The story is told of a man who got a permit to open the first tavern in a small town. The members of a local church were strongly opposed to the bar, so they began to pray that God would intervene. A few days before the tavern was scheduled to open, lightning hit the structure and it burned to the ground. The people of the church were surprised but pleased – until they received notice that the would-be tavern owner was suing them. He contended that their prayers were responsible for the burning of the building. They denied the charge. At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, the judge wryly remarked, “At this point I don’t know what my decision will be, but it seems that the tavern owner believes in the power of prayer and these church people don’t.”

“When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:5-6, Common English Bible)

When you pray do we really believe that it makes a difference or is it something you do to appear to be religious?

Jamie Jenkins

 

Technical problems is the term we use when something doesn’t work like we want it to and we have no idea why.

I understand that “technical problems” prevented some people from accessing my new blog posts. I have not yet figured out the problem. You can read the most recent blog post at everynowandthenhome.wordpress.com  but I cannot figure out how you can subscribe to follow the blog. I’ll keep working on it and will notify you when I find the solution.

In the meantime…

Another reminder that I am no longer posting weekly on the Thoughts for Thursday blog. I have created a new blog  in which I will offer thoughts of my own and of others that will sometimes be inspirational, informative,thought provoking, or humorous. It will not be a regular weekly post. Rather, my contribution will be on a random basis.

I have just posted a new entry- Christ in Crisis. If you want to subscribe to the new blog, go to http://www.everynowandthenhome.wordpress.com, and scroll to the bottom of the page. You can then follow it. Submit your email address and you will automatically receive anything that I post.

Grace and peace!

Jamie Jenkins

 

Just a reminder that I will no longer post weekly on the Thoughts for Thursday blog. I have created a new blog  in which I will offer thoughts of my own and of others that will sometimes be inspirational, informative,thought provoking, or humorous. It will not be a regular weekly post. Rather, my contribution will be on a random basis.

I have just posted a new entry. If you want to subscribe to the new blog, go to http://www.everynowandthenhome.wordpress.com, and scroll to the bottom of the page. You can then follow it. Submit your email address and you will automatically receive anything that I post.

Grace and peace!

Jamie Jenkins

 

After 3 years of teaching in the Fulton County School System in Atlanta, my son decided to take a break and explore the world. His plan was to teach English in Taiwan for “one year” and then return. When he left home he had no job prospect, did not speak the language, and knew only one person in Taiwan with whom he had one conversation prior to departure on this adventure.

Jason arrived in Taiwan with the name and address of this “friend” written in Chinese. He handed it to a taxi driver who dropped him off in front of this person’s home.  Fortunately the man knew someone who was renting a room and within a few weeks Jason had roommates and a job.

Jason’s “year abroad” started in 1997 — 22 years ago — and continues. Since then he has married, has two teenage children, and has lived in many places around the world. He taught English to Taiwanese children for 4 years before moving to Japan. There he continued to teach English to corporate executives before finding a job with an advertising agency. One of his primary clients was Nikon Corporation for about 13 years.

The Japan Times プロデュース『朝英語の会』活動開始

During that time he also wrote a weekly arts and entertainment column for the Japan Times and managed the English correspondent team of the Fuji Rock Festival, one of the largest and most famous music events in Japan.

During all this time the family traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia. Then after 13 years in Japan, Jason and his wife, Keiko, decided to make a change. Due to hectic work schedules, time with their children was minimal. They were missing their children’s lives. Also they wanted their 10 year-old son and 6 year-old daughter to realize that the world was much larger and more diverse than what they had experienced. Keiko left her job with DeutscheBank and Jason negotiated with his employer to be allowed to work half-time remotely.

With this decision Jason, Keiko, and their children, Jamie and Felicia, embarked on an adventure that continues until today. The first six months were spent in Taiwan, Thailand, and Malaysia. The plan was to live in different places in the world, not as tourists, but stay long enough to understand the culture and get to know the people. After the initial 6 months, they moved to Penang, Malaysia for a year. The kids were homeschooled while participating in local groups and extra-curricular activities in an international school.

Then it was on to Valencia Spain for 2 years where their children were enrolled in local Spanish-speaking schools two weeks after arrival. None of them spoke any Spanish at the time. The kids had attended Japanese public schools while they lived in Tokyo. English was spoken at home but everything else was in Japanese.

After two years in Spain the family moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Education for Jamie and Felicia was a mixture of online homeschooling and unconventional Mexican schools with a mix of local and international students.  While living in Mexico they continued to travel regularly in Latin America.

Three months ago the family moved back to Japan and the kids are enrolled in international schools in Osaka.

During these years of family travel Jason has developed a travel blog where he shares the family’s experiences and offers very practical and helpful information for anyone who travels. Travel Tips include suggestions on where to stay, shopping, money, insurance, travel gear, gifts, and others. Destinations include Columbia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, U.S.A., and Vietnam. In addition, Jason has interviewed over 150 traveling families all over the world.

Check out his website, www.anepiceducation.com.

Jamie Jenkins

If you are a subscriber to this blog, you know (or maybe you have not noticed) that I took a break from this weekly post about 6 months ago. I must admit, it has been a bit of a relief not having the pressure of coming up with something to offer every seven days. However, there have been days recently when I had something I wanted to share but was not quite ready to commit to the same level of thought and regularity as had been the norm for a long time.

So I have decided that I will take up the task again but in a slightly different manner. The title of this blog, Thoughts for Thursday, indicated that something would be offered on the fifth day of every week. I have attempted to provide inspiration, education, and challenge without being too “preachy.” I gave a good bit of thought and invested significant energy into my writing whether or not it has been obvious.

As stated in the past, I write because I need to write- not because anyone needs to read the words that I submit. I am more comfortable expressing myself verbally than in written form. Writing is a good discipline for me. It helps me to more carefully choose my words and causes me to be more aware of how easily things can be misunderstood. Words do not have the same meaning for everyone. Context effects what is heard regardless of what is intended.

With all that being said, I am going to begin a new blog. I will no longer post weekly on the Thoughts for Thursday blog. I have created a new blog  in which I will offer thoughts of my own and of others that will sometimes be inspirational, informative,thought provoking, or humorous. It will not be a regular weekly post. Rather, my contribution will be on a random basis.

If you want to subscribe to the new blog, go to http://www.everynowandthenhome.wordpress.com, and scroll to the bottom of the page. You can then follow it. Submit your email address and you will automatically receive anything that I post. My intention is to begin two days from now on Thanksgiving Day.

Grace and peace!

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

 

For the almost half a century I have shared some thoughts in written form on a mostly weekly basis through a variety of mediums. While I served as pastor of a local church for twenty-three years the vehicle was the church newsletter. For several years I offered my ideas through a column with the title “Of Cabbage and Kings” in a small town newspaper.

As a part of my job for seven years my words were transmitted through the internet in the form of posts entitled “Monday Morning in North Georgia.” Then I retired and continued writing “Thoughts for Thursday… but good for any day.”

 

Although I have put my thoughts in print and distributed them for anyone to read, I have never seen myself as a writer. One of my sons is a naturally gifted writer. I am more comfortable expressing myself verbally. Until I retired in 2013 most of my writing was required by my employment. “Of Cabbages and Kings” was my first attempt at self-initiated writing and I did it primarily as a discipline. Limited space defined by column inches or word count required a more careful selection of words and phrases. Also, unlike public speaking, I could not see how my audience received what I said and I learned very quickly that what one says (or writes) is not always what another hears or understands.

Almost seven years ago when I retired I decided that I would continue to write a weekly blog, Thoughts for Thursday. I have tried to discipline myself to faithfully post something online with very few breaks during that time frame. However, if you are one of the folks who subscribe to my blog you may (or may not) have noticed that nothing has popped up from me in your mailbox for the past several Thursdays. Travel and other circumstances have consumed my time and energy so I have not written anything since early last month. I did not intentionally quit writing but time and energy needed to be directed elsewhere.

My writing provides a discipline that I need far more than the benefit any reader might gain from it. But I sign off for today and we will see when or if I resume this weekly effort. In the meantime, I hope you live life fully and thank God for all the gifts that God provides to enhance our journey.

Grace and Peace!

Jamie Jenkins

I did not want to be late but it was rush hour. Although I was traveling a familiar route I sought assistance by opening Waze on my smartphone.

According to the Waze website it “is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app” that allows you to “join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money.” That sounded like exactly what I needed to make the best of drive time in this very heavy traffic.

The website promised “millions of drivers… working together towards a common goal: to outsmart traffic and get everyone the best route.” Many “friends” on the road would send alerts about “police, accidents, road hazards or traffic jams, all shared by other drivers in real-time.” That was what I needed for a timely arrival at my destination.

Only one problem. I knew the way to my destination. I had made this trip many times before and I knew all the shortcuts. So, when the directions of the traffic app seemed contrary to what I thought I knew, I ignored them and went the way that I knew would be “best.”

The first time I approached an intersection with a long line of vehicles stopped at the traffic light, I decided to bypass all of them waiting to go straight ahead. The right turn lane allowed me to bypass that long line of traffic. I was on my way smiling until I Waze told me that my estimated time of arrival was now 5 minutes later than before I made the turn. That irritated me.

The app adjusted my route accordingly. Then I did the same thing again. And again. Each time I failed to follow the directions I was given, time was added to my ETA.

I hope I am not revealing too much about myself but this was a learning experience for me. It helped me realize that instructions/directions are given for a reason. Whether it is an item with some assembly required or help with navigating a journey, my way might not be the better way. Directions/instructions are provided for my benefit. Ignoring them probably does not give me an advantage.

I know that in the grand scheme of things it will not make a lot of difference if I follow GPS directions when traveling or instructions when putting together a purchased item. Short cuts may not be a better alternative but it probably won’t matter most of the time. However, in some instances ignoring the instructions can be very detrimental.

This recent experience reminded me of the times I have read the Owner’s Manual of life- the Bible- but failed to follow the guidance it provided. While it does not always give specific and detailed directions for every experience, there are many directions that are pretty clear and many other principles that should not be ignored.

I don’t always want to “love (my) enemy and pray for those who mistreat (me).” Often I think I have a better way of dealing with folks that are not “on my side” but I know that taking another course of action or having another attitude is not good for me.

Turn the other cheek is what The Good Book tells me do to when someone does me wrong,. My natural instinct is to get even, strike back. Scripture instructs us to live peaceably with everyone but that it hard to do.

I am very well acquainted with The Bible. I know it pretty well. God help me to avoid “shortcuts.” Give me the desire and ability to follow the directions of the Scripture and apply the principles in my daily life and in my relationship with everyone.

 

Jamie Jenkins

According to the American Heart Association, in 2016 over 28 million U.S. adults were diagnosed with heart disease. Approximately every 40 seconds an American will have a heart attack. The estimated annual incidence of heart attacks in the United States is 720,000 new attacks and 335,000 recurrent attacks.

A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics shows that about 1 of 3 U.S. adults—or about 75 million people—have high blood pressure. The number of hypertension-related deaths increased 61.8%, from 2000 to 2013.

There were more than 360,000 American deaths in 2013 that included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. That is almost 1,000 deaths each day.

In 2018, it was predicted that an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer would be diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people would die from the disease.

You probably have heard these or similar statistics but perhaps the following is news to you.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the total population at 328,456,820 people, with 77.1 percent (252,911,751) of those people being over 18. The American Psychiatric Association says that depression affects an estimated 1 in 15 adults (16,860,783) in any given year. And one in six people (54,742,803) will experience depression at some time in their life.

Is it just me or do we not hear as much about depression than other health issues? Am I just imagining that mental health concerns are often mentioned in a whisper but physical health matters are spoken of openly?

The American Psychiatric Association tells us that “depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.” Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. Fortunately, it is also treatable.

Depression is not “rainy days and Mondays” and hugs and positive thoughts are not enough to overcome it. One person who has had multiple bouts of depression said, “There does not have to be a hell after life, I’ve already experienced it.”

The Mayo Clinic says depression is “more than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply ‘snap out’ of it. Depression may require long-term treatment.”

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) identifies depression as one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. and “current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors” and it can happen at any age.

“The (worst) thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key. (Elizabeth Wurtzel)

Medical professionals recognize that depression “is not a passing blue mood, which almost everyone experiences from time to time, but a complex mind/body illness that interferes with everyday functioning. … It alters the structure and function of nerve cells so that it disrupts the way the brain processes information and interprets experience. Despite feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, depression is a treatable condition” (Psychology Today). Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.

While health professionals acknowledge that depression is common among Americans, the biggest obstacle to treatment is the stigma that often is associated with any form of mental illness. I encourage you to learn more about depression and other mental illnesses and discover how you can be a part of the healing process.

Jamie Jenkins

What do you say when you have nothing to say? Perhaps it is best just to be quiet. Don’t say anything.

What do you write when you have nothing to write? Nothing!

Silence and the blank page are intimidating but perhaps they are trying to free us from feeling the responsibility of always having helpful information or conversation.

Maybe we need to listen and learn rather than talk or write. So today I leave you with nothing or everything to ponder. Enjoy!

Jamie Jenkins