Saturday, June 11, 2011

A hot day in the South

It is my hope that all of you are taking good care of yourselves with the heat of the summer. I got to thinking of how our spiritual life can heat up as well. Many things become "perfected" with heat. We see many examples just with the elements of the earth. So I ask myself this question, will I be the one to wilt under the heat or grow stronger?
I have given up saying, "I can't believe it has been so long since I have written in this blog" but here I go again.
I got a post card from Titus. The heat is bad there also so he is heading home. Says he has some good words for us. GEE, I can't wait to read them!
Love, peace and blessings

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Don't Give Up

Many of you have expressed that you were giving something up for Lent. If you are like me, a couple of weeks into something, you either are used to the change or discouragement can set in. Do not fall for this! It is a trap!! I promise. You can do it, I have faith in you.

As a child, growing up Catholic, you were "required/expected", to give up something for Lent. If you did not know what to give up for Lent, the nuns were full of ideas and suggestions. They even tried to make it a game; you got to pick something out of a hat. The main suggestion always seemed to be chocolate. I always hoped I would get that one, as that was a piece of cake, pardon the pun. I just did not want a slip of paper to say, "barrel pickles". I don't know if the grocery stores in the south had barrel pickles but they were perfect. At age 9 or 10, I decided to give up pickles. It was a long Lenten season.

Then along came Vatican 2. Much like Titus, it brought change. The rules and regulations changed and it was now a time of encouragement to do something positive rather than giving something up. Often times, doing something positive can be tougher, for me a least. I usually try to focus my "positive" on a particular person. I think you get the drift.

The next part of Titus will be coming.I understand he is on vacation in Greece somewhere. But he is all prepared in the next segment to tell us how the "old law" had to be broken so the "new law" could be enforced. There are some good examples for us coming.
May God bless each and every one of you and may you find the joy and peace that you deserve.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

For You, My Brother John

As I have said, John Valentino had a deep admiration for Titus. Through John, I have had a chance to learn about Titus as well. He was a man that perhaps we all can learn to admire and see what John saw. It is said that we admire people by looking at their actions. Even 12 Step programs encourage us to find people who have what we want, and do what they do. I think this is what John was trying to do. In many ways, John was like a puzzle. Well, guess what? So was Titus!

Some people in history have volumes written about them. Their lives are considered an open book. This is not the case with Titus. So with Titus, we get to look deeper at the patterns of his life and the things with which he was entrusted. We can tell much about a person by what they are entrusted with; their ministry and how they carry out these responsibilities.

We can't look at Titus without taking a look at Paul. Paul wrote Epistles (letters) to different people. The letters were suited to the personality and qualities of the person(s) receiving them. Titus is mentioned several times other than in the book of Titus. In 2 Corinthians, Paul was writing to the church in Corinth, Greece. In chapter 7, Paul states, " Outside there was conflict from every direction and inside there was fear. But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus. His presence was a joy but so was the news he brought of the encouragement he received from you"

John, in an email to me, in part stated, "......but whenever I am downcast, invariably along comes Titus. At first Icould not find Titus but he was there. God always sends Titus. It is up to us to see him."

So, in this first part, let's look at: Titus was a man who traveled, he went where he was sent without question, he was sent into a place that was in very deep turmoil ( more on this in the next part) and he restored what was out of order. This was not an easy fix. It took time, patience and understanding. But it also took knowledge that he had to right some wrongs.
More to come!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Preface to Titus

Before the summer of 2009, if I had been asked to write or speak about any character in the Bible, chances are, Titus would have been on the bottom of the list. Why? Ignorance. What changes ignorance? Light/Exposure. And very often "light" comes in the form of other people.

John Valentino was my exposure to Titus. It really happened in a strange way. John and I had taught a couple of series together. This particular series on healing included, at John's planning, a night about Titus. The format of the teaching was, he taught half and I taught half. I figured I could "half Titus" with no problem! " Sorrow and Titus" was to be the 8th teaching of that series. A few weeks into the series, John informed me that he would be in Montana for two weeks. I was thrilled for him, as we both had a love for Montana. He then, with his beautiful smile, said, " I will be gone for Titus, but I will send you my notes." I heard my favorite expression," Oh Sweet Jesus" come from my mouth. John immediately encouraged me telling me everything was going to be fine. John was an encourager.

To make a long story short, the Titus notes were late due to John's work schedule, going to school and preparing for his trip. This was very unlike John, as he was always punctual. But it was like God, He knew I had some studying to do! John's notes finally arrived. When I saw the subject for the email, ""my notes for Titus and sorrow" I was elated! I opened it up and there staring me in the face was about 6 sentences. I had to laugh, before I hit panic mode!

So, I am going to be doing a mini "blog study" of Titus. I hope when it is finished you will see why John loved Titus. The truth is, if John Valentino would have looked in the mirror, I believe he would have seen Titus. He would have seen why Paul spoke of Titus the way he did, why Titus was used in the way he was.

Anyone who knew John Valentino loved him. I am not unique in feeling like a very important person in my life is gone. I know for a fact, there are many people sitting in Holy Cross MCC, and have followed the path of Christ because of the example of John. John was a man of humility. He never had to build himself up. He knew who he was, in Christ. Above that, he never had to tear anyone down, he knew who they were, in Christ. As I said, John was an encourager. He would spend time with people and make everyone feel like they were the most important person in his life. He loved the Lord, and had such reverence for Communion. I was most humbled to be able to consecrate Communion with him several times. John and I prayed often together. He and I had the same view on prayer. It is to be a personal conversation with the most important person(s) of our lives. When John and I would hold hands and pray, I could not help but look at him from time to time. His prayers were from the heart, simple, gentle. His eyes would often tear up and often there would be that gorgeous smile. Whatever came from his mouth traveled from his heart. John understood that in order for God to hear our prayers, God did not need a Thesaurus, nor ear plugs because He was being screamed at! All He needed was the love of a heart. A heart like John Valentino. What a legacy.
Thank you John, I love you!

Stay tuned....Titus Part 1 is coming!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

In the Works

Well, as I have often said, I am not a blogger! I promise this will change. I think I have all my settings and passwords correct now, so maybe this can be a "more often" event.
I have been working on some writings: "Do You Have a Favorite?" That was to be my subject for January. I have changed the flow.
Coming within the next few days, in memory of my "brother", John Valentino, I will be writing about John's favorite: Titus.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Take Out the Trash

Ok, so I am not a blogger. I admit it. I also do not believe in New Year's Resolutions, I admit it! I do believe in goals. Not too many mind you. Too many make me overwhelmed and I am at my worst when in that condition.
It is funny how the Lord works. Every year at this time, it seems we are "encouraged" to look into that closet and discard anything we have not worn in the past few years. Well, maybe next week! But the Lord worked in me, through my pantry. I am blessed to have a very large kitchen pantry. Too large. Too large for me means, you have no idea what in the world is in there. Well, I had a can that decided it had seen better days and sprang a leak! Of course it was hidden in the back corner, I don't look in the corners of my pantry very often. From my Italian relatives, I know better than to leave tomato anything in a pantry too long. Acid and metal do tend to divorce chemically after a while. So, for the past few hours I have been throwing out and scrubbing. The contents of my pantry is all over my kitchen counters. It is a mess, but I am blessed to have found it!
As I was cleaning, I was thinking prayer life, or any other part of life, is like my pantry or any other "holding area". Sometimes, things need to be refreshed, washed off, discarded, or put up front so they can be of their utmost use. I can not hold on to things that no longer produce good seed in my life. If it no longer fits, God will remind us in many different ways. Like the can, God reminds me through my being, when I have sprung a leak! Take out the trash! I am blessed today that I know when things need to be better balanced and refreshed. I know I can do something about it. But, it is all in listening, for me at least. So, I have decided, not as a New Year's Resolution mind you, but as a goal, to start in the corners, check out the small stuff and work toward the center. That way...perhaps in no time at all, all the trash will be out, nothing hidden and can explode!
Happy New Year to you all

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Alive and Well

The only way I am able to answer your email is via the blog. Yes, MCC does still exist and we would love for you to visit us. I am sure you will find a warm welcome.
Please check out the entire web site and you will see what else is going on in addition to Sunday service. Please continue to try to call the office. Someone is there each day, so your call should be answered. If you do make it to service, please make sure you introduce yourself to me. Would enjoy meeting you.