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Board Blog

This blog is written by various COS board members for the members of the society.  

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Three years ago, my in-laws visited us in Germany; the location of our current military duty assignment. One day, I came home from work, said my hellos, entered the kitchen, and swung open the tiny door of our compact European refrigerator. My eyes locked on to something peculiar on one of the glass shelves. It was thinly rolled in butcher paper and about the size of a stick of butter. We NEVER got food from the deli section. I curiously unrolled it hoping the contents would satisfy my hunger; obviously I did not possess enough discipline to wait for dinner. It was a block of cheese. I asked to nobody in general, “What kind of cheese is this?” “American Cheese,” voiced my father-in-law from the living room couch.

That confused me. Here we were in Germany where delicious fromage from popular European countries are readily available for purchase. My mother-in-law answered, “He always likes having American Cheese in the refrigerator.” A moment later I asked, “What do you like about American Cheese?” He said, “It’s so creamy.” I found myself still curious and sliced off a 1/4 inch thick piece and bit into it, intentionally thinking about the texture. It was creamy, but I still did not understand the importance. I pressed further.

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wooden bridge autumn leaves

Happy Thanksgiving! Are you doing okay? What a year! With all that has transpired, where are you at right now? -- Mentally and spiritually, I mean.

To be frank, I’m not sure if I’m very thankful this year. Usually, this time of year is spent with family or friends. At the very least, it would be nice to be with my wife and 2 boys. Not this year!  My 2 college-aged boys are 1000 miles away and my wife decreed that she wasn’t making a big turkey dinner just for the two of us -- What’s the Thanksgiving equivalent for the Grinch?  I think I'm there.

So, I recently pulled up an old sermon I gave years ago around Thanksgiving. As I was reading it, I was reminded that Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863 -- In the middle of the Civil War!  I kept reading and the more I read, the more uncomfortable I became. I was talking about the importance of thanksgiving in our relationship with God…it was vital…fundamental…foundational….and cultivating an attitude of thankfulness develops a deeper relationship with God…ugh!  I didn’t want to apply my own sermon this year.

I read on…. “Thanksgiving is a bridge from railing against our circumstances and God’s will for our lives to accepting them.”

It is a bridge between fear and peace.
Between the fear of failure and confidence in the work of God.
Between the fear of rejection and knowing you are loved.
Between the fear of the exposure and being secure – believing that Jesus knows what he is doing.
It can be a bridge from wrath/anger to contentment/enjoyment.
From pride to humility.
Envy or greed to generosity
Depression to hope…

I closed with the story below… Click on the "Read More" link...I hope it speaks to you as it did me (again). 
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.” (Ps 136)

-- Bryan Glanzer, ThM
   COS Ministries Liaison  

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Masked Women

It's funny how things that were once strange can become normal so quickly. Of course, covering their faces has always been normal for many women in the world, and it's becoming normal for me now, too!!

I met this truly captivating masked young woman (shown above) over two years ago at the park where many ladies from her language group gather. We had connected a couple of times on WhatsApp but nothing major. I'm not big into social media, so I had never changed anything on my WhatsApp profile and didn't even realize I could or should.

'Somehow', on Easter, it occurred to me that I should post a sunrise photo of our family and say, 'He is risen!' I quickly got a response from this sweet lady asking what that meant!! I explained in full color what that meant, and she immediately wanted to download the 'SOURCE'. She then messaged one of my friends and told her 'Happy Easter' and 'He is risen!' to which my friend said, 'How did you know that?'

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jogger walkI don't know about you, but 2020 feels like a race. Definitely not a typical race. It feels like I am running in a race where you don't know the finish line and the course keeps changing on you. Imagine with me for a second you are about to start a cross country race. The course is all set before you and you are standing with every runner at the starting line. You have prepared and trained for this race and it is on your home turf. The gun sounds and you take off with hope and energy.

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gess sierre leone

I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Lowell Gess recently.  For those of you who don't know who this is, I would encourage you to listen to the short podcast.  Dr. Gess has great insight when it comes to pandemics given his experience traveling to Sierre Leone at the height of the Ebola crisis in early 2015 when he was 93 years old.  As he shares, at some point in his correspondence with his beloved staff at the Kissy Eye Hospital in Freetown, telling them that he was praying for them was just not enough.   He felt he had to put some actions behind his prayers so he bought a ticket to travel there even covertly from his family.  

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