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I enjoy juggling. I keep a set of juggling balls in my desk at work. When I get stressed I’ll sometimes take them out and juggle. But I’ve never gotten past three balls. I’ve tried four and could do it for a while, but just not very consistently. A couple years ago I bought a set of clubs. I’ve not mastered them; not even close. Every once in a while I’ll get them out and make another attempt.

I sometimes forget how I started. It all began in Boy Scouts. We learned as one of our activities. One of our leaders brought in a bag of old tennis balls. We all started with one ball. We tossed it back from hand to hand. The idea was to get consistent in tossing the ball. Same height, consistently. Landing in the hand, consistently. Not to far ahead, not to far back, consistently. After we had mastered one, we moved on to two. Toss one ball, then toss the second under. After we were consistent with two, then we moved on to three.

Too often people would attempt to start with three. It just didn’t work. Balls went everywhere. We had to progress slowly. Master part and then move on.

Right now, in life, I feel I’ve got too many balls in the air. It gets that way sometimes. Sometimes that means letting a few drop until I can pick them back up later. If I try to manage them all at once, I just make a mess of it and drop them all. Focus on what I can handle and then move on.

There are times in everyone’s life when they must decide if they will truly follow God. Challenges will come that will call that calling into question. At those times, do you throw in the towel and give up or do you press on?

My wife and I have been in some difficult situations. We’ve felt called to specific ministry situations that others have questioned. At times we’ve been mistreated. Sometimes even mistreated by those who go by the name Christian. It’s led to times of anger and frustration with God. Its also been scary at times. Yet through it all we’ve hung on. More often to each other and most often to God. These difficult circumstances have drawn us closer in our faith.

It has been especially important for us to remind ourselves and each other that God has always taken care of us. Always. There have been times that we didn’t think we’d make it. Money was tight and times were tough. But we always did. God provided, we survived, and our faith increased.

In some ways we’re facing tough times now. We mind each other that God has always been faithful. He will be faithful in the future. And so we continue on.

A Catholic Priest, a Baptist Preacher, and a Rabbi would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop. One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn’t really all that hard – a real challenge would be to preach to a bear. One thing led to another, and they decided to do an experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it.

Seven days later, they all met together to discuss their experience. Father Flannery, who had his arm in a sling, was on crutches, and had various bandages on his body and limbs, went first. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him, I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle as a lamb. The Bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation.’

Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, had one arm and both legs in casts plus an IV drip. In his best fire-and-brimstone oratory, he claimed, ‘WELL, brothers, you KNOW that we don’t sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from God’s HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, up another and down another until we came to a creek. So I quickly DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praising Jesus…Hallelujah! Can I have an ‘Amen’?

The priest and the reverend both looked down at the Rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a full body cast and traction with IVs and monitors running in and out of him. He had two black eyes and a broken nose and one ear partially torn off. Many of his teeth had been knocked out. To say the least, he was in really bad shape. The Rabbi looked up and said: “Looking back on it, … circumcision may not have been the best way to start.”