Monthly Archives: November 2013

Give thanks to God!

This is Elivette Mendez Angulo offering for Thanksgiving to her church:

 DATE:            28 November 2013

TO:                 Manantial de Gracia

THEME:         INTENTIONALITY

TITLE:            Giving Thanks to GOD                                                                                 

Hebrew Scripture:  Psalm 105:1-9 MSG

Hallelujah! Thank God ! Pray to him by name! Tell everyone you meet what he has done! Sing him songs, belt out hymns, translate his wonders into music! Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs, you who seek God. Live a happy life! Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence. Remember the world of wonders he has made, his miracles, and the verdicts he’s rendered— O seed of Abraham, his servant, O child of Jacob, his chosen. He’s God, our God, in charge of the whole earth. And he remembers, remembers his Covenant— for a thousand generations he’s been as good as his word. It’s the Covenant he made with Abraham, the same oath he swore to Isaac

Gospel Reading: Philippians 4:5-7 NIV

 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Giving Thanks to GOD

Iglesia mia…!  Diariamente le doy gracias a el Señor por ustedes, individual y como congregación.  Yo se que DIOS esta con ustedes al igual que conmigo. Cuando yo regrese a los Estados Unidos tengo tanto que contarles, pero hoy les quiero contar una historia. Pastora Mami asked me weeks ago to think about the notion of giving thanks in prayer.  And, those of you that know me know that I believe in prayer!  As I thought about it, my mind became cluttered with all the crazy things that I have prayed for in my life. I mean, I have been a praying person since before I understood that God really hears all.  As a child I prayed for the puppies in the yard, the pigs in their pens, the people without shoes en El Viejo San Juan.  I prayed that Abuelo Victor would give me a bigger mango than he gave to Luis, that my father would act right, and that Abuela Yeco would take us to the beach.  When Abuela died I prayed that my father would stay… I am sure that you also have a dossier full of prayers.

God’s covenant with Abraham

As I grappled with BOTH the consequential and inconsequential prayers of my life I realize that God’s covenant with Abraham includes me. And every prayer that I pray is being fulfilled, because my covenant is not with an imaginary god, but rather with The GOD of covenant.  God made a pact. And in that covenant we, you and me, we are included.  The Psalmist in Psalm 105:6 talks about Abraham, he speaks of the Abraham from the children’s song many of us remember from Sunday School ([you can stand and sing):

 SONG: Father Abraham – www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU9uPNgpoVQ

 Father Abraham had many sons

Many sons had Father Abraham

I am one of them and so are you

So let’s all praise the Lord.

CHORUS- Right arm!

CHORUS- Right arm, left arm!

CHORUS- Right arm, left arm, right foot!

CHORUS- Right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot!

CHORUS- Right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot, chin up!

CHORUS- Right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot, chin up, turn around!

CHORUS- Right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot, chin up, turn around, sit down!

 

Let us pray…

I know todays sermon started with a song, I want you to prepare yourself, because its going to continue in song and end in praise! This weeks sermon is titled: Giving Thanks to GOD.

 God’s covenant includes you

So thank GOD for your prayers answered and unanswered, because the God that we believe in has already included us in all that his promise entails. Sometimes when we pray we forget to thank God for what we have prayed. For those of you who are like me and need a reminder…, There is a gospel song called “God has not forgot” by Tonex.  In this song Tonex reminds us that sometimes when we pray, even those inconsequential prayers God remembers and we need to thank Him. Not for granting what we’ve asked for but for listening to us.  See, those prayers that we think have not been answered, God heard us when we spoke them. Those prayers in our hearts that we’ve put out there into the atmosphere that we have prayed in our hearts but never mentioned out loud… GOD heard those as well. 

SONG: God has not forgot by Tonex – www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLYJDf_N8lY

God has not forgot, God has not forgot, God has not forgot, God has not forgot

If He said that He would do it, it will come to pass

God has not forgot, God has not forgot

 

Can you help me saying

CHORUS – Just keep on believing, God has not forgot 2x

‘Cause if He said that He would do it, it will come to pass

Don’t get discouraged, God has not forgot 2x

‘Cause if He said that He would do it, I know it will come to pass

God has not forgot, God has not forgot

Dont get discouraged, God has not forgot 2x

If He said that He would do it, it will come to pass

God has not forgot, God has not forgot

 

No, REALLY

Today I thank God because the prayers of my heart that I did not think were heard, that I thought were left unanswered God answered.  When I graduated high school I wanted to travel and see the world but I wanted God to open a place for me and have it ready! I forgot those prayers, but GOD remembered. A few weeks ago my church here in Indonesia celebrated their Anniversary.  During their anniversary they read their church history out-loud…the good and the bad.  And I was asked to give a prayer of thanksgiving, and I can honestly say I cried the entire time!   

I realized that every part of that churches history God was using to remind me that S/He and I have a covenant. And that covenant is a promise that GOD continues to fulfill. See, I asked God to open a place for me back in the fall of 1995, and that is when the church opened.  The board of leaders that thought to open an English language, interdenominational church in Yogyakarta, Indonesia when they themselves were students trying to learn English…they had no idea that God was making ready a place for an AfroRican chica from a small Spanish speaking church in New Britain, Connecticut.  And when the government did not allow them to open an interdenominational church…God opened the church using a pastor who knew GOD had given them a vision.

 God answers our prayers.  We only need to say THANK YOU LORD!

SONG: I Am Not Forgotten by Israel and New Breed – www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIpwgmw6bz8

 Prayer

Lord, We thank you. We thank you for giving us breath. We thank you for giving us rest. We thank you for giving us struggle. Creator, we thank you for our prayers. Those we have seen answered, those we are still praying.  But God, we thank you much more so for those prayers you have not answered…you know best.  Lord, we want what we want, but you know our real needs.  Thank you.

 

We are YOUR people who YOU freed, remember us.  Amen.

Sing Justice – Canta Justicia!

By Maritza Angulo de Gonzalez

“Come, let’s sing joyfully to the Lord. Let’s shout happily to the rock of our salvation. Let’s come into his presence with a song of thanksgiving. Let’s shout happily to him with psalms.” Psalm 95:1-2 GW

This psalm comes to mind now and again.  Are we singing to our God only in church on Sunday morning? Or, are we singing joyfully with songs of thanksgiving while doing work of justice to “those or them”, yes, the homeless, the incarcerated, the hurt, the abandoned, the rejected, the different, the one that others do not want near!  Then go and sing, and worship, then and only then go into his or her presence because salvation is collective, it is not an individual, isolated, inclusive way. Just saying!

“¡Vamos, cantemos con alegría! ¡Alabemos a nuestro Dios! ¡Él nos salva y nos protege! ¡Vayamos a darle gracias! ¡Cantémosle himnos de alabanza!’ Salmos 95:1-2 TLA

Este salmo viene a la mente una y otra vez. ¿Estamos cantando a nuestro Dios solamente en la iglesia el domingo por la mañana? O, ¿estamos cantando con alegría con cantos de acción de gracias mientras se hacemos trabajo de justicia a “aquellos(as) o esos(as)”, sí, los (as) deambulantes, los(as) encarcelados(as), los(as) heridos(as), los(as) abandonados(as), los(as) rechazados(as), lo(a) diferente, los(as) que otros(as) no quieren cerca ! Entonces vaya a cantar, y a adorar, entonces y sólo entonces entremos en su presencia, porque la salvación es colectiva, no es  una manera individual, aislada, o inclusiva. Simplemente digo!

Always blessed – Siempre bendecido(a)

“Be always in blossom. Always blessed.  Always bearing fresh fruit.  Always delight and reflect in God’s teachings!”

Psalm 1 – Salmo 1

“Siempre creciendo. Siempre bendecido(a). Siempre llevando fruto fresco. Siempre deleitate y reflexiona en las enseñanzas de Dios!”

Encuentro in New England 11/16/13

Encuentro in New England 11/16/13

Encuentro of New England Leaders! Full of dialogue. Reach back for the journey, Reach for identity of the stranger (the one that is not sitting at the table), Reach forward or Reach out until we are no longer strangers! Let the dust of the butterfly touch you! Be humble, but do not confuse it with humiliation. Remember to be ‘rooted in your reality but always transcending”

Encuentro de Líderes de Nueva Inglaterra! Lleno de diálogo. Alcanza el pasado para el viaje hacia el futuro, Alcanza la identidad del extranjero (el(la) que no está sentado(a) en la mesa), Alcanza hacia adelante hasta que ya no seamos extraños(as)! Deja que el polvo de la mariposa te toque! Sé humilde, pero no confundas esto con humillación. Recuerda que debemos tener “raices en nuestra realidad, pero siempre transcendiendo”

Leadership 2014 – 2016: Maritza A. de Gonzalez. President; Robert Ochoa, President Elect; Lucy Berrios, Secretary; Julio Filomeno, Treasurer

Freedom to Go! But first Hati, Hati (Indonesian for Be careful)

Freedom to Go!  But first Hati, Hati (Indonesian for Be careful)

“For now on count on a blessing” but first Be Intentional, Be Athentic, Be Accountable, Be Transparent! Be Free to Go! God is moving, things are changing, are you coming?

Damos Gracias a Dios… Cantandole – We give thanks to God… Singing!

Por Marianny Lantigua Cruz

El salmo 147: 7 dice “Cantad a Jehová con alabanza, cantad con arpa al Señor”, el mismo es una invitación muy clara y concisa que nos invita a estar en comunión con nuestro creador y alabarle.  ¿Pero, cuál es el significado de la alabanza? ¿Cuál es su propósito? ¿Será la misma solo una forma de acción?  El diccionario define la palabra alabar, “como el acto de decir cosas favorables de una persona o cosa.”  La biblia nos invita a alabar a Dios por lo menos 330 veces, el Salmo 150: 6 dice; “todo lo que respire alabe a Jehová.”

Al reflexionar en este tema algo es indudable, que alabar a Dios es de suma importancia, porque alabar a Dios es más que palabras aprendidas en nuestros labios.  Alabar a Dios es respetar y valorar el aliento de vida al despertar, es salir a la faena y despedirnos de nuestros seres amados con palabras de aliento que le dejen saber que Dios es bueno y que estará con ellos(as) en sus luchas diarias.  Alabar a Dios es respetar los cambios de la vida, las estaciones del año, el crecimiento humano y espiritual, recibiendo cada una de estas cosas con actitud positiva y con la suficiente fe, reconociendo que los mismos son parte del propósito que el creador tiene en nuestras vidas.  Alabar a Dios es respetar la ingenuidad de los niños(as), escuchando sus inquietudes y contestando con palabras que resalten a Dios en sus vidas, es extender la mano al prójimo y decirle que su vida vale la pena, porque Dios es su creador.  Entonces, cuando alabamos a Dios nos edificamos a nosotros(as) mismos(as) y cumplimos con el propósito del mismo llamado. Alabar a Dios, es armonía con El Creador, con el prójimo y la naturaleza, es dar gracias y cantar alabanzas no solo con nuestros labios pero con nuestra manera de vivir!

 

 We give thanks to God…by singing to Him

By Marianny Lantigua Cruz

 Psalm 147:7 says “sing out your thanks to Him; sing praises to our God…” Psalm 147:7 (LB).  It is a very clear and concise invitation asking us to be in communion with our Creator and praise Him. But what is the meaning of worship? What is its purpose? Is it just a form of action? The dictionary defines the word praise “as the act of saying positive things about a person or thing. ” The Bible invites us to praise God at least 330 times; Psalm 150 : 6 says, “everything that has breath praise Lord.”

 As we reflect on this topic something its undoubtedly, praising God is of utmost importance, because praising God is more than words learned in our lips. Praising God its about respecting and appreciating the breath of life upon waking up, its about going to work and saying goodbye to our loved ones with words of encouragement and letting him/her know that God is good and will be with them in their daily struggles. Praising God is to respect life changes, seasons, human and spiritual growth, receiving each one of these things with a positive attitude and with enough faith, recognizing that they are part of the creator’s purpose for our lives. Praising God is to respect the innocence of children, listening to their concerns and responding with words that highlight God in their lives, is to reach out to others and tell them that their life is worth it, because God is their creator.  Then, when we praise God we edify ourselves and fulfill the purpose of the call. Praising God is harmony with the Creator, with others and with nature; is to give thanks and sing praises not only with our lips but with our way of living!

Serve and Worship – Sirve y Adora

by Maritza Angulo de González

It is so sad that many of us have been wounded, hurt, and bullied in church.  At times this leads to walking out of God instead o embracing his love and his care.  I am so proud of being a member of the United Church of Christ!  I am accepted, affirmed and respected as I am, I was wounded and my injuries were healed, I was bullied but now I am embrace!  I am allow to be me, to be authentic, to serve without discrimination!  As always, me and my family, we will serve and worship the God of our understanding; can you do the same?

 

Es muy triste que muchos(as) de nosotros(as) hemos sido heridos(as) y acosado(as), intimidados(as) en la iglesia. A veces esto lleva a muchos y muchas a alejarnos de Dios en lugar de abrazarnos en su amor y su cuidado. Estoy muy orgullosa de ser miembra de la (UCC) Iglesia Unida de Cristo! Soy aceptada, afirmada y respetada como soy, fui herida y mis heridas fueron sanadas! Me es permitido ser yo, ser auténtica y servir sin discriminación! Como siempre, mi familia y yo, vamos a servir y adorar al Dios de nuestro entendimiento, puedes tu hacer lo mismo?

 

Joshua 24:15 MSG

Mercy!

IT IS ABOUT INTENTIONALITY!!!

By Maritza Angulo de González

 If you are a sinner, Jesus came to set us free.  Remember, the law was good in its original intention. Jesus came to show us mercy,  and that is the good news that we need to spread!  He is and gives MERCY!  Just remember Paul, he cursed, persecuted, acted arrogantly, yet God’s love and kindness gave him a higher call. May you sing and worship the one who show you mercy.

We say THANKS… with our Generosity – Decimos GRACIAS.. con nuestra generosidad

“You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous on every occasion, which is producing through us thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11

By Lucy Berrios-Taveras

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of generosity is: the quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish. But how do you measure your generosity? Do you measure your generosity by the amount of accolades you receive or do your actions become the catalyst for others to thank God for his mercy?

I am a firm believer that generosity begins with the spirit of God. Becoming attune to the Spirit of God brings deep understanding and consciousness of what is truly needed; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The individualistic culture many of us are accustomed to often prevents us from being generous with our compassion. We hold back for fear of being hurt or disappointed but God reminds us that our generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. We do not need to worry about what happens when we are generous with the gifts that God has given to us.

Thanksgiving season is upon us. Let us all throw unkindness, misunderstanding, and selfishness out the window! Let us remind ourselves that we can make a difference in the lives of others through our generosity, conscious that our actions are for the glory of the one who is unbelievably generous to us. May our actions cause others to come to the realization that our generous God is truly still speaking.

 

“Ustedes serán enriquecidos en todo sentido para que en toda ocasión puedan ser generosos [y generosas], y para que por medio de nosotros [y nosotras] la generosidad de ustedes resulte en acciones de gracias a Dios.” 2 Corintios 9:11

Por Lucy Berrios-Taveras

Según el diccionario Merriam-Webster, la definición de la generosidad es: la cualidad de ser amable, comprensivo, y no egoísta. Pero usted, ¿cómo mide su generosidad? ¿Será que usted mide sus actos de generosidad por la cantidad de elogios que recibe, o será que sus acciones se convierten en el catalizador para que otros [y otras] le den gracias a Dios por su inmensa misericordia?

Yo firmemente creo que la generosidad comienza con el espíritu de Dios. El estar en sintonía con el Espíritu de Dios trae comprensión profunda y a conciencia lo que verdaderamente es necesario; tanto físicamente, emocionalmente, como espiritualmente. Muchos de nosotros [y nosotras] estamos acostumbrados(as) a la  cultura individualista, y a menudo este modo de vida nos impide ser generosos(as) con nuestra compasión hacia otros(as). Tenemos miedo a ser heridos(as) o decepcionados(as), pero Dios nos recuerda que nuestra generosidad se convierte en agradecimiento a Dios. Por tanto, nosotros(as) no tenemos que preocuparnos de lo que va a suceder cuando somos generosos(as) con los dones que Dios nos ha dado.

La temporada de Acción de Gracias está cerca. ¡Vamos todos [y todas] a tirar por la ventana el no ser amable, la incomprensión y el egoísmo! Recordemos que todos [y todas] podemos hacer una diferencia en las vidas de otros [y otras] a través de nuestra generosidad, conscientes de que nuestras acciones son para la gloria de aquel que es increíblemente generoso con nosotros [y nosotras]. Que nuestras acciones causen que otros [y otras] lleguen a la conclusión de que nuestro generoso Dios todavía está hablando.

PRESENTE!

PRESENTE!

By Maritza Angulo de González

 A while ago, as part of a sermon, I listened to a litany of names of individuals that were instrumental in developing a program; must of them dead.  It was like reading a roster for school.  He will say one name and then others will say “Presente”.  During my ordination service, the preacher read Matthew 1; a long litany of names of people who were dead!  But then she began to tell the story, the story of 5 women who were ‘Presente” as part of Jesus genealogy:

  • Judah had Perez and Zerah (the mother was Tamar),
  • Salmon had Boaz (his mother was Rahab),

  • Boaz had Obed (Ruth was the mother),
  • David had Solomon (Uriah’s wife was the mother),
  • Jacob had Joseph, Mary’s husband,
the Mary who gave birth to Jesus,
the Jesus who was called Christ.

 I got it!  These people are dead, but all have a purpose, a reason for their existence.  They all had a reason in the life of somebody. 

 Today, many celebrate “El día de los muertos”, a day to remember, a day to say “Presente” for our ancestors and predecessors that struggled in life to realize their dreams and support ours.  I want to read my litany of names to remember.  They are “Presente” in my life, in my memory; they are the reason I am here…

 Nameless women and men who were brought from African against their will            “Presente”

 Pedro “Papá” Angulo                                      Presente

Celsa “Mamá” Rivera                                       Presente

    Titi Petrona Angulo                                     Presente

    Papi Gregorio “Goyito” Angulo Rivera        Presente

    Tio Cornelio “Yeye” Angulo Rivera             Presente

    Tio Felipe Angulo Rivera                             Presente

    Tio Natalio Angulo Rivera                           Presente

    Titi Carmen Angulo Rivera                          Presente

    Tio Larin Angulo Rivera                              Presente

            Cousin Irita Angulo                             Presente

    Tio Mario Angulo Rivera                             Presente

            Cousin Carmin Angulo                       Presente

                        Cousin Luis Andrades            Presente

            Cousin Olga Angulo                           Presente

            Cousin Richard Melendez Angulo    Presente

Tio Polin Angulo                                             Presente

Great-Grandmother Chita “Mama” Conty     Presente

    Grandmother Juana Tirado Conty             Presente

    Grandfather Victor “Abuelo” Gonzalez      Presente

            Moher Juana Matos Tirado                Presente

            Titi Lolita Smith Matos                       Presente

                        Cousin Carol Smith                Presente

            Tio Isaias Gonzalez                              Presente

            Titi Victoria “Vicky” Gonzalez            Presente

 In-law Efigenio Gonzalez                             Presente

Paula Gonzalez Torruellas                            Presente

    Luz Gonzalez                                             Presente

    Lydia Gonzalez                                          Presente

    Abigail Gonzalez                                       Presente

My chosen brother, Francisco “Paco” Martinez Cancel            Presente

My chosen sister,  Margarita Ortiz                                            Presente

Today it’s not about celebrating the dead, I am celebrating their lives, their memories, their legacy, their purpose.  They are “Presente” in the life of those that they touched.  “God of all my ancestors, all thanks! all praise!”
(Daniel 2:23).These are my people, your people.  Thanks for the opportunity to have them as part of my life.  Thanks for the lessons I received from them.  Thanks for their struggles, these made me strong and wise!  Thank You for being theirs and my God!

 

 Hace un tiempo , como parte de una predicación, escuché una letanía de nombres de personas que jugaron un papel decisivo en el desarrollo de un programa, casi todos y todas muertos(as). Era como leer una lista para la escuela . Él decia un nombre y otros decian”Presente” . Durante mi servicio de ordenación ministerial, la predicadora leyó Mateo 1 ; una larga letanía de nombres de personas que estaban muertas! Pero entonces empezó a contar la historia , la historia de 5 mujeres que eran ” Presente “, como parte de la genealogía de Jesús:

• Judá tuvo a Fares y Zara (la madre fue Tamar ) ,

• Salmón tuvo Booz (su madre fue Rahab ) ,

• Boaz tuvo a Obed ( Ruth era la madre ) ,

• David tuvo a Salomón (la esposa de Urías era la madre ) ,

• Jacob tuvo a José , el esposo de María, la María, que dio a luz a Jesús, el Jesús que se llama el Cristo .

 ¡Lo entendí! Estas personas estaban muertas, pero todas tuvieron un propósito, una razón por su existencia . Todos(as) ellos(as) tenían una razón en la vida de alguien.

Hoy muchos celebran “El Día de los Muertos ” , un día para recordar , un día para decir “Presente” a nuestros antepasados ​​que lucharon en la vida para hacer realidad sus sueños y apoyar los nuestros. Quiero leer mi letanía de nombres para recordar. Están “Presente” en mi vida, en mi memoria, son la razón por yo estar aquí …

 Mujeres y hombres sin nombre que fueron traídos de África en contra de su voluntad “Presente”

Pedro “Papá” Angulo                                                  Presente

Celsa “Mamá” Rivera                                                  Presente

    Titi Petrona Angulo                                                 Presente

    Papi Gregorio “Goyito” Angulo Rivera                   Presente

    Tio Cornelio “Yeye” Angulo Rivera                        Presente

    Tio Felipe Angulo Rivera                                        Presente

    Tio Natalio Angulo Rivera                                      Presente

    Titi Carmen Angulo Rivera                                      Presente

    Tio Larin Angulo Rivera                                          Presente

            Cousin Irita Angulo                                         Presente

   Tio Mario Angulo Rivera                                          Presente

            Cousin Carmin Angulo                                   Presente

                        Primo Luis Andrades                          Presente

            Cousin Olga Angulo                                        Presente

            Primo Richard Melendez Angulo                   Presente

Tio Polin Angulo                                                         Presente

Bisabuela Chita “Mama” Conty                                 Presente

    Abuela Juana Tirado Conty                                    Presente

    Abuelo Víctor González                                          Presente

            Moher Juana Matos Tirado                            Presente

            Titi Lolita Smith                                              Presente

                        Cousin Carol Smith                            Presente

             Tio Isaias González                                       Presente

    Titi Victoria “Vicky ” González                               Presente 

Suegro Efigenio González                                         Presente

Suegra Paula Gonzalez Torruellas                           Presente

    Luz González                                                         Presente

    Lydia González                                                      Presente

    Abigail Gonzalez                                                   Presente

 

Mi hermano escogido, Francisco “Paco” Martinez Cancel                   Presente

Mi Hermana escogida, Margarita Ortiz                                                 Presente

 Hoy no se trata de la celebración de los muertos, estoy celebrando sus vidas, sus recuerdos, su legado, su propósito.  Estan “Presente” en la vida de los que tocaron.  A ti, Dios de mis padres, te doy gracias y te alabo” (Daniel 2:23 ). Esta es mi gente, tu pueblo. Gracias por la oportunidad de tenerlos(as) como parte de mi vida . Gracias por las lecciones que he recibido de ellos . Gracias por sus luchas, estas me han hecho fuerte y sabia! Gracias por ser su y mi Dios!

 

 

Manantial de Gracia / Spring of Grace

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