Luke 23:39-43
39 One of the criminals hanging next to Jesus insulted him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”40 Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to him, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also been sentenced to die? 41 We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.”

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The difference between the two men being executed with Jesus was simple yet significantly complex. The difference was humility. To the casual observer it looks like there are three convicted criminals with no redeeming qualities. At first glance it appears that there is no need to acknowledge their individual and unique characteristics. If you were to operate with the initial presentation of facts you would miss the significant moment that Jesus shared on the cross.   (more…)

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Patients have spiritual needs to address

By ALLYSON HELVIE Hospice ChaplainPublished: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 6:42 p.m.

When a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, there are many facets to what happens in his/her life. We are surrounded by a medical model of health care, and one has test after test to determine the exact type of cancer.

By the time one receives a final diagnosis, she has encountered several doctors, nurses, technicians, and many other medical personnel. She has met with non-medical professionals to address her financial and emotional concerns.

With her medical plan in place, her physical needs are being met, and she has excellent support from the team of medical caregivers. There is another important aspect of her life, as well. Human beings are “whole” persons, and there is a spiritual aspect that should not be looked over when caring for those who are undergoing cancer treatment.

Many feelings may arise in times such as this: guilt, loneliness, fear and anger. People may begin to question God and ask, “Where is God in all of this?”

There may be other questions, such as “How could God allow this to happen to me? Why me? How do I cope?”

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I find this article extremely helpful.  I have have experienced a greater awareness among our congregations about cancer and pastors are swamped with people outside of their congregation on a spiritual journey trying to understand how God is involved in their cancer.

I had the blessing of waking up on Prayer Mountain in Korea this morning.[i]The young Adults of the Southern Conference of the Methodist Church and the Young Adults of the Baltimore Washington Conference have been on a joint prayer retreat since Tuesday and we are concluding our time here on Prayer Mountain. We are inside this morning because of the rain but the experience of a prayer retreat in the midst of current world history is slightly overwhelming.  The global recession is devastating to many countries, poverty and illiteracy are easily overlooked as we focus on our own experience of working to live rather than living to work. Girls in many nations are being kidnapped and forced into prostitution yet the church has been silent. Our building projects, fellowship dinners and multiple committee meetings seem to be preventing the church from engaging the serious issues of ministry and mission that are not just located in our local communities but should be the common enemy of all Christians. The opportunity to turn off the busyness of our everyday lives and concentrate for 24 + hours on the needs of others, to listen to the Voice of God through the Scriptures and in my spirit has a recalibrating effect on my life and my commitment to personal prayer, study, simplicity and silence in connecting with God daily.

            One of the spiritual cultural differences that I have experienced here in Korea is getting up for “early morning prayer.”  It is no longer a phenomenon but a daily part of my life after 7 days.  The lesson is that we can take daily time for set aside prayer by reordering our priorities. There have been up to 1000 people at the 5:00am worship and many stayed for prayer afterwards.  One observation is that it appeared that more than half of the congregation walked to church and left to catch public transportation to work.  There were also prayer services all week at various times. Sansung Church is one of the two churches that I will be preaching at on Sunday.  Thank you for keeping us  in your prayers.

It has stopped raining and the sun is beginning to shine.  There are also several other people waiting to use the computer.

 


[i] Prayer Mountain is a Christian retreat in South Korea, operated by the Yoido Full Gospel Church, Korea’s largest church. It is located in Jori-myeon, Paju, in northern Gyeonggi province near the Demilitarized Zone. It has facilities for 10,000 people.