My Prayers and Thoughts

Good morning! So as I sit in this hospital room, here are some of my prayers and thoughts.

I pray my beautiful bride is resting and wakes up feeling great.

I pray that some dear family and friends who are sick, will experience complete healing.

I pray for all the Caregivers taking care of a loved one.

I pray The Holy Spirit will take over South Florida. Revival come!

I pray I will be the best husband, friend and disciple of Jesus that I can be through Him.

I pray for everyone in the military and all First Responders. And their families.

I pray for peace.

I pray for all the leaders. I pray their hearts and minds would be changed by God.

I pray for the victims of human trafficking. I pray they will be rescued and their lives will be completely restored. I pray for all the organizations fighting this horrible crime. I pray their needs will be met. Most importantly, I pray their hearts and motives are pure.

I pray for all churches, pastors, missionaries and ministries. May they truly be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I pray God will allow me to do more for everyone I come in contact with during the day.

I pray for all the patients, nurses, doctors and staff at Good Sam. Give each the strength they need today.

I pray for our schools, students, teachers, staff and administrators. I pray God would bless and protect each.

I pray I will not get in the way of what God wants to do in my life.

Here are some of the thoughts going through my crazy beautiful mind this morning:

What races will I run in 2020, if God allows me to run again? It has been almost 11 years since I last ran.

If God blesses me with the ability to run again, that means I could return to the workforce. Where would I work? Who would hire a 50 something guy who has not worked in almost 11 years, but has an incredible crazy beautiful story? Would I go on the speaking circuit? Would I look at working at a church or ministry of some kind? Would I work at a school or university? Would I be a Greeter at Walmart?

Yes, those are some of the crazy thoughts that go through my mind a lot of morning’s. I just want to be ready for whatever God has prepared for me. Even if that means never running another race or never being able to return to work, I will be obedient and thankful.

Have a wonderful and blessed day. ~OC

National Caregivers Month

November is National Caregivers Month. I truly believe caregivers should be celebrated everyday.

For the last 17.5 years, my beautiful bride has been my caregiver. She has made a lot of sacrifices during that time. Besides being my caregiver, she has been my health advocate, chauffeur and cheerleader. I definitely could add more titles to the list. Laura has taken on each of these roles without complaining. This crazy beautiful journey has been tough on her, but she has handled it like the champion she is. I never take her love, support and sacrifice for granted. I do my best to celebrate her whenever I can. I also try my best to make sure she takes care of herself.

Too many caregivers are forgotten during the health journey of a loved one. Everyone is quick to asked about the patient, but we can never forget about the caregivers. They are the real heroes. Caregivers continuously make sacrifices that nobody notices. They sometimes put their life on hold to take care of a loved one. Most do it without complaining. So many caregivers walk this journey alone. Most would never asked for help. So many caregivers get lost in the journey.

That is why I wanted my bride to share her part of the story in our book The Blessed Overcomer. I wanted caregivers to know they mattered. That they are not forgotten. Laura’s story needed to be told.

I pray if you know a caregiver, you will not forget about them. I believe their job is much harder than the patients. There is no playbook on how to be a caregiver. Here are a few things we can do to help out a caregiver:

Check on them. Reach out to a caregiver and see how they are doing. Let them know they matter.

Give them a break. Asked if you can sit with the patient. This is huge! Most caregivers will not asked for a break, but it is so important for their wellbeing to have those breaks.

Volunteer to drive the patient to appointments. Based on my health issues, I am no longer able to drive. Friends from our church have taken it upon themselves to create a ride schedule to take me to my many medical appointments. This has been a huge blessing for Laura and I.

These are just a few helpful things you can do to help out a caregiver. They may seem small, but can be life changing. So if you know a caregiver, take the time to see how you can help them navigate their crazy beautiful journey. ~OC

Where Is The Love?

In the past 24 hours, I have read about a Christian Speaker attacking another Christian Speaker and a Christian Author attacking another Christian Author. Both have saddened me. When did it become okay for Christians to attack other Christians? Oh wait, that has been going on since the beginning of time. It still breaks my heart. Where is the love?

There is amazing power when Christians are united. I would encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to read the Book of Acts again. It is a beautiful blue print on how Christians should treat other Christians. How we should be united.

I pray we will stop these petty attacks. Let us be aware that the world is looking at us and shaking their heads in disgust. We must remember that the enemy will use the temptation of pride and self-righteousness to divide the Church. We must stand united for Jesus.

Please know, I am not saying there cannot be disagreements within the Church and among Christians. When there is a clear disregard for the scriptures and Jesus teachings, we must speak up. I welcome healthy dialogue among Christians. What I don’t care for is publicly attacking fellow Christians over petty disagreements. God created each of us with unique differences, but still in His beautiful image. We should celebrate those differences and not let them divide us.

My prayer is that God’s children will stop looking for ways to attack each other and start truly living out the Book of Acts. That the world will see a united Church and not a divided  one. I pray you will join me on this journey. ~OC

 

 

 

Are They Welcome?

I love Sundays!!! That is a day of church for my wife and I. I enjoy seeing everyone and spending time worshiping together. It just energizes me.

As millions of people across the world attend church this morning, I have a question. When the doors of your place of worship open this morning, will everyone be welcomed inside?

Will the homeless person be welcome inside?

Will the addict be welcome inside?

Will the divorced person be welcome inside?

Will the unmarried couple who’s living together be welcome inside?

Will the single parent be welcome inside?

Will the person with multiple tattoos be welcome inside?

Will the person from a different political party be welcome inside?

Will the person from the LGBTQ+ Community be welcome inside?

Will the refugee be welcome inside?

Will the prostitute be welcome inside?

Will the person of a different faith be welcome inside?

Will the person dealing with a physical or mental health issues be welcome inside?

Will the atheist be welcome inside?

Will the lost be welcome inside?

I pray that everyone who walks into a place of worship today will feel welcomed. No judgement. No stares. No gossiping. No shunning. Just loved. I pray everyone will leave our places of worship feeling more loved than when they walked in. ~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

 

 

Passion Bucket

A lot of people talk about having a Bucket List. Almost everyone can mention at least one thing on their bucket list. I used to have a bucket list. But as I have walked this crazy beautiful health journey, my bucket list has become my Passion Bucket.

For me, a Passion Bucket is more personal. Has deeper meaning. This year my wife Laura and I have been marking things off my Passion Bucket. Today we mark another item off my list.

Laura and I have been camping out at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. We have been here since 11pm last night. You might be asking yourself, why would Todd and Laura hangout at a church in the middle of the night. In Plains, Georgia of all places. Well, let me tell you. Laura and I are big fans of former President Jimmy Carter. I believe he is the greatest former President ever. President Carter has been teaching Sunday School for many years. Today, Laura and I will be sitting in on President Carter’s Sunday School class. This has been in my Passion Bucket for many years. We are beyond excited.

I would encourage each of you to live out your Passion Bucket. Do not allow the busyness of this world keep you from marking amazing items off your Passion Bucket. ~OC

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