Article by Mary Bea Sullivan

 

The longer we live, the longer our potential list of “certainties.”  Through our unique experiences, we unconsciously accumulate “stories” about all aspects of our lives.

 

Imagine you were given an empty bag and every time you chose to adopt a “certainty” or a “story,” a small pebble was placed in your bag …

 

At first, carrying the bag would be a minor inconvenience, but over time as the bag became weighed down by more stones, it would prevent you from doing certain things.

 

So … what are some of these pebbles we have placed in our bags?

We tell ourselves stories about ourselves that limit our ability to stretch and grow:  “I have never liked exercise and I know I never will.”  “I have to have a closet filled with shoes.”  “I’m too fat.”  “I’m too skinny.”  “I’ll never leave this community.”

 

We tell ourselves stories about other people and set up roadblocks some people are not allowed to pass.  The other day a friend with a southern accent told me that her customers up north treat her as if she wasn’t very bright.  I have also heard comments about “pushy Yankees” as if that were a given for all folks raised above the Mason-Dixon line.

 

We develop beliefs about the way the world works that blind us to any information that doesn’t fit our story:  “If you give homeless people money they will just drink it away.”  “All big businesses are corrupt.”  “If I go to a good school, I will find a good job.”

 

And so some of us bumble along without realizing we are limiting our ability to respond to life because we are dragging a heavy, lumpy sack of stones behind us.

 

Not everyone though. Read More »

Posted on 12 May, 2010 in Balance, Happiness
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Because God loves you, God cares for you … and through His care, you are equipped to care for others.  This “Jesus style” of caring is called compassion.  And by Christ’s compassion you can help to create a more just world.

 

Article by Dr. Les Hollon, Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church

 

One of the most dramatic sea stories ever written is told in Acts 27.  Though Luke’s detailed accuracy was the best from his day, what astounds us is how one of the passengers in the story trusted God enough to care enough to turn a shipwreck into a triumph.

 

The passenger’s name was Paul.  He was being transported as a prisoner from Caesarea of Israel to stand trial before Caesar in Rome. Luke, as a fellow believer, friend and attending physician – cared enough for Paul & the gospel that he voluntarily chose to make the journey. 

 

From this story, we see how caring connects us to other people.  And as we feel Christ’s compassion, we can make a Christ like difference by how we enact our caring.  And by enough Christians caring, we release God’s mercy so the world around us can be more loving, trusting, and just.

 

How can we apply this in our lives? Read More »

Posted on 11 May, 2010 in Inspirational Stories, Spirituality
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Article by Dr. Les Hollon, Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church

 

God is so magnificent & powerful that one name cannot fully describe God. Our church’s name, Trinity, connects us to the three names that help us most to understand & experience God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit …

 

Which is why Jesus said in the Great Commission, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

 

The Spirit was God’s presence at creation (Genesis 1:2), and is the resurrected presence of Christ (John 14-17, Acts 1). The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Bible and inspires us as we study the Bible (II Timothy 3:16). The Holy Spirit also helps us to pray when we don’t know how to pray (Romans 8).

 

With perfect wisdom Jesus explained “… the Father sends the Counselor as my representative – and by the Counselor I mean the Holy Spirit – He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you,” John 14:26.  Consequently, our spiritual hunger is only satisfied as we open ourselves to the fullness of God’s presence.

 

My own yearning & questing for the Spirit was intense and frustrating until I learned the secret.  God, however, had never intended it to be a secret.  A gift? Yes.  Which is why spiritual gifts are called “grace gifts.”  A second blessing?  Yes, if we understand that there are continuous blessings of transformation which the Spirit ushers into our lives.

 

What then is the secret?  Yielding.  Yielding to the Holy Spirit…

 

Read More »

Posted on 2 May, 2010 in Spirituality
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Article by Mary Bea Sullivan

 

Lush, green, serene … Camp McDowell serves its purpose well as a soul-restoration location.

 

There’s only one drawback.  If you have mobility issues, walking from the cabins, to the meeting room or the dining hall can take a lot of energy.

 

These past few days I have been immersed in the beauty of “Camp” as a facilitator for “Heartsong,” an annual retreat for people with HIV/AIDS.  The retreat organizers were prepared, and borrowed church vans to shuttle folks from one location to another as needed.

 

One of the participants, I call him “George,” needed a walker and routinely would be the last to arrive at each activity.  George is a young man … too young for a walker.  And sometimes he didn’t want to take the van. Read More »

Posted on 30 April, 2010 in Gratitude, Helping Others, Inspirational Stories
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A central truth is that living in a right relationship with God enables us to live in a right relationship with others and ourselves. This righteousness begins and ends with love. This righteousness is a choice to make and becomes our character.

 

Article by Dr. Les Hollon, Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church

 

Christian character, as noted by Richard Foster, is formed by “the habit of moral excellence.”  From our character we make decisions which shape our life.  From our character we choose how to use our time, spend our money, and invest our talents.

 

From our character we form our attitudes by which we respond to surprises, challenges and pain.  From our character we set our comfort zones, mold our preferences and connect with people.  From our character we are known by others, held accountable by God, and feel good or bad about ourselves.  Therefore, getting our character right is essential.

 

God promises to help us get it right. Read More »

Posted on 27 April, 2010 in Inspirational Stories, Spirituality
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