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Nietos y mentoría Cristiana

Reflexiones ministeriales del lunes
Por el reverendo Mark William Ennis
2021 Blog Número 42
18 de octubre de 2021

Nietos y mentoría Cristiana

Mi nieto menor tenía dos años esta semana. En sólo unos meses mi mayor tendrá tres años. No parece posible que hace cerca de tres años mi vida cambió para mejor con la llegada de un nieto. Realmente no pensé que era lo suficientemente mayor para ser abuelo.

A veces no me doy cuenta de cuánto han cambiado estos dos tipos hasta que miro las fotos antiguas. Cuando los veo, me doy cuenta de lo increíblemente que estos han crecido y transformado. Recuerdo el pasado y veo el presente. ¿Cuál será el futuro de estos dos muchachos?

Les he ayudado a caminar. Les he animado a hablar palabras claras y he trabajado en modales de mesa y en un discurso cortés. Ahora estoy ayudando a los padres a enseñarles cómo usar un armario de agua correctamente para que los gastos de pañal sean cosa del pasado.

¿Y su fe? ¿Puedo ser un maestro bueno y fiel de la fe cristiana en estos muchachos? Mi fe y mi vida, por imperfecta que sean, serán eficaces para dibujar estos dos en la fe, la vida y la comunión cristianas. Por supuesto, no sólo yo trabajaré en este resultado. Los padres, abuelos y la comunidad congregacional también esperarán y lucharán por esta meta. Para formular una frase, realmente “se necesita una aldea” para ayudar a un niño a convertirse en discípulo de Jesús

Sí, todos estaremos animando a los niños a venir a adorar. Sí, estamos leyendo historias de la Biblia a los niños. Por supuesto, estamos orando por, y con, los niños, y enseñándoles a orar. Más que eso, todos estamos esforzándonos por ser buenos modelos de lo que los cristianos adultos actúan y suenan. Agradezco que otros muestren estos ejemplos. A menudo me falta de actuar como un caballero cristiano debe actuar.

Conozco el pasado y conozco el presente de estos chicos. ¿Cuál será el futuro para ellos? No lo sé. Depende de Dios. Haré todo lo que pueda por un buen resultado y estoy seguro de que Dios estará bendiciendo nuestros buenos esfuerzos y corrigiéndonos cuando estemos fuera del curso. ¿El resultado final? Sólo Dios lo sabe. Yo trabajaré como si todo estuviera a mi altura y oraré como si todo estuviera a la altura de Dios.

#ClintonAvenueReformedChurch                         #ReformedChurchInAmerica                    

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#Grandsons                                                              #Discipleship

#ChristianMentoring                                                #Prayer                                 

Para leer más de los escritos del Pastor Mark, por favor pida una copia de su libro:https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

No Excuses

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

No Excuses
October 18, 2021

Read: Romans 2:1-22

Therefore you have no excuse . . . (v. 1)

One of the good manners my kindergarten teacher taught was to never point a finger at another. “When you do,” she said, “three of your own fingers point back at you.” When the more religious readers of Paul’s letter saw the list of sins and types of sinners in chapter 1, they may have been tempted to pile on the judgment, pointing out the worst in others. Author Steven Covey observes this human tendency, “We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior.”

Imagine their surprise when Paul said they are no better, without excuse, because they “practice the very same things” (v. 1). Perhaps they did not commit the exact same sins, but the essence of all sin is the same: sin exchanges the truth of God for a lie (Rom. 1:25). Sin is sin. No excuses. No comparing, as if to look at one convicted of a crime and say, “At least I’m not that bad.” If we think God will let us off the hook because our sin is “less,” we “presume on the riches of his kindness” (Rom. 2:4) and end up under his wrath (v. 5).

What can be done to overcome the finger-pointing mentality? An honest assessment of ourselves in light of the unmatched beauty, glory, and holiness of God. There we find how far we have fallen and how much we are loved. First John 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, honestly confess your sin and be forgiven.

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Never Enough

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Never Enough
October 17, 2021

Read: Romans 1:18-31

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie. (v. 25)

How did we become experts at sin? Paul described the path sin takes once we start down its journey. First, though, the majesty of creation is meant to reveal God’s glory to us (v. 20). We were created in God’s image, for relationship with God and each other (Genesis 1-2). Next, we rejected that glory, listened to Satan’s lie, and exchanged God’s glory for something else (v. 23). This is what happened when Adam and Eve ate the fruit God said not to eat (Genesis 3). For us, it might be money, possessions, relationships, experiences, or the like. Whatever we exchange for God cannot satisfy the God-created space in our souls.

Finally, “God gave them up” (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28) to increasing depths of sin. When we exchange God’s glory for a lie, we will never be satisfied. Sin is a cruel master that always wants more. Anything that replaces God in our lives will never be enough. Left to ourselves we descend into all manner of evil (v. 29).

That is hard to take. And yet, while “God gave them up” to all manner of sin, God does not give up on them. And he doesn’t give up on us. Paul later wrote, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift” (Rom. 3:23-24). We are completely lost, but Jesus is the Good Shepherd who looks for lost sheep (Luke 15:4). —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, ask God to remind you of his glory in Jesus.

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Not Ashamed

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Not Ashamed
October 16, 2021

Read: Romans 1:1-17

I am eager to preach the gospel to you also. (v. 15)

I can still see the joyful smiles of the men’s choir from Teen Challenge, a ministry to young people in difficult life situations. They radiated our sanctuary with white-hot faith once each year, sharing testimonies and singing at the top of their lungs. Their voices reached a crescendo whenever they sang the chorus of a then-contemporary song: “No way, we are not ashamed of the gospel or his name.” A transformed life is eager to testify.

That is the essence of Paul’s declaration, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (v. 16). He once persecuted Christians and approved stoning them (Acts 8-9). That’s plenty to be ashamed of. Jesus found him and transformed him from a persecutor to a preacher. That’s why he felt an “obligation” and was “eager to preach the gospel” (Rom. 1:14-15) to people in Rome and the nations beyond. He wanted all to know they can be like him: once full of shame, now redeemed by God’s grace.

In this letter to Rome, Paul spelled out both the complete lostness of human beings apart from God and the amazing grace that is available to everyone who believes in Jesus and receives God’s gift of salvation. It is for Jews and Gentiles, the religious and the not religious. We all need a Savior. In Christ, we all can have one. The good news is for everyone, “including you” (v. 6). —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, thank God for those who told you the gospel.

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Give God No Rest

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Give God No Rest
October 15, 2021

Read: Luke 11: 5-12

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (v. 9)

“Friend, lend me three loaves . . .” From within the house an irritated voice calls out, “Go away!” But the neighbor won’t go away. This guy is maddeningly persistent. His horsefly annoyance finally wears down the sleeper, who gets up and gives him some bread. It’s a funny story Jesus tells on the road to Jerusalem.

But it is also a painful story, because it flies in the face of our common human experience. Granted, sometimes our prayers are answered in wonderful ways. But sometimes we ask, seek, and knock to no avail. The sick person we pray for does not get well. The sick marriage we pray for dissolves in divorce. What Jesus says here about prayer seems to contradict our own experience.

I will concede that there does come a time when God makes it clear that our prayer requests will not, cannot, be fulfilled. But until God makes that clear, I will keep praying. I will keep asking, seeking, knocking. “You who put the LORD in remembrance—give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem,” said Isaiah (62:6-7). What a thing to say: give God no rest! But that is what I propose to do. If a grouchy sleepyhead will answer a midnight knock just to get some peace and quiet, how much more readily will God open the door to his children and supply their more desperate needs? —Lou Lotz

As you pray, keep asking, seeking and knocking for what you need.

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Life for All

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Life for All
October 14, 2021

Read: Acts 11:1-18

Who was I that I could stand in God’s way? (v. 17)

Peter had some explaining to do. When he returned home with news of having baptized Gentiles into the church, some in the church were dismayed. They were Jewish people, after all, and Christianity was the fulfillment of the Jewish faith. How dare Peter disregard the sacred traditions?

However, as Peter told the story, it became clear to all that it was God’s decision to welcome Gentiles. Judaism was the cultural and religious tradition of all the apostles. It must have felt impossible to let it go. However, as Peter’s story reveals, sometimes openness to the movement of the Spirit means loosening our grip on our traditions, for the sake of extending our arms to others.

Judaism was both a faith and an ethnicity. With few exceptions, one was born into Judaism. The Spirit’s call toward embracing the whole world meant that Christianity could not afford to be an ethnicity or a culture. Rather, it must transcend ethnicity and infuse all cultures. Along with Peter, we are invited into a faith that refuses to be held captive by any one ethnic or cultural group, embracing and transforming all.

After this conversation with Peter, the book of Acts pivots: now the apostles travel to the ends of the earth, sharing the gospel. To fulfill this call to share the gospel, Christians are first called to let go of the need for our faith to fit neatly into our own cultural traditions and expectations. —Amy Curran

As you pray, ask the Spirit for openness.

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Made Clean

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Made Clean
October 13, 2021

Read: Acts 10:9-33

What God has made clean, do not call common. (v. 15)

Today we join Peter in prayer on a rooftop in the city. It had been a weary day of travel, and Peter was hungry and tired. I have sometimes wondered if it was his hunger that caused Peter to see a vision of unclean animals, coming down from the sky!

Three times, this vision happened in the same way, and Peter was baffled. What could it mean? He had been a practicing Jew all his life. He would never consider handling that which was unclean. He didn’t have long to ponder, though, because God told him. The vision wasn’t just about meat, but about people. And it was repeated three times—it’s not as though the calling card was unfamiliar! Peter was called by God to share the good news of Jesus with the Gentiles. God was making it clear that the resurrection is not just for Israel, but for the whole world. This was astounding news for those who had always been “God’s chosen people.” God was doing a new thing: in Jesus, God chooses the whole world.

Along with Peter, we see the long trajectory of the Christian faith take shape, just as Jesus said it would, and as the tongues of fire foreshadowed. The Spirit is constantly inviting the church to open its arms wider and wider—to expand and grow through welcoming all people, even those who are quite different from us, into the wide mercy of God. —Amy Curran

As you pray, ask God to show you who you are called to welcome in Jesus’ name.

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Something like Scales

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Something like Scales
October 12, 2021

Read: Acts 9:1-19

Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized. (v. 18)

Saul was a main persecutor of the church. He supervised Stephen’s death and made it his personal mission to kill as many Christians as possible. Saul’s extreme zeal was met with an extreme vision: Jesus himself came to Saul along the Damascus road. Imagine Saul’s shock! Humbled and blinded by this encounter, Saul was led by the hand like a child into the city, knowing only that his life as he knew it had changed.

While it must have been difficult to be in Saul’s position, it must have been very hard for Ananias too. It is incredible to imagine receiving a direct message from God to seek out the man who wants to destroy you so you can heal him. Remarkably, Ananias not only goes, but addresses Saul as “brother.”

From the story of Saul’s conversion, we learn that following Jesus gives hope for everyone—no person is “too far gone.” In fact, it seems that Jesus takes particular joy in choosing the least likely prospects as his followers. Since this is the case, we learn along with Ananias that we can never write someone off. Rather, we welcome folks with open arms as our sisters and brothers, and watch in wonder as the power of Jesus transforms their life. —Amy Curran

As you pray, ask God to help you see others as your sisters and brothers.

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One Young Man Lived and One Young Man Died

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

2021 Blog Number 41

October 11, 2021

One Young Man Lived and One Young Man Died

My Sunday afternoons are usually a mixture of happiness and fatigue. I’m happy after worship and the chance to interact with congregation members. I always feel fatigue when the adrenalin declines. I’m usually seeking a nap but that does not often come.

This Sunday was different. I received two notifications, one on Facebook and the other on email. Each of these caused me grief and sadness. My Sunday afternoon was not the one that I expected.

The Facebook notification was from a young man in the church who had a friend who had died suddenly. This young man had suffered from seizures. In fact, he almost died a year ago. During a seizure he stopped breathing. Fortunately, he was at the home of a nurse who quickly performed CPR and saved his life. Now, a year later, a massive seizure struck him. This kind young man, full of life and wanting to live, died suddenly.

The email I received from a young woman in the church was from an acquaintance of hers. This young man, suffering from a bi-polar disorder had sent out an email to his family and friends. This email was his will and was a time-dated email to go out after his death by suicide. In theory the email would go out after his death. God had other ideas. A friend of the young man thwarted his suicide attempt. The young man who wanted to die, lived.

In one period of a few hours, I learned of a man who wanted to live and died and one young man who wanted to die but lived. How is one to make sense of this? I really don’t know. Perhaps there is no sense to be made of this. Maybe I’m not supposed to understand. That is not my job. My job is to be the real presence of Christ to those who grieve a death and a suicide attempt. I don’t have to understand, I have to be there as a Godly presence to those involved. Life often makes no sense. There are tragedies that will boggle our minds in this life. I’m glad that I don’t have to understand. I only have to represent Christ in the midst of these crises and walk the dark valley with them.

God does not require my understanding but God does require me to stand with the grieving as they grieve. Please, join me in praying for those stricken by these events and the two men involved; the one who lived and the one who died.

#ClintonAvenueReformedChurch                         #ReformedChurchInAmerica                    

#Grief                                                                         #Suicide

#Depression                                                             #Seizures                             

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Un joven vivió y murió un joven

Reflexiones ministeriales del lunes
Por el reverendo Mark William Ennis
2021 Blog número 41
11 de octubre de 2021

Un joven vivió y murió un joven

Mis tardes de domingo suelen ser una mezcla de felicidad y fatiga. Estoy feliz después de la adoración y la oportunidad de interactuar con los miembros de la congregación. Siempre siento fatiga cuando la adrenalina disminuye. Normalmente estoy buscando una siesta, pero no suele venir.

Este domingo fue diferente. Recibí dos notificaciones, una en Facebook y la otra por correo electrónico. Cada uno de estos me causó dolor y tristeza. Mi tarde de domingo no fue la que esperaba.

La notificación de Facebook fue de un joven en la iglesia que tenía un amigo que había muerto repentinamente. Este joven había sufrido convulsiones. De hecho, casi murió hace un año. Durante una convulsión dejó de respirar. Afortunadamente, estaba en la casa de una enfermera que rápidamente realizó la RCP y salvó su vida. Ahora, un año después, le golpeó una convulsión masiva. Este joven, lleno de vida y queriendo vivir, murió repentinamente.

El correo electrónico que recibí de una joven en la iglesia era de un conocido de ella. Este joven, que padecía un trastorno bipolar, había enviado un correo electrónico a su familia y amigos. Este correo electrónico era su voluntad y era un correo electrónico con fecha de hora para salir después de su muerte por suicidio. En teoría, el correo electrónico saldría después de su muerte. Dios tenía otras ideas. Un amigo del joven frustró su intento de suicidio. Vivía el joven que quería morir.

En un período de unas pocas horas, me enteré de un hombre que quería vivir y murió y de un joven que quería morir pero vivía. ¿Cómo se tiene sentido? Realmente no lo sé. Tal vez no tenga sentido hacerlo. Tal vez no se supone que lo entiendo. Ese no es mi trabajo. Mi trabajo es ser la presencia real de Cristo a aquellos que afligen una muerte y un intento de suicidio. No tengo que entender, tengo que estar allí como una presencia santa a los involucrados. La vida a menudo no tiene sentido.

Hay tragedias que aturdirán nuestras mentes en esta vida. Me alegro de no tener que entender. Solo tengo que representar a Cristo en medio de estas crisis y caminar por el valle oscuro con ellas.

Dios no requiere mi entendimiento, pero Dios me requiere estar de pie con el duelo mientras ellos lloran. Por favor, únanse a mí en la oración por los afectados por estos acontecimientos y los dos hombres involucrados; el que vivió y el que murió.

#ClintonAvenueReformedChurch                         #ReformedChurchInAmerica                    

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                         #BergenfieldNJ

#Grief                                                                         #Suicide

#Depression                                                             #Seizures                             

Para leer más de los escritos del Pastor Mark, por favor pida una copia de su libro:https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/