SSB Gathering – March 8 2015

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Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

by Kathi

Death Valley

 Death Valley

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Mark 6: 30-44

(30) The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. (31) Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

(32) So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. (33) But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.

(34) When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. (35) By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. (36) Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

(37) But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” (38) “How many loaves do you have?” he ask, “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five – and two fish.”

(39) Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. (40) So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. (41) Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.

(42) They all ate and were satisfied, (43) and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. (44) The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

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Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

 

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photo credit: Brian Bonham

35 comments on “SSB Gathering – March 8 2015

  1. When Jesus divided the loaves he increased them a thousandfold, assuming it took a loaf to make a meal. Same with the fish. Even if each person received less than a whole fish, when Jesus divided, he multiplied the fish he was given.

    Now, I don’t expect today’s church organizations or their ministers to be miracle workers, but, frankly, when I think of what was done with the money I used to give to “churches” I feel swindled. The minister kept the majority to himself. What was left went primarily to maintain buildings and parking lots, with some small amount sometimes going to a pianist–a pianist who possibly wasn’t even making minimum wage if you count practice and rehearsal time. Some small percentage was passed on to the denomination, which took its own (large) percentage before, at best, sending what was left to feed even more Americans who were called missionaries (Where is the word missionary found in Scripture?). I dare say the U.S. Government does more Kingdom-of-Heaven good with our tax money than what the great majority of “churches” accomplish with our tithes, gifts and offerings.

    Truly, when the typical present-day American “church” receives our gifts, it divides to the point of obliteration. How much better to give directly to those in actual need? Why not give our time, the value of which will not be taxed? What we give directly will not be decreased by division. Who knows? Maybe our Heavenly Father will see fit to multiply that which is freely and directly given to “the least of these”?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This story starts off with telling us that the apostles reported all that they had done and taught. In 6: 6-12 we’re told that Jesus sent out all of the apostles to teach. We’re told that they preached, drove out demons, and anointed the sick with oil and healed them.

    After all that they reported they were able to do, they seem a bit put off when Jesus tells them, “You feed them.” I’ve always liked this part of this story. Even though the apostles seem compassionate to meet the physical needs of the people, they ask him to provide. He says, quite forwardly, “You do it.” Then they argue about how much it will cost them.

    Fortunately, for as many people that I have heard complain about the cost of serving others, I have known as many who were willing to take on “feeding” others.

    Like

  3. That passage shows the deep love Jesus has for people. He was planning on getting away to a quiet place with some friends who needed rest. But when the crowd showed up, he didn’t resent them but had compassion on them. What a gracious Savior.

    My post on Friday was on the same passage, pointing to God’s provision and the way he gives us Sabbath rest in it: Fresh Bread.

    Like

  4. I’ve wanted to be a missionary since I was 13 or 14, in particular to South Sudan. I met an incredible Kenyan lady when she came to our then-church to raise support for her ministry. I had been interested in Africa for a long time before that, because of the big cats, but as soon as I met her, I knew that I wanted to know the people, too. To make a very long story short, the month that I was to go with her, the U.S. flagged her passport as suspect, because she does so much traveling back and forth. The problem took almost a year to fix, and by then, the window of opportunity was closed.

    I started looking into other opportunities, but I got the same message everywhere: A girl! Great! You can run a VBS!

    I hate VBS. I hate telling watered-down stories, I hate singing stupid songs, I hate explaining the salvation bracelet, etc., etc., etc. I am physically incapable of doing construction work, so if I want to go, running a bible camp is my only option.

    I don’t do “ministry.” I do people. But since I’m a girl….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Witch Hazel – If you’re still thinking about pursuing missions work, I can refer you to some organizations that gladly take women. Break the mindset, break the mold!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Witch Hazel – – don’t give up hope. Could that prompting in your heart be from the Holy Spirit? I say go and pursue that nudging. God can and will do amazing things through a willing vessel and I don’t think he specified genders. Just sayin’

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kathi – that picture is amazing. Please thank Brian from me. Does he realize he’s been part of a ministry here? 🙂 I really like the passage choice, too!

    Like

  8. I would love to do missionary work, but since then I have developed Fibromyalgia, and extremely painful condition which makes my muscles/joints ache severely most of the time. It also causes insomnia and foggy-headedness. I can’t even go hiking or do math anymore; I certainly can’t go to Africa.

    This is another grievance of mine with the church. My pain gets written off by most Christians– it’s always my fault if I can’t don’t participate in games or activities. “It’s an attitude problem,” they tell me. Evidently if you are younger than 45, you’re not allowed to have chronic pain issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Julie Anne – I will thank him! He asked me last night, “Which picture are you using this time?” When I told him he said it’s one of his favorites.

    Like

  10. Witch Hazel – I’m so sorry you’ve been treated that way. I have heard the same story from others that deal with chronic pain that they’ve been treated the same way.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. An awesome song I wanted to share! Mama Moises Burks and The Mississippi Mass Choir “When I Rose This Morning”

    Like

  12. That’s a great song! Although the music suggests way more energy than I have when I wake in the morning. 😉

    Like

  13. W.H. For cry in out loud “it’s an attitude problem” that is so damn mean. I wonder if being in church is why your precious body has fibromyalgia… There is so much pressure to perform, have a happy plastic smile when you are dying on the inside, measure up, don’t complain & on & on. You know the drill witch hazel. I am not trying to be insensitive to your diagnoses, I am fully aware that there could be a genetic connection. My husband has ankylosing spondylitis a type of arthritis. Well, some in the church were convinced he must have a spirit of bitterness, when it was and is in fact do to a genetic link. I know you know this, but I just want to say it out loud: There is no way it is your fault that you cannot participate in games & activities. Geesh, I am mad that so called christians can be so stupid. Obviously, I am a tad triggered, because you wouldn’t believe some of the remarks that were made to my hubby, then again I bet you wouldn’t be surprised at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. GaryW; “when I think of what was done with the money I used to give to “churches” I feel swindled.”

    Right there with you Gary. Good comment ( :

    Like

  15. gm370,
    Actually, I agree with you– I do think that a combination of the “Body of Christ” and my abusive “father” is what caused it. My mom got the same infirmity at the same time as I: right when his/their abuse was ramping up.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. @Kathi,

    That Mississippi Mass Choir is AMAZING! You’re right about the energy! (I saw them live and the clapping was sooooo fast at one point, I couldn’t keep up! LOL!
    Those saints know how ‘to do church’!

    1. Here’s a slower one, “God Did It”, from Evelyn Turrentine Agee (at the Gospel Legends recording in Mississippi).

    2. “Don’t Let The Devil Ride” Neal Roberson (at The Gospel Legends recording in Mississippi)

    Like

  17. Witch Hazel,
    I have Fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis. I get the whole, “you don’t do enough” thing from time to time. I know your pain. I would love to go on a missions trip, but couldn’t pass the physical. It is becoming more difficult to do my secular job. New Tribes Missions has no problem taking women. More girls from the church I attend are sent out than guys. I find it odd that more of our girls feel called than the guys, but am delighted to see their courage and compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Gary W,
    There are so many things not found in the Bible. Yet I see Paul doing missions work. The disciples did missions work. If missionaries don’t have money, they cannot continue their work. It can take decades to learn to get to know a people foreign to themselves, learn the language and begin to translate enough scripture for the people to start to understand Jesus Christ. The missionaries that I know have little or nothing to survive on once they retire, but have no regret for the life they have lived.

    I no longer belong to a church that belongs to a denomination. Tithes and offerings that are brought in are used as the congregation sees fit. Foreign and local missions are supported. I must disagree with our government doing more Kingdom-of-Heaven good with out tax $$. Our government gives away a great deal of money, but not for good. Nothing that won’t be works that will burn in the fire. There are other local bodies out there. Perhaps you haven’t found the one that is good for you.

    Do I have issues with the pastor–Yes I do, but no church or person is perfect and he gave a sermon this morning that told me that I was being heard. Not that I want any pats on the back. To God be all glory.

    Like

  19. I am 99.9% sure I will never return to a church building. Fellowship happens a lot outside of walls of a building. The freeing thing is I no longer feel one bit of guilt for no longer attending. ( Thanks in part to some who contribute here) Imagine the good we could do if we tithed to fellow believers who are struggling…

    Like

  20. Brenda R,

    Just as something to think about, I suggest that Jesus defines Kingdom-of-Heaven works (yes, works) here:

    “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:35-36 ESV)

    Now, individual Christians may do a better job of visiting (though not caring for) the sick and imprisoned, but I dare say that our government has done way, way more than all U.S. Churches combined when it comes to providing food, drink and clothing to the hungry, thirsty and those who would otherwise have little fit to wear. I’m not saying government has been efficient, or even wise, but but it has certainly been effective. Presently, it is doing quite a commendable job of welcoming strangers, also know as illegal/undocumented immigrants.

    My own belief is that, where believers fail, our Lord graciously raises up the heathen to fill the gaps.

    Again, just some things to think about. Others will see it differently.

    Regarding missionaries, I do not disagree with what you say. I just think there is a better way of doing things. Once a few are won in a given culture, cannot these early converts be trusted to win their fellows? They don’t need to learn their own language or culture. Why, we don’t even need to send missionaries abroad. We need only send them to the universities and other places where our Lord is bringing the world to us.

    As an example, my wife and I started supporting a native of India some years ago. He assured us that $100 (now $125) a month would support him and his family according to the standard of those amongst whom he lives. He has since organized the training of 100’s of ministers who have established a similar number of churches, and thousands have come to know our Lord Jesus. I met this person right here on U.S. soil. Now, not every such experience will show so positive a result. However, neither can we have any assurance that hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on preparing a U.S. missionary (I once read or heard that the typical cost was around half a million dollars) will produce a single convert–much less be effective to win an entire culture.

    Like

  21. Ah, THAT Gail. The Gail to whom THAT purple gravatar thinggy belongs. Hello, Gail, glad you let us know about the alias. Now, if only the ol’ memory can keep it all straight.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. I’m honestly dumbfounded by this passage today: I’ve constantly said to the Lord, or had said *to* me by my husband, “Music ministry just isn’t possible right now because it would take sooooo much money.” Wow. If Jesus wants to “feed” people, He can provide the means. With or without an institution or a specific financier. He will make His will happen. ❤

    Like

  23. Well, I was going to ask if you wanted me to change gm370 to Gail, but it’s probably better that we just recognize gm370 as the new Gail. 🙂 I’m glad you can “like” now, it’s fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. The smiley face is just colon and parenthesis. I’m not sure if hearts work here, but that’s a less than sign and a 3. Let’s see if it works: ❤ 🙂

    Monkeying around some more: 😉

    🐸 🏩 😜 😜 ⛪️ 🎼 👍

    Like

  25. Gary W,

    One of the problems with not having missionaries going to these countries is that there are still over 2000 tribes/cultures in many countries that have no written language. There is no translation between what they are saying and any other language. They have no way of communicating with anyone other than themselves. Yes, I do believe once there is a way of communicating with them and they have a way to teach the gospel to others that naturally they would be able to take over the teaching for themselves, but it is a long process.

    In Matthew 28 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. I believe this command is still given us today.

    I give to a family in another country. Translation has become easier there, but their economy and ability to get clean water, medicine and education is not better. Translation from English to those in India is a very simple process. It has not always been. We have many people who live in this country who have dual citizenship with India. They can converse with those here and in their home country easily. I know several personally who make the big bucks here and then move back to India in retirement where they can live quite extravagantly for very little money. They must remain citizens of India in order to buy property there. We cannot say the same here.

    As far as the illegal/undocumented that are here in this country our country should not be supporting them. There is a legal process for people to come to this country as there is in any other country in this world. We are the only ones that do not stick to our laws unless you are a legal citizen. Then they will hold you to every one of them. Our government keeps better care of those in prison for violent crimes than they do for starving children within our borders. Children go to school everyday in our country without food. Our government gives to countries governments and the hungry in those countries never see any of it. It is a shame the waste our tax dollars are used.

    Like

  26. Brenda R,

    I do not disagree with what you say concerning missionaries. I am concerned that U.S. Missionaries may in all innocence be propagating the very assumptions, worldviews and doctrines that have resulted in the apostasy of much of U.S. Christianity.

    I also agree with you concerning the manifest failings of our government. Certainly I do not approve the lawlessness of the current government in Washington, although in the manner of immigration I largely agree with the result. How much better it would be to have an ordered process by which we reopen our borders to the world!

    Really, in every area, though I deem our current government to deserving of great criticism, and even condemnation, it nevertheless accomplishes more in terms of aiding the deserving than is being accomplished by the church. I am not attempting to compliment or laud government. What I am saying is that, as bad as government is, the large majority of what calls itself Christian in the U.S. is even worse.

    Like

  27. ‘…… but, frankly, when I think of what was done with the money I used to give to “churches” I feel swindled’
    I know I will never receive compensation for what I went through and I certainly won’t accept an apology from them, 100% chance I won’t get one anyway. However, I would love to ask for a refund for all the money I had put into the offering plate over the 15 year period I attended that local Presbyterian Church. When I give I give it to someone who works for God not for himself.

    Like

  28. Gary,
    I would imagine there are many on missions fields that are not preaching a true gospel of Christ just like many churches are doing here. In many it is about money, prestige and control. I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know.

    I have had the opportunity to hear individual missionaries speak of their experiences and have retired missionaries in the church that people have taken into their homes when they have retired. There are good and bad in all walks of life. It is a matter of discernment and remembering that we are already walking in eternity. Which path I take in my own walk with Christ is what I have to get in order. I can vote and write letters to my government officials, but most replies are, “yah, I’m glad to hear your opinion, but I’m going to do what I want”.

    Have a lovely day. There’s only 5 1/2 weeks until tax season is over. I’m counting down.
    Brenda

    Like

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