David Coffield, Guest Post, Jesus, Personal Reflections, Uncategorized

“It cannot not bear fruit.”

Part of a recent letter from our friend Dave Coffield.

It is difficult when so many of us have grown up in a Christian culture of either church and/or parachurch where ministry and works are stressed. We have a chaplain who tells us pretty much every time he is standing up front, that our job is to fill the empty fews. So, you feel a little guilty and overwhelmed.

I love the words of Jesus on His way with the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to engage in serious prayer prior to His arrest. He stops by a vineyard and grabs a grape plant and tells them that He is the True Vine and they are branches. Their job is to abide in Him. Their job is to abide in Him.

You know John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” The branch is not concerned about bearing fruit, it is concerned about abiding, about partaking of the rich life of the vine. It will bear fruit if it abides. It cannot not bear fruit.

There has been discussion about what “fruit” is. I like to suggest that fruit is anything that the Holy Spirit wants to produce through a person’s life as they abide in Jesus. And it is seasonal. My friend, Bill Mason, suggests from Psalm 1 that the tree bears fruit “in its season.”

My attention, my focus should be on abiding.

Anytime I am engaging with a believer I want to know how they are abiding. I don’t have concerns about bearing fruit if they are abiding. It is impossible to bear good fruit if you are not abiding. You can produce stuff. Check out the Lord’s comments in Matthew 7 when He says, “Many will say to Me on that day…” They prophesy in His name, they cast out demons in His name, and they perform miracles. Pretty cool. Except…they don’t know Him. They are not abiding in Him.

Do I dare to believe that my value to my Father resides in my relationship with Him?

Guest Post, Obituary, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized

Way to go Harriet!!!

By Joseph Berger

Nov. 23, 2022

In the summer of 2001, Harriet Bograd decided to visit her daughter Margie, who had taken a summer job in a remote village in Ghana.

When Ms. Bograd and her husband, Ken Klein, arrived in the village, Sefwi Wiawso, they learned about its community of two dozen families who considered themselves Jewish, even if religious authorities in Israel and elsewhere did not.

In the week she was there, Ms. Bograd, whose husband called her “one of life’s great enthusiasts,” turned her enchantment with the villagers into a practical project that has become a major source of income for the community. She guided artisans in fashioning the colorful kente cloth sold in the local market into covers for the braided challahs that observant Jews bless and eat during Sabbath and holiday meals. A trained lawyer, she set the community up as an incorporated business that sold the challah covers across the United States for $36 apiece. Thousands have been purchased.

In the years after that trip, Ms. Bograd worked with the nonprofit organization Kulanu, which supports “isolated, emerging or returning” Jewish communities in places where even most American Jews don’t realize there are Jews: Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Indonesia, Pakistan, Guatemala, the Philippines and more — 33 countries in total. These are people who for generations have kept some fundamental Jewish laws, like resting on the Sabbath and abstaining from certain foods, but that may have had only opaque ideas of their community’s Jewish origins.

Ms. Bograd wearing a hat and hiking with her husband. They are holding walking sticks and there are trees all around them.
Ms. Bograd with her husband, Ken Klein, on a trip to Ghana in 2001. Her experience there motivated her to join Kulanu.Credit…Joseph Kwame Nipah, via Kulanu

They trace their Jewish roots to a variety of sources: the 10 lost tribes that were dispersed by the Assyrian conquest of the Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C.E.; the Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions, which, starting in the late 15th century, scattered thousands of Jews in far-off lands, where many practiced their religion in secret; century-old conversions by communal leaders more attracted to the Old Testament than the teachings of Christian missionaries.

“It gave her such joy that these Jewish people felt they were connected to the greater Jewish world and felt they belonged,” Mollie Levine, the deputy director of Kulanu, said in an interview.

Ms. Bograd died on Sept. 17 in a Manhattan hospital. She was 79. Her daughter Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin said the cause was complications of heart surgery.

So exhilarated was Ms. Bograd by her experience in Ghana that she promptly joined the board of Kulanu. By her death, she had served as its president for 14 years. The organization’s headquarters were in the study of her Upper West Side apartment.

Under her command, the organization, whose Hebrew name means “all of us,” raised funds to build synagogues in Uganda and Zimbabwe; a Jewish-themed primary school in Uganda that is open to Christians and Muslims; and a mikvah — a ritual bath — in Tanzania. With a budget of around $500,000, Kulanu has also provided rabbinical training and advanced classes in Judaism at American seminaries for community leaders and distributed prayer books, Torah scrolls, prayer shawls and other ritual items.

Kulanu’s work has not been without controversy. While Jews in Ethiopia have been recognized by the Orthodox authorities in Israel as authentically Jewish, those in other parts of Africa have not been. Efforts by Conservative rabbis to formally convert some Africans to Judaism have encountered challenges because the Orthodox establishment in Israel does not recognize the legitimacy of Conservative rabbis. Bonita Nathan Sussman, Kulanu’s new president, said that many Africans also reject conversion, arguing, “Who are you to tell me I’m not Jewish?”

On the other hand, Ms. Levine said, Ms. Bograd “met them at the level where they are.”

She was active in Jewish causes in New York as well. In the early 1980s, she and other parents partnered with educators to found the Heschel School, a Jewish day school in Manhattan that now enrolls about a thousand students. And at the West End Synagogue, a Reconstructionist congregation, she was known for the warm way she greeted newcomers, an act congregants affectionately called “Bograding.”

Harriet Mary Bograd was born on April 6, 1943, in Paterson, N.J., into a Conservative Jewish home. Her father, Samuel Bograd, owned an upscale furniture emporium with an uncle. Her mother, Pauline (Klemes) Bograd, sometimes helped him with his business and was a leader in a local chapter of Planned Parenthood.

Harriet attended a special high school operated by Montclair State Teachers College (now Montclair State University) and graduated from Bryn Mawr in 1963 with a degree in political science. The summer she graduated, she arranged for a group of nine white Bryn Mawr students to teach at Livingstone College, a historically Black college in Salisbury, N.C., so they could absorb the impact of the growing civil rights movement.

A grainy black-and-white portrait of Ms. Bograd.
A 1963 yearbook photo of Ms. Bograd. She graduated from Bryn Mawr that year and went on to Yale Law School.Credit…Special Collections, Bryn Mawr College Libraries

One of 11 women in her class at Yale Law School, she graduated in 1966. Rather then joining a law firm, she went to work for an organization in New Haven, Conn., that represented indigent clients in matters like access to medical care and trained local residents to be advocates for themselves and their neighbors. She helped start a day care center in New Haven, joined with other parents and teachers in a drive to improve local public schools and campaigned for the government to approach drug addiction as a crisis of health and poverty rather than a crime.

She married Mr. Klein, a tax lawyer, in 1977. In addition to her daughter Rabbi Klein Ronkin, he survives her, as do another daughter, Sarah Klein; a sister, Naomi Robbins; and two grandchildren.

When Ms. Bograd received a diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer in 1997, with a bleak prognosis, it only made her more determined to use her remaining time for the Hebrew concept of tikkun olam — “repairing the world” — and for her work with Kulanu.

Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, said that Ms. Bograd also saw Kulanu as a vehicle to expand the mainstream Jewish sense of what Jews are supposed to look like.

“She felt it enhanced American Judaism,” he said, “to recognize that all Jews are not white and European.”

Joseph Berger was a reporter and editor at The New York Times for 30 years. He is the author of a biography of Elie Wiesel, which is scheduled for publication in February. @joeberg

A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 25, 2022, Section A, Page 23 of the New York edition with the headline: Harriet Bograd, 79, Guide and Mentor To Jewish Communities Around World

Featured Writers, Guest Post, Personal Reflections, Ukraine, Uncategorized

Update from Ukraine, 147th Day of the War (From email dated July 23rd)

Dear friends, I wish you the God’s Day.
My wife and I haven’t seen you for a long time, so we would like to physically be with you face to face over a cup of tea. But now there is a war and you cannot come to us in Ukraine, and we cannot come to you.

I am glad that I have many friends and acquaintances. It’s good for me, but I can’t physically write to everyone in person – it’s bad for me, I’m sorry.

My personal news, my personal feelings and observations.
Today is the 147th Day of the war: Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
The fifth month of the war will soon end. It feels like “eternity”.
I was interested in analyzing myself, what did I feel at the beginning of the war and what do I feel now?
I remember the first days of the war, from February 24 to March 31, when Russian troops quickly approached Kyiv and tried to surround and capture it. At that time, I felt confused, scared and stressed by the rocket attacks and shelling of our city by the enemy. Now in the news, this time is called the first stage of the war. Many people then prophesied for Ukraine, as a state, that it had 3-5 days left to live, and then it would have to capitulate to Moscow. But by the grace of God, this did not happen, the Ukrainians withstood this sudden, strong and insidious blow of the aggressor. God loves us.

The next period of the war, this is the time from about April 1 to June 30. This is the time when the Ukrainian troops forced the Russians to start retreating from the cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy, that is, the enemy retreated through Belarus from the north of Ukraine to the east. At that time, I felt joy for our Armed Forces, I felt hope for our quick victory and the end of the war, but at the same time I felt the pain of our losses, because the Ukrainian army at that time had about 100 soldiers killed every day, who died in battles to deter the enemy from seizing the east and south of Ukraine. A large number of Ukrainian civilians died from shelling and shooting. The International and Ukrainian Olive Branch and the “Path of Truth” church prayed together and then my feeling of pain decreased. Thank you all for your many prayers through messenger. Thank you, Olive Branch! God loves us.

Now say that now is the third stage of the war. This is from about July 1 until today. Russian troops are concentrated in the east of Ukraine and are trying to attack all this time. Our Ukrainian troops stopped them in all directions. Positional and artillery battles are now underway. Ukrainian troops with the help of American weapons are trying to seize the initiative and destroy their rear. I still feel in me the old stress from the shelling and the new stress  from the uncertainty, because every time it seems that the end of the war is near, it is pushed back further. It is difficult psychologically. But God loves us.

Today in our church was Chaplain, who graduate a 2015 year of the  program “Pastoral Chaplain Leadership” at the KTS, Major of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Yuriy us his testimony, he thanked us for our prayers, and he repeated many times that prayers work and they are real act even when we do not see it with our own eyes. Major Yuriy cited many cases when he felt our prayer, when he himself prayed, when soldiers started coming to him one by one, and when the shelling started, then 20 people came to his room.He said that God, through our prayers, brought their unit out of the enemy’s encirclement, God saved their broken car at night, God saved the building where their military unit lived from terrible shelling for two months. All the windows there were broken and covered with plywood, but the glass in Yura’s window was intact. It is a miracle of God that where there are trained military chaplains, there are almost no wounded and none killed.

Our church has a list of alumni chaplains and has been prayerfully and financially supporting them since the beginning of the war.
God used to prepare Ukraine for the battle against Mordor through the Olive Branch, and now God continues to do so.
God is doing this through all of you, dear friends and employees of the Olive Branch, this is God’s miracle in Ukraine!

What I do at Olive Branch in Ukraine

During the time that has passed since my last message, I conducted two three-day online seminars: 

for the Evangelical Reformed Seminary of Ukraine (in June there were 18 students) and for KTS in July.
So, on July 4-6, 2022, by the grace of God, I conducted the second three-day training course on the topic: “How to prepare a military chaplain for the local church to care for the defenders of the country.”
35 students were registered for this course during the war.
All three days of the course, 28 students were present online (according to screenshots). Another seven did not listen during the entire study time. The senior chaplain, pastor Vasyl, helped me in teaching.
Among the 35 listeners were:
Pastors – 7;
Deacons – 6;
Chaplains and volunteers – 10;
Other types of service – 12.
After reading the given literature, the students will be sent the Certificate of the program “Pastor and Chaplain Leadership” of the KTS.
The leadership of one of the independent Baptist churches of southern Ukraine was present at the seminar: a pastor and three deacons, one of whom was a military chaplain. They had a conflict in the middle because of the chaplaincy of one of their deacons. The church did not understand who a military chaplain is, how to equip and support him, and the chaplain did not understand accountability to his church and adherence to his creed. Therefore, I explained it to them in the course of teaching. They understood this and reconciled.
I think that during our studies we were able to learn to love God and each other more.

In the Church “The Way of Truth”
On July 25-30, in the premises of our church, we plan to hold a six-day camp on robotics and English for 20 teenagers from military and other families.
We are preparing four people for baptism.

Hospital chaplains work in Cherkasy
Senior hospital chaplain, reserve lieutenant colonel wrote:  “We, the Cherkasy hospital chaplains, are very grateful to OBI for the support you provide us. It inspires us to defeat the enemy. Soldiers who need both medical and spiritual support enter our medical facility. We are always on the spot and work together with the medical personnel (due to martial law, I do not provide most of the photos with the soldiers). Glory to God and Glory to Ukraine.”

In Irpin, under the leadership of Zhanna, the Ruth club works:
1) On July 17, 2022, the leader of the women’s ministry, Zhanna, Marina and the club “Ruth” at the “Path of Truth” church held a women’s event on the topic “Spiritual gift set” for women from the Irpin of branch of “Olive Branch”. These are women, who survived the occupation, internally displaced persons and refugees who recently returned home. Spiritual truths were remembered more because each of them was associated with one of 10 symbolic gifts: a neckerchief, soap, perfume, salt, a candle holder, a chocolate bar, a towel, lip balm, tea and a rose, as a symbol of originality and uniqueness every woman Each truth is related to one of the biblical images (women) that made them interested in reading about these women. A total of 26 women attended this event, including 8 for the first time. Faithful women from the club decided to prepare for Mother’s Day to invite other women to such an activity. And each will tell one biblical truth and give one gift.We also plan to prepare a presentation and excerpts of other Christian films!
2) We make plans for what we will do after the war is over. This is also a way to overcome the stress that women are under. We thank Linda and Caroline for their training during the online classes at the “Ruth” club, which were held on June 7 and July 11.
3) By July 31, we are preparing Galina teenage group for an evangelistic trip to the place of compact residence of people who lost their homes due to bombs and mines in Irpen. We also prepare a gift set for them – towels, bedding, hygiene products.
4) I visit these people once a week, I bring food to those who especially need it, then I learn about their needs and we pray. We sincerely thank our American brothers and sisters for their support, for the fact that we can help people in difficult circumstances. Together with the Word of God, we bring what is necessary. We also distribute volunteer aid.
5) We received bandages, towels and sleeping bags from volunteers from the city of Brody. The dressing material was transferred to the hospital of Kyiv and Kropyvnytskyi. Towels and sleeping bags – for people who have lost their homes.

Another 21 subdivisions of Olive Branch operate in different cities of Ukraine.

Our regional presbyter Mykola Romaniuk suggested that I prepare online training for pastors of the Baptist Brotherhood with the participation of his familiar American chaplain on the topic: “How to prepare yourself and the church for the meeting of military personnel from the war.” I am starting to work on this issue.

My mother continues to live in the village. I was in her apartment in Chernihiv. I installed a new door there. The inner walls of the apartment collapsed from the air strike, so we threw them down through the window from the fifth floor. We need to restore the walls, order and buy new windows, electrical wiring, pipes for water and heating …

Remember this letter in your prayers.

This is the latest news I have. Tomorrow I plan to go to sell my garage, and then I will go to my mother in the village for two nights. My son Mark has not cut his hair for 147 days …

Thank you for your prayers and other help.

Valentyn Korenevych,
Colonel (retired)

President of the Public organization “Olive Branch” Ukrainewww.olivebranch.org.ua
Program director of “Pastors-Chaplains Leadership” of the Kiev Theological Seminary
www.ktsonline.org

The above is from an email dated July 23rd, 2022.

Guest Post, Uncategorized

Update from Ukraine

[I received this letter on May 29th]

Dear friends, I wish you all the God’s Day.

Today is the 95th Day of the war, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

I have not written to any of you for almost 40 days. Earlier, I wrote to you that every inhabitant of Ukraine, even one who is not in the war zone, is exposed to the post of traumatic stress, and in the military goes into the post of traumatic syndrome. Therefore, any creative work or brain effort today in Ukraine is given with great difficulty, such as reading books, writing letters, teaching, planning, training, drawing, preparing for preaching and preaching, and so on. Very difficult. Therefore, sorry for me that I am not often writing because I can’t do it at times, or I am forced to choose a priority that I must do right now. Necessarily and right now I need to talk about chaplaincy. So, in the previous week, I taught three o’clock in the evening to believers from the olive branch about chaplaincy, and I was also preparing to teach for a group of 22 students from the Gospel Reformational Seminary of Ukraine.

I was also preparing for teaching this week, but I was not home for three days because we were in the village of my mom. Every two weeks we visit her, and we bring her products, medicines, water, shoes and things, because after her home in Chernihiv was broken by a Russian bomb from the plane, she had nothing. Even her documents need to be restored. So next week during Monday – Wednesday I will online teach people who want to be chaplains.

We, that is, the Olive branch in Ukraine and the Church “Way of Truth”, we continue to use one of the most effective weapons during the war, that is, prayer. Our military feels the power of our prayer, as a supernatural inspiration and the good power of the Spirit.

We continue in the church to make our daily prayer online meetings. It will be 100 days soon.

The Olive Branch Ukraine and our Seminary also hold online meetings and prayer.

That Monday once every two weeks I have communication and learning from two Olive Branch International leaders. Thank you. I also thank you all, dear friends, for your financial and prayer support for chaplains and students of the Chaplain Program of the Kiev Theological Seminary in Ukraine.

The family of our eldest son returned to their apartment in Irpin a week ago. Their house was built near Kiev, so it was almost not injured: on one side of the building there are two holes from the shells, but it is far from the windows of our sons apartment. They had windows in ventilation mode, so the shock force of the wave of air did not break their glass in the windows but opened them. In cities where there are fighting, windows are not closed at all, but put something soft and heavy, such as pillows on the windowsill. When the shock wave hits the windows, they open, and the pillow falls on the floor and all is well. This is usually when there is no direct hit of a projectile or rocket into the house.

Maybe you are strange to read it, but it is strange to feel in my life. I never thought I would live in a real war. And, unfortunately, it’s not a movie.

The US military volunteer was in the Cherkasy region and he was also visiting the hospital chaplains of Cherkasy. Last week he returned to Kiev to relax and gather things. In a few days he is about to go to the military unit. Today, on Sunday, we prayed for him again in the church, then we had communication with him and ate pizza.

Ukrainians protect their land and their people, but the enemy does not go away. The war is delayed, possibly, until winter. Ukrainians are already tired but are determined to fight. But I think that in Europe and in the US, television and media are now devoted less time to Ukraine and, perhaps, that the news will be given even less time about us. This is normal on the one hand, and on the other, there will be less help and prayers for Ukraine. Therefore, I have a request: to pray for us in Ukraine and about our government at least once a day in the morning or in the evening. Thank you very much for it.

Leader of women’s service has already returned home to Irpin, and my deputy will come to visit me in Kyiv on June 2.

Thank you all again. Christ said that how you served a cup of water or visited someone in the hospital or you visited someone in prison, you helped him. Thank you that you do exactly as the Lord Christ did.

I wish that we have in the soul a peace from God.
Valentyn Korenevych,

Colonel (retired)

President of the Public organization “Olive Branch” Ukrainewww.olivebranch.org.ua
Program director of “Pastors-Chaplains Leadership” of the Kyiv Theological Seminary
www.ktsonline.org

Featured Writers, Guest Post, Testimonies, Ukraine, Uncategorized

Eyewitness Account From Ukraine

From my friend, Valentyn Korenevych, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Dear friends, remember that now I wish everyone not a good day, but God’s day. You admit that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine began on February 20, 2014, when the Russians captured Crimea and then eastern Ukraine. Eight years later, the Russians decided to capture and destroy the whole of Ukraine, so on February 24, 2022, at 4 am, they began bombing our Ukrainian airfields, military units and cities. Today is the forty-first day of the active phase of the war. We Ukrainians defend our faith, our way of life, our land. A strong servant of Satan, hidden in the Kremlin walls of ancient Mordor: an old evil that pretends to be light under the guise of pagan Orthodoxy and Z occultism, is leading Russia to its doom. The unburied corpse of an idol man (Lenin) for about 100 years lies in the center of the Russian capital, near the cemetery of the same murderers and thieves.
We Ukrainians, as residents of the state of Gondor in the Tolkien writer, live in Mordor (Muscovy), and since 1487, we have been fighting with the Muscovite orcs for the right to live freely and believe in God.

This is my little introduction to give you a better understanding of how I feel and what is happening around me in Ukraine. Because I noticed that many people from other countries do not understand the essence of these events and continue to believe in fairy tales about good Russia. By the way, the name Russia is also was stolen by orcs in Kievan Rus, as now Russian orcs steal and take out of our cities, even fleeing Ukraine, refrigerators, washing machines, TVs, toilets, tablets, computers and more. But it’s not scary, we will still work and buy it all. It is not terrible that they destroyed our cities, we will rebuild. The scary thing is that they are killing our people by throwing bombs and missiles at us. And even worse is what they do with locals and children in the occupation. The city of Bucha, near Kyiv, where someone called the second Srebrenica. The name is not for the number of deaths, but for the cruelty. People and children were shot, tortured and raped by orcs there. Corpses, corpses… people. But it is not yet known what is being done in other Russian-occupied cities.

I have been with my family in Kyiv for a week now. Arrived on March 29 with my family (five of us). It helped a lot to have a car that all you raised money for me. We left Kyiv in this car for Cherkasy and we came back, and now I am transporting some things for the military in this car. Because transport is almost non-existent in Ukraine now. Thank you all again. May our God bless you all with His blessings.

In Kyiv I try to be useful to other people.
I communicate with military chaplains over the phone and various messengers.
I support them in various ways.
I take medicine to military units.
Every night for 41 days I have a church prayer for our military.
I join the online seminary every Sunday night.
Every Monday I conduct online communication with the employees of Olive Branch Ukraine.
On Sunday, I worshiped with the Lord’s Supper in our military building. Now there is no electricity and it is very cold.
On Thursday, Vasily and I will teach our pastors to understand chaplaincy.

The Russians have already left Kyiv, Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Sumy oblasts, so military teams are currently working there to clear roads and buildings. Today the first road to Chernihiv, my mother’s city, was opened. The city is 70% destroyed, and there is no water, gas, electricity or heating. My mother begs for food and an apartment every day, which she does not have, and still does not have a safe way there. My mother is 79 years old, I don’t know if she understands that or if she’s so stubborn. Maybe in ten days I will try to go to Chernihiv.

Today, at the door of our rented room called “Olive Branch” and the Church “Way of Truth”, I hung an announcement for needy people that those who need food, please contact. We plan to help those who do not have jobs and money for food, especially refugees.

Thank you, my friends, co-workers with God, I feel your prayers and other help. We all Ukrainians feel. The Russians bombed almost all our strategic enterprises, oil depots, food bases, airports, blocked seaports and river ports, but thanks to you our army fires bullets, shells, missiles, our tanks, cars and planes are at war, air defense is alive. Four million refugees are abroad, and they are safe.

I thank God and you for your countries contribution to all this. God works through you in times of war. I would like to thank you all in some way, but I do not know what and how?

Postscript. In Cherkasy on March 8, Marina and I went outside for a walk. We walked 500 meters to the city center when the alarm siren sounded. Marina immediately hunched over like a very old woman. It’s scary when you’re standing in the middle of the street of a still peaceful city, and the sirens around you are buzzing around, and you realize that you’re standing face to face in front of a cruise missile, and you’re defenseless (I didn’t mention God right away). I still didn’t have time to understand how Marina dragged me to the bomb shelter at a school. We waited at school for a while, but without waiting for the alarm to end, we went outside. We walked another 500 meters and I saw something strange, surreal. Near the market, right during the alarm, women were selling yellow and red tulips. It flashed in my head, today is Women’s Day, April 5th! And even more surprising was the fact that these tulips were lined up for men of all ages, who nervously shrugged, looked around, but stood in line, and they bought these flowers, mostly only one flower. To this day, I have before my eyes a picture: anxiety, the market, tense men, yellow and red tulips. I did not dare to stand in line, and did not buy a flower for Marina, because then such a purchase seemed strange and inappropriate. When I came home and calmed down, I was a little ashamed that I did not overcome myself and did not buy a flower for Marina. Suddenly, about an hour later, the son of the owner of the apartment where we lived, Lieutenant Colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine., came and brought three flowers for Marina. Such are our military in Ukraine!
That is why Women’s Day, thanks to the military in Ukraine, exists even during the war.
Thank God for Ukraine and America and our other friends in Europe.

Valentyn Korenevych,
Colonel (Retired)

President of the Public organization “Olive Branch” Ukraine

www.olivebranch.org.ua
Program director of “Pastors-Chaplains Leadership” of the Kiev Theological Seminary
www.ktsonline.org

God Loves Us, Guest Post, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized

A Way Forward by, Michael Metzger

https://claphaminstitute.org/a-way-forward/ (copied Feb 14, 22)

I appreciate folks who can evolve in their thinking. So I find it fascinating that many who are evolving are recommending the same way forward.

In March of 2020 Chuck DeGroat wrote a confessional titled, It’s Always Been About Love. He felt he’d forgotten that. A great many evangelicals feel similarly, including James K. A. Smith, N. T. Wright and Dallas Willard. Here’s Wright’s evolution over the last 30 years.

In 1992 Wright wrote about a “spiral path” of knowing reality, where the only access we have to reality “lies along the spiraling path of appropriate dialogue or conversation between the knower and the thing known.”[1]Few Christians understood what he meant by that.

Maybe that’s why in 1999 Wright sounded rather pessimistic. “We live at a time of cultural crisis. At the moment I don’t hear anyone out there pointing a way forward.”[2] He felt some Christians “put up shutters” while others capitulate to the post-Christian world. “My brothers and sisters, we can do better than that.”

But Wright wondered aloud who in the faith community has a way forward?And, if believers aren’t pointing a way forward, who else might? By 2013, Wright had found a who else.

That year DeGroat joined a small group of believers meeting with Wright. They were exploring faith and formation. DeGroat asked Wright for his best recommendation for a resource that explores spiritual maturation at depth. Without hesitation, he recommended Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World as a way forward. Wright called it is a “magisterial” work.

I can imagine a few reasons why. McGilchrist says findings in neuroimaging reveal how knowing reality is a spiraling path, a reciprocating flow between the right and left hemisphere of the brain. It turns out Wright’s intuitions were right on.

McGilchrist says the right hemisphere is the intuitive mind. The left is the rational mind. Since 95 percent of the western world biases the left brain, and most of Wright’s readers are western Christians, most couldn’t intuit what he was saying. Small wonder Wright was pessimistic.

But there’s more. McGilchrist notes how only the right hemisphere has direct contact with the outside world, the cultures passing through our gills. The left doesn’t. Since 95 percent of the western world biases the left brain, and most of Wright’s readers are western Christians, most do not touch, feel, taste that we live at a time of cultural crisis.

But there’s more. According to McGilchrist, it is only in the right hemisphere that we make a paradigm shift. In most cultural crises, the way forward requires shifting some paradigms. I have a hunch Wright read that and thought, That’s why there’s so little spiritual maturation at depth. The deepest part of our being is not beliefs but paradigms, unconscious assumptions shaping beliefs. Western Christians don’t go deep enough into anthropology, human nature.

James K. A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy at Calvin University, does. He notes how our anthropologies shape our theologies. He gets that from reading scripture as well as Iain McGilchrist. He cites McGilchrist’s work as a way forward for the church.

It’s no coincidence that DeGroat, Smith, and Wright are all now saying they missed the wider picture. Love. All three come from Reformed traditions formed by the Enlightenment, biasing word over image, language over metaphor. Language is the domain of the left hemisphere, which is narrowly focused. Most Reformed traditions embrace a narrow view of the cross, substitutionary atonement. Jesus died on the cross to satisfy God’s demands for justice. Law. DeGroat, Smith, and Wright are saying they missed love.

The good news has always been about love… and law. In other words, Jesus did die for our sins. But he did this for the joy set before him of “marrying” us, loveenduring the cross, despising the shame. On the cross, we were betrothed to Jesus as his bride. [Yes Love. Father so loved us he sent Jesus. Jesus so loved Father and us he came. Holy Spirit so loved Father, Jesus and us he helps us know them. Jesus is the true way to life (more than Zoe, Shalom); Becoming children of God the Father, betrothed to King Jesus and indweldt by Holy Spirit. This comment added by Michael J. Weiss]

It seems that Dallas Willard was moving in this direction in the last months of his life. Like Wright and Smith, he was despairing. Do people really change—even with all the available resources and practices and disciplines? With his good friend and neuro-theologian Jim Wilder, Willard was exploring how neuroscience is a way forward, developing a psychology of love.

I had a similar experience when I first read The Master and His Emissary. That was in 2010. It helped me see why so few Christians recognize our post-Christian age. McGilchrist helped me see why we don’t seem to have a way forward, and why so few ever make the necessary paradigm shifts. I didn’t feel quite so alone.

That same year I read Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010by Charles Murray, a religious skeptic. Yet he’s hoping for a fourth awakening in America. The first three were led by religion. But Murray rightly notes that religion no longer has cultural capital in America. It can’t lead the way. Neuroscience can, so Murray writes…

“The more we learn about how human beings work at the deepest genetic and neural levels, the more that many age-old ways of thinking about human nature will be vindicated. The institutions surrounding marriage, vocation, community, and faith will be found to be the critical resources through which human beings lead satisfying lives.”[3]

Wow. Neuroscience is a way forward. It can validate, corroborate, older Christian traditions and their understanding of human nature. They can be a resource for shalom, satisfying lives, seeking the well-being of all.

So… if you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for a loved one who wants to evolve in their thinking, and seek a way forward… I highly recommend Iain McGilchrist’s work.

There’s The Master and His Emissary.

There’s a shorter rendition: Ways of Attending: How our Divided Brain Constructs the World.

And there’s McGilchrist’s new book: The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World. I bought the Kindle version and am currently making my way through it. I’ll report on it later, but I feel it’s reinforcing what a heckuva of lot of evangelicals smarter than me see as our way forward.

[1] N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, (Fortress Press, 1992), 35.

[2] N. T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is(InterVarsity, 1999), 195.

[3] Charles Murray, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010(Crown Publishing Group, 2012), 300.


I highly recommend you start receiving Michael’s blog and listen to his podcast!!!!

“The Gospel (Good News) is about how good God is and not how bad we are.” Michael Weiss

Featured Writers, Guest Post, Online Events, Recommended Events, Veterans

PTSD Conference by One More Day

Here is the invite to the PTSD webinar we are hosting. This event is free and one of the few we offer that is open to all. Please share as you see fit.

One More Day is beyond honored to host Delta Force Command Sergeant Major Tom Satterly as our featured speaker on our PTSD webinar on 1/14/22 @ 1400 EST. Tom is one of the most respected special operations warriors of all time and was involved in thousands of classified missions to protect the United States and his brothers/sisters.
Tom did not know it at the time, but his worst foe was yet to come. After leaving the military, Tom, like many of our warriors, was haunted by Post Traumatic Stress. Listen to Tom and his wife Jen as they explain to us how he came back. Tom is now back in the saddle and helping other special operations warriors overcome that same foe.
We will be discussing the neuro-psychology of why we suffer from PTSD, some current awesome treatments, and even what is on the horizon. Dr. Paul E. Holtzheimer, PTSD will be our featured expert. Deputy Director for Research, National Center for PTSD , Executive Division White River Junction VA Medical Center and Professor, Psychiatry, and Surgery, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center

We will have a number of experts on-hand to answer a multitude of questions regarding PTSD.

If you are suffering from PTSD and want to learn about the ways we are working with experts to find new ways to help.

Come join us

January 14th @1400 EST

LinkedIn https://lnkd.in/gmsNGDET

Facebook https://fb.me/e/2cS38Ici6

David Conley Executive Director, One More Day
208-600-4571 http://www.suicide-prevention.org
Facebook.com/onemoreday
https://www.linkedin.com/company/one-more-day-veteran
One More Day is a registered 501 (c)(3) organization

Guest Post, The Daily Blessing, Uncategorized

The National and International Day of Repentance and Solemn Assemblies Regarding Abortion on December 1, 2021

https://www.nationaldayofrepentance.org

We believe America is at a crossroads and that our time is short. God hates the shedding of innocent blood and the Mississippi abortion case presents us the best opportunity since 1992, to see the reversal of Roe v. Wade. But we need to pray desperately.

The Supreme Court has announced the day of Oral Argument in the Mississippi Ban on Late Term Abortion Case (Dobbs) for Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

Will you partner with us in helping to organize and call for a National Day of Repentance and Solemn Assemblies where we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways on the day of Oral Argument for this case?

We must have physical assemblies, perhaps in front of the Supreme Court, on the National Mall, in front of abortion clinics, and in churches across the nation. As well, we will be having a national 24-hour zoom call on the day of Oral Argument. We also believe we should be praying the day before, the day of, and the day after Oral Argument. Organizing this call will help generate millions of Americans and others to pray for the Supreme Court all the way through June 2022, when the decision will probably be announced.

America has committed the 4 great sins that can bring national destruction:

1. We have forsaken God (1962 Supreme Court Prayer case)

2. Shedding innocent blood (1973 Roe and Doe )

3. Sexual immorality on a vast scale (repeatedly)

4. The love of money and greed

We must repent of all these things.

There must be actual concrete ways to demonstrate turning from our sin on that day. Our suggestions would include praying in front of abortion clinics, signing The Moral Outcry Petition, helping the poor, the homeless, donating to pregnancy resource centers – either with time or donations, committing to pray more, and committing to be more publicly vocal that abortion is a crime against humanity and offering help to those considering abortion, etc. We value your suggestions also.

We encourage everyone, everywhere in America to pray as the Holy Spirit leads in accordance with your understanding of prayer and your sphere of influence. We need each denomination in America that still believes the Bible and that God hates the shedding innocent blood to stand up and cry out to the Lord.

We need to reach the fourth step of II Chronicles 7:13-14. We have prayed, we have humbled ourselves somewhat, but we have not yet turned from our wicked ways. We need to continue to confess that and see that this is the only remedy. The alternative is national or existential destruction, but if we turn, God will heal our land. Could you please share this short video call for a National Day of Repentance on the Day of Oral Argument in the case that could reverse Roe, December 1, 2021? Over 40 ministries are joining in this call. Will you join us? I believe this could be the last opportunity for the Nation and the Body of Christ to repent and TURN from the wicked ways of abortion.

God bless you

Lilian Schmid

Prayer Strategist and Coordinator 

lilianschmid@prayerstrategy.org

Prayer Strategy for the Spheres of Influence – Prayers and Forums for the Spheres of Influence in our Families, in the Church and in the Marketplace

Featured Writers, God Loves Us, Guest Post, Jehovah, Jesus, Messiah, The Daily Blessing, Uncategorized, Yehovah

Yehovah Bless You and “Serve Yehovah with gladness”

Yehovah bless you and keep you;
Yehovah make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
Yehovah lift up His countenance upon you, and give you shalom.
Numbers 6:24-26

“I enjoyed my time with the Lord this morning. Many good thoughts. It is like a satisfying meal. The one that I wanted to share comes out of Psalm 100 and says, ‘Serve the Lord with gladness.’”

“There are many ways to serve the Lord and I think that gladness is low on the list, if it makes it at all.”

“Many, I suspect, serve the Lord from a sense of duty or obligation. It is what we ought to do, what we should do, what we must do. There is no joy in it. And when you have labored hard…there is yet more to do. The work is insurmountable.”

“Some, I think, serve the Lord from fear. The fear that somehow God will ‘get’ me, punish me, express displeasure if I am not working hard. No joy here either”

“Some, I think, serve the Lord from a desire for glory and out of pride. You collect a team of guys, you speak well, you shine in the disciplines…there is glory and pride there. We all want the approval and applause of men.”

“But…to serve the Lord with gladness.”

“I think it is impossible to do whatever relationship, without a focus on our relationship with Jesus. Impossible without a conviction that we are desired, loved, delighted in. Impossible without the humility that understands that it is our Father’s work and he invites us to participate for His glory now we’re good.”

“It has taken me years to move or grow to this point in my thinking. And it comes and goes. None of us get it right all the time and perhaps not much of the time. We don’t have to. A compass and a good heading will always get us out of the swamp. It is still true that a righteous man falls 7 times and rises again.”

“When our father looks at us (and we are always under his gaze) he sees us through the righteousness of his son Jesus. We are acceptable, delighted in, and loved.”

Letter written to Michael from David Coffield, postmarked 21 Nov 20.

“The Gospel, Good News, is more about how good God is than how bad we are.” Michael Jay, John 3:16/17:3, J3 Khai Restoration.

Featured Writers, Guest Post, Jehovah, Jesus, Messiah, The Daily Blessing, Uncategorized, Yehovah

Daily Blessing and What is A Veteran?

Yehovah bless you and keep you;
Yehovah make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
Yehovah lift up His countenance upon you, and give you shalom.
Numbers 6:24-26

What Is A Veteran? 

by Marine Corps Chaplain, Father Denis Edward O’Brian

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them, a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg – or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the refinery of adversity. 

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can’t tell a vet just by looking. What is a vet? 

A vet is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel. 

A vet is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th Parallel. 

A vet is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang. 

A vet is the POW who went away as one person and came back another – or didn’t come back at all. 

A vet is the drill instructor who has never seen combat – but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account punks and gang members into marines, airmen, sailors, soldiers and coast guardsmen, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs. 

A vet is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. 

A vet is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by. 

A vet is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep. 

A vet is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket – palsied now and aggravatingly slow – who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come. 

A vet is an ordinary and yet extraordinary human being, a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs. 

A vet is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he [or she] is nothing more that the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known. 

So, remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say, “Thank You.” That’s all most people need, and in most cases, it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded. 

Again, two little words that mean a lot to any Veteran — “THANK YOU.”


Happy Veteran’s Day fellow Vets and Thank You, Sergeant Major Michael J. Weiss, U.S. Army Retired.

I first read this article on Ray Bailey’s “Bailey Bread,” email dated 10 Nov 20, https://www.facebook.com/charles.r.bailey.77

Featured Writers, God Loves Us, Guest Post, Jehovah, Jesus, Messiah, The Daily Blessing, Uncategorized, Yehovah

Daily Blessing and Quotes from Dave’s Epistle’s

Yehovah bless you and keep you;
Yehovah make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
Yehovah lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Our friend, mentor and coach, Dave Coffield, sends me a letter a couple times a month that Darlene affectionately calls “Dave’s Epistle’s.” I have shared from his Epistle’s before, below is from one of his most recent letters.

“I hear from time to time the idea that we need to strive to be pleasing to God and not to displease Him. We live with the nagging, background fear that we might slip up, might not try hard enough, might come up short. It is a performance mindset and once you start down that road there is no good outcome. God’s standard for being pleased is perfection. Absolute, utter perection. Good luck with that. “

“I would suggest that God is totally pleased with us because He views us through the shed blood of His Son Jesus, through the righteousness with which we are clothed becasue of His mercy, grace, and love. It says something wonderful about Him, not us.”

“The motivation to live pleasing to our Father is based on His love relationship with us. It is not performance; it is a response to the marvel of who He is and the wonder of His love for us.”

“I am free to engage with Jesus becasue I don’t have to. He won’t love me more becasue I have been “good” today; and He won’t love me less if I have been “bad.” He either loves us completely, accepts us completely, is completely pleased with us right now, or He never will. It is all about the finished work of Jesus.”