Anything is Possible!

With Faith, Hope and Perseverance


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Good News Tuesday: Cool Cops

They could have just referred him to some one else, but the police officer “couldn’t shake the image of the elderly man sitting in his home in the sweltering heat….”

Click the link below for the story.  (It’s short and sweet.)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fort-worth-police-officers-buy-95-year-old-man-new-air-conditioner/?ftag=CNM-00-1

Got good news? Feel free to share in the comments or write about it on your blog and include a link to this post. It can be global, local, or personal.

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Share freely!


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Bad News or Good News.What Will We Focus On? How will we live?

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The following is a slightly condensed sermon with two stories from my favorite pastor, Dan Macgill. Our gospel reading was about the ascension of Jesus.

Jesus is at the end of his earthly work; his victory is at hand. That is the good news, but he is leaving his disciples in a world that will not be easy for them They will suffer and be persecuted and put to death in his name. That is the bad news. So, what will we, in our lives, choose to focus on – the bad news or the good news?

There are two stories that took place not too long ago in the same town. It was Erie, Pennsylvania. In the first story, a local man of limited mental capacity robbed a bank. The incredible thing was that he had a live bomb attached to his body by a metal collar that someone had locked around his neck. He was carrying a note written by his assailants ordering him to go to four different places after the robbery to get instructions about what to do next to have the bomb defused. He never made it to stop number one. The police intercepted this simple man in a parking lot immediately after he left the bank. He did not try to run from them, but begged them to help him. He told the police he had been forced to rob the bank because the bomb on his neck was on a timer. The bomb squad did not reach the sight quickly enough, and there on main street, the bomb went off and the man blew up. The man had lived in a tiny house alone with his cats. He earned very little money and spent little. He did not have the mental ability to plan a robbery. This bizarre story made headlines all over the country.

But there is another story that also took place in Erie, Pennsylvania. It is a story about a nun, a block full of children, a small corner store, and an old, drug infested neighborhood. The nun lives there in the center of town with her 90-year-old father who refuses to move. It is his home and it is where he raised his children. When the nun returned to this neighborhood, she immediately went to meet the neighbors. She organized a set of after-school games. She gave reading classes on the front steps of her house. Before long, they all took on community projects such as picking up cans, filling garbage bags with trash, and planting flowers along the curbs. They swept the streets and planted grass. And for this work, they got coupons that the local grocery store accepted for food. They even painted houses. Soon, the neighborhood, and it’s very nature, changed.

The nun wanted to go block by block and continue this project, but that required a lot of money. The local paper gave the story good coverage, but the national press ignored it. (I wonder why.) The bank story is about the evil, violent murder of a simple man. More than that, it is about the deterioration of the US as a human community. The other story is about the rejuvenation of an old neighborhood by young children living in the evil of its neglect. But it is also about the possibility of rebirth in American life.

So, what is the gospel telling us about ourselves, today? Is it telling us more than we really want to know? Are we any closer to carrying out Jesus’ mission that he left us in charge of? Has it become too easy simply to allow ourselves to be squeezed into the world’s mold?

Angelique Arnold wrote once that perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

Amen.


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Good News Tuesday: Biggest Beach Cleanup Ever

I’d never seen a beach so dirty until I watched this video showing Versova Beach before the clean up.

 

85 weeks later, Versova Beach is clean and beautiful,  thanks to the hard work of volunteers.

This next short video shows more of what it looks like since the clean up.

 

Got good news? Feel free to share in the comments!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.       __Margaret Mead

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A Homeless Hero in Manchester

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Positive posts on the last Friday of each month

Stephen Jones, a homeless man, was sleeping when he heard the explosion at England’s Manchester Arena. At first he ran, but quickly went back to help. Other homeless people helped, too. Opportunity for good is abundant. Here’s what’s happening.

 

 

Help Wanted: I still haven’t figured out how to get the beautiful “We Are The World” Badge on my side bar. I can get to the add image place under Appearance, but instead of an upload image button, it’s asking for an image URL. Is there a URL for this image, or is there an easier way to do this? Thanks!


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Sustainable Rest

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Back in January, while driving to the Appalachian Mountains to see my son, I stopped at a rest area that was extraordinary. I say extraordinary because I’m used to the simply functional rest areas, well-landscaped but not particularly restful. I’d made a quick stop at this particular rest area the year before, just long enough to use the necessary facilities, and didn’t think much of it.

Having more time on my January trip, and being tired of driving, I decided to ventured down the covered walkway beyond the restrooms. Through glass doors, I saw an inviting fireplace and entered what turned out to be an information center lobby with a comfy sofa across from the fireplace and large windows looking out at gentle slopes.

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I think the fire place might have run on gas, but it was still cozy. I took a moment just to sit and admire the fire.  I noticed a room off to the side with a display of a local artifacts. The dulcimer caught my attention.

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On the other side of the lobby was an information counter staffed by a friendly older couple (older than me).  I complimented them on the coziness of their rest area, and they happily told me it was a sustainable rest area. They told me about their LEED Gold certification,  passive solar heat, and solar hot water collectors. The facility also has a  rain water cistern tank and a bio retention basin with a chemical spill basin, along with  a nature trail and bio-swales. I had to look up bio-swales: landscape elements designed to concentrate or remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water.

I was impressed by this green rest area on top of a hill just east of the town of Wilkesboro, NC. Maybe it’s not such a big deal to some, but I am thankful that there was a moment in time when this good idea was agreed on and allowed to materialize in this place.

It gives me hope.

If you’re ever headed that way on Hwy 421, stop in and rest a while.

http://wilkeschamber.wixsite.com/nwncvisitorcenter


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The Human Side of Jesus

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Painting by Albert Edelfelt 1854-1905

Tonight at my church, someone’s going to wash my feet. Then I’ll wash someone else’s feet. In the past, I’ve skipped this ceremony in our “Maundy Thursday” service, mainly because Holy Week is so busy. I figured Wednesday potluck, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday was enough. But singing in the choir, it’s my responsibility to be there. So, I decided to look deeper into this foot washing business.

Jesus washed his disciples feet during the time of Passover when he knew his time on this earth was coming to an end.

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.  John 13:1 (NLT)

It is this love that pulls me in to Jesus. Like the humility that comes next.

After supper, Jesus took off his outer robe, tied a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he washed his disciples feet and dried them with the towel. (John 13: 4-5)

The foot washing was a expression of love and servitude. A precursor to the ultimate act of love to come. The disciples were no doubt embarrassed by their leader and teacher performing such a humble and personal service. But Jesus told them that, later, they would understand.

(How often has it taken me years for to understand the significance of events that once baffled me?)

Then Jesus gives them the mandate from which the word Maundy comes in tonight’s service:

And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.                 John 13: 14-15 (NLT)

Jesus is telling his disciples to be of humble service to each other. I believe he intended us to serve one another. But he is willing to be first. He used his humanity to set an example.

There are many other times when Jesus showed his humanity.  One was in the garden of Gethsemane.  He asked the disciples to stay and watch with him. But they fell asleep. Then Jesus prays.

 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26: 39 (NLT)

It sounds to me like Jesus was scared. He knew what was coming and he felt real human fear. Yet, he wanted God’s will to be done, understanding and trusting, that God had a much bigger plan.

This scene from Gethsemane is depicted in the movie, Jesus Christ Superstar. Some people may criticize the movie for not being strictly in line with the Bible, but it opened my heart many years ago at a time when my mind was firmly agnostic. That’s why I did a series on the movie a couple years ago and would like to share the Gethsemane post again.

I know Jesus is much more than human, but for me, his humanity is what made and makes him more accessible.

https://joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/gethsemane-facing-fear/


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We Are the World and Trees are the Lungs of the World

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As I looked for a story to post for today’s kickoff of  We Are The World, there were many. But I kept coming back to this man who died and came back to plant trees. I first found this interview at ALK3R ‘s blog. It’s a fascinating story, originally published at Daily Good. Here’s the link:

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1549/the-man-who-planted-trees-a-conversation-with-david-milarch-awakin-call-editors/

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To learn more about We Are the World, you can visit Belinda’s blog:   http://www.belindawitzenhausen.com