Category: Passages

God Loves You! Valentine’s Weekend

A number of churches on a Sunday near Valentines Day focus on that “God Loves You,” a time to share how God loves us all!

It goes without needing to say it, but this should happen not only every Sunday, but everyday.

It is a good time to make the connection with young children that God is the ultimate when it comes to defining and understanding love.

1 John 4:7-21 New International Version (NIV)    God’s Love and Ours

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Here are several audio stories on love and relationships …

Dave’s love is obvious for all that his wife Kim brings to the world to share with him and others. Listen to him tell in his own words on Passages about Kim …

Sometimes what appears to be love can be misleading and a problem. Mary is a young woman who shares about an abusive relationship and her needing to break it off to find healing. Listen to Mary share her situation on Survivors …

A college student has the experience of a lifetime in having his mom go to school at the same time that he does and at the same school. Listen to Sherry talk about this time with her son and the fun they had together. Listen to Sherry on Passages …

Rachel had a rough relationship she worked through as a teen and is now married with a child having learned about love and life. Listen to Rachel share here story on Passages …

Here is a special treat when it comes to God’s love! A half-hour of jazz music on “Friendship” by Jeff Kellam, award-winning media producer and Presbyterian minister. Enjoy!

Healthy relationships with each other and the good Lord makes for a special Valentine’s Day weekend!
God loves you and we do to at Presbyterian Media Mission. Hug a special person today!


Football on Our Minds!

Here are some stories of football and hunger that lead us to one of the biggest days of sports and food/snacks of the year! Super Bowl LIII is an upcoming football game between the two-time defending American Football Conference champion New England Patriots and the National Football Conference champion Los Angeles Rams to determine the champion of the National Football League for the 2018 season. Sunday, February 3rd, 2019, will be the Super Bowl with the big game of feeding our appetite for sports and food, as we reach out to care for those in need of food in our communities across the nation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Bowl_LIII

A simple prayer: “Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat” is inspiring a youth-led movement to help hungry and hurting people around the world.

This prayer, delivered by Brad Smith, then a seminary intern serving at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, gave birth to an idea. Why not use Super Bowl weekend, a time when people come together for football and fun, to also unify the nation for a higher good: collecting dollars and canned food for the needy? Youth could collect donations at their schools and churches in soup pots, and then send every dollar DIRECTLY to a local charity of THEIR choice.


https://souperbowl.org/welcome 

As you care for those around you, by not just giving this weekend, but all year long to help those in need and less fortunate, remember these stories as you do!

Stories of faith, football, and hunger from Media Mission:

Are you and I the problem with hunger? Listen to what Ron knows about plate waste by clicking on the audio button below …

A humorist sports story that captures the truth about the need to learn how to block in football! Click on the audio button below to hear this story told by Carl …

Giving handouts to people in need of food is important, but to be confident they are able to prepare the food, is a question that needs answered says Otis. Click on the audio button below to hear what Otis has to say …

The Walter Payton Award will be given out this weekend! One of the greatest NFL players on and off the field, Walter Payton was special. Listen to what John has to say about Walter on Passages …

Many refugees in the world suffer health problems that often is a result from hunger and lacking clean water to drink. Listen to Bill tell what he experienced …

A special era in the NFL is shared by All-Pro Defensive Back Mel Blount who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70s. Listen to Mel talk about those glory days! Click on the button below.

Here is a fun and spirited song called “Big Joe” by the late David Bailey who has inspired thousands in looking at themselves and their relationship with each other and God.  Enjoy!

Please help out those in need of food in your community! Give to your local food bank.  Thank you!
The PMM Leadership Team and Passages Production Team

Walter Payton Award winner will be announced this evening!

NFL announces nominees for Walter Payton Man of Year award

The NFL announced today the 32 nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide. Representing the best of the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact, each of these players was selected as his team’s Man of the Year and is now eligible to win the national award.


“A holiday for All God’s People” Remembering MLK Jr.

Minister Martin Luther King, Jr. preaching

Laura got to know Martin Luther King, Jr.  She shares about being in his presence on Passages.  Listen to the two audio short stories from her below.

Here is an audio short story from Lena who grew up in an all white community.  She goes to camp as a youth and then to college to discover diversity and all of God’s people.  Listen by clicking on the audio button below.

A friend, mentor & colleague most of my adult life is Dennis Benson. He wrote in a recent post on FB about his personal encounter with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that took place several years prior to the march in Selma–before he received national attention. King was the little known speaker at a Monday evening chapel service at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago where Dennis was going to school.

Dennis writes, “I was a new student, a fresh graduate from the University of Michigan. I was in Chicago to study theology for the next four years. I was innocent about the great issues of the time. That evening Dr. King jammed an emotional crowbar into my locked political safe.”

It is strange how King’s low-key presentation to a small group of students, Dennis went onto tell in his post, “was so revolutionary to many of us. Three or four of us gathered around Dr. King after his sermon. I don’t remember asking him any questions. I just wanted to stay in his presence. I suddenly longed for his passion for justice.”

Well Dennis was able to share some of that passion for justice in being one of the co-producers for the ecumenical award-winning radio special “All God’s Children” that was heard on stations across the North America on the first Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, January 20, 1986.      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr._Day

Give a listen to an edited version for the web of “All God’s Children” from SandCastles and the Presbyterian Media Mission (PMM). Click on the audio button below.

A holiday to be celebrated by all of God’s people!

Have a blessed and rewarding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday! Do something special for someone who is a little different than you today and everyday!


What if, a wall was erected that first Christmas?

What kind of Christmas would it have been, if Caesar Augustus erected a wall, so no one could enter Bethlehem of Judea? Wonder if, Egypt, where Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus escaped from King Herod didn’t allow the holy family in?

What about a fence or wall blocking that first refugee family?

What about immigration this Christmas?

https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2018-12-21/oklahoma-church-puts-fence-around-nativity-scene-calls-holy-family-migrants

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/21/us/oklahoma-church-puts-fence-around-nativity-trnd/index.html

Something to ponder this Christmas Eve and Christmas day!

1 Helen Hays reading the first Christmas Story about the refugee family.

2 Helen Hays continues reading the first Christmas Story about the holy family.

3 Helen Hays reading the first Christmas Story of how simple love was displayed  and how poor the holy family found themselves.

 

Song Silent Night Click on audio file below …

Have a blessed Christmas from the Passages Production Team: Dennis Benson, Bill Wolfe, Gregg Hartung, and a host of others through the years!

Merry Christmas from the PMM Leadership Team: Dennis Molnar, Dave Roberts, Steve Smith, Sue Washburn, Ron Wanless, Donna Christopher, Mike Givler, Christy Ramsey, Jim Mohr, and Balajiedlang Khyllep.

Dennis Benson host and Executive Producer of Passages demonstrating in Michigan against current immigration policy that is separating families.

 

 


Fred Rogers – King Friday and Jingle Bells

Fred Rogers https://www.fredrogers.org/ enjoys being King Friday http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/mrn/characters/king_friday/index.html with Passages host Dennis Benson https://celebrationrock.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/dennis-benson-always-on-the-cutting-edge/ in ringing in the holiday! The king teaches us how to do the royal version of the holiday favorite Jingle Bells.  Click on the audio file below.

https://www.google.com/search?q=jingle+bells&oq=jingle+bells+&aqs=chrome..69i57j35i39j0l4.8004j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Jingle Bells Rock by Bobby Helms

https://www.google.com/search?q=jingle+bells+rock&oq=jingle+bells+rock&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.5691j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

A Christmas gift from the Passages Radio Show and Presbyterian Media Mission

Passages Radio Christmas Program featuring Fred Rogers, David Newell aka Mr. McFeely and host Dennis C. Benson of Passages by clicking on the audio file below.

Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

 

 


What a year for Mister Rogers and the Neighborhood!

We will be concluding our Neighborhood Sweater Drive 2018 for those in need of keeping warm one week from today at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. https://pittsburghkids.org

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive

Individuals and congregations collect sweaters from now through December 16th to help keep neighbors needing to keep warm this winter through the Mister Rogers’ Sweater Drive. http://www.syntrinity.org/synod/mister-rogers-sweater-drive/

Celebrating 50 Years of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood being on television and the big screen!

Fred Rogers featured in documentary gets top honors at third annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards with Morgan Neville’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. The winners were determined by members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA).
https://deadline.com/2018/11/wont-you-be-by-neighbor-best-documentary-critics-choice-documentary-awards-1202499673/?fbclid=IwAR1RrzQ8cDqpJS9LRmrYsXIY8Vb_hnb9m-nSpA_CsV_TO8DpEL8GnB3FwjE

Fred Rogers telling about being ordained a Presbyterian minister.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4GUA2GEEUw

Here is a slide show highlighting Joanne Rogers about “143” and Fred Rogers amazing contribution to making our neighborhoods throughout this nation and in many parts of the world a better place.

Fred Rogers slide show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjkrFfdFzEg

Joanne Rogers on Jimmy Fellon Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzXsXXk-96U

Fred Rogers and David Newell aka Mr. McFeely on the Passages Show with Dennis Benson at Christmas time and sharing about Fred’s legacy.

Joanne Rogers talks with Dennis Benson on Passages about being married to Fred and their lives together.

Helping to conclude a year long celebration remembering Fred Rogers life and ministry.
Take 10 seconds now to remember Fred! I’m sure he appreciated that brief memory of him. Please help this to be a kinder and gentler world (neighborhood) to live in for all God’s children.

PMM Leadership Team and Passages Production Team


Celebrating a life well lived! George H.W. Bush

A Snapshot in Time with George H.W. Bush & Sam Walton

“The American Dream means giving it your all, trying your hardest, accomplishing something. And then I’d add to that, giving something back. No definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others.” – late President George H.W. Bush

It was March 17, 1992, with President Bush https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_H._W._Bush traveling to Fayetteville, AR, for bestowing on Founder of Walmart Sam Walton the highest civilian honor the “Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

President George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the U.S., his funeral in Washington D.C. today, we recall his many attributes with a snapshot in time when he gave Sam Walton https://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140327/the-highlight-of-sam-waltons-career-the-presidential-medal-of-freedom his award.

The story is told by Sam’s late wife Helen Walton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Walton to Gregg Hartung Passages Associate Producer in an interview he did with her in Youngstown, OH.

Click on the audio below for the feature length story in which you hear President Bush talk about Sam Walton and why he deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom as Sam in his final days was dealing with cancer. Listen to the Passages I-Story now.

Rest in peace President George H. W. Bush.

 


Advent is expectation! Stories preparing the way for Christmas …

The first Christmas … Mary wasn’t in labor when they got to Bethlehem. If no one had had space for them, Joseph would have taken Mary to her relatives, Elizabeth and Zechariah. “From Bethlehem, you can get to any village in the hill country of Judea by one hour on donkey back,” Dr. Ken Bailey said.

Middle Eastern cultures have valued family and hospitality for millennia. When Caesar Augustus decreed that people had to register for the census in their hometown, Joseph went to Bethlehem “because he belonged to the house and line of David” (Luke 2:4).

“To turn away a descendant of David in ‘the City of David’ would be an unspeakable shame on the entire village,” Bailey writes in his book Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyeshttps://www.ivpress.com/jesus-through-middle-eastern-eyes

In other words, Joseph’s relatives welcome him and his betrothed for the final weeks of her pregnancy. The village midwife and women help Mary birth Jesus. “They don’t have a cradle, so they lay Jesus in the manger, which is clean, and put a blanket over him nice, warm, and tidy,” Bailey said.

Here are four audio stories, helping us to prepare our hearts, minds, and souls for Christmas during this Advent season.

Sister Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking fame, shares insights about the shepherds https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/deadmanwalking/character/sister-helen-prejean/  to give us a realistic view of Christmas through the marginalized people in our world. Listen to her by clicking on the audio button below.

A simple Christmas in the warm heart of Africa removes a missionary couple from the seduction of consumerism. Edith talks of being far from home and enjoying Malawian friends during the holiday.  We had just enough food for celebrating Christ’s birth. https://pghpip.org/malawi/malawi.shtml Listen her story by clicking on the audio button below.

Everyone’s favorite neighbor, gets negative feedback when he de-mythologizes Santa Claus, some of the parents want to use the jolly old man as a club. Fred explains his thoughts about Santa and Christmas. https://www.pbs.org/parents/rogers Listen to Fred Roger’s story by clicking on the audio button below.

Ray Buckley is an author who grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He is an advocate for Native Americans. https://www.abingdonpress.com/ray_buckley  Ray tells his grandmother’s story about being mugged on Passages as a Christmas story. Click on the audio button below to hear the short feature length story. Second audio button below is the longer full-length version of Grandma’s Moccasins.

Ray’s Story Grandma’s Moccasins Full-Length

Have a wonderful time of preparation in sharing you holiday stories this Advent and Christmas seasons with family, friends and strangers too!

Have a blessed holiday season from the PMM Leadership Team.

Gregg Hartung, Director

 


Time To Be Thankful ….

It is that time of year to reflect on what we need to be thankful for in 2018 and all of life!

The late Steve Allen was supportive of the work that Presbyterian Media Mission (PMM) has done and continues

to do with Presbyterians and the others in sharing stories of life and faith.

We feast on stories of reflection!

The award-winning Great American Feast Radio Show was hosted by Steve with special guest actress Helen Hays.

The response to the show was fantastic!

The prayer of thanks at the close of the program has been well received with really good comments through the years.

So we share it again.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

 


Depression “A Little Help”

The holidays can be the best of times and the worst of times for many people!

As the days get shorter and winter settles in, depression becomes a battle for many people.  What happens when it becomes serious and someone needs help? Listen to and read Franklin’s story from our Passages stories of hope.

In the spring, I was very much involved with jogging, going to the “Y” four times a week, taking vitamins, really caring for myself. I became interested in the holistic health movement, and began looking at my life spiritually – devotional life and spiritual growth.

And then in May, I began feeling like myself. I’m a person who can get down – you can call it the blues. But I noticed I was down longer than just a day, and my wife said, “Yeah, it does seem like you’re down. Maybe you ought to go to the conference counselor and talk with him about it.” So, I went to see the doctor about how I was feeling, and he said, ” Well, what’s happened to you?” And I said, “Well, I was trying for a conference job nd lost out; my wife was trying for a good job and lost out.” And he said, “Well you’ve had a lot of loss in your life; loss is sometimes a cause of depression. You’re in the mild state of depression. I can give you an anti-depressant. This will tide you over and get you through it.”

Well, I continued to get worse and worse. I lost 30 pounds – I’m not a heavy person anyway. Suicide thoughts really began crowding in on my mind. I began to see no way out whatsoever. Christmas was miserable. Medications were switched. I moved from sleeping all the time to sleeping all the time to sleeping none of the time.

Several things have helped me since then. Number one is a counselor – and I really cannot say enough about the Christian experience of counseling. I read many books, received a lot of literature, read in history about persons who’ve suffered depression. I would say to anyone who is feeling down, out – a depressed person in the valley of the shadows, winter all the time and no Christmas, spring with no birds – that there is hope, and you can get well again. I think I know what it is to die and experience “Ye shall live again.”

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in his world, I put my hope.” Psalm 130:1,5

More of Franklin’s audio story …

When we are depressed and can no longer see objectively, it should be no more of a stigma to go to a counselor to get a diagnosis than it is to go to a mechanic to find out what is wrong with our car.  If I’m depressed, I should first look for solutions myself.  If they are too hard to find, or I feel like it’s not worth the effort, I should seek help.  It’s as simple, and difficult, as that.

It also is comforting to know that we can take even our angriest, most despairing thoughts to God.  The Psalmist certainly did.  If we can be free to rant and rave at God and express what we didn’t think we dared express to God, we open ourselves to begin to receive God’s healing.

Read Psalm 30; a psalm of despair and trust in God.  This reflection is from good friend of PMM Melodie M. Davis.

Here are some helpful links:

A Blueprint When Feeling Blue: How A Mental Health Diagnosis Can Be Empowering | Jen Reviews

A word cloud demonstrates some common words associated with the phrase “mental health” The first time you ever heard the term “mental illness”, what did you think of? I can tell you what I thought of. I was in the beginning of high school the first time I recall hearing this term.

We pray for all those dealing with the blues and/or serious depression as we begin to transition from fall to winter and the holiday seasons are upon us again.