This week's Combap Update newsletter.

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
June 29, 2015 - "Not Your Own Interests" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Good morning.  I've been reading the new gripping book by Charles Martin called "Water From My Heart".  Let me share a few paragraphs with you. 

(Set in Nicaragua):  "Let me tell you something about that lady.  When her husband was sick last year, the medicine he needed was very expensive.  Most people in his condition die.  But Anna would work all day in the coffee plantation, then walk down the mountain at dusk to the peanut fields and work all night, by moonlight, digging up peanuts with her bare hands.  She slept in the field for an hour or two before dawn; then she'd hide her peanut bag and walk back up the mountain to check on her husband and then make it to work on time.  It'd take her three to four days to fill a hundred pound bag with peanuts, and for that bag, they'd pay her ten dollars."

"'When I first traveled to the States to study, I was struck by how everyone I encountered spend their days working feverishly to make enough money to buy a better tomorrow.  Here, people are content - they buy what they need today and leave tomorrow to God.  These people don't have a death grip on their life here.  They hold it loosely because they're not in control of it in the first place, and -'.  She paused, weighing her words.  'In their experience, it can be ripped form their hands no matter how tightly they squeeze it.'"

"Leena was something of a combination of the two.  As tough as her environment demanded, tender at the drop of a hat; quick to speak but more apt to listen; modest in her dress but also comfortable in her confidence; beautiful not only in silence and passing glance, but even more so in action.  Leena also possessed the one thing that neither Amanda nor Shelly did:  presence.  She commanded authority because she was first and foremost ready to serve those around her.  She'd earned it.  Her willingness to kneel down and clean the groin and bottom of a feces and urine soaked man, then kiss his forehead, put her on a pedestal unlike any other.  I did not feel comfortable around her not because she made me feel uncomfortable, but because I felt counterfeit.  Her willingness to stop, kneel, and serve amid filthy, embarrassing, and uncomfortable situations jarred something loose in me because I wasn't.  I'd spent my life pursuing my comfort, not others'.  Leena had not.  A strange emotion shadowed me as we bumped down dirt roads in the middle of nowhere.  I did not know what to call it, but 'unworthy' came about as close as anything."

The story captures not only the poverty experienced in Nicaragua compared to our standard of living here - but also how we tend to concentrate on our own comfort and happiness rather than on the comfort and happiness of others.  Philippians 2:3-8 states:  "D
o nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."  Ouch!  That's a pretty tall order.  Let's make an effort today (and every day) to thank God for all the blessings He has given us - and to look at those around us with compassion ("water from our heart") and see how we may help.

Penny

P.S.  "Water From My Heart", "a breathtaking story of a man driven by the hope of redemption", is absolutely worth the read!

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
June 24, 2015 - "No Whining" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

What to do? What to do? I will be heading off on a week of holidays soon and enjoying some time with my parents and family members as we celebrate 80 years of Dad and 60 years of Mom and Dad being married. It's a great legacy that those two created for us, which they inherited from their parents. Those 60 years of marriage were rocked by financial problems, many many moves, business ups and downs, and the most cruel blow of all, the loss of a child. Dad's 80 years were marked with poverty, boarding school, a permanent broken arm, the school of hard knocks, an interrupted career, and approximately 8 million cups of coffee.

Still, when we get together, there will be no whining about the bad things because that's not how they roll. There will be thankfulness, still more coffee, some tears, family politics, and trying to remember names...but no whining! We are massively blessed by God, and no bad experiences can ever take that away.

Joell

Last Sunday's Service:

Audio from Sunday's service
Video from Sunday's service

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
June 18, 2015 - "Father's Day" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Perhaps the most poignant story of a father is the story of the prodigal son. The amazing story of a father's love for his wayward child. Read it here... then read this F version. :)

THE PRODIGAL SON RETOLD

Feeling footloose, fancy-free, and frisky, this feather-brained fellow finagled his fond father into forking over his fortune. Forthwith, he fled for foreign fields and frittered his farthings feasting fabulously with fair-weathered friends.

Finally, facing famine, and fleeced by his fellows in folly, he found himself a feed flinger in a filthy farmlot. He fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from the fodder fragments.

"Fooey! My father's flunkies fare far fancier," the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, frankly facing fact.

Frustrated from failure and filled with forebodings, he fled for his family. Falling at his father's feet, he floundered forlornly. "Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited further family favors."

But the faithful father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged his flunkies to set forth the finest fatling and fix a feast.

The fugitive's fault-finding frater, faithfully farming his father's fields for free, frowned at this fickle forgiveness of formal falderal. His fury flashed, but fussing was futile.

His foresighted father figured, "Such filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivities? The fugitive is found! Unfurl the flags! With fanfare flaring, let fun, frolic and frivolity flow freely, former failures forgotten and folly forsaken. Forgiveness forms a firm foundation for future fortitude."

Our heavenly Father loves us even if we mess up! Do yourself a favour this Father's Day...call Him up and tell Him that you love him back!

Joell

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
June 7th, 2015 - "Common Cold" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

I had a cold last week. You may not have noticed, but I did. It was a seriously mild case of sneezing, runny nose, and feeling completely fine. My sleep was not interrupted. My nose didn't get sore from blowing it. It was a cold that when I answered "I'm fine" to the question "how are you?", I wasn't lying. It was epic in its mildness. So, why am I telling you this? Well, it's not to brag that I'm healthier than all those other people who got a cold and got really sick. Nope. That's not it. It's also not to push some miracle cure that I've invented that made it mild when I took 74 doses over a 12 hour period immediately after my first sneeze.

No. The reason that I shared this groundbreaking news is, simply, to point out that I did nothing to make it mild. It just was mild. Nothing I ate, drank, rubbed in, or inhaled made it mild. It happens (apparently) sometimes. But the common cold will run its course, regardless of its severity, regardless what you take or do about it. Studies continue to show that any "cures" out there are of no use. You can mask some of the symptoms with drugs (thank you drug inventors!), but there is still nothing that makes the virus get killed faster.  Nor is there a cure. Trust me...if a cure ever is found, the drug companies will fall over each other to get it to market.

This dose of reality is brought to you by .... nothing.

Joell

PS. The only real cold cure was by Granny Clampet. Watch it here! (ignore the chipmunk voices)

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