Two Daughters

Deming, New Mexico is a town of 14,000 residents just 30 miles north of the Mexico border. On Mother’s Day the first busload of immigrants was deposited at the local McDonalds. They were left to fend for themselves while awaiting due process to be granted asylum. Deming is one of the poorest cities in one of the poorest states but they have opened their homes and hearts to these mostly Central-American families. They are fleeing hardship in hopes of safety for their children.

Refusing to get sidetracked by talk about politics, the Deming residents have transformed their modest town into a survival station for these foreigners. Church members have joined the growing team of servants who have not complained about this change-in-plans for their quiet town. Cullen Combs, the emergency manager from a nearby town reflected on this challenge: “I have a lot of personal thoughts about it, but when I see a mother with a child who’s having a seizure because they have a 103 temperature, that’s going to hit you.”

So the jail warden has become the unofficial COO for the shelter which was an abandoned WWII airplane hangar. The Fire Department staff spend their days organizing and distributing supplies to people who have had little to eat and no showers for weeks. Rev. Manuel Ibarra, the priest at St. Ann’s Church in Deming, was awakened by a knock at the door late on Mother’s Day Sunday. It was a family asking for shelter for the night. The church has since taken in an average 85 people each week who usually spend no more than two days in the town. They are processed through to sponsoring relatives with whom they can stay in our country while awaiting an asylum hearing.
Chris Brice, the assistant county manager, said, “We don’t even discuss the politics of it here. It’s what we do or they would be out there on the street trying to find their own way. And that’s unacceptable to everybody.” This modest city that sits isolated in the desert has pooled its resources. It costs roughly $15,000 per day to accommodate these unexpected guests. Fire Battalion Chief Edgar Davalos stated, “Make no mistake, it’s labor intensive but the whole thing is we’ve still got to treat them like human beings, because that’s what they are. They’re here legally and they’re human beings, and we’re going to make them as comfortable until they finish their journey as we can.”
Amidst a national debate over walls and policies, residents of Deming are moved to compassion toward the refugees. The Jail-Warden-turned –shelter-manager said, “We had a mom who had a paraplegic daughter—12-year-old daughter—who carried her literally with her arms.” In the midst of this desperate mob scene, the needs of vulnerable individuals are not overlooked.

woman in multicolored halter dress carrying child
Photo by Dazzle Jam on

This story reeks of politics, doesn’t it? It stirs up different thoughts and feelings in different people sitting comfortably in our pews on a Sunday morning. It’s a modern story about lines being crossed, boundaries transgressed and cultures coming together under dire circumstances. The flow of immigrants into this country is not a simple, black-and-white issue. There are no easy answers. Folks in Deming have taken responsibility for an intrusion that they did not authorize or invite. Because of their compassionate response busloads of foreigners praying for mercy continue to be deposited into their care. There is no promised date-of-completion for this unwitting project.

In Luke 8: 40-56, we read about a crowd of people praying for mercy. They were waiting for Jesus! He came into their town and they welcomed Him. It’s a story of contrasts. Lines are crossed. Social norms are ignored. Grace is extended! It’s the only story in the gospels where one character line is interrupted by another. Somehow these two individuals derive meaning from each other. The first one introduced is the daughter of a synagogue official. He is named: Jairus. Full characters in any story are named. In Jesus’ day men mattered. Women—not so much. Psalm 127 hints at this preference for sons: “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” That’s a lot of male language! Jairus, whose elevated position in the Jewish hierarchy should have made him an enemy of Jesus, comes to Jesus distraught over his daughter. She is his only child and is clearly cherished. We don’t expect this from a middle-Eastern man of Jesus’ day. For all his clout, the man is powerless over his daughter’s illness so he falls on his knees before this itinerant healer and begs for mercy. No questions are asked. Jesus sets out with the father and the crowd that welcomed Him earlier now almost crushes Him to death. The interest of the crowd in Jesus’ miracles was hazardous to His health.

In the crowd there’s another woman in need. Like the daughter of Jairus, she is not named. She has had a bleeding condition that no doctor has been able to cure. Do you notice the number that links these two suffering women? 12. Twelve is a number that signifies completion. It harkens back to the 12 tribes of Israel. It was carried forward when Jesus chose 12 disciples. The 12-year-old girl and the woman who had hemmoraged for 12 years certainly don’t seem to enjoy “completeness” in their lives. Both need a man to take care of them. One has her father. The other is left to fend for herself. So she dares to approach Jesus on her own. The tassel she touches is a symbol of God. It’s akin to the stoles that I wear as a worship leader. Like a towel, a stole signifies servanthood. The nameless victim believes in Jesus’ power. She fights her way through the press of this mob scene and touches the tassel. What’s the effect? IMMEDIATELY she is healed. But Jesus senses that someone has tapped into His power without permission. He persists in His inquiry in spite of the protests of His disciples. The woman falls at Christ’s feet—where Jairus had been not so much earlier—and tells Him her sad story. Jesus listens.
There are a couple of important details that follow. Notice what Jesus calls her. This woman who has no one to go to bat for her is given one of the most beautiful names possible by Jesus: Daughter. That blessing could have been enough for her. But Jesus pronounces the source of her healing and He doesn’t brag about His own powers. What healed her? Her faith. She recognized Jesus for who He was, something religious leaders failed to grasp.
If we need to understand the power of the name, “Daughter”, we simply need to read on. There’s no time to throw a party for the woman who has finally found a cure to her bleeding. A messenger from Jairus’ home appears and says that the daughter has died. They don’t need to use up Jesus’ precious time anymore. It’s too late. But Jesus overhears this and isn’t worried about His time. He offers the words that are the most repeated phrase in the Bible: “Do not be afraid.” What do they need in order to have hope for a dead daughter? Faith. Two nameless daughters need faith to be healed. One has it for herself and is healed. Another has a father who goes to great lengths on her behalf. He believes, even in the face of death, that Jesus has the power to heal her. He could easily be written off as deluded! We’re back to the original story line which ends with resurrection from death amidst scoffing. Bystanders understandably doubt that anything can cure this beloved little girl. But the dad hangs on to the faith that led him to seek out Jesus in the first place. He learns—and we learn through him—that when you’re feeling abandoned, dead as a daughter, Jesus will heal you.
One Central American mother carried her 12-year old daughter in her arms for countless miles into the oasis of Deming. She also carried with her the hope of a new life for them in our country. No wonder the residents of Deming, New Mexico have opened their hearts, their wallets and their doors to these strangers. Unnamed daughters are elevated to the status of being beloved when in the tender care of Jesus and His Church.
I was at the City Impact carnival in Cedar Springs last Monday. It was a free event for residents of a nearby mobile home community. What an amazing evening that was! Lots of our people volunteered. Some of our members donated food for the meal or money  for the activities. I sat at a table and got to know a woman who was holding her 18-month old little girl. She also has a 14-year old daughter who wasn’t with her. The mother’s life has been difficult. She is of meager financial means but she loves her girls more than anything else. She has one word tattooed on her arm: STRENGTH. The two “t”s in the word are crosses. We talked about the source of her strength, the fountain for her hope. She’s a follower of Jesus and this gives her strength to pursue Him even if it seems like so many others get first crack at Him.
If you’re feeling abandoned, dead as a daughter, Jesus will heal you. I sent my tablemate off with a hug and reminded her of the power of Jesus that was evident in the word inked onto her skin-STRENGTH.
Two weeks ago a couple in our congregation shared with us their story as a married lesbian couple. They were not easy stories to hear. They have faced rejection and loss because of who they are. Money is tight. Sometimes hope seems hard to come by. But they are raising a family to have joy in their hearts. Where does their strength come from? Both would say it is their faith. And it is the love of Jesus that they have found in our congregation that has brought some healing to them.
Where there are people, there are politics. When there is a crush of a humanity, there will be arguments over territory. Who has the right to address the One in charge and who only gets the leftovers? Who is a full-fledged member of the family and who is the step-child relegated to the dank room in the attic? In this story about two daughters from Luke 8 there is an inversion of cultural values. It is the unnamed women who receive Jesus’ undivided attention. With a mob of important people from whom Jesus could have chosen more impressive company, Jesus gave His time and attention over to the least of these. Why should this surprise us?
In our churches and in the national arena we hear the stories of those who have been sidelined, some nearly trampled to death. We could get hung up on categories. We could justify looking past them because of their lot in life. But, when we have encountered Jesus in our own lives, we cannot look away. We cannot turn them away. We open our hearts—and, together, our faith fuels hope that gives us the strength to carry on.


Hope Does Not Disappoint

In preparing for my trip to the Holy Lands nearly two years ago I ordered on amazon an electrical power adapter. It was a multi-faceted device that boasted electric prong arrangements that would accommodate eight different kinds of outlets around the world. It would take care of my needs in Israel but also served me well on my trip to Europe last year. Packed into my suitcase I was relieved to know I would be able to keep my cell phone charged no matter where I roamed!

person holding multimeter beside white painted wall
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One of the appliances that was deemed unsuitable for this adapter was a blow dryer. This uses so much electricity that the 4-page long adapter instructions warned against using it with a blow dryer. I traveled to Israel with my sister, who was my roommate. One morning I emerged from our bathroom to see her leaning over, her hair wildly blowing thanks to her drying efforts. As predicted, the energy being siphoned from the hotel walls through the spiffy adapter was too great. I suddenly understood why four pages of instructions were warranted for this product because flames were shooting out of the blow dryer toward my sister’s increasingly dry hair! I yelled at her but she couldn’t hear me. A blow dryer is a pretty effective sound blocker. So I ran at her and she must have seen something in my face and gestures that led her to turn off the appliance. “What?”, she asked, unfazed. Safe from harm, her hair intact and not aflame, I told her what I just witnessed. It didn’t take too long before we were laughing about it but we vowed not to use our American blow dryer again on the trip!

Energy is a tricky thing. Sometimes the force of somebody’s energy is so overwhelming that we get pulled into it. That can be a wonderful thing, like the charisma of a singer at a concert who holds thousands of people in his hands. His words and melody make sense of their discordant lives. But too much energy coming from the wrong place can singe us and disrupt our plans. Although we try to control the environment to our daily lives we often find ourselves surprised by this intangible thing called energy that has a hold on us.

We celebrated Pentecost last Sunday. We read a descriptive passage from Acts 2 that tells us how the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the early disciples, equipping them for ministry. “Divided tongues as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.” What a crazy scene that must have been! The arrival of the Spirit is marked by wind and fire. Common men were transformed into bold evangelists. The Spirit shows up as something that can’t be touched or controlled yet it must be harnessed to serve in Jesus’ name.

red and orange fire
Photo by Adonyi Gábor on

Spirit moments are rare gifts. We know them when we experience them. They are intangible and can easily be doubted by others. But they mark us with the permanency of a branding that identifies to whom we belong. As a pastor I hear these sorts of stories often. People preface them with words like, “I know it sounds crazy but…” Or “I’ve never told anyone this before but….” Or “Then the craziest thing happened…” The Spirit of God moves—always unexpectedly, never at our beck and call—and we know we’ve been blessed with a visitation. It may be in a worship service. It may be in the boardroom. It may come in the form of a voice or message that we hear inwardly. It may be in the arrival of the right person at the right time with the right words. After Pentecost the followers of Jesus turned to the Holy Spirit for guidance and the Church was born.

In John’s gospel Jesus is preparing His disciples for His departure although they don’t know that. This section of John is Jesus’ last lecture. His words made sense only after the day of Pentecost: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…” The disciples would need to know what was true since they put their lives on the line preaching about Jesus. The crazy news that Jesus had resurrected from the dead as the long awaited Messiah became urgent news that they not only believed but felt compelled to share with others. The Holy Spirit convicts us of truth. Like Martin Luther we find ourselves saying, “Here I stand. I can do no other.” When we tap into the power of the Pentecost Spirit, we are convicted of truths upon which we build our lives!

In 1877 Arthur Sullivan set to music a poem that Adelaide Proctor had written in 1858. The poem was entitled “A Lost Chord” and Sullivan was drawn to its words as he kept a bedside vigil for his brother. Adelaide describes how the organist was playing music idly and then stumbled upon this chord that was a perfect ending note to all other music the musician had ever played:

Seated one day at the organ, I was weary and ill at ease,
And my fingers wander’d idly over the noisy keys;
I knew not what I was playing, or what I was dreaming then,
But I struck one chord of music like the sound of a great Amen

Just like on Pentecost, when the Spirit shows up we are changed by its presence. The Spirit makes sense of our struggles and leaves us with a sense of peace. These moments are fleeting. They can’t be manipulated. They come when we most need them and give us the answers that have eluded us.

The poem describes the power of this chord:

It flooded the crimson twilight like the close of an Angel’s Psalm,
And it lay on my fever’d spirit with a touch of infinite calm.
It quieted pain and sorrow like love overcoming strife,
It seem’d the harmonious echo from our discordant life.

It link’d all perplexed meanings into one perfect peace
And trembled away into silence as if it were loth to cease;

In my prayer group this past Wednesday we prayed for an African woman who receives care in an assisted living facility. She and her husband moved to the United States years ago as missionaries to their home country of the Congo. She has needed dialysis for many years so she no longer has the possibility of returning to her home country for a final visit. Though they are part of a community in Pennsylvania, they are African. They have family in the Congo including a son who is buried there. At times we feel like foreigners far from home. We know we somehow don’t belong where we are but it’s where we have to stay.

This describes our spiritual life: created for a heaven but anchored first in our earthly home. Often we feel uncomfortable with our world. There’s a pervasive sense of despair in our country right now. A new report released by Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust give statistics behind an increase in “deaths of despair.” These are lives lost to suicide, alcohol or drugs. While deaths have increased in nearly every age group due to these struggles, they have risen dramatically for those betwteen the ages of 18 and 34. Between 2007 and 2017 drug deaths rose by 108%. Alcohol-related deaths grew by 69% and suicide by 35%. In 2017 alone 36,000 millennials died from deaths of despair. Loneliness rampages all ages like an epidemic. Elderly are left in care facilities without visitors. Youth and adults have replaced authentic human contact with social media “friends” who don’t sit with you, listen to you or look you in the eye. Deep human relationships are the way we most directly experience the Divine in our world. Without a rich array of close friends and family our lives are like a melody comprised of only a few notes. We are strangers in a foreign land without the presence of Christ and His love that binds us together. So those moments when the Spirit drops in have the effect that Proctor described of giving us peace, calm and healing.

For all of his heady intellect, the apostle Paul names our human struggles. Don’t you love his description in the first five verses of Romans 5 that we stand in God’s grace. I imagine standing in a river with water about knee-high. This grace swirls around us, enabling us to triumph over our weaknesses. Paul surprises us by writing that we boast in our sufferings! How often do we hear someone rejoicing in their suffering in our prayer time? Never! Yet folks will tell us, usually on the healing side of tragedy, how they met  God powerfully in the dark times. Paul gives a theological progression that is our survival guide while living in this foreign land: Suffering produces endurance, which produces character, which produces hope and hope does not disappoint us!

Hope does not disappoint us. Isn’t hope what is often lacking in our news stories today? Isn’t hope what we try to transmit to those who are despairing? Isn’t hope central to our walk as disciples, linking “all perplexed meanings into one perfect peace”? When the Spirit shows up with firepower, we are transformed. Pentecost power leads grandmothers to walk in protest marches; high-power executives to leave lucrative careers for ministry; couples of meager means to adopt children into their families; busy teens to give up an evening to help serve a meal at a mobile home community. When the Spirit drops in we labor to raise the funding for trips that take us into the communities of complete strangers who become our friends. This week we have church members traveling to Ohio, Kentucky and Honduras as missionaries. They have worked all year to pay for their journey and our congregation has generously supported them. By God’s grace the adversity we inevitably face teaches us endurance and we become peddlers of hope in a world that is wading through fake news praying for truth!

The very nature of the Holy Spirit is elusive. We learn that those epiphanies, those divine encounters, are moments that cannot be pinned down. Remember Peter’s reaction to the Transfiguration of Jesus? He wants to build a booth (or tent) and camp out as if it’s a movie marathon that he can prolong by constructing some permanent lodging. He’s ready to pop some corn to keep the show going from the ease of sideline chairs. But no sooner has he proposed the scheme and the vision is over. We try to capture inspiring scenes by taking pictures that we can pull up on our phones at will. But seldom do those digital images truly convey the feeling of the moment. We aren’t meant to entrap the Spirit as if hanging on to the tail of a shadow.

Laurie shadow

Proctor describes how the organist could never quite recapture the beauty of that chord that gave such resolution to his or her life:

I have sought, but I seek it vainly, that one lost chord divine,
Which came from the soul of the organ and enter’d into mine.

It may be that Death’s bright Angel will speak in that chord again;
It may be that only in Heav’n I shall hear that grand Amen!

Laurie at organ

The Holy Spirit that was given on Pentecost is what fuels the Church today. It’s what offers that grace in which we stand! If we underestimate its power, we might as well be using a blow torch to dry our hair, fully expecting it to turn out well! But when we watch for it and yield to its power we find that we are home. No longer aliens in a strange land, when we live in Christ and serve as His disciples, we are filled with hope. And hope, Paul assures us, does not disappoint!



For most of us, when we are scared or alarmed, we get loud! A Youtube video that was trending last week was of a raccoon appearing on the hood of a car driving home in Tennessee. The women in the car were screaming, unsure what to do with their unexpected passenger! Fear elicits NOISE! Two of the lectionary passages for Pentecost tell stories where you can practically hear the clamor!

Our Genesis narrative comes from chapter 11: The Tower of Babel. The beautiful story of God’s creation of the earth is not so far behind this reading. But a population of people has come to a rather unholy moment. Folks discover a pleasing piece of real estate on the plain of Shinar. They decide it would be a great place to raise their families so they join together in a common purpose that has nothing to do with God. They are focused on their own power, puffed up with pride as they swing hammers to erect a monument to themselves!

This migratory population must have liked each other enough to want to build a town together. Their stated purpose is to stay in this place they have found. They have one language which allows them to communicate easily with each other. Make bricks. Check. Stir up a batch of mortar. Check. Stack them into an impossibly high tower that stretches up to heaven. Check. Do a press release and social media blitz to make a name for our new, fine city. Check!

dunstaffnage tower

Cultural uniformity was appealing to these primitive people who never knew when a band of roving strangers would act as aggressors. So sticking together was the plan and they had the technological know-how to do that. In and of itself the work was not evil. We see new technology fly off the shelves all the time that makes our life enjoyable, easier, more productive. But no sooner is there a new device to help us and someone learns how to abuse it. You stop to fill up your car with gas and learn that your credit card information has been secretly scanned and is now being used to order a computer in Cairo! The sin of these people on the plain of Shinar was not their masonry or their blueprints. It was their heartfelt motive to stay put and glorify themselves. That’s what rubbed God the wrong way! (Before we get too critical with these territorial impulses we would do well to acknowledge how much we love to stay put in our own pews each Sunday—every congregation has a seating chart, right?!) So God dispersed these folks as they purposefully built their city. God mixed up their languages as easily as they mixed up a batch of mortar. Then they could no longer understand the foreman or the neighbor next door. Mistrust crept into the town and they were driven apart. It turns out that God isn’t interested in folks who unite for the purpose of showcasing their own glory. The Babel residents discovered that their Creator was not a sanguine figure who slumbered happily while they schemed. This is the same God Mary met 2000 years later who told her that her faithful behavior gave her the honor to be the Mother of the Messiah! She got loud with her own response to this unlikely privilege with what we call the Magnificat. In it she sang of the very character of God that we see at work in Shinar: “He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.” Bummer for the folks who were putting the finishing touches on their alabaster city on the plain of Shinar!

brown buildings
Photo by Nicolas Postiglioni on

Babel has come to represent individualism. From this significant mix-it-up moment, cultural diversity arose. Different languages and the fun of being with someone different from yourself was born. Our instinct to push ourselves beyond our own boundaries so as to understand someone else’s world surfaced out of the Babel event. But what also emerged after the great scattering was the divide between different people. Injustice, discrimination, the gap between rich and poor, the desire to own people and condemn others came out of the chaos on the plain of Shinar. Our tendency to build walls is a direct result of God’s action in Babel. We still regard our differences with suspicion.

israeli gate

israeli sign

Our second reading is the Pentecost passage from Acts 2. We move forward about 2000 years from the Babel scene. Jesus has died, risen and ascended into heaven, promising His disciples that they won’t be left alone. But they are scared, not sure how His promise can be carried out. As Jews gathered for the Festival of Booths, a celebration of the first fruits of the harvest, Jesus’ words came to fruition. In this story we hear noise! The room is filled with a mighty wind—think tornadoes sounding off like a freight train for folks hiding in their basement! Then crazy things begin to happen: “tongues as of fire” came to rest on each one of them and they began speaking in foreign languages they had not known just moments before! The noise brought a crowd—as is usually the case—and different nationalities of folk in their audience understood these backwoods Galileans. What did they say? They preached about the glory of God who authored the miracle. Pentecost gave permission to Jesus’ followers to speak the languages of the world. In Babel our common humanity was fractured with new languages and scattered towns. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit is poured out and fear is replaced with bold evangelism—unapologetic preaching about a God who breaks into our world with power!

Good preaching is often mocked by those who are threatened by the message that God is in control. At the Pentecost event there were scoffers, pessimists, know-it-alls who accused these followers of Jesus with being drunk. It was only babble that came from too much wine, they accused! This elicits a response from Peter, a sermon actually. He preaches that everything changes with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The clock is reset as the disciples enter a new age of following Jesus through the power of the Spirit. Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. Christians have been reliant on the work of the Spirit to be convicted in our hearts that Jesus is the Christ and to have the courage to tell others about Him. With this reboot of history comes responsibility. We set our course through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and yield our plans—our blueprints—to the will of God.

I spent Memorial Day weekend in Phoenix with my mother’s childhood friend and her family. Jean mapped out a wonderful itinerary for my time there, traveling between their home in Scottsdale to their cottage in Prescott. But we needed to be at their church on Sunday night, she told me. Their congregation participated in this program called Family Promise and we were needed on that holiday weekend to serve a meal to our guests. I smiled and told Jean that our congregation, located 1500 miles north, had just voted to be a host site for Family Promise! That evening I sat at the table with two families and asked them about their children, their background, their hopes and dreams. A mixed race couple were near me with the woman’s two African American teens sitting apart from their elders. The other woman had a three-year old who played with the sons of one of the church volunteers. She was expecting her second child in a matter of months and dreamed of moving to Texas for a fresh start. She grew up on a nearby reservation that belonged to the Maricopa, one of the more than 20 tribes of native people who claim Arizona as home. We ate together and spoke each other’s language. Our differences faded into friendship.

At the end of a worship service when I was the guest preacher, a man shared with me a moment when God had given him tremendous reassurance. He told me his father had died and he had worried about his father’s eternal well-being. The dad had lived a rough life and made things difficult for his children. This weighed on the son because he wasn’t sure how God’s justice is meted out. He confided that one night he awoke in his room to find Jesus standing next to his bed. He said Jesus looked as you might imagine Him: a white robe and a crown of thorns. Jesus had His arm around the man’s father who never said a word but whose smile told this son that he was just fine! He has hung on to this gift from the Holy Spirit that left him with tremendous peace.

The two scripture passages from Genesis and Acts tell us that there’s no messing around when it comes to following God. God is nearer than we think! God knows our hearts’ deepest desires. God knows when we are building a kingdom to glorify ourselves and when we are laboring to preach about the love and mercy of Jesus. We baptized two young children into the faith and family of Jesus Christ on Pentecost–a fitting Sunday for a baptism! They have parents and a church community who will protect them from the hardships of life and teach them about the joy and responsibility of being a Jesus follower. Baptism is a reset of their spiritual clock. It’s a reboot offered by the gift of the Holy Spirit. We also commissioned about 25 youth and adults who are going on summer mission trips to Honduras, Ohio, and Kentucky. Having done youth ministry for more than a decade, I expect these folks to make some noise on their trips! I know the van ride will not be quiet! I know life in the dorms will be loud! I expect the worship services in the evening will be filled with heartfelt singing, praying and sharing. What we learn from these Pentecost scriptures is that our noise ought to be about our faith. Our words should unify, not divide. Our actions should tear down cultural walls, not build them. The team traveling to Honduras will face language barriers. (There might even be language barriers with some of the folks in Kentucky!) But I am certain that the Spirit of God will bridge the Babel language divide even if it’s not through words. There’s power in a smile, a helping hand, the symbol of a cross our “missionaries” wear around their necks and give away as gifts to others. It is in our quiet praying that we often preach the most loudly about the God who is at the center of our lives. I urged our mission teams to think about the folks on the plain of Shinar whose goal was to gain attention for themselves. Our folks aim to glorify God through their service! They worked hard all year to raise money in order to work on behalf of the improved lives of others. God will unify our group with those they serve and there will be tears when it’s time to say goodbye.

accuracy afternoon alarm clock analogue
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With the gift of the Holy Spirit we reset our spiritual clock. Everything changes when we decide to follow the leading of Christ rather than setting our own agenda. It’s a calling that comes with a great deal of responsibility—and blessing. Let’s make some noise about that good news!