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AHH 24-Hr. News

Ocean Avenue School Celebrates Reading with Fun Staff Video
Monday, 02 March 2015
Featuring teachers and staff dancing and singing to a remake of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" MIDDLETOWN, NJ - The staff at Ocean Avenue Elementary School created a fun, friendly video in honor of Read Across America Day to encourage students... Read More...
IMAGE Spring Forward and Change Your Batteries on Sunday
Monday, 02 March 2015
PHOTO: County Fire Marshal Henry Stryker III remind residents that the spring and fall time changes are perfect reminders to test this equipment and, if your detectors are battery operated, you should change the batteries as well. Semi-annual... Read More...
County Health Department to Offer Cancer Screenings
Monday, 02 March 2015
Cancer screenings and mammogram clinics offered through December FREEHOLD, NJ – Preventative care is essential to maintaining good health. To promote preventative measures, the Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) is offering several cancer... Read More...
Keansburg Amusement Park Rebuilding Historic Old Heidelberg Inn
Monday, 02 March 2015
Keansburg, NJ – Keansburg Amusement Park is currently rebuilding the historic Old Heidelberg Inn after it was completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy more than 2 years ago.   Dating back to the early 1930’s Keansburg Amusement Park is... Read More...
IMAGE Freeholders Honor County High School Football Teams
Sunday, 01 March 2015
Five teams won NJSIAA State Championship titles for 2014 season FREEHOLD, NJ – On Thursday, Feb. 26, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders recognized the five MonmouthCounty high school football teams who took home State Championship... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Bay Birds Attempt to Avoid Bay Ice
by Joe Reynolds
Monday, 02 March 2015
Brrrrrrrr. No doubt this was a cold winter season. Just how cold? February officially made it into the record books as the coldest February in... Read More...
IMAGE Bullers Went from Journalist to Advocate
by Daniel J. Vance
Sunday, 01 March 2015
Last week, I featured long-time journalist and disability advocate Finn Bullers of Kansas City, Kansas. I'm now featuring him again because of the... Read More...
IMAGE Monmouth Republicans Have a Bright Future
by Jack Archibald
Sunday, 01 March 2015
If last weekend was any indication, the Monmouth County Republican Party is in very good shape. In the dead of winter, the Monmouth GOP held two... Read More...
IMAGE Poetical License and Truth
by George Hancock-Stefan
Friday, 27 February 2015
Our Monmouth County neighbor Mr. Brian Williams from NBC was suspended for telling a story about his time in Iraq that was not completely... Read More...
IMAGE Skewed View - February 27, 2015
by Tom Brennan
Friday, 27 February 2015
Are you on you phone reading this eating a free sample at Whole Foods now?Then you may run into one of these people: http://bit.ly/1aiquX5 First... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Fri Mar 06 @ 2:00PM - 07:00PM
Income Tax Help - Union Beach
Fri Mar 06 @ 7:00PM -
'Night at the Races' - AHES
Mon Mar 09 @ 7:00PM -
AH - American Legion Meeting
Wed Mar 11 @ 1:00PM -
NARFE Meets
Wed Mar 11 @ 7:00PM -
AH Council Meeting

george_hancockstefanThis past Wednesday, I was in the airport from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM before my flight left.  I arrived for a 9:00 AM flight that was full.  In fact, I was taken on the plane because there was an empty seat, but when I got there, the steward was told that he counted wrong, and the person sitting in that seat was only in the bathroom.  I was transferred to a later 2:30 PM flight that was equally full. The next flight was at 5:30 PM, which was delayed until 7:00 PM.  In spite of all of these delays, I was glad to get on the last flight so I could visit my sisters and their families on the West Coast.  I was so easily bumped from all these flights because I flew on a buddy pass given to me by a friend. I am so thankful to my friend, even when I find myself in situations like these.

As I waited in the airport, I had a chance to reflect on the plans of Mary and Joseph.  Most of their plans did not go as they hoped they would. 

Mary, like the majority of the Jewish girls, wanted to present herself to Joseph as a virgin bride who waited in the betrothal time. That is the reason she asked the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?” Yet in that moment, her plans completely changed when she submitted to the message of the angel by saying, "Let it be done to me according to your word."

Joseph is introduced as a righteous man who is surprised that his betrothed (pledged to be married to him) is pregnant.  His plans completely changed.  As a righteous man, he decided that he will not make a scandal over this issue, and he will leave her quietly. Instead, he listened to the angel and took Mary in his house and thus becomes the one that gives the name Jesus to the Son that was conceived in Mary by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit.

Then, Governor Quirinius comes with a new edict.  All had to register in the town of their forefathers.  This was the wrong time for Mary and Joseph to travel. Yet the punishment for forfeiting this census was so severe that they decided to travel to Bethlehem. The reception that they had in Bethlehem was not the best, and Jesus Christ was born in the manger.

When they planned to return home, another angel of the Lord told them that they had to change their plans again and this time leave the country completely and go to a foreign land. They traveled to Egypt and when they came back, their plans changed again as the angel told them that even though Herod has died, his son Archelaus reigned in his place and they should go to a different location.

I was thinking that if I did not receive a seat on that last flight, my only option would have been to return home instead of going to visit my sisters. I made my plans, but they seemed not to work for at least 12 hours as I was bumped from one flight to another.

 

I was thinking of other people whose plans completely changed this year.  I was thinking of people whose plans changed drastically because of Hurricane Sandy.  I was thinking of the changed plans for the families in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.  All these people had plans in the morning, which by the end of the day completely changed and their lives will never be the same.

When the plans of life change drastically, said the famous theologian, Miroslav Volf, is it easier to be an atheist and talk about the merciless and cruel nature (or even call her mother nature), or talk about a personal God?  The well-known American deists, Ralph Emerson and David Thoreau, would say that God is involved in many universal matters, but He is not involved in the plane ticket and travel plans of George Hancock-Stefan.  They perhaps would say that God was somehow involved in the birth of Jesus Christ (even though they would deny his divinity), but not at all involved in such a devastating hurricane as Sandy. 

Many Christians have Jeremiah 29:11 as one of their favorite verses.  Jeremiah writes, "For I know the plans that I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." However, when our plans seem to go in so many directions and they are no longer the plans that we hoped for, it gets more difficult to see how they are good.

For that reason, I have another verse that I have memorized.  It is Psalm 55:22, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."  My trip was a planned ‘care’ - I wanted to arrive at a certain destination and towards the end of the day I was convinced that if the Lord wanted me to go to the West Coast, a seat will become available on the plane, but if that was not His will, I will take the train and go home.  

This does not mean that I do not envision and I do not plan. In fact, I have already planned the titles and the texts of the sermons that I will preach for January-June 2013.  I have about six trips planned for the same period.  These trips are intensive lectures series, presentations of academic papers, and sermons in other churches. We have special events planned for our children. Rather, what I have learned to do is to plan and to entrust my plans in the hands of the Lord asking for His blessing and for him to bring them to glorious fruition.

I pray that your plans for next year will come to fruition and that you will rejoice greatly in seeing blessings abundant on your path. However, if you find yourself waiting in an airport, or if your plans have been delayed, postponed, or rerouted, remember that God is aware of those plans and He will lead you through. He is as involved and present in the plans that come to fruition as He is involved and present in the ones that are slowed down, rerouted, or postponed.  With this in mind, I am looking forward to His plan for my return trip to New Jersey this Saturday.