Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry
(1 Corinthians 12:28)

Following in the footsteps of the Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke, Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry exists by the grace of God to further the first century Apostolic tradition serving in the Great Commission.

(St. Matthew 28:16-20)

Pride Goes Before Destruction And A Haughty Spirit Before A Fall Proverbs16:18

Having played chess now and again for many years and deciding to get serious about this leisure pursuit of mine, I joined a local city sponsored chess club. Committing myself enthusiastically for a few weeks, I made up my mind that it was time I join the United States Chess Federation (USCF).

There are a number of reasons for holding a USCF membership. According to the mission statement; “USCF is a not-for-profit membership organization devoted to extending the role of chess in American society. USCF promotes the study and knowledge of the game of chess, for its own sake as an art and enjoyment, but also as a means for the improvement of society. It informs, educates, and fosters the development of players (professional and amateur) and potential players. It encourages the development of a network of institutions devoted to enhancing the growth of chess, from local clubs to state and regional associations, and it promotes chess in American schools.”

The two foremost incentives that induced me in obtaining a USCF membership were eligibility to participate in USCF sponsored chess tournaments and in time, earning a federation recognized chess ranking. USCF chess rankings are awarded solely to chess players participating in chess federation-sponsored tournaments with other rated members. A player’s chess game wins and losses are mathematically calibrated to decide the member’s rank. The more USCF sponsored chess tournaments one enters as they win matches, the faster a rating may be earned. Holding memberships with a registered chess club and with the USCF, I wasted no time in involving myself as a challenger in countywide chess tournaments.

I say, “Go for it!”

I signed up as a chess player in order to take part in a local USCF sponsored chess tournament one evening in 1997. For my first match I was pitted up against Tommy, an USCF out of state member. Tommy was visiting our Golden State from the “Centennial State” named so because it became a state in the year 1876, 100 years after the signing of our nation's Declaration of Independence.

Being part of chess strategy, I suppose, one may expect just about any quick-witted means to outfox the concentration of one’s opponent; including and not limited to an attempt at intimidating through disquieting conversation. Before we started our chess play, Tommy, asked me about my rating position. Now I really felt hyper vigilant.

“This is my USCF sponsored chess tournament.” I honestly answered.

Hearing this, he began to look like Pavlov’s dog drooling with fervor at fresh meat. Like a seasoned chess playing veteran my bravo counter move was soon forthcoming. Ole!

“Tommy, where do crayons go on vacation?” I inquired. “Colorado!”

Visiting from Colorado, he was not amused. Now, like a brown bear chasing a fish, Tommy reversed his distraction direction in midstream. His new line of distraction attack was to try filling up my head with dancing sugar plums and visions of grandeur.

“One day, you may advance into becoming a larger than life chess player if you keep practicing.”

At this juncture in the evening, while imparting to me his knowledge about chess terminology, Tommy launched into a chess subject marathon filibuster quoting from chess book authors. Thinking to myself, “this guy must go from state to state waiting patiently until he is able to find a new USCF member.” “Once found, like a sniper, he targets his prey moving quickly in on his target in order to execute his heart’s desire on them by launching theoretical discourses on the subject of chess terms and blasting them about miscellaneous chess information.”

I wondered if he was just not a really frustrated thespian without a stage to perform on. I must admit, he did have a flare about him. I continued to listen patiently as he, like a Shakespearean actor quoting Henry V, continued his filibuster. Carpe diem!

With the chess pieces placed properly on the chess board the game commenced. Moving my chess pieces into place I started to embark on my strategy.

Suddenly it dawned on me, silence. Without a word of warning, Silence had miraculously arrived at our table having reached her destination. Looking up from the chess board I began to watch Tommy. Finding a slip of paper, Tommy began scrawling out on a small slip of lined paper three more chess book titles that during his earlier filibuster he did not refer to. Handing me the sacred scroll, like a chess mentor rather than as what he was, an opponent, Tommy said, “If you read these books you might just become as good as me.”

Avoiding eye contact and Tommy’s attempt at forming a silly sly Cheshire cat of a grin, I placed the folded sheet of paper into my front pants pocket, as I continued to study the chess board. Taking my turn, moving my queen into position I stated, “I think that’s checkmate!”

Tommy’s face turned into a contortion like how a child’s face would appear when the realization his first stuffed animal was lost or as Linus would appear having lost his security blanket in a Peanuts Cartoon strip.

For a moment in time I thought Tommy was about to ask me to hand over the piece of paper listing the recommended three book titles that were to help improve my chess strategy in order that one day I may mature into becoming as good as he. While showing no eye contact, Tommy acknowledged my win, picked up his chess pieces placing them into his bag, rolled up his chess board and exiting from the table left the building. I never saw Tommy again.

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth Proverbs 27:2

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you.” C.S. Lewis

"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way” C.S. Lewis

Washing the Disciples’ Feet
John 13

Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray Jesus. Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.

Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.” 1Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus replied, “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” (For Jesus knew the one who was going to betray him. For this reason he said, “Not every one of you is clean.”)

So when Jesus had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table again and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, for that is what I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example – you should do just as I have done for you. I tell you the solemn truth, the slave is not greater than his master, nor is the one who is sent as a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

The Way of Love
1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit.

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be set aside. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when what is perfect comes, the partial will be set aside. When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Support One Another
Galatians 6:1-10

Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too. Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Let each one examine his own work. Then he can take pride in himself and not compare himself with someone else. For each one will carry his own load.

Now the one who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the one who teaches it. Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.

"Now may the God of peace who by the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, equip you with every good thing to do his will, working in us what is pleasing before him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21

In Jesus name,

Brother Richard, MS Ed
Brother Richard, MS Ed

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