jassmineGod is Patient

II Peter 3:9

Central Theme: God is patient with everyone.

Introduction– I had purchased a new jasmine vine that that I brought to show. My other vine was killed in a hurricane.  It took me a long time to replace it because I was really sad that the other one  died.  It had grown so large that it was a shelter for my back yard. Do you think a man of God should be more concerned about a dead plant than he is a city like Vero Beach  or Melbourne, Florida?  (Insert your city.)

I. Have a member read II Peter 3:9

  1. Tell the story of Jonah.
  2. Show a dead plant.
  3. Jonah wanted God to kill all the people in the city on Ninavah. But he was so angry he wanted to die rather than live because his vine had died.   (Jonah 4)

II. God is patient with everyone.

  1. He does not want anyone to have an unhappy life or die without Him.
  2.           A. There was a time that I got angry with some people who were gossiping about me.  There were actually times I wanted them to die.
  3.           B. God helped me to love them because He loves them.
  4. This is how God will help me to be patient with people, especially people who are being hateful to me.

A. God helps me remember that God loves that person as much as he loves me.
B.  God  helps me find out good things about that person.
C. God  helps me think good thoughts about the person when he or she is not with me.  I find that we usually like people when we are with them.  But we will think bad thoughts when there are not with us.

a. Many times when they are not with us, we think about what the people did or said.  Then we get angry.

Conclusion–God is patient and he can help me to be patient with other people.

Family Cafe logo

Dear Friend,

It’s almost time to register online for The Family Café’s “Sweet Sixteen,” The 16th Annual Family Cafe!

Online registration for The 16th Annual Family Café will open on another sweet occasion, Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14th at 9:00 AM (EST). At that time, you will be able to visitwww.FamilyCafe.net to register. As part of the registration process, you will also be able to request Financial Assistance to cover the cost of your hotel stay at the Hilton Orlando, host site for The 16th Annual Family Café.

A PDF version of the registration brochure is available on our website right now. It can be viewed by following this link. Feel free to download the brochure and share it with other families in your community! If you wish to send in your registration form immediately instead of waiting until February 14th to register online, you can fax it to us at 850/224-4674 or mail it to The Family Cafe at 519 N Gadsden St., Tallahassee FL 32301.

Remember, Financial Assistance will be distributed through a lottery process. Whether you register online, by fax, or by mail, your chances of receiving Financial Assistance remain the same.

Also, if you register by mail or fax, there is no need to register again online after the online registration form becomes available.

The Family Café’s Sweet Sixteen will be held June 6-8, 2014 at the Hilton Orlando, 6001 Destination Parkway in Orlando.  A block of rooms has been reserved at a special conference rate of $109 per night.  To make a reservation, call the Hilton at 407/313-4300. Make sure to mention The Family Café to get the special room rate.

No matter how you register, please remember to mark your calendar for The 16th Annual Cafe! It should be a fantastic Sweet Sixteen weekend with much to offer you and your family. If you have any questions about the event or the registration process, feel free to contact us at 888-309-2233(CAFE) or by replying to this message. Otherwise, we will look forward to seeing you in June!

Thanks,

The Family Cafe

The Family Cafe 888-309-CAFE www.FamilyCafe.net

519 North Gadsden Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
United States

angel-shepherdsThat night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.”

Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying:

“Give glory to God in heaven,
and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God” (Luke 2:8-14).

storm cloudAs often as we quote these amazing promises, the signs of our times proclaim that “there is no peace on earth.”  This year, we must bow our head in wonder at the gross event that happened in the elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut on December 14.  While others are calling for gun control and more security in schools, parents of children who experience  psychotic episodes are pleading that our nation will begin real reform in our mental health system regarding children and young adults who are prone to violent behavior.

Ministers and pastors within the disability community are filling Internet blogs and social networks with information and warnings that our health care system regarding psychotic young men is not broken but non-existent.

President ObamaI am not an expert in this area.  In fact, in my ministry, our members who are mentally challenged, are remarkably healthy in the area of mental health considering the rejection and ill-treatment they receive on an almost daily basis.  Therefore, I do not speak as one who lives with the effects or desires to bring a measure of peace and health to this population.  Yet, I do have a small voice and there is great need to speak.

The concern for many in the area of mental illness is that nationalized health care will not mean better care but less care.  History speaks a prophetic work of more neglect as the government takes more and more power in the area of public health.  As other populations have benefited, this segment of our nation has been overlooked more and more.  This must not be.  It has become clear that the lives and well-being of our most vulnerable populations are at risk.

Our prayers are extended to the families of the young ones who were killed.  We also extended our prayers to the parents and children–who like this young shooter–suffer every day the torment and cruel effects of mental illness and psychotic behavior.

We pray that the peace of God will reign in the hearts and minds of all who seek the Lord.

Congressman PoseyIt was a happy day when I mentioned to a person who works at Congressman Posey’s office about my AT&T phone problem.  “Oh, no,” the Congressman’s helpful office manager, Pam Gillespie, said.  “It is a federal law that you must be able to transfer your number to your new carrier. They are breaking FCC rules.”

For over a month, I’d been fighting with a slew of AT&T representatives to get my home/ministry phone connected from a different carrier.  The result was that AT&T had somehow lost my phone number; and they were reporting to me that there was no way to retrieve it from the new carrier who had acquired it.  While this didn’t seem reasonable to me, because the phone number would not be given to someone else for at least two months, I could not get anyone at AT&T interested enough to eliminate the problem.

Mrs. Gillespie advised me to notify the Congressman’s office and fill out and sign a privacy form.  She assured me that if there were a Congressional Inquiry started regarding my situation that my month-long ordeal would be resolved to my satisfaction.  Mrs. Gillespie was correct.  Even though it was the day before Thanksgiving, I received calls from my former carrier and AT&T within an hour of the carriers’ receiving the inquiry information.

By the end of the week, I had my phone with my old phone number.  While my ordeal seemed complicated and overwhelming to me, a report to the Federal Communications Commission from Congressman Posey’s office quickly untangled the knots from the problem.

I want to personally thank Congressman Bill Posey and his fine staff for solving this perplexing situation.  Phone service seems to be a complicated problem for many people and there are many complaints regarding AT&T service.  However, if you are facing this hassle, call your congressional representative.  I did and I was thrilled with the results. In addition, I found that every AT&T rep that I spoke with (and I chatted with about 100 of them) were all friendly and sincerely wanted to help me.  Almost every time I yelled at them, I was almost sorry that it did it.

Linda G. Howard

This is my opinion and reaction alone.  It does not reflect the opinions of Special Gathering or any other staff member or volunteer.

Since sarcasm is a staple in the life of my family, here are 11 reasons to NOT evacuate when a life-threatening storm is approaching.  I’ve had plenty of experience to accumulate reasons over the 45 years we’ve lived in a beach community.

I live in Florida on an island about a half mile from the ocean and 1 and 1/2 miles from the inlet waterway.  My family and I have faced repeated evacuations.  When our children were younger, we told them that they could bring one thing with them that they could not live without.  We had a hurricane box with needed supplies and food for a week.  We learned to pack a week of clothing in about five minutes.  We had a big supply of candles and a gas lantern.  We left our home at the first call for evacuation, long before the traffic jams or mandatory evacuation orders were given and house to house searches were performed by the police.

Each year, many others stay on the island.  Therefore, I’ve heard all the excuses for not leaving.  However, I’ve accumulated 11 reasons that I believe motivate people to stay in dangerous places.

  1. I have a death wish for myself and my family.
  2. Because I enjoy watching my home burn down to the ground should there be a gas leak that would cause a fire near my home, I won’t leave.  I know that 40 mile-an-hour winds cause fires to spread.  Yet, I assume that my life is The Great Exception and my home won’t burn down like the house down the street.
  3. Because I am much larger than my 1,500 square-foot house, I must stay to protect it.
  4. The possibility of losing my roof is common; but it certainly will not happen to me or my house.
  5. I am a thrill seeker and risking my life is the biggest thrill of a lifetime.  Riding a roller coaster is a small thrill. Watching trees fall onto my roof and trying to dodge broken glass is much more exciting.
  6. I am an intelligent person; but I am stupid when it comes to common sense involving my life and limbs.
  7. I truly believe that I am the strongest person who ever lived. I am much stronger than any storm a hundred mile wide pounding 90 mile-per-hour winds for 12 to 14 hours.
  8. Should I have to be rescued, I enjoy putting other people’s lives at risk.
  9. While I’m the first person to give lip-service to the heroes in my community,  I do not truly value the lives of our firemen and police officers.  Therefore, I will happily put their lives at risk so that they can rescue me in the middle of the storm.
  10. I can use my beloved pets as an excuse for my fool-hearty actions for facing dangerous, devastating conditions.
  11. The fact that I can take my pets with me and deliver them from danger does not make sense to me.  Even though almost all hotels will waive their restrictions on pets and keeping a pet safely in a car makes more sense than putting their lives in danger, they are such a convenient excuse why not use it and put their lives in danger also?

Of course, there are exceptional circumstances.  During Sandy, the floods were higher than predicted.  Yet, people who lived on these islands did not leave until their homes, clothes, shoes and outerwear were underwater.  They have not coats, food or water.  It is sadder than anyone can imagine.

However, when devastation can be seen approaching, isn’t it common sense to simply pack a bag and leave?

Worship is the apex of all the many things we do at Special Gathering.  Therefore, it is vitally important to us that things go smoothly but there are weeks that are beyond interesting and border on bazaar.

A couple of years ago, there was a Sunday at our Melbourne program that was “beyond interesting.”  We were celebrating a birthday.  Then some of our members with autism began to exhibit behaviors.  As I was closing the devotions for the day, Criss began to yell, “Don’t do that!  Stop it!”  Criss and her twin always sit in the back of the room.  They have a friend/volunteer who sits with them because even though Criss is high functioning she is blind and in a wheel chair.  She needs physical assistance.  Her twin is much lower functioning but with no physical disabilities.

When I looked over her way, Criss was frailing and trying to hit her friend.  Because this is totally out of character for Criss, I knew that she must be seizuring.  Without changing the tone of my voice, I said, “God wants to honor each of us.  Time it,”  However, everyone seemed to be confused about what was happening and no one began timing the seizure.

I knew I needed to get the attention of our most experienced volunteer.  David is a professional who owns and operates three group homes.  He has been on staff with Special Gathering.  “David,”  I said, “please begin to time this.”  He immediately started to time the seizure and walk toward Criss’ small group.

I closed in prayer and dismissed everyone.  The other volunteers snapped to attention and put their best plans into action.  “We have birthday cake,” Priscilla said loudly.  “Let’s go celebrate.”  After worship we normally go to the social hall for refreshments with the church body.  The other volunteers began ushering all the members out of the gym into the social hall.  David was still timing the seizure, by now it had been 1 minute and 45 seconds.  I called the girls’ caretaker.  After explaining the situation to her, I said, “We normally call 911 after three minutes.  It’s been 3 minutes and 10 seconds now.  I believe that most of the seizing has stopped but we can’t get her to respond.”

“Call 911,” the caregiver said.   “I’ll meet the ambulance at the hospital.”

After my phone call to the caregiver and while I was dialing 911, I asked David to go to the hospital with Criss.  I gave the 911 rescue personnel the exact address of the church, the details of the situation and my phone number.  The ambulance factility was close by the church.  They assured me that they would be less than two or three minutes for them to get to the church.

By now children’s church had invaded the gym with basketballs and other ball games.  They were not able to move out of the gym because there were too many of them and there was only one person to supervise them during this play time.  Therefore, I thought it would be better to move Criss out to the large hallway that is also used as a lounge.  Normally, you would never attempt to move a person in her condition.  However, she was in her chair and this would be an easy and safer situation for her.  By the time we had moved her chair the few feet into the lounge, the fire department had arrived.

Before they would take her, they wanted to see her ID and her Social Security card.  This was a new requirement from emergency personnel and Cris didn’t have any ID with her.  We again called the caregiver.  She had the needed information.  Once the ambulance arrived, she wanted to have the caregiver give her the same information.  The ambulance attendant was insistent that information regarding her medication could not be taken from our database that we carry with us accessed from the Internet but must be in writing.  I believe that this was HERrequirement, only.  We have never had anyone ask for this.

I can’t explain how extremely proud I was regarding the performance of our volunteers during this emergency situation.  To review quickly, these were the things that went smoothly and wer done right in the face of a seizure emergency.

  1. Our volunteers had been trained to know what should and should not be done in the case of an emergency.
  2. Timing of the seizure began immediately.
  3. Our staff and most experienced volunteers took control of the members and relieved me of the concern for their safety.
  4. Our senior volunteer knew that it would be expected of him/her to go to the hospital.  Before I asked, he had made plans to be at the hospital until I could arrive, after the program.
  5. Unlike the shepherd who left the 99 to seek after the one sheep, a program director doesn’t have the luxury to leave the members and rush to the hospital.  However, I can assure that my most experienced volunteer goes.  Then after I have insured that all our members have gotten on the bus and they are on their way home, I can go to the hospital.
  6. After 3 minutes of seizuring, call 911.
  7. Have medical information ready for the EMT or fire department.
  8. According to a group of experienced nurses who have worked with us, you need to have a list of medications, information regarding if there are allergies or seizures for the EMT.
  9. Be sure that you have current phone numbers, emergency numbers and cell phone numbers for the people in your program.
  10. Members should be moved from the area as quickly as possible.
  11. Do not move the person seizuring, unless they are in danger of being hurt where they are.
  12. Do not attempt to stop the fall.  However, you might cushion his/her head as s/he hits the floor.
  13. Do not attempt to pull the tongue out.
  14. Try to get the person to respond to you by asking questions.  Don’t hit or slap the person but try to get a verbal answer from him/her.
  15. When you call 911, they will need the exact address of the place where you are at.  Be sure that you have this physical address memorized to the point that it will roll off your tongue.  If the address contains an East or West, this is essential for the ambulance to know.
  16. Remain calm.  Speak in a measured and calm, quiet voice.  In this way, your members will pick up from your cue and they will remain calm.

What are some other things you have learned in dealing with emergencies and seizures?

California farm from which diseased cow came

There is another case of Mad Cow disease found in the US.  The medical name for the disease is bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.  As predicted, we have been told that the United States beef supply is more than safe and there is absolutely no danger to the public.

Yet, I understand from some folks from England that they were also assured that their meat was all right until the government officials could not longer ignore the people who were suffering with this maddening disease. The human form is known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).  The beginning stage is largely one of anxiety, depression and other psychiatric symptoms.

You may be questioning what causes this dread cattle malady.  It has been proven that the disease is caused from feeding cattle meat and body waste.  Some years ago, it was found that chicken by-products and manure could be added to cattle feed and the cow would eat it.  It also seemed to be good for them because they were able to gain more weight faster.  Then the dreaded disease began to appear in the herds.  In an article no longer available on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, this excerpt was published as “Information for Consumers Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine entitled, The Use of Chicken Manure/Litter in Animal Feed.”  The sub-title of the article states “The following consumer information is provided by Daryl Fleming, Communications Staff, FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.”  This is a small excerpt from the article.  

Recycled animal waste, such as processed chicken manure and litter, has been used as a feed ingredient for almost 40 years. This animal waste contains large amounts of protein, fiber, and minerals, and has been deliberately mixed into animal feed for these nutrients. Generally, animal waste is used within the State where it is produced because the bulk and weight of the product makes interstate shipment uneconomical. Normally, this animal waste is used by small farmers and owners of beef and dairy herds as a winter supplement for mother cows and weaned calves.

We have been assured that this deadly practice has been eliminated but how much oversight is given over the production of this cattle feed?  The FDA in the paper “Framework for the FDA Animal Feed Safety System” admits, “Animal feed ingredients and mixed feeds produced and used in the US have a good safety record.  However, because oversight of this industry is limited and focused on a few known safety issues, potential human and animal health problems remain hidden. ”

There are often concerns regarding the foods we eat.  It is a fact that cows fed only grain will never have contract Mad Cow Disease. The Bible prescribed for us clean and unclean foods.  In simple words, scavenger animals, birds and sea foods should not be eaten.  Fruit and vegetables are all right.  However, the animal kingdom is divided clearly in the Old Testament.  Clean animals do not eat animal flesh or other by products, including manure.

I understand as Christians, we no longer live under the law of Moses.  Yet, the Old Testament prescribes stern warning regarding the foods we eat.  Of course, there is the vision given to Peter regarding the sheet that came from heaven.  God clearly said to him that everything that He had made was clean.  Christians have taken this as a proclamation to allow us to eat those unclean foods.  Never the less, there are reasons for God’s prohibition.  The Lord’s reasons weren’t arbitrary or even legalistic. We are finding that these laws contain clear concerns for our health.

There may never be a need to teach the clean/unclean foods in your special needs program or ministry.  However, you may want to begin to consider the foods you are eating out of concern for your own health.