All posts by Gabriel Serafini

RSVP for two events to benefit our community on May 7th and Lecture on May 11th

The inspiration for these events can be found in John 21:15-17

Patricia Woodard, CSThe Guest Speaker for the May 11th Event is renown Christian Science lecturer Patricia Woodard, CS who will give a talk titled “Breaking News: Freedom is Ours Now.”

May 7th Event Details:

RSVP for May 7 event

Location: Ceramics Bayou 3620 Bee Cave Rd. (Map)

At the May 7th event, participants will be decorating glazed bowls, which will be donated to the Austin Empty Bowl protect. Decorated bowls will be sold during the annual Empty Bowl Fund Raiser to help the Austin Food Bank. Mrs. Woodard will speak to the participants via phone. Representatives from Empty Bowel Project will be available to answer questions. All participants must be at least 5 years old and accompanied by a parent or an adult. For details to the purpose of the Empty Bowl Project see https://www.austinemptybowl.org/ This event will take place at Ceramics Bayou at 3620 Bee Cave Road beginning at 6 pm. Snacks and bottled waters will be served. The event welcome will be by Hester with Empty Bowl Project: at 6:15 pm. The lecture prep talk by Mrs. Woodard begins at 6:30. The bowl decorating will begin at 6:45 pm. The event closing talk will be given by Mrs. Woodard at 7:45 pm. We’ll depart the art studio at 8:00 pm.

May 11th Event Details:

RSVP for May 11 event

Location: Central TX Food Bank 6500 Metropolis Dr. (Map)

At the May 11th event, participants will be preparing food baskets for those in need and spending the afternoon with guest speaker, Patricia Woodard. All volunteers must follow the dress code specified by the Central Texas Food Bank. Volunteer children must be at least 8 years old and accompanied by an adult that is at least 21 years old. For details related to the food basket preparation see https://www.centraltexasfoodbank.org/. This event will take place at Central Texas Food Bank at 6500 Metropolis Drive. We’ll gather for the lecture at 12:00 pm in the Community Room. We will serve a light lunch at 12:15 pm. The lecture by Mrs. Woodard will begin at 12:30 pm. The Food Bank participant orientation will begin promptly at 1:30 pm. Food basket preparations will begin at 1:35 pm and last until 4:30 pm. We’ll depart the Food Bank building by 4:30 pm. Participating volunteers must register in advance for with the Food Bank (instructions to follow your RSVP). Volunteers present at the Food Bank will receive an event souvenir.

Children are welcome to the May 11th lecture event, child care for children under 8 yrs will be provided while parents are on‐site and preparing food baskets.

You may bring guests with you to either event.

Please note: the number of attendees is limited by venue size at both events, so be sure to RSVP.

After May 6, 2019, please contact Bruce Aupperle at 512‐422‐7838 to make sure there are seats for all attendees in your party and for further instructions.

Schedule of Events

Tuesday May 7th, 2019

Location: Ceramics Bayou 3620 Bee Cave Rd. (Map)

6:00 pm Gather at Ceramics Bayou, snacks and bottled water served
6:15 pm Presentation by Empty Bowl Project Austin
6:30 pm Lecture Prep talk via conference call by Ms. Woodard
6:45 pm Bowl Decorating
7:45 pm Closing thoughts with Ms. Woodard

Saturday May 11th, 2019

Location: Central TX Food Bank 6500 Metropolis Dr. (Map)

12:00 pm Gather in Community Room
12:15 pm Light lunch served
12:30 pm Lecture by Patricia Woodard
1:30 pm Food Bank Orientation for Volunteers
1:35-4:30 pm Food Basket Preparation

RSVP for May 7, 2019 Event at Ceramics Bayou

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Adults

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Children

Number of Children (age 5 or older):

RSVP for May 11, 2019 Event at Central Texas Food Bank

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Adults

Number of Adults for Lecture Only:

Number of Adults for Lecture AND volunteering afterwards:

Children

Number of Children (age 8 or older) for Lecture Only:

Number of Children (age 8 or older) for Lecture AND volunteering afterwards:

Number of Children (under age 8) for After Lecture Child Care:

We will email you details for registering with Austin Food Bank before the event

Travels with Twig – My Skateboarding Friend

Twig, the skateboarding dog, demonstrates the command to “Be not afraid” from the Bible.  Since we Austin-ites love our animals, this guest post from Bob Clark in Florida fits right into our neighborhood.

“Your dog skateboards?”

She sure does. Twig came along with my wife and me on a recent trip to Tallahassee, Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach. On the way back we stopped in Apalachicola, one of Florida’s coastal treasures. Twig skated all over town. Check out her video here.

When we first got Twig, a Shetland Sheepdog, she was just a tiny fluffball. We discovered her fearless nature when we took her for a herding instinct evaluation. She was twelve weeks old. Six pounds of Sheltie vs six-hundred pounds of sheep. No contest.

So we knew she was fearless. Then a few years later, she started showing interest in my son’s skateboard. We soon discovered a new aspect of Twig’s credo…no fear AND no limits.

She wanted to skate and she learned to skate, step by step. As soon as she learned to stay on the board on flat surfaces, she went to inclines. Then came curbs and ramps. Next up? Learning to propel herself and carve turns. And then… STAIRS! Who knows what’s next. Anything’s possible.

What seems natural for Twig is often elusive for people. Living without fear or limits isn’t easy. But it is possible. My religion has taught me this. No fear…no limits.

The phrase “Be not afraid” occurs more than 50 times throughout The Bible, which is the foundation of Christian Science. And you know, all the Bible heroes I can think of, from Abraham to Paul, removed limits by trusting God. Fear and limits disappear together. There’s great joy in witnessing that, whether the limits are your own or someone else’s.

Twig is an inspiration to me and many others here in Florida. She has performed at a Florida Marlins’ game, pet expos in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Largo, and retirement centers in the Tampa Bay area.

She amazes people and draws a crowd wherever she skates. There’s a sense of wonder in how fearlessly she jumps on her board and skates down steps. She makes it look easy.

People go away smiling and thinking about dogs…and maybe limits… in a new way. I love that.

You can read more of Bob Clark’s blog at http://flcompub.org/blog/.   You can see more videos on Twig’s website.

Perfect Love on Valentines Day

Written by Laura Moliter, reblogged from http://lamolitercs.wordpress.com/

“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human needto all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.” (Science and Health, page 494)

Wouldn’t the very first human need that divine Love would meet be the seeming need for love? God, Love, is always supplying us with the very right and perfect thing to cause us to feel cared for, safe, and satisfied. We can awaken to the fact of God’s presence and Love’s necessary action of loving. Nothing can hide this faithful Lover from us. We are always receiving the kiss of approval and affection from our One and Only True Love.

Every moment of every day divine Love is supplying Love. And perfect Love knows just how to love us—not obscurely or at a distance or without full attention. God is always near, a companion, a caretaker, a voice of cheer and uplift, a caress of understanding. Let’s recognize this forever active divine Love. Let’s accept that no material and delusionary sense of aloneness, loss, or inadequacy has ever stopped God from being present and true.

Divine Love supplies all good for all. Every seeming human need is already met, because the sense of need is false to begin with. Right here and right now, God’s Allness, potency, perfection, harmony, peace, life, completeness fill all space, your being, and there is no inch in your experience or in your heart that is not already filled with divine Love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Laura Moliter is a Christian Science practitioner, writer, and singer-songwriter living in Austin, TX.

God’s Grace and God’s Law

The Bible Study Group this month has been studying the letters of Paul in the New Testament.

By: Christi Lupher

My understanding of what we studied (Rom. 1-6) was that it was Paul explaining his teachings (his “gospel”) to the Church at Rome (whose members he’d never met) in terms of the contentious debate going on at the time between the Gentile Christians and the Jewish Christians in that church (and to a greater or lesser extent throughout the Church as a whole). The debate was over the nature of salvation – how to justify yourself before God; how to be righteous; how to gain eternal life.

The ancient Jewish approach to this was to DO what was good and right. God had told them what was right – the Law – so individuals just needed to obey it. Unfortunately NO ONE did what was right all the time, and people devoted to obeying the Law (Jews) continually had to make sacrifices to atone for the times they messed up.

So the new, Christian concept of justification/salvation/righteousness was that it was a gift from God – grace – which came through Christ – expressed, made evident through Jesus’s great sacrifice (crucifixion) and resurrection.

This was wonderful.  Christians didn’t have to try and EARN God’s approval/forgiveness anymore, it was simply a gift of Love. Unfortunately, some people seemed to take this as an excuse for committing any sin that popped into their head, because they figured it didn’t matter what they did – they were already saved/justified.

So the debate was raging. It looks like everyone believed to some extent in grace – the gift of God through Christ. But what did that mean about the Law – which God and clearly given to the Jews. And how could people supposedly justified by grace, truly be justified if they were still committing egregious sins?

Paul’s answer to all this was to try and spiritualize their thought – lift up their thinking to understand the true nature of grace/justification/righteousness/salvation. Two of the key concepts he tried to explain in this letter were:

First:  To many people (esp. Jews) the idea that the actions of one man (Jesus) could affect (justify/save) all humanity seemed a bit silly – especially to the Jews who’d spent hundreds of years with each individual endeavoring to be good by doing what God had said was good (the Law). So Paul appealed to the Jews’ own scriptures to explain this idea. He pointed out that they already believed that one person’s actions could affect all humanity. They already believed that all mankind had been condemned because of the actions of one man – Adam. But if one MAN’s actions could be have so powerful an effect on the whole human race, then how much more must it be true that GOD’S gift of grace (through the actions of one man – Jesus) is capable of justifying/saving all humanity.

Second: We aren’t saved by doing good works, we do good works because we are saved.

Christi Lupher lives in Austin TX with her family.

Divine Love and a song chase seasonal allergies away

By Laura Moliter

Austin, Texas.  Music capital of the world. Great quality of life. Mild climate and sunny skies. Beautiful and inviting surroundings for recreation. A wonderful place to raise a family. Allergy capital of the world.

One of these things is not like the other!

Our city, Austin, repeatedly ranks top ten in the country in so many categories. People swarm to move here, and it continues to grow by leaps and bounds. It’s definitely an easy place to like and has no want for fans. But there is always that little alert that seems to come with the invitation to be a part of the Austin family: “Look out for the allergies! They are wicked! If they don’t get you right away, don’t get too comfortable. They will!”

Well, that’s kind of a mood breaker, isn’t it? Are we being set up for trouble, just opening that door wide for eventual problems, accepting them as a fact of life in this awesome city, as a necessary evil? Are we either bracing ourselves for an onslaught of personal challenges, small or large, or at the very least expecting others around us to suffer or feeling sorry for them when they seem to be sneezing, coughing, and sniffling through certain seasons?

Well, I say enough is enough! I’m now really ready to take that item off our list of Austin characteristics and add some refreshing new mottos and marks of distinction. How about these:  Austin, Texas–Atmosphere Divine; Austin, Texas–Take a deep breath, relish the aroma of natural goodness, and smile!

When I came to Austin for the first time to go to college back in the late 1980s, I immediately fell in love with city’s charms, its eccentricities, its amusing weirdness, and its glorious beauty. It was my new home without a moment’s hesitation.  I found something so right and satisfying about the air and its fresh scents and warm and inviting way. Even the hot summers somehow simply seemed to only be a wonderful expression of Austin’s warm and sunny embrace.

Then one day the romance died. Or at least the bloom was off the rose, so to speak.  I had moved away for a few years. After I had been back a year or so with gratitude to be “home,” a new acquaintance came into my life, much to my annoyance: his name was Cedar Fever. Gosh, I had felt so superior, so exempt, so protected from such a thing. I’m not an “allergy person,” I thought, “I’m a Christian Scientist. And a Yankee! I’ve endured Wisconsin winters and New York City’s bluster. I’m untouchable by this silly stuff.”

Well, did I end up eating crow or what? And I kind of felt like I was literally eating it, to be honest! The experience was awful.

That was my original bout with cedar fever several years ago, and while it was eventually conquered by prayer (and endurance!), it tortured me for several long weeks. I remember on that New Year’s Eve going out to a fancy dinner with my family, dressed to the nines, with my eyes gummed together so I could barely open them, croaking all the way. Happy New Year! Whoopee!

Again, I had certainly diligently prayed about it, found inspiration, kept my practice going in spite of the loss of my voice for period of time, and emerged victorious in the end. A few years went by and while I’d get a little scratchy feeling in my throat once in a while, the suggestion got beaten back very quickly by acknowledging God’s power over all, and I was back to my sunny Austin business.

Well, this year, the arrogant cedar came back for a rematch. After having just helped a family member conquer her short-lived bout with this aggressive demon, I found myself croaking and sniffing, sleeping little and feeling depleted and disappointed. On top of it all (and perhaps most challenging to me) I had an upcoming performance with a band that I sing with, a special surprise for some family members who were in town briefly. Other invitees included a bunch of friends, with the list of expected attendees continuing to grow along with my fear. It was a very special event, and I wanted it to be just right.  The pressure was on!

Well, I immediately starting praying about it, acknowledging the rightness of the activity, and my exemption from a belief that “this atmosphere of mortal mind [could] be destructive to morals and health when it is opposed promptly and persistently by Christian Science.” (Science and Health 273: 31-1) As rehearsals and the performance came closer, I called a practitioner to help support me. She eased my fear, and reminded me that breath and breathing was inspiration, and letting go. That seemed important. Especially the “letting go” part. I started to gain some mental freedom, and enough physical freedom to croak through a rehearsal. I thanked God and then went back to fretting about the show, tossing and turning to find comfort in the night, and along the way gratefully receiving inspiration and assurances that in spite of appearances, all was well. I kept trying to “let go.” The “trying” part kind of defeated the purpose!

On the day of the performance, I had one of my busiest practice days. I was almost constantly on the phone, sharing truths with those in need, praying with them, and enjoying every energizing moment of it! I was grateful that MY practitioner was continuing to support me, and that my family members—one who was hosting the event and another who was my singing partner–remained absolutely confident that I would nail it! Okay, I think I can let go now.

Performance time came. I had hardly sung in days. I had no idea what to expect, but I was mentally ready, charged up, grateful to God, for the work that kept me voicing Truth all day long, and countless miles away from complaint, excuses, and fear.

The first notes that came out as I sang the first song were lovely and free! I felt like I was listening and not singing at all, just hearing God’s approving and tender and powerful voice. Victory! The rest of the show only got better—more joyous, more inspired, and more free.  I was elated, and so grateful that my only struggle was trying not to cry mid-song for the sheer love of God’s goodness and power.  I recognized as I was singing and looking back later, that the love in the room, the appreciation for being there, was the reflected love of God, and it, along with that love I had felt all day in the work that I was doing for others, absolutely negated the allergy and its aggressiveness. Love just cancelled it out. It was a true atmosphere divine. Love was the motive and the recipient. Love was the reason and the expression. Divine Love had its day and its way!

Well, that was the end of the allergy, although the cedar count has seemed to go up and down again in this wonderful town of ours. I just sang it away with praise!

I want to mention how thankful I am, too, that the readings in church on the Wednesday before our Thursday performance were right on target. God was definitely lining all things up for a significant healing. The citations handled the very suggestion confronting our city and me, and reminded me that the breath of the Almighty is the very substance of life, all life. It is invariable and not localized. It’s neither confined to a place nor reliant on a physical structure or mechanism for proper expression.

No percentages and readouts and media predictions can have more power than God and His presence, action, and Love. The report from heaven is consistently heavenly! And we are always dwelling there– not in a city with some necessary evil, but in the city of God, always safe, comfortable, satisfying. I love that I was able to celebrate this abiding truth in song, and I intend to keep on singing! Won’t you join me, Austin, Texas?

Laura Moliter is a practitioner, writer, and singer-songwriter living in Austin, TX.

God is Speaking to You – Austin Event, Feb 6 at 2:00pm

When Elise Moore was 10 years old, a man attempted to kidnap her from a movie theater.  By listening to God, she escaped unharmed.  As an adult, Moore began collecting experiences of ordinary people who have been protected and physically healed through prayer and listening to God.   She will tell 9 of these real stories in her talk

“God is Speaking to You” Sunday, February 6 at 2:00 p.m. at 1309 Guadalupe Street, Austin TX 78701

“This talk is full of experiences about everyday people hearing God’s voice,” says Moore.  “There’s a dramatic story of a teenage boy being saved from an explosion.  Half the stories are about kids listening to God.  Then there are physical healings like a woman currently in prison being healed of a stroke. “

Residing in Nashville, Tennessee [Tucson, Arizona] Moore has been in the Christian healing ministry for over 20 years.  Fluent in Spanish, she has an international ministry and lectures in both languages throughout the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and Spain.  During the year, Moore will speak in convention centers, universities, civic, church and youth groups in more than 50 cities.

Moore has appeared on television, radio and live internet programs.  She is a regular guest on live webcasts on Spirituality.com.  A prolific writer, Elise has published more than 200 articles on prayer and healing, and has written a regular newspaper column.  She also teaches classes in Christian healing.

Moore has put her faith into action by being chaplain for a homeless shelter, organizing an after-school program for black youth and shepherding adult literacy programs.  Additionally, she has organized interfaith programs and activities, and led participatory workshops.

“Anyone can learn to hear God’s voice,” Moore says.  “I open by talking about a homeless man.  No one is beyond God’s help.”

“We’ll talk about discerning the difference between tuning into God and just your own wishful thinking,” added Moore.  “I’ll give specific tips on how to pray for yourself and others.  We’ll even talk about what gets in the way of healing.”

Moore is appearing in Austin only once at 1309 Guadalupe Street, Austin TX on Feb 6 at 2:00pm. Be sure and bring your children and teens.  The stories are for all ages.

To read articles by Elise Moore or hear recent radio programs, visit www.elisemoore.com

Click here to listen to a recent podcast interview with Elise Moore by 5th grade students Kayla and Kenna:

Texas: Patient choice and spiritual care

Reposted from www.ChristianScienceTexas.com by Keith Womack

Today’s post is a collaboration between Bill Scott and myself. Bill is our friend and colleague from Washington State. With the 112th United States Congressional and the 82nd Texas Legislative sessions set to begin, we thought a look at patient choice and spiritual care would be appropriate. Read all of Bill’s posts at his own site Here.  We hope you find today’s post informative. –

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Patient choice and spiritual care have a history in Texas and should remain.

To be attractive to all its citizens, Texas’ health care should include responsible spiritual care as an option for insurance coverage available through its insurance exchanges.

No monopoly:

Texas has always had respect for patient choice regarding health care. Therefore, it is important that any new legislation should include reasonable health care alternatives. Also, the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry should not monopolize the system.

Why is that unacceptable?

There is no national or state precedence for codifying medical care as the only viable method of healing. Accommodations for spiritual care have been in federal and Texas plans for decades. With so many recent reports highlighting serious problems with affordability, medical research and the pharmaceutical industry – a safe and economic health care alternative is essential.

Without a spiritual care provision within the current health care bill, those who seek alternatives to medical care will be left out. They will be required to purchase health insurance that does not include the care they have found works best for them. Hopefully, Texas legislators will not be in the business of sanctioning and supporting the ever-increasing dependence on pharmaceuticals to maintain health; but rather they will find it appropriate to adopt legislation that represents all the health care choices of Texas citizens.

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study released in 2004 stated that more than half the population sought alternatives to mainstream medicine, spending annually in excess of 12-billion dollars out-of-pocket. The same study showed that prayer for one’s own health or the health of others was the number one alternative of choice.

A Pew study in 2009 indicated that 36% of Americans have experienced or witnessed divine healing.

Choice matters:

Christian Science is a system of prayer-based health care that has been safely relied on by Texans for over a century.  It works without the burden of immense financial resources that are needed to fund medical and pharmaceutical research and development.

It would be unfair and unjust to penalize anyone by excluding effective forms of care in any new legislation. If Texas wants a large risk pool, it should encompass everyone using care that is cost effective and reliable.

Of course, no accommodation should be made just for those relying on Christian Science care. Health care legislation should be all inclusive of religious or spiritual health care expenses that are deductible under section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as in effect in January 1, 2010. This includes holistic healers, American Indians and others.

Cost effective:

Christian Science is a cost effective form of care with low utilization, improved outcomes, and complete health resolutions. It is a patient centered care, — a complete approach to health care.

Christian Science practitioners are self-employed individuals who devote themselves to helping and healing others through prayer. They receive no payments from a church. They generally charge $25 – $50 a day for prayerful treatment.

Christian Science nurses provide skillful, non-medical, physical care for anyone relying on Christian Science for healing. This care includes bathing, wound care, assistance with mobility, and feeding. Christian Science nurses also make house calls, and they generally charge $25 an hour for their services.

As well, there are Christian Science nursing facilities throughout the United States (one in Richardson, Texas) where people obtain quality care.  Currently, expenses associated with these non-medical institutions are covered under the Federal plans Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare (military dependents).

Christian Science is a form of self-care that includes daily study and prayer. It strengthens those who practice it, instead of making them increasingly dependent on medications. It is both preventative and curative.

Again, patient choice and spiritual care have a history in Texas and should remain.

What does Christmas mean to a Christian Scientist

This is reposted from a blog by Kay Stroud, Christian Science Media Representative and Liason for Queensland Australia. Find out What Christmas means to a Christian Scientist.

As I was digging out the Christmas tree and decorations from the cupboard, sorting out the tinsel and testing and replacing the lamps in the Christmas tree lights today I got to thinking about what Christmas means to me. There was a time when we were raising the children that the preparations for Christmas were nearly overwhelming – selecting the presents, putting them on lay-by and paying them off over several months, baking for and attending various Christmas parties and functions, buying presents for the children’s friends and teachers, supporting them in their end of year performances for school, ballet and music, double-checking that everyone in the family had just the right gift bought and lovingly wrapped and placed under the tree, and making preparations for Christmas holidays away at either the beach or with family, or both. The list went on, and on…..

Today, as a grandparent I have much more time for reflection and appreciation of the significance of Christmas. As a Christian Scientist, I place great importance on the life of Christ Jesus. The foretelling of the promised coming of the Messiah, the virgin birth, his ministry of teaching and healing and his later crucifixion, resurrection and ascension are key to Christian Science theology.

But to me personally, Jesus is my mentor and the guy who has shown me the way to health, happiness and harmony. Without his life and example the world would be quite a different place. He gave me a glimpse that:

  • there is one, infinite God who is All and all-good, that God is not distant and unknowable, but that He/She is Father-Mother, all-embracing and always present;
  • every individual is made in God’s spiritual image, loved by God and cared for by Him;
  • every suggestion of sickness or disease is something I don’t need to accept. If Jesus could heal every possible instance of sickness or disease through prayer and the acknowledgement of God’s goodness and infinite Love for man than we can find solutions through prayer too;
  • life is actually eternal and the suggestion of a death process is an illusion.

The book that has explained Jesus teachings and healings as recorded in the Bible andmade it clear enough to demonstrate myself is Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. Without the wisdom, spiritual understanding and practical science expounded in this book I wouldn’t have such a clear understanding of my relationship to God or know how to demonstrate this understanding, which when applied has such a tangible effect—such as restored relationships, financial well-being, physical healing, character transformation and so on.

For the record, now I’m not so inclined to be caught up in the window-dressing about Christmas. It’s now not so much about presents, Santa and worshipping a dear little baby as about emulating the works of the adult Jesus in my everyday life throughout the year. And that means that I have a choice every day! When I put into practice this Science of Christianity I feel the love and joy usually reserved for Christmas every day.