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

Heroes!

During my crazy beautiful health journey, I have been blessed with some amazing nurses. They have become family. Thank you! ~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

True Friendship

*True friends Encourage you.

*True friends Respect you.

*True friends Support you.

*True friends Stand By you.

*True friends Reach Out to you.

*True friends Listen to you.

*True friends are Honest with you.

*True friends Forgive you.

*True friends Walk the Journey with you.

 

Dear God, please help me be this type of friend. ~OC

Church In America

I saw this sign posted on some friends’ social media pages this week. Some of these friends would call themselves Christians. This photo made me angry and sad all at the same time. I almost posted something ugly in response, but God reminded me two wrongs don’t make a right. Yes, this church was wrong to post this message. Anyone who liked this photo, gave a thumbs up or a smiley face was wrong.

I am concerned that too many churches have become more concerned about politics and less concerned about the gospel. If this church and it’s leadership were more concerned about the gospel, they would have looked at that sign and decided to post something that would bring people together. But I fear, like so many churches in America, they put their political beliefs over their obligation to love God and love people. Even people they disagree with.

Did that church have the right to post that sign? Yes they did. Would I feel welcome in that church? Probably not. Sadly, that would not be the first time I didn’t feel welcome in a church. So my challenge to churches across America, is to be more concerned about living out the gospel of Jesus Christ and less concerned about living out your political beliefs. Thanks for listening. ~OC

Talking About Race and Justice

When is the last time you cried out to God for racial reconciliation and true justice. I have been praying for racial peace and justice for many years. If these issues truly grieve our hearts, we need need to be in continuous prayer.

Besides prayer, there are several steps we can take to help bring about racial reconciliation and justice. Here are a few steps, I believe can help us as we navigate these most important topics.

Respectful Conversations. It is so important that we approach these conversations with respect. Respect for the the centuries of pain faced by our brothers and sisters of color. Respect for the differences we bring to the conversation. We must respect the people we are engaging with. I believe coming from a place of respect can help make these conversations meaningful and bring about change.

Examine Your Motives. Why are you engaging in conversations about race? Is it to feel better about yourself? Is it the popular thing to do? If those are your motivations, you might need to examine your heart. Conversations about race have to be more than a feel good moment. Our motivation needs to be to address the real issues confronting America. That is what will truly lead to meaningful change.

Embrace Learning. Do not beat yourself up because you do not have all the answers. Keep asking questions. Most important, admit when you don’t have all the answers. The only way we can see real change is by asking questions. Join groups that are dedicated to racial reconciliation and justice. Read books on the issue. Most importantly, reach out to people that look different than you and get their perspective.

Listen. We have to listen to each other. Do not dominate the conversation with your own thoughts and beliefs. That will not lead to productive change. Take time to listen to everyone at the table. Dominating the conversation will only stop the flow of ideas and drive people away from the table.

Commitment to Change. Change is hard. Do not expect people to change overnight. To help change come about, everyone needs to commit to seeing real change take place. That is going to take patience and time. The racial issues we are facing did not happen overnight and will not be solved overnight. Make the commitment to stay involved for the long haul.

These are just a few suggestions. There are so many more steps I could have shared. Maybe I will have a Part 2 at some time. This journey to racial reconciliation and justice starts with you and me. My prayer is that we will all commit to having real conversations about the racial issues and injustices facing America. I am dedicated to having these conversations. Will you join me? ~OC

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