Friday, April 18, 2014

The Kingdom Key

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Love is humble, sacrificial and thankful.

Love will take and hold ground where brute force can only makes a pretense.

Love will step aside for God to promote a brother.

It rejoices in the success of another.

Love will admit wrong doing and bring forth repentant fruit.

Love will self examine and brick up the walls so evil shivers outside in the cold.

Love protects the vine from fear of foxes.

When love is perfected fear is unknown.

Love is a Kingdom Key.

The hand that holds it will see the rest opened.

May the God of Love and Peace be with you, Shalom.

-John LaMantia

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Today is Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday. Easter is a week away as Lent is concluding. What a week that was in history. A week whose events are still influencing history.

Palm Sunday remembers the triumph of Christ's entry into Jerusalem to cheers of, "Hosanna." This is often interpreted to mean, "Save us!" but it had a forceful element of worshipful praise accompanying it. The expectation of the Jewish people was high for the overthrow of their immediate enemies and the restoration of the former glory of Jerusalem.

When we first encounter Christ we often have the same expectation. We, like the Jews, have a different outcome in mind and are hoping for a different deliverance. We are concerned about today but God has planned for eternity.

God's love is bigger than we know.

Walk with Him this week- into Jerusalem, to supper with friends, to the Garden, to Calvary, to the tomb. Let us stand and peer into the emptiness of our own understanding and praise the One whose humility changed history. Let us trust the One who planned to bring us home.

Kathy wrote a poem she shared with friends that highlights Christ's Palm Sunday ride with us in mind. I share it here.

Blessings on this thoughtful day,

John LaMantia

He comes to shouts of Hosanna
coats torn from backs
thrown into the dirt
palm branches
stripped from trees
faith's flags flying
Hosanna, Hosanna
His heart grasps
the meaning
that eludes us
Obedience comes
in the Name of the Lord
A Lamb consumed comes
in the Name of the Lord
God rides to His death
on a donkey for me


-by Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The God We Serve

The God we serve is the same, yesterday, today and forever. That is a powerful and comforting thought. Our individual, daily circumstances, however, are all about change. Change can be a challenge even when it seems good so it is helpful to partner with One who brings stability, security and vision.

I began my adult life in a tuxedo blowing a clarinet in the orchestra. The idea that I would ever become an ordained minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was non existent except in the mind of One who beholds the future as clearly as we see the words on this page.

My personal journey took me to the Army Band in Germany where I made the Savior my own, then on to the university for a teaching degree and graduate school. I got married, had a son and taught while ministering in my home church. The road to full time ministry, ordination, jail ministry, chaplaincy and rescue mission work led me to this time in my life.

I am humbled and thrilled to have been selected to step into the directorship of the Mission. I am honored to be one with a towel and a basin. Service is such a privilege. It is a privilege that weighs heavily upon my shoulders.

I am grateful for God's blessing and for the Board's vote of confidence. I appreciate Don and Charlotte Bettis and the staff of the Mission for their support. A special thank you to Bob Sloan and Bob Collins for introducing me to the Mission and to my wife Kathy for her support and constant encouragement. As for our supporting churches and donors- you must know that your partnership means everything.

May our journey together be practical, graceful and obedient. I have treasured my time as your Chaplain. I will do my very best to honor the Mission as its Director and, for now, also its Chaplain.

There have been so many hearts that have broken in my hearing this past year that now I can hear that breaking even when it is only a whisper. I can hear it even over the angry raised voice of a man with no bed, no pride, no future.

God give us ears to listen even as you form within us a charitable revolution that has at its core your will, your ways and your love. Let us set aside all our own rules and make room for your reign. Your hand will only bless what is truly yours.

May God be glorified in the work we do in the lovely Name of Jesus. May we listen and act as He would act and love as He would love.

In hope and humility,
Rev. John T. LaMantia

 Newsletter post from The Anchorage Gospel Rescue Mission April 2014