August 31, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:29 am
The last of the classes on religions of the world today was on Islam.  According to the description of the teachings of that faith they are very akin to Judaism and Christianity and they do recognize Jesus as a great teacher.  I do not understanding how the radicals of their faith got such twisted ideas, but then I could never understand how the Ku Klux Klan could be Christians either.
They claimed to be Christians, and did all of the things they were supposed to do as Christians, except the most important one.  They did not love men who were created in God’s image, so, as God points out, they did not love Him either.  They played church and deceived themselves.
All religions have people who go to extremes with distorted doctrines and that is why so many people today have turned against all of them.  God still has his "true" church, but we no longer know who is part of it, and we should not go around judging others and accusing them of not belonging to it.  We, who think we know God,, may be just as wrong as someone from another faith, or perhaps even more in error.  God hates self-righteousness, or self-anything, that our world instills in us.
The way the Muslims who are truly devout live would put most of us to shame because they do not have separate compartments for God and the rest of their lives.  They are right in judging our materialism as being evil and corrupt.  Christians have presented a very bad example of Christ, especially here in the United States.  We put our own interests ahead of His and even the best of us have to really fight hard to resist all of the temptations around us.  Thank goodness God forgives us when we fall, as long as we are humble enough to admit it.


August 30, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:35 am
I can hardly believe this is the last Sunday of August and Labor Day will soon be here, but I do look forward to some cooler weather.  This summer has been too hot.  It has been very humid too, so I always feel sticky in the apartment which has no air conditioning.  But I would rather just allow myself to sweat naturally and use a fan then to be in air conditioning all of the time.  Anytime I am out, I am in it and it is often too cold.
I did get a journal entry written this morning before Sunday school and church, but I did not look up the Bible verses I have been reading from Romans and a devotional booklet called Today.  Often those readings give me some new thoughts about God.  Sometimes a verse that I have heard all my life and thought I understood perfectly will mean something different to me when I find one word that I had not paid attention to and realize that word has more than one meaning.  That is how God speaks to each of us personally if we will be aware of it.
Pastors know this and pray that the message they give will meet the needs of the people who are listening.  Even though those needs are not identical and they are hearing the same words God will put an emphasis on just what each person needs at that time.  But, sometimes it will be a song or a prayer that will reach the heart of someone.
Our Sunday was about being ready for the second coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It did not attempt to say that the theories of various dispensationalists were right or wrong, or that there will be a great world war and persecution before He returns.  It only said what He did that He will come without warning when we aren’t expecting Him, so we need to be sure our relationship with Him is secure.
The pastor preached about that too, "Are You in the Book?"  He began by describing a book that everyone all over the world is reading now and is very popular with all kinds of people.  I thought of The Secret, some thought of the Bible, but he was talking about Facebook.  He went on to warn about the dangers of Facebook and saying that there is a book we need to be sure that we are in and that is God’s book.  He use Revelations 20:11-15 as his main point of reference.
At the second service we have on the second and last of the months, he used I John 2:19 and title his message "You Can Let it Go."  He encouraged us to get rid of anything, or person,   in our life that was keeping us from growing in the knowledge of Christ  As this verse referred to people who were claiming to be sent out by the apostles and were not really of them were let go, so we should let go of anyone who claims to be a Christian, but does not live the life of one, because they are not really part of Christ’s body.
We did have a meal today, but will not have during September.  The kitchen staff needs a break and the kitchen needs to be cleaned out, leftover food thrown away, refrigerator cleaned, cabinets organized and items labeled   Also, the second services on the second and last Sunday of the month will be at 7:00 pm rather than 3:30 or 400 pm.  Pastor feels that may encourage people who are on the street and having problems to come in for protection  Churches used to be open all the time and were called "sanctuaries" because they served that purpose and we need to get back to it as much as is possible in our times.. 

August 28, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 2:05 am
I haven’t eaten supper yet but I want to get this done before I forget about it or get too tired.  This morning I went downtown to the Cultural Center for the movie they show at the senior center.  Today was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  I know that some ministers would be against Christians seeing those movies because they are about witchcraft and sorcery, but I was never bothered by that.  To me it was the same as fairy tales and it does show a battle between good and evil, which is real.  I thought I had seen all of the movies before this one, but I may have missed one because I didn’t get all that was going on this time.  But, maybe it just wasn’t as well made.  I thought this was to be the last of the Harry Potter books and movies but the ending to the movie was incomplete leaving an opening for another film.  It was a bad way to end the series, which I do think has outlived it’s effect.  Other than special effects, this film had nothing going going for it.

Our chorus rehearsed in the afternoon, and the assistant to the director, passed out papers about a party we will have at her house on September 11.  I wonder how somber a mood people will be in remembering what took place on that date.  Someone who was very superstitious would not hold such an event on tht date, but we do have to be thankful that we are still alive and go on living as we think of those who were the victims of that tragic event  We will probably have a moment of silent prayer for the families and friends who will never be able to fully recover.  Maybe we will sing a song in their honor too, because we will be singing.  I don’t know if Tim would have one in mind for them..


August 27, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:49 am
This morning I woke up early so I did do some journal writing before I had to leave to go to the writing groups.  I had a stuffy nose and began blowing it and sneezing but it was not getting clear.  I wrote that i would have to take allergy medicine before I left.  As soon as I did, my nose cleared.  I felt that it was God’s way of saying "Come to me first.  You don’t have to depend on drugs."  I only use over the counter stuff except for blood pressure medicine, and I only take it when my symptoms are really bad, but I did not think about praying first.  I always had the idea that such things were too insignificant to bother God with.
The Apostolic church I joined strongly believes in prayer as being a way to change events and I am beginning to see more results to mine since I have been a member there.  Even this was an example.  You know I saw a tee shirt advertised that said "When All Else Fails, Read the Instructions."  On it was a picture of the Bible.  I always felt that was backwards.  It is what we usually do, but not what we should do.  If we read the instructions first, and followed them, we would not get into the messes. 
I went to the writing groups.  At journal writing, I shared my blog entry from yesterday.  I did not have a poem for the poetry group though.  I had jotted down a couple of acrostic ideas, (the quickest and easiest for me to write when pressed for time) on the bus on my way down, but I am not totally satisfied with them and did not have them typed up to copy and hand out.  I did show them to one member of the group before our meeting and he told me which one he thought was the best, so I may use it next week.  I was not the only one who did not have a poem today so our leader shared a couple and we got out early.
I had lunch and at 3:00 PM our cast met to rehearsal the play.  We did not go over each part and every line because the first hour was taken up with the director going over the rehearsal schedule and telling us what changes were being made.  Some people go there late but everyone did show up.  She had each person go over a key section of the play on stage and is giving us some blocking  instructions (movements for those not familiar with stage lingo) now.  We also got a new ending to the play and a few other new lines where a scene had been modified and some words needed to be changed to make it fit the rest of the script.

August 26, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:07 am
This afternoon I went downtown for a program about rivers.  The woman conducting it is the assistant to our choir director and she directs the talent shows and had the lead role in our last Primus play, so I know her pretty well.  She had an interesting handout prepared listing rivers in Africa and giving maps showing them.  There were some poems about Africa and the rivers and bios about some of the explorers who found them.  She also showed a few pieces of movies about Africa, The African Queen, Khartoum, and Zulu.  That makes me want to see them.  I don’t think I ever saw The African Queen in its entirety, only bits of it.  I don’t know if I saw Khartoum and I know I did see Zulu but that was so long ago I don’t remember it.  Many movies made during those days of the big Hollywood spectacle, I did see but I was too young to really know much about what the story was really about so it is good to see them over when one is old enough to appreciate them.
I was home in time to listen to Michael Savage before i went to church for Bible study and choir practice.  The Bible study subject was "Is Your Faith Under Fire?"   The  main passage was 1 Peter 1:3-7, but pastor also gave us other references that say that we will go through trials and tribulations and persecution. He said there are four things we need to do when we are in that situation:
1.  Radiate God, don’t go around complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves.
2.  Remember God’s promises that He is always with us and will get us through.
3.  Recognize God’s purpose behind the situation.  There is usually a lesson He wants to teach us.
4.  Rely on God’s power and realize that we can’t get out of it on our own.
We practiced some very nice praise songs in the choir rehearsal about Jesus being worthy of our praise, worship and honor.  One song they did I did not know, so I just listened.  One of the choir member’s children were there and I was watching her 3 year old daughter dance to the songs.  She had so much energy, she was like the Energizer Bunny, she kept going and going and she had a lovely smile on her face.  She even bowed when the organist stopped playing and she finally stopped dancing.  I told her mother she has a real entertainer and she said she is trying to sing now too.  I can see her singing in the choir and leading praise dancers when she is older. 

August 25, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:39 am
I do not have much to write about today.  I did not go out at all.  The bi-weekly writing group met today, but I did not feel like going to it.  I had nothing that I wanted to share with them.  I did want to get some writing done today.  I did not type anything new, however, I just put a scene of a story I had written in long hand into the computer.  Except for these blog entries, I find it difficult to type what I am thinking.  I could never do that on manual typewriters either.  I write in long hand first and then transcribe it to the computer.  I may make some changes as I do, but it is usually what I wrote.

Other than that piece of writing, the only other thing I did today was to mop the kitchen floor.  I thought I might do laundry or try to get my mess from the last time I tried to organize straightened up better, but I did not.  I try not to let it bother me and do not get as upset with myself as I used to, but I still have a hard time with it.  The harder I try, the worse things seem to look and I know that is because "I" am "trying."  I only see progress when I work on what strikes me at a particular moment.  I did not wake up thinking I will mop the floor today, for example.  When I felt that it was time I did that, that is what I did.  It works for me.

August 24, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 2:34 am
I’m going to do this blog a little earlier, (or a lot earlier) than usual so I don’t wind up posting it tomorrow morning.  Then, I don’t get any reading done before bed because I am too tired.
This morning I went downtown for the class on world religions.  It was more interesting today because the lesson was on Judaism and we had a Jewish man in the group who explained things that we did not know about and told us how to pronounce words we all say incorrectly.  I agree with a friend of mine that if I were not Christian and was seeking a religion to follow, I would be drawn to Judaism.  
It is hard to understand how Christianity, which came out of that religion, has managed to remove the best aspects of it and given us such a different picture of God and how he feels about us.  I think we need to relearn what we have missed.  I can see why our faith does not attract them.
After the class ended, I met with a friend and we went to a nice Italian restaurant and shared a lasagna.  The desserts at the restaurant were very expensive, so we did not get them.  We went to Walgreen’s and bought ice cream that was on sale and sat by the river to eat it.  I did not get back in time for the walk tonight.  They were having their ending prayer outside the church when I got there.  
I have been keeping Pastor Williams informed about my thoughts about our services and of course had written about the revival services, so I gave him a copy of what I wrote about it.  He told me he enjoys reading my comments.  This morning I began to underline in my journal the pieces of ideas that i had which I said could lead to  longer essay, or poem and I may write something tonight, or begin to at least.   

August 23, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 5:06 am
This was the last day of our tent meetings.  We held Sunday school classes and service under the tent this morning.  First Lady led the woman’s Sunday school class.  It was about new love, meaning God’s love for us and ours for Him.  When we know Jesus, we are to love what God loves and hate what He hates.  She asked each of us to name something God hates and we did not get through with all of the lesson.

I sang with the choir again.  The only thing I don’t like about being in a choir is that usually one can only hear the person closest to them and does not get to hear what the audience, or in this case the congregation hears.  It was well received though, so I know it sounded good.  We did the same songs we did on Friday night.
Pastor’s message was about the woman with the issue of blood who came to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe for healing.  He called the message "I Won’t Let It Stop Me!"  The woman was determined to let nothing get in the way of her coming to Jesus for healing and she had faith enough to believe that even just touching his robe would cure her.  Pastor encouraged us to not let anything or anyone stop us from coming to Jesus.  When the invitation was given for anyone who wished to accept Jesus to come forward, one man, several women and some children responded.  The man was taken back to the church to be baptized.
A second invitation was given for those wanting prayer and many more people came up, were prayed for and anointed with oil.  After the service ended we ate together and back packs filled with school supplies were given out to the children and those in school, including adults in college.  Then other members got back packs too, but without the supplies.  The packs are red with the church name and address and Pastor’s name on them in white letters.  So, besides the Monday night walks through the neighborhood we are getting our name spread.  Now we need to pray that those who use the back packs will be on good behavior and not disgrace the church or Jesus, whom we represent.

August 22, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:16 am
This morning there was another play rehearsal scheduled, but we were not able to use the theater because some other meeting was going on in there, so we just read through the play.  We were also missing a couple of cast members and had to skip those parts.  The author of the play, Win’s son, had come to hear us and will be writing a new ending for it.

I did not stay downtown for the movie this afternoon because we were having the revival from 12 to 4:00 pm and then a service at 7:00 pm.  I came in at about 1:00 pm I think.  Ronald McDonald was just finishing up talking to the kids, (it was all for them this afternoon).  There was a combination of puppet ministry and praise dance from a church in Homewood, I believe, who put on a very nice presentation.  The puppets were large hand puppets, like the Muppets and the puppeteers were behind a black drape.  The puppets had on choir robes and were  pretending to be singing to a gospel tape while the dancers, in black, danced in front of the drape.  While the puppets were singing, others held up signs to go with the song lyrics.  They would pop up and down and wave from side to side with the music. Then we had hot dogs, or hamburgers, for lunch. They ran out of chips before the adults got to eat.  A Jumping Jack was blown up and the kids played in that and each one got a bag with some candy and little toy appropriate for their age.  That ended at 4:00 pm so Pastor and the adults who were working with the kids could get some rest before the evening service.
At the evening service, we had two groups of men singers, one from Hazelcrest  and another from a church on Indianapolis Boulevard here in Chicago.  Both were very good.  I did use my ear plugs and was able to hear them just about right.  Pastor gave a short talk from Revelation about Jesus knocking at the door and if we open the door, He will come in and sup with us.  When the invitation was given, one woman responded.  Others came forward to be prayed for.  I got a strong hug from the woman sitting next to me and she prayed for me. 

August 21, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 5:18 am
While writing in my journal this morning, I wondered if I should go to the film being shown at RC today.  I looked in the book last night to see what it would be and it was about a gay man.  Since I do not condone this lifestyle and our world’s attitude of it being okay because it is an "alternative" lifestyle that is no worse than heterosexuality, I thought perhaps I should not see the movie.  I journaled long enough that I would not have been able to get there in time anyway.

Now, don’t get me wrong about my attitude toward homosexuality.  I do not believe one should treat a person who practices this kind of life any differently than one would treat anyone else.  God loves all of us, no matter what sin we commit.  I do believe, though what the Bible says about same sex relations being sin and would pray for, and seek to share that with someone who is gay.  I do not believe we should facilitate their deviant behavior as all of our society has been doing lately.  The Bible said there would be a time when evil would be called good and good evil, and it is happening now. 
And God did not make people that way, as some would try to make us believe, including some ministers  God does not make  us what we become.  We do it ourselves by the choices we make in our lives. Oh, I may be willing to say certain people may have a stronger inclination to become gay, like a person who has alcoholic parents being more susceptible to becoming a drunkard than another person.  But, they still have the choice to make as to whether or not they will give in to that temptation.
After I did my journal and talked to my friend on the phone, I went downtown to be there for chorus rehearsal.  Our director began by showing us three shore video clips.  One was a opera company in PA, who in plain clothes, while mingling with people at a market, began singing a piece from an opera.  First one man began singing and then a woman joined with him and more and more began singing.  Of course at the beginning people didn’t quite know how to respond to the one man and wondered if he was crazy, but they recognized that he had a great voice so they began to stop and listen.  As more people began singing people could tell that they were professionals and enjoyed listening to them.
The other two clips were a group of opera singers at a concert in Germany singing an operatic piece and our own Chicago Symphony chorus singing at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.  He wanted us to pay attention to how they changed the intensity of their singing and directed us to do so in the songs we practiced.  We did not do any operatic piece yet, but he always includes at least one in every concert we perform.
After the practice, I came home and ate and relaxed a bit and talked to my friend again.  Then I went over to the tent that was set up for our revival.  On an empty lot across the street was a small tent and there were many police cars parked on the street and uniformed police at that lot.  They were holding a CAPS recruitment meeting and were serving hot dogs, chips, pop and water to residents who stopped by.  Some of us went over to get some.  Jody Weiss was there too I heard but I did not see him.  I asked Pastor if they had arranged that to provide security for our revival meeting, but he said they were going to be leaving in about 20 minutes.  They had left before our meeting started.
I sang with the choir tonight but one of the songs they sang I did not know all the words to yet.  I sang what I could.  We did two lively ones "The Blood Still Works" and "Joy" and ended with a slow quiet one that I think is called "A Song of Praise."  The words say that Jesus  loves to hear us lift our voice in praise to Him.  It is a sound He loves to hear.
Pastor preached on the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son and encouraged people who were lost to come to Jesus.  No one came forward at the altar call, but I will not say that my prayer was not answered because someone may have come to talk to someone privately and been saved later, or will think about what they heard and get saved at home.  I am confident that at least one person was and that is all God needs to do a mighty work and all He needs to rejoice., Pastor called his message, "There’s A Party and You’re Invited."  He pointed out that in each parable of the lost item, when it was found there was a celebration and we are told that there is rejoicing in heaven when one sinner repents.  I believe they are rejoicing now.
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