Archives for posts with tag: children

In my quieter moments I realize how blessed I am. When I think about it I marvel at the richness of my life. Each year has grown better than the last.

On this National Day of Thanksgiving there are more things to be thankful for than I can begin to imagine but below are a few.

I AM THANKFUL FOR…

A warm and dry place to sleep at night.

A safe neighborhood.

Good friends.

My good wife of 50 years (come December 28).

My three wonderful children and their equally wonderful spouses.

My two exceptional grandchildren.

The call of God on my life and God’s willingness to let me serve in the Church.

The opportunity to learn from my mistakes.

The privilege and freedom to vote.

People who allow me to disagree with them without demonizing me.

Teachers.

Clean water.

Retirement.

Good health.

Freedom of religion.

A good sermon- and I hear one every Sunday at my church.

A good church choir- and I hear one every Sunday at my church.

The opportunity to travel and experience this great big wonderful world.

The amazing advances in modern medicine.

Music that entertains, inspires, and instructs.

Technology- when it works.

A reliable automobile that gets me where I want to go.

Folks who do what they say they will do when they say they will do it.

People who say “You’re welcome” instead of “No problem” when I say “Thank you.”

Ice cream.

A winning season for the Braves and Atlanta United.

Coffee in the morning.

Volunteers who serve with no expectation of reward.

The forgiveness of my sins and the grace of God to keep on forgiving.

The following Prayer of Thanksgiving was offered during last Sunday’s worship service. I share it with you today.

Gracious God, creator of all things, you have given us much to be thankful for: this place of worship, the blessings of this day, the world around us.

Apart from you we can do nothing. With you we can do everything. By the power of your Holy Spirit we live and serve you at home, at work, and at play.

We remember how much we have, in the face of a world that says we need more. We are reminded of your graciousness as we see those who go without. Yet in the face of little, you give us much.

The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Give us the courage and the strength to put our hands to plow your fields. As we do, help us to remember the laborers who first shared with us the Good News.

As we prepare to gather with family to give thanks and feast upon the blessing s of a day set apart for rest, Bread of Heaven, Water of Life, fill us until we want for nothing. Pour out yourself for us. Let us take, eat, and see that the Lord is good.

With grateful hearts we give thanks. Amen.

Jamie Jenkins

 

Winter weather prevailed when I left on February 2 for a trip to the Holy Land. The high that day was 42 degrees. Three weeks later I returned to see evidence that spring was just around the corner.

Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford') in bloom.

All the way home from the airport I saw Bradford Pear trees with their bountiful and beautiful white blossoms. As I neared my house I saw a Redbud tree and a Japanese Magnolia tree in all their brilliance. When we arrived at our house the daffodils in our front yard greeted us.

Closeup photo of the beautiful Redbud blossoms

The words of the Hymn of Promise came to my mind. “In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be. Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.” (full lyrics below).

Atlanta Braves 2018 spring training

After unpacking and getting a good night’s rest I checked in on the Braves Spring Training which began while I was away. I miss not being present in Florida as the team begins preparation for the regular season. It was good to hear about the promising young players like Ozzie Albies and Ron Acuna and the team leaders like Freddie Freeman and Julio Tehran.

One more, I know you can : Stock Photo

A couple of days after returning from my travels I got started back with physical therapy for my surgically repaired shoulder. Progress from a torn rotator cuff has been slow and painful but after a few weeks of therapy I can see progress in my range of motion and reduced discomfort.

The next day there were seven babies baptized during the worship service at my church, Peachtree Road United Methodist in Atlanta. We recalled that “Jesus gave a special place to the children.” We were reminded that “Through the Sacrament of Baptism we are initiated into Christ’s holy Church. We are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation and given new birth through water and the Spirit. All this is God’s gift, offered to us without price.”

The parents of the children being baptized all promised to “nurture these children in Christ’s holy Church, that by your teaching and example they may be guided to accept God’s grace for themselves, to profess their faith openly, and to lead a Christian life.”

The congregation vowed, “With God’s help we will so order our lives after the example of Christ, that these children, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith and confirmed, and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.”

PRUMC Habitat for Humanity Build

That same morning I heard of the church’s plan to build their 46th Habitat for Humanity Home because we believe that every person should have access to a decent, safe and affordable place to live. Also an announcement was made about The Great Day of Service, Saturday, March 24. This is our annual community volunteer day when all ages put their faith in action as they serve those in need across Atlanta. Each year during Lent, nearly 1,000 church members and friends take this Saturday to make helping others a priority. 

Great Day of Service 2017

We were also informed of the plan to help “Fill the Pantry for Buckhead Christian Ministries” as we work together to prevent hunger and homelessness for those facing life-changing events such as a job loss, a reduction in work hours or a medical problem.

This year’s Lenten Offering will be used to support the 16 agencies and ministries with whom our church partners in the Greater Atlanta area to make a difference in the lives of others. We were encouraged to give something up during this season and to give the money that we would have spent on what we are giving up to this offering.

I am grateful for these and other signs of hope!

Jamie Jenkins

HYMN OF PROMISE (words and music by Natalie A. Sleeth, 1986)

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

 

 

Adults are often reminded that they are the role models for children to follow. that is true and we who have numbered enough years to be considered “adult” should take it seriously. However, that is not to say that all examples of how to live are restricted to those who have reached a certain age.

Child, Beautiful, Model, Little, Cute

“A little child shall lead them” is often quoted in an effort to accent the fact that adults can learn from children’s behavior. While it is true that younger people often provide insight into how we ought to treat each other, the stated quotation is taken out of context.

A post on the blog, Theologically Speaking, suggests that children often are “a fine example to us all and that we would do well to follow (them) in being more concerned about the needs of others.  However, I am startled at how often the phrase ‘And a little child shall lead them’ is taken completely out of context.  The original quote has nothing to do with children teaching or leading adults.”

The blogger is correct. The phrase is actually a quote from Isaiah 11:6 in the Old Testament.  “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.” This is referring to a future era of peace and tranquility when the Messiah will reign. The text has nothing to do with a child leading adults.

People, Children, Child, Happy

Nevertheless, there is much we can learn from the example of children. Jesus used a child as the example of humility, a quality that He put at the top of the list of his prerequisites for entering the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1-6). Someone said that humility is not thinking too little of one’s self; humility is just not thinking of one’s self. Children often lead us in humility.

Children also lead us in generosity. I know that you can witness a lot of selfishness in children. But when you do I believe it is a learned behavior. It is not their natural disposition.

Photo of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church - Atlanta, GA, United States

On the Sunday before Christmas Eve, the worshipers at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta learned about one of the church’s mission projects. This congregation has partnered with Start With One Kenya (http://www.startwithonekenya.org) to provide clean water to the people of Kenya. The Christmas Eve Offering last year was devoted to provide water filters to 10,000 homes in Lanet and on the Islands of Lake Victoria.

Start With One Kenya ... help by giving for a tax deductible donation that transforms lives.  www.StartWithOneKenya.org  Its Easy, Its Fast, and Its Secure

Due to this concentrated effort

  • Water Borne Disease Instances have been reduced by 89.9%
  • Water Borne Disease Instances for Children Under 5 years of age have been reduced by 93.9%
  • Money Spent on Doctor Visits and Medicines to treat WBD has been reduced by 93.0%
  • Number of Days of School Missed have been Reduced by 94.7%
  • Number of Days of Work Missed have been Reduced by 96.3%

These dramatic changes are the result of providing families with a $40 water filter that lasts 10 years.

Water Filters 1

This year the focus turns to Rongai, Kenya with approximately 15,000 households. Typhoid, Cholera, and Dysentery are devastating this area. It was announced that the goal for the next Sunday’s Christmas Eve Offering was $240,000 to match a gift of another $240,000. This money would provide water filters for the people of the Rongai region.

Water Filters 2

My granddaughter was with us in worship and, unknown to me, she took the offering card home. She completed the card and the next Sunday she put it and $80 of her money (the cost of 2 water filters) in the offering plate. When I learned of it and told her how proud I was of her, she said, “I would like to give 1000 water filters but I don’t have that much money.”

The Christmas Eve Offering totaled more than $266,000 but I suspect no one gave more proportionally than Felicia. A child shall lead them!

Jamie Jenkins

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States and I have much for which to be thankful. I am thankful for (not necessarily in this order):

– comfortable shoes that fit

– one shoulder that does not hurt

– the Atlanta Braves baseball team (but I am not happy with the front office for recent rules violations).

-my wife of 49 years (in 35 Days)

– my three children and their spouses

– my church where my faith is nurtured by excellent preaching, exceptional music, and friends that are invaluable

– good health (for a man my age)

– the rhythmic sound of ocean waves crashing onto the shore

– civil discourse where mutual respect is practiced

– the privilege of living in the United States

– the Bible and the guidance it gives

– opportunities to travel and experience the wonderful world and it’s diverse peoples and cultures

– my bed and pillow when I return from traveling

– opportunities to serve others

-blues singers like Etta James, B.B. King, Diana Krall, Muddy Waters

– my extraordinary grandchildren (a biased opinion but true nonetheless)

– ice cream

– the laughter of children

– people who are smarter than me who don’t make me feel like an idiot

– Skype webcam

– air conditioning (I live in the Deep South)

– people who love me in spite of myself

– the Comics- especially Peanuts, Pearls Before Swine, Get Fuzzy, Baby Blues, Zits, and Garfield

– preachers, politicians, and other public servants who know it is not about them

– the Church (with all it faults)

– teachers

– the diverse community in which I live

– good food and good friends

– quiet time

– coffee in the morning

– Alex Trebeck and Jeopardy

– hats that protect my bald head from the cold and sun

– neighbors who look out for each other

– soul (southern) food and cornbread

– growing older without getting “old”

– folks who are not like me who like me

– God who loves and forgives me

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

The second most important day of my life was December 28, 1968.* That was the day Lena and I exchanged wedding vows. Yesterday we celebrated 48 years of marriage.  She is a gift from God to me for which I am most grateful.

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It has been over 50 years since Lena and I first met. We have loved each other for more than a half century. WOW! It is amazing how love has grown over those years. We have very different personalities and talents but have learned to appreciate and complement each other. And we are still learning. With God’s help we have grown together and that process is ongoing.

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God has been so good to us since the day we pledged our lives together in that little church on Stone Street in Mobile, Alabama. “For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish till death us do part.” We have had our struggles and trials but our lives have been blessed since we loaded everything we had into that 1965 Chevrolet Impala and headed to New York.

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Lena and I have three adult children. In spite of the struggles of the early years of marriage and parenting, they have grown to be wonderful adults. Each of them has wisely chosen life partners. They and our two grandchildren are priceless treasures.

Lena has sacrificed a lot as she has accompanied me on our journey from Alabama to New York, Tennessee, and Georgia. She has been my chief critic and most devoted helper and cheerleader through the nine times we have moved since our wedding day.  She shares my love for travel and has been my companion as we have explored more of this world than I ever imagined. We have more plans to “see the world” near and far as long as our health and resources last.

My spouse for two-thirds of my life, the mother of our three children and grandmother of our two grandchildren, is one of the most generous persons I know. She loves people and thrives on caring for others. She is a happy person who laughs a lot and loves to dance. She is a talented woman whose creativity is displayed in many ways. As a Master Gardener her flower garden is one of the most visible evidences of her gifts.

lenas-garden-1

The love of my life is a spiritual person who believes in a loving God and understands that what a person believes should inform and impact how they live and treat others.

She is one of the most authentic persons I know.

I am grateful to God and to Lena for the 48 years of marriage and I look forward to sharing many more years and adventures together, God willing.

Jamie Jenkins

*The most important day of my life??

History has recorded many tyrants, despots, and dictators. They have destroyed civilizations and wreaked havoc wherever they have been. Inestimable damage has resulted from their autocratic and violent reigns. Currently terrorists are creating chaos and destruction throughout the world.

Whether they rule a nation, control a radical religious or political faction, or espouse racial bigotry, they are all bullies. Some are powerful political or religious figures while others are angry societal misfits. They are all bullies.

“Everyone likely has a bullying story, whether as the victim, the bully, or as a witness.” (Michael Honda)

We have heard a lot recently about bullying among children and youth but bullies are not only nasty kids or mean teenagers. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. They don’t all capture the news headlines or make a big splash. But they cause immeasurable harm to individuals and groups of all sizes.

Bullies may be aggressive drivers, pushy salespersons, bossy friends, co-workers, or angry strangers. They are the kid who steals a classmates lunch money. They are the boss that uses their position of power to harass those who are less powerful. They are close friends, neighbors, and family members.

Bullying can include repeatedly making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, or excluding someone from a group, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

You may not call them bullies but you know them. You have encountered them. With their words and actions they use intimidation, threats and fear. They play mind games of manipulation and control. They cause much emotional and physical  damage.

The Irish Times (Dec. 12, 2015) reported that “one third of trainee doctors say they have experienced bullying and harassment at work, according to a survey by the Irish Medical Council. The survey also found that over half of trainee doctors – 56 per cent – have witnessed someone else being bullied or harassed.”

“Bullying is a national epidemic.” (Macklemore)

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, asserts that “matters of workplace harassment (bullying) have gained interest among practitioners and researchers as it is becoming one of the most sensitive areas of effective workplace management… Under occupational health and safety laws around the world, workplace harassment and workplace bullying are identified as being core psychosocial hazards

Bullying never has to do with you. It’s the bully who is insecure. (Shay Mitchell)

Bullies are unhappy and unhealthy people who act out in inappropriate ways that inflict harm on others in an effort to boost their own sense of self-worth. They will continue to have their way at the expense of others and cause harm until we stand up to them and say “no more.”

We must recognize the strength that lies within each one of us- whether the bully is a radical Islamic terrorist, a family member, a friend, or whoever. We must resist the efforts of bullies to force their agenda upon us. We must not allow any individual or group to destroy our dignity as children of God.

In the beginning of this new year let us pledge to be present for those who feel they have no voice. To stand with those, near and far, who are oppressed. To oppose anyone who will attempt to impose their ideas and ideals upon us or others through intimidation and harassment. Let us join Jesus in his mission “to set free the oppressed, downtrodden, and bruised” (Luke 4:18).

Jamie Jenkins

Newborn baby

We lived in a  tiny town in Tennessee when our first child was born. I remember that long night in the labor room of that little hospital with my wife. Waiting. Worrying. Wondering Then they took my wife into the delivery room and sent me outside to wait.

After a while a nurse come by with what I thought was dirty linen. I didn’t know that she had our new baby wrapped in those cloths. A few minutes later she came and asked if I wanted to see my son.

I couldn’t believe it was over- or had just begun. The months of anticipation and preparation had ended and now the exciting and frightening journey of parenthood was underway.

In a couple of days we brought our firstborn home to the tiny apartment where we lived while I was in college. Several hundred miles from home. No family nearby. Scared. Excited. What were we supposed to do with this newborn baby? We had no clue.

infant-jesus-born-01

Twenty centuries earlier another young couple had a baby in a small out of the way place. Away from home and family. Little resources. Less than desirable circumstances. I wonder if Mary and Joseph had some of the same fears and concerns as we had at the arrival of their firstborn.

It has been forty three years since the birth of our oldest child and I realize that we were not really alone when he was born. God was with us. And through the years as he grew and we tried to guide and guard him, we were not alone. Our efforts at parenting, as inadequate as they were, were complemented by the One who created all of us.

Things have not always gone as we planned. There have been moments of exhilaration and despair. Mountain tops and deep valleys. Things we hoped for have not always been realized and other things we never dreamed of have occurred. Over the course of more than four decades of parenthood I have often asked why. Much that has occurred, both pleasing and puzzling, has left me wondering how it happened this way. Yet through it all I believe God has been with us and with our children.

Parenthood

There have been times that I wished things had taken a different turn and other times I have marveled at the wonderful outcome. But through it all I have trusted that our Heavenly Father watches over us.

I wonder if Mary and Joseph experienced the same kind of emotions as their son grew. How did they feel when the path that they had planned for him was not followed? When he was praised and when he was persecuted? Did they have questions and doubts?

The birth of our first child, and the later births of two other children, changed the course of our lives forever. The birth of Mary and Joseph’s boy not only brought changes to the two of them but ultimately every human being since then.

Thank God for our children. And especially the Child of Bethlehem named Jesus! Merry Christmas!

Jamie Jenkins

Last Sunday I saw a friend that I had not seen for a long time. He was an energetic young adult with a pleasant and positive personality Then he had an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. The accident changed his body but it has not changed his upbeat attitude. He is a loving husband and father who has a deep faith in God.

This amazing young man told me that he had recently been on a couple of work missions. One of them was to the Gulf Coast to help people whose homes had been flooded. One house had to have the lower four feet of drywall removed due to water damage. He was excited that he had been able to replace the sheetrock because he could work at that level from his wheelchair.

Another project in his own community afforded him the opportunity to build a wheelchair ramp for an older resident. He smiled as he told me he had never built a ramp before so he gave it a test run to be sure it could accommodate the older woman who would use it.

CARING PEOPLE CHANGE THE WORLD

I recently met a man who has established an ongoing mission in one of the poor communities in Nicaragua. While building much needed medical clinics in this rural area, he realized that many of the local young people were intelligent and industrious but could not afford to go to school. So he has created a fund to provide for the education of promising young people of that region with the expectation that their lives will be changed and they will in turn give themselves to improve the lives of others.

John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” He believed it was our responsibility to help change the world.

I am currently involved with Imagine No Malaria, an effort to end death and suffering from malaria. If you are thinking that malaria was eliminated in this country over 60 years ago, you are right. But this year over 650,000 people in Africa will die from malaria, more than Ebola and AIDs combined. Two-thirds of these deaths are children under the age of five and pregnant women. Although malaria is fully preventable and fully treatable, a child dies every 60 seconds from this killer disease.

The good news is we know how to stop death and suffering from malaria. In fact the death rate has been cut almost in half in the past 7 years. Imagine No Malaria provides insecticide treated bed nets, educates people on symptoms of the disease, the proper use of bed nets, and other preventive measures. In addition, early diagnostic kits as well as affordable and accessible medication and treatment in over 300 hospitals and clinics have made a very positive difference. And all of that can be provided for only $10. Only $10 to save a life!

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You can help save lives by texting MALARIA NGC to 27722 (be sure to leave a space before NGC) and $10 will be donated to Imagine No Malaria. Or you can send a check for any amount to Imagine No Malaria, North Georgia Conference, 4511 Jones Bridge Circle, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. Learn more about Imagine No Malaria at http://www.imaginenomalaria.org.

INM TtEXT TO GIVE

There are many ways for caring people to change the world. Imagine No Malaria is one effort that I have chosen to support. I invite you to join me in the fight against malaria. If this doesn’t strike a chord with you, I encourage you to find ways that you have passion for and give yourself to it.

Together we can do more than imagine no malaria. And we can do more than imagine a better world. Together we can make it a reality.

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed that’s all who ever have.”

Jamie Jenkins