United

In a divisive age, it’s easy to get caught up in our many differences. From denominational differences, political beliefs, even our favorite sports teams. We tend to argue a lot. With drama flooding our every interaction on social media to the real world, we can feel stressed. angry and alone. But are we really as different as we think?

There’s no escaping our many differences. They’re broadcast to us daily across social media, news outlets,work places and even our places of worship. We are hearing voices of disagreements from people of all walks of life. Sometimes, it feels like nobody is even trying to listen. These are trying times.

It’s tough to admit, but we tend to turn a small disagreement into WWIII. When truth be told, we have much in common with our brothers and sisters in Christ. For example, we are all sinners. We all need forgiveness. We all need grace. We all need love. We all need Jesus.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we should all be united in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Some of us attend different demonstrations. Those denominations have different ways of doing things. But at the end of the day, if we believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, rose three days later and is coming back for His children, we should rejoice together and lay our differences at the foot of the Cross. We should stand United. ~OC

Blessed Obedience

On Wednesday November 3,2021, I celebrated the 2nd anniversary of my amazing miracle. Sometimes I am still overwhelmed that with just weeks to live in 2019, Jesus used an old-fashioned tent meeting to do a miracle. What a beautiful ride the last two years have been.

To celebrate my 2nd anniversary, I attended a night of worship with Elevation Worship and Steven Furtick. Funny thing is, I did not plan on attending this incredible event. I have been so busy promoting our documentary Dead Man Running The Todd Shoemaker Story, I really did not have the time and frankly the energy to attend. But Jesus had other plans. Around 4:30pm the day of the concert, Jesus put it on my heart to attend. Really Jesus? The concert starts at 7pm. The concert is over an hour away. Are there any tickets left? So I jumped on my computer to look for a ticket. Jesus, I really do not want to be in the nose bleed seats. Also, I really do not want to spend a lot of money on the ticket. Unfortunately Laura could not attend, so I only needed one ticket. As I searched the concert site, I found one floor ticket in my price range. Praise Jesus. Okay Jesus, I have my ticket in hand. Why in the last minute, did you put it on my heart to attend this night of worship?

As I entered the arena, I felt the Holy Spirit moving throughout the building. I started getting excited. I found my seat and started to pray. A little later a young lady took her seat next to me. Then the music started. The praises went up and the presence of the Holy Spirit got stronger. As I was praising with the rest of the crowd, I had an overwhelming feeling the young lady next to me was walking through a major battle. I began to silently pray for her. Then something amazing happened. Pastor Steven Furtick encouraged the audience to ask the person next to them what they needed prayer for. So I turned to this young lady and asked how could I pray for you? She shared she had been dealing with cancer for a number of years and needed prayer. Sick for a number of years and needing a miracle. I could relate to that. So I prayed over this young lady that Jesus would completely heal her. She thanked me and we sat down. But things did not end there. After the concert, I was able to connect this young lady with a wonderful Christian Cancer Support Group. We exchanged numbers so she could reach me if she needed some encouragement. What a blessed encounter.

So Jesus, that’s why you wanted me to attend this concert. To have a beautiful encounter with someone who needs a miracle, just like I did back on November 3, 2019. Did that young lady get her miracle that night? I don’t know. Will she experience a miracle in the future. I don’t know. Only Jesus knows that. But I know she left that arena walking in her miracle. I was obedient to the calling Jesus put on my heart to attend that concert. I was obedient to pray for that young lady sitting next to me. The lesson is to be available and obedient when Jesus calls us to go. Even when he calls you to attend a concert. By the way, Elevation Worship and Steven Furtick were amazing. A beautiful blessed night of obedience. Thank you Jesus! ~OC

Walk in the Holy Spirit

Today’s a new day! When we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, we walk in a more victorious, fruitful life as a follower of Jesus. As we walk in the full power of the Holy Spirit, we will be more aware of the needs around us and how to respond to those needs. So by faith, I pray each of us receive and embrace a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit.

As I continue to learn more about the Holy Spirit, here are some things Jesus has brought to my heart and mind. I pray they will encourage you. Remember, we are all clumps of clay being molded daily by our loving Savior. Sometimes we will miss the mark. Don’t give up! Keep walking out the beautiful journey Jesus has for each of us. ~OC

1). Each day we have to make the choice to live a life of obedience to Jesus. Don’t beat yourself when you lack obedience. It’s a marathon; not a sprint.

2). Throughout the day, remember to ask Jesus to continuously fill you up with the Holy Spirit. Just like we need to fuel our bodies with food, we need to actively fuel our hearts and minds with the Holy Spirit.

3). Keep your eyes on Revival. As we continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit, revival will come.

What Is Your Calling?

If someone were to asked you what was your calling in life, would you be able to answer that question? Would you even know what the person was talking about? Answering the question of what is your calling in life is a pretty big deal. Nothing to take lightly. So what is a Calling? 

According to the dictionary, a Calling is a vocation, profession, or trade; a call or summons; a strong impulse or inclination. A pretty simple definition, but a life changing decision we all make at some point in our lives.

As a Christian, I believe God has called each of us to live a life of serving Him and others. Of course that is going to look different for each of us. Some will be called into full-time ministry. Others will be called to serve in their given profession. I believe God has a specific role for each of us that will use our unique gifts, talents, experiences and connections.

As most of you know, I am a former long-distance runner. I ran cross country in high school, a little running in college, but had not run in years when I felt God calling me to start running again in 2003. Oh, did I mention that God shared that calling with me while I was having open-heart surgery to remove a nasty tumor from my chest? It would have been very easy for me to dismiss this calling as way too much anesthesia. I mean really, who has a vision of running marathons while having life-threatening surgery? But several days after surgery, I still felt that calling on my life. I could not escape it. So five months after major surgery, I went on my first run in years. Answering that call changed my life in so many ways. Let me share just a few.

When I heard God calling me to start running marathons, I also heard him share that I was not going to be running just to run. No, I would be running to share God’s story in my life. How He was walking me through this crazy beautiful journey. Of course back in 2004 when I started running again, I had no clue this health journey would last this long. I am thankful for that. As I started running marathons, I felt God calling me to run for those who could not run themselves. My wife Laura started making shirts with the names of people I was running for. It became a topic of discussion at my races. People asked me questions about the shirts and why I was running. During those discussions, I was able to share not only about the names on the shirts, but I was able to share my faith.

During my running career, I was diagnosed with Young-Onset Parkinson’s. All the sudden, I was the cancer survivor and Parkinson’s patient running marathons. Then God woke me up on New Year’s Day in 2008 and called me to run a 1,000 miles in one year. Crazy I know. But with that calling came request for interviews and speaking engagements. More opportunities to share my faith with a larger audience. That was an amazing season of life.

The call to running saved my life. Really OC? How could running save your life? I am glad you asked. When my body started shutting down in March 2009, the prognosis was not great. Some medical staff were not sure if I would make it through the night. But of course I did. Then I made it through the month. Then I made it through the year. And ten years later I am still here. Almost all of my medical team shared I survived because I was in such great physical shape from running. That running had also made me mentally tough.

I often think back to 2003, when I felt God calling me to run marathons. What if I would have decided to ignore that calling? How different would my life be today? Even though I am no longer able to physically run, I still love running. I love talking about it, reading books on running, talking with other runners and coaching runners. Ten years after having to give up running, I still have the mentality of a runner. I believe my faith and my running mentality have kept me alive and thriving.

So how can you find your calling in life? Here are a few ways I found helpful.

Prayer. Being in prayer helps us discern God’s calling on our lives. If you are confused about the calling on your life, spend more time in prayer. God will make things clear. Never stop praying.

Obedience. Are you willing to follow through with the calling on your life, even when it forces you out of your comfort zone?

Trust. You may not understand the calling on your life at first. Others may tell you it’s crazy. I got some weird looks and responses when I told people God had called me to run marathons. Do not listen to the doubters. Keep your eyes on God and trust Him for guidance and direction.

What is God calling you to today? I pray that God will guide your steps as you seek His calling in your life. ~OC

 

 

Power of Prayer

As I continue to walk through this crazy beautiful health journey, I depend more and more on prayer. Before I got sick years ago, sometimes when I felt God calling me to pray I would ignore that calling. I was too busy with life. I can always pray later I thought. I cringe as I write these words. How many amazing beautiful interruptions did I miss because I was too busy to pray?

Today, my life is full of prayer. Even as I write this blog, God is bringing people to mind that I need to pray for. So, I stop writing and pray for those individuals. I don’t write this to brag. No, I write this to remind myself of the importance of prayer. My life literally depends on the prayers of many. I want to encourage everyone to live in a spirit of prayer. A spirit of prayer? What does that even mean OC? I am glad you asked.

For me, living in a spirit of prayer means I am always open to hearing from God and following through with what He asked of me. That means praying for that friend when God brings them to mind. Not waiting until it fits my schedule. That means not telling someone I will be praying for them, but actually taking the time to pray for them that very moment. Living in a spirit of prayer means stepping out of my comfort zone. Being Present. Being Obedient. I am far from being a biblical scholar, but that is my personal definition of living in a spirit of prayer. Remember, I am just a simple man.

During my 17-year crazy beautiful health journey, God has taught me to always be in a spirit of prayer because my prayers carry weight. Not because of my power, but because of His power. You have the same power. Really, you do! Every time we pray we unleash the power of heaven.

Prayer is not a passive act. No, prayer is powerful and active. When I pray, I feel God’s power flowing through my body. Prayer is life changing.

I will leave you with the word P.U.S.H.

P-ray

U-ntil

S-omerhing

H-appens

I pray you will choose to live in a spirit of prayer. I pray you will pray with boldness. I pray you embrace the power of prayer. ~OC

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