Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “thanksgiving”

Chapel

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Earlier tonight,  Sugar and I led the service at the rescue mission chapel.  It was packed!

If we sold tickets, that might have been a sign of success; however, the worshipers did not know in advance who was conducting the service.  It was full because it was cold outside.  It was full because the service is from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and supper is served at 5:30 p.m.  Nevertheless, I am sure that there are many regulars, regardless of weather, who come to praise the Lord.

Of course, we were not there to sell tickets.  We were not there to perform.  We were there to lead worship.  We were there to share our faith.

After my brief welcome and opening prayer, Sugar played her guitar and sang Wayfarin’ Stranger by Johnny Cash.  They clapped enthusiastically.

Then I talked.  I told about the two calls I had gotten the day before, one about a birth, the other about a death, and how life is precious, but can be a rough ride.  It was somewhat interactive.  Someone asked how the baby is doing.  The folks who piped up did not detract from my message, but enhanced it.  I had mingled and made friends with some of the guys before the service.  My style was more class discussion and storytelling than lecture.  Still, it was a sermon, albeit cowboy style.

One of the guys announced that it was his birthday and that he had been sober for nine days.  Praise God!

Another man was wearing a Navy ball cap.  When I asked him about it and thanked him for his service, he told me that he served in submarines, then joked, “It had its ups and downs.”

In the very front row was a man with one eye.  He could have used, but did not, a patch over the hole for the missing eye.  Still, he acted like a pirate by regularly interjecting, “Arrgh!”

Another man joked before the service, after I introduced myself and Sugar, “Hi.  I’m Ed and I’m an addict.”  Another man retorted, “Ed, you are at the wrong meeting.  This is chapel.”  We all had a good laugh.  Later, during the service, when I was giving some examples of God being with us as we face life’s challenges, Ed said it again.  I just responded, maybe too sarcastically, “Yeah, I heard you the first time.”  He just laughed again.

Someone else said, “Jesus hung out with addicts and drunks and hookers.”  Amen.  That is very biblical, I confirmed.

Another man contributed that Abraham Lincoln failed many times before becoming a great President.  So I worked that into my talk.  It is important to keep trying, with God’s help.  Abraham Lincoln also had a strong faith.

There were men and women, young and old, and a cross section of races.

After my talk, Sugar sang another song, “Help Me,” by Kris Kristofferson.  I watched their reactions to the words (which are provided below).  The listeners could identify.  Everyone applauded.

Then I said a prayer.  I remove my cowboy hat when I pray, but not when I preach.  I did not feel it was impolite to wear a hat indoors as most of the folks attending had on stocking caps, ball caps or hoodies.

After the service ended, as they got in line for dinner, one man asked, “What church are you from?”  I told him we have been going to a cowboy church that meets in an indoor riding arena north of town.  He said to his friend, “See, he is a real cowboy.  I could get into a church like that.”  I hope he will.

Some people have praised us for volunteering, but I will tell you a secret — we got more out of the experience than did the congregants.

HELP ME recorded by Kris Kristofferson

Lord help me walk, another mile, just one more mile
I’m tired of walking all alone
Lord help me smile, another smile, just one more smile
I know I just can’t make it on my own

I never thought I needed help before
I thought that I could do things by myself
Now I know I just can’t take it anymore
With a humble heart on bended knee, I’m begging you please help me

Come down from your golden throne to me, to lowly me
I need to feel the touch of your tender hand
Remove the chains of darkness and let me see, Lord let me see
Just where I fit into your master plan

I never thought I needed help before
I thought that I could get by, by myself
Now I know I just can’t take it anymore
With a humble heart on bended knee, I’m begging you please help me
With a humble heart on bended knee, I’m begging you please for help

Songwriters
GATLIN, LARRY

Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Joni Mitchell/Crazy Crow Music/Siquomb Music, Universal Music Publishing Group

homeless-man-dog-2

Independence Day

On the 4th of July, we Americans celebrate our nation’s independence.  It is fitting and proper that we should do this.

In addition to celebrating with parades, picnics and fireworks, it is also appropriate to pray.

Our prayers should certainly include thanking the Lord for the U.S.A. and our opportunities as citizens.

Our prayers should also include intercessory prayers for those who serve in the military and in various government leadership positions.

And, let us pray for wisdom for ourselves as well as our leaders.  I humbly suggest that we consider our expectations about what the federal government ought to be doing and what it ought not be doing for its citizens.   In the 200 plus years since our nation was formed, the role of government has expanded to such a degree that dependence on the government has been fostered.

The founders provided a wonderful framework by setting up our precious Constitution.  Our representative form of government provides the opportunity to debate choices we face about what the government will provide as services and spend for those services.

On Independence Day, let us think about (and pray about) how much dependence on our government we will accept as free people.

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