Sunday, December 25, 2016

THE STORY OF CHRISTMAS IS FORGIVENESS: SCS 101

Mashoko Christian Hospital, Zimbabwe, Africa

Sunday, December 25, 2016, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 101

PRAYER for Today:
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

MORNING WORSHIP MUSIC:

SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:  

Colossians 1:15-23 New International Version (NIV)

The Supremacy of the Son of God

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

SERMON for Today:

C.S. Lewis wrote in his book The Problem of Pain, “To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable.”

The story of Christmas is forgiveness.  Paul tells us in our Scripture lesson that if we continue in our faith and hold on to the hope “held out in the gospel” we will be found “without blemish.”  How?  Because God became flesh and died for our sins.  The story of the baby in the manger is a story of redemption.  It is a story of God’s love for His creation.

If we remember this Christmas that forgiveness is the story, we should also remember that when Jesus taught us to pray he said, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

God Bless and May God Walk Beside You Each Step You Take This Week. Amen

© Ed Cooper, December 25, 2016, Stoney Creek, Tennessee, Appalachia  
  All rights reserved
(Ed Cooper is an ordained minister and Director of Project Dream Again. He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATING IN SOUTH FLORIDA: Part 2

Meeting Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen and exploring the possibility of becoming certified by the Association of Mental Hospital Chaplains was exciting to me.  I was an ordained elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ, but I did not have a seminary degree.  I did not even have a college degree.  I also had several psychiatric labels.  My pitch to them was that the father of psychiatric hospital chaplains was a person with a label.  You can read about Anton Boisen here. ANTON T. BOISEN: A Forgotten and Committed Advocate As you can see from the letter above the Rabbi agreed that it was worth trying.

My goal was to be able to work as a chaplain at South Florida State Hospital.  I never got the chance to do that in any official capacity, but I did get a chance to do it in my own small way on several occasions both with folks living there and with folks working there.

I would have loved to have broken the barrier and gotten peer chaplains certified whether they were trained as I was on the job or in a seminary.  On the mission field in Africa I started preaching as a teen.  I held my first church here in the states before I finished high school.  Peer chaplains have a lot to contribute to the team in psychiatric hospitals and to the teams in community mental health centers.

© Ed Cooper, 12-20-2016, Stoney Creek, Appalachia

    All rights reserved

Sunday, December 18, 2016

THE WONDERS IN STORE FOR YOU: SCS 100

Patty and Her Great Granddaughter Mazey 

Sunday, December 18, 2016, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 100


PRAYER for Today:
Luke 11:1-13 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Lord's Prayer

11 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,
4 and forgive us our sins,
   for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

MORNING WORSHIP MUSIC:




SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:  

Matthew 1:18-25 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
   and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.


SERMON for Today:


Some people have lots of trouble with the virgin birth.  They believe Jesus can save their sinful souls.  They believe God created all that they see around them.  They just have a hard time believing God could have the Holy Spirit make a woman conceive His Son.


It took an angel to convince Joseph.  In today’s world of science and technology most preachers and most Christians simply ignore the subject.  My friends if the God you believe in is not all powerful then you are wasting your time.  If you do not believe in a Holy Spirit that could produce a virgin birth then you do not believe in the Holy Spirit Jesus does.


My message to you today is to get your head and heart right about the power of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  You do not have to wonder if the stories in the book are true.  All you have to do is think about the wonders in store for you.

God Bless and May God Walk Beside You Each Step You Take This Week. Amen


© Ed Cooper, December 18, 2016, Stoney Creek, Tennessee, Appalachia  
  All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is an ordained minister and Director of Project Dream Again. He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

MH ADVOCATING IN SOUTH FLORIDA: Part 1

Me and Cassy years ago


When Patty and I moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fl in July, 1991, she was going back to where she had lived as a child and I was starting a brand new chapter in my life.  I was not only in a new place, but I was trying to do something I had very little experience at.  Patty had been an advocate for years, but I had only put my big toe in the water in 1988.  Now I was going to try putting my entire foot in.

I had started Christian Friends of the Mentally Ill in 1988.  Patty and I with others incorporated Novastar Opportunities for the Mentally Ill, Inc in 1989 in North Carolina.  We moved the nonprofit to Florida when we moved.  A good friend of mine, Bill Bowden, advised me not to use Christian Friends in South Florida.  He said I would antagonize the Jewish community.  I took his advice and came up with Project Dream Again.  The name change however did not help me with my public relations problems.  I could have kept CFMI and I would have fared as well.

The first big blow up came at a meeting of the Alcohol Drug Abuse and Mental Health Planning Council meeting.  They were holding a hearing about closing South Florida State Hospital.  My comments at that hearing caused some mental health health consumers to threaten physical violence against me.  Community providers could not believe their ears.

What had I said?  I said that South Florida State Hospital should stay open because all the folks down there had not said they wanted to leave.  That it could be turned into a campus for us.  That people should get to decide for themselves.  That if the state had already taken years of your life you should get to decide how to spend the rest of it.  You see I actually believe in person centered approaches even to the extent of keeping a hospital open for people who want it.  I do not believe that advocates can speak for individual people.  Only the individual can speak for the individual.

to be continued….

© Ed Cooper, December 15, 2016, Stoney Creek, TN
   All rights reserved

Sunday, December 11, 2016

HIS BIRTH MEANT OUR POSSIBLE REBIRTH: SCS 99


Sunday, December 11, 2016, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 99

PRAYER for Today:
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

MORNING WORSHIP MUSIC:




SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:  

John 3:1-8  (ESV)

You Must Be Born Again

3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”



SERMON for Today:

I recently spent a few days flat on my back in a hospital bed fighting streptococcal pneumonia with bacteremia.  It gives you a new perspective on things.  Not going to the hospital when I should have did not help matters.  Not being able to breathe brings everything down to their basics.  All I wanted was air, but I could not get any.

I had time to think about a lot of things.  I will not make you listen to them all.  The one I want you to hear today is simple.  Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.   This is my point for you.  If Jesus had not been born, then you and I could not be born again.  Read the sentence again.  It was His birth that makes our rebirth possible.  Don’t forget that as you go through this big season of giving and receiving.  Also, don’t forget to tell someone else about His birth and what it means for all of us.


God Bless and May God Walk Beside You Each Step You Take This Week. Amen

© Ed Cooper, December 11, 2016, Stoney Creek, Tennessee, Appalachia  
  All rights reserved
(Ed Cooper is an ordained minister and mental health advocate. He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)