you go to church every week, live a good life what matters is  have you received Jesus  Christ.

Facebook users look deep for beliefs box

For the longest time, the question just sat there on his screen. Cursor blinking. Waiting quietly, like a patient priest in a confessor’s box.

Religious Views: _________.

Creating a Facebook profile for the first time, Eric Heim hadn’t expected something so serious. He had whipped through the social network Web site’s questionnaire about his interests, typing witty replies wherever possible. But when he reached the little blank box asking for his core beliefs, it stopped him short.

“It’s Facebook. The whole point is to keep it light and playful, you know?” said Heim, 27, a college student from Dumfries, Va. “But a question like that kind of makes you think.”

Of its 250 million users worldwide, Facebook says, more than 150 million people choose to write something in the religious views box.

Millions have plumbed their innermost thoughts, struggling to sum up their beliefs in roughly 10 words or less. For many, it has led to age-old questions about purpose, the existence of the divine and the meaning of life.

Some emerge from the experience with serious answers. George Mason University student Travis Hammill, 19, spent several days distilling his beliefs into this sentence: “Love God, Love Others, Change the World.”

Others try to deflect the question with humor.

“Pastafarian,” typed Maddy Gillis, 20, of Kensington, Md., invoking a popular pseudo-religion that venerates a “Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

A good many, however, tread the fine line between wit and truth: “Agnostic, but accepting offers.” “I barely believe I exist.”

(I love that Facebook asks a question about what is your faith. Those of us who are followers of Jesus are told in the word of God never to be ashamed of our faith and that God rather we be cold than be not sure about our faith. Also souls who aren’t sure about their faith might start thinking about who is their God and what faith do they follow. Read more of the above article  Facebook users look deep for beliefs box.)

God Stops Man from Hating Jews

 

Here is a video of a man who once hated Jews then Jesus got hold of him. Watch the video and be blessed.

 

http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/vod/EST83v2_WS