Life’s Playlist….. Out Here On My Own by Irene Cara

The words of this song are perfection.

Life’s Playlist…. My Hometown by Bruce Springsteen

There are major issues in our country with solutions that seem to be going nowhere.

Big issues that affect every American are being pushed aside by elected leaders on both side of the political spectrum.   Instead of addressing the major issues that impact our daily lives, wedge issues are being pushed to appeal to their bases.

Here’s an idea, if the President and our Congress are really SERIOUS about issues like healthcare and tax reform I have a sure-fire solution that I guarantee could get majority passage on both issues.

IF I WERE PRESIDENT……

If I were President I would call a join session of Congress, have it televised and as I stepped to the podium my entire speech would be….

My fellow Americans, I stand before you tonight as your President knowing that major issues that affect us all are not being resolved and “We the People” deserve better.

With this being said, tonight I call on Speaker Ryan, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leaders Pelosi and Schumer to appoint four members from their aisle, and their respective arms of Congress,  to focus on healthcare, another four from each side of the aisle to focus on tax reform.

In 24 hours they are to report to Camp David.  The assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Budget Director will meet them there.

These elected officials and my representatives will not leave Camp David until they have reached consensus on these issues that affect us all.  They will stay at Camp David for as long as it takes.

Once they leave Camp David, I expect your leaders to ensure passage of these bipartisan solutions.  None of us are going to get everything we want in these deals, but it is time we stopped working separately and worked together for the American people.

It is time we, your elected officials, got to work and solved the problems that affect us all.

Thank you, may God bless the United States of America and good night.

And with that I would walk off the stage, end of speech.

My bet is, within 5 days there would be solutions.

Stepping Out On Faith

The Church I attend is in the early days of a building campaign.  Today was commitment Sunday where the membership made our pledges for the next two years towards the build.

This in not the first building campaign I have been through, they are never easy and sometimes tear churches apart.  I do not believe this Church will have that problem, we are standing together in a place of undeserved privilege towards not just a new building, but a place where lives will be changed and the Kingdom of God will be honored.

Since leaving my job this summer, and dedicating all my efforts to my retail store, my finances have been unpredictable, after all some weeks are better than others, however I have made a commitment to my tithes and continue to see income that allows me to meet my giving.

A commitment for a building campaign is above and beyond tithes, it requires faith that God with honor the commitment and make it happen.

For weeks we have been building towards today’s Commitment Sunday.  I have had conversations with friends, my Pastor and have prayed about what my pledge should be.

Yesterday I settled on my number.  It was a number I felt comfortable with and knew I could make happen.

I filled in my card and took it with me to Church.

As I settled into my pew, I felt content with the number I had come up with and as I looked around the room, I could feel the anticipation of my fellow congregants, eager for the moment we would walk to the front of the sanctuary and place our pledge cards in a basket.

During Pastor Adam’s sermon, I started to get an uneasy feeling about my pledge.  Could I do more?  Should I do more?  Do I have the faith to do more?

I have acted on faith my entire life.  Faith in my abilities, faith in making things work out and faith that God would provide.

Was my pledge what it should be or was I acting on what I knew I could do and not on faith in what I should do?

Just before it was time to walk forward, one of the elderly women of our Church spoke up and asked the Pastor if she could speak.

Being gracious, our Pastor walked towards her as she stood to take the floor.

In the minutes that followed the lady told us about her childhood of poverty, how many days she didn’t have the ten cents to buy a school lunch.

She went on to regale us with a story of her prowess at horseshoes, he childhood passion.  She told us the story of a friend who showed up at her house one day and bet her that he could beat her in horseshoes.

Her father wagered ten cents on her behalf.

She won the match and now had two shiny dimes for lunch in the coming days.

The next morning, as she attended Church, she had those two dimes in her pocket and as the offering plate was passed she placed both in as her offering.

Her lunch money was now gone, she would do without lunch because of her offering.

As she continued her story she spoke about running for the bus the next morning to take her to school and as she ran past the same Church she had made her offering to, she found a dime on the ground.

And then another.

And then another.

She ate that week and her gift was multiplied.  Her faith made this true.

As the lady told her story, my heart swelled, I knew I could do better, I could step out in faith and become uncomfortable with my commitment.

Before walking up to the altar, I changed my card, I doubled my pledge knowing that God would provide and faith would make it happen.

If God would provide a few cents for a little girl of faith, certainly he will honor our commitments to growing the Kingdom.

Life’s Playlist… Bridge Over Troubled Water performed by Eva Cassidy

My heart aches for Las Vegas, it also aches for Columbine, Virginia Tech, Orlando, Sandy Hook and on and on and on.  My heart aches.

My heart aches that there is a percentage of our society that has such a lack of care, compassion and love for others that they would gun people down at a concert, or school, or night club.  My heart aches.

We pray for these cities when massacres happen, we thank the first-responders, we give blood, we tune in to telethons, our hearts ache.

At what point will our heartache turn to action and demand SENSIBLE gun controls and increased mental health education?

When will our heartache be enough?  This time it was 59, will it be enough at 75, 100, 150…. when will our hearts stop aching and do something about it?

 

 

Generosity

This morning I had the pleasure of hearing a Bishop from Africa speak at our Church.  Once the dialect differences were overcome, I settled in to a sermon that in its simple message stuck a cord.

This man, from one of the poorest places on Earth, talked about generosity and the truth that you cannot claim to be a person of God if your heart is not filled with a generous spirit.

Isn’t that simple message powerfully true?

Like you, I am good at giving a financial contribution when someone is in need.  I contribute to Go Fund Me accounts, I donate to people when they are facing difficult times, I contribute to Hurricane and Earthquake relief, I’m good at all that.

Where I think I fall short is in the area of having a generous heart.

If we truly follow the example of Christ isn’t a generous heart as important as being generous with our wallets?

I think that generosity includes acceptance and honor of our differences, our weaknesses and the strengths of anyone who contributes to the betterment of society.

On the outside we may be vastly different, however I suspect those differences melt away in our hearts, when we all just want what is best for our families, our friends and our communities.

While our beliefs may be different, doesn’t it make sense that if we simply listen to the feelings of others, where their convictions lie and engage in conversation this allows us all to have a generosity of heart that is in line with God’s teachings?

I know I have a long way to go before I fully align my heart with the teachings of Christ in this area, it’s an area to work on, maybe it is an area for you to work on as well.

Generosity goes far beyond the dollars that we share with those who are in need, that’s the easy part.  A generous heart that is open to our differences is as important, if not more so.