Archives for posts with tag: Peachtree Road United Methodist Church

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

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The pursuit of happiness is one of the “unalienable rights” which the Declaration of Independence says has been given to all human beings by their Creator. However, happiness is often considered elusive and fleeting. Nathaniel Hawthorne said that “happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

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Recent research suggests that happiness can be attributed to three major sources: genes, events and values. Data suggests that if we understand them we can improve our lives and the lives of others.

According to the researchers, data on happiness remain fairly consistent. Arthur C. Brooks reports in the New York Times that every other year for four decades, roughly a third of Americans have said they’re “very happy,” and about half report being “pretty happy.” Only about 10 to 15 percent typically say they’re “not too happy.”

Although there are demographic differences that can affect the statistics, about 48 percent of our happiness is inherited from our parents. Studies further suggest that isolated events control up to 40 percent of our happiness at any given time. Social scientists say that we can control the remaining 12 percent if we pursue four basic values: faith, family, community and work.

The website www.lifehack.org offers another formula for happiness: Letting Go + Acceptance + Gratitude. This suggests that the best things you can do with your life is to “let go of what was and what will be and be okay with it, thankful for it, and appreciate it.”

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In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at University College of London have provided another formula for happiness. They created an equation that accurately predicted the happiness of over 18,000 people. Participants in the study completed certain decision making tasks. Then researchers used MRI imaging to measure their brain activity and asked them repeatedly, “How happy are you now?” This testing resulted in the following equation:

FORMULA FOR HAPPINESS

You will have to do your own research to figure out what all that means.

The suggestions based on studies that are offered above are worth considering, but I commend the following to you as a formula for happiness that I think will work.

Rev. Bill Britt, Senior Minister at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta, offered another formula for happiness in his sermon last Sunday.* He based it on Philippians 4:4-7 in the Bible.

  • Be gentle
  • Don’t worry about anything
  • Pray about everything
  • Be thankful for all things

Actually Rev. Britt gave only three steps. I have added one: Be gentle. The Message translates those two words in verse 5: “Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.”

This formula sandwiched between “The Lord is near” and “the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds” offers a simple but effective process for pursuing happiness.

Jamie Jenkins

*Rev. Britt’s sermon can be viewed at http://www.prumc.org

 

Irving Berlin wrote the song God Bless America in 1918. In 1938 with the rise of Adolf Hitler, Berlin, who was Jewish, revised the song. Kate Smith introduced it on Armistice Day that year on her radio show and it became her signature song.

It is impossible for me to separate the song from Kate Smith. Countless millions have heard her rendition but in recent years I have come to associate another voice with the song. Timothy Miller, Atlanta Opera Tenor, sings the song during the seventh inning stretch on Sundays and holidays for the Atlanta Braves home baseball games.

This son of a career Army veteran turned Baptist preacher, sang in the Morehouse College Glee Club, graduated from that venerable institution in 2003, and is currently an adjunct professor of voice and music at his alma mater. He has taken his voice to some impressive places. The kid who began with hymns at his father’s church sang “Ain’t Got Time to Die” at Coretta Scott King’s funeral, sang the “National Anthem” and “To God be the Glory” at Nathan Deal’s 2011 inauguration, toured Europe doing “Porgy & Bess” and has appeared in numerous operas, many with the Atlanta Opera company.

I have heard Timothy sing many times during the Braves games but never has he sounded better than last Sunday at the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. He began with the introduction that is now rarely heard:

“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea

Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free.

Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,

As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.”

Then in his classically trained voice, he launched into the body of the patriotic tune:

God bless America,
Land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above

From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.

Never have I heard it sung better and when the congregation joined him on the verse my spirit soared. This is more than a song, it is a prayer (Let us raise our voices in a solemn prayer) for God’s guidance (Stand beside her and guide her thru the night with a light from above). It recognizes the vastness and diversity of this country (from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam). It is a call to commitment (Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free) and an expression of gratitude “for a land so fair.”

I am thankful to be born and have lived all my life in America and I grateful for all this wonderful country affords. Many people have given their lives to preserving our freedoms. At the same time I understand that it is by God’s grace that we enjoy these cherished liberties.

As we approach Independence Day and we celebrate our freedoms, I am mindful that God HAS blessed us and I do not ever want to take that for granted. I will continue to ask for God to bless America, “my home, sweet home.” I will also ask God to guard me from becoming so self-centered that I forget that there are millions of people around the world whose “home sweet home” means as much to them as mine does to me. I will also remember that there are many for whom the storm clouds continue to gather.

God bless America. God bless your people everywhere.

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

 

Aaron Copeland music quote

I am not a musician and I have no formal musical training but I do enjoy and value a variety of music. Martin Luther and I agree, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”

A few years ago USA Today included Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in a list of “10 great places to be enthralled by heavenly music.” The people that filled the church sanctuary last Sunday night would agree with that claim. The 75 voice Chancel Choir accompanied by a 35 piece orchestra and 27 members of the Georgia Boy Choir offered the 25th Anniversary presentation of The Many Moods of Christmas, a spectacular program of Christmas music.

Tonight my wife and I plan to join friends to “celebrate the season through song” at a Coffee House Concert. I am looking forward to enjoying the coffee and desserts along with friends and members of the community where I live.

Then tomorrow night my wife and I will attend “Jesus and Aretha: The King and Queen of Soul” at Inman Park United Methodist Church. Publicity for this event cautions that we should not “expect the usual Christmas pageant. It’s more meaningful that Hallmark-y, more rock-and-roll than church-y, and lots of fun!” I can hardly wait.

Then on Saturday night we plan to attend the Georgia Boy Choir concert featuring all five levels of boys, a full orchestra, and lots of audience participation including Atlanta’s largest “Twelve Days of Christmas Sing-along.” And next Monday we hope to be present at the Red Clay Theater for Joe Gransden’s Big Band Holiday Show with special guest, Francine Reed.

These events complement what I hear everywhere during this season of the year and affirms Edgar Winter’s assertion that “music is very spiritual, it has the power to bring people together.” Music gives wings to the soul and teaches it to fly. And especially Christmas music.

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The sacred songs of the season are especially meaningful but who doesn’t love to hear and sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman. The peppy tunes of Here Comes Santa Claus and Jingle Bells bring a smile to your face and you can’t keep from patting your feet. And you cannot help but become a bit nostalgic when you hear the smooth sounds of White Christmas.

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Friedrich Nietzsche said “without music, life would be a mistake.” I agree but I must admit that when I hear “Rocking around the Christmas tree, have a happy holiday” on the radio or in a shopping mall for what seems like the 10,000th time, I cringe and wonder if life is really any better because of that song.

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The legendary musician, Ray Charles, said **Music is like breathing. I don’t get tired of breathing and I don’t get tired of music.” Neither do I, Ray. And especially Christmas music.

Jamie Jenkins