Make Sure To Keep Yourself In The Love Of God Today; The Rest Will Take Care Of Itself 11-19-2017

November 16th, 2017

I have a wonderful memory growing up in a small valley town. I spent a
lot of time around the church; a lot of priests would visit our home for
dinner (mom a great cook). I remember a lesson I learned when the
topic of the end of time came up. A wise priest gave me good advice;
“Make sure to keep yourself in the love of God today – the rest will take
care of itself.
I believe there are three things we can do something about today;
1. How loving are our thoughts—right now in our life?
2. How loving are our words—right now in our life?
3. How loving are our actions—right now in our life?
First: our thoughts. How judgmental are we in our thoughts about
other people? Do we tend to pass judgment on them—judgment that is
often unkind and unfair?
There’s a Peanuts cartoon that shows Charlie Brown and
Linus standing side by side. Charlie is looking at a drawing of a
man that Linus has just made.
Charlie says to Linus, “I see you’ve drawn the man with his
hands behind his back. That shows you are insecure.
Linus replies, “I didn’t put his hands behind his back because
I am insecure. I did it because I can’t draw hands.”
That story makes us ask ourselves, “Do we tend to read into
situations? Do we tend to judge others recklessly, as Charlie did Linus
in that cartoon?
That brings us to our second point: our words or speech. Do we
use our speech to talk about the faults of others? Do we use it to gossip
about other people?
Perhaps you’ve heard the story about three church leaders – a
Catholic, a Protestant, and a Jew, all from the same town. They
decided to make a retreat together. In the course of their retreat,
they shared with each other one of their most embarrassing
The Catholic priest said, “I must tell you both that I’ve been
gambling lately.”
The Jewish rabbi said, “And I must tell you both that I’ve
been gambling a lot lately.”
Finally, the Protestant minister said, “I must tell you both
that I can’t keep a thing to myself. I am an incurable gossip.”
That story makes us ask ourselves, “Do we use our speech to
gossip about others?”
That brings us to our third point: our actions.
Some years ago, nine physically handicapped people
successfully climbed Mt. Rainier in Washington State. One of the
climbers had an artificial leg. Another climber was an epileptic.
Two others were deaf, and five were blind.
In spite of the handicaps, the nine people negotiated the
14,000-foot mountain together, up and down, without accident.
When asked about the amazing feat, one of the blind
members of the party said simple, “We got a lot of help from one
That story makes us ask ourselves, “How much are we helping one
another in our mutual efforts to climb the mountain that leads to God
and heaven?
How prepared are we to meet Jesus at the end of the world?
How prepared are we to meet Him, right now, in just three areas of
our life?
First: our thoughts. Do we judge other people recklessly?
Second: our words. Do we talk about other people unkindly?
And finally: our actions. Do we turn our back on other
people’s needs?
If we aren’t doing too well in these areas now, what makes us think
we will do better in the future?
Let’s close with a prayer:
Lord, give us a mind that will think thoughts that are kind and fair.
Give us lips that will speak words that are true and charitable.
Give us hands that will do deeds that are modeled after the ones
you did for people in your own lifetime.
“Make sure to keep yourself in the love of God today—and the rest will take care of itself”.

Ya Buts 11-12-2017

November 12th, 2017

This gospel reminds me of two special stories.
The first story:
There is a town that has four separate neighborhoods. The first neighborhood is called, “Yabuts.” The people who live there think they know what needs to be done. As a matter of fact, they talk about it quite convincingly – up to a point. When told they have an opportunity for something, the conversation goes something like this: “Ya, but…” The “Yabuts” have the answer. It just happens to be the wrong answer.
The next neighborhood is known as the “Gunnados.” Now they are some of the best-intentioned folks you could ever meet. They really understand what needs to be done, and they would have done it, if they had only followed through. They study everything that is required very carefully, and just as an opportunity drifts past them, they realize what they were “gunnado.” If only they had done what they were “gunnado.”
Another neighborhood is known as the “Wishawoodas.” These people have an excellent perspective on life – hindsight. They say, “I ‘wishawooda’ this, or ‘wishawooda’ that…” They know everything that should be done, only it’s after the fact.
The last neighborhood is known as the “Gladidids.” They are a truly special group of people. The “Wishawoodas” drive by the “Gladidids” homes and admire them. The “Gunnados” want to join them, but just cannot quite get around to it. The “Yabuts” could have been “Gladidids,” but destiny just did not smile on them. The “Gladidids” are pleased that they are disciplined enough to do what they know they should do instead of always doing what they wanted to do.
These are the four neighborhoods. In which neighborhood do you live? In which one would you rather live? 1) Yabuts 2) Gunnados 3) Wishawoodas 4) Gladidids.
The second story:
There is an ancient story about three demons who were arguing over the best way to destroy the Christian mission in the world. The first demon says, “Let’s tell all the Christians there is no heaven. Take away the reward incentive and the mission will collapse.” The second demon says, “Let’s tell all the Christians there is no hell. Take away the fear of punishment and the mission will collapse.” The third demon says, “There is one better way. Let’s tell all the Christians that there is no hurry” and all three immediately say, “That’s it! All we have to do is tell them there’s no hurry and the whole Christian enterprise will collapse.”
Some things can’t be put off to the last minute- the foolish bridesmaids needed to be reminded of this. We are reminded – happy is the person who takes to heart this message and does something about it today.

Good Religion or Bad Religion! 11-5-2017

November 6th, 2017

What is the difference between good religion and bad religion.
That is the theme with which we are dealing today.
It should be noted that the primary difference between good
religion and bad does not lie in the realm of theological ideas. Jesus did
not denounce the scribes and Pharisees for what might be called
“doctrinal heresy”. In fact he almost seemed to approve of them at that
point. He told his disciples to “do everything and observe everything
they tell you”. But then he added, “Do not follow their example.” In
other words he approved of their religious theory but disapproved of
their religious practice. He did not like what their religion had done to
their character.
Jesus knew that in matters of religion it is possible to be doctrinally
correct and, at the same time, to be morally and ethically corrupt.
These people had so misused their religion as to make themselves
arrogant snobs. They were firmly convinced that they were just a little
bit better than the average run of people. And that, my friends, is one
sure sign of a religion gone bad.
Good religion always engenders humility. Bad religion engenders
arrogance. Whenever you and I begin to think that we are a little bit
better than some other person or some other group, we can mark it down
at that very point, our religion has started to go bad.
It works something like this: Since I am right and you are wrong,
and since I am better than you are, then God must surely be on my side
against you. This means that I have a divinely mandated responsibility
to get you straightened out. This gives me the right to impose my will
upon you. If I cannot change your mind then I must control your actions
so that you cannot corrupt the rest of society.
This is the attitude that brought about the crucifixion of Christ.
This is the attitude that created and sustained the institution of slavery.
This is the attitude that inspired and energized the Nazi regime in
Germany. This is the attitude that underlies all racial discrimination and
religious persecution. There is no more damnable attitude on the face of
the earth than the tragic notion that Gods is on my side against you.
Let me illustrate the attitude by citing two events of recent history
and a comment that was made concerning them. Some of us remember
the tragedy when a Korean passenger plane was shot down by a Soviet
jet fighter, killing two hundred sixty-nine people. The other event was
less publicized. It happened a few months later in that same region.
There was an accidental explosion on a Soviet military base that killed
approximately three hundred of their military personnel. A short time
later a nationally known television evangelist (Jerry Falwall) reminded
his listeners of both events and then gave his interpretation of them. He
pointed out that the second tragedy is shrouded in mystery. And no one
knows for sure what happened. But he insisted that he knew. His exact
words were these: “God struck the match.” In other words, God caused
the explosion. He was punishing them for what they had done to us.
The evangelist was saying that same old thing – God is on our side
against them. And I could not disagree more.
I am saying, my friends, that God is not on our side against
anybody. Our role in this world is not to conquer and control. It is to
save. Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be the one who serves
the rest.” That is good religion. And if we ever forget it, our religion
has started to go bad.
I close by quoting Mother Teresa. More than any person, she knew
what good religion is. She says: “Each person’s mission is a mission of
love. Begin in the place where you are, with the people closest to you.
Make your homes centers of compassion and forgive endlessly. Let no
one ever come to you without coming away better and happier…
“At the hour of death when we come face-to-face with God, we are
going to be judged on love; not how much we have done, but how much
love we put into doing”
Now that’s good religion!