Sunday, February 22, 2015

JESUS WITHOUT HONOR IN HIS HOMETOWN AND HOUSEHOLD: SCS No. 38

Sunday, February 22, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 38

(This is a series of sermonettes on The Gospel According To Mark.  We will not be to the crucifixion and resurrection in the book of Mark by April 5, 2015 so we will not be doing the resurrection story when it is being celebrated this year.)

Scripture for Today:  Mark 6:1-13 English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

6 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.
2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?
3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.”
5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.
6 And he marveled because of their unbelief.
And he went about among the villages teaching.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—
9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.
10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there.
11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”
12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.
13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

Sermon for Today:

We ended our last study in Chapter 3 and today we are starting in Chapter 6.  What took place in between was Jesus telling parables and performing miracles.  I am not saying these are unimportant, but you are probably very familiar with them.    

In today’s Scripture Lesson people are amazed at the His works and wisdom.  That is everyplace other than His hometown.  Jesus sent His twelve out and told them if people did not want to listen to go on down the road.  Good advice.  The most useless arguments are ones over religious beliefs.  No one has ever been brought to the healing arms of Christ by arguing with them.

In the 13th verse it says they “anointed with oil many who were sick.”  I remember a few weeks before my father died in 1989 he had to force the minister and other Elders in his church to come and anoint him with oil.  His church ( the church I grew up in) did not anoint sick people.  Since I am going into surgery in the morning for the second time in three months, I wish I belonged to a church that believed in anointing with oil and praying for the sick.

Keep on speaking about Jesus to other folks.  The world needs His healing touch.   





Prayer for Today:

Father, May the Gospel story come alive in us so much so that we feel your Holy Spirit in the very pit of our inner beings and that the world might see You through us.  For we know You sent Him for all peoples and He gave His all that all of us might have life forevermore if only we find Him, the one and only Way.  It is in His name we pray. Amen.



© Ed Cooper, February 22, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
   All rights reserved

Monday, February 16, 2015

VA Secretary Robert McDonald




Read it and make up your own mind, but I can tell you from listening to the house hearings VA Secretary Robert McDonald is not a friend of Vets like me with a psychiatric label.  When asked what his plan was for reaching the 17 out of the 22 Vets who committed suicide every day and had had no contact with the VA he said that we came through primary care and would see a psychiatrist and probably not even know we were seeing one.  (Not in quotes because my memory is not that good.)

1) We are not dumb enough to be fooled into seeing a psychiatrist and not know it and a psychiatrist who saw a patient without saying who they were should not be practicing.

2) This jackass from the corporate world may not know it, but talking about trying to fool us into mental health services is a sure way to keep us from even showing up at primary care.

He says he can run the VA like a business.  Think of your cable company or your wireless phone provider or Walmart and you can see where this man wants to take the Veterans Administration.  I have seen his kind before and when I was in the business world I would never work for a person like him or take an account that the person I had to do business with was like him.

I was in the tire and retreading business.  Mostly truck tires.  Trucking company accounts is how I made my living, but I learned early on to be honest and to do that you needed to deal only with honest business people.  To make money I needed to collect the money for the tires and retreads I sold 30/60/90 days down the road.  I would not trust VA Secretary Robert McDonald enough to sell him anything on terms.  He would have to pay me cash.

© Ed Cooper, 2/16/2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit:SCS No. 37


Sunday, February 15, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 37

(This is a series of sermonettes on The Gospel According To Mark.  We will not be to the crucifixion and resurrection in the book of Mark by April 5, 2015 so we will not be doing the resurrection story when it is being celebrated this year.)

Scripture for Today:  Mark 3:22-30 English Standard Version (ESV)
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
27 But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,
29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—
30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”




Sermon for Today:

We must also look in Luke to understand what I consider to be one of the most misunderstood passages in the New Testament.

Luke 12:8-12 English Standard Version (ESV)
Acknowledge Christ Before Men
8 “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God,
9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say,
12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Key to understanding this passage is the distinction Jesus makes between, on the one hand, the extreme case of blasphemy against “the Holy Spirit” and, on the other hand, the lesser case of speaking in a dishonorable way against “the Son of Man.” One who asks to be forgiven for disrespectful words hastily spoken against Jesus (the Son of Man) will be forgiven. However, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not.

What does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.  I have heard everything given as an explanation.   Let me see if I can make this simple.  It is the persistent and unrepentant resistance against the work of the Holy Spirit and his message concerning Jesus.  The person who persists in hardening his heart against God, against the work of the Holy Spirit, and against the provision of Christ as Savior, is outside the reach of God’s provision for forgiveness and salvation.

Christians often worry that they have committed this sin, but such a worry is in itself evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in your life.  If you had turned a deaf ear to God you would not be worrying.

They accused Jesus of being Satan.  That means they had turned deaf to hearing the voice of God.

In Luke Jesus tells His Disciples that if they are hauled before the authorities that they should not worry because the Holy Spirit would give them the words to speak.  Today we need to trust that the same Holy Spirit will give us the words we need to tell our families, friends and neighbors the Good News.   Blaspheming is believing the Holy Spirit is not alive today and died with the Apostles or on the Day of Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit is still with us.  Let the Spirit fill you and share what you know about living a life filled with the love of Jesus Christ.



Prayer for Today:

Father, May the Gospel story come so alive in us that Your Son comes alive to the world around each of us.  For we know You sent Him for all peoples and He gave His all that all of us might have life forevermore if only we find Him, the one and only Way.  It is in His name I pray. Amen.



© Ed Cooper, February 15, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
   All rights reserved

Thursday, February 12, 2015

MAY NOT BE MANIA

                                                       FORT MYERS BEACH PIER
                   (He catches fish for the pelicans and feeds the fish to them one by one.)

On our recent trip south to Fort Myers Beach via Darien, GA., Patty and I were discussing a topic I raised in a poem a few days ago that I gave the title Disagreeableness.  Anita, a longtime friend from Florida commented under the post on Facebook that she was sure Patty felt like it was worth it.  ( I think I am close to quoting her correctly.)  The funny thing is Anita was not always sure she thought it was worth putting up with me.  The topic of discussion was whether I was now or had I recently been in mania or hypomania?

When someone with a bipolar label gets irritable or as I called it in the poem disagreeable, people usually look for signs of an onset of illness.  I suggest you might want to look to see if there is something going on in their life to cause it before assuming the worse.

My house is having a room added and the outside space is being messed with.  I just had surgery in early November and will return to the table in 11 days.  On the way back to our house I had to stop at the VA hospital for my pre-op.  No way to end a great vacation at the beach.


  Fort Myers Beach BEST WESTERN RESORT 
(where we stayed)   

Fort Myers Beach Pier


My point is that I have not taken any trips by myself.  I mean run off and spent a fortune.  I have not tried to buy any companies.  I have not tried to create a harem of females for myself.  There are not any signs of mania other than I am having to deal with lots of stuff and cannot hide enough to stay calm.  I think my reaction to this world and what is going on in my life is rational and normal. I should be mad.  Both contractors and the Veterans Administration are maddening.  Not Patty's fault.  I offered to go into the psych unit until my surgery, but she said that was crazy.  So I guess we ride this bucking horse to the end.

© Ed Cooper, 2/12/2015

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

HUFFINGTON POST and LISA LONG



If you want to write a piece for the Huffington Post, it seems anyone and everyone is considered an expert on the brain and psychiatry.  That is why I have just awarded them the 2015 Project Dream Again Press Award for not giving a damn if the people they publish know anything or get anything right.

A few days ago Lisa Long made an assertion in a Huffington Post piece that “Mental illness is a physical illness.”  They did not give any credentials for her that would qualify her as an expert in neurobiology or any other specialty to allow her to make such a straight forward all encompassing statement as a truth.  It is simply an opinion she holds and she should have stated that it was simply her opinion.

There is not a single physical test on which to conclude a person has any label found in DSM-5.  Let me say this again.  There are no tests for any psychiatric label.  Therefore it was irresponsible for the Huffington Post to publish and for Lisa Long to assert that “Mental illness is a physical illness.”

Why is this so important?  Because each of us with a label suffer from experiences that differ to such a degree that it is simply impossible to say what the causation is or to define them in any way other than by letting the person tell you what they are experiencing.   One size does not fit all and any good scientist admits the complexity of the mind/brain/spirit may make it impossible to ever come up with truth in its ultimate form.

I caution anyone against making statements about subjects which well educated and thoughtful folks know that they know very little.  It simply shows how little you know if you make such statement or publish them.     

by ed cooper, folk philosopher


© Ed Cooper, 2/4/2015, Stoney Creek, TN

Sunday, February 01, 2015

THE SON OF MAN IS LORD: SCS No. 36


Sunday, February 1, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 36


(This is a series of sermonettes on The Gospel According To Mark.  We will not be to the crucifixion and resurrection in the book of Mark by April 5, 2015 so we will not be doing the resurrection story when it is being celebrated this year.)


Scripture for Today:  Mark 2:13-28 English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus Calls Levi
13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
A Question About Fasting
18 Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”


Jesus is Lord of Sabbath
23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”


Sermon for Today:


It should amaze you as much as it does me that each time Jesus called someone to be a disciple, they got up from whatever they were doing and went with Him.  Today, I don’t know what He would have to do to get our attention to even ask one of us to follow Him.  We are a busy people, but do we know where we are going?


Jesus was always being criticized about something, but He took a lot of criticism for the company He kept.  He was called on the carpet for eating with tax collectors and sinners.  Remember he had just called a tax collector to be one of the twelve disciples.  Jesus had a simple answer.  A well person does not need a doctor, but a sick person does.  If you are not out among the sick, then you are not doing the work of the Kingdom of God.


The question of fasting comes up in our scripture lesson for today.  Fasting is not for getting down to a desired weight.  Fasting is addressed by Jesus in Matthew 6: 16-18.
“16 And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”   


Fasting is to help bring one into the presence of our Father and not to be seen as a pious endeavor by others.


The last criticism in our lesson today may be the most interesting of them all.  Jesus points out that one of God’s favorite people went into the temple and ate bread that was not even eaten by the priests.  Then He said “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”


This is important folks.  The Sabbath was a gift from God to us so we might refresh our spirits, souls and selves on a day directed towards and dedicated to the Father.  Jesus was a gift from God to us who John says in opening his Gospel is one with the Father. John 1: 1-5  English Standard Version (ESV)


“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”


To say that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath if He was there from the start and was with God and was God is certainly no big stretch.   What we need to help “sick” folks understand is that there is a way to healing.  You notice I did not say a way to heal.  


You may be one of those people that think we can reach Christian perfection here on earth, but I believe with every bone in my body that the Bible makes clear we will need our advocate the Lord Jesus Christ when we are justly judged on that day to stand beside us as our advocate because we cannot reach perfection.


I speak of healing because it is a process of ongoing growth and it is full of great leaps forward and slips backwards.  If you reach a time in your Christian life that you think you have reached perfection, get down on your knees in a closet and pray that God will help you to find humility once again.  The humility you had when you knew you were a sinner and needed Him.  I wish people studied John Wesley and what he actually said on this subject  of Christian perfection rather than just spouting rubbish.


“SOME thoughts occurred to my mind this morning concerning Christian perfection, and the manner and time of receiving it, which I believe may be useful to set down.
1. By perfection I mean the humble, gentle, patient love of God, and our neighbour, ruling our tempers, words, and actions.
I do not include an impossibility of falling from it, either in part or in whole. Therefore, I retract several expressions in our Hymns, which partly express, partly imply, such an impossibility. And I do not contend for the term sinless.A PLAIN ACCOUNT OF CHRISTIAN PERFECTION by John Wesley

The Sabbath was for healing and Jesus is a healer.  Jesus is the Son of Man and Lord over all.  The process is easy to start, but takes work and faith to keep on the path Jesus laid out.  The great thing is we do not walk it alone.

Prayer for Today:


Father, May the Gospel story come so alive in us that Your Son comes alive to the world around each of us.  For we know You sent Him for all peoples and He gave His all that all of us might have life forevermore if only we find Him, the one and only Way.  It is in His name I pray. Amen.


© Ed Cooper, February 1, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
   All rights reserved