What Are We Losing Out On By Ignoring the Holy Spirit?

Last night at RCIA we talked about the Trinity and as we discussed the Holy Spirit I thought about how much we miss out on because we basically ignore the Holy Spirit. The early Church was charismatic. People were open to the Holy Spirit and miracles abounded. People were healed when Peter’s shadow touched them and others by pieces of cloth touched by Paul. How often do you hear of people healed today?
We are afraid of the Holy Spirit. We see and hear of things we don’t understand, people speaking in tongues and waving their arms. Ooo, who wants to be like that? People would think you’re weird like those crazy charismatics.
Yet what if that is the way God wants to act? Scripture tells us that God’s ways are not our ways. We can not understand God. One thing I know though is God wants us to be humble and He blesses the humble. Pride is a sin that we constantly have to fight.
Our God is an awesome God who passionately longs to bless His people. To pour His love, mercy and grace upon them. He yearns to pour his gifts upon us. There are so many thing He wants to do for us, ways He wants to bless us and ways He wants to use us to bless other people. He knows what we need and wants us to open ourselves to receiving His blessings and to be used by Him to bless others.
He operates through His Holy Spirit. We have to open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work through us in order to bless other people.
We live in a desperate world, maybe as pagan as the world was in the time of Christ. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we change the world. The world and U.S. are in desperate need of miracles. Too many people are suffering and too many souls are being lost. Can we afford to ignore the Holy Spirit?
Think about it! Do you want to continue the way we are going with the world getting worse each day or are you going to open yourself to the Holy Spirit?
Do you want to continue to lose out on the blessings and graces God wants to pour out on you or will you say yes to the Holy Spirit?
What are you afraid of; miracles, looking foolish or being inadequate? Just because some charismatics wave their hands or act strangely doesn’t mean you have to. The Holy Spirit works through your personality. Today is the feast of St. Jerome and despite all of the work the Holy Spirit did in him he still retained his grouchy personality.

Are You Sick of Planned Parenthood Yet?

Have you heard that Planned Parenthood was caught selling body parts from aborted fetuses for research? Probably not since the main stream media ignored it but it is true. Ten undercover videos are available on the Internet.
Do you know that Planned Parenthood is fighting all attempts to ban abortion when the child is capable of feeling pain? They want the right to perform abortions at every stage of pregnancy?
They also oppose every attempt to regulate the safety of their clinics and attempts to protect children born alive despite abortions.
Are you aware that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in this country and that they are willing to abort children if they are the wrong sex or have Downs. Your reason for an abortion doesn’t matter as long as they get paid.
Why should you care? Who do you think is paying for Planned Parenthood? You the American taxpayer! A very large part of their income comes from the American taxpayer.
Why do they get away with this? A couple of reasons! The mass media is virtually silent and the American people don’t say anything. Year after year there have been life chains on the first Sunday of October and hundreds of people take an hour to take a stand at various locations across the country;(www.lifechain.net) hundreds when there should be thousands.
If you are sick of fully developed babies being ripped apart, if you think it is outrageous to sell body parts or kill babies born alive in failed abortions take a stand. If you believe that states should regulate abortion clinics to protect the women going there take a stand. If you think it is wrong to take your tax money and use it to kill babies both here and abroad take a stand this Sunday.
You can be late to watch the Panthers, Giants or whoever. No game is that important! These atrocities will not stop unless we do something. Come Sunday, October 4, 2015 and take a stand. Somewhere there is a life chain near you. Bring a lawn chair if you have to but come. Let the media, politicians and America know that you are sick of the garbage going on.

Do Catholics Really Matter Politically?

You have to wonder if the president would have chosen a less radical guest list for Billy Graham if he was meeting him rather than the pope. If you missed it his guest list included several folks who oppose church teachings and was called insulting by Franklin Graham. Would the president have done that for a Muslim or Protestant cleric or do Catholic voters not matter any more? Do politicians believe that we are such poor Catholics that they can insult the Vicar of Christ and we would ignore it or do they think we are just to stupid and inattentive to care?

Where Is The Candidate Of Courage Who Will Challenge Americans To Be Better?

I am totally dissatisfied with the million candidates running for president. None of them seem to have courage or a vision to present to the American people. All I hear are negative attacks, reasons to vote against other candidates but no real reason yet to vote for the candidates running. So far the candidate I liked best is Scott Walker. He dropped out of the race because he believed there were too many candidates dividing the attention. Finally, someone who puts his country ahead of himself.
We don’t need any candidates who appeal to our lower natures by thinly disguised appeals to greed, selfishness or bigotry. We need a candidate who will call us to be great, who believes that we are indeed capable of greatness, of sacrifice for the common good. We need candidates with the courage to tell us the truth. We need candidates who haven’t sold themselves to Planned Parenthood or Corporate America.
We need candidates with courage to truly offer solutions to the immigration problem and our economic problems. We don’t need a candidate unwilling to work with both parties or compromise. We also don’t need another amateur or candidate who ignores the Constitution. Eight Years of that is enough.
We need someone with courage who is willing to be a one term president if necessary to accomplish something, someone who will put our country ahead of his own interests and his/her party.
So far I don’t see one.

Don’t We Believe In God Any More?

I was disturbed by the network’s coverage of the pope’s visit to Washington. They talked more as if he were a political figure rather than the representative of Christ on earth. They sounded like he could personally change the church’s teachings on abortion, same-sex marriages and divorce just because they were unpopular positions.
There is no recognition that God is involved. The Pope can not abandon 2000 years of Catholic Doctrine just because it is unpopular. These teachings can not be changed by Pope Francis or any other pope. Scripture tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. His teachings can not be changed. All of us including the Pope will have to account for our actions when we die. Then we will come face to face with the Creator of the Universe. I would be more worried about that than whether Americans found the Church Teachings to be popular.
Commentators mentioned that John Boehner was nervous about meeting the Pope. Think about meeting Christ instead. It should make any politician think twice about their political positions.

A Blessed Wrong Turn

This was published in the Fall edition of Wellsprings the newsletter of the SC Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service.

In August Of 2007 I made a wrong turn and saw a sign outside Trinity United Methodist Church, Praise Service, Mondays at 7PM. I always felt it was the Holy Spirit who directed me. My mom had recently passed away and I was really missing the support of a small loving community like my former prayer group. I decided to try it since the nearest charismatic prayer group required a 90 mile round trip.

It was a small welcoming community maybe 30 people a night and it turned out to be as close as I would find to a prayer meeting. They sang much of the same music as my old prayer group an there always was a good message. The minister, Ed Daniel who led the praise team, seemed especially inspired by the Holy Spirit. He also led a Bible Study on Tuesday night using one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado.

Every morning I went to daily mass and 2 evenings a week I went to Trinity United Methodist Church. I heard a lot of messages and rarely heard anything that contradicted my Catholic faith. The only example I recall was the minister referring to the brothers of Jesus and I just shook my head. I frequently had the opportunity to explain Catholic teaching many times. People were amazed at how much our faiths had in common.

I was privileged to teach a 3 week study on healing prayer using a short book written by a Catholic and got to explain the Catholic belief in the Real Presence of the Eucharist. I also prayed over people rather frequently after that.

One thing we started was a monthly healing service at the Monday Praise Service. It must have looked funny to outsiders; 2 Methodist Ministers and a Catholic Charismatic laying hands on Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists at a Methodist service.

I learned a lot from my experiences at Trinity United Methodist. We share a lot in common. There’s a love of Christ, a desire to know God better, to grow in our relationship with the Lord. We share a desire to better serve the God who loves us. We share a belief in a God who passionately loves us and wants what is best for us, a God who is doing everything possible to draw people to Himself in love.

We share our brokenness. We are weak, imperfect people. We’ve hurt ourselves and others with our sins and have been hurt by others. All of us have been wounded in some way and all of us need healing (to quote Ed) “in mind, body or soul”.

I found people who were open to learning about the Catholic faith, willing to listen. They might not have changed their minds but they were willing to listen and to grow.

I have been privileged to learn about prayer from another perspective, to lead prayer as part of a Bible Study and to pray with and for people. I am also blessed to have people who will pray for me and my friends to be part of a prayer chain that starts as soon as someone can forward an email. I was truly blessed in August of 2007 when I made the wrong turn.

Questions for 9/11/15

As the 14th anniversary of 9/11 approaches I’ve been thinking. Has 9/11 really had any lasting positive impact on the American people? Has America really come out of it better or stronger? Have we woken up to the failures that caused such a disaster, our reliance on our own power like Israel rather than on God? Or have we become a nation even less worthy of God’s protection and blessing?
Think about the immediate impact of 9/11. People realized that we needed God more and church attendance shot up but it only lasted few weeks. People prayed more for a while but then turned to The Walking Dead and Dancing With the Stars. Where are people now? Do they not realize our desperate need for God in America? Hasn’t any of the disasters that struck our nation the past 10 years woke us up to the fact that we are absolutely, completely dependent on God’s blessing; that without Him we are nothing.
Think about the past decade or so. We’ve suffered through the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression, failed in 2 wars, suffered thousands of casualties and wasted trillions of dollars. Our national debt is in excess of 18 trillion and rising. The job market is soft, creating jobs barely over the minimum wage. We’ve had to endure countless natural disasters.
Yet despite everything we’ve done, all the lives lost and money spent we are at just as much risk as we were in 2001. When will we learn and turn back to God?
When will we learn that prayer and conversion are our greatest weapons? That only God can protect this land that only God has the power to change this country. We cannot rely on only our military, our weapons or Homeland Security. Our economy cannot be counted on and we surely can trust our politicians or the political parties.
If you want to change this country, turn off the TV, Facebook and other social media and pray, pray hard and long. Pray for the candidates God wants to run and be elected. Pray for a spiritual awakening and revival in this country. Pray for your own conversion and the conversion of all those pushing this country in the wrong direction. Pray hard and long and then do it again tomorrow and the day after and keep on praying every day of your life.