July 2017 Monthly Letter

July 5th, 2017

Dear Reconciler Family,

As I think about the life of Jesus, one thing that comes to mind is that He was no respecter of persons. He was willing to break through barriers that a lot of people of his ethnic group were not willing to do, reaching out to people of all ethnic groups, including mine and yours.

He spent time with Mary and her sister, Martha, and was called an adulterer. He spent time with a rich tax
collector named Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was so anxious to see Jesus that he ran ahead of the crowd that was
following Jesus and sat in a sycamore tree to see Jesus, because he was too short to see over the crowd. “I must stay in your house,” he told Jesus. He received Jesus in his own home, to the chagrin of the Pharisees and tax collectors. Jesus and Zacchaeus shared a meal, an event that the Pharisees hated and considered wrong.

As a group of people who considered themselves God’s chosen people and his fellow spiritual leaders, the
Pharisees missed the whole point of what Jesus was trying to get across to them. The point was: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.

Jesus was a true socialite who loved everybody, socialized with everyone who was willing, and even gave his life for every man, woman and child who is willing to accept it.

Another great example of the love and sociability of Jesus was the way he treated the woman at the well. We find this account in John, chapter 4. Jesus was willing to talk with her and even asked her for a drink of water. This was significant because the Pharisees acted just the opposite. They shunned everyone who was not like them. They felt more righteous that anybody else on the planet. Jesus was willing to socialize with any human being on earth who wanted to socialize
with Him.

This woman at the well was an outcast. She was a Samaritan, a woman from a different ethnic group from the Jews. Jews considered persons of racially mixed backgrounds unworthy to socialize with. Furthermore, she was considered “unworthy” as a human being; she and her people were the brunt of dirty name-calling.

In this letter I would like to ask us all including myself: is there anyone of any ethnic group that you have a hard time loving, socializing with, and unwilling to spend time with if you had the opportunity? If the answer is yes, don’t be surprised. Our society has socialized us to do so. And I include myself.

Thank God that we have Jesus who has lead the way for us all by setting the example; He loves everybody and has proven it by dying for every MAN, WOMAN and CHILD who has ever lived. In John13:34 Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you so you must love one another.”

I love you guys and ladies and I hope I’m increasing that love. And I want to thank you for showing your love to God and His people by sharing in His Ministry of Reconciliation! You are reaching others with your love!


June 2017 Monthly Letter

June 1st, 2017

Dear Reconciler Family,

Every once in a while I run across an article or a statement that pricks my interest so strongly that I want to share it with others.

I was given such an article by a good mentor and friend of mine. The article was written by well-known pastor and author Rick Warren. It’s about the value of quiet time and what it looks like.

Here’s what Rick wrote: “Having a quiet time is like many other activities you might do in life—in at least one respect. To be successful, it helps to have a plan.” The Bible says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” (Proverb 21:5 ESV).

If you have never had a quiet time before, you may not have a good, simple plan for creating one. Simplicity is
important with any plan you develop. If you make it complicated, you’re more likely to get off track. All you really need for an effective quiet time is a Bible, notebook, and some quiet music or a hymnal or songbook. So what does a daily quiet time look like?

First, be quiet before the Lord. The Bible calls it waiting on God. You start by simply sitting down and shutting up.

Second, pray briefly. Start off with a short opening prayer. Ask God to open your mind and guide you. Ask him to cleanse your mind.

Read a portion of scripture slowly. This is where your conversation with God begins. He starts speaking to you through his Word, and then you speak back to him through prayer. Read the Bible slowly. Don’t try to read too quickly or too much. The more slowly you read scripture, the more you’re forced to think about what you’re reading.

Meditate on the Word. Spend some time chewing on what God is saying. Chew on the word like cows chew on cud. Ponder and wrestle with it in your mind. There are lots of great methods of meditating on the Word. You can find specific ideas on how to meditate on God’s Word. You can find specific ideas on how to mediate on the Bible in the book “Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods.”

Write down what you discover. When God speaks to you in his Word, care enough about what he is saying to write it down. Writing enables us to remember what God has said and record our discoveries.

Pray again, be quiet. Ask God to show you his Word. Talk to God about what he has said to you.

Please receive Rick’s article as a tool that he uses. I realize that you may have your own effective way of praying and you might be satisfied with it, knowing that prayer is communication with God. That’s the key! Blessings and peace as you pray for us at ORM and others. Thank you for your every prayer.

My prayer for you is asking God to bless and always keep you in His loving care.


May Monthly Letter

May 1st, 2017

Dear Reconciler Family,

Jesus-and-childrenWe all have heard the saying “prayer changes things.” I totally agree with it. The concept hit me even more deeply as I recently celebrated Easter and what Jesus did for us.

While pondering the thought that prayer really does change things, I asked my 7-year-old granddaughter what she thought. She said she agrees. Then I asked her what she would like to see changed in the world. She said spontaneously, “That people would stop fighting and get along with each other.” She surprised me! I thought her response would be more simple or “childlike.”

In the Bible, Jesus used the example of little children to teach adults about His messages of humility and how to worship Him. Matthew 21:12 states: “Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves. It is written he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.’“

Matthew 21:16: “Do you not hear what these children are saying? He asked them. Have you not read; out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have ordained praise?” Bible commentaries say that it was a common thing among the Jews for their children to be employed in public acclamations; therefore, they were accustomed to hearing their celebrated rabbis. It was no strange thing for them.

When we review the history of the world, major warfare between nations and regional conflicts have occurred throughout the years. But the good news is Our Heavenly Father has many children who love peace and love to sing his praises! A comprehensive demographic study states that there are 2.1 billion Christians on earth. However, the numbers do fluctuate because the Christian population is fluid. Thank God that He has many “children” praying and living lives of love, peace and hope!

And the good news that I shared with my granddaughter is that God has a plan for mankind and He loves every human being on earth because we are all his children. And He wants us to live with him forever! We can look forward to that! We will celebrate Him and each other. We will have the opportunity to eat wonderful food, enjoy banquets, and have fun forever and ever!

We will never die! We will have many friends! We will be happy! We will get along with each other. We will love everybody and they will all love us. We will be able to fly without falling out of the sky.

Notice what God has in store for us when we get to heaven with Him: “Eye has not seen nor ear heard of the great things God has in store for us His children.” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The Bible describes the wedding between Jesus and God’s holy people in Revelation 19:5-9: Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!” Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those
who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

Thank you,

Curtis_Sig_Small


April Monthly Letter

April 5th, 2017

Dear Reconciler Family,

On the weekend of March 25-26, my wife, Jannice, and I were invited by Pastor David Allen and Pastoral Team Member William Harring to visit their congregation, the Open Hearts Fellowship in South Carolina, where we conducted a seminar on the topic of the Ministry of Reconciliation. Special thanks to congregant Marie for suggesting it.

The Mother Emanuel Church and slave cabins in Charleston, South Carolina, as seen from our tour bus.

The Mother Emanuel Church and slave cabins in Charleston,
South Carolina, as seen from our tour bus.

On Saturday, they blessed us with a grand tour of their beautiful city of Charleston. It’s such a rich city that it took all day to cover just SOME of the highlights! The tour guide pointed out that Charleston was one of many American cities whose history was influenced by the slave trade that rolled in from Europe, Britain, and Africa, as well as other localities. As expected, some of the scenes and commentary by the tour guide were hard to take. But it was also quite educational.

Our tour guide was very entertaining. He also mentioned that Charleston is a city of many churches, including the Mother Emanuel Church, where Dylann Roof killed 9 church members. The surviving members of this resilient church continue to serve God.

On Sunday, we attended a worship service in our Grace Communion congregation. It was a wonderful service, highlighted by praise, worship, and vigorous fellowship! The worship leaders were very uplifting as the Holy Spirit led them, and we followed them in songs, praise and prayers.

Another highlight was watching the children moving about and enjoying the services. They didn’t seem bored at all. We believe they will no doubt have a great future in the church. As we know, scripture admonishes us to come into his gates with praise in Psalm 100:4! They were indeed praising our Savior.

In my message, I covered the passage in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That God was reconciling the world to himself, Christ not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God was making him appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

I also emphasized the fact that God has given us the Ministry and Gospel of Reconciliation. Reconciliation is not something that SOME OF US have a duty to practice. It is a Mandate from God THAT WE WILL be reconciled to Him and each other! It’s a major part of being a follower of and servant of Jesus.

I included videos on the following topics: “A Time to Reconcile,” showing the urgency that Jesus places on us to be reconciled to Him, the Father, and each other; “Reconciliation: A Move of God,” and “What Is Jesus’ Dream?” I emphasize the DVD’s because visual impact helps drive home the message powerfully!

Thank you all for your kind support in helping to keep hope alive and showing the world who Jesus is, and for honoring His message to be reconciled to God and one another. What a privilege!

Curtis_Sig_Small

 


March Monthly Letter

February 27th, 2017

Dear Reconcilers in Christ,

As you know, the Ministry of Reconciliation reaches the spectrum of human interaction. Recently, Pastor Neil Earle and I watched a DVD on some of the challenges that we see in our world. Some of them were related to conflicts between the community and the police. In this delicate subject, we see reasons behind the conflict. Often, it’s misconduct by a citizen. And sometimes, it’s overreach by a police officer. Neil interviewed me for about 30 minutes on the topic.

David M. Kennedy

David M. Kennedy

One of the keynote speakers quoted on that topic was Professor David M. Kennedy. He talked about how he even went underground and let his hair grow long so as to be disguised. In doing so, he gained a lot of information on both sides, the community and the police. This enabled him to speak to both groups with authority in meetings that he conducted.

I met him in Washington, DC at a conference on the police and community. He spoke on the topic of “Operation Cease Fire.” He was able to reach both the police and community. He was very effective because he lived his message, and sparked conversations with both the community and the police. He had seen the best and the worst as he sat on stoops and talked with youth and police offers. His book on the topic is quite revealing and helpful. The book title is “DON’T SHOOT!” The subtitle is: “One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the END OF VIOLENCE in Inner-City America.”

Here’s a statement by a good friend of mine who is an undersheriff in California, “It would be terribly remiss not to mention the role of the police in this society at one time for preserving the (unjust) status quo, but it would be equally as wrong not to say that today law enforcement has become an agent of positive change.” He was quoted several times at the meeting as one who practices what he preaches.

This reminded me that as servants of Christ we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. And just as the example and legacy of the undersheriff still speaks to me today, the example and legacy of Jesus speaks to us day by day through His word.

In both of these examples, I see Jesus. In the scripture, He tells us that He is the Light of the World and the salt of the Earth. He set the perfect example of how we are to live but knowing that we will not be able to reach perfection in this life. But thanks be to God, we will reach it someday through our eternal victory through Him!

In the book of Romans, chapter 8:28 we read: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to Him purpose.” Verse 31 asks the question: “What then can we say in response to this? If God is for us who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also along with him, graciously give us all things?”

May we all continue to love and embrace God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, seeing that they are continuing to lavish upon us all things that matter in this life and the eternal life to come.

Thank you, as always, for your kind support of the Ministry of Reconciliation, a much needed Ministry that Jesus has bequeathed upon us.

Every Blessing,

Curtis_Sig_Small


February 2017 Monthly Letter

February 1st, 2017

Dear Reconcilers,

Dr. J. Kameron Carter

Dr. J. Kameron Carter

Martin Luther King Event at Fuller Theological Seminary on January 18, 2017. Every year world famous Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California sponsors a guest speaker as part of their commemoration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.

This year a team from ORM (Pastors Bermie Dizon, Neil Earle, resident pastor Jillian Caranto, and myself), showed up to hear Dr. J. Kameron Carter of Duke Divinity School give his address on the subject of coping with what he called the Post-Racial Blues.

I asked historian and ‘Reconcile’ editor Neil Earle from Grace Communion International to give his report on what took place:

“I liked the title Post-Racial Blues right off the top,” Neil said. “Being very much aware of the civil rights struggles of the early 1960s I have been feeling that the label of a ‘post-racial society’ after the election of President Barack Obama was hardly accurate. The idea of ‘post-racial’ is an intellectual concept to express that we in America have moved beyond the old racial tensions into a supposed nirvana of racial understanding, if not racial peace.

“Dr. Carter is one of the rising class of black intellectuals who cannot accept this diagnosis. He did not disappoint with 250 students and faculty (including President Lamberton) spread out before him.

“After the extremely live-wire music the speaker launched into a skillful comparison of the African-American experience of the Blues with a text from the strange biblical book called The Lamentations of Jeremiah. ‘I’m talking of the deep down born-in-the Delta blues of Muddy Waters and B.B. King and Billie Holliday,” Dr. Carter emphasized. ‘Conceived in the dusty back roads and the cypress swamps the Blues are not so much music as a visceral commentary on the experience of exile, not unlike the Jews in Psalm 139.”

“This was a brilliant way, I thought, to encapsulate the lull in racial progress we have all been living through these past years, even with an exemplary African-American family in the White House. It gave me a chuckle to reflect that in spite of Dr. Carter’s very dramatic speaking style and his ‘Joe Cool’ baseball cap, his message was as biblical as it gets. In times of stagnation and bitterness, he emphasized, we have to embrace Lamentations 3:21, I have hope.

“’The mood switches. Hope is the prescription for the Blues. This is the hope that reached down to the depths of the slave ships,’” Dr. Carter continued, ‘the hope that animated the generation that marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.’

“Carter’s message climaxed where all good Old Testament writers liked to end up, with the Hebrew concept of Hesed, sometimes translated “loving kindness” or “steadfast love.” Hesed is a beautiful Old Testament word and Dr. Carter had the audience with him as he reminded us of the meanings contained, concepts such as justice, fair play, mercy, kindness, goodness—all attributes of flowing from God’s everlasting love toward people under oppression.

“’Hesed’ was also linked in the Biblical prophets with the call for ‘righteousness.’ The double-barreled meaning surfaces in a text Martin Luther King, Jr. was fond of quoting: ‘Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everlasting stream’ (Amos 5:24, RSV).

“In that sense, then, Dr. Carter’s message resonated with words of Dr. King and pointed us in hope to the unfinished work ahead. It was a message we all felt worth hearing again.”

Thanks for joining us on the journey, God bless you all.

Curtis May and Neil Earle


January 2017 Monthly Letter

January 5th, 2017

Dear Reconciler Family,

We are in a new year already! Time does fly, whether we’re having fun or not. What kind of year did you have 2016? Mine was up and down.

Kyle Schmid

Kyle Schmid

I saw the following on the web by Kyle Schmid, an actor, and thought I might share it with you. “This past year has been something else…it’s opened my eyes to many things and many people. It had its ups and downs and ends and outs. And I believe we’ve all been able to make something from that and grow in our own particular ways. We’ve overcome some obstacles, and set in motion opportunities that can change our own individual lives.”

My goal for the year 2017 is to strive to build on the Ministry that we’ve been given and its Mission, which is to preach and teach as many as possible about Jesus’ Ministry of Reconciliation. I am seeking to reach many others this coming year. And as my granddaughter said to my wife and daughter when her 3-year old brother said something that she couldn’t interpret, “Just let that one go.” We must be willing to let things go if they don’t coordinate with the message and ministry of reconciliation. I would like to expand the ministry as far as Jesus enables us to so that more lives may be changed and led to Jesus.

I can see why Jesus said we must be like little children, for of such is the Kingdom of God. Mathew 18:1—At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And then he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become as little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”

Jesus told them the importance of true humility. Children exemplify it perhaps like no other. I’m excited about the future of the Ministry and what God will lead us to do this year. He has taken us many places and we hope and pray that He will do the same in 2017! The world really needs it.

May God continue to bless and keep you as you continue to be lights of the world and salt of the earth, exemplifying Jesus. Thank you for your kind support in 2016 and we hope you’ll be able to help support us in 2017.

May God bless and keep you all.

Curtis_Sig_Small


December 2016 Monthly Letter

November 30th, 2016

Dear Reconcilers,

The title of this letter is: “GOD’S GREATEST GIFT GIVEN TO MAN—JESUS!”

There are many prophecies about the coming Savior Jesus Christ. My brief focus is on Luke’s account and how some of these prophecies unfolded. Luke 1:26-33 tells us that on the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy (with John the Baptist), God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

jesus-mary-joseph-mangerMary was troubled, as I’m sure any of us would be if an angel spoke to us. But he said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

As we begin to focus on the birth of Jesus our Savior at this time of the year, I seem to have a special sense of love, joy, peace and hope. I love listening to and singing the great hymns about His miraculous story! One of those hymns, “Lord I Lift Your Name on High,” states:

“He came from heaven to earth to show the way, from the earth to the cross my debt to pay, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky, Lord I lift your name on high.” He showed the way of love and RECONCILIATION one toward another. That was a big part of His message! And as we see the climate today we realize the desperate need for the Ministry of Reconciliation.

Who can resist Martin Luther’s story and John Newton’s song, “Amazing Grace?” The 95 Theses that Luther nailed to the church’s door (some say churches’ doors), highlight the indulgences of his day. Reconciliation is needed inside and outside the walls of the church today.

I marvel and rejoice each morning as I rise up and go to my prayer room, thinking about the fact that I’m talking to the Great God of the Universe, in the name of His Son who died for me and made my salvation secure! This salvation has been given through no work or labor of my own. It’s a free gift. Yet this free gift is the result of a precious price! Yet the father doesn’t ask for grief or sadness over it. He says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).

When I pray, I love to close my eyes and visualize the Father sitting on His throne with Jesus at His right hand, pleased to hear from me. And it’s exciting to know that my salvation is secure in Him.

Let’s all rejoice together over our great treasure of salvation, the love of God and great hope for all eternity, especially at this season of the year. Sing aloud the hymns to our Great God of Love! Thank you for sharing with others as you donate to His Ministry.

My goal, with the help of Jesus, is to spread this needed message of reconciliation as far as I can with the resources Jesus gives us. And I want to show as many acts of kindness toward others as I have opportunity, and to encourage others to do the same.

May the Lord bless you in this wonderful Christmas Season.

In His Service Always,

Curtis_Sig_Small


November 2016 Monthly Letter

November 30th, 2016

Dear Reconciler Family,

I was listening to some gospel music the other day by the Mississippi Mass Choir, and one stanza caught my attention. It said this: “Trials come great and small; just stay in the will of God.” It reminded me of a lot of southern gospel songs that I grew up listening to. I have a much greater appreciation of them now than I did as a young teen. I have experienced the trials great and small over the past many years. And I can attest to the fact that staying in the will of God is the only way to go for help.

The Mississippi Mass Choir

The Mississippi Mass Choir

I think it was just what I needed to hear having returned from Dallas, Texas, where I visited Pastor and Chapter Leader Tom Picket and his son, Pastor and Chapter Leader David Picket. I was there to spend some time with them because Tom’s wife, Adrienne died in April, and his son, Andrew died in September, leaving Tom a widower, and David without a mom.

How true are the lyrics of that song! Tom and David are living in the will of God and on the road to healing, though they realize that it takes time. They continue to serve the two congregations God has blessed them with. I’m sure they would appreciate your prayers. Although many of you may not know them, we are all Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

I thank you all for being such wonderful supporters of the Ministry of Reconciliation over the last 20 years! We have reached many people in America and many nations around the world with the message that Jesus has given us.

This message keeps us focused and aware that it’s not our Ministry but His! That being the case, our job is to continue to allow him to use us in His service. Thank you for your faithfulness!

Bible Scholar John Gill wrote, “It is not in the power of man to believe of himself. It is a work of Omnipotence…and is the operation of Christ by his Spirit, and the increase of it is from him.”

I’d like to close with this powerful message from the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians 2:19-22: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners, and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

May God continue to bless and keep you in His loving care.

Love, Joy and Peace,

Curtis_Sig_Small


October 2016 Monthly Letter

October 2nd, 2016

Dear Reconciler Family,

As we come to the close of the month of September 2016, I’m keenly reminded of events that took place on September 11, 2001. I’m sure many of you had some of the same thoughts. You knew where you were on that fateful day!

I was in Dallas, Texas conducting a leadership seminar on the topic of reconciliation with a room full of pastors. One pastor stepped down to the lobby of the hotel and could not believe his eyes. He looked at the big screen TV and saw the twin towers come tumbling to the ground. We all jumped up and went charging down to the lobby and stood stunned at what we saw.

Ministers’ Wives at the L.A. Connecting & Bonding Conference

Ministers’ Wives at the L.A. Connecting & Bonding Conference

Pastor and Chapter Leader Tom Picket hosted the event. I was stranded in Dallas for about 3 days before I could come home. Ironically, I am scheduled to visit Pastor Tom and his two congregations a few days from now.

One thing that was very noticeable was the “absolute friendliness of perfect strangers” to each other. But it didn’t take long for that to change and become business as usual. Today it’s “business as usual” and the politeness is gone.

I realize that I don’t have to tell you about the mudslinging, badgering, name calling and the polarization of the parties as we see another election on the horizon.

However, what a privilege it is as I reflect on you and the camaraderie that we have one with another. Your loyalty to the Ministry and you kind support that helps us to reach others with the message and ministry of reconciliation is inspiring. You ARE making a difference in a broken world.

I would like to end on this high note. My wife is Founder and President of a ministry named Connecting & Bonding, Inc. It’s an international ministry that serves minister’s wives. It has been very effective over the last 18 years of its existence. And it continues to be effective. What a privilege it is! The picture above is a portrait of some of the ladies who attended the annual ministers’ wives conference, which was held on Labor Day weekend.

Love and Blessings,

Curtis_Sig_Small


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