By all accounts, Eddie Jaku should have lived a miserable life. The 101-year-old man has a different title. He is “the happiest man in the world.” Jaku described himself as German first and Jewish second. In 1939, Jaku watched Jewish stores and synagogues burn due to Nazi atrocities. When he returned home from school, authorities sent him to Buchenwald concentration camp. He escaped, but was arrested again and sent to Dachau. But he survived. After the war, he found his wife and started his family. That family now includes many great-grandchildren, whom he calls “his blessings.” One of the significant errors of life is that circumstances shape our happiness. Paul knew differently. He found joy amid desperate circumstances. Out of prison, he preached: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4) No matter what happens in your life, joy comes from God, not ease. When life feels miserable, take the time to rejoice. It’s his great gift. -Robert G. Taylor-
Terry Wogan knows what it’s like to speak to multitudes. Wogan is a veteran BBC broadcaster. For forty years, he has hosted the Radio 2 breakfast show. It has quite a following. Most surveys say the audience is over nine million listeners. But that’s not how he sees it. An interviewer asked him, “how many listeners do you have?” “Only one.” He explained his answer. Even though 9 million people listened, Wogan spoke to every listener as if they were the only one. That is what made him listenable. The world comprises 7.7 billion people scattered over the globe. But God doesn’t deal with humanity, only individuals. Jesus reminded his listeners: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6–7) When God speaks through his word, he is not speaking to humanity. He’s talking to you. It is the one by one who God wants to redeem. He wants individuals to obey him. You are his only audience. It is the one by one who God wants to save. When you read your Bible, realize that God is talking only to you. Now, will you hear it? -Robert G. Taylor-
You can’t miss Tyrone Lamont Allen with his prominent face tattoo. It made him look like the “most likely” suspect to the police. He was arrested and jailed for a bank robbery committed years before. The judge saw more than a crime. He saw a young man who had spent three years working to help young people stay away from the same offense that he had committed and wished he hadn’t. The judge wanted to give him another chance. Allen made this statement to the court: “I’m here to accept responsibility for my actions. I come from a really hard background and am trying to change. People never gave up on me when I gave up on myself. They pushed me to be a better person. And today, I know I’m a better person.” Redemption came because he wanted to change. In John 8, Jesus faced a snarling mob wanting to make a woman a pawn in a power play. Do they stone her for adultery, or was Jesus saying, “ignore the law.” He told them, “let him without sin cast the first stone.” It cleared the square of accusers. The woman stood alone. Jesus asked if anyone condemned her and, then spoke words of redemption: “She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”” (John 8:11). God takes the sinner, buys him back from sin, and then points him in the right direction. Redemption is a second chance when we don’t deserve one. How will you use your redemption? -Robert G. Taylor-
The body of Christ transcends buildings. Yet, it is easy to loosen our belief of the essential nature of the church in our lives. How do we light the fire again. Speaker: Tim Lewis Subscribe in iTunes Subscribe on YouTube
Sometimes, the wrong word causes embarrassment. But on another occasion, it almost caused a calamity. At Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, a flight controller assigned an EasyJet flight headed to Spain to prepare for takeoff on runway 09r. The parallel runway, 09L was clear for the landing a United Airlines jet coming from New York. As the United plan approached, the radio crackled with instructions. But the controller said the wrong thing. He told the pilot to land on 09R, on a head-on collision with the other jet. The EasyJet pilot asked the obvious question, “why?” It was then, that the controller caught his mistake and waved off the incoming plane. The two airliners were just 300 feet from disaster. Words can either connect people or destroy connections, depending on their use or abuse. The wise man counseled, “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 29:20) To speak without sifting your language is courting disaster. Stop and ask, “do I need to say that?” Then, your well-formed word will say what you intend to say. -Robert G. Taylor-
So many come to a church building but have little personal connection with the God they come to worship. How can we bring back the luster of God’s presence in our lives on a daily basis?
We view our lives through the yardstick of years. We mark them with birthday candles on a cake or a “date of birth” on official documents. We need to change our measure of life. What happens when you bring it down to weeks? The average human being lives 4000 weeks. The number seems large until you start to use them. If you get out of college at 21, you have used over a quarter of them. Retirement at 65 means you have burned through 3380 weeks. For me, I have used up 3428 weeks. It was Moses that gave voice to the swiftness of life. “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10) Then he counsels, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Take a moment and let this sink in. Time passes faster than we imagine (and seems to speed up with the years). Unless we take stock of our lives in the time we have, we may miss what we can do for the Lord. So, what will you do with this week? -Robert G. Taylor-
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Many marriages found difficult times in the last year. How do we make marriage the cornerstone of an effective family and spiritual life?
For fifty years, Europe has sped down the autobahn of secular thought. Cathedrals do not contain worshippers, but sightseers. That is especially true about East Berlin. Freed from communist rule, it embraced an “anything goes” view of the world. It is not too surprising a new worship center opened called The House of One. It is not what you expect from a place that proclaims it is a place to worship. Using the codewords of “relevance” and “connections,” The House of One embraces all beliefs. The door is open to God, Jesus, Allah, and whatever philosophical system someone holds in its walls. Those who believe in “one God” receive an icy reception. One theologian at the center said, “This is not a club for monotheistic religions—we want others to join us.” The danger of believing as you want is ever-present. It was chiseled in marble or cast in bronze in the ancient world. Now it slips through world views taken for granted. But, the truth that gets ignored is the truth that can save. Jesus told his disciples: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) While those words form too narrow a thought for the world, they serve as the door to eternity. We must choose the way to follow. -Robert G. Taylor-