Worshiping at Christ The King Cathedral in Atlanta is a Spiritual Experience!

I know that a church is not the building, that it is the people and community inside and outside… but there is something about worshiping in a Cathedral that makes it extra special; sort of like going up to a mountaintop, seeing the view and feeling closer to God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit!

On Sunday I visited the Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta which is actually on Peachtree Road in Buckhead a northern district of Atlanta. The junction of Peachtree Road and Wesley Road is known as “Jesus Junction.” The Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip and the Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church are all right there. Reminds me a bit of the Village Palmyra in Western New York; the only place in America with four major churches on the four corners of an intersection. Magnificent, stately, and beautiful outside; inside is the same with slate stone and stained glass windows and of course the packed pews. Christ the King is one of the ten largest parishes in the United States with over 5,500 families!

The First Reading (Exodus where Moses convinces God to be lenient with His people); the Second Reading (First Timothy where Paul who once was Saul and a persecutor of Christians knows that the grace, faith, and love of and in Jesus has strengthened himself into a righteous man), and the Gospel Reading (Luke and The Parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke) were a perfect setup for the powerful homily of Rev. Monsignor Frank McNamee. The three readings are included below.

Do we have a wonderful future? Wonder-Full or Wonder-Less? Are our desires the most important thing in the world? Do we need to direct out steps back to forgiveness and God? Can we forgive from the heart? Can there be a new beginning?

Paul (old Saul) was the foremost sinner. Jesus Christ has come to save all sinners. There is joy over one repentant sinner. Christ is here today to make us a free man through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. All things are possible through Christ!

The Prodigal Son was a repentant sinner. Even if we don’t have a father like his, Our Father, Our Creator, God the Father can forgive us! Just like he did His stiff-necked chosen people that were worshiping another god after being brought out of Egypt to freedom.

I love to see the love, compassion, and forgiveness of God in the Old Testament Book of Exodus. We see it in Jesus in the New Testament and can only imagine what it will be like on a spiritual level beyond this world!

I also realized the tie between Paul’s reference to grace in the Second Reading and the singing of Amazing Grace at the end of mass… the words rang true to me maybe for the very first time… Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear… And Grace my fears relieved… How precious did that Grace appear the hour I first believed…

You can’t help but feel the spirit of this community! Their published motto is “to Know, Love, and Serve as Jesus Did.” They have Bibles in the pews! And the mass begins with a reminder for us to “be mindful that we are in the presence of the Lord!” Plus you are worshiping in a magnificent, stately, and beautiful Cathedral! Wow, what a spiritual experience!

I look forward to heading back to “Jesus Junction” to learn more, realize more, and apply more to the rest of my life! TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy and Gratitude)!

CLICK here to go to the website of Christ The King Cathedral in Atlanta!

Exodus 32:7-11: “Then the Lord said to Moses: Go down at once because your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, have acted corruptly. 8 They have quickly turned aside from the way I commanded them, making for themselves a molten calf and bowing down to it, sacrificing to it and crying out, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” 9 I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are, continued the Lord to Moses. 10 Let me alone, then, that my anger may burn against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation. 11 But Moses implored the Lord, his God, saying, “Why, O Lord, should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a strong hand?

Exodus 32:13-14: “Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’” 14 So the Lord changed his mind about the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people.”

1 Timothy 1:12-14: “I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. 13 I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. 14 Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

Luke 15: 11-32: “Then he said, “A man had two sons, 12 and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. 13 After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.

14 When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. 15 So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. 16 And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. 17 Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. 18 I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’

20 So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ 22 But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, 24 because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.

25 Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. 26 He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. 27 The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. 30 But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ 31 He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. 32 But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”

CLICK here for the website of Atlanta’s Christ The King Cathedral!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 9-15-19)

Andy Stanley’s Buckhead Church: Love, My Heart May be Broken but I am Chosen!

Rock ‘n Rolling Worship with Andy Stanley last Sunday at Buckhead Church in Atlanta! The last Sunday in a 6-part series entitled: “Love, Dates, & Heartbreaks!” Yes, quite apropos as I have known all three in pursuit of that special someone to celebrate the rest of our lives together! Although I only witnessed the last of six sermons I feel like it was a summary and quite comprehensive of all six!

Andy Stanley was masterful, in line with The Master as he wove us through in a heartfelt and biblical way the essence of our Christian life design! God does have a design for Christian relationships! Starting with “A Broken Heart doesn’t mean You’re Broken” brought some immediate relief!

“There is a Purpose for You Even When Your Dreams Can’t Come True.” Onward with TROML 2020!

“No One Envisions their Future Alone!” NEVER!!!

“I am not cursed… I am blessed! I am not broken… I am chosen!”

TROML Baby (an exclamation of JOY & GRATITUDE)!!!

“I can only receive what is given from heaven! Yet not my will, but Yours be done!”

“Jesus did not offer us an equation.” Tough for an educated & trained engineer to accept but I do!

“Follow Jesus because of Who He Is and What He has Already Done!!!”

Then Andy Stanley went into a detailed description of the life of King David! Child Prodigy as the one who slain Goliath once he realized that the Philistines were taunting their God not their army David was inspired to take the matter into his own hands and slingshot! Anointed as the next king but King Saul wanted his son Jonathon to be king. David future goes black, goes hopeless!

What did David do when his heart was broken? He panicked like the rest of us and lied and took Goliath’s Sword which cost Hemlich and all the priests their lives at the revenge of King Saul. And David’s lie was public, everyone knew about it!

David becomes king only to have his son overthrow him. His future goes dark once again as he is a fugitive and on the run. He sees the Ark of the Covenant and people loyal to him want him to take it along with him. But this time he sees the light, refuses and submits 100% to the Will of God and surrenders his own will! “He did not anchor his faith to the fulfillment of his dreams!”

They remained faithful because of what already happened—the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!

“Lean In, Look Up, and Reach Out!”


PRAY: “I offer You my dreams and plans. Do to me whatever seems good to You. I acknowledge Your right to rule. Your Will be done in me!”


Love, Life, & a Healed Heart! TROML Baby (an exclamation of JOY & GRATITUDE)!!!

It was the BEST of times worshiping with my Olympian Buddy Dennis in Atlanta!

If you watch one Andy Stanley Sermon; watch this one and “Be Saved” from a broken heart for the rest of your life!

CLICK here for Andy Stanley’s “Love, Dates, & Heartbreaks” Series of Sermons!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 9-8-19)

‘Go See the Overcomer’ Movie; Then Take the ‘Who Am I’ Biblical Quiz!

The ‘Overcomer’ Movie is the best Christian Redemption movie that I have ever seen except for some Biblical Jesus films portraying the Gospels!

With a solid story line and masterful character developments, it is a main line movie, not that the judgment of which is important. Well done!

As a seeker of The Holy Spirit in our world today, I found what I sought in this movie, so spiritually based on biblical verses! To the extent that its title comes from 1 John 5:5:

“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

The redemption of Hannah, one so innocent in the world, yet to be connected to the powers beyond our secular and temporary world, is so well orchestrated and done that we can all see the pieces of the puzzle of our life connecting in such a way… if we can free our soul from our ego, pride, and limited perspectives of life, if only momentarily to let God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit in to transform our life into the ultimate being as designed by God Himself!

Photo Credit: Kendrick Brothers

Guided by her high school principal (and what a pal indeed), Hannah seeks her true identity in the Scriptures—Ephesians Chapter 1 and 2! Her list is simple and includes… “I am blessed. I am chosen. I am forgiven. I am redeemed. I am loved…”

All this started by a blind man destined for death in a hospital yet so fully alive in the Spirit that death is no more than a transitory experience, like life, to an eternal life beyond! Amen! Alleluia!

So I thought I would go to the source, go to the well so to speak, myself to see who I am!

Why not take the ‘Who Am I’ Biblical Quiz?

Open a word document; cut and paste the full text in its entirety of Ephesians Chapters 1 and 2 found at the end of this article. Narrow it down to excerpts that make a connection with you and your life and spiritual experience—see mine below.

Then answer the quiz directly like I have done here:

Good luck; good living; and an Eternal Life to you!

Andy’s Answer the ‘Who Am I’ Biblical Quiz:

I am a disciple (Paul was an apostle) of Christ… I am faithful in Christ Jesus… I am graceful… I am at peace… I am blessed spiritually… I am chosen in Him (Jesus Christ)… I am holy… I am without blame before Him (Jesus Christ) in love… I am an adopted child of Jesus Christ… I am graceful (2)… I am accepted in love… I am redeemed through His blood…. I am forgiven (my sins are forgiven)… I am graceful (3)…. I am wise… I am prudent… I am aware of His will for me… I am the benefactor of an inheritance… I am predestined to follow His will… I am trustworthy in Christ Jesus… I amknowledgeable after hearing the Word of Truth, the gospel of my salvation… I am a believer… I am sealed in The Holy Spirit… I am a receiver of the promise of The Holy Spirit… I am one who praises the glory of God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit… I am faithful in Christ Jesus (2)… I am a lover of all the saints… I am the subject of the prayers of others… I am in possession of the spirit of wisdom in Christ Jesus… I am in possession of the revelation of knowledge in Christ Jesus… I am enlightened by the hope of his calling… I am enlightened to know the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints… I am enlightened to know the exceedingly greatness of his power to us…

I am no longer dead in sins… I am saved by grace… I am raised up and sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus… I am a receiver of his exceedingly riches of grace in his kindness… am saved by grace through faith (2)… I am saved not of myself but a gift of God… I am saved not of works, lest I should boast… I am the work of God… I am created to do good works… I am near to Christ Jesus… I am at peace (2)… I am free as the flesh and evil in me has been abolished… I am a new man… I am at peace (3)… I am reconciled to God through Jesus (and The Holy Spirit)… I am at peace (4)… I am in contact with God the Father through The Holy Spirit… I am unified with all human beings, the saints, and God… I am part of the Holy Temple of the Lord… I am my Splendid Spiritual Self living together with God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit… I am God’s TROML Baby of Joy & Gratitude! TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy & Gratitude)!!!

Excerpts of “Who I Am” from Ephesians Chapter 1:

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God… to the faithful in Christ Jesus…: grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ… who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings… according as he hath chosen us in him… that we should be holy and without blame before him in love… having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself… to the praise of the glory of his grace… he hath made us accepted in the beloved… in whom we have redemption through his blood… the forgiveness of sins… according to the riches of his grace… wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence… having made known unto us the mystery of his will… in whom also we have obtained an inheritance… predestinated according to the purpose of him… in whom ye also trusted… ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation… that ye believed…ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise… unto the praise of his glory… your faith in the Lord Jesus… love unto all the saints… making mention of you in my prayers… may give unto you the spirit of wisdom… and revelation in the knowledge of him… your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling… ,and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints… the exceeding greatness of his power to us…

Excerpts of “Who I Am” from Ephesians Chapter 2:

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins… by grace ye are saved… raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus… shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus… for by grace are ye saved through faith… not of yourselves: it is the gift of God… not of works, lest any man should boast… we are his workmanship… created in Christ Jesus unto good works… now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ… for he is our peace… having abolished in his flesh the enmity… to make in himself of twain one new man… so making peace… reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross… came and preached peace to you… we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father… now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God… together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord… ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.

Ephesians Chapter 1 (in its entirety):

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the holy ones who are [in Ephesus] faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.

Therefore, I, too, hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones, do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of [your] hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.”

Ephesians Chapter 2 (in its entirety):

“You were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you once lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.

One in Christ. Therefore, remember that at one time you, Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by those called the circumcision, which is done in the flesh by human hands, were at that time without Christ, alienated from the community of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

A Prayer to God for when Hurricanes are Coming and for Our World Community of Human Beings!!

Please join me as I pray to Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and God for those in the path of Hurricane Dorian and everyone who takes a moment to pause and think about how we are doing as a world community of human beings…

Once again we do not think about what we have failed to do in our lifetime and over the many generations since Jesus came and showed us how to love, have mercy, forgive one another, and help one another: “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. They divided his garments by casting lots.”—Luke 23:34

We like to think that we are all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good but we are not. You are God and we are not. Forgive us for worshiping any human being including ourselves: “You shall not bow down to any other god, for the Lord—“Jealous” his name—is a jealous God.”—Exodus 34:14

We are doing the best that we can. We know that You—God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit—are within us. We are created by You in Your Image to do the best that we can, given what we have. Help us to come out of denial, justification, and rationalization to see our Splendid Spiritual Selves. Help us to not only help those that live around us and look like us but to reach out beyond today, to demand that our leaders inspire us and see a world community of not only human beings but also spiritual beings first, and be blind to country, state, city, and local divisions when it comes to doing Your Will. No matter our religious beliefs, spiritually we have One God.

“What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”—John 3:6-8

Forgive us Oh Creator and my Brothers in Love and Spirit for I have not proactively shared my wealth with those that need it in other parts of America and the World. We are building second homes while those in the path of this hurricane do not have a home that will withstand the storm even though collectively we know how to build a home that will keep us safe in hurricanes.

Help us to ride on Your Spiritual Arrows, on Your Wings of Eagles to Spiritual Freedom as a bridge over the Free Will Trough. Help us to rise when fallen and immediately clean ourselves off like the lamb that we are made in Your Image and not like the sow who gets use to the muck and mud of Satan’s life. Awaken me please once again!

“Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”—Colossians 1:9-14

Remember and judge us on the good things that we have done in our lives and not just the sins we have committed.

“Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your Sight; so You are right in Your Verdict and justified when You Judge.”—Psalm 51:4

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”—Hebrews 8:12).

“This is probably the saddest and worst day for me to address the Bahamian people,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Sunday. “We are facing a hurricane that we have never seen in The Bahamas. Please pray for us.”

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ… For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are His Handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.”—Ephesians 2:4-5; 8-10

Look for the rainbow after the storm and remember God’s love and covenant with us!

Genesis 9:13-15: “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh…”

A prayer for those in the path of Hurricane Dorian and everyone who takes a moment to pause and think about how we are doing as a world community of human beings… submitted with Joy and Gratitude for the Good News!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post & Cover Pic, 9-2-19)

Ponte Vedra Beach’s Palm Valley Baptist Church where Broken Hearts become Brand New!

I felt so welcomed at Palm Valley Baptist Church! I have driven by this church nestled amongst the live oaks on Palm Valley Road a million times on the way to the YMCA (okay so not a million; 3 times a week at the most given the destination!) and have always been drawn to worship there. Pastor George Powers gave the FCA service on Sunday morning at THE PLAYERS Championship this year so it took me 6 months what can I say! I do know why my friend Caddie Michael Carrao is a member here… it’s all green (carpet) from the front door to the altar and beyond! A make-able putt for anyone to make on the way to The Holy Spirit beyond the altar! Always golf and life and spirit with me!

Pastor Powers, true to his name, gave a powerful message (sermon) starting with the Call and Welcome to Worship—noting that we can only see God’s Power & Majesty and not control it as in the case of the approaching Hurricane Dorian. We all prayed for the Bahamians and that it stays off shore of mainland America.

“Take my life and let it be… Broken hearts become brand new; that is what Faith can do were the words of the songs leading to Pastor Powers “Free to Run” message… Galatians 5:7-12 (see below).

I couldn’t help but realize the significance of the location of this Church—in a Valley of Palms—reminiscent of Jesus’ triumphant (so we thought) entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday,,, and The Holy Spirit above the altar representing not only Christ’s Resurrection but His Presence today…

Pastor George shared stories of his earlier school 880-yard running career and his post-50 5k continuation with his wife Janet. Evidently Janet is both the sprinter and endurance runner in the family!

We are all running that good race with our track of a lifetime… “the way we start does not guarantee how we finish (and vice versa)… sometimes we don’t even finish… like the Parable of the Seeds there are no deep roots… like the Galatians we get off to a good start but things come upon our lives… even the backup generator needs gasoline to perform during a storm!”

“Beginning is our Conversion; the end is our Final Judgment’ the prize is Eternal Life; our life is the Gospel Race… the Race of Saints…”

By obeying the Truth of the Gospels… no need to run our race with unnecessary weight… unaddressed sin; set aside lust for money and other sins…

Galatians 5:1: “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”

Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us.”

We need to practice… get outside the pack to have a free run… God is not the source of our sin… Satan is pushing back… we can take our sin to God at any time… Jesus is our intermediary… so to not only finish but win the race and become a New Creation in Christ!

2 Corinthians 5:17 “So whoever is in Christ is a New Creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Follow the Gospel; follow the Word of God… Stand Tall… god will defend us…

The Christian Life is a Race… Run on the Path of the Gospel—We are Free to Finish; there will be hindrances to overcome—It will not be easy; we will have to get rid of any push-back—Running and Resting with Jesus!

2 Timothy 4:7-8: “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.”

Hindrances to overcome… brought to mind the movie Overcomer… but will save that for another post…

What a beautiful message on a beautiful Sunday Morning… literally the calm before the storm!

Be and Stay Safe!

Galatians 5:7-12: “You were running well; who hindered you from following [the] truth? That enticement does not come from the one who called you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. I am confident of you in the Lord that you will not take a different view, and that the one who is troubling you will bear the condemnation, whoever he may be. As for me, brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case, the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. Would that those who are upsetting you might also castrate themselves!

CLICK here to visit the website of Palm Valley Baptist Church!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 9/1/19)

Attending the Funeral of my Jewish Friend Lillian… Celebrating her Life!!!

With Lillian in July 2017... She was beautiful all the days of her life!

With Lillian in July 2017… She was beautiful all the days of her life!

Attending the Funeral of my Jewish Friend Lillian… Celebrating her Life!!!

Lillian was 93, healthy her whole life through except for these past few weeks. She was lovely, bold and beautiful inside and outside. Our families lived across the street from each other beginning in the late 1940s and we stayed in touch after our parents passed—her Mom living to be 101 years young!

While we, her family and friends, mourn, this was a celebration of Lillian’s Life, her being and how she impacted us in so many ways!

As fate would have it I received a ‘just in case you don’t already know’ text from one of Lilian’s synagogue friends that I had met for the first time visiting Lillian for the last time a week before she passed. I say for the last time, although I did visit her the day before she passed, because she was in great spirits, feisty as ever, and pure Lillian! She was such a blessing in my life. As I walked towards the synagogue for Lillian’s funeral, Lillian’s friend was coming from the other direction. I wasn’t sure that the text was from her but she gracefully confirmed that it was. As we had at the nursing home. We entered the synagogue together to celebrate Lillian!

Lillian brought people together. I would characterize her as an intellectual more than a socialite but she was both. As I would learn this day, she was a more a faithful than social Jew who contributed to her synagogue in so many meaningful ways. I am sure she is no longer in pain with her smirk y knowing smile as we all gathered in the synagogue to thank G-d for blessing us with the love and friendship of Lillian.

I sat down alone for a contemplative moment with my journal and realized all the other men had yamikas on the top of their heads. I was no stranger to Jewish worship as I once went to temple with my high school girlfriend, went to two Shabbats with a lady I met in South Africa, and recently spent a month in Israel and Palestine. Lillian and I went to the close-by non-orthodox synagogue so we could sit together a couple of years ago. I cherish that experience and all our conversations about Israel and our religions. She was an amazing woman!

After getting up and getting a yamika to wear from inside the front door, The rabbi greeted us and begin reading Psalms. Lillian had told me how much she loved reading the Psalms. In her recent move to independent living (the one before her passing that is), I saw her Hebrew Bibles, one with her name embossed on the cover, and she shared how she acquired each of them and a little bit about her faith. We shared in our faiths more than parts of the Old Testament, being with Lillian always seemed like a celebration of life itself!

Psalm 23: “A song of David. The L‑rd is my shepherd; I shall not want. He causes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even as I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You set a table before me in the presence of my adversaries; You anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. May only goodness and kindness pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the L‑rd for length of days.”

I missed the reference on the next psalm or prayer though it was very familiar to me. It spoke of days and passing shadows, grass being renewed in the morning, fading and withering away… living 3-score and 4-score… we fly away… Shalom… Teach us to number our days… hearts of wisdom… this one touched home for me as it was the first biblical verse that started me journaling for the rest of my life nearly 20 years ago.

The Rabbi concluded with the last chapter of the King Solomon Book of Proverbs that spoke about women of valor… all the days of her life… strength and dignity and grace… let her work praise G-d…which of course, was apropos for Lillian!

Lillian’s brother got up and spoke from his heart about the spirit of his sister. She lived a good and long life; not 3-score or 4-score but 4-score and 13 more years! How she loved to travel and how grateful that we were all there today.

How Lillian loved the Broadway Musical ‘My Fair Lady’ and how Lillian was his Fair Lady. He referenced Professor Higgins. I found one of his quotes via Google… “It’s about filling up the deepest cut that separates class from class and soul from soul.” Again something that Lillian did throughout her life. She filled things up with her love and graceful manner!

Her brother concluded with “I loved my sister and will miss her greatly.”

The Rabbi did an exceptional Final Farewell, eulogizing Lillian to the nth degree in a manner reserved for heads of state and fallen religious leaders!

Stimulating conversations… traveling trailblazer… a women graduating the University of Kansas in the early 1940s in biotechnology… only one challenge in life that she did not overcome…unable to become a nurse because of her height… Hawaii… returned to Binghamton… Wilson Hospital… trip to Israel… Moses and the Ten Commandments… Honor your Mother and Father… rarely does the Torah specify rewards but the one for honoring your mother and father is a long and blessed life which Lillian enjoyed… the importance of family to Lillian… read every book in the Broome County Library that they had to buy more… always seeking knowledge… collecting money and accounting for all paid admission… would track you down to pay or refund if paid twice… Lillian needed to know their intention… do what is correct in the eyes of G-d… on the Board of Trustees… never had an email address… wanted personal contact… let’s talk… she prepared food into her 90s for shabbat services and monthly luncheons… nobody ever said anything negative about Lillian and Lillian never said anything negative about others… Lillian loved everyone and everyone loved Lillian!

The Rabbi noted that Lillian died on the saddest day of the Jewish calendar—Tisha B’Av—destined for tragedy; the day when both of the ancient Jewish Temples were destroyed. He added that, with Lillian’s death, it would be even a bit sadder now!

He ended with “May her memory be a blessing!”

I joined the procession to the cemetery and the procession in the cemetery from hearse to grave-site. Although I did not participate in the Jewish tradition of literally burying the dead, I did pay my respects afterwards and throw in a stone to honor Lillian’s faith.

As the Rabbi concluded the graveside prayers it began to rain as if the heavens above were either crying or rejoicing.

I found a verse in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), “And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to G‑d, who gave it.”

I joined the luncheon at the synagogue and met Lillian’s brother, other family and friends.

Her brother pointed out that my mother ‘was a saint’ which I wholeheartedly agreed with. Recalling that I used the phrase that ‘my mother was a saint and my father a hero’ in the book I wrote about growing up in Binghamton, I went out to the car and gave him a copy of the book.

I wasn’t going to ask for it but this seemed like a divine sort of lead-in so I asked, if it was not already spoken for, Lillian’s embossed with her name Hebrew Bible and he promised to find it and give it to me which he did two days later. I will treasure Lillian’s Hebrew Bible and use it as a reference on the spiritual book that I am writing. Somehow I am she will continue to guide me in life.

May her memory be a blessing!:

In the end, or the beginning as it may be, Lillian and I and our families loved and respected one another for a lifetime and hopefully beyond!

May G-d Bless Lillian!

2019 ECSJ: SOUL Delivery via the Family Life Church in Vestal, New York!

I attended and participated in the 10 am Worship Service at Family Life Church in Vestal with my friend Lisa Bennett-Fish and her mother Joyce!

In front of the worship space, up above is a beautiful marble cross spanning a window overhead to the outside world. Down below is an as-large-as-life backdrop of the Empty Tomb, signifying Jesus’ Resurrection, which gives us the grace to go inside to find the light in each one of us. One could feel The Holy Spirit come upon this gathering of worshipers of Jesus Christ!

An early prayer with the words “for the rest of our lives” brought immediate joy and gratitude, in the name of Jesus, to this worshiper. Family Life Church is another unique and powerful setting where one knows that The Holy Spirit is alive in the Valley of the Spirit!

The melody of the song seemed to gracefully go on forever. Shouldn’t we all pause and sing of our blessings from God forever and ever? Yes, Jesus loves me for The Bible tells me so… unconditionally… without judgment… seek and one will find!

The reality, as the music minister reminded us, is that the love coming from others, even family, Moms and Dads, brothers and sisters, and friends; the love we have for ourselves, even in the humblest and most well-deserved sense, does not match the love we have available to us from Jesus, The Holy Spirit and God.

Why then isn’t that our priority in life and letting go of all things that separate us from a relationship with Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and God?

Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

That is comforting to know as there are times in my life when I am headed in the opposite direction, yet there is forgiveness and a hearty welcome home whenever I turn and face the light again!

Romans 10:17: “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the Word of Christ.”

God’s power to change us and the world is unlimited! There is hope, there are miracles available to each and every one of us!

The God of Abraham, Issac & Jacob is the God of Us, right now is our time in history, in life! Sometimes we turn outward to the materialism of our world but more so often The Holy Spirit turns us inward to the soul of Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and God, our soul within.

“Get out of your skin and into Him,” was a phrase I heard for the first time this morning!

And the Word of Christ, The Holy Spirit, and God was heard before, during, and after Pastor Joe Coudriet’s sermon!

SOUL Priority… We are spirit… we live in a body as a soul communicates to us and through us…

John 8:36: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Boundaries, baggage, and insuring love is present within self and outside to insure boundaries do not become barricades. We have to be careful about what we love—is it Jesus, life itself or some other material things? We don’t want to become a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife when she looked back seeing all the material things that she valued in life being destroyed.

Genesis 19:26 “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”

In Romans Chapter 12 God has made a way, given us a road map, an instruction book to live a human life as he designed! We must create boundaries with love to insure that they don’t become barricades. Prepare our hearts in prayer for peaceful resolutions of conflict. Except for an actively abusive relationship, where one needs to withdraw immediately and go to a safe place to be separated by distance and time needed to heal.

Romans 12:9: “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.”

Romans 12:14: “Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them.”

Romans 12:17: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.”

Romans 12:18: “If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.”

Romans 12:21: “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.”

Bottom line is to seek what God wants us to seek and not what we want! Focus our expectations on Eternity! Instead of being purely reactive, utilize the Bible to resolve differences:

Matthew 18:15: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone…”

Today was Pastor Joe’s 60th birthday! His son-in-love delivered a moving tribute like no other I have witnessed. After the service there was a Fun Day for kids of all ages!

The mission of Family Life Church is to lead people into a real relationship with Jesus Christ as we glorify God, grow together and give to others… and from my experience that is exactly what they are doing!

(Andy Reistetter; 7/22/19; Facebook Post with 25 Pics)

2019 ECSJ: Bridgewater Church Montrose; Endless Summer in the Psalms!!!

Another glorious Worship Sunday in the Valleys of Spiritual Growth! This time I headed ‘south’ down through the Susquehanna Valley to Montrose and attended the 10:45 am Worship Service at the Bridgewater Church! ‘South’ because the Susquehanna River flows West to East near Binghamton but takes a huge bend southward upstream at Afton to Great Bend, PA (imagine how that town got its name!) not far from Montrose, PA where the Bridgewater Church started and has grown to 5 locations in the Southern Tier of Pennsylvania and New York!

Located in the ‘Endless Mountains’ of Northeast Pennsylvania they appear endless from the scenic spot where the Bridgewater Montrose Church is located. Though not endless, they appear to be as they lead one to the Delaware River and beyond to the Catskill Mountains. Like this experience worshiping, the Spiritual Growth of the Valleys of the Chenango & Susquehanna Rivers is indeed endless, Scripture-wise, time-wise, and inward-wise leading us to a growing, loving, intimate, spiritual relationship with Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and God!

Other than its location in the Valleys of Spiritual Growth I was attracted to Bridgewater for the Kickoff Sunday of their Psalms and Proverbs Series called ‘Summer in the Psalms.’ Which is, coincidentally or not, where I am in my Biblical Review and research for the spiritual book I am writing as part of TROML 2020. TROML Baby (an exclamation of JOY)!!!

This was no coincidence. What a powerful spiritual experience it is to worship at Bridgewater Montrose Church!

Montrose Campus Pastor Bob Kadlecik immediately drew us into his ‘Worship by Design’ sermon with familiar commercial slogans that we all knew… Give me a break (Kit Kat; I wish I was… (Oscar Mayer Weiner); I don’t want to grow up (Toys R Us but they are no longer) Plop, plop, fizz, fizz (Alka Seltzer); I like to teach the world to sing… (Coke); and You deserve a break today (McDonald’s and two all beef patties, special sauce…).. We try to forget those ‘ear-worms’ but cannot.

Music is powerful as it connects to our mind and emotions simultaneously and is a way to praise God! Bionically music goes all the way back to a young shepherd David playing the harp for King Saul.

Pastor Bob’s first point is that worship is in our DNA; is in God’s design of us and human life. We have desires and look for satisfaction. But there are spiritual desires that have no physical satisfaction. As my Dad would say in his later years: “Everything is temporary!”

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 speaks about there being an “appointed time for everything” (3:1) and that we will find no permanence in this world: “All came from the dust and all return to the dust.(3:20).

The point being we need to first worship the right things!

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” (Psalm 95:1-2)

Pastor Bob’s second point was that Worship is a whole life experience to God’s greatness!

Enter, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us. For he is our God, we are the people he shepherds, the flock under his care.” (Psalm 95:6-7)

For the Lord is the great God, the great king over all gods.” (Psalm 95:3)

Pastor Bob shared another perspective from C.S. Lewis (who incidentally died on November 22, 1963, the same day President Kennedy was shot and killed): Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.”

One thing I ask from the Lord; this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord’ all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to see him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)

All the days of my life… The Rest of My Life… T—R—O—M—L… TROML Baby (an exclamation of JOY)!!!

Final thought was that Christianity is counterculture to the secular, material-driven world… our faith should be personal, but not private…

PS: You gotta love a church community that has a Tebow jersey and Notre Dame sports memorbillia in the men’s room… and slices of watermelon going into and out of church!

(Andy Reistetter; 7/8/19; Facebook Post with 30 Pics)

Happy 4th of July; Happy Birthday America; Thanks be to God for Our Spiritual Freedom!!!

In honor of God, Country, and Family… this sermon keeps it all in perspective! Happy Independence Day! Freedom, TROML Baby, Freedom; let Freedom ring inside & out! (Andy Reistetter; 7/10/19; Facebook Updates Cover Photo)

CLICK HERE for Sermon by David W. Peters

WOW, not sure I have ever seen a parade like that! Such a great American Spirit in Montrose, PA! Fun time with my friend Marie, aka Ellen Ruspantini Jackson, BCHS Reunion Chairwoman and like 10,000 other Patriots! Happy 4th of July fellow Americans! USA, USA, USA!!! So blessed to be an American! TROML Baby (an exclamation of JOY)!!! (Andy Reistetter; 7/4/19; Facebook Post with 30 Pics)

Independence Day, the Fourth of July) is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject (and subordinate) to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states.

“The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”—John Adams writing to his wife Abigail:.

Adams’s prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.

By a remarkable coincidence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the only two signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, both died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. 

Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, James Monroe, another Founding Father who was elected as President, also died on July 4, 1831. He was the third President who died on the anniversary of independence. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872; so far he is the only U.S. President to have been born on Independence Day.

Happy Birthday America!
Thank you Wikipedia!

(Andy Reistetter; 7/3/19; Facebook Post with Updated Cover Photo)

2019 ECSJ: Visiting St. Paul’s Episcopal in Oxford, NY on Spiritual Freedom Sunday!

Drawn to drive 35 miles north up the Spiritual Valley of the Chenango River to attend a Morning Prayer Service at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church… in my first book I attributed the love, grace, and spirit of my mother to the gentle current & flow of water in the Chenango River…

Powerful message of FREEDOM, true spiritual freedom, given in service by Bill (Prayer Leader) and Diane (Music Leader)… Readings, Gospel and sermon by David W. Peters read by Bill… see link below… YES, we define freedom in America by our country’s journey via the Revolutionary War to freedom and we all know and realize in the world past, present, and hopefully not the future that freedom is not free… our daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers gave their lives and other heroes many, many, many years of service… grateful to be an American and celebrate this 4th of July…

Also know and realize that there is a Spiritual FREEDOM that birthed our country and predates even Biblical Times as God has always sought to make us free mainly from ourselves… just like each of us, this is a beautiful church from the outside and even more glorious once you go inside and get to know oneself and others…

Chandeliers in church are pre-Revolutionary War and from St. George’s Chapel in MYC… for the record there were 12 of us worshiping together… with gratitude to Rev. Peters, Paul, Diane, Roberta & the wonderful lady who welcomed me coming and going; my friends in Christ and in the Valley of Spiritual Growth! TROML Baby (an exclamation of JOY)!!!

2 Kings 2:9-10: When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Request whatever I might do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.” He replied, “You have asked something that is not easy. Still, if you see me taken up from you, your wish will be granted; otherwise not.”

Galatians 5:1 The Importance of Faith. “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:16-25 “I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit…

CLICK HERE for Sermon by David W. Peters

(Andy Reistetter; 6/3-/19; Facebook Post with 30 Pics)