Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

“Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them.” (Esther 9:1)

Ancient Persia of biblical times is today known as Iran.It is now more than two millennia since the Purim story took place there and an attempted genocide against the Jewish people was miraculously aborted. Haman of old had a plan. “Death to the Jews” was his program. Celebrating Purim is our commemoration of his failure. But history has a remarkable way of repeating itself. Jew-haters still live on, renewing Haman’s efforts with even greater dedication and perseverance—not only from Iran, the biblical home of Haman, but also from ISIS and many other countries where sympathy  for Islamic radicals is on the rise.

Although celebrating Purim is not a commandment from God, it continues to be celebrated because its message needs to be remembered. Those who seek destruction of the Jewish people are evil. Their evil must be acknowledged. Their words must be taken seriously. Their goal must be prevented.

And how do we celebrate Purim today in light of modern day Haman’s seemingly rise to power, strength and wealth? Perhaps the most important words of the Megillat Esther, the Scroll of Esther are V’Nahafoch Hu – “it was reversed”. (Esther 10:1) Tragedy was turned around at the last moment, and all the plans that Haman tried to implement in order to destroy the Jews were used in the end to save the Jews.

Today, we celebrate Purim with costumes, noisemakers, and a feast that includes wine and Hamantashen, special filled cookies that resemble Haman’s three cornered hat. We give gifts of food to our friends, and money to the poor.

“…as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.” (Esther 9:22)

We also read from the book of Esther and use a special noisemaker every time Haman’s name is mentioned as a sign of disrespect and make our hearts glad with wine.

“A person should drink on Purim until the point where he can’t tell the difference between “Blessed is Mordechai” and “Cursed is Haman. (Talmud – Megillah 7b; Code of Jewish Law 695:2)

Some think that just as the Irish have a springtime drinking holiday called St. Patrick’s Day, the Sages instituted Purim as Judaism’s springtime drinking holiday. This is absurd!

To begin, we first need to define the Bible’s concept of feasting and gladness. Throughout Scripture feasting is always associated with drinking and rejoicing. Rejoicing often includes laughter. Laughter occurs when the unexpected happens. A toddler puts on her father’s big shoes—and we laugh. Someone forgets their lines in a play—and we laugh. The sudden surprise catches us off guard. And the more unexpected it is, the funnier it is.

The story of Haman’s downfall and Mordechai’s rise teaches us that even at a time when we’re powerless to think and respond logically, God continues to protect us and shield us. On Purim, we drink to life (“L’chaim”) with the knowledge that all of our troubles are temporary. We capture the joy that just as God redeemed us from previous dangers, sins and problems, He will do so again. Because God is always here, running the world for our ultimate benefit.

Many people drink to forget their problems—and for a while, it works. But if we were on a higher spiritual level, we wouldn’t need to drink. But since we’re not on such a high spiritual level, we drink in order to loosen up, laugh at our troubles and forget our anxieties. If we were truly clear on the idea that the only real power operating in the world is God, we wouldn’t have nearly as much worry and anxiety as we normally do. If we trusted in God, we would be fully relaxed. Then we could really see that God has everything under control, and in spite of us, everything will work out.

The message of Purim is that even though it’s hard to see Him, God is here in the world. Even when things look bad, even if we’re suffering, in some way it has got to be all for the best, because there’s a benevolent God behind everything, manipulating events for our good. This is what is means to “drink until you can’t tell the difference between Blessed is Mordechai and Cursed is Haman.” It is only because of our limited perceptions that we see a difference. But in God’s infinite reality, there is no difference between the two. It is all ultimately for the good. (This does not mean that we are to drink to the excess where we cannot walk or talk at all, but just to the point of not being able to use our logic)

A fun fact on this theme: In Hebrew, the numerical value (gematria) of “Cursed is Haman” is 502. The numerical value of “Blessed is Mordechai” is also 502. On Purim we drink to the point that we can no longer compute the mathematics.

A final word on drinking:

Let us use good judgement on Purim. We should set a model for our children by not drinking to excess and by supervising adolescents and teenagers to make sure that they do not drink. In this way we can all enjoy a safe, respectable Purim. There have been far too many teenagers as well as adults who require emergency attention after becoming too drunk. Drinking and driving is not only against Halacha, but obviously against common sense. Rabbis, teachers and parents should be encouraged to discuss this issue with all children and adults not only before Purim, but throughout the year.

Many of us watched in confusion, shock and anger as images of the riots and looting in Ferguson, Missouri played out across our TV screens. Some activists not only supported this anarchy and looting, but even encouraged it!

I understand that racial tension has been running high for some time now, but reducing racial prejudice and racism is a complex task that varies from community to community, so it doesn’t lend itself well to simple, “1-2-3-one size fits all solution” that can be adopted and applied without having a thorough understanding of the environment. Something like this takes knowing your community well and choosing strategies that best fit your community’s needs, history, context, energies, and resources.

And even then, none of these activities or strategies alone will lead to a sustainable change at the individual level. In order for such change to occur, we have to take actions that will allow us to consistently affect the different levels over a long period of time.

Racial ArmsThe first thing to understand is that there is only one race—the human race. Caucasians, Native Americans, Africans, Asians and Jews are not different races. Rather, they are different ethnicities of the human race. All human beings have the same physical characteristics—Eyes, ears, noses, and mouths. (With minor variations, of course) More importantly, all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:26-27) God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to lay down his life for us. (John 3:16) The “world” obviously includes all ethnic groups.

Racism, in varying forms and to various degrees, is a plague on humanity. Those who practice racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to repent. They are passing on that same hateful way of thinking onto their children and future generations to follow. And victims of racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 declares, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Racists may not deserve our forgiveness, but did we deserve God’s forgiveness any more than they?

So what is the solution to the racism problem in our communities? The bottom line is that God has already given us a solution to racism and discrimination in His Holy Word, the Bible. God does not show partiality or favoritism, (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9) and neither should we. (James 2:9)

All forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination deny the work of Christ on the cross. So we need to love others with the same impartiality as God. If we treat a person with contempt, we are mistreating a person created in God’s image; we are hurting somebody whom God loves and for whom Jesus died.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)

So instead of working so hard to fight back against racial prejudice, maybe we should be working even harder on how to love one another without prejudice and overcome evil with love.

 

I sympathize with the children who have made the long and dangerous trek across our borders from Mexico and Central America. If I were a child surrounded by gang violence and drug cartels I don’t know that I wouldn’t illegally cross a border in order to be safe. But since President Obama has opened the flood gates for these children there has been many documented cases of communicable diseases brought over our borders.

Why not treat these children BEFORE shipping them to various parts of our country knowingly exposing them to other children in our schools as well as other  undocumented children?   I would think that Michelle Obama would be all over this, considering her stance on improving children’s health.

The link below describes what I’ve been wondering since news of the outbreak of entrovirus in many schools…

http://citizenwells.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/obama-responsible-for-spread-of-enterovirus-and-other-diseases-by-illegal-alien-children-from-central-america-obama-ignored-warnings-from-prominent-health-officials-obama-more-concerned-about-electi/

During an interview Wednesday night with “Touched by an Angel” star Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly proclaimed that, “a lot of the Bible is allegorical,” and that “the New Testament Gospels contradict themselves.”

Burnett and Roma are the executive producers of “The Bible” TV miniseries which begins this Sunday night on the History Channel. Downey, who portrays Jesus’ mother Mary in the series, opened the interview by declaring her solid faith in Holy Scripture. “Bringing the Bible to the screen came with a huge responsibility and one we took very seriously,” Downey said. They also wanted to make the series something that young people could get into. “You know, we have teenagers at home and it’s hard to get them to read anything.” Downey said. “And one of the goals here was to get this generation interested and excited about Scripture, and I think we’ve been able to achieve that.”

O’Reilly then showed his worldly skepticism (and his ignorance of Scripture) when he asked Downey: “When you say you’re a believer, do you believe in the Bible literally? I mean you believe that Adam and Eve were out there, and the snake and the apple and all of that business?”

“I do indeed. I believe the truth of the Bible,” she affirmed. “That’s what I was taught, and it’s been a wonderful, wonderful faith for me my whole life.”

I would have answered O’Riley a bit different. First, I would have pointed out that although many Christians have been “taught” these stories from the Bible, I have studied the Scriptures myself and found that Adam and Eve were not common names like we use today, as much as they were descriptions of what these “new created beings” were. Adam is the Hebrew word for “man” and Eve is translated “mother of the living”. Also, Scripture does not describe that what the couple ate was an apple, but only as some type of produce from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

All the confusion about Adam and Eve and the “serpent” in Genesis 3 has arisen from people taking literally what is expressed figuratively and taking figuratively what is literal. For example, the Hebrew word rendered “serpent” in Genesis 3:1 is Nachash, and means, a shining one. The Nachash, or shining one, who beguiled Eve, (2Corinthians 11:3) is also spoken of as “an angel of light” in verse 14. It seems to me then, that it was not a snake at all, but a glorious shining being, apparently an angel, to whom Eve paid such great deference, acknowledging him as one who seemed to possess superior knowledge, and who was evidently a superior being.

O’Reilly continued the questioning making sure that he put a plug in for his upcoming book saying: “Ms. Downey, I’m writing a book, ‘Killing Jesus,’ about why Jesus of Nazareth was executed. It’s a history book. But obviously, the Gospels that discuss this were involved with that. But there are some contradictions among Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And then it’s my job and Martin Dugard, my co-author, to cut through the contradictions and to try to give a narrative of what actually happened to Jesus, because he was executed.”

O’Reilly never elaborated on the contradictions he alleges exist in the New Testament, but he may be referring to the gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion and that both the robbers reviled Him in Matt. 27:44 and Mark 15:32; while in Luke 23:39 only one of them mocked Him, while the other rebuked him for doing so. (v. 40)

Mislead by tradition and the ignorance of Scripture on the part of medieval painters, it is the general belief that only two were crucified with the Lord. But Scripture does not say so. It states that there were two “thieves” (Matt. 27:38; Mark 15:27) but there were also two “malefactors”. (Luke 23:32)

If there were only two, this is a real discrepancy; But by studying these verses we find that the first two (malefactors) who were “led with Him” were placed one on either side. Then when the other two (robbers) were brought later, they were also similarly placed; so that there were two (one of each) on either side, with the Lord in the middle of them. The malefactors were therefore the nearer, and being on the inside they could speak to each other better, and the one with the Lord, as recorded in Luke 23:39-43.

But John further states in John 19:32, 33: “then came the soldiers and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs.” Had there been only two, (one on either side of Jesus) the soldiers would not have broken the legs of one, walked around Jesus, and then broken the legs of the other and then turned back again to Jesus. But if there were FOUR men (two on each side of the Lord) then they would have come to Him after they had broken the legs of the first two. From this evidence, therefore, it is clear that there were four “others” crucified with the Lord; and thus, there are no “discrepancies”.

After I had this same discussion with a friend he asked, “What does it matter as long as we know that Jesus died for our sins?” It matters because there are intelligent people like Bill O’Riley who will be able to weaken the faith of some by bringing up these so-called contradictions.

Sadly, most of what Christians believe does not come from studying Scripture, but from TV specials, movies and greeting cards. And while I encourage you to watch this series I would also encourage you to discover God’s truth by studying Scripture yourselves.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:3-5)

Situated between Omaha’s Old Market and the downtown business district on the corner of 13th and Farnam Streets, Café 110 has long been a favorite venue of many of Omaha’s talented musicians.

Offering a variety of delicious foods and specialized drinks, Café 110 is the entrepreneurial enterprise of Allan Zeeck, former owner of the Benson Grind coffee shop. Allan has always been a big supporter of local talent and has given Omaha’s most talented musicians the opportunity to get on stage and burn it up with their own original music.

ASCAP and BMI seem to think Café 110 is some huge concert hall promoting national touring acts and is trying to charge them accordingly without ever even seeing the venue! Café 110 cannot afford these exorbitant fees. So until ASCAP and BMI understand that Café 110 is a 30-seat coffee shop for local original acts only, Café 110 will not be able to have live music or even be open during the evenings.

If you are or know someone that can help with dealing with these ridiculous performing rights organizations; like a lawyer, or member of one of these organizations, PLEASE get in touch with Café 110 by either calling the shop at: 402- 932-4040 or by email at: allan.zeeck@cafe110omaha.com

You can also leave me a message and I will be sure to pass the information on to Allan.
You can follow Café 110 on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/cafe110omaha or like them on Face Book at: https://www.facebook.com/Cafe110

Mike Huckabee posted on his Face Book page to join him on “A Day to Pray”, where we will ask God to grant our leaders, from the local school houses to the White House, the wisdom they need for the road ahead.

I thought this would be a good time to share a modern version of Daniel’s prayer found in the book of Daniel chapter nine, when he was in Babylon:

O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. We have refused to listen to your prophets, who spoke on your authority to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land. Lord, you always seek to do what is right for us; but as you see, our faces are covered with shame. This is true of all of us; including your Church, the world leaders, the people of Israel, and those scattered near and far, wherever you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you. Oh LORD, we and our kings, our leaders, and ancestors are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. But you Lord, are merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against you. We have not obeyed you God, nor have we followed the instructions you gave us through your servants the prophets.  All of us have disobeyed your instruction and turned away, refusing to listen to your voice. So now the solemn curses and judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured down on us because of our sin. You have kept your word and done to us and our rulers exactly as you warned. Never has there been such a disastrous time as is happening now. Every curse written against us in the Law of Moses has come true. Yet we have refused to seek mercy from you by turning from our sins and recognizing your truth. Therefore, we have brought upon ourselves the results of our sin. Oh LORD our God, you were right to do all of these things, because we did not obey you. O Lord our God, you brought lasting honor to your name by rescuing your people from Egypt in a great display of power. But we have forgotten you and sinned and are full of wickedness. In view of all your faithful mercies, Lord, please turn your furious anger away from us and help us to open our eyes and see our despair. Help us to repent and return to you. All the unbelieving nations mock your people because of our sins and the sins of our ancestors. Oh Lord our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own namesake Lord, smile again on your desolate people. Oh my God, lean down and listen to my prayer! I make this plea, not because we deserve your help, but because of your mercy. Oh Lord, hear and forgive. Oh Lord, listen and act! For your own namesake do not delay! Oh my God, have mercy on us and send true spiritual revival and renewal! Amen!

CD Release Concert!

Only four more days until the release of our latest CD, Living In Babylon!

So if you’re in the Omaha area Saturday, April 28th stop in at Cafe 110 to celebrate the release of our latest CD, ‘Living In Babylon’ with special guest, Kyle Knapp. Admission is a $2.00 donation to benefit the Open Door Mission. We also ask that you bring non-perishable items to be donated to the Sienna/Francis House.

Owner Allan Zeeck recently closed his Benson Grind restaurant but you can be sure that he will continue the same family friendly atmosphere and great food that you’ve come to love. So come out and enjoy some great music and delicious food, while helping out some very important ministries to our community.  Cafe 110 is located at 1299 Farnam St. Suite 110 Omaha, NE.

If you’re unable to attend the concert you can download the MP3 version at:

https://www.reverbnation.com/store/index/artist_558766

 

 

 

 

Join us at The Coffee Bistro Thursday, Dec. 29th, 2011

 

We hope to see you at The Coffee Bistro in Fremont, Ne. Thursday, Dec. 29th. We’ll be playing songs from the upcoming CD project, “Living In Babylon” as well as some old favorites. Be sure to sample some of the Coffee Bistro’s great beverages and sandwiches while you’re there. Music begins at 7:30 PM

The following is an event posted on MACCH’s Listserve.

What is it like to be a homeless person? Why are people homeless?

Omaha Public Library (OPL), in collaboration with University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Public Health Interprofessional Service Learning Academy (IP-SLA) and the Siena/Francis House (SFH), is helping put a face to homelessness in Omaha.

Throughout February, the Michael Phipps Gallery at the W. Dale Clark Main Library, 215 S. 15th St., will feature “Finding a Voice,” an art exhibit by Chris Leet and Jeremiah Neal. There will be an opening reception and panel discussion on homelessness on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Chris Leet was born in Omaha in 1973. He has been an artist most of his life, creating album covers and concert posters. Leet was completing his drug recovery program and living at the shelter when he re-discovered himself through the “Finding a Voice” project, an inter professional collaboration that links health care, social work and communication students with people who are homeless and are receiving services at SFH. Leet is now a dean’s list student at Metropolitan Community College.

Jeremiah Neal was a homeless guest at SFH. While battling with addiction and other personal struggles, Neal was encouraged by SFH staff to embrace his artistic talent and has created art that has attracted positive attention in our community.

Both artists are sober, living independently in Omaha, and working to empower other homeless people to find their voice and start new journeys.

The panel discussion on homelessness and transformation will include eight panelists with unique perspectives on the project and its implications:
Nancy Farris, College of Nursing UNMC; Terry Johnson, case manager at SFH; Andrea Laccheri, University of Nebraska at Omaha doctoral student; Chris Leet, artist; Ruth Margalit, IP-SLA director; Jerry Neal, artist; Rita Paskowitz, professional storyteller; and Mike Saklar, executive director of SFH. Gary Wasdin, Omaha Public Library executive director, will moderate the panel discussion.

For information visit: omahalibrary.org
or Contact:
Emily Getzschman @ 402.444.4896, egetzschman@omahalibrary.org
Or Linda Trout, 402.444.4838, ltrout@omahalibrary.org

Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless (MACCH) recently announced sponsorship of Omaha’s National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. The goal of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, co-sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, is to strengthen the national endeavor to end hunger and homelessness nationwide. Locally, the week will raise awareness of homelessness and promote the community’s commitment to ending homelessness. MACCH will sponsor the effort in the Omaha metro area.

“Last month, our community collected data from 471 people experiencing homelessness in our metro area and we found that 176 of those individuals are at risk of dying as a result of their homelessness. Solutions such as permanent housing with case management exist. It’s time the rest of our community know about those solutions in order to end this crisis,” states Erin Porterfield, executive director of MACCH. Opportunities to participate in promoting the community’s commitment to ending homelessness include various events scheduled for the week of Nov. 14.

Schedule of Events:

November 17, 2010 South High Magnet’s Character in Action group is challenging groups throughout Omaha to spend, “One Night Without a Home” at Collin Stadium located at 2202 S. M St. Starting at 7pm, there will be a panel of speakers that will educate the group on hunger and homelessness in the Omaha metro area. South High Magnet is also organizing a clothing drive to benefit. All donations may be dropped off at Collin Stadium the night of the event. Contact: Matthew Curtis at: matthew.curtis@ops.org or (402) 557-3657.

November 18, 2010 The Metro Area Homeless Youth Forum will be presented by the MACCH Youth Task Force from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. at the UNO Alumni Center. This forum will unveil results of the research from the MACCH Youth Task Force regarding the first count of homeless and unstably-housed youth in the metro area. Contact Heather Rizzino at: heathersview@msn.com or (402) 990-0579.

Mission for All Nations will be hosting a Mobile Food Pantry in Papillion from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., with a short volunteer education beforehand. Contact  Chelsea Hardymon at: chelseah@missionfan.com or (402) 733-1904.

“Omaha Rocks!  A Benefit for the Homeless” is a concert featuring The Bishops, the Todd Campbell Project, The Jacuzzi Brother, and more will be held at 7 p.m. at the Slowdown. The $10 charged at the door will provide household items for homeless individual people moving into their own homes. The event will also showcase the Siena Francis House Singers and artwork from Siena Francis clients, Chris Leet and Jerry Neal. Contact: Sarah Rounds, srounds@heartlandfamilyservice.org or (402) 553-3000.

November 19, 2010 Together, Inc. will be hosting a “Holiday Resource Lunch & Learn” at their headquarters, 1616 Cass Street. At the 11:30 a.m. lunch for Human Resource professionals, a panel of human service agencies will share the holiday programs that are available through them to the community. Contact Erin Stoll at: estoll@togetheromaha.org or (402) 345-8047, x205.

November 20, 2010 The Open Door Mission will be delivering 5,000 “Turkey n’ Fixin’s” to low income families in the Omaha community. There will be approximately 800 volunteers delivering the goods to families and homes. Contact Charity Watts at: cwatts@opendoormission.org or (402) 422-1111.