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  1. PRACTICING CHRISTIANITY BY SERVING Much like the book Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, I would argue that the church teaches the practice of living the Christian life to its children. As a boy in church scouting, I repeated a pledge each week that began, “With God’s help I will do my best to serve God, my church, and my fellowman.” Service—is that not what it means to live for Jesus? I serve—with God’s help. I should serve God, but face outward temptation—most often from money. If I just garner enough finance, I can do so much—for God’s glory, of course. Alternatively, I might seek out education and skills. There was an immigrant who came to America. He started to attend church. The man needed a job, and found out that his congregation was looking for a janitor. However, when he said he wanted the job, they told him that he had to fill out forms in English—not just for the application, but also on a regular basis, since city and state inspectors came from time to time. He could not read and write English well enough, so he ended up working on the docks instead. The man worked hard, and saved up money. After a few years, he bought his own boat. A few years later he bought two more. Then four, then eight—and by the time he was in his 60s he had dozens of boats, and was quite rich. A local reporter quipped, “Wow—you did all this, while not knowing English very well. Imagine what you might have done if you could read and write English.” The man responded, “If I could read and write well, I’d probably be the janitor at my church.” Not only must I overcome the temptation to rely on my money, my talents, or just myself, I must submit my selfish desires to God’s will. By nature, we seek dark paths. I remember that at age 10 I wanted to be like Richie Rich. I 13, having believed my teachers’ esteem-promoting encouragements, I wanted to be a lawyer. After all, they told me I was smart, and I liked winning arguments. At 17, I actually wanted to be President of the United States, so I could wield power! Despite my wayward desires, I listened to God’s directing. At 25, I taught missionary children. At 30, I was doing evangelistic Bible studies with Korean university students. At 35, I was ministering to federal prison. I may drive an 11-year old compact, I may listen much more than I speak, and I may lack political influence—nevertheless I am rich in God’s service. I traffic in God’s power, and turn souls from eternal judgment to redemption and reward. I am so much wealthier, wiser, and more influential in the Lord’s service than I ever could be following my heart and dreams. Beyond serving the Lord directly, I serve his church. Some may find it interesting that the second admonition is to church, rather than family, or to souls who do not know God. However, I cannot provide leadership and example to my family—or to anyone—if I do not embrace my community of faith. When I love my brothers and sisters in God’s house, and when I learn wise counsel from pastors and teachers, then I can help others. Some say we Christians need to get outside the church walls. Such silly talk! Most spend one to two hours a week in church. Even the most devout would not normally spend more than five hours there. The other 163+ hours are already outside the church. Frankly, most Christians probably need to spend more time within those walls! Finally, yes, and of course, I will serve the people in my circle of influence. I will work hard and well. I will listen more than speak. Nevertheless, the greatest service I can offer is my testimony of God, and loving-but-truthful answers. A young couple that used to serve in my church had come after several years of searching. The man had grown up Mormon, but then left it for Wicca. The lady claimed Christianity from an early age, but then sought out the partying fun outside the church. They met each other and married. Both eventually became Christians, and the man’s friends challenged them. “So, now that you are all ‘born again’ how do you feel about gay marriage?” They responded that they still loved their friends—including a few who were gay and married. Nevertheless, they could not approve of gay marriage in church, since it was against their beliefs. These friends responded that since they were now hate-filled and bigoted their friendship was over. “Do not attempt to contact us ever,” they told the couple. Had they failed—been too harsh—lacked in love? Not at all. They communicated love, peace, and sincerity, but faced rejection in return. Still, their final gift to their friends was truth. I will serve God—by seeking his will and his way. I will serve my church—with my presence, my attention, and with any help, my brothers and sisters need. Finally, I will serve those about me, by sharing what love I can, by listening more than I talk, but by speaking truth with conviction, whenever opportunity comes. For a video presentation of this teaching see:
  2. I was set apart as the YW President last week. We have a lot of inactive young women, and I've found that lots of people who wouldn't show up for an entertaining activity will show up for a service activity. (Learning how to tie quilts? Not a soul. Tying quilts to be sent to flood victims? Everyone and their son shows up. Speaking from experience.) So, I'm tapping your brains for ideas on community service activities that we can do as a group of eight to ten 13-17 year olds. Also, I don't know quite yet what our budget is. Tie/fleece blankets Hygiene kits (we have a beloved couple from the branch serving a senior mission in Sierra Lione) Backpacks/school supplies for low income kids in the fall
  3. I don't intend this to be a church criticism post. Let me be clear: I have a testimony of the gospel. However, there are some things I've always wondered, and have never found an answer that feels exactly right. I'd just like some other perspectives. I grew up with inactive LDS parents who are not sealed in the temple. As a child this really bothered me...with all the talk of forever families I wondered what that meant for mine. The only answers I can get are: "It will all work out in the heavens" or "Its about sealing everyone back to Christ; not who you're gonna be with in heaven" or something close to these explanations. So, what I wonder is; well....if it's not about who we will be with, why does it matter? Why the push for a "forever family"? If it's all gonna be worked out in heaven (I won't be denied blessings because my parents aren't sealed) why is it so important? I have absolute faith that it WILL all be fine because I believe in a loving God, but when there is such a HUGE focus on this, why aren't there more clear answers? I can't believe that a righteous, loving family just won't be together in the after life because they didn't go through a ceremony in a specific building. What about those couples who have circumstances we can't put into our neat little boxes? Such as; a couple who are sealed, but the man dies early and the woman remarries someone who can't be sealed to her because she's already sealed but they have children and live 60 years together? Or my grandmother who out-lived all 3 husbands and loved each of them the same. (And there are dozens of other scenarios). Perhaps this is what the mellenium is for, so I keep my faith that God has a plan I just can't understand in my mortal state. But it seems our idea of what SHOULD be is very idealistic and limited. I often also wonder...what could be done with all the time, effort and money that goes into the temples themselves and then the hours spent working and attending them? Could we not do more good by serving those ALIVE? Even if the symbolic ceremonies need to be done on earth, could we not have less extravagant places to do it?
  4. As an Evangelical who came of age in the early 1980s, I remember so well the clarity of the world. Democracy vs. Communism and the Moral Majority vs. secular humanism. We figured God would use the church to turn America';s politics and culture to Jesus and righteousness. 30+ years later--what a different world it is! Paul told us to pray for Caesar, not to elect Peter. I will still cast my vote. Nevertheless, my best Christian righteousness will be seen in my love of God and neighbor, far more than in any devotion to a candidate, party, or policy position.
  5. The topic came up during stake conference, and I found it interesting, so I decided to do some research on the subject. I think that when you help someone knowing that God wanted you to, it helps you to know that there is a God above who cares about you and who will ask someone to serve you if it is His will.
  6. I know someone who was baptized at age 17, but is doubting whether or no he wants to serve a mission. Does the church have a stance on this? Is he under the same obligation to serve as other men are?
  7. My dear wife is currently in an inpatient rehab unit in a local hospital. As I was leaving on Saturday evening I was struck with a very strong impression to stop turn around and give her s blessing of comfort and strength. I dropped the cooler bag the leash for her service dog walked up to her laid my hands on her, shared with her some very sacred promises and words of blessing and encouragement from our father in heaven, we shared many tears of joy and love not many words after words. Once I returned home still filling inspired I called my Bishop to see If we could some how make arrangements to get the sacrament brought in for her. Well he approached me and suggested that my son and I go ahead and take it in for her today. After holding the priesthood for 30 plus years this was the 1st time I had the honor of administering the Lords sacrament in this type of setting and then for it to be with my son and for it be for my lovely spouse. I can not but marvel at how the need was seen and how I was allowed to serve my family by exercising my priesthood. Our Heavenly indeed knows us looks out for us and provides for our needs. I am thankful I was sensitive enough to listen to the spirit and was able to serve my family. The last thing Kathy said to me tonight "Thank you for bringing me the sacrament."
  8. I have created a Book of Mormon Testimony Translation site where bi-lingual LDS members translate testimonies for other members. Any suggestions on how to promote it? It is a perfect way for return missionaries to keep up on their language skills. Book of Mormon Testimony Translator - index Thanks,
  9. Hi all!! Wasn't quite sure where to put this, but I figured sharing it would be a good place. So I'm trying to raise money for a couple organizations in my area. One is a well-known public organization in the Seattle area called "HopeLink" (food bank, mentoring, social services, etc) and the other is my own little project that probably won't be an official non-profit for a couple years. My personal project is called "Nakama International". I hope to set up a website for it soon, but currently I'm looking for the box to my website software so I can plug in the registration code (it's in the abyss known as my closet). Nakama (or "Friend", in Japanese) International is my personal project to help both international students find affordable places to live and help local children learn about other cultures and languages, while helping them with their schoolwork and lives. Both are things I feel strongly about, both as a former international student and a future teacher. Most of the money that is raised will go to HopeLink, because they do a lot of good in my neighborhood and I really want to help out. The rest will go to getting Nakama International started. What I'm doing is creating an online cookbook, or well, a cookbook in the form of a pdf that can be downloaded after it is bought. What I need are recipes!! I would love lots of international stuff, but good ol' American homecookin' is good, too. :) And preferably stuff that can be affordably with easy to find items. I would prefer it if things were messaged to me privately or sent to me by email ([email protected]). But feel free to post some things here. :) Thank you so much!
  10. And if you know what movie that "line" comes from then you're super cool. But that's not the topic of this thread. My questions are: do you tip and how much? In more depth.. Do you tip based on quality of service? Or do you tip regardless of service quality? Do you just throw a couple bucks down? Or do you tip what's recommended (15%-20%)? What establishments and/or services do you feel should or should not be tipped?My dad is a bit old fashioned. He believes a tip should be given to show gratuity for great service. My husband on the other hand is a tipper and a good one, although there have been times he's been unimpressed or unhappy, and tipped just a few dollars. I haven't really ever had to tip since when I eat out it's with hubby and he pays. But I always tip my hairstylist and nail tech. I have a friend though that does not tip at all. She struggles financially to begin with and so I can see where leaving a tip may just be too much. I'm not judging.
  11. Brothers and Sisters, For some time the holocaust in Africa has been weighing heavily on my mind. I was just reading the Book of Mormon a minute ago and got the impression that I must not let my head hit the pillow tonight until I have done something.... ANYTHING... to get this blood of omission off my hands. In January of 2010 the Church established the first stake in the country of Uganda. The organization of the stake in Uganda is the 25th stake in the Africa Southeast Area. The church is already helping with humanitarian efforts and I want to help. For those who don't know already Uganda has been torn by horrible war funded by outside countries for the past 11 years. As a result of this war children are being abducted... RIGHT NOW WHILE I TYPE OR YOU READ THIS... a child is being abducted and forced into slave labor either as a soldier or a prostitute for soldiers, and sometimes both. This is an issue that is as horrible in size and scope as that of the persecution of the Jews during WWII and I feel that if I as a blessed person in the first world do not contribute directly to stopping this genocide then the blood of those children will be on my hands and I will be ashamed to meet the souls of those children in the afterlife. I am desperate to find a way to get in contact with church leaders and missionaries in this specific stake. The Patriarch over the stake is Giles Odongo. I am having difficulty finding contact information that would be necessary to find out exactly what is needed and the most efficient way of delivering it. There are of course the regular humanitarian donations at every local LDS Church and I am grateful for that.... but it is not enough. There is also a wonderful website for funding specific programs with the church Making a Cash or Credit Card Gift Unfortunately I am still finding it difficult to get the contact information for the 25th Stake of the Africa Southeast Area and I feel it is absolutely necessary to speak with them directly. Any assistance you could give me in finding this contact information would be greatly appreciated. Liz
  12. Church services for the LDS military group in Iraq include two one-hour meetings a day, writes U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Eric Russell. "Each meeting is structured like a sacrament meeting all the way up until after sacrament, when we turn to lessons instead of talks," added Russell, of Lee's Summit, Mo., who is an assistant group leader. About 20 attend the early afternoon session and 10 to 15 attend the evening session. But even then, they wear their uniforms to church and bring their weapons — as they do everywhere, he added. Russell is one of the many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is on active duty overseas. Some meet in groups like Russell's, and others have had missionary experiences as they live the gospel while serving their country. Some are on their first deployments, and others have been overseas several times. They include soldiers, sailors, engineers, medics and gunners. In celebration of Independence Day, Mormon Times readers are sharing information about their loved ones on active duty overseas. Read the profiles on
  13. Hey there im 23 and im still learning about the church. i go to the temple, do family history (currently in germany), got sealed to my husband who i had prayed for....hooray for the Father! I do not reply much in all this im still very new to this. i would very much would like some buddies in case if i had some questions. lately i have been having some people walk up to me or maybe im walking up to them to (service calls to them to know of the church). i start talking and then they ask in the middle of what im trying to say, whats apostasy? (this past week i told half of the storey, i did look it up, i had print it up also and im going to give to this guy thats athiest), whats this piligamy? i tell them for this we dont believe, we use too way back in the days of joseph smith. And i say this because i want them to know about this awesome young man. But im very good at leaving half of the storey out. But what i should of said pimigamy was only used for this young man joseph at this time ain Father's higher greater good....but not all men were able have alot of wives. i forgot to tell him that part of 'not all men were able to have alot of wives'.....oops!. and then i get a question about 'hell'? whats does mormons believe about hell? so im sitting here thinking about my temple stuff, oh gee what do i say? i tell him there is hell and there is missionaries on the other side.....i went home and asked my husband and i of coarse i missed some stuff "the plan of salvation" , today i see that guy, i will give a pamplet of the plan of salvation. so like i mentions before i need a few buddies in case this happens again, i do ask my church friends, my husband, my family thats mormon....which is my husband side. anyways thanks reading!
  14. Today, Sunday, 4 January 2009 was a day of mixed emotions for me. I found myself to be both joyous and also a little sad. For you see, today our ward was reorganized and I was released as the First Counselor in the Bishopric. I felt joy because I know in my heart that I humbly served and strived to do those things which Heavenly Father would have expected me to do. There is no doubt that I made some mistakes along the way, but I did everything in a spirit of love, humility and gratitude. The Lord knows my heart and He truly knows of my love for the people of our ward. I also felt joy because now I will move on to do other work that the Father has planned for me to do in His vineyard. I view every calling that I have had up to this point as training and preparation for the things that are yet to come. Carefully reviewing the pages of my Patriarchal Blessing, I have been promised many great and wonderful things and added responsibilities in the Church if I remain faithful and true to the commandments of our Heavenly Father. At the same time I felt a little sad and even became a bit emotional as I bore my testimony because suddenly the reality of it all hit me and I realized that I would no longer serve my ward in this capacity. It is hard after serving in two Bishoprics to let go as it were and realize that the Lord has called someone new to the position, but I am reminded that the Lord has work for me to do in other parts of His vineyard and my being released after several years of faithful service is a necessary step in preparing me for the days ahead and the work that is to be done. As I mentioned in my testimony today, "I do not know what tomorrow may bring, but I can testify to you that I do know the One who holds all tomorrows. He alone knows the plan for my life that has already been set. I humbly pray that I will always like Nephi of old be willing to go and do those things which the Lord doth command." In Ecclesiates 3:1 we read, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" A season in my life has just ended and a new season has begun. I look forward to my next calling and serving wherever and in whatever capacity the Lord would have me to serve.
  15. I don't like to use the phrase "new years resulution". I'm curious what people have planned for 2009. Are there any goals you are striving to achieve? Make a list of things that may happen for you in 2009. They can be church, work, family,fun oriented & ect. 01. In January I will get a church calling. The bshop has not told me what it will be yet. I do know I will be able to do the calling at church and at my home. 02. In January my tithing and fast offerings will be paid in full for all of 2009. Yes, you are allowed to give those in advance. 03. In April, I will take a trip to Adelaide & Melbourne, Australia. I hope to at least do a baptism session in the Adelaide temple. If melbourne has a temple, I'd do the same there as well. 04. In July or August, I should be able to go through an endowment ceremony for the first time. It will probably be at the Winter Quarters Temple in Omaha, Nebraska. 05. In october, I will go to the Houston, Texas area for my 20th high school reunion. 06. Since my planned move to Bountiful did ot work out. I will restock my emergency food and water supplies. I used them up to lessen the weight on my move. 07. I will continue to do my hospital volunteer service work. Also try to serve others in my community and online. 08. I want to gain a better understanding of the scriptures.