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Tools of God

19 Aug

Ran Across this 6 year old draft by Brother Hook that was never posted for some reason…

I was once a member of the first cancer rehab program in the nation. It was understood by members of the team that treatment of the body included important spiritual dimensions, so, as one of the Chaplains at Parkland Hospital, I was assigned to the cancer rehab program. The experience was certainly a learning experience for every member of the group. Deloris reminded me recently of the two doctors who worked with me and others, who asked me to preside over their wedding vows. In thinking about them, I was reminded how far cancer treatment has come since the early seventies. This week a new cancer drug, Cytoxan, was announced as very successful in treating neuroblastomas, an aggressive type of brain cancer. The drug works similar to the human immune system to attack a certain protein, one that is a genetic marker within the cancer. Just as the body can be given antibiotics, which enables the immune system to fight back, some types of cancer can be treated with a drug that attacks the tumor. Interestingly, the development of Cytoxan has opened doors of understanding to most cancers and how to destroy them. Folks, someday soon there will be a cure for cancer. Research and science, much maligned by some religious people, are wonderful tools of God.

Why breakfast?

1 Jun
Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast represents the first nourishment of the day. Likewise, we hope that by cooking, eating and cleaning together and often, the bond of community and church family will be nourished, with relationships growing deeper and richer. Jesus and the early church exemplified this by living and working almost entirely in common. They shared almost everything, somewhat out of necessity and safety, but also because the great and difficult work of the church required the support of a loving community. From the beginning, God called his people into families and communities that share their faith and live their lives in common.  Two thousand and some years later, our society is wealthy, safe and technologically advanced, well beyond the imagination of those first Christians. A consequence, intended or not, is that our physical needs can be met living almost in total independence or isolation. And yet, much of the world is suffering from a hunger that cannot be satisfied by solitary means. Our avarice consumption of most everything to satisfy that hunger only leaves us with the hangover of loneliness, despair and low self-worth, and we soon are hungry again.  Can the Church be a better example for the world than the constant and hypnotic siren song that promotes and idolizes exuberant self-pride and independence? If so, we must reject our desire for a numbing, consumerized church model that is, at best, of moderate significance to its members and even less to the communities that surround it. We must reclaim our own sense of a humble, loving and interdependent community of worshipers. It has taken  long time for us to reach this state  and may take a long time to reclaim the spirit that began that first Pentecost, but God is patient. Can we start by sharing breakfast Sunday mornings at 9:30?

What draws you to God?

18 Apr

From the pastor…Well, I heard it again recently, namely, the prediction that Jesus is coming back very soon. I believe the real question is not, “Do you believe Jesus is coming back again?” but, “Do you have to be threatened with the world coming to an end before you take your life seriously?” God is Heavenly Father. The breath of life has been granted to us for the purpose of living a Holy life, which is the only way to live a whole life. About that, there are two things I fail to understand. First, why do we put up so much resistance to the will of God in our lives and insist we know what is better for us than our very Creator, who made us to live good lives, not lives of quiet desperation? Secondly, life in relationship with God is filled with promises and assurances which enable is to deal with our common fears, like the fear of rejection, or, the fear of failure, or, the fear of death. Why not just take your life seriously through a solid relationship with God!

Brother Roger

Do the right thing, and then keep it to yourself!

11 Mar

From the pastor…The season of Lent on the Christian calendar has begun.  This past Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of what can be the most important forty days for a Christian.  Excluding Sundays, Lent spans forty days, always beginning on the Wednesday which is forty days prior to Easter.  Because the Sunday of Easter changes, the Wednesday marking the start of Lent changes as well.  Lent is meant to be a time of specific preparation for celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.  During these forty days, Christians are invited to pray more, much more.  Prayers of penance and prayers seeking the true guidance of God are to be emphasized.  Also, acts of sacrifice and charity are to dominate our preparation time.  The reality of most of our lives is that we’re not keen on the idea of looking at the specific sins of our lives.  Neither are we all that open to self-sacrifice.  So, as your pastor, I hope you will take advantage of the time of Lent to become a better Christian and closer attuned to the will of God.  Do something sacrificially, but be sure to tell nobody.  You will be better for it.

Bother Roger.

Need More Stuff…

3 Feb

Gota get more stuff

From the pastor…I don’t know who spoke these words, but they cross my thinking from time to time, “he who has little, and wants less, is far richer than he has much, and wants more.” Why is our “want” list so enormous? You know the “wants” of which I speak. Most of us want the kinds of food that aren’t so healthy for us, but we don’t want to exercise, even though we know the exercise will make us feel better. There is just something about us that draws us to want more and more of just about everything that isn’t good for us. The converse seems equally true. The things that would bring us better health, like drinking water instead of soda, get pushed aside so we can fill our voracious appetite for what it is that we “want.” Can you imagine walking into tomorrow asking God for less that you might be richer? Truth be told, by doing just that very thing, we would each know indescribable and inexperienced richness. John Wesley must have been on to something when he encouraged Christians to live disciplined lives.

Brother Roger

Rescue Teaches

14 Oct

Rescue Begins

From the pastor…I wonder what the combined ratings would show if all the television channels showing the rescue of the first miner from Chile, trapped an half mile underground for sixty-nine days, were compiled into one. Somehow, I think the whole world was watching one news channel or another. As I write these words, fourteen miners have been rescued with high hope of a successful rescue of all the miners. Praise God! Everything about this story, so far, is wonderful. I watched into the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday and the longer I watched the more something stood out. It took the best knowledge and material of so many countries to pull this off. Think about it, when the people of the world work together, and celebrate together, tears of joy flow from all eyes. There is nothing that we cannot accomplish. It took a German cable, U.S. expertise and determination from the people of Chile to save these lives. It was absolutely mind boggling to watch the combined effort culminate in saving lives, contrasted with what we so often see on the news, religious zealots who, in the name of God, celebrate death. My heart was warmed last night. I hope the hearts of those so misled will be touched for good to replace the evil of their hatred. God can do mighty things. We must always hope for peace and good will on earth. Bro. Roger

 

Anticipating Fall

29 Sep

Anticipation

From the pastor…I look forward to many things. Anticipation is vital to me. For example, during the hot, humid days of summertime I start thinking about Fall. Cooler temperatures and shorter days are inviting as I listen to the hum of air conditioning units and wait past nine o’clock for the daytime light to give way to darkness. Well, Fall has finally arrived, though the cooler temperatures are lagging a bit behind. Soon the Fall colors will change in earnest. The leaves that have adeptly shaded the forest floor will drift to the ground and the trees will prepare for their dormant stage, a necessary part of the cycle, one that awaits the growth of Spring. God teaches us so much through nature’s cycle. We learn the importance of patience, so essential in tempering anticipation. I’ve often said it is a good thing, during summertime that I can’t move the calendar forward to the next season because I might give up much of my life. Patience is important. So is the equivalency of dormancy. You and I need time to prepare for the next stage of life. God provides the avenue for all who capitalize on the opportunity. I hope you enjoy Fall. I certainly will.

Bro. Roger

Mission: Seashell

4 Aug

seashells

Just got back from the beach with the family where Ang and I did some walking and seashell hunting. Seashells are hard to find in the dry, bleached-white fluffy sand. This sand hasn’t seen the surf in many days and has been tromped on by many beach-goers. In the hard packed sand near the surf, the walking is easy, but we still found only a few shells. Then Angie started noticing some in the edge of the surf. They would wash up, and if you were very, very quick you could grab or trap them before they were pulled back out with the retreating wave or covered with a fresh layer of sand. Finally I started wading in the calf deep surf. I found a couple of really nice 4” shells, their orange color really popped against the dark kaki sand bottom (OK I watch HGTV sometime).
I started thinking how that whole seashell hunt is how many of us live our Christian lives. We spend an hour or two a week in our Continue reading

Celebration of a life Begining!

5 Jul

Maeve bundled up!

Maeve Catherine Langston

Born 5 July @11:54am. 8 lbs 12 ozs, 20 inches. At the time of this post, mom and baby are fine!

Congratulations to Brother Blake, Amanda & Muirenn!

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Celebration of a life well lived!

3 Jul

Charles William "CW" Perkey

We had a wonderful celebration today of the life of Charles William “CW” Perkey!  Brother Roger Hook officiated the service in a briming-full sanctuary.

The congregation sang two of CW’s favorites, “When all of God’s Singers Get Home” and “What a meeting in the Air”.

The mens group, The Waterfall Gang, offered the hymn “Where the Soul Never Dies”. CW sang with this group many times over the years and we appreciate the many singers that returned to pay tribute to him in song.

An ecumenical choir offered two more of CW’s favorites “O Come Angel Band” and “Amazing Grace”.

CW grew up west of Hickory Valley attended Hickory Valley or this church most of his life I believe. His church family, his wife Wanda and son Gary will surely miss him, but I know they’re comforted that he is in the arms Jesus along with their daughter Rita, who passed away 7 years ago.

I’ve known CW for many years. His daughter, Rita, and I were in the same class together, had a “first Date” together and graduated good friends in 1980. When my family and I started Continue reading