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Pop's Old Bible


Pop's Old Bible
Pastor Sam Guido
April 23, 2017

I never knew the man. But I heard all about him for years. From what I heard, I really would have loved him. And I've been told he would have loved me. The man who would have been my Father-in- Law today passed away in 1978.

But what a character he must have been. I heard of all the zany antics he and his sons and sons-in -law had. I heard of the love he had for his daughters and grandchildren. I heard about the sense of humor he had. And I heard countless stories of his adventures with his grandchildren, especially Sherry, when they made their trips to NYC or to the mall.

And I understand the love he had for his wife, Myrtle, my Mother-in- law and the love she had for him, as she told me his stories before she too passed away and I officiated her funeral 15 years ago.

I still see the love people have in their hearts for him as they recall his memory some 39 years after his passing. I see their smiles and their laughter, and I see the hurt they still have knowing he's been physically gone for so long, yet still very much alive in their hearts.

No, I never met the man. But today I too feel as though I know him and met him.

Over the years, as family gathered around the table especially at Holiday time, I have often heard of 'Pop's Bible'. 'Pop', as they called him was the son of a preacher, and no matter what crazy things he and his compadres in crime pulled off, I understand he was a man of deep faith. I heard he read his Bible every evening before he went to bed. He had such respect for God's Word that he kept his beloved Bible in pristine condition. Yet he read it every night, and more so as he got closer to the end of his days. He would go alone into his room, as sun set, his artificial leg propped against the wall, and he would sit in his chair and just read that bible.

After his passing that old Bible seemed to disappear. No one was sure whatever happened to it.
Last week my sister-in-law, Shirley, (Sandy's sister) was going through some old boxes as she was moving, and came across 'Pop's old Bible'. She thought I would like it and asked if I would want it. I was honored.

A bible, nearly 100 years old, leather bound, fraying and deteriorating from 30 plus years of storage, the cover was dried and cracked. It was smelling musty and looking frail.

At first glance, it didn't look like much, the pages were yellowed yet pristine, and well worn but the print was perfect, and there was not a torn page in the entire book. It was obviously well used and even more obviously handled with care, and also perfectly broken in. The only writing in it was on the dedication page, when he received it, and a note on the date he died. 

It was a book that deserved a little TLC. So I took some leather cleaner to the cover, and gently, over a few hours, I slowly removed a century of dirt and grime from that cover. Then with a bit of leather conditioner rubbed in over the course of a few days, and that once wrinkly, crackled, brittle Bible seemed to come back to life. Renewed, resurrected, if you will.

The cleaned and softened leather, along with the perfectly worn in pages wrapped around my hands like the warm embrace of an old friend, or perhaps like the embrace of an old man I never met before, shaking my hand and telling me 'He approves’.

I used that bible at worship services this morning and as I preached from it, there was a special warmth I felt, both from that bible in my hand and from the eyes of my wife, as today she saw the first worship service that bible was ever used in from the pulpit…


...her Pop's old bible.



Loonies in Clerical Garb At It Again!

Greetings all, it's been awhile since my last blog post. We've been busy with speaking engagements, pastoral care, too many funerals for too many friends, and general ministry stuff, along with producing more radio programs and 2 more books for release in the coming weeks.  But I promise to post more often here, as so many asked where we've been.

Well, if you read my new blog, you'll see how my week has been going.  We've been  battling and unmasking the fakes, phonies and frauds who buy vestments on ebay and ordain themselves, get a following and espouse their own 'New Revelations' from The Lord. One 'Bishop' in particular thought he would challenge me when I called him out for the apostate fake that he was. Little did he know what he was about to unleash on himself...so with that in mind, here's my latest...

...Post for the day:

Some Pastors Are Just Plain Looney...For Real; From a Real Pastor's Perspective.

There. I said it. Some folks who wear a collar are outright loons. But I am not the first to notice that.

Ted Turner once said that he thought organized religion was a magnet for nut cases.
I tend to agree.

Jesus was so upset with what the Pharisees allowed in the Temple that he fashioned a whip from leather, overturned the tables and screamed that the 'clergy' turned his house into a den of thieves. 

So much for the idea of a pacifist Jesus.

And don't even get me started on the 'reverend' dude who is selling Miracle Spring Water on TV nowadays. That's a post for another day.

So why do we continue to believe what someone says just because they have a title and a collar? Why must we accept that a clerical garb wearing miscreant is speaking the truth?

Will I speak out when someone who is charged with leading a flock is absolutely in error? Hint...I get in trouble and get hate mail and death threats every day even from clergy...oh well...

Will I ever back down to other 'clergy' when they are absolutely wrong and yet they insist they are right? Will I allow a supposed Bishop who insults the US and its Constitution and her people (that's all of you, my friends) a free pass? When that same Bishop (from overseas) then hurls profanity at me, and at America, and enlists his overseas Marxist friends to pile on all the while misquoting, misapplying and taking Scripture out of context, shall I allow him to keep it up? Will I back down?

Not a chance.

When civil discourse breaks down, am I as capable of unleashing an equal if not overwhelming barrage of insults, 4 letter words and profanity in response to his foul mouth that will make even hardened inmates blush? (I grew up in Trenton, so what do you think?) It shocks the 'internet preachers when they get a dose of their own language right back at them. They don't expect the turnabout. I suppose it's a weakness, but sometimes it needs to be said in their own language. 

And yes, to put rumor to rest I did tell another Bishop (he was a fake phony fraud) that instead of giving his sermon next week, he should just pull down his pants and play with himself...this way the congregation would know he was nuts instead of listening to his sermon and having to wonder if... (I never knew a human's eyes could bug out THAT big like his did when he heard my response). 

When that same Bishop then cries to his mommy (his office secretary, another phony buffoon in clerical garb who turns out to be his wife 50 years younger than he...another story for another day) and that person sends a letter to my church hierarchy demanding that I be removed from office and institutionalized for daring to rebuff her 'Dear Leader', shall I passively sit by and shake in my boots?

 Not a chance on your life.

 Will I let loose my attorneys and my 'friends' in the area local to him, even overseas, and show these crybabies who call themselves clergy that I can reach out and 'touch them' wherever they are no matter what backwater cesspool third world hellhole they fleece their flock in? Those people in the area he claims to shepherd are in need of real ministry and pastoral care, not someone who takes their meager resources, and the few pennies they have for himself. 

When they realize what they are about to have unleashed on them, (through both Ecclesiastical/Canon Law and Civil Law, as well as through bad press) and they back down and pee in their ecclesiastical panties, should I back off and move on? 

I suppose I should forgive them, pity them, and pray for them, and let it drop after they crap themselves when they realize they are being exposed as frauds...but, but, but, I really really want to keep at it...(The Italian/Sicliano in me)... fortunately I have more important things to do, like real ministry, to real people with real problems and real needs. I should leave the internet keyboard ministers who have nothing but fancy web sites alone. They eventually crumble up and fade away. Sad little pope wannabes.

Funny thing is, I'll probably get all kinds of hate mail, threats and warnings of lawsuits from people who think I am slandering them...and I mentioned not a single name here. Feeling guilty, are we, you little narcissistic anti-Popes?

( I admit telling one he looked like a peacock in heat the way he pranced around in his fancy vestments...on Sunday mornings...in his living room..in front of his computer..alone...with the cat...)

So to the so-called Bishop on foreign soil, who is not an American, who believes he has the moral authority to deride the Constitution of The United States, and her people, who understands neither the Bible nor the concept of Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, along with all our other God Given Rights, including the Right to freely tell him to STFU, I remind him that in the US, we are citizens...in his country, he and his 3 followers are nothing more than subjects.

So, take this and stuff it in your 10 gallon mitre, you pompous ass. God Bless America!

But when taking down an idiot in clerical garb, I have so much fun while I'm at it. My other hobby is poking hornets nests in the springtime...



Christmas Message 2015

A Christmas Message
Pastor Sam Guido
President, Sam Guido Evangelical Ministries International, inc

How do you explain the meaning of Christmas in just a few words? 

Some people, when asked, say it's about gifts. Others say it is about family. Still others say it's about giving. Others, it's about parties. And sadly for some it is 'Bah, humbug!'. Yet others try to 'out do their families or friends with the best food, best gifts, best festivities, best yard decorations.

Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of different people. To some it is a time of shopping and spending, or a time of drinking and carousing or a time of traveling and entertaining. 

But, what is the real meaning of Christmas? What message should it convey to every one of us? How should we describe Christmas? 

Well the best way I know is this: 

"For God so loved the world 
that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, 
but have everlasting life."

No person can out do what God has done. No party can out do what God has done. No dollar store decoration can out do the cosmic display beheld some 2000 years ago. No one could give a greater gift than God has already given. Christmas should be a time to remember the great love God had for us. When Jesus was born, it had been some 400 years since the prophets last spoke. The world was a dark place, an empty place, a frightening place. Roman legions were scourging the known earth. Hope was lost, despair was rampant. The people cried out for a Savior. But did God send a Savior, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in a celestial chariot with a mighty army of angels, to destroy the enemy of His people? Did he send an announcement with trumpets and parades, and military honor guards and marching bands? No! He came in the most non-descript way- in the form of a baby, in a manger, born to humble parents in quiet, peaceful solitude. Quite the opposite that we would expect the coming of a King. No CNN News, no gold engraved announcements, in fact, not even a mention in the local newspaper's social page. And very few noticed...

...except a few shepherds, common men, of lowly station, who were privileged to witness firsthand what our God had done.

No clergy, no politicians, no reporters, no millionaires, just a few dirty, smelly shepherds. God chose the common, the lowly, the downtrodden to reveal Himself, not as a mighty warrior king, but as a helpless infant. In a common, ordinary manger. Yet in that common manger, surrounded by the smells of animals, and attended to by a few shepherds, He revealed to mankind Emmanuel- 'God With Us'. And to those whom he chose to reveal that miraculous event, those whom the world looked down on, disrespected mocked and cast aside, He chose to use those 'foolish things' of the world to reveal Himself. Emmanuel- 'God With Us'. The Prince of Peace. 

Today the world tries to remove Christ from Christmas. Others downplay the importance of his birth, or argue whether he was born in December or September or if he was really born at all. They can try to take Christ out of every place. But they cannot take him out of your heart, from his birth to his life to his death to his resurrection, he cannot be removed from the public square that is in your heart. And we need to remember that. Where your heart is, so your treasure will be also. The best gift you can give is the gift within your heart. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

And it was freely given to you. So give it freely to others. No greater gift can you give, than the same gift God gave us- the gift of Himself... Emmanuel- 'God With Us'.

And the world needs God With Us today more than ever. If you are a Christian, then you are a minister of the Gospel. A Minister of The Lord of Lords and King of Kings! "But", you may say,"I don't have a congregation or a church to preach in." Well, do you have family? Friends? Co-workers? Give them the gift of The Lord that is in your heart. Show them by example, by how you live your life. There are more ways to 'preach' than from a pulpit on Sunday mornings. Perhaps you are an ordained minister, but have not been called to a big congregation, denomination or church.  Do you feel a little impotent as a minister? Maybe a little 'disrespected' by those of much larger denominations or organizations who look down on you because you are a minister in a small, insignificant little ministry, soup kitchen or homeless shelter, small ministries indeed according to the world's standards? Remember, God did not choose to reveal His miraculous coming, born of a Virgin, to the 'academics' of those days. Nor did he present himself at the gates of a temple or the walls of a great city. He used the least of the people, lowly shepherds, the outcasts, the least significant to announce His birth. And it was those shepherds, not seminary graduates, who ran into town in utter amazement, who shouted from the mountain tops that Jesus Christ was born. God thought enough of the foolish things of the world to use them to announce this most precious of gifts- His Son! A Savior! 

Emmanuel-'God With Us'! 

During the Christmas season, people generally make a special effort to be a little kinder, a little more considerate of others, and a little more generous. They get involved in such things as Christmas carolling, toys for the needy, meals for the misfortunate, etc. They see it as a time for reaching out to others with love and concern. But why just during this season?God so loved the world-let us never forget that. In all of our preaching, teaching, evangelizing, and every action we take let us always remember that the motivation for all this is the love of God for lost sinners. He cares about us. So should we care as He cares.

So should we love, as He loves. For God so loved the world, that He gave...Love cannot look with indifference on the hungry, and the sick, and the lonely, lost souls of this world. Love must give. Give the Love of The Lord to all you come in contact with. It is the greatest Christmas gift you can give because it is the greatest gift you received.May You All have a very Blessed and Merry Christmas, 
and may The Lord- Jesus, also called Emmanuel...which means 'God With Us', be with you on Christmas, and every day.

Merry Christmas, my friends, Merry Christmas.
Pastor Sam Guido 

Letters Between Brothers

A few weeks ago I had retired as the Presiding Bishop of a mainstream denomination, a position I held for 15 years.  One of the things that had weighed heavily on my heart during my tenure was all the 'trappings' of office. Namely the vestments and all the fancy-schmancy 'stuff' and the rules and regulations regarding such things. Now, vestments are nice, and I admit that I own a few, although I had given away dozens of albs, chasubles, and copes as I was always uncomfortable wearing such things. In fact, I no longer wear religious jewelry of any sort. No, I have not lost my faith, but I no longer put 'faith' in those things. I prefer to let the way I lead my life demonstrate to others who I am, and not  'brag' about being a Christian, by what I wear, but rather how I live. 

Recently, a fellow from another denomination posted some very derogatory remarks about us when someone posted a photo of her ordination ceremony on Facebook. He ridiculed and stole the joy that she had that day by commenting that 2 of the people in the photo were not vested properly. But had he known the facts he would not have made such a ridiculous comment. Had he been aware of the facts, he would have known that one woman who was only wearing a chasuble and not an alb was my wife, who had just had cancer surgery and the alb would have been too tight against her sutures. We were just happy that she was alive and able to walk on her own and we could not have cared less if she did not have the alb on under the chasuble. The second fellow he complained about had given his alb to one of the people who was to be ordained that morning because that young man could not afford an alb. So, he took his off and gave it to him as a gift. 

The complaining fellow was an ordained minister of another large denomination, but he was more concerned about a photo of an event he was not a part of, than he was about the Gospel message that is proclaimed by every one of the people in the photo. 
How sad. 

The Brother who was elected to my former office when I retired, had given a marvelous homily on that beautiful morning, as he was 'vested' with the clothing of office. He pointed out, ( as I have felt for a long time) that the clothing he was attired in, and the jewelry and crozier he was vested with had absolutely nothing to do with the message of the cross. It was simple tradition, and no tradition can save anyone. He would rather preach in a suit and tie, or polo shirt as a humble servant than look like the King of Hearts in a deck of cards, something I too said many years ago.  
Today, he posted a letter to the church talking about the pure simplicity of the Gospel, and how fallen humans have convoluted and distorted it so much so that there is more emphasis on appearance than on preaching. I wrote him a letter thanking him for that, and he responded, and together we share those two letters on this blog:

Letters between Brothers. 



Hey Bro,
 I read, and re-read your message on simplicity several times. Well done, Bro! Out of curiosity I (and I know I should refrain from doing, only gives me agita) perused some other 'churches' and their communion partners. Amazing how so many of the same names keep popping up, including some who went out from us. What a dizzying array of titles, honors, and accolades they bestow upon themselves. They look and sound like the knights of yore. And the vestments look so sharp and crisp.
I wonder how many actually preach on a Sunday morning, or hold the hand of a dying hospice patient as they take their last breath, or console widows and orphans in need. Or shelter persecuted Christians. I wonder if those persecuted Christians are impressed with the photos of these carnival barkers in clergy attire. 
I wonder how many of those pompous asses actually become the hands and feet of Jesus. I know their hands work, they can type a computer keyboard. 
But can their feet be shod with the Gospel? 
Or are they too busy giving themselves their own pats on their backs?
Just my daily observation.
The true Gospel, what a marvelously simple thing.
Blessings 
Sam

Response from Brad;

Thanks, Bro-- it was something heavy on my heart, and has been for a long time. I often wonder how many people would actually devote themselves to the ministry of the Gospel, if they knew up front that no one besides God would ever know their name. ‎ And I can't help shake the feeling that every title, every fancy vestment, and every self agrandizing position of pride we treasure in this world, will be a mark of shame and disgrace before Christ, and the countless faithful martyrs who lived and died known only to their Savior-- and who God honors far more than us. 

If God Himself can condescend to offer us the simple Gospel of salvation, who are we to muck it up with our own prideful peacockery?‎ But I suppose that is the curse of our time. 

Your Brother,
Brad

Yes, the message of the Gospel is simple and pure. For some reason I don't think The Lord cares how much you wear or how much you know, until you show how much you care. 
Pastor Sam

Giving Thanks

This morning I was sitting at my dining room table trying to come up with something profound or witty to post on Facebook, and, as is often the case when I try to write my sermons for Sunday mornings, my mind was blank and I couldn't think of a single thing to write. So as my mind wandered over a cup of coffee, it dawned on me that somehow, my house ended up with not one dining room, but three dining rooms. The house wasn't built with 3 dining rooms, it was only built with one, but somehow over the years we transformed two other rooms into formal dining rooms. I never really gave it much thought, but today it struck me. 

3 dining rooms.

Why in the world do I have 3 dining rooms in my house? Then it came to me. How important it is that we share meals together. The Scriptures give so many examples and stories of not only Jesus and his disciples sharing meals, and sitting around a table telling stories, but even the Old Testament patriarchs and the grand meals they shared. Then I started thinking about Thanksgiving. And the meals we will all share tomorrow. So many of us if not all of us will be having friends and family over, or visiting loved ones, eating turkey and all the trimmings, but do we realize it is not about the food, but the company who shares with us? Does it really matter if the turkey is not exactly right, or the mashed potatoes are little lumpy? Or, instead, does it matter who was there? Does the china need to be spotless and perfectly matched? 

In my house we have our friends over nearly every day. We fellowship and share with so many people every day that it is no wonder how we ended up with so many dining rooms. Thinking about it, we are blessed with so many friends; we have conservative friends, liberal friends, democrats and republicans, Christians, Jews and even Muslim friends, black friends, white friends, funny friends and even grumpy friends. Gay friends, straight friends, Catholic friends and Protestant friends. And we all get along whether or not we agree on the 'issue du jour'. And around our dining room tables we have great discussions, debates and share thoughts and ideas sometimes well into the wee hours of the morning. 

We've shared sorrows and joys, listened to friends brag about their kids or held their hands as they cried grieving a loss. Yes, on Thanksgiving, it is a day we get to eat a lot of food, but if you look, really look, it is really not about the food, it should be about the people who gather at your home. Whether a small intimate gathering, or like our home, 3 dining rooms full of people of all backgrounds, remember, when we give Thanks to God for our blessings, first look around you. Your blessings are staring you in the face...and staring at that slightly dried out bird on the table. Have a blessed Thanksgiving, my friends, and pass the gravy...

Are You Just 'Playing Church'?

Before he retired,  famous radio talk show host, Bob Grant used to say "It's sick out there...and getting sicker".  He was talking about society in general and the attitudes of the citizens. He was broadcasting from a radio station in NYC and a look out of  his window, as well as the callers who called in to his show were what prompted his trademark statement.
 
While I have a radio program, I don't broadcast from a window high above a city. In fact I broadcast from a windowless studio in a rural area. Nor do I take calls from listeners. I do have guests, but we simply sit around the mics and have a conversation, allowing the listeners to 'sit in' with us, from the convenience of their kitchen tables or in their cars. But I have to agree, it is sick out there, and getting sicker.  Not from what I can see from a window in a studio, but from a window known as the internet, I can get a glimpse of what is out there, beyond my secluded studio.
 
I am not addressing the public in general, I am addressing so-called clergy today. I am sure this post will generate a lot of hate mail, from those who feel offended by what I am going to say. But as always, my response will be 'so what?'  If the truth hurts you and cuts you like a knife, instead of blaming the messenger, take a look in the mirror.  What am I talking about? A quick perusal of religious web pages will bring you a dizzying array of names, titles, churches you never heard of, and fakes and frauds of all stripes. I never agree with Ted Turner on anything. But I think I have to agree with him on one thing: Religion is a magnet for nut cases. What do I mean?
 
The Bible should be the highest authority on any matter for any Christian, let alone for any clergy. Those who desire to lead the flock entrusted into ther care MUST teach and preach as well as handle accurately the Word of God. Period. But sadly, I find page after page, web site after web site of people who have so many titles and letters after their names that Campbells Alphabet Soup wouldn't be able to keep up. One site had a 'Bishop' with the following letters after his name: PhD,PsY, DD,ThD OCF, St.O M.Div, DSM, KP, EOST, and a few other letters. He then claimed he was Primate and Presiding Bishop Metropolitan of his church. At first glance it was impressive. Until you found that he was a Bishop of a church in which not even his wife attended, and he did not have a building or parishoners. But he did look the part...his mitre was perfect, his chasable, stole, pectoral cross, alb and even his 'Bishop's Ring" and crozier were perfect. He had an invitation for other 'clegy' to join him, and had quite an impressive set of 'rules and regulations', as well as 'orders' as to what was expected of his 'clergy'. He had 50 or so 'clergy members' listed on his page, but sadly, you will find the same names on many other 'church' web pages as well. Could we say 'credential collectors?' My guess is that if we stopped at his house on Sunday morning and knocked, we would find him answering the door in his underwear, unshaven and hung over instead of leading a flock.  But don't dare question his 'authority' he might get mad and smite you.
 
Or perhaps we can read of the 'seminary' that takes your money, says it is accredited and is one of the top institutions, with a who's who of clergy as staff and 'professors'. But again, a closer look will uncover that the 'chancellor' lives in Philadelphia, yet the school is registered in...perhaps Arizona, or better still, Chile or Bermuda.
 
Oh, and let us not forget the 'wedding ministries' that proliferate. A marriage between 2 people is a sacred vow, a covenant before God. But for a fee, these pastors will marry anyone, even if they never met them before, and will allow the couple to modify the ceremony to suit their more 'spiritualistic, non-judgemental, non-Christian' side.
 
I can go on and on and on. I can especially expound on the 'denomination jumpers' whose names can be found on numerous different denominational church sites. But I digress. It is both madening and saddening that these people simply play church and may look the part, even fooling others, and fooling themselves, but NEVER fooling God. The apostles taught the truth, and fought for its purity. Yet every single one of these churches and misfit pastors preach different than the next guy, perhaps believing they are (wrongly so) Divinely inspired. Error is error. Pure and simple. I am a Lutheran, but I do not believe that Martin Luther was Divinely inspired. If his teachings contradict Scripture, well then Scripture wins out every time.
 
I rarely wear vestments when I preach. A suit and tie 'suits me' just fine. But there are times when we get formal, but it is not for showy display nor is it necessary for salvation. What is necessary for salvation is that the preacher's words are accurate, his actions in harmony with Scripture, and his stand for the truth solid, sound and beyond reproach. Yet I get a lot of grief by 'pastors' because I 'don't look the part'.  I don't belong to any 'Holy Orders', I don't follow or always use our own liturgy, I don't preach according to a lectionary schedule. I don't always fit into the mold of what a Bishop or even a simple pastor thinks they should fit.  But I first and foremost follow Jesus Christ, look to Him, preach His word, not mine, follow His rules, not mine...or Luther's for that matter. I will be as bold as Luther, but do not hold him up as infallible, and I will always speak the truth of the Gospel, no matter how unpopular. I don't need to see, nor do I even ask for, any 'paperwork' from any congregation or diocese I oversee. As long as they preach the truth, and live the Gospel, that's good enough for me. And if I don't look the part, good. If I don't act the part, even better. I prefer to follow Jesus. And he didn't have any letters after his name either. I may have earned titles and degrees, that are important to the world, but the better title is Christian. That's why I never use my titles, and letters after my name. I don't need them. I am...Christian.
To all the alphabet soup pastors out there, stop playing church, and start being church. You will find your ministry expand beyond your wildest imagination.
Until next time,
I am simply:
Pastor Sam