Ash Wednesday 2015

This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.  (Isaiah 58:6-7, The Message)

For this coming Lent – think about what you can take on as well as what you will give up(fasting).  For example – giving up Facebook – take on more prayer time/scripture reading when you would be on Facebook.  Add more volunteer time to the local soup kitchens, homeless shelters, reading books to children at schools, visits to assisted living and nursing homes…

Giving up is great but if we go back to that habit unchanged, what’s the point?  If we do not have a transforming of our lives because we giving up a bad habit, why did we give it up?  If our relationship with God is not strengthen then we have wasted a lot of out time not eating that wonderful chocolate we had left over from the Valentine Day’s sale or keeping up with friends sharing their witty musings they found and shared with us.

So as you “contemplate” in these last hours before Ash Wednesday what you are giving up, make sure you add in some relationship building with God and your neighbor.  Or make an appearance in worship, Bible Study or even start your own Bible Study, struggle with the hard questions with others – they probably have the same questions.

Whatever you do, make this a time of reflection, most of us don’t do it enough, including me.

“BUT what are you giving up?” As of this writing, I don’t know.  I still have today to figure it out.

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Bama Breeze

Last night I had the good fortune to attend my SECOND Jimmy Buffett concert! It was fantastic. This year I went to the tailgating and hung out with my friend Bruce and his son, Sy. It was just what I needed to do: good friends, good eats and great music. If you haven’t ever attended a Buffett concert – it is a world of its own. It is more like a giant sing-a-along. Kid you not: 10,000+ people sing Cheeseburger in Paradise is amazing – and I am singing right along.
What really was cool were the folks next to us at the tailgate: they had a 1970 reburished volkswagon bus! The son owned it while in college, he unfortunately died a few years back and his mother wanted to get the bus from her ex-husband. To shorten this the bus had been sold to a number of people of which everyone one had the name, a phone number or address they sold it to, leading her to the final buyer in the United Kingdom. Yes, I said United Kingdom and yes they sold her the bus and it was shipped back to the sates. Yesterday was the one year aniversary of being back in the family. It was the most photographed in the tailgate area – everyone wanted their picture made with it.

And I wished that was how we treated our faith: being so alive and vibrant that people wanted to have their “picture” made with us, wanted to hear our story, we wanting to share our journey with them. Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs with only a staff, commanding them to take nothing else but the gospel, that they would be a witness to each other’s story and share it with all they come in contact.

When was the last time you were only equipped your story? I challege not only you but myself as well to do so –