Election Day at First Church of the Heart

 

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There once was a Church, “First Church of the Heart”
With the strangest distinction I have to impart.

There were 48 members, and it should be noted,
on the day of elections, every one of them voted.

Not a one of them pushy or preachy or snooty,
One by one, on their own, each one doing their duty.

And that in itself is a sign of some health:
A Church that’s engaged, and not just with itself.

When I tell you what happened, your feelings may change,
For this small, noble church took a turn for the strange.

Though the church wasn’t told — to salvage their pride
Every item they voted? 24 on each side.

Every vote for a candidate, every ballot and bout
Had another vote cast that just cancelled it out!

So the question to ponder, that comes to my mind:
Did First Church of the Heart end up wasting its time?

Are you kidding? Of course not! Any church is a treasure
That can differ in politics but worship together.

May we all be as active, accepting, a part
of the world that we’re in…

Without losing Our Heart.

Have a great week,
Mitch

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First posted in Nov, 2014

Your Cheating Heart?

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Lance Armstrong, Tonya Harding, and Bill Clinton all die on the same day.

There they stand, in line at the Pearly Gates.

As they approach the entrance, Saint Peter recognizes them and pulls them out of line, asking for their autographs.

Bill Clinton looks at the other two, and asks Saint Peter, “Aren’t you going to punish us because we cheated?”

“What?”, Saint Peter laughs, looking back at the rest of the people in line.  “Everybody in this line cheated.  You three are famous for getting caught.”

* * *

Ever fudge on your taxes?

Ever ask the kid at the next desk the answer to #5?

Ever pass “go” when you should have gone to “jail”?

I could continue on with a list of examples, but the items become progressively more sinister:  Adultery, Embezzlement, Fraud.

To cheat, according to Meriam-Webster, is

: to break a rule or law usually to gain an advantage at something
: to take something from (someone) by lying or breaking a rule
: to prevent (someone) from having something that he or she deserves or was expecting to get

Who among us hasn’t cheated?  Some in big things, some in little things.

Holding it in can be painful.  

As Hank Williams wrote, “Your cheatin’ heart will make you weep. You’ll cry and cry and try to sleep but sleep won’t come the whole night through.”

He was talking about adultery, I’m guessing, but those same guilty feelings can rip apart all kinds of cheatin’ hearts.

Getting caught can be devastating.

Ask anyone who’s ever been caught cheating, and they can tell you about the harsh light of truth.

The consequences of getting caught can be severe and life altering.  In the least, embarrassing.

Redemption is possible, but it’s a long painful road.

Is there any hope for this cheatin’ heart?

Well, you can ask Lance, Tonya, and Bill, and I’d expect you’d get three very different answers.

But if you ask Paul, here’s what he’d say:  

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. -Romans 3:23-24

Remember, Paul was worse than a cheater — he used to track down Christians and send them to their deaths!

If redemption was possible for him, it’s possible for you and me.

It’s such Good News that Grace can weave itself into every cheatin’ heart.

But between you and me,

there’s one certain thing you could do right now

to better open yourself to that Grace:

STOP CHEATING.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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Election Day at First Church of the Heart

05coverspan600There once was a Church, “First Church of the Heart”
With the strangest distinction I have to impart.

There were 48 members, and it should be noted,
on the day of elections, every one of them voted.

Not a one of them pushy or preachy or snooty,
One by one, on their own, each one doing their duty.

And that in itself is a sign of some health:
A Church that’s engaged, and not just with itself.

When I tell you what happened, your feelings may change,
For this small, noble church took a turn for the strange.

Though the church wasn’t told — to salvage their pride
Every item they voted?  24 on each side.

Every vote for a candidate, every ballot and bout
Had another vote cast that just cancelled it out!

So the question to ponder, that comes to my mind:
Did First Church of the Heart end up wasting its time?

Are you kidding? Of course not!  Any church is a treasure
That can differ in politics but worship together.

May we all be as active, accepting, a part
of the world that we’re in…

Without losing Our Heart.

Have a great week,

Mitch

 

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God Has A Big Nose

They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt-offerings and fragrant incense  — 2 Corinthians 13; 11a

Hearing.  Seeing.  Tasting.  Smelling.  Touching.

If you had to lose one of your senses, which one would it be?   I’ve thought about this before, and for me the answer is always the same.  I’d say goodbye to my nose.

I wouldn’t want to give up my eyesight.   I couldn’t watch movies, or enjoy a sunset.   Likewise, I couldn’t give up my hearing because I wouldn’t be able to listen to music.

Tasting?  Hey-I love watermelon and nachos way too much for that.   Touching?  It’s a more subtle sense, but it would effect everything I did.  Every embrace, every gentle breeze.  I don’t think I could give that up.

It comes down to my sense of smell.    Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of popcorn, or a campfire, or a flower, and I understand that smell effects how things taste, but if I had to give one up, that’s the one I’d have to choose.

Do you agree with my choice?  (You can vote down below)  I get the feeling God might not.

In Old Testament times the Priests thought God had a big nose.   A lot of what they would do to please God had to do with smell.   First, there were the sacrifices.   Twice or more a day they’d offer burnt sacrifices–like meat on a barbecue grill–because they believed the delicious smell would float up to God, and make God happy.  (I can certainly relate!)

And then they’d light incense, there in the temple.  The delicate fragrance would lift up to God, to delight God’s sense of smell. Apparently conventional wisdom had it that the way to God’s heart was through God’s proboscis!

Hmm.  Maybe I’ve short changed the power of smell.   I’ve read that smell is the most powerful trigger of memory.   And it’s true–the smell of the ocean breeze or a hot parking lot or the skin of a baby can evoke the most powerful responses in me.   Now I’m not so sure I’d be willing to cut off my nose to spite my face after all.

Actually, as time went on, God made it clear that the quickest way to God’s heart wasn’t just through the nose, but through faithful living.   You can only bring home a bunch of fragrant flowers to apologize so many times.  Eventually, you have to change the way you live. So, in the New Testament, the focus isn’t on pleasing God’s senses, but pleasing God’s sensibilities.

Hey, it may be true.  God may have a big nose.  But the size of God’s heart is what matters most.   The same is true with us.   These marvelous senses God gave us make life rich and enjoyable, but it’s only the connection between our heart and God’s heart that can ever truly satisfy.   I think Love might just be the 6th sense, and all the others are simply supporting players.

I wouldn’t want to do without any of them, but I do know this.

A life without love…

Positively stinks.

Have a Great Week,

Mitch