I Am Wrecked…Again

Once again I am wrecked by what I see happening in Atlanta, Virginia and Minneapolis. I keep believing that one day, I will wake up and not hear about another person of color being victimized by the actions of a person filled with hate or a person quick to judge. But sadly, that seems like a dream. But hey, I am a dreamer.

So I will continue praying for my brothers and sisters of color. Praying that as you walk down the street, people will not clutch their purses or bags a little tighter. Praying as you visit a place of business, you will not be hassled. I pray if for some reason you are pulled over by the police, you will be treated with respect. I am saddened that I have to pray this prayer every day for my brothers and sisters of color. But I will not stop praying. I will not stop speaking out against injustice. I will continue to stand with you. ~OC

Come Home

Today is Easter. I love Resurrection Sunday. A day to celebrate the Risen King. This year for the first time in many years, I will not be at church celebrating this beautiful day. No, because of the effects of Covid and double pneumonia, I will be watching Easter service online at home. I know a lot of people are also walking through their own storms on this Easter Sunday. So I want to try and encourage you this morning with a few thoughts.

I know it can be hard to find rest when you cannot find peace. I know it can be hard to find rest when there is so much turmoil raging in your life. The weight of those storms make you feel like you are drowning. The pain from those storms are breaking your heart and spirit. Life seems overwhelming. The stress feels overwhelming. The anxiety feels overwhelming. The pain feels overwhelming. The emptiness feels overwhelming. The depression feels overwhelming. The struggle is real. Life is hard. But there is Hope.

During the times when life seems overwhelming, I want to encourage you to run to Jesus. The One who hung on a Cross and laid in a tomb for three days. The One who died for all of those storms and struggles we face. The One who is patiently waiting for us to come to him and lay all our burdens down at his feet. Today is Easter. The day Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of the One who gave it all for us. I can think of no better day to come home to The One who is waiting with open arms.

Let me be honest before I finish. Just because you lay all your junk at the feet of Jesus, does not mean all that junk immediately goes away. Sorry for that truth. But I can guarantee you, when you decide to turn over all that junk to Him, your life will be filled with a beautiful Peace. Your life will be filled with new Hope. New Purpose. You will still have days filled with raging storms, but you will not be walking through those storms alone. No, you will have a risen King walking with you. A risen King holding your hand. A risen King guiding your steps. A risen King making a way for you during those storms of life. So I encourage you to come home today. To find rest in the Risen King. ~OC

Make The Pledge

We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the issue of Racism in our nation. We have to finally say enough is enough. We have to Rise Up against Division. We have to Demand Change. We have to Rise Up against Hate. We have to share Love. I am encouraging everyone who cares about Love and Justice to Rise Up and take the Pledge to End Racism. Will you Stand Up and make the Pledge with me? ~OC

God’s Tears

As I continue to pray for America, I imagine God bowing his head in sadness. His tears flowing as so many people who call themselves Christians, act with such hatred and meanness. They seem to have forgotten the beautiful scriptures about loving their neighbors. All Neighbors! The Liberal Neighbor. The Conservative Neighbor. The Homeless Neighbor. The Addicted Neighbor. The LGBTQ Neighbor. The Incarcerated Neighbor. The Immigrant Neighbor. The Depressed Neighbor. The Disabled Neighbor. The Atheist Neighbor. The Black Neighbor. The White Neighbor. The Hispanic Neighbor. The Asian Neighbor. The Middle-Eastern Neighbor. The Native-American Neighbor. The Neighbor of a Different Faith. The..,,, Neighbor.

Think about the sadness God feels looking down on America and seeing all the hatred and division. His heart breaks. Does your heart break? Mine does. So, I will continue to share love. Speak out against hate and violence. I will continue to pray. ~OC

Never Leave Our Side

When we walk through the storms of life, you reach out your hand and call us by name. Never leaving our side. You fill our broken hearts with your amazing love and grace. Never leaving our side. You fill our lives with joy and laughter. Never leaving our side. Whenever we call on your name, you fill the room with your amazing presence. Never leaving our side. You fill our hearts with beautiful dreams and purpose. Never leaving our side. Your there to protect us when the storms get rough. Never leaving our side. Our strong tower when we walk through the storms of life. Never leaving our side. Always holding our hand. Never leaving our side. Dear God, keep walking through the storms of life with us. Never leave our side. ~OC

Stop Using Jesus

Dear Christian Brothers and Sisters,

We need to talk. I need to share my concerns over the current state of Christianity in America. This talk is not meant to attack the Church or my fellow believers in Jesus Christ. But I feel, I need to share my concerns. Did you catch that? My concerns. My opinions. My thoughts.

When I study scripture, I see a God who is loving, forgiving and stern when the situation calls for it. I see a God who is full of grace and mercy. I think we could all use a little grace and mercy. As I study scripture, I see a lot of Love. There is even a chapter in the Bible called the Love Chapter (Check out 1 Corinthians Chapter 13). Jesus commands us to love. To keep no record of wrongs. To be patient. To not boast. To not be rude. If you check out the books of Matthew and Mark, they talk about not judging others. As I have studied the scriptures, I still have not found a section where it says we should be judging or hating others.

In some circles, Christianity as become more about what we hate and less about what we love. That breaks my heart. More importantly, it breaks Jesus heart. When did Jesus give us permission to start categorizing the levels of sin? Or to hate someone based on their brand of sin? Once again, I looked through scripture and did not find any giving us that permission. Sin is sin. Jesus  is not up in heaven categorizing sin. I do believe Jesus is shedding some tears because we judge people more harshly based on their brand of sin. I totally get why some people want nothing to do with this brand of Christianity and why so many people walk away from Jesus. Have you turned on the tv, scrolled through social media or walked  into some churches lately? Some people have turned Christianity into a bad Jerry Springer Show. I know the Church is full of broken people, but we must do better. We share we love Jesus and his teachings, but our actions and words show a completely different story. We cannot only talk the talk of faith, we must live it out. The Church and it’s people need to be a safe place for other broken people to come. In Mark 2:17, Jesus shares “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Did you catch that? 

I truly love the Church and it’s people. I have spent over half of my life in the church. I have spent over half of my life reading and studying scripture. That is why it grieves me, that so many professed Christians spend more time judging others than they do loving them. Jesus did not come down from heaven, die on the cross and rise three days later so we could judge others. No, Jesus came down from heaven, died on the cross and rose three days later to teach us the true meaning of love. So dear Christian brothers and sisters, lets stop using Jesus to judge and spread hate. Instead let us be a people of love, forgiveness and grace. ~OC

 

 

The Gift of Brokenness

Sometimes I feel broken.

There are times I look at my life and see all the ways I fall short. Maybe it was my negative attitude or words that negatively affected someone else.

There are so many ways to feel broken- physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. In the middle of our brokenness, it’s easy to agonize over whether or not we can ever be acceptable to God or be used by Him during our brokenness. I know I struggle with this sometimes.

During this crazy beautiful health journey, God has taught me a valuable lesson about being broken.

Our brokenness is a gift. A gift? Yes, a gift because our brokenness connects us to other people walking through their own brokenness. A gift because our brokenness brings us closer to God. It is during our brokenness that God makes us whole.

Sharing our brokenness brings meaning and healing to our crazy beautiful journey.

Blessings happen during the brokenness. As I have shared my health journey with others, people have reached out to me and shared how my journey has helped them walk through their own crazy beautiful journey. It has been a blessing to see God move through my brokenness.

Being broken is a gift, because through our brokenness we recognize our need for God. Because only through God can our broken life be made whole.

I am so grateful for the gift of being broken. During my brokenness God has continued to love me and use me in spite of my brokenness. What a gift.

My prayer for you is that during your brokenness, you will look to God and allow Him to use you during this time. I pray you will find the gift of brokenness as God puts your broken pieces back together. ~OC

A Question For Us

Today’s a new day! Jesus left all his comfort and privilege to enter into our broken world. Are we willing to do the same? ~OC

For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.” ~Matthew 25:35-40

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