Monthly Archives: December 2013

12.31.13 Insight from Rev. Anne Williams

Rev. Anne Williams is the Congregational Care pastor for members of the Resurrection family who have last names beginning with S-Z.

For the past few years I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions. I’m usually one of those hippy dippy kinds of people who say I’d rather not set goals and see where life takes me. Perhaps that comes from having set resolutions in the past and not remembering what I said a month later.  🙂

This year feels a little different. A few days ago I had the idea to resolve to work on becoming more like the fruits of the spirit we find in Galatians 5:22-23. It’s a list of traits that generally feels unattainable to me but what I have learned is that those traits don’t grow in me without intentionality. So I’m thinking I’ll focus on one per month – at least for the first nine months of the year – praying that God fosters that month’s trait in me and that I am given opportunities and grace to practice it. I bought a ring from the Well Bookstore with the scripture I’ll wear – like a string tied around my finger as a reminder of my resolution. What new adventures will you take with God this year? What spiritual practices will you commit yourself to?

Here’s to a new year of living into the fruits of God’s spirit which live within each one of us. More love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Cheers!

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

12.30.13 Insight from Chris Holliday

Rev. Chris Holliday serves as the associate minister at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection West.

Below is the pastoral prayer I prayed at the Christmas Eve services at Resurrection West last week. I borrowed a few phrases from a wonderful book entitled Prayers and Litanies for the Christian Seasons by Sharlande Sledge (published by Smyth and Helwys Publishing, Inc., ©1999, p. 15, 21).  Also the last paragraph was adapted from a portion of a Christmas Eve prayer written by my amazing wife, Rev. Lisa Holliday, who is Minister of Children and their Families at Resurrection.

I hope you find this prayer helpful and meaningful as you consider loving God and loving your neighbors near and far this day and as you remember Jesus – the miracle, gift, and hope of Christmas, who is with us always.

Generous and loving God, we gather this night to remember and celebrate Immanuel – you coming to be with us through your son, Jesus Christ. You arrived as a baby – “Holy Love born in a manger, bathed in the light of [a brilliant] star.” Tonight we gather around that manger and we long for a “closer glimpse” of your love in human form, “a brush with the presence of angels”, and a greater understanding of all that you offer us. Thank you for your gifts of hope, love, peace, and joy. Thank you for the gift of the Christ child, who saves us day after day after day with his grace and mercy.

“Creator of all that was and is and yet shall be,” tonight we sing “gloria” and rejoice in you, and the whole earth resonates with the sounds of pure joy because of your presence among us. In the midst of the joy, though, we know there is also pain.  This can be a very difficult season for those who have lost loved ones during this year or in years past. It can also be challenging for those who feel lonely, isolated, sick, hungry, tired, or depressed. We think about the families, friends, students, and teachers struck by tragedies in our schools this year. We remember those near and far who have experienced the devastation and loss caused by tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. We think of our own neighbors, co-workers, and family members who are experiencing hardships and difficulties right now. We remember those serving our country around the world, and we remember our nation, and the tremendous challenges we face together. We think of those who are without shelter, food, and clean water and of the people of Honduras, Malawi, Russia, Haiti, and those on every continent and in every country of our world.

For all those who grieve or who are suffering this season, we ask that you hold them in your strong, safe arms and that you wrap them gently and warmly in your comfort and love right now and into the New Year. Bring to them people who can help and who can offer the light of your hope. And where possible, give us the privilege of being your hands, your feet, and your heart that we might minister and care for others in your name. May your peace be tangible and real to every person, and may it be felt in the hearts, minds, and spirits of all this Christmas.

Now, touch us with unearthly joy, like the singing of angels; fill us with wonder, like the hearts of children; and teach us to humble ourselves before you, like the worshiping magi.  May our journey to the manger be only the beginning of a lifetime of following you. We pray all these things in the name of the Christ child – Jesus – who taught us to pray saying:

Our Father, who art in heaven hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

12.28.13 Insight from Carol Cartmill

Carol Cartmill serves as the Executive Director of Adult Discipleship at The Church of the Resurrection.

Christmas is barely over and I’m already thinking about spring. Am I the only one? I’m looking forward to the day when seemingly dead trees, bulbs and plants will once again blossom with life. The days will grow longer and warmer, and the colors of the season will burst upon the scene. This rhythm of God’s amazing creation reminds me that given the right set of circumstances, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, all things are possible.

Cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is possible given the right conditions. The plants that we perceive as lifeless in the dead of winter require the sunshine, rain and warmth of spring to grow again. So what are the conditions that will bring about Spirit-induced growth in our lives? We must be intentional to expose ourselves to the One who has the power to bring about life in us—life that reflects love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

It’s so simple, really. We must choose to engage in the regular practice of spiritual disciplines like worship, prayer, Bible study, small group fellowship, serving others, solitude and fasting. These are for us the sunshine, the rain and the soil nutrients needed to cultivate the Spirit’s fruit in our lives. Over time, we begin to blossom into the people God intends for us to become. Those beautiful inner-qualities become reality, and we reflect a faith that looks to others as inviting as spring.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

12.27.13 Insight from Chris Folmsbee

Chris Folmsbee is Resurrection’s Director of Group Life.  He is the author of several books, with an extensive background in applying principles of spiritual growth to real life. He, his wife Gina and their family have been attending Resurrection since 2008.

Scholars debate as to all of the reasons behind Jesus’ expression of anger found in our reading today in Mark 10:13-16.  Was it the disciple’s lack of compassion that set Jesus off?  Was it their relatively small view of the Kingdom of God that caused Jesus to express frustration?  Perhaps it was the simple act of blocking people from getting to Jesus when the disciples should already have learned that the Kingdom is for everyone? Was it the disciple’s inability to see an injustice (those who were considered lower in society), and then not posses the desire to correct it on their own? Did they think that Jesus was about to teach and therefore made his teachings priority over his blessings? It was likely all of the above and more.

My daughter, Megan, turned fourteen this past Saturday. Wow! Where did the time go? When she was three, my wife Gina and I took her into the hospital for surgery on the bridge of her mouth. Her upper teeth weren’t progressing properly and it was causing her some pain. Our dentist recommended she have a minor procedure to bolster the top row of teeth until her permanent teeth came in. While the surgery was indeed minor, and everything worked out as planned, it was a moment forever etched in my memory. The doctor asked, “Will you hold her as tightly as you can while I place this mask over her face?” So I did—I held her tightly and kept her from wiggling around so the doctor could do what he needed to do. He placed a mask over her face to put her under, and as he did I looked deep into her eyes. I could tell she was thinking, “Why are you letting them do this to me?!” There was Megan, completely dependent on my care and concern. Completely vulnerable, without any power of her own, and only the ability to trust me, she wiggled until she fell asleep.

“Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children. I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.” Jesus words call us to become like children, like the babies who were being brought to him for blessing—completely vulnerable, trusting and dependent. It is a child-like faith required for entrance into the Kingdom of God. It is the qualities of a child that actually position people to better understand and embody the difficult truths of Jesus. Little children have an untiring trust in those who care for them and love them. In what ways are you developing a child-like faith?

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

12.26.13 Insight from Rev. Glen Shoup

Rev. Glen Shoup is the Executive Pastor of Worship and Congregational Care pastor for those who have last names beginning with J – L.

When I read through today’s scripture passage, I’m certainly struck by the wide reach of Christ’s birth exemplified by the magi who followed the star (no small undertaking, as the fuller biblical narrative reveals; for unlike the nativity scenes that sit on many of our mantles, the wise men weren’t all huddled around with angels and shepherds but rather they likely followed the star for many months before arriving at the place where the then likely 1-2 year old Christ-child was).  I’m intrigued by the implication that other world religions (and likely the oldest in Zoroastrianism) were represented in the worshipping magi at the Christ-child’s feet.  And I’m informed by their model of what it truly means to worship; because the gold, frankincense and myrrh weren’t the real gifts—the real gift (and true worship) was their obedience in following the path to the Christ-child.  Worship isn’t ulitmately the size of our gift or how loud we sing—that’s all about praise and thanksgiving (which is what the gold, frankincense and myrrh were about)—and praise and thanksgiving matters but ultimately, that’s not worship.

Worship, in its highest and purest form, is obedience.  The wise men worshipped the Christ born at Christmas because they were obedient to the call and invitation of the star of Christmas and they did what was required—expending whatever resources and priorities were necessary—to come to where the Christ-child was and see this one born “king of the Jews”.  Now whether they continued to worship him after they left, we don’t know—but the fact that they disregarded Herod’s request to come back and tell him where the Christ-child was  would suggest they did because most people aren’t going to prioritize obedience to a message received in a dream over the clear message given by the provincial ruler.

And worshipping Christ-child followers like us would do well to take a cue from the magi as to the composition of true worship: it’s not ultimately the gifts we bring or the songs we sing when we gather in his house; its the level of obedience we live to his call and purposes when we leave his house.

But for me, what jumps out even more than what we learn from the magi in today’s reading, is what can be learned from the other character mentioned in today’s reading—Herod.

While there’s a lot that can be said about Herod the Great [almost all of it having to do with the fact that he wasn’t great, but was rather a megalomaniac who would let no threat–real or imagined–get in his way even if that meant murdering members of his own family, which he did some regularity] we must acknowledge that when it came to Christmas…Herod got it right.

Oh, I don’t mean he reacted to Christmas in the right way, for his reaction to Christmas—while predictable—was abhorrent. His reaction to the Christ-child being born was to try and get the magi to lead him to where Jesus was so he could ruthlessly kill him with the same tyrannical efficiency he’d demonstrated numerous times in the past. When the magi didn’t cooperate, Herod reacted by broadening the scope of his evil reaction and ordering every male child under the age of 2 in the region executed. So not for one second would I suggest that Herod’s reaction to Christmas was right—it was evil and greed at their apex.

But Herod’s unconscionable reaction to Christmas can’t obscure the fact that when it comes to what Christmas actually was and what Christmas actually meant…Herod got that part right. Herod recognized that there would be no way for his delusion of self-sovereignty to harmoniously co-exist with the Word becoming flesh. At some point, a choice as to which King of the Jews would be followed was going to have to be made.  One of them demonstrated his lordship by killing all that threatened him; the other demonstrated his lordship by forgiving all that threatened him. One sought to hold relentlessly to what never was his in the first place; the other freely laid aside what belonged to him from the beginning of time. One ruled with fear, the other ruled with love. One imposed death on others in a futile attempt to hold on to his own life; the other choose death for himself in an eternal mission to give life to all.

For Herod (and all of us who live in the delusion of our own lordship), the danger of the manger cannot be ignored; all other claims to sovereignty and lordship have been put on notice by a baby born to a couple of poor teenagers.  For Herod, the proclamation that the Word had become flesh and the Messiah had come was more than yuletide sentimentality, it was a confrontation to his belief that he was his own god and savior—and whatever else might be rightly said about Herod—at least Herod understood that Christmas truly proclaimed that The Lord has come…and that Lord is not us.

I wonder if when the tree is down and the creche is put away…I wonder if we’ll understand as clearly as Herod did the astounding assertion of Christmas–The Lord…The Christ–God-in-the-flesh–has come, Emmanuel has moved into the neighborhood and all other lords have been put on notice that their time will soon be coming to an end.

Joy to the World (and warning to all would-be self-appointed lords)…The Lord has come!

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

12.25.13 Insight from Rev. Steven Blair

Rev. Steven Blair is the Congregational Care pastor of Live Forward and Live Well Emotional Wellness Ministry. www.cor.org/liveforward

Today’s blog is a simple one. Read the Christmas Story. Read slowly and listen alertly. See what part jumps out to you.

Read Luke 2:1-20 two or three times today. If it helps, try this version from The Message:

2 1-5 About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

6-7 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

8-12 There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

13-14 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

15-18 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

19-20 Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

Merry Christmas!!!

Steven Blair
Pastor of Live Forward and Live Well

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

12.24.13 Insight from Shawn Simpson

Shawn Simpson serves as the Director of Technical Arts and Operations at The Church of the Resurrection’s West campus in Olathe, KS.

It’s Christmas Eve and as you’re reading this, there are hundreds of staff and volunteers at Resurrection campuses preparing to receive thousands of visitors and families.  This is literally the culmination of months of planning and work, prayerfully done to create an environment where people of all ages can enjoy an event celebrating the birth of a savior.  Rain, sleet, snow, ice, and anything in between can’t keep our doors closed for Candlelight Christmas Eve services.

As one of those people charged with the planning and execution of CCE services, I can tell you first-hand about the effort it takes to bring it all together.  I can tell you about the endless hours of meetings to discuss the logistics of the parking lot.  I can tell you about the miles of travel searching for something that will stand out on the stage.  I can even tell you about how amazing it feels to finally see on a presentation, that months ago was a spark from the pages of a hardware store catalog.  I can tell you about virtually every piece that goes into what you experience at Resurrection on Christmas Eve.

But the most important thing I can tell you is that every bit of what we do is to share this amazing story with as many people as possible, in a way that will draw them closer to God and make them seek Him.  There’s no story greater than this one and it deserves to be told with majesty and impact.  A lighted tree, a starry night graphic, a pulsating star, and a medley of Christmas hymns don’t make an impact.  The impact comes when all of this is coupled with the scriptures telling the story of a young expectant couple on a difficult journey, ultimately delivering this gift from God in the most humble of circumstances.  All those elements are combined to transport the congregation into the wilderness of Mary and Joseph, and to see the star in the East guiding the way.  When it all works, it’s a fantastic feeling to experience and help create.

Today, I count my blessings for having the opportunity to serve alongside such a great team in an effort to bring the good news of our savior’s birth to as many people as possible.  The Candlelight Christmas Eve services may only span a couple of nights each year, but the impact of the story is felt forever.  Tonight, as we finish the last services and prepare to go home, we will pray for all the people who came through the doors, that they will carry the light into the world with them.  It may sound sappy and contrived, but believe it or not, that is ACTUALLY one of the driving forces behind those countless hours of meetings, preparations, and hard work.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

12.23.13 Insight from Jeanna Repass

Jeanna Repass serves as the Kansas City Missions Program Director at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.

I saw Jesus a few days ago. He was standing on the side of the off ramp from I-435 and Roe Avenue. He was holding a sign that said “Handyman, will do any sort of work. Please help.”

I was a few cars back in the line as we waited for the traffic light to change. As I reached for a few dollars – (no, not that $20 dollar bill – I might need that… here’s a few single $1 dollar bills) – I rolled my window down and beckoned at him with a flip of my wrist. As if rehearsed, he immediately came towards the car. He was limping and it was hard for him to come quickly, but he made it to the window before the light changed.

As I handed him the few loose bills, I began to say something to the effect of, “I don’t have any work for you, but I hope this helps…” when I stopped because he spoke first saying, “God bless you friend.”

“Friend?!?” It forced me to look at him – to really look at him. Was this someone I knew? Did he actually know me? So I looked him in the eyes – really into his eyes. They were an unusual color. I guess hazel would be the most accurate way to describe them. But they were also bright. They were not sad. They were not tired. They were… (could it be?…) they were smiling at me.

I paused long enough to ask if he had a warm place to sleep that night and he said, yes he was just fine and then he blessed me again and the traffic light changed. I know it sounds cliché to say that Jesus was the homeless man on the corner on a cold winter afternoon. It could have been an Angel or it could have simply been a person down and out who was cleverly begging using a sign that said he was available for work. But the reason I believe it was Jesus was because in that moment between the meetings that I was running to and from, with a car load of presents that I had purchased for a needy inner city family, with my mind racing – full of lists of tasks, and my Blackberry in my hand blinking at me that I had new emails to read – this man blessed me and made me look at him.

For thirty seconds at that stop light, I looked into this man’s eyes and saw light into my own (self-inflicted or self-indulgent) darkness. Christmas is not about how many meetings I can squeeze in before I take a few days off (I’m a very busy person you see…). Christmas is not about the presents that I shopped for to benefit those poor kids that I was helping. Christmas is about God’s light shining into the darkness. God’s light that allows us to know Him – to see Him.  “In him was life,[b] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness,[c] and the darkness has not overcome it.14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, the only Son,[a] who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” John 1: 4-5; 18. Blessed and joyous Christmas to all. Amen.

 

.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

12.21.13 Insight from Dave Robertson

Dave Robertson is the Director of Community Life at The Church of the Resurrection’s West Campus.

My wife Diane and I just attended the 7:00 pm showing of It’s a Wonderful Life at the AMC Town Center.  We love to see the classics on the big screen when we get a chance.  In the last couple of years we’ve seen, in the same theater, To Kill a Mockingbird, Singing in the Rain, Casablanca, and The Birds.

Several thoughts ran through my mind as I once again experienced It’s a Wonderful Life.  The first thing that struck me was how George Bailey continued to sacrifice his dreams for the betterment of others.  There were times he really had to think it through, like the decision to become the head of the Building and Loan, or allowing his brother Harry to go to work in another town for his father-in-law.  The one that really struck me was on the day of his marriage when there was a run at the banks, he and Mary, without a second thought, gave everything they owned, $2,000, for the sake of everyone in the town.  In so doing, he was a living witness to everyone of self-less giving.

It’s not just the action of giving everything he had that struck me.  It was the fact he didn’t even have to think about it.  When God fills our lives with his goodness, that’s the way it becomes with us.  We simply respond out of the goodness of our hearts.  That is righteousness and justice Isaiah talks about in 9:7.  Whenever we act justly and righteously, we reflect God’s light to the world in beautiful ways.  In Matthew 5:14, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.”  That is what we were created to be.

George Bailey was the light of his community, shining brightly and he didn’t even know it.  He sacrificed his life for the lives of everyone in Bedford Falls and only discovered it when he got his life back.  Jesus said, in Matthew 10:39, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”  George lost the life he always dreamed to discover he had found something much more valuable.  He truly was the richest man in town.

Jesus says, in Matthew 20:28, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Jesus knew his mission from the beginning.  It was to be a glorious mission, but not one of earthly wealth, power and influence, but one of service, sacrifice and ultimately suffering.  But through the darkness of death comes the glory of unending peace, justice and righteousness.  A light dawns.  A new day of unending joy is born:

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

Jesus knew the way wasn’t through earthly wealth, but through a cross.  Not a earthly king, but a heavenly one.

 

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

12.20.13 Insight from Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 6th-grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group & a men’s group, and serves on the Curriculum team.

While pondering today’s Scripture, I thought it might be wise to chat with Mr. Burr, a reformed member of Renegades United to Steal, Thieve, Loot, Embezzle, Ransack, & Swipe.  (Find them under R.U.S.T.L.E.R.S. on the NASDAQ)

DL: Mr. Burr, tell us about your former organization.

Mr. Burr: Please call me Rob.  With the plethora of stories about stupid criminals or dumb crimes, we can have the impression that thieves are really not all that dangerous.

Like the story of the 2 thieves driving a 14-foot-tall stolen semi down the highway.  They come a bridge that is 12-feet high.  The one thief furtively looks around and says, “I don’t see any cops.  Floor it!”

Even though R.U.S.T.L.E.R.S. spent very little on office supplies, our entity was very organized.  Our objective on behalf of our clients was to ensure that people were in a constant state of dissatisfaction, irritation, or frustration.

For example, let’s say you were content with your job.  We’d plant a story or some Facebook posting of someone in another career making more money or with more perks.  Presto.  Now our friend is dissatisfied and is more susceptible to a crooked “get rich quick” scheme or some other form of corruption that our clients might be pursuing.

DL: Jesus discusses the idea that thieves might disrupt our enjoyment of an abundant life.  What do you think He meant?

Rob Burr: I think the abundant life can be considered as a life full of love; love for God, love for yourself, and love for others. Thieves want to disrupt this Eden-esque existence.

We could interrupt one’s devotion to God by planting doubts about God’s love for us (with Jesus’ death on the cross, you’d think this would be impossible – but it is surprisingly easy at times), or illustrating the hypocrisy of Christians (low-hanging fruit, since every Christian is imperfect), or even filling one’s schedule with so many activities that worshipping God is a burden (Like those that decide it is too cold to venture out for church but would later sit outside for an hour-long soccer game.).

Disrupting one’s love for self is even easier.  If it seems that you are virtually inundated with a constant stream of messaging emphasizing your weaknesses, shortcomings, or less-desirable attributes – it isn’t your imagination; it is all by design.

And then we strive to interrupt one’s care for others.  We can quickly create an atmosphere of disdain, distrust, or just disinterest in others, by encouraging selfish thoughts & behavior, creating envy, or just shutting out the needs of others.

DL: So how do we combat these thieves?

Rob Burr: First remember that God is large & in charge; thieves may occasionally have their victories, but it is always fleeting & temporary.  Second, God thinks you are the top of the heap, pick of the pack, & the cream of the crop.  You are His & He is thrilled.  Finally, you were created with special gifts that are absolutely essential to His Kingdom; you are His #1 draft pick & He can’t wait to see what you can do.

DL: So, as we wrap up, I have to ask, what made you change your ways?

Rob Burr: I ran across an old legend of a gang of thugs led by a man named Dismas.  This gang encountered Joseph, Mary & the baby Jesus as they were fleeing to Egypt to avoid King Herod’s decree to kill all the male infants.  The gang was set to rob & kill the small family, but something about the Christ child made Dismas stop.  He ordered that no harm must come to this family.  As they left, he looked at Jesus and said, “If there ever comes a time for having mercy on me, then remember me, and forget not this hour.”  Dismas, the story goes, would meet Jesus again. At Calvary.  He was the thief hanging on the cross beside Jesus who asked Jesus to remember him.  Jesus, replies, “…you will be with me in Paradise.”

Hearing that story made me want to know more about this man named Jesus.  So, I started reading the Bible & attending church, joined a small group of believers, and now celebrate everyday that I am honored to be counted as one of His followers.

I guess you could say I’m still in the crime business – but now I’m helping rob people of their fears, their doubts, & their despair.  If He could do this for me, just imagine what He could do for you.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.