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Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible

Pastors get some of the most interesting questions from people they meet and people in their congregations. Here are a few questions that I have received in my years of ministry and via email for this column.

Dear Father Paul: Another Easter has come and gone and I spent most of it in the kitchen. I have one sister and two sisters-in-law all of whom live in large homes in this area. But somehow I am the one who always gets the “honor” of hosting the family’s (large) get togethers at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. I am a believer and love blessing people, especially my family, but I am not getting any younger and I am always “worn out” afterward. Mom and Dad are in their eighties and are no help. I don’t want to alienate my family, but I am beginning to feel like I am “being used.” Any thoughts? — No Name Please.

Dear Friend: You don’t say how long you have been serving as hostess, but if you are feeling “used,” change is certainly in order. Serving as hostess to your entire family should be done out of a sense of love and the joy of seeing your family members enjoy themselves ... not from some misguided sense of obligation. It is very likely that the others in your family think that this arrangement is perfectly OK with you since you sound like a very gracious person and probably haven’t mentioned any of your concerns to them. They probably don’t have a clue that you are unhappy.

Try this. At the next holiday, probably Thanksgiving, 2009 (which will likely be at your house) ... after the meal is served and everyone has finished and is feeling good, stand and get everyone’s attention. Then say that you have very much enjoyed hosting these family gatherings for the last (blank) number of years, but that you now feel it is time that as a family we “spread the joy” of hosting these get togethers and that I want to allow others the privilege of serving as host. Don’t complain about getting little help in the past. In fact, be gracious and say, “I’ll be glad to help whoever hosts our family dinners in the future.” Have a sheet ready with the next four events and the dates listed followed by blanks. Sign your name on the last blank then pass the sheet around and ask the other three families to “pick the dates that work best for them.” My guess is that the other members of your family will surprise you with their willingness to help.

Dear Father Paul: If the “one true God” ... the God of the Bible, is Jehovah, why do people say that Jesus is God? — Alex

Dear Alex: That’s a really good question, especially in this day of “relativism,” i.e., the notion that any one religion is as good as any other, and that they will all somehow “get you to heaven.”

Jesus himself answers your question in the Gospel of John, chapter 14 when he talks about “the Father,” or Jehovah. In this passage he is talking with his disciples. He tells them that he is going away (back to heaven) and that while he is away he will prepare a place for them and that they know the way to the place he is going. Thomas then says, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, how can we know the way?” Jesus then answers Thomas, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” So much for relativism. Jesus says that he is the only way to heaven, period. According to Jesus, all other religions are false.

Some would say, “That is a hard, harsh teaching Father Paul. Not very ‘inclusive,’ not very ‘modern.’” To which I would answer, these aren’t my words, but the words of God. Why do I say the “words of God?” Read on.

Then another of the disciples, Philip, speaks up and says, “Lord, show us the Father (Jehovah) and that will be enough for us.” To which Jesus replies, (and answers your question Alex). “Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been with you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has (also) seen the Father. How can you say, ‘show us the Father.’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father living in me, who is doing his work; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” Basically Alex, Jesus and the Father (Jehovah) are one and the same. Wow! Yes, it is a mystery. That is why he is God and we are not.

Special Note: Thanks to many of my friends and readers for their kind words and prayers during the final illness of my precious 94 year-old mother, Corine Massey Anglin. She is now absent from the body, and present with the Lord.

Do you have a question? I will try to answer you in the paper. Email me at or call me at (678) 457-3050.

Father Paul Massey is pastor of Church of the Holy Cross Charismatic Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Georgia. Church of the Holy Cross is evangelical, charismatic and catholic ... together ... in one church, and is modeled after the ancient, historic New Testament church. Information is available at holy

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