The Day After Easter

Where fear and dread had marked the day before now wonder and questions marked the day after.  Soon Jesus would appear to over 500 disciples before His ascension.  God would use that sense of quandary to renew their minds for the changes about to take place.  Soon that which Jesus died for would be enabled.  God would be able to indwell men by His Spirit. 

Previously, God had been able to move through men and speak to them through visions and dreams but their fallen nature prevented an intimate indwelling.  Now with the sacrifice and redemption by Christ’s blood, man was justified by grace and God’s Spirit could now enter men and change them from within.  No longer would He speak to them on tablets of stone but engrave Himself on their hearts.

We will follow that experience of the disciples in our own family of faith over the next few weeks.  We will walk with them through Pentecost and renew within ourselves what it means to be indwelt by His Spirit and a part of His church. 

Pray to the Father that He may speak to us richly.


Multi-Generation Households Are Back

According to a new Pew Research Center® analysis of census data, the multi-generational American family household is staging a comeback, showing that from 2007 to 2008, the number of Americans living in a multi-generational family household grew by 2.6 million.

As of 2008, a record 49 million Americans, or 16.1 percent of the total U.S. population, lived in a family household that contained at least two adult generations or a grandparent and at least one other generation. This represents a significant trend reversal. In 1940, about a quarter of the population lived in one; by 1980, just 12 percent did. The reversal — an increase of 33 percent — has taken place among all major demographic groups, and it, too, appears to be the result of a mix of social and economic forces.

Older adults were once, by far, the likeliest of any age group to live in a multi-generational family household. Back in 1900, 57 percent of adults ages 65 and older did so. But over the course of the 20th century, older adults grew steadily healthier and more prosperous as a result of a range of factors, including programs such as Social Security and Medicare, as well as improvements in medical care.

However, older adults are not the age groups most responsible for the overall trend reversal since 1980. That distinction belongs instead to young adults — especially those ages 25 to 34. In 1980, just 11 percent of adults in this age group lived in a multi-generational family household. By 2008, 20 percent did. Among adults 65 and older, the same share — 20 percent — lived in such a household in 2008. However, the rise for this group has been less steep. Back in 1980, 17 percent lived in a multi-generational family household.

The trend toward older median ages for first marriage is a big part of this long-term shift among younger adults. But, in recent years, the economy appears to have played a significant role. Just from 2007 to 2008, the share of adults ages 25 to 34 living in such households rose by a full percentage point from 18.7 percent to 19.8 percent.

According to a recent Pew Research Center analysis, as of 2009 some 37 percent of 18- to-29-year-olds were either unemployed or out of the workforce, the highest share among this age group in nearly four decades. In addition, a 2009 survey by Pew Research found that among 22- to 29-year-olds, one-in-eight say that, because of the recession, they have boomeranged back to live with their parents after being on their own.

Be Polite

An army corporal needed to use a pay-phone but didn’t have change for a dollar. He saw a lower-ranking private mopping the base’s corridor floors, and asked him, "Soldier, do you have change for a dollar?"
The private replied, "Yeah, sure."
The corporal turned red and quickly reprimanded the private, "That’s no way to address a superior officer in the army! It is ‘Sir’ and nothing else. Are we clear? Now let’s try it again. Private, do you have change for a dollar?"
The private glanced at the corporal and replied, "No, SIR!"

Watch those manners.  Michael

What Happened Today Is Good. Really!

The story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, "This is good!"
One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, "This is good!" To which the king replied, "No, this is not good!" and proceeded to send his friend to jail.
About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.
As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. "You were right," he said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off." And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. "And so, I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this."
"No," his friend replied, "This is good!"
"What do you mean, ‘This is good’? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?"
"If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you."

You never know.  Michael

Saving Babies

We can all help save lives by donating blood. But James Harrison, a 74-year-old man from Australia, has a very special type of blood—and thanks to his many donations through the years, he’s saved the lives of over two million babies.

Harrison, who’s been nicknamed “the man with the golden arm” due to his rare genetic gift, has an antibody in his blood plasma that can help babies with a sometimes fatal form of anemia called Rhesus disease. Over the years, he’s made 984 blood donations, which have been used to help hundreds of thousands of pregnant women treat their fetus’ condition.

Never underestimate the gift of giving blood.  Michael

Well Said

I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotion, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me…my banner will be clear!"

Dr. Robert Moorehead

Well said. Michael.

Don’t Rush the Surgeon

What if I we’re going to go under a surgeon’s knife to redo my face—but I wanted to stay awake during the operation so that I could freely give out my counsel to the surgeon—and tell him to hurry! Hurry! If he was to start hacking and slashing at my urging—what kind of an outcome do you think I’d get?

"Well, doctor this isn’t what we agreed on! Shouldn’t my nose be a little more centered on my face?"
God is doing a work in you/me that will last eternity. The process is delicate: it takes time, but the outcome is worth the enduring!

When you make a carving of a lion, you chip off everything that doesn’t look like a lion! That’s what God is doing in His Extreme Makeover of us—He is chipping off everything that doesn’t look like His Son!

Let God do His job.  Michael

This One Hurts

Theologian Helmut Thielicke said, "A salty pagan, full of the juices of life, is a hundred times dearer to God, and also far more attractive to men, than a scribe who knows his Bible…in whom none of this results in repentance, action, and above all, death of the self. A terrible curse hangs over the know-it-all who does nothing."

A Good Story about a Good Man

Kim Chin-kyung (now known as James Kim) was just 15 when he went to war in 1950, serving for the South Korean army. He was ready to fight to defend his country from the Chinese and North Korean forcesbut on the battlefield in Seoul, their armies were too powerful for his unit to overcome. Many of the 800 soldiers in Kims unit were killed by enemy fire. When a bullet hit Kim, he was sure he would be killed.

So Kim prayed for his lifeand made a promise to God. “If you save my life, I would like to live for my present enemies, the North Koreans and Chinese, to save their lives, not kill them,” he said.

Kim was one of only 17 soldiers in his unit to survive the massacre. After returning home, he went back to school in Seoul, then traveled to Great Britain and the United States for further studies. He became a successful business mogul with a chain of fashion shops in Florida. But all the while, he never forgot about the promise he had made.

Kim founded the Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST) in 1992, and he and his wife moved into the dormitory building, living only steps away from the school’s students. Kim forged a strong bond with his students, and encouraged them to give back to their communities as he had: the program required each student to volunteer at nursing homes and orphanages. This unique community service aspect, combined with instruction from highly qualified professors, has made YUST one of China’s top universities.

Here’s to all the Kim’s in the world.  Michael

Good News About Stress for a Change

The results seem counter-intuitive: after all, don’t we usually hear that high blood pressure and heart attacks are often brought on by stress? For people with constantly stressful jobs, or difficult family situations, that is indeed the case. But incidents of short-term stress that are quickly resolved have the opposite effect, inspiring the body to quickly repair itself.

Periodic bursts of stress won’t just help you recover more quickly from illnesses—according to Edward Masoro, a physiology professor emeritus at the University of Texas, “it stands to reason that it would slow down aging.”

So how can you make sure that you’re enduring the right sort of stress?

1. Keep track of your stress level on a 1-10 scale each day. If it comes in at 5 or higher for two straight days, make some time to take part in relaxing activities that you enjoy.
2. Have an adventure. New and exciting activities, such as rock climbing or going to a party where you don’t know anyone, can stimulate short bursts of stress, which will have a positive effect on your body.
3. Create a “What-I’ve-done” list. Focusing only on what needs to be accomplished can lead to long-term stress, so make sure that you remind yourself of your accomplishments on a regular basis to lighten your mood.
4. Try new sensations. Next time you go to a restaurant, try the spiciest dish that you can handle. It may be tough at first, but it’s a great way to kick-start your immune system into overdrive.
5. Exercise. You don’t need to run a marathon to see the effects—any exercise that makes you sweat will give you the stress you need to fix the damage in your body.

Keep stress in manageable chunks.  Remember how you eat an elephant.  Michael

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