Here is an excellent article and video from the Texas Tribune.
Video: Program Unites Veterans Behind Bars
by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn, The Texas Tribune
September 9, 2014
They served their country, then ended up on the wrong side of the law. But many of Texas’ veterans serving time behind bars are getting the guidance to stay out of the legal system upon their release, thanks to a new Texas Department of Criminal Justice program.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/09/09/video/.
I came across this in my morning devotional reading today. It seems fit to run without any extra commentary.
HEAR THE GOSPEL
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We have no more time for solemn church festivals in which we present ourselves to ourselves.
Let us not celebrate the Reformation this way anymore!
Let the late Luther finally have his rest.
Hear the Gospel.
Read his Bible, and listen there to the very word of God.
I would to thank everyone for patiently waiting for a new post. I know it has been a slow stretch recently but the drought will break on September 1 as I return to regular blogging.
Yesterday, I went on a short rant about how the church treats strangers. Well, I found a video of Mark Hall explaining the song from yesterdays post. Take a few minutes and hear what he has to say. Then ask yourself, what are you teaching others about your beliefs?
Mark Hall’s story about “Jesus, Friends of Sinners.”
Last Friday, I wrote about Love. Today, I am still chasing that very same theme. Church can be a weird place. It can be one of the most judgmental places on earth where each person is measuring up everyone else to see if they are worthy of bring there. They remember others sins better than they remember their own. Then there are other churches where love is all they know to do. You can feel welcomed and cared for there. You can feel safe there.
For those who are angry at the church because all you have gotten from the church is pain and sorrow, don’t stop searching. This is not what the real church is supposed to be. Run from those churches and search for one which will be a safe shelter in this storm we call life. They are out there. There ARE churches who are counting on the Grace of God because they are more worried about caring for you than being correct all the time.
Here is a song that reminds me of how we are to be. Listen to Casting Crowns sing, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners.”
Here are words from a high school graduate who is headed off to college. While no two people are the same, I imagine many your adults are feeling similar things right now. Take a moment and revisit that first major transition that many people go through.
Originally posted on Carlee Lane:
Tonight I’m lying in the bed of a family I’m house-sitting for over the weekend. It’s a little lonely, just me over here at the Carroll Cottage, but I like it. My iPhone tells me it would take me a mere 14 minutes to return home and fall asleep in my own bed tonight, but I’m staying here instead. It makes me feel connected for the weekend to the family that lives in this house, a family I won’t get to see again until Christmas-time; and it’s also given me time to think… and just… be.
My word for the year is “be,” and my summer this year has been anything but. This has been the best summer of my life, hands down, but it has been jam-packed full. Not much time to simply be. I’ve actually felt a little sad about that, and so I am thankful for this…
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I have found over time there seems to be a lack of people teaching the love of God. It seems like condemnation and judgment are all that makes the news for Christians. The talking heads are on television demanding this and that, not taking into account how they are destroying what the Gospel is supposed to be – Good News.
Today, I pray you will find Good News in love.
Today, the song is from Digital Age. It is a song titled “Captured” about how Love has captured us.
Israel and Hamas: A mess to the utmost of levels with no end in sight. Each side is claiming self-defense. Each side is sharing with the media the horrific impacts of the attacks. Each side has, publicly at least, only feigned attempts as making peace. The Western media has been lambasting Israel telling of all the horrors they are inflicting. They parade pictures of destroyed buildings and dead children. Whereas the Western church seems to be supporting Israel blindly standing firmly on the claims they should be defending themselves.
Here is the problem with all of this. Each of these positions lacks truth. Complete truths. The reality of the situation is each side has a right to defend themselves. Each side has a right to claim they are suffering at the hands of the other. The media fails to be fair and truthful when they withhold truths in an effort to manipulate the public. The churches that stand blindly by Israel without demanding a movement towards peace are also failing.
Why do I bring all of this up today? I bring this up because there is no cut and dry answer to this horrible situation. Instead of taking sides, instead of letting the media manipulate us, we need to be objective and find ways to work towards peace. If we can put away our blind support for either side and instead pray for a peaceful resolution we will have done something truly revolutionary.
I had the opportunity to meet a gentleman this week named Wes. We were having a conversation about other things when he said something that combined with hearing Kari Jobe’s song “The More I Seek You” on the radio. In summary he said, “You can find what you are looking for. You can look for the good or bad, and you will find it.”
This struck me as so true and interesting. Jobe’s song is all about searching for Jesus and how often you can find Him when you are seeking Him. The idea of the song is the more time you spend with Jesus the more you will want to spend time with Him. At some point, this remaining in Jesus’ presence will overwhelm you and overcome you.
All this made me wonder am I seeking Jesus enough? Am I basking in His presence? Am I willing to share the cup in His hand? So I will ask you to reflect on those same questions about yourself.
Here is an early version of Kari Jobe singing “The More I Seek You” to help you meditate on this.
Here are some good thoughts from a disciple of Jesus who also happens to be a good country music singer.
Originally posted on Jesus and Hank:
I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now, but I haven’t had time to share it on my blog until today. I will be the first to admit that I have a habit of keeping my face buried in my phone. Anytime I’m bored or alone, without thinking, I reach for my phone. It’s kinda like breathing. I do it without having to tell my brain to do it. This drives my wife crazy sometimes. My response to her frustration is…”It’s business honey, I have to be active on social media for my fans!”. This is true. The entertainment business is mostly promoted through social media. If I wasn’t a country music artist, I probably wouldn’t even have a facebook or a twitter account…maybe an instagram…maybe. If you’re like me, imagine how much more time we would have if we weren’t so concerned with social media. Don’t get me wrong…
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