Looking for a place to ring in the New Year in Buffalo?

newyearssosmThis New Year’s Eve, why not ring in the new year at church? Sword of the Spirit Ministries of Buffalo is having a New Year’s Eve Candlelight Service on Tuesday, December 31st, starting at 10pm, and you’re invited. Sword of the Spirit is known for lively praise and worship music, as well as prophetic voices sharing “the word of the Lord” for 2014. Be encouraged; come to this celebratory event. Sword of the Spirit is located at 300 Kensington Avenue in Buffalo, New York. You can visit www.sosmchurch.com to find out more about the church, or “like” them on Facebook.

A Prayer for Boston

peterholmestorontoThursday, Apr 18, 2013

This morning Bostonians gathered for an inter-faith service following the horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday. I have a sister who raised her family just outside of Boston and a nephew who still calls Boston home.

There are a number of people in the church who have run in the Boston Marathon whose friends and family members have waited for them at that same finish line. So many of our people have connections to this great city it felt like an attack on us. It is hard to find words that make sense of what happened on Monday, because it was complete nonsense. Unfortunately, many of us were not be able to watch the service, but we can take a moment to pray with Bostonians and for them. Here is the prayer I will be praying throughout the day.

A PRAYER FOR BOSTON

Gracious God, you are the Author of Life and of all that is good in this world and the universe beyond.  Help us then not to lose sight of wonder and beauty when the voices of fear and destruction seek to drown out all that is good.  We turn to you, O God, as the source of all love, to pray for a sister city which has been attacked by hate.  We pray that love and truth will win the day and your light will lead Boston through the shadows of grief and sorrow, anger and fear, to a renewed hope and determination to run the race and finish the course of justice, righteousness and mercy in this world and in this life.    

We pray for all victims of Monday’s attack and for the families who lost loved ones and for those clinging to hope beside victims now in critical care.  We pray for those who lost a limb to hatred’s deed.  May their determination and courage in recovery be a call to one and all to step out and silence the voices of fear and hatred. 

We pray in the name of the Great Physician for medical teams entrusted with the care of the wounded.  We pray in the name of the One who is Truth for investigators and legal authorities seeking to bring truth and justice to light.  We pray even for whoever is behind the terror that your Spirit would cast out the evil from their hearts and enable them to humbly take responsibility and let justice reign.  We pray for a city and for a world which can so easily turn to fear and vindictiveness in such times and ask that instead a different spirit might emerge even from our own hearts.  And so with St. Francis of old we pray;  

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

This Sunday, The Toronto Yonge St. 10K will be passing the church shortly after the starter gives the signal north of Eglinton Ave. at 9 a.m. The street will be reopened in plenty of time for people to get out to church, but I am going to arrive early enough to cheer the runners on. We will make sure there is a word of encouragement on the church sign for all of the runners and the church bells will be ringing so everyone gets the message loud and clear. Why not plan on arriving early enough to join me even if it means having to take a detour to get here?

If you wonder why I would do such a thing, read this piece in the Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/15/if-you-are-losing-faith-in-human-nature-go-out-and-watch-a-marathon/

Grace and Peace,

Peter

p.s. Our prayers go out today as well to the victims of the horrible incident in Texas.

Daniel Stone, a life well lived

Daniel Stone
Daniel Stone

This past week Western New York lost a great young Christian man, Daniel Stone. Known and loved by many people, including many from Crossroads Church in Elma and The Chapel in Getzville, Daniel loved the Lord, and was the kind of guy willing to help anyone in need.

He passed away unexpectedly, and his “funeral” was a “celebration of life” service in Alden–standing room only–proving he made a strong impact on hundreds of people he encountered, Christian or otherwise. Daniel wrote Christian praise and worship music, sang and played guitar, and was part of the Kingdom Bound talent search at Darien Lake a couple years back. He was also known for appearing at open mic nights around town, sharing his love of music and the Lord with audiences.

You know, you never know when you or someone you love will pass away. It could be tomorrow or years from now, and it’s important to tell those around you whom you love and appreciate that you love and appreciate them. In the end, life is not about the money you have or the possessions you possess, but about the people you loved and those who loved you. People matter.

Here you will see a video showing Daniel’s blessed life, put together by one of his loving sisters.

He could be your son or brother…in the Kingdom of God we’re all connected, so the Stone family’s loss is all of our loss. Daniel gets to be in a better place, now, where the spirit is eternal and united with God. Have you given your life to Christ yet? If not, do it today because you may not have a chance to do it later on down the line, and we never know when it’s our turn to leave this earth…

Thank God for Noah

daviddunnIt’s amazing how many events have happened throughout history that we can attribute to why we are here. We think of and honor the sacrifices that our service women and men have made to ensure our freedom and lifestyle. But there’s also a time in history that we just think of as a “story” at times. It’s about Noah and the ark. God was really upset – upset to the point He wanted to wipe out ALL of mankind. But there was one man who made God smile. God said, “This guy brings me pleasure. He makes me smile. I’ll start over with his family.” Because Noah brought pleasure to God, you and I are alive today. Noah loved God more than anything else in the world, even when no one else did! This is what God wants most from us: a relationship! It’s the most astounding truth in the universe: our Creator wants to fellowship with us. God made us to love us, and He longs for us to love Him back. He says, “I don’t want your sacrifices – I want your love; I don’t want your offerings – I want you to know me.” Nothing else comes close in importance. Jesus called it the greatest commandment. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”