Here at Liberty, we love to meet and get to know our members better. One way we are looking to increase these interactions is through occasional, regional "Member Meet-Up" gatherings. On the evening of March 20th, members of our Communications Department hosted the first meeting of this kind at a restaurant in Tampa, Florida. As it was our first event, we weren't quite sure what to expect, but we're glad to say the evening went wonderfully.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear...Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:29, 32 (ESV)
This is a time of what feels like unprecedented division in our nation. Especially on social media, there is the illusion of anonymity, which makes many feel as though they can go on the attack against others.
End-of-life planning isn't a topic most people want to discuss. Even when we approach the time at which those conversations make sense, at least some of our loved ones are likely to find the subject depressing or premature. But death is a natural part of this life, and as many of us know from personal experience, the whole experience can be much less traumatic when expectations and wishes have been made known ahead of time.
There's no time like the present to begin planning and discussing this subject with your family and friends. In fact, Monday, April 16th offers the perfect opportunity, as it is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), an initiative of The Conversation Project.
This Is For The Gluten-Free Folks!
I think it's safe to say that we all know at least one person in our life that has decided to follow a gluten-free or a low-carb diet. Many individuals who choose this path do so because of a medical concern but there are also those who see an overall health benefit to eating this way. I, myself, do not have a medical reason to eat gluten-free, nor have I adopted a low-carb lifestyle, but I do know there are members of Liberty HealthShare who do. In an effort to connect with all of our members, this recipe is for you!
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:26-28 (ESV)
After Jesus' resurrection, even among the apostles, there were those who struggled or refused to believe He was alive. Thomas, in particular, earned himself the dubious honor of representing all doubters throughout history because of his unwillingness to believe.
One of the key values that animates the work of Liberty HealthShare is right there in our name: liberty. We believe our members should be able to access the healthcare that is best for them and their families, without bureaucratic oversight or interference. It's especially rewarding for us when we find out this emphasis on freedom has positively impacted members on a practical level, enabling them to get the care they need in a timely manner.
This was just the case for Mary and Dan K., members from Texas whose children have endured serious health issues in recent years. We recently talked with Mary about their experience as Liberty HealthShare members through a difficult and frightening season.
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split...When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:50-51, 54 (ESV)
Have you ever had what you thought would be an ordinary experience turn out to be a life-altering one?
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him...But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:39-43 (ESV)
There is very little room for ambivalence when we encounter Jesus. The cross in particular divides, demanding either rejection or acceptance of the Messiah.
I would like to take a minute to thank the people of 1800's Naples for creating a wonderful, round, cheese-covered piece of deliciousness called pizza. Everyone has their favorite kind of pizza and mine happens to be the Margherita. Featuring large pieces of mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes, and fresh basil, the Margherita pizza was named after Queen Margherita in the late 1800's. You could say this style of pizza is fit for a queen.
Easter falls on April 1st this year, which will be here before we know it. As one of two major holidays observed by Christians, Easter offers an opportunity to celebrate with our church communities, family, and friends, and even more importantly, to reflect on Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.
There is a real risk of missing Easter's significance amidst bunnies, egg hunts, and family gatherings. Even for those who intentionally engage in Good Friday and Easter Sunday observances, the reality is, we can go through all the pageantry without ever truly reflecting on what it signifies.