Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!

Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!
For those of you who would like to support the vision & ministry of Woodland Hills Community Church (the faith community I serve that continues to encourage me to minister outside the box), please click on the link just above.

Friday, July 3

Today’s Readings: Psalm 88; 1 Samuel 13:19-14:15; Acts 9:1-9; Luke 23:26-31; Psalm 6

Our church’s website accidentally posted the August readings rather than the July readings. Therefore, since I don’t have access to a list of today’s readings, I’ll use today’s readings as listed at the PCUSA website. Hopefully we’ll have the problem corrected by tomorrow.

When I was a child, I was fortunate to be raised in a faith community that had lots of amazing people who were quick to take me into their lives and hearts. One of my favorites was a man named Johnnie. Johnnie was one of the quietest and most humble human beings you could ever find. He had been involved in the lumber industry and had lost his left hand in an accident years before. He and his wife Pearl had raised 3 daughters; and they had settled into their retirement years just up the road from where we lived. Johnnie and I even had our birthdays one day apart! Needless to say I thought Johnnie was pretty cool. I assumed that Johnnie had always been the laid back, humble person I had known all of my life. It wasn’t until I was in my teen years, however, that I learned from my parents that was not the case. In fact, my parents said, Johnnie had been a hard-living person who had an edge to him when he was younger. “So what changed him?” I remember asking my folks. “Well,” my mother explained, “Johnnie was very close to a brother of his who was killed in an accident when Johnnie was in his thirties. That tragedy caused Johnnie to look at his life with new eyes and helped him become the person he is today.” It was hard for me to believe that this person whom I knew as a pillar of our faith community could have been so different. Like many people, I had a tendency of putting folks in a box and wanting to keep them there. Johnnie’s story helped me learn about an important concept of our faith called transformation. Of course Johnnie isn’t the only one who lived through an experience of transformation. Today’s reading from Acts tells us there was another person who went through his own experience of transformation: Saul (the one whom we know today as the Apostle Paul). If ever there was a person you would have wanted to write off, it clearly would have been Saul – for he was a man who had built a career around persecuting Christians. And yet who became the person most responsible for the spread of Christianity in the first century? That’s right. Saul! Today’s story of Saul’s transformation serves as an important reminder of what a mistake it would be to write someone off. Perhaps there is someone in your life whom you have written off. Maybe it’s a family member, a former friend, or a difficult neighbor or colleague. Whoever that person is, find time today to lift up that person during your time of prayer and/or meditation. Open yourself to the possibility that maybe - just maybe – that person might have an experience of transformation like Johnnie and Saul had. Til next time…

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