Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Take a Faith Journey

 January is a good month to plan your vacation for 2017. It would be wonderful to travel to Germany during the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation to visit all the significant sites connected to Martin Luther.  If that is not an option for you, plan your summer get-a-way to one or more of the faith-based museums much closer to home.  I researched each of the following museums and narrowed it down to my top four that I can’t wait to visit starting in 2017.

The Billy Graham Library
Ruth's Bookstore
Located in Charlotte, NC, this library invites you to “Come Experience a Journey of Faith.”  As you tour the 40,000 square foot facility, you will discover the life and legacy of America’s favorite pastor, Billy Graham.  The facility is located on 20 acres close to his childhood home. Displays, interactive kiosks, a bookstore, and a prayer garden are features you won’t want to miss. And it’s all free, including parking. Reservations are required.

ARK Encounter
A full scale Ark, built according to the specifications, given to Noah in Genesis 6-9 is on display in Northern Kentucky. “Think Bigger” is the theme of this destination park that is located between Cincinnati, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky.  Pairs of life-like sculpted animals of each kind, which were probably alive at the time of the Great Flood, are found in the Ark. Dozens of educational interactive displays lead the visitor to a greater understanding of this important Biblical event. Tickets for one or two days can be purchased on line.

Creation Museum
Dinosaur Display
The Creation Museum is located in Petersburg, Kentucky about 40 miles from ARK Encounter. The museum website describes what is offered. “This 70,000-square-foot facility allows families to experience earth history as God has revealed it in the Bible. Nearly 150 exhibits feature fearsome animatronic dinosaurs, talking heroes of the faith, and professional displays that honor God´s Word. The museum also boasts a fun-filled, 200-seat special effects theater, a state-of-the-art planetarium, a petting zoo, nature trails, and lots more.”  Combo tickets are available for                                                          both ARK Encounter and the Creation Museum.

Museum of the Bible
This museum invites all people to engage with the Bible when it opens in Washington, DC in November 2017.  According to Wikipedia, the 430,000 sq. ft. facility “documents the narrative, history, and impact of the Bible. The museum is non-sectarian, non-political, and it will not proselytize.”  The hope is that people will learn about the Bible and decide for themselves what they believe. Steve Green, Hobby Lobby President, is donating over 40,000 items from Old and New Testament times, including fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Stay tuned for more information about the grand opening.

Be inspired, be amazed, and be challenged. Let me know in the comment section at the end of this blog if you plan to take a Journey of Faith.

Museum of the Bible

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

From God Bless to Go Bless

My mind and body are finally starting to defrost.  The momentum of the new year and my determination to “get back to normal” have been on hold. Bitter temperatures, snow, and ice descended on the Atlanta metro last weekend just as I was recovering from the holiday season.  Where else but Georgia in January can you have a 4o wind chill one Saturday and 65o the next?

In order to move forward, it helps me to have an inspiration, a goal, or a plan as I navigate the 355 days left in 2017. These quotes express my desire to make my days count this year.

“What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” – Vern McLellan

“We all get the exact same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.”
– Hillary DePiano

January is a good time to look back and to look forward. In spite of the challenges and difficulties of last year, I choose to celebrate my many blessings. Blessings are wonderful, but the question is what will I do with them? Will I hoard them or share them? 

The child’s nighttime prayer is to bless mommy, daddy, little sister, big brother, etc. That is great for a child, but it should not be the totality of our adult prayer. If God has already blessed greatly, should we ask for more?

Compared to much of the world, we have more blessings than we deserve. If we have something in abundance, our goal should be to share that abundance with others. 2017 would be a good year for me to ask God each day to make me a blessing to someone else. How would that show up in real life?  Kind words for the person who waits on me at the bank and grocery store. Lending a helping hand to someone in need or offering to pray for somebody who is hurting. These are simple acts of kindness.

An elderly man jumped on the mother of two at the Ft. Lauderdale airport to protect her from the recent shooting.  He whispered to her, “I will protect you.” Both of their lives were spared by his heroic act. We never know when we might have the same opportunity to spring into action. If we make a habit of passing along blessings to others each day, an unselfish act will be second nature for us.

When I think about sharing my blessings, I recall a church hymn I used to sing years ago:

“Out in the highways and byways of life,
Many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
Making the sorrowing glad.

Make me a blessing, make me a blessing,
Out of my life may Jesus shine,
Make me a blessing, O Savior I pray;
Make me a blessing to someone today.”
—Ira B. Wilson (1909)

Who can you bless today?