Archives For Christian Growth

newbullying theology

If you have never been in the place where it seemed like more was against you than it was for you, then, as older folks have told me, “keep living!”

When it seems like debts, disasters and decisions tend to be the thing that’s holding your dream hostage, it is an easy feeling to just blow off whatever that’s in your heart that’s good to do and just go on with your life.

Because of issues in our lives, many of us have simply stopped writing, blogging, drawing, speaking, teaching, preaching and much more.

And people suffer as a result of that.

I have 3 reasons that I can pull from the top of my head on why giving up is just not an option:

My Family Can’t Afford It!

No…seriously…as a husband, as a man…I can’t afford to just “give up!” It’s okay to take a break and really reflect, but, after you’ve prayed and cried, you have to have faith and go forward.

You have to make the choice to stand up even when you feel like sitting down.

Someone Is Watching!

Somewhere out there, I can imagine a young me, sitting somewhere on a computer or playing with their smartphone and running into a drawing on Instagram I did or an article I wrote.

Perhaps that kid is lonely, lost and filled with anxiety. This is the kid that needs to know that they are not alone and that they too can be encouraged to not “give up.”

And it’s not just kids…it’s adults too.

This is one of many reasons why I keep writing, drawing and creating stuff!

“Somebody is always watching” I’ve been told. That’s not to be taken as creepy. Fact is, you’re an example and an influence to somebody.

The Calling on My Life

When I don’t write or draw or create, it really, really bugs me. Even at my worst, there’s still something that just burns in me that says “yeah, I still want to do this! I must be a special kind of crazy!”

But, that’s awesome!

I believe that the Lord called me to the work that I do and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m learning more and more about what I’m here on this planet for and it is amazing. It’s humbling.


What Do I Do To Get My Groove Back

On days that I just feel a sense of failure and wanting to throw in the towel, it is usually because I have not properly taken care of myself.

If I haven’t taken time to pray, read my Bible, rest and relax or even journal a little, I get a little cranky…spiritually, mentally and physically. These are my must have things to do FIRST to survive and accomplish anything and everything that needs to be done.

I also look at my schedule book, reviewing what needs to be done and what can wait.

And there’s something about just “DOING” something! Even if it is to go outside and get fresh air and take walks, the momentum of exercise really helps get things going.

Tuesday, I was reading a devotional on my Bible app and it got things for me going. I then passed on the lesson to my wife. Turns out, she needed a Word as much as I did.

Because of not giving up, I was able to be a blessing to somebody else!

And even if being a blessing to somebody else was all that was accomplished that day…then that was a pretty big accomplishment!

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For Real About Jesus

September 17, 2016

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This week has proven to be one of the MOST important weeks of my life. A sermon about the blood of Jesus on Wednesday followed by my concerns regarding confidence in Jesus versus in myself and my relationship with Jesus came to the forefront.

Things were getting serious!

Before the week ended, I began reading Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV):

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Then the question hit…have I really been about the will of the Father!? And am I about Jesus in words only or in my entire heart and life!? This is something that ALL of us should seriously consider and ask the Lord to examine our hearts when it comes to following God and Christ Jesus!

Oh sure, we ask that “God’s will” be done but really, deep within our hearts, when we are told “no” about that opportunity or when we are hoping for that big “thing” to come through for us and it doesn’t, we are greatly disappointed.

Our lives are rocked and we begin to doubt and question God. We get unbelievably upset and angry.

it is a horrific mental and spiritual state to be in when the blood of Jesus seems meager to your burdens in life. 

If we are truly about our relationship with Jesus Christ we will be obedient to God the Father. We will live a life that is evident of the relationship we have in Jesus! How might we be obedient…and what about…that is found in God’s Word.

For those in Christ, we can rejoice in the fact that everything we go through and everything that we face is not the end! Faith in God and Christ Jesus says that I will not cut and run nor give up at the site of trouble or strain or strife.

 

 

You Were Made For This

August 19, 2016

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On Sunday, August 14th, I preached on the topic “You Were Made For This,” using the text from 1 Peter 2:9:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

The 3 points that came to mind in the movement of this text were the following:

You Were Chosen

You Were Set Apart

You Were Called Out

For those who believe in Jesus Christ and have accepted Him into our life and His gift of salvation, we no longer walk in disobedience and sin, but righteousness and life and holiness. This is huge for us because we have a “living hope” in Christ that reminds us that we are “chosen.”

As believers, we are a “royal priesthood,” which means we can go before God through Christ. We also have the opportunity to serve the Lord and serve other people in our lives through our talents and gifts all while being empowered by Christ.

We are a “holy nation,” which means that we are to embody the characteristics of believers in God and Christ. We are to operate as the chosen, holy people of God, set apart to do His will both in our lives individually and in the world.

We do this because He called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light, whereas, we lived in darkness but through the shed blood of Jesus, we have become God’s possessions, whom he called out.

After writing the notes to my sermon, the Lord encouraged me to really think about my own story as it relates to the scripture. I shared with the congregation what it felt like to be outcasted, ignored and left behind.

I was often bullied and teased in the classroom, on the school bus and anywhere else that kids existed. I was also in Special Ed, which often made me the first one to take a test and the last one to walk out. Because I was different from majority of my classmates, I was often teased and picked on for what kids called “talking white” (speaking proper English) and for the way I carried myself. Being a precocious kid made me a target.

During the sermon, it got personal, as I shared my own deep hatred for others in my community, but how Jesus healed (and continues to heal) my wounds of the past and delivered me from that darkness. Also, the Lord forgave me, because after all, His own disregarded Him as well, and I couldn’t claim to love God but hate others.

Everything I went through…everything you are going through right now…you were made for this! The times we are living in…this period that you exist…you were made for this moment!

You were chosen, you were set apart and you were called out for this appointed period of time. That is not a coincidence! It’s an assignment!

And you were made for it!

Detective_Conan_Characters

For the past few days, I have been watching one of my favorite anime’s, “Case Closed,” which is also known as “Detective Conan.”

“Case Closed” is about a high school student, Jimmy Kudo, whom after being drugged by a crime syndicate and left to die, turned into an 8-year-old boy. Adopting the alias, Conan Edogawa, the famous young detective now has to solve crimes as a little kid while using his close friends’ father, whose a detective, as a cover and a way to find the men who poisoned him.

Humility

A gifted detective, masterful in deductions and all things mystery, Jimmy Kudo lived in the spotlight of popularity. Girls loved him. Men were jealous of him. People were amazed at his work at such a young age.

But, Jimmy Kudo, now known as 8-year-old Conan, was not humble at all. Kudo was so into his own world, his own interest and his own desires and the attention he was getting, he was missing out on the fact that ONE person really cared for him deeply, Rachel Moore, a girl he’s known since childhood. But, his focus was on the thrill of doing what he loved to do and the fame that came with it.

Then…everything changed. He was not careful enough. After being ambushed, he was knocked out and poisoned. He should’ve died, but the poison caused a side effect that turned Jimmy into who we now know as Conan. And to make matters more interesting, he’s forced to stay undercover under his new name at Rachel Moore’s house, where her father, Richard Moore, was a detective whose work was not all that great.

While watching the series, two things I noticed immediately. Both Jimmy Kudo (Conan) and Richard Moore had the same problem: humility. Jimmy lacked humility while he was brilliant in the art of detective work. Richard Moore lacks the intense skill that Jimmy has but genuinely believes he’s the best and is incredibly prideful.

Second, throughout the series, Conan is helping Richard solve every single one of his cases without him really knowing it. Throughout the series, this makes Richard Moore become the famous detective whom many will later know. Conan was the greatest. Now, Richard is the greatest.

Conan was literally humbled into a position that would require him to serve someone else in order for himself to be served. Conan understood that he wasn’t going to get to where he needed to go in life unless he helped Richard Moore go from mediocre to great!

Servant Leadership

I could only imagine the kind of heart and mind change it took for Jimmy Kudo, now Conan, to go from being a great detective who was admired by all to being a little kid.

At first, solving cases was just for personal interest. Now, it was a matter of life and death. It was a mission. There was a purpose behind it.

It was more than just for a rush and admiration. It was now all about determination and getting his real life back. But, he couldn’t become great again…until he became a child again.

What we can take from the series and from the main character is that to be the greatest is to be a servant.

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Being Like A Child

In Matthew 18:1-5, the disciples were discussing who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Much like Jimmy Kudo, the disciples saw the Kingdom of Heaven as a big prize here on earth, not something of higher, eternal value.

Jesus calls a little child to Him and set the child in the midst of them. He explains to them this:

Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

The New King James Version. (1982). (Mt 18:3–5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Much like Jesus makes the point of being converted, which here literally means, “to change.” The Message Bible, as I paraphrase it here, says that unless you go to square one and start over like children.

Greatness comes from serving. Humbling yourself as a child is a part of the Kingdom of Heaven living style.