Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So Glad He Never Gave Up On Me

On this wonderful month of July, 31 years ago, God created one of his favorite and most successful creations outside of Christ himself…….ME. Okay, stop laughing……no seriously stop…it can’t be that funny. As my birthday swept to and fro, I couldn’t help but to process an examination of what the last 31 yrs of my life has looked like. It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride of good and bad memories, decisions I’m happy I made, others I wish I could re-do again, and some that still haunt me today. What always astonishes me is the thought that we are all hand picked and created from God himself. Life isn’t accidental, nor is it by chance. That become the major subject of this thought process.

We all have a past, and I have made many….many…..many mistakes throughout my life. I have caused pain in the lives of others, and to be honest I wouldn’t say my life’s resume is anything to brag about. As I meditated on a lot of my life choices I really began to appreciate the love that God shows when a child is born. Think about it, we are all born innocent and tend to take the lives we have been given and decide to go all kamikaze with them. Then we grow up at some point between 30 and 65yrs of age and calm down. Yet, God still blesses us with the opportunity to live in hopes that we will choose to follow him and develop that father / child relationship he created us for.

God isn’t prejudice of what we could turn out like, yet he still chooses to create us and gives us free reign over our lives….knowing most will choose to break his heart through our refusal to love him, or even grow up to deny his very existence. Now that is love. I want you to look over the decisions you have made throughout your life, pain you may have caused, choices you have made, yet God created you out of love because he believes in you. He really never gives up on us, even if we have given up on ourselves. What if we had a choice whether to create life based on the end result of what they do with it, how many people on this earth would have never been given the chance to live? Would you have been created? If I were to list the good and bad of my life on two sides of a paper I believe the bad would’ve out weighed the good, for only the last couple years of my life have been semi-applaudable. If mankind had a choice would I have been created?

I thank God all the time that he chose to bless me with the breath of life, knowing the paths I would take throughout life. It took me 29 years to realize who he was, and for some it will be the last minutes of their life before they really decide to hand their heart over to God. What blows my mind is how he will create that person and wait their whole life for those couple minutes of one on one affection, so he can hold their hand for all of eternity in his heavenly house. When I think back in life I can see all the different times God continuously reached out to introduce himself to me whether it was through friends, family, strangers, experiences, hardships, times of happiness, and so on. Yet with every smack of his hand he patiently waited to meet the son he gave life to 31 yrs ago. He lovingly waited 28 straight years watching me make decisions that caused him pain, walking down paths he tried so hard for me to avoid, choosing actions he wished I didn’t. In the end he never gave up on me and never stopped extending his hand for me to grab.

I thank you God for you have changed my life. There were times I chose to hold the hand of your enemy, and pretend like you weren’t there and yet you never gave up on me. You created me knowing my imperfections and loved me anyway. You have blessed me with a life I don’t deserve and have pulled me out of the hands of your enemy and a life of destruction that only leads to death. You have changed my heart and continue to make me a better man, husband, and father. It is because of you my children will grow up with your name tattooed on their hearts. It’s because of you that their morals with be strengthened, and it’s through you that my wife and I will be together until death do us part. I look forward to many more years together and the lessons you will put at my feet, and I pray that I will never let you down. Amen

Monday, June 6, 2011

How I found Freedom From Religion With Christ Part Two

Finding Freedom At Last

In my previous Blog I wrote about my experience growing up in organized religion and how this experience actually drove me away from God. For many…many…. years I felt like a spiritual orphan wondering around with this void in my heart where God used to reside. I was confused because I was raised only knowing God one way and if that’s what worshiping God was all about I wanted nothing to do with it. Years would go by and slowly and slowly my life began to distance itself from the morals that were once in my heart. In a lot of ways I feel like to protocol son. I feel like God allowed to try this life thing on my own by releasing me to the wolves as they say. Almost a decade would go by and one day I found myself attending a church with then girlfriend (now wife).

The funny part about God is he never really let’s go 100%, just like a parent who allows their children to fall so they learn to trust their advice, I believe God did the same so you learn to appreciate his guidance in the bible. The problem I faced was I was looking at a whole new way of belief systems that conflicted what I was raised to believe. So I finally said to heck with it and decided to purchase a bible and hit the restart button. You see I lived my life up to now going off of what others taught on the podium. I figured they were a ton more educated then me, and most religious leaders seem like they are far more advanced in life then what we’ll ever achieve. The problem with living life this way is you never quite come to a complete understanding of God, and where does the relationship begin when all the knowledge and faith you receive comes third party a couple times a week.

Imagine if you never met your parents (as some out there can relate to) and the only way you would come to learn about them is through random conversations from different friends and family members. For one, you never know if the information or stories are biased. For two, it their interpretations of that person’s experience with your parents. Lastly, do you ever really get a clear picture of who your parent’s are if they are random stories here and there from different people adding their spin on things? How can you know for sure, and how can you begin to build an appreciation and love for them through such a structure. On the other hand, what if they kept daily journals throughout their life documenting their every experience. How would this change your relationship and understanding of who they are? How wonderful it would be, and what a clearer picture would this help paint on who your parents really were.

This is what I eventually came to when I decided to start all over in my relationship with God. I decided to clear my head, heart, and mind of what everyone else around was saying about how I had to worship God, and what I should believe. I decided to go out and by a good study bible and read it for myself and allow the bible to educate me from the ground up of what God was all about. I never thought this lone decision would change my life in the way it has. I began with the book of Matthew and worked my way to Revelation, then went back and read the Old Testament. What an eye opener it was. I began to read about Christ first hand, and learned what kind of man he really was. I was shocked by how laid back and down to Earth he was. He didn’t go around casting judgment and spitting the fire and brimstone I had faced throughout my life. I would come to appreciate the loving kindness he bestowed to the people society had given up on in their day, like the poor that everyone choose to ignore, the sick society choose to discard and forget about, those whose lives were riddle with bad decisions and yet he was always there to help them understand that they were still loved and desired.

That spoke to me at a time in my life where I really did feel like an outcast. According to my past religious orientation I was excommunicated, and some of my closet family members choose to separate themselves permanently from me in the name of God. Even to this day I have family members who have never met my kids, and some I haven‘t talked to in over a decade…sad. As I read on I would get to the book of John that really laid out how much God truly loves and misses mankind. I started to realize that my walk with God was not one based on what organization I was a part of, on the contrary it was a one on one relationship that the bible was created for. It was about you and God and everything else was meant as a compliment, encourage, and develop your relationship with God and nothing more. When I got to the book of Roman’s I had truly found some of my greatest questions being answered.

I had still felt that I was so unworthy and that I was labeled for hell because of my standing in my organization. Then Paul began to teach how all men were imperfect, and no one would ever be perfect enough no matter what kind of good deeds they did, you could never earn your salvation. He would go on to teach how Christ’s death had covered all of mankind’s sin, and all one needed to do to start this wonderful journey from scratch was to have faith and believe in Christ and proclaim your repentance for your sins. You would always….always…always fall into sin throughout your life, but in doing so God would help your conscience grow and it would be followed by true repentance….followed by God’s grace and forgiveness. MAN……when I realized I needed no man to receive forgiveness from God and I could fall to my knee’s to restart my relationship with God, I literally fell to my knee’s and cried out to God. I felt like a million pounds of anxiety, depression, and unworthiness had finally been sand blasted off of my very soul. I would go on to read about our first congregations and what church was really about and how loving they were all throughout the world from Jerusalem to Asia Minor, there was nothing but universal love for one another. There wasn’t anything separating Christians. I would go on to learn so much more about God and who he was and develop a new found relationship that I never thought was possible. I found freedom in Christ, in learning that a relationship with him is far less stressful then what we are surrounded with today, there was really no strings attached to this relationship.

In doing so I found a church that mimicked what I would see in the New Testament. It had nothing to do with an allegiance to a organization, or a strict regiment of must do’s in order to be allowed to advance in your relationship with God. Instead I was able to wash Oak Creek Assembly of God against what the bible taught about how a proper church should look like and found a place that promoted free spiritual growth with no strings attached and I believe there are more like that out their. It just takes some time, prayer, and strong biblical foundation to have the patience to find them. The bible is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received from God and it has help me through some tough times, more then that it has helped me find God in a world riddled with confusion, pain, judgment, and cut through all of the clout that’s out there when it comes to God. I hope if you get anything out of this blog, it’s God has never changed…mankind has done a good job of painting layers over his originality. I truly hope if you can relate to my testimony and if other have caused you to feel as if you aren’t good enough for God or maybe the persona of a Christian has turned you away from anything to do with God to give him a chance. Pick up his book and let him get to know you on a one on one level and I bet you’ll be shocked to see how different he really is from what you thought. God Bless

Sunday, May 1, 2011

How I Found Freedom From Religion Through Christ Part 1

Scars From The Past

As I grew up from baby on, I have always been exposed to the notion of God in some way shape or form. Like most, once I got a taste of freedom after I moved out I ran as fast as I could from the notion of religion or God. Why is that, why do most choose to distance themselves as far away from church as they can? What would you say stops you from wanting anything do due with religion. What causes those walls in your heart to raise once the word God, bible, church, Jesus, or anything of religious nature enters those ears of yours.

Why is it that causes most people to look at the bible like it's a pyramid scene? In a sense I would have to agree with this last statement. Like many reading this I was raised in religion, we liked to knock on your doors every Saturday like clock work. Here's what drove me out, and mind you I loved my organization and it was entrenched in every aspect of my life. As I grew up I found myself always going toe to toe with my pastoral staff when it came to biblical teachings and their dogma attached to it.

I began to see one major problem with organized religion, it's all about the organization and its rules, dogma, traditions, theories, etc. It's their leaders that are put on God like pedestals, and their rules that are on top of biblical teachings.  It's about power, and nothing more. In truth God and Jesus come second to religion all together. As my imperfections manifested themselves throughout my life I faced a literal tribunal which encompassed a long table, my parents, and panel of the congregations elders. They would present the sin I did and begin an array of questions in an effort to drain every nitty gritty detail to see if I was repentant or not. I would then leave, only to be called back in a presented with a sanction that could be as little as a verbal scolding, loss of a privledge, or flat out excommunication.

In order to be viewed as religiously pure I had to show traits of repentance over a certain time period. After such a time and another meeting with the elders I would be deemed “reproved” and an actual announcement would be communicated to the congregation. Crazy hey? So my salvation was judged and determined by other imperfect men that sinned just like me, and viewed their roles no different then a typical politician. The message was allegiance to the organization first while following God according to their rules. I never looked at my walk with God as a one on one thing, instead I looked at my walk with God as a chore list of items I had to continuously submit to in order to reap visual and verbal applause from my congregation and their leaders. To be honest I found worshiping God to be the most aggravating, stressful, painful experience of my life. I felt like I was never good enough, and in the end I felt spiritually abused to be honest.

This is where I think a lot of people can relate and why so many people are turned off to the notion of God and anything to do with Church. I once asked my cousin to join me at church and she wanted to, but her fear was by coming she was committing herself to an organization. I don't blame her. Before I settled down at Oak Creek Assembly of God I went through a lot of churches. I just wanted to show up, worship God a little, learn something new, and be surround by others of like mind. Instead I would sit there being bombarded by sales pitches to join their organization. I would see pastor's who ran their church more like a personal kingdom rather then a place of spiritual growth.

I was ready to give up on God. I had experienced more pain, strife, anxiety, stress, sadness, and just plain out mental abuse in the name of God then anything, and I mean anything, then I had ever experienced. Let's be honest religion has even found a way to separate Christianity itself. They read the same bible and pray to the same Jesus, and yet it's not about being a Christian...it's about being a Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Methodist, etc. Organization first, bible second. So what changed you might ask? After all isn't this a Christian blog? Isn't this to help me come one step closer to God and some day step into a Church? You would be correct, and this is because I found religious freedom through Christ. This is what we are going to cover in part 2

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Refused To Loose Faith

Hello everyone…it’s been a while since my last blog due in part to a little something called writers block. I’m more of a fan of quality over quantity, and the very fact you take time out of an already busy day to read what I have to say means a lot to me. In no way would I ever want to loose this privilege. So what insight will I write on today you might ask, and in reply I would have to say sadness. You see over the last two years I have really grown to appreciate the big man upstairs ssssooooo much in part to the relationship I feel I have been able to create with him. Now, in no way am I writing to toot my own horn and I promise in the end my purpose should come together…..hopefully. In creating this relationship I have seen certain changes come about in both my moral system, the way I view life, and what I consider a purpose for my life.

I have noticed that along my personal journey to learn more about God that it has transitioned more into a lifestyle in which I find myself constantly analyzing my actions and how they stack up biblically. I have found that not only has this journey changed me as a person morally, but it has also changed the way I look upon others in life. I am starting to feel obligated to remove my focus from myself and in turn live life for others because of love I constantly see in the foot steps of Christ. I have noticed that my passion in life, in the simplest terms, is how can I live for God on a daily basis….how can I do my part to help reverse all of the pain, hypocrisy, and falseness that has destroyed the image of God among ssssooooo many people.

This is where the sadness comes in. As I look around in my everyday adventures I just don’t see God in our society anymore…it’s like the idea of God has diminished from America. I mean not even two decades ago it was a norm for families to still pray together for dinner, neighborhood churches were still filled, and morally one could get arrested for using certain words on TV…..heck divorce was still taboo. You would never hear a curse word on public TV or Radio, and just 40 yrs ago Elvis was being sweated for shaking his hips. What has happened to us, when did we give up on our moral system and say to heck with it.

Call me over the top, but it blows my mind as I listen to secular radio as hear the never ending barrage of sex, drugs, and language our youth hears on an hourly basis. Public TV is just as bad, I challenge you to find a show that in some way does promote sex before marriage, experimentation with drugs or alcohol, defying parental guidance, divorce, adultery….I think you get the jest of it. Most of these acts are performed by underage actors for our children to repeat. Now I only speak for myself, but to me its like the bible is loosing a battle that has spiraled to far out of control, and that’s where my heart has felt so burdened lately.

It is a wonderful feeling to be apart of a church where you can see God actively working in the lives of others, and seeing more and more lives transformed, but outside of those walls and in everyday life I feel as if society has swept the bible and it’s teachings under the rug. My prayers have changed because just as Moses prayed on behalf of millions, Samuel on behalf of nations, and Jesus for us, I believe one man’s faithful prayer for a nation can still be heard. I have come to a peace in my heart that every aspect of the bible is 100% true ……. every story, every miracle, and every prophecy, from page one of Genesis to the last word in Revelation. While a lot reading this may not agree with my last statement, I have come to a point where my faith is so strong in the word of God that, in all honesty, there lingers no doubt.

Because of this, I will continue to pour my heart out to God asking for a revival in every beating heart alive today, because I believe my prayers count and that my faith holds weight in the hands of God almighty. I will continue to ask for opportunities to pour love into the lives of others in the same way he has poured into mine. I will continue to pray that I never cause any to feel judged, or oppressed through my actions, and that I may live humbly in an effort to peel away the layers of distrust so many have built up when they hear the word bible or God.

I believe it is never to late to change a society and that everyone, no matter your status, can have an affect on those around them simply by choosing to. Because of this I will continue to challenge those reading these bloggs to look around your community and give back to those who have never been blessed. It is though our acts of earnest kindness with no strings attached I believe God will open up doors. God Bless

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Want to Hear The Crazy Story Of How My Wife and I Hooked Up

Every morning I awake to the sounds of a scrambled old alarm clock sitting next to my bed, and every morning I hit the snooze button about 5 times before I am able to turn around and open my eye's. It is at this moment in my daily tradition that I realized how blessed I truly am as I gaze upon one of the most beautiful creations ever hand crafted by God himself....my wonderful wife. This month is going to be our four year anniversary of marriage and eight year anniversary of being a couple. Eight years, thought it may not be long to many of you old timers, it is a long time to be with a person. I think what makes our story so special is how we made it this far, and vital the role God plays in transforming us as Husband and Wife

So lets go back eight years as you come to a beginning of our relationship that was riddled with chaos and often ended in our traditional weekend break ups (flower shops pulled a pretty dime off of me for our first couple years of dating).You see, when we first met I wasn't what some would call a God fearing man, and my wife was entering into the typical “I just turned 21 phase”, which is often followed by a Rolodex of bad decisions. One of my best friends was working with my wife at the time and decided she was going to hook up her two favorite people even though Hannah and I hadn't met nor spoke before, and how would she go about doing this...in a club of all places, (don't judge me..this was in my B.C days). So there I am being introduced to my future wife to be. Now what I didn't know was my friend was talking me up and making me out to look like mighty Don Juan, and I had no idea. I thought Hannah was just a normal friend of a friend with no strings attached. So what does any good person do, try to hook this nice girl up with a good friend of mine. You heard it right, I tried to hook this girl who would go on to be my future wife to be with a friend of mine. See what happens when people don't communicate with each other!!!!!

If I would of known this hotty bagotti was there to meet mu-ah, do you think I would've made that mistake...that's a negative. So my first blind date with Hannah was me ignoring her and passing her off to a good buddy of mine...burn. The night would end with grabbing a burrito with my match maker Tia, and Hannah. This is where the sparks would begin. Later we would re-do another date in which I forgot what she looked like from our previous dinner three weeks previous , played liked Joey giving the “How you doing face” to every blond I ran into until I finally we met again....but...that's another story in itself. Now you would think it would be poetry from there, but in fact our relationship would go on to become a roller coaster ride of weekly break ups, massive emails of apologies until one day my wife, who was raised as a Christian all her life, realized she had drifted off of a very vital road in which she used to walk hand in hand with God. She realized that she had not listened to how her parents raised her, and ignored the very book she held so dear to herself. She made one of the hardest choices in her life...to end our relationship. What made it worse is we were engaged at this time.

I was going to church with her, but I was only going to make her happy. When we would get home all my Christianity stayed in the car. For Hannah she had come into a hard cross road in her life. She loved me to death, but she loved God even more and did not want to create a family with a man who couldn't be the spiritual leader she needed. You see she was starting to get that relationship with God back that she had lost over the years and wanted a man that could be king of her household, a man that would complement her desire for a Godly family. After three years dating the hammer came down and the break up was u..g...l...y.., man that girl knows how to break up, broke a man down.

Now here I am all by myself, ticked off blaming the whole thing on her, because lets be real I'm perfect..J/K. Something interesting would begin to happen, you see God doesn't waste any seed planted in a person's heart no matter how deep that seed has to go.  I would find myself missing church on Sundays, and one day, on my own accord.  I began to seek out God out by going to church. I was beginning to develop a relationship with God that I never thought was in me, and this time it had nothing to do with Hannah. It was during this time that I got some of the best advice on relationships. I would call my old pastor to vent on what I felt went wrong. After listening to me Hannah bash, she would go on to tell me how she never heard me mention any of my faults. She mentioned that when a person concentrates on fixing whats wrong with them and focuses on their own faults vs pointed out their partners faults, the other seems to follow suit since their left with looking at themselves in the mirror.

I had never missed a women in the way I missed Hannah. For me relationships were a dime a dozen, and I think a lot of my ex's, unfortunately, would agree to that. It would be almost seven months of not hearing from Hannah, not seeing her, I mean nothing. I had finally came to terms that my relationship with Hannah was come to an end, and after seven months my friends had talked me into going out for a blind date. Now I know God had to have a game plan when it came to us, because guess who shows up out of the blue after all this time on the day that I have a blind date. You guessed it right....Hannah. The freaky part is we had no mutual friends, she had her people, I had mine. I came out and man...she was looking finer then ever. Now you know since a brotha was single I was in reconstruction mode myself, after re-sculpting this already chiseled body.

What was different is that we both had time to individually create our own walk with God and truly do some house cleaning of the soul. We had missed each other so bad, but had many things about each other we could not put up with again. We would act as if we met for the very first time in laying down ground rules on things we absolutely had to have to move forward, such as: communication, true godly standards, patience, thinking of the other before themselves, and that we would walk hand in hand in helping each other create a family structure that made sense. It was a hard slow road to get back what was so damaged. My pastor once said if you live life concentrating on the needs and desires of your spouse over yours, and they are to practicing such love you can never go wrong. Hannah and I are a testimony of this. We have been back together four years since that big break up and I can honestly tell you that we haven't had a major argument or went to bed angry with one another in FOUR YEARS. We make sure that everyday God plays a role in our lives and that we serve him as a family.

As a couple we make sure each night ends with us praying over our children and ourselves as a couple. We make it an effort to end our nights in scripture. Ministry is a vital part of our relationship, and whats so important is that we make sure that any action we make, we make as a family. We are equals in this house. I am so blessed to have a wife that is the definition of self sacrifice. Every day I come home to a wife with a smile on her face and arms wide open. She is a women who lives life with the intention to spread more love then her little petite body can hold, and to be honest she has made me a better man in the process. I am blessed..I am Blessed,,,,and happy anniversary baby XOXOXO.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dear God

I’m sitting here tonight after a wonderful Sunday filled with some good quality time together, and I find myself wanting more. God I must admit I often find myself wondering if I have made you proud since your creation of me 30 years ago, or have I taken this life for granted. I wish I could go back to my first taste of freedom at 18 years of age and start off life in service to you, instead of concentrating on my own desires and needs, I would of chosen a different route, a life of pure service to your kingdom and to your will. It’s hard now that I am married with family, college, and a full time job to see how I can create such a lifestyle today, but I know with your guidance nothing is impossible.

As I sit back on my couch writing this I can’t help but to think of some of my friends and family who haven’t had the privilege of learning about you, or live their lives as if you really don’t exist. If only I could lay a figure on their hearts and give them a taste of what it feels like to have you in their life. God, I often fear loosing my family and those I care about so much to our adversary, and hate how he has blinded so many in this world. It almost feels as if your name has disappeared from our households, when not to long ago you were a name at the dinner table where families would pray together, and churches were packed. It hurts to see you disappearing from our nations moral system as a thing of the past., a fad, and old school way of thinking.

It breaks my heart to see so many children, so young, that are starting so early in life to fall into the snares that I would only see teenagers struggle with later in life. Hearing about 12 year olds who are ready having multiple sex partners, or already experimenting with drugs and alcohol. What blows my mind is how open parents are to promoting these lifestyles to their children with no fear of the outcome. My hear is filled with fear to see how our youth will grow up to raise their children. So many parents refuse to live by the higher standard required of us to lead our family, by example, to make sure our youth grows up better then we choose to. I guess I can’t blame our youth when they are surrounded 24/7 by sex, drugs, and the promotion of rebelling found in everything from their music, clothes, to their television shows. I remember the days when we had culture, and at least public TV used to ban cursing, nudity, and vile drug use. The days of leave it to beaver are dead.

God, our society needs you in the worse way, America needs you,. I pray God that you never give up on us and beg that you never turn you back from us even though we deserve it to the umpteenth level. Where did we go wrong God? Why have we turned out so vile as a nation? I pray for our family structures God because with out it this nation is doomed. You know what really hurts God, watching so man of your Christian followers sit back and choose to do nothing more then claim a title, go to church, and maybe attend some extra church activities. I must admit I am not really any better then most, but I try God….I try to find ways to help others see you for who you are.

This world would look so much different if more and more Christians choose to follow your sons words of loving their neighbor like themselves. What would this world look like if half of the Christians on this planet decided to gather together and serve their communities like Christ served his. I don’t think our nation would look like it does today, and I believe more people would understand how much you truly love us if we showed people more. I promise you God that my family and I will live life with our eyes looking to bless others instead of waiting for you to bring the people to us.

I miss my family God and hate that we have been separated in your name, it’s almost an oxymoron. It has been almost a decade since I last hugged my grandmother, or heard one of my grandfathers funny jokes. I pray that before my grandparents die I will be able to enjoy one last meal with them. It’s sad because the man they raised and saw walking down a life riddled with chaos, is so different today and I owe it all to you God. I thank you for opening my eye’s and heart to you and never giving up on me, even though at times I gave up on you. It’s because of your love and forgiveness in my life that I find it hard to hate those who at times deserve that place in my heart. How could I ever come to you and pray for your mercy if I refuse to live by your example.

At times I find myself yearning for the return of your Son, but at the same time there are so many whose names haven’t been inked in the book of life yet, and the thought of any going to Hell is unimaginable. I will say though, I can’t wait for the day I wake up to an Earth rid of sin and imperfection, a world where your name is worshipped in every house, a world where suffering is a forgotten subject, a world that never understands what it means to feel hungry or fear for your safety. It is almost unfathomable to picture a world of equality and peace, where everyone loves one another and murder, sickness, and morning are never heard again. To live in a world where doctors would be out of a job, and jails don’t exist. I can only sit back and dream, and I also know I may not be able to change the world on my own, but I can choose to sit back and do nothing. I promise I will never choose to nothing again God. Thank you for letting me ramble to you God and I will talk to you tomorrow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Do You Eat Your Lunch, Or Do You Share It

As we start off the year I’ve been doing a little self review, a little grade report on where I feel my walk with God is in comparison to where I would like it to be. In doing so, I’ve sat back to think where I was two years ago when I made my covenant with God. I asked myself, “Am I stronger then where I was two years ago? Can I say have grown, and have had a greater impact on where I was before”. Then came the hard question, have I plateaued in my walk from where I began? As I thought about this, I would have to agree; I was a little more disciplined and driven in my walk with God two years ago. In the last two years I have become comfortable in my place with God, and in turn, I believe I have hindered the work God could truly do in my life.

I find myself often praying and asking for opportunities to serve God, asking him guide me to people who I could offer prayer for, or people who I could help draw closer to him. As I review this last year, I didn’t find myself to active in these areas; often this blog was the only work I put in for God. Last Sunday one of our Pastor’s gave a talk about God the provider. It was in this talk that he asked the question, “do you eat your lunch or do you share it”. The whole basis of his talk was touching on the example of Jesus feeding 5,000+ people because of two fish and a couple loaves of bread a little boy gave to his apostles, which Jesus was able to multiply. It was about living life for others instead of living life for ones self. I must admit I left that sermon with a whole new look at my year, convicted you can say.

As I ended my night reading in the Book of Luke, I would find God’s word complimenting the very sermon I heard, as Jesus gave the parable of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. There was a theme I began to see in Jesus’ desires for mankind. In the parable a expert in the law asks Jesus, “what must I do to inherit eternal life” (a question I am always looking to answer). Jesus asks him, “What is written the law?” The answer was, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself”. It was the last the five words that stuck out to me and ties into that Sunday’s sermon. In fact, this is the theme that Jesus shows by example and continuously teaches to anyone who will listen; to love others more then you love yourself.

As a Christian I know there is so much more then putting money in an envelop that I can do to help bless others in the way I ask God to bless me and my family on a daily basis. I know there are people in my demographic who hurt, and have it far worse then I have ever experienced. I know there are people who have never been served, but lived life as the servant. I know there are people sitting in hospitals with no one to sit next to them, or families who could use a little tender loving care. What if for once I lived life outside of my world and choose to focus my time on the needs of others. I no longer have the excuse of saying, “I could do more if I had the money”. What if everyone reading this took one day of the month and dedicated it to someone else’s needs? What if everyone reading this looked into their excess and decided one day to look for someone else to bless, maybe it’s digging into the closet and blessing someone with some clothes we take for granted.

I see now why even though I have prayed for opportunities none have come, it’s because I have never gone out and looked. All these days of prayer thinking it was up to God to bring the people to me, instead, I should have been going out and letting God bring me to the people. People….we are so blessed as a nation We take it for granted the roof we have over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food in our stomach. Sure we may not be making the money we want, or drive the care we would like……but you have a car, something half of this world lacks. I truly feel as if God has shaken me down for my heart has never been so inflamed while my body is buzzing at the thought of how I can finally take the scriptures I read every night and actually put them to use. How I can finally help bring the love of God to life.

People are always saying how they would like to change the world, Christians are always saying how they would like to help people see and experience the love of God. Here is how we can, by sacrificing our time and going out and looking at where we can give back to others what we have been so blessed to take. This weekend I looked in my closet and was able to fill an entire hefty bag to it limits with clothes I no longer where. In my closet I found multiple pairs of in good shape shoes I no longer where. As I drive to work I always see the homeless, and those that you can see are entrenched in poverty. I plan on passing on some blessings. This year we should be doing okay in the tax return area, I think I’m going to walk around and look for someone to treat to a nice warm meal.

Every second Saturday their is a ministry called City on the Hill that caters to those homeless and in financial distress. I think my wife and I are going to be a servant for them and help make them feel VIP for a day. There is a cancer ward in our local hospital; I think my wife and I are going to help bring a smile to some children who haven’t smiled for a while. I get it now, I understand what Jesus was showing as he traveled healing the sick, feeding those who were hungry, and showing love to those whose communities outcasted them. What if every Christian put down their own agenda once a month, and served their community or lived each day looking for the chance to bless someone…..do you think communities would begin to see God in a different light? Could we possibly even change the way a community looked? Change your world, you can make a difference, and it doesn’t cost a thing.