At The Table

Today’s a new day! Let me say this loud and clear. God is not affiliated with any political party. If that statement surprises you, you might need to check your heart. Once again, God is not a Republican or a Democrat. He should never be used as a prop or weapon in political arguments. Sadly, God is often dragged into the political arena. His primary concern is not who’s in the White House or any political position. Obviously, Jesus cares for the needs of America, but he also cares for the needs of every country. Whether they love Him or not. It breaks God’s heart, when his people worship a political party or political figure. That seems to be a major issue among so many Christians today. If you call yourself a Christian, God should be the King of your life. Period!

Please hear me, I am not saying you cannot support your candidate, political party or country. That is your right. Please go vote. But your allegiance cannot be to a political candidate, flag or country. As a Christian, your allegiance should be to God. There will be moments in our lives where what seems to be in the best interest of America, or your political party will go against what God says is true. In those pivotal moments, you will have to choose who’s first in your life. Who reigns over your life?

This is not me pointing my finger at anyone or casting judgement. These are the types of questions we need to asking ourselves. These are the type of discussions we need to be having with each other. Even if we have disagreements. This is an invitation for all of us to sit down at the table. ~OC

Go Rest On High

As I have scrolled through social media the past few weeks, I have been saddened by stories of friends dealing with the death of loved ones. Those stories inspired me to write the following words.

Your mission on earth is now complete. No more pain fills your days. Your journey on earth was filled with ups and downs. But even during the hardest days, you looked up to heaven and gave praise. When the enemy came in the middle of the night, you faced him head on never taking a step back. You reminded the enemy that even on the darkest days, you would continue to praise the one on high.

Now you are looking into the eyes of Jesus rejoicing in praise. He has welcomed you home. No more walking through the pain. Your purpose on earth is now complete. I wish I could have seen your face as the angels led you into the gates of heaven to meet the King. We rejoice as we think about you sitting at the feet of the King of Kings, as he took you by the hand and uttered those beautiful words well done, thou good and faithful servant. I can see the smile on your face as you gazed into his eyes. Go rest on high.

We will continue this journey as we carry your memory in our hearts. We will remember your strength and determination as you faced your darkest days. Some days will be filled with tears, when we pick up the phone to call only to remember you have gone home to the King. We will smile as we recall how you made everyone laugh even during the pain. We will rejoice as we think of the day we join you in heaven and sit at the feet of the King. Go rest on high. ~OC

Dear Running,

Dear Running,

It is very painful to write these words to you. Running, we have been friends since I was a child. Back then, I loved running through the neighborhood. Not a care in the world. I did not get my drivers license until I was 18 years old because I thought I could just run everywhere. My friends had cars. Why did I need to drive? After high school, you and took a break. We reunited a few times in college, but nothing serious. Just a casual short run every once in awhile. After college you and I drifted apart. Life got busy and I abandoned you. Then in 2003, while having open-heart surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, God spoke to me through a vision and said it was time to reunite with you. Not only to start running again, but to start running marathons. I was under heavy anesthesia, so was this real? Yes indeed, it was real. Not only did God say to start running again, but to share the Gospel through running. Four months after surgery, I started running again. Oh, how nice to see you again old friend. It was like old times. We were back together. One year after my surgery, I completed my first marathon. Oh what a wonderful feeling and experience. As I ran, God gave me the chance to share his amazing love. You and I continued to complete one marathon after another. In 2007, we received a scare when I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s. My first question to the doctor was “Can I keep on running?” I was overjoyed when the doctor shared I could indeed keep on running. Oh, we had a fun time the next year and a half. In 2008, God blessed me with the opportunity to run a 1,000 miles in one year. We anticipated a wonderful and exciting year of running in 2009. It started off with me completing the Disney Marathon. But something just wasn’t right. Was Parkinson’s starting to come between me and running? We fought hard to stay together. But once again something just wasn’t right. In March of 2009, my body started to betray me. That month, Myasthenia Gravis joined Parkinson’s to wreck my body. They finally broke us up in mid 2009. For the next ten years, I would fight for my life and daydream about you friend. Funny thing about those ten plus years, God kept directing me to buy a new pair of running shoes each year. Was God planning a reunion? It sure didn’t look like it. My health continued to decline. Funeral arrangements were made. Goodbyes were shared. Then on November 3, 2019, a shell of a man walked into a tent revival and was completely healed by our amazing Savior. A month later, God reunited us. In 2020, after not running for over ten years, God blessed me with the opportunity to complete 1,000 miles in ten months. Oh what a feeling. But during 2020, a pandemic rolled in and changed the world. On Super Bowl Sunday 2021, I was introduced to this strange virus called Covid. Little did I know my life was going to be completely changed. Since that Super Bowl Sunday, my body has never been the same. I have tried on many occasions to run again. We had a little success, but there have been many moments of major disappointments.

So it’s with a broken heart, I say one final goodbye to an old friend. We have made some beautiful memories together. But the effects of Covid and some other health issues have made running difficult and not enjoyable. I always dreamed running would be part of my life until Jesus took me home. So on August 4, 2022, I announce my retirement from running. It has been a beautiful crazy journey. Thanks for the memories my friend.

Simple Days

Simple Days

Sometimes I miss the simple days. The days of riding my bike and playing street football with my friends. Not worrying about the trials of life. Always had a smile on my face. Life was about hanging out with friends. Planning the fun events of the day. Not stressed about the mounting bills to pay. I miss the days when the only bill I was worried about was the one on Schoolhouse Rock. Oh how I miss those simple days. I miss playing hide and seek on a hot summer night. Watching sports with my dad. Days spent walking around the mall. Excited about who we might see. Friday nights at the local skating rink. Oh, how I miss those simple days. Saturday mornings watching Looney Tunes and then listening to American Top 40, to hear your favorite tune. Oh, the simple days. The days of sitting in the yard talking about life with your friends. A life with less distractions. Oh, how I miss those simple days. Summer vacations with family and friends. Sitting around with a bottle of Coke, soaking it all in. Maybe lucky enough to catch a lightning bug in a glass jar. Make sure you punch some holes in the top. Oh, how I miss those simple days. The simple days when you could count the number of tv stations on one hand. Those days when your parents knew your teachers name. When teachers were held in high esteem. You may have thought about talking back to your teacher, but you realized you would have to face your parents at the end of the day. I miss the days when I knew my neighbors names. I realize those days were far from perfect, but sometimes I miss those simple days. ~OC

Life Moment Lessons

Today’s a new day! As we walk through life we will all face storms. As we walk through the storms of life, we make the choice what lessons we learn. Here are just a few lessons I have learned during my journey.

Life Moment Lesson 1: I could not do life without my faith. As a 10 year old boy, I gave my life and heart to God. There have been some ups and downs along my faith journey, but God has never left me. As with any relationship, I have taken the time to get to know Him better. I have taken the time to listen to God as he has spoken to me. l have seen God move mountains, perform miracles and heal relationships that people said were dead. I have felt the beautiful peace and presence of God in every area of my life.

Life Moment Lesson 2: Do not take any moment or person for granted. Life can change in a single moment. So share grace and forgiveness. Do not hold onto anger or grudges. Let it go.

Life Moment Lesson 3: Family and friends are a beautiful gift. Hug them often. Never miss a chance to say I love you. Treasure the time together. Cherish the laughter and memories. Be present.

Life Moment Lesson 4: Never make life about you. Make life about serving others. Every experience we encounter, has a beautiful God purpose if we only stop and embrace the moment. Stop rushing through life.

Life Moment Lesson 5: God is in every moment. But we must stop to see God’s beautiful presence. It doesn’t matter what storms we are facing. God is always there. If we look closely, we can see God’s fingerprints on everything. Slow down.

Life Moment Lesson 6: Be thankful and grateful in everything. I have learned when my focus is on God and everything He has brought me through, I can only praise Him and say Thank You. Take time to be thankful.

Of course there have been more lessons learned along the journey, but these are the ones God wanted me to share today. I am Blessed. ~OC

Share Some Hope Today

Today we celebrate one month since our documentary Dead Man Running The Todd Shoemaker Story was released. So I have a favor and challenge for you. Would everyone please take the time today to post the link to your social media pages and share the documentary with at least five people? Let’s share some hope today. Thanks! ~OC

Surrender

Most people do not like the word Surrender. For many the word means giving up or losing. This is especially true in the me first culture of today. But if we want to truly walk as a disciple of God’s, we cannot skate over the beautiful truth of surrendering.

When our bodies are out of alignment, we can definitely feel it. If we do not have our doctor check things out, our bodies will continue to decline. Not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We will start experiencing more defeats than victories.

Until we bring our thoughts and actions into proper alignment with God, we will continue to wear out. We will continue being out of alignment. But when we completely lay everything at the foot of the Cross, we become properly aligned with the will of God. Our hopes and dreams stop being centered around us and start being centered on the will of our Heavenly Father.

When we get caught up in the culture of the world, it can be tough to get realigned with the will of God. But surrendering everything to God is the first step to living a victorious and abundant life. I pray you take that first step today. ~OC

Welcome Home

Jesus just put these words on my heart.

Sweet Jesus, you were willing to give up your life, so all that believe in you would spend eternity in Paradise. By giving your life, you unlocked the doors of Heaven to all believers. As Jesus prepares your loved one to walk into Paradise, you can hold on to the amazing truths of Jesus. One of those is that our loved one will hear those beautiful words “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Then I believe Jesus will take the hand of our loved one and show them around Paradise. Then he will whisper in their ear, it’s good to have you home.

In your grief, may the above words bring you peace and comfort. I pray you embrace the truths of our Savior. Let Him wrap his loving arms around you like a warm blanket. ~OC

It’s About Love

Today’s a new day! Life is about people. Loving and serving others with the love of Jesus. It’s not all about the big gatherings at church or some other big gathering. No, it’s about truly loving our family, friends, coworkers, neighbors or the stranger at the store. ~OC

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