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  • ivanildotrindade 5:51 pm on January 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: death, Dorcas, , installation service, memorial service   

    Two Services and A Thought 

    Last Sunday I preached on the brevity of life. Little did I know that just a couple of days later a dear friend of mine, John Weaver, would die suddenly in Wooster, Ohio. John’s funeral and memorial service will be this coming Sunday at Wooster Grace and I will have to miss it because it is my installation service at Grace Church, Lititz.

    This turn of events and the coincidence of services have given me much more than pause. What if it was my service in Wooster and John’s here in Lititz? John was a godly man. Though a builder by trade, he could well be a pastor somewhere based on his knowledge of Scriptures and love for people. I, on the other hand, can’t build even walls made of Lego’s.

    The last couple of days I have only heard (and seen) positive, God-honoring comments about John and his legacy. John touched literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of people with his gentle ways, his firm convictions and exuberant love for God’s Word. I just can’t help but think about what people would be saying and writing about me if it was my service there and his service here… Do you ever think that way? And do you think that you would be remembered as a godly person who left a legacy of love for God and compassion for people. Would people would not only you but your character and integrity also?

    Yes, people miss John’s character and integrity. I also miss his generosity. John gave in so many ways. A thoughtful guy, he never missed an opportunity to bless someone, even if he did it behind the scenes.

    Today I thought of Dorcas, “who was always doing good and helping the poor,” according to Acts 9. When she died suddenly, the poor widows who came to her funeral actually brought with them Dorcas’ evangelism tools — the robes and other clothing she had made and given them while she was alive (Acts 9:39).

    What would people bring to my funeral? Only the funny jokes I told or a memory of a time I actually went out of my way to make sure that they were blessed? Scraps of memory from a reluctant follower or a flood of vivid reminders of an unwaivering faith in a God who delivers?

    What would people bring to your funeral? On Sunday the auditorium at Wooster Grace will be filled with people who loved John and there won’t be a single one who will have any doubts where he stood in his love for God and people. I can’t think of a better memory to bring to a funeral. May it be that way for ours as well.

    And sorry for the morbid tone. Death does make us melancholic, especially on the eve of a great celebration.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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    • lionjudah 8:15 am on January 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Pastor Trindade, for opening the discussion of death and dying.

      How can one not contemplate the end of his life? Especially when death knocks on the door of his life. The death angel has knocked at my door a handful of times. He has also knocked at my wife’s door several times, too.

      Marketing firms try to remind us to prepare for the eventuallity of our death. My sister-in-law quipes, ” None of us are going to get out of here alive!”

      Then too, those of us who attend funerals find them to be dress rehearsals of out own home going–that is our own funerals.
      And how can one not attend a funeral and listen to the words of remembrance and ask, “I wonder how will people sum up my life?”

      More importantly, How will God sum up our lives–do we have our reservations made?

      Who does not ask, will my death be sudden without farewells all around usually around a bed of infirmity? or will we need to suffer with lingering pain?
      Or who does not ask, will our money last as long as we do?

      There is a multitude of questions that swirl around ones mind as he winds down his pilgrimage.
      I think it is important to address these questions and plan for your end.

      The one thing I am sure of is, “I have done business with God”

      Because of Jesus,
      Pastor Harold

      • ivanildotrindade 11:44 am on January 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Harold, you are doing just fine with the blog thing based on the 10 minute tutorial i gave u. thank you for sharing your thoughts here. your sister is right but she is not right: some of us will make it alive — 1 Thessalonians 4. Take care!

  • ivanildotrindade 11:40 pm on June 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cheap salvation, death, feeling better than others, free salvation, friend of the poor, how to treat others, , low position, putting others first, salvation   

    Learning from Children — Part 2 

    This is the second post of a three-part series of a message I preached last Sunday. Hope you enjoy it. 

    There is a second lesson Jesus wants us to learn through His precious children and that is…

    B. The Lesson of Humility

    To understand this lesson, we turn to Matthew 18:1-6:

    “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’” (Matthew 18:1-6).

    You have to love the way Jesus used children as visual aids for His lessons. These were the days before Power Point or multi-media presentations. They didn’t even have overhead projectors! So Jesus did the next to the best thing: He motioned to a little kid playing nearby and made him stand right in the middle of the disciples to teach them a lesson about humility.

    But I am getting ahead of myself here. I don’t know what to say about the disciples. They were running around with the greatest servant leader of all times and they were constantly bickering about who was the greatest among them. At one point, James and John even enlisted the services of their Mom to ask Jesus if He could position her two sons on either side of Him when they got to the Kingdom. Jesus, of course, told her that she had no idea of what she was asking.

    Unlike the time when the disciples tried to stop children from seeing Jesus, this time Jesus didn’t get indignant, He simply showed his favorite “Power Point” – a small child with no power, no pretention to greatness and no claim to favored status in the world. The text says the child was of “low position.” Jesus took that child, and said, “Look at how this child is – not worried about being important or better than everybody else. Become like this child and you will be the greatest.”

    We all know that when children are small they care little about power and position. It’s only later, as they learn from adults, that they start noticing whether their parents drive a Cadillac Escalade or a Dodge Neon or whether they live in the north or south end of town. Small children are the original egalitarians and they don’t go around pulling ranks.

    I once heard Chuck Swindoll, the famous Christian author, tell the story of a five year old girl who was tired of older kids picking on kids like her so she decided to start her own club. And the motto of her club was “Nobody big, nobody small; everybody medium.”

    And that’s the lesson Jesus wants us to learn from God’s little children here: In spite of what you may consider to be evidence to the contrary you are made of clay and you are returning to clay. You have no reason to feel superior to anybody else on the planet.

    Moses put it this way in his song in Psalm 90:

    “You turn men back to dust, saying, ‘Return to dust, O sons of men.’” (Psalm 90:3)

    Do you pick up some irony here? Here is Moses, the most important prophet in the nation of Israel, getting old and thinking of his imminent death. Moses knew that no matter how important or beloved he was, when it came time for him to go, there would be no arguing with God. God would say “return to dust” and before the dust settled, he would be a goner, so what is the point of feeling superior or treating anyone as inferior to ourselves?

    This is a sober realization, my friends. The truth of the matter, whether you like it or not, is that when it’s all said and done, our names, our achievements, even our religious zeal, do not give us any advantages in this world. We are what we are because of Jesus so all glory goes to Him.

    Now, there is nothing wrong, of course, with aspiring to be something great as long as we don’t allow this aspiration to replace God in our lives. And we should never do it at the expense of other people. Remember: Nobody big, nobody small; everybody medium.

    Paul said it this way in Romans 12:16:

    Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.” (Romans 12:16).

    I am familiar with a church that has an outreach to needy people in their community. On particular weekend people go into the homes of approximately hundreds of families, bring a box full of goods and share the story of the resurrection with people. Just about every year one of the pastors gets a phone call from someone wanting hi8m to sort of handpick a house just for them. Usually the conversation starts like this, “You know I have always wanted to do get involved with this ministry to the needed, but I have a problem with…” And the list can include anything from house with cats to allergic reactions to cigarettes, to “dirty” houses… you name it. The pastor always has to politely encourage people to look for another ministry because they are obviously not ready for this one.

    Imagine if our Lord thought that way when His heavenly Father informed Him that He was going to come to this place called earth and be born a baby with all the traits of earthiness and mortality associated with it. “I will go… if the people receive me as the King that I am.” Or “I will go… if I can live in a palace, surrounded by servants who will tend to my every need.” Or “I will go… if they will accept my message.” Instead, the Word of God says that the eternal Son of God temporarily gave up His claims of divinity to become one of us. He pitched His tent among us, deeply flawed human beings and, in the process, He became a servant, willing to go the distance, even the distance of spilling His own blood so we could have hope of forgiveness and reconciliation with the God who made the universe.

    We read about this in an old Christian song, which Paul quoted in his letter to the Philippians (Chapter 2:5-8):

    “… have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

    Who, being in very natureGod, 
        did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing 
        by taking the very nature of a servant, 
        being made in human likeness. 
    And being found in appearance as a man,
        he humbled himself
        by becoming obedient to death 
    even death on a cross!
    (Philippians 2:5-8).

    I am so glad that Jesus, who was God Himself, didn’t put any conditions. He was willing to humble Himself — He came, he suffered; he died and lived again, just so we could experience forgiveness and achieve reconciliation with the God who made us. Salvation is free but it was not cheap — it cost the life of the Son of God Himself. What does that mean to you?

    I remember one time I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, attending a huge conference, where both Billy Graham and Luis Palau spoke. I will never forget Palau’s remark, after the MC introduced him with a detailed, flowery introduction that ended with, “So it is my honor to give to you this great servant of God, Luis Palau.” Palau stepped up to the podium and, almost sheepishly, whispered into the mic, as if speaking to himself, “If he is a servant, he is not great; if he is great, he is not a servant.” And that is the part of his sermon I remember the most – and it has stayed with me for the rest of my life.

    The second lesson, then, God wants to us to learn through His precious children is this…

    Don’t feel better than anybody else. And don’t be proud. The Bible says that the one who mistreats the poor offends the God who made them. A friend of the poor is a friend of God. 

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 7:56 pm on April 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Cremation, death, , Funeral home, mount zion baptist, my funeral jazz funeral, planning your funeral, rev. e. v. hill, weird funerals   

    "Don't Surprise Me At My Funeral" 

    Do you ever think about your own funeral? Maybe I am weird, but I do sometimes.

    I once went to the funeral of an acquaintance, a man in his mid-sixties who died of a heart attack. As I entered the church, to my surprise, I was greeted by a jazz band playing loud music. The tone was festive, the people were wearing brightly colored clothes, and the air was almost celebratory. More than once we were told “this is how he wanted it,” almost as a veiled admission that something was amiss. I mean, blame it on the deceased. Even the dead are entitled to bad taste.

    Ever since that experience, I have given much thought to how I want my funeral to be. So if you attend it one day, and somebody says “that’s how he wanted it,” bring these notes and feel free to cross-reference them with the funeral. Feel free to protest too, if things don’t go as I asked. I don’t want my funeral to surprise me. So here are some notes to my funeral:

    First of all, while the “jazz funeral” is at one end of the spectrum, at the other end are the uncontrollably sobbing and screaming that goes on in some other funerals. I want neither. Sometimes in Christian funerals people are so quick to play the “absent from the body, present with the Lord” note that they end up suppressing what is a natural, genuine human feeling — the pain of losing a loved one. So at my funeral, I don’t want people to put on an artificial face of comfort but neither do I desire for them to “lose it.” If you are sad, show sadness; if you are happy, show happiness. Just don’t embarrass me at my funeral.

    Secondly, don’t go looking for highlighted texts in my Bible. First of all, while I own many Bibles, most of my Bible reading is done online these days. Also, I am not one who likes to mark books — I am still old-fashioned about approaching books with a certain reverence, whether sacred or not. And when it comes to the Bible, I have never been a “highlighter” because when I used to read more from the printed text I never liked to condition my mind to only look at passages I had previously highlighted. I always want to discover the hidden treasures in this precious Word.

    Don’t look for favorite verses. For all my adult life I have tried to read three chapters of the Bible every day plus one chapter of Proverbs, corresponding to the day of the month. So I like them all, but you could say that if I have a favorite it is a book and not a verse. The most practical and true to life lessons you can find in the Bible are in the Book of Proverbs. Just like the Geico commercial, five minutes of Proverbs can save you from ruining your life — a slightly better advantage over saving 15% in car insurance…

    Thirdly, I have seen a lot of dead people in my life and no matter the expertise of the funeral home, none of those people looked as good dead as they did alive. And I haven’t seen anyone who was already bad turning out to be prince (stiff) charming in the casket… So by all means, no open casket for me. I would rather prefer that the last image people have of me is one of the time I was still alive.

    Fourthly, cremate my body. Some Christians are afraid of cremation because they know that God is going to do something with the body in the resurrection. So if my start-up kit is nowhere to be found, how will they be able to rise again? Silly. Don’t you think that the same God who created you might just have an idea of what your DNA is? God doesn’t have to be a grave-digger to revive your fine constitution. Plus, Paul said that this will be a spiritual body not a physical one. I don’t care where you spread my ashes, all I care about is that I reduce the costs for those left behind.

    Finally, a program note. No long sermon. Music is okay, but no favorite hymns. No exaggerated eulogies. I don’t want people to make me a saint when they talk about what I did. If anybody talks, my preference would be for them to talk about who I was and not what I did. Look for people who can say that felt my  heartbeat. Find someone who cried with me at a long intersection in their lives, someone who saw me when tragedy struck and when life was good. Let them talk about how I handled those situations.

    Then, if you have a moment to spare, show this video by Rev. E. V. Hill, part 3 of the sermon “If I Only Had One Message to Preach” (don’t play parts 1 and 2, only part 3). You may wait until the funeral or you may chose to watch it now. It’s about 8 minutes long.

    How about you? Which notes will you leave for your funeral?

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 7:27 am on April 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: death, easter sunday, ressurrection, , victory over death   

    He lives 

    “1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. 5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’” 8 They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
     9 Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. 
    12 After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country. 13 They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either.”
    (Words of the Gospel writer, Mark).

     
  • ivanildotrindade 4:36 pm on December 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: atheist, Buena Vista Social Club, Cape Verde, , coladera, death, God Is Not Great, Ibrahim Ferrer, morna, Omara Portuondo, polemicist, silencio   

    If I could "order" my own death… 

    Every end of the year a little cold travels up and down my spine as I anticipate the list of people who will die in the waning hours of the previous 365-day cycle. I know this is not backed by science, but it appears that the end of the year is propitious for the angel of death to come calling. I’ve said before: I don’t want to die at the end of the year or during a major Holiday. As long as I have to die, I would rather go quietly in the middle of the night, after eating Brazilian barbecue the night before.

    Yesterday, I heard the news that the journalist and polemicist, Christopher Hitchens, died after a battle with esophageal cancer. Mr. Hitchens was a famous atheist who wrote the book “God is not Great.” Though I vehemently reject his views of the world, I read the book carefully and learned from it a whole lot about the atheistic viewpoint, and more specificaly about a more militant form of atheism that wants to pass as “objective” science. I never wished him ill will and do lament that he is no longer around us because people like him make people like me want to stay fresh and not lose the edge.

    Today I heard that a living legend in the Portuguese music world, Cesaria Evora, the so-called “Barefoot Diva,” also passed away. She sang “coladeras” (dancing music) and was especially known for “morna” (the blues from Cape Verde), a melancholic type of music that celebrates lost love and deep longing. Because I am melancholic, I have all her music. She sings with such depth of sorrow and feeling that I have, at times, wept as I listened to her — for no reason other than empathy for the characters whose lives she sometimes sings about.

    Speaking of sentimentality, since I was feeling sad, I looked for the music of The Buena Vista Social Club. I first heard them on a long flight to Brazil, as I watched the documentary that made them famous in the U.S. I almost never watch movies on plane trips, but the music these guys performed was purely intoxicating. I couldn’t stop watching. I knew then that I was watching some of the best musicians anywhere. They were seasoned and knew how to have fun.

    If you know Spanish, you can appreciate the depth of meaning in this song, “Silencio,” by Rafael Hernandez, one of the most beautiful duets by a man and a woman I ever heard. Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo sing with so much sentiment about life’s sorrows that I dare say this recording should come with a warning: listen at your own risk. What a beautiful experience listening to it several times today. You will not regret if you listen to it here, even if you don’t know Spanish.

    The translation is English goes this way:

    “The gladiolas and the roses, the white lilies are asleep in my garden/ and my soul is so very sad and heavy/ from the flowers I wish to hide the bitter pain/ I wouldn’t want the flowers to know/ About the torments that life gives me/ For if they should know what I am suffering so/ They would cry for my sorrows too/ Silence [I ask], for they are sleeping/ The gladiolas and the lilies/ I wouldn’t want them to know my sorrows/ For if they would see me crying, they would die.”

    Sentimentality apart, though, what difference does it make to die in December or to die in July? In the end, we all have an appointment with destiny so we better be ready to meet our maker. I wonder: Did Christopher Hitchens ever think of that? Maybe yes, maybe no. From what I heard, he insisted on his atheistic outlook to the bitter end. But even though Mr. Hitchens would not hesitate to call me delusional, I still can’t wish him ill.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 8:57 pm on December 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: christmas story, college jobs, death, emanuel, god with us, proud of academics,   

    If it walks like a doctor and talks like a doctor… run away! 

    People whose entire identity is wrapped up around their accomplishments — run from them! I had my run in with one when I was in seminary in Indiana. During one particular summer, in order to fund my wife’s trip to Brazil, I worked for the college, cleaning toilets, mopping hallways, waxing floors. I was obviously not from Indiana and had a much more pronounced accent back then. I was also young so it would be easy to take me for a college student.

    I found myself inside a certain female professor’s office, crouching on the ground, totally absorbed with cleaning her messy flo0r. It was Saturday morning and she came in without me noticing. When I looked up, there she was. I was embarrassed and tried to say something. I remembered the name on the door and blurted out, “Oh, you must be Mrs. Burns,” (not her real name). Without raising her head, she said, “Doctor Burns!”

    I was impressed… I felt like saying, “Yes, Master, what is your wish?” And that was it, the first and only words she ever uttered in my presence, the last time I saw her, a lost opportunity perhaps to learn something from the human being slaving away at her feet. But even in the awkwardness of the moment, her face showed signs of pleasure that I was put in my place.

    Now I may be hard-headed but I am not dumb. I got bitten once and decided I didn’t like it. So while visiting this big church in Wooster for the first time, I had been told that the guy who was going to introduce me to the congregation was a “doctor.”  Without hesitation, then, when he came walking down the aisle and sat next to me on the front pew, I turned to him and said, “You must be Doctor Plummer,” (not his real name). He looked at me in the eyes and said, “Just call me Jack,” (again, not his name).

    To this day, “Jack” and his family are good friends with me and my family. Our friendship has spanned 27 years, we’ve seen our children grow up, we’ve encouraged each other, we have laughed and cried together. We’ve walked on a road that was paved that Sunday morning when he was willing to look at the human being sitting next to him and forgot about all the diplomas hanging on his wall.

    Somehow, when I think of the idea of “Emanuel, God with us,” I think of the day I met “Jack.” But I magnify the circumstances by a bizillion percent. Jesus, who lived in perfect glory and pure light, decides to leave behind all his accolades, even some of His divine stuff, and comes down to live life among the filth of humanity. This would be like going from the Presidential Suite at the Waldorf-Astoria to the heart of the Garbage Dump in Cambodia. “God with us” simply became “Jesus.” “And they called him Jesus,” the text says. That’s it. But is that all?

    “It’s insane,” some say. “No,” others protest, “it’s the greatest demonstration of love ever.” A shameful death turned into the greatest victory on the third day. And all for the sake of people like me, who keep stumbling over their rights and wrongs. And now the text says that he wants to be my friend. Not “Doctor Jesus,” but my friend, the lowly one of Bethlehem, tucked away by a corner in a cow troth. That still remains to me the most mysteriously fascinating thing about Christmas.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 6:34 pm on November 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: capernaum, death, james, jesus' flesh and blood speech, john, john 6,   

    Peter, the man — III 

    “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

    This is my first Passover meal after the Lord was taken up to heaven. For this reason, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic. I think of the events that led to His passion and play with a thousand scenarios in my mind. I keep asking myself, “How did we miss so many things that are so obvious to us now?”

    I remember the time we were all in Capernaum, where my brother, Andrew, I, James and John, come from. By now Jesus was drawing large crowds everywhere, and we were gladly riding the coattails of his popularity. I mean, is there anything sweeter than returning home as the right hand men of the most famous person in the nation?  We went to the local synagogue and everyone came out to hear Him.

    For us, local boys, it was a chance to prove our critics wrong. And trust me, they were there. We could spot them in the crowd – the same people who called us crazy for leaving our fishing business and casting our lots with an unknown Rabi who was reputed to be the promised Messiah. Now, they were coming to us with gifts, hoping to have an audience with Jesus. And without our clearance, no one could see Him. Suddenly, everybody admired us and wanted to be our friends.

    That is until Jesus opened His mouth and began to speak… I mean, here we were, in the biggest moment of our lives, expecting vindication or at least a pad on the back. If He wanted, He could have made a passing reference to us, like, “For all of you out there who thought Peter and Andrew were crazy, well, I’ve got news for you:  you were all wrong!” But no, instead, Jesus began to say some strange things that got even us, insiders, a little worried.

    It started when some religious leaders from our town heard Jesus say that He came from “heaven.” Sure, you can say that thousands of kilometers away from your village, but Jesus was saying this practically in his hometown. These people knew where Jesus had come from, they knew His parents, his brothers and sisters; they even knew what his favorite outfit was, when He used to go to the local synagogue as a young boy. I thought, “Oh, oh, we’re in trouble now.”

    Next, Jesus began to talk about “My Father this, My Father that.” People got confused. “Isn’t this fellow the same Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph? How can he then say that he came from Heaven?” But Jesus was on a roll now. The day was getting late and people’s stomachs began to growl. Can’t imagine a worse time to talk about eating flesh and drinking blood… But that’s exactly what Jesus did!

    He said, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”  Simon, who knew a thing or two about blood from his days as an insurgent against Rome, looked across and mouthed, “This is going to be a bloody mess. Time to get out of here!” But Jesus went on to say, “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”

    I thought, “It’s all over now.” The crowd went wild, a fierce argument broke off, and people were sneering. I looked for Simon and he was gone. I started moving toward Jesus and overheard one of the leaders saying, “How can this fellow offer us his flesh to eat?” There was chaos all around and even some of Jesus’ most dedicated followers were saying out loud, “This lesson is a little hard to swallow. I wish He had skipped it.”

    Andrew found me and said, “I guess the paparazzi will leave us alone tonight.” I wanted to smack him, joking at a time like this…, but he couldn’t be more right: our celebrity days were over! Jesus looked at us, a handful of his core disciples still standing there, and asked, “Are you also going to leave me?” I looked around, saw Simon coming back, and for a moment I had a flashback. I thought of the time we had been exhausted from fishing all night. Haven’t caught nothing, we were washing our nets, when Jesus came and told us go to go fishing again. I knew it was useless, but I did it anyway and we had the biggest catch ever. I imagined I was on the boat with Him again when he told the wind to stop and I could hear His voice once more commanding, “Lazarus, come forth!”

    Suddenly, I understood clearly that even if I didn’t get the whole flesh and blood thing, what I had experienced with Jesus was real, it was supernatural, and it was stuff that only The Messiah of God could do. So, when Jesus asked if we were going to leave Him as well, for once in my life, my reaction was not one of emotion. Rather, it was probably the most rational thing that ever came out of my mouth and it came to me as naturally as grilling fish on the beach. I said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy one of God.”

    Now we know that Jesus was not speaking of literal food or drink. He was pointing us to his death and resurrection, the two events that changed the course of history and restored hope to the heart of fallen humans like you and me. And even if that speech was a little hard on the ears, I am glad Jesus gave it. It was that speech that gave me a chance to settle in my mind once and for all who Jesus really was – my Savior, my Lord, the Holy one of God!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:20 am on September 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: death, science vs. religion, will durant   

    Will Durant rocks

    “Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance.” (Will Durant, my favorite historian, in his massive work The Story of Civilization, Vol. 6, The Reformation — a history of European Civilization from Wyclif to Calvin: 1300-1564, p. 3).

    This guy writes great prose with wit and poise. His dry humour always surprises me and the depth of his thinking stimulates my mind and touches my heart.

    For example, writing about the importance of belief, he says, “A cosmos without known cause or faye is an intellectual prison; we long to believe that the great drama has a just author and a noble end.”

    Talking about the predicament of death, he says, “… we covet survival, and find it hard to conceive that nature should so laboriously produce man, mind, and devotion only to snuff them out in the maturity of their development.”

    Speaking of the limitations of science, he pulls no punches, “Science gives man ever greater powers but ever less significance; it improves his tools and neglects his purposes; it is silent on ultimate origins, values and aims; it gives life and history no meaning or worth that is not canceled by death or omnivorous time.”

    As far as I know, Dr. Durant was not a Christian, and I am not advocating that he is pitching Christianity with the above statements, but these are brutally honest words from someone who was truly wrestling with the meaning and purpose of life. We would do well to think on those things.

    I encourage you to read anything by Will Durant. His “Story of Philosophy still sits next to the Bible on my bedside.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    Posted by Ivanildo C. Trindade via Blackberry

     
  • ivanildotrindade 8:04 pm on July 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: amy winehouse, death, self-destruction   

    I came home today to find that Amy… 

    I came home today to find that Amy Winehouse was dead. Don’t know what came over me but I can best explain it as the saddest I’ve felt when somebody I didn’t know died. I’ve been thinking: Why?

    I didn’t know Amy personally. I’ve heard she was a uniquely talented musician, one of those that only comes once in a lifetime. But I honestly only heard a couple of her songs ever.

    Her story, however, was being splashed all over the news, the Internet, the blogsphere, the quiet conversations in pubs and school cafeterias. Her father said if she didn’t get help she would die. Her publicist kept trying to find excuses for another show she had to cancel. She forgot the lyrics, was booed on stage, kept sniffing out of a tiny container, etc., etc. Amy became a public figure not for her talent but for her perils.

    Now I know that many other people with the same struggles die quietly and nobody cares. I know that celebrities grab the spotlight and the media makes them news when the real news is the regular guy who has to work every day for a boss who exploits him or her.

    But for me Amy is different. I was not around when Elvis Presley, James Dean, JImmy Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, and others like them died. But the suddenness of their death WAS the news. This was the case even with Michael Jackson. Amy, on the other hand, died a slow and agonizing death in front of our eyes. She died on a stage in Dubai. She died in the many rehab houses she went to. She died in the evening news. She died in our imagination and in our hearts. She died so predictably and methodically we will have a hard time remembering she even was.

    And that is why I was saddened when I heard about Amy’s death today.

    How can anyone succeed in dying when the whole world knew she was headed that way? Does the thought that Amy’s untimely death could have been avoided bother you? And what is this force that takes over people who are otherwise intelligent and drives them over the edge? And what is so pernicious about drug addiction that leaves so many stranded on a “no exit” alley?

    I hope you take a good look around you and find out if there are people in your life who have been hit by this virulent force that is ready to swallow them up without mercy. If you can find one and offer your hand to lead them in the opposite direction, with God’s help, you will have wrought a miracle.

    As for Amy, I will never forget her.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
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