Love Over Differences

The last few weeks, several Christian friends shared it was hard for them to pray for people they do not like. That could be a politician, athlete, entertainment or someone in the media. As I heard this several times, God gave me the following thought.

When Jesus met Judas Iscariot, he knew Judas would betray him. Did you catch that? Jesus knew this man who he called a friend, would betray him for thirty pieces of silver. Yet, Jesus still loved Judas. He even washed Judas feet at the last supper. That’s right! Jesus humbled himself and washed the feet of the man who would betray him. Jesus payed for Judas. Jesus loved Judas.

So will you choose to love and pray for that person who just rubs you the wrong way? Will you love and pray for that person who looks differently than you? Will you love and pray for that person who has a different opinion than you? Will you love and pray for that person who belongs to a different political party than you? Will you love and pray for that person who worships differently than you? I pray we will always choose love over our differences. ~OC

Lean In…And Get Uncomfortable

As I scroll through social media and watch the news, I see a lot of pain and injustice in the African American community. I see my brothers and sisters hurting. It breaks my heart. At times it can seem overwhelming. I asked myself, how in the world can I make a difference? Can anybody relate? Even though I cannot do everything, I can do something. So, I have decided I will continue to stand up and do everything I can to help end racism in America. I will continue to lean in..,and get uncomfortable.

I will continue have real conversations about racism in America, with people wanting to truly make a difference in this world. Not just talk about the issues, but take real action. I will surround myself with others who want to fight the sin of racism. I will continue to get educated. I will continue to listen to my brothers and sisters of color, as they share their experiences. I will lean in..,and get uncomfortable. I will continue to take the time to see the pain of my brothers and sisters of color. I will not pass them by with a “I’ll pray for you.” No, I will stop and pray for them in that moment. I will not allow my brothers and sisters to walk through this unjust world alone. I will lean in…and get uncomfortable. I will continue to have uncomfortable conversations with my white brothers and sisters who believe racism is not a major problem in America today (That is a whole other blog). I will proudly stand up and say #Black Lives Matter. I will continue to challenge my white brothers and sisters to step out of their comfort zones, and sit down with people of color and truly listen to their life experiences. I will encourage them to study African American history and visit African American museums. I will continue to confront racism when I see it. I will continue to speak out against injustices even when it’s not popular. I will lean in…and get uncomfortable. I encourage you to join me. ~OC

Celebrate Juneteenth

Happy Juneteenth! Today we celebrate the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. Take time today to learn more about this holiday and its history. Take time today to learn more about African-American History and Culture. Take time today to have conversations about our history (the good, the bad, the ugly) with our African-American brothers and sisters. But, do not make this just a one day celebration or conversation. Let’s use today as a launch to have more conversations about the beautiful history of African-Americans and the ongoing issue of racism in America. -OC #Juneteenth

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

 

 

 

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