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
To make real difference, you have to show up and speak up. Even during the storms. Even during the unknown terrain. Even during the pain. Even when you would rather stay curled up in bed with the covers over your head. Even when it’s not easy. Even when it’s not popular. That’s how you make a difference in your part of the world. Also God expects nothing less from us. So keep showing up and speaking up. ~OC
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
Today’s a new day! Becoming a Christian is more than a one time decision. It’s more than waiting to die with a ticket to Heaven in our hand. No, becoming a believer in Christ is about experiencing Him here and now. To live out a beautiful creative journey.
Living out this God journey actually means believing and truly living out the scriptures. Not just the scriptures we like.
Living out this God journey actually means loving our neighbors. All of our neighbors.
Living this God journey actually means serving all people. Not just the people we deem worthy.
Living out this God journey actually means living in God’s love and unity. Not being separated by the color of our skin, denominations, political parties or anything else that tries to separate us.
Living out this God journey actually means we can have opposing opinions without having division. Being able to listen without judgment or prejudice.
God never said this beautiful journey would be easy. It will take a lot of patience, constructive conversations, listening, wisdom, love, healing and grace. But I personally believe God wants us to experience him in a beautiful creative way, right here on planet earth. ~OC
Today’s a new day! Dear God, help me feel what you feel. ~OC
I thought you were a Christian, so…
How do you vote that way?
How come you hang out with those type of people?
How do you know rap lyrics? (Mostly 80’s rap).
How do you listen to non-Christian music?
What makes you struggle and questions today’s Church?
I thought you were a Christian, so…
How can you watch certain shows and movies?
How can you support those movements?
How do you not support certain political candidates or party?
Are you sure your a Christian?
I am a whole and imperfect Christian.
Has the church and its people forgotten what that means?
It means I need Jesus in every way possible, because I am a sinner.
It does not mean I have all the answers to life. It does not mean I have life figured out. It does not mean I suddenly like every Christian song or movie ever made.
It means one thing and one thing only:
I am a Christian because I love Jesus.
The truth is, I stray outside of the lines of American Christianity. I do not fit in a neat little perfectly wrapped box. I sometimes can be like that crazy relative we all have.
But that’s exactly what drove me to Jesus in the first place. His grace shines most in my shortcomings.
So if you see me trip up and get a little dirty, don’t assume that I have lost my way.
I am running toward Jesus, but it’s a long, long marathon. I am a Christian who desperately needs Christ.
So how do I respond when people question my faith? When they expect perfection from a deeply flawed individual?
Well, I keep loving Jesus, keep loving others, and keep leaning hard into Grace.
Because I know without a doubt I need Grace every day.
I love Jesus…but I refuse to live in that perfect little box. ~OC
Today’s a new day! Did I offer grace today? Did I offer love today? Did I offer peace today? Did I offer a kind word today? Did I share forgiveness today? Did I let go of anger and bitterness today? Did I make someone laugh today? Did I make a difference today? ~OC
Life is full of trials. My life has been marked by health issues. I have walked a 18 year journey of multiple life threatening health issues. But I have endured.
During these trials, I have been helped by the truth that Jesus endured his own suffering and trials. Scripture tells us that great joy gripped Jesus when he looked ahead to what his suffering on the Cross would accomplish. Jesus endured all that suffering knowing he was completing the will of his Father. Jesus endured the suffering on the Cross, knowing the joy his resurrection would bring for generations to come. We are still living in the joy of His resurrection in 2021. And most importantly, Jesus endured the pain of the Cross for the joy of one day being able to present his redeemed sons and daughters before his Father.
The suffering Jesus endured on the Cross was not a joyful experience. As we read in scripture, the pain was excruciating. But Jesus was able to endure. When we walk through the trials of life, we can lean into the promises of Jesus and endure. ~OC
As I walked through my crazy beautiful health journey, I was blessed to learn many amazing lessons. Here are just a few of those lessons:
*Try Something New: Go skydiving, snorkeling, do a road trip with friends, or feed the hungry. It doesn’t matter what you do, just take a step outside of your comfort zone.
*Time With Family and Friends: I know during this pandemic that can be difficult. Maybe you cannot meet in person, but you can utilize Zoom or FaceTime. During that time put away all distractions. You might find out how amazing your family and friends really are.
*Capture Memories: I know everyone wants to document their adventures with pictures and videos, but don’t forget to truly experience the moment.
*Say No: Stop adding things to your plate. If you continuously say yes, you are going to miss out on life. Plus burn yourself out.
*Take Time For Yourself: It might only be for a few minutes, but do it. Spend time in prayer. Go for a walk. Read a book. Do something just for you.
*Encourage Someone: Everyone needs some uplifting words. It takes just a minute, but can change a life.
*Call or Text: Take time to call or text a loved one. This simple act could make their day.
*Say I Love You: Don’t miss the chance to tell your loved ones how you feel about them. Life is too short. ~OC
As I scroll through social media and have conversations with some Christians my heart breaks. I read and hear comments that must break Jesus heart. I think to myself did that Christian actually read their post before posting it or did they check their heart before speaking. Probably not.
As I study scripture, I wonder what Bible some Christians are reading. Because my Bible says we should love everyone. Not just those who think like us, look like us or worship like us. No, we are to love Everyone! Sadly, I see a lot of Hate coming from those who would call themselves Christians. Here are a few examples:
*Those calling themselves Christians with their Christian flags, storming the Capital on January 6th. I could really just stop there, but let’s go on.
*Those calling themselves Christians buying into the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen by the Democrats. Remember, no one ever produced any real proof. Every court, including the Supreme Court ruled there was no proof of election fraud. Yet the conspiracy theories continue. I believe conspiracy theories are nothing more than gossip.
*Some who call themselves Christians believing every Democrat is evil.
*Some who call themselves Christians believing racism is a thing of the past.
*Many Christians and Churches not speaking out against racism.
*Many so called Christians being part of hate groups.
*Many Christians being offended that some people refused to recognize Donald Trump as President, but now those same Christians loudly shout President Biden is not their President.
As I wrote this post, I thought to myself why would anyone want to be a Christian? But then I realized the Jesus I serve is all about Love and Grace. The examples above do not represent my Savior and most Christians. Jesus loves everyone. Sadly some Christians have perverted the Christian faith. It is up to true believers to stand up for what’s right. Even when doing so is not popular. It’s time for the Christian Community to check our hearts. ~OC