Thursday, December 22, 2011

It Would Still Be Far From Perfect...But At Least We Wouldn't Be Acting A Fool

It breaks my heart to see how dark and hateful Christians can be towards people. It almost makes me not want to be one. The acts of picketing and protesting that I see from Christians on television and YouTube are the exact opposite of what Jesus taught in the New Testament. It’s no surprise that those who are not a part of the Christian community are skeptical about us. I don’t blame them. If I were not brought up in a Christ-centered home and had no clue of what Christianity was really about, then I would be skeptical too. Absolutely! But the truth is I have been brought up in a Christ-centered home. I have been taught what Christianity is all about—unconditional compassion. So it breaks my heart when I see Christians “acting a fool”.
In Matthew 5:43-48 it says, “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best- the sun to warm and the rain to nourish- to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously towards others, the way God lives toward you” (MSG).
Jesus is challenging those who proclaim to be God’s children to start acting like it. He goes to the extreme and hits us where it hurts the most—“…love your enemies.” Okay, well how should people who do not associate themselves with God or Jesus take these words? I’m sure they would feel quite offended by the term “enemy.” And that’s okay, I would be offended too. If I were in their shoes I would ask, “Hey, time out! What did we do to you guys to mark us as enemies?” Well, uh….nothing. The fact that Jesus used the terms “enemy” and “friend” does not necessarily mean that he was alluding to the terms “believer” and “nonbeliever”, he was just simply teaching his followers how to treat people who are either from the friend side of the spectrum or from the enemy side of the spectrum. If anything, these verses should build a new sense of expectancy about Christians. It would give those who aren’t associated with the Christians the knowledge necessary to detect which Christian community is “full of it” and which one that is doing a much better job living out what Christ died for.
To be blatantly honest, if every single church community on the face of this planet were focusing on what truly matters about the gospel of Christ we would be living in a completely different kind of world. It would still be far from perfect but at least we would be getting just a little bit closer to hitting the mark. And that mark is to know Christ and to make Him known in a genuine and loving way all throughout the world.
It breaks my heart to see how dark and hateful Christians can be towards people. The very people who need love the most.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

That's Life

On Saturday December 17th 2011 I graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in Family & Child Science with a minor in Religion.

As I sat there among the hundreds of graduates I said to my self, “Self, you are ready for anything!” Then I said to Life, “Life, bring it on!!”

The remainder of the day will be shown through a timeline to show you what Life brought my way.

11:30---ceremony ends

12:30---lunch with family and friends

1:30----still having lunch with family and friends

2:30----in the ER with my wife

You might have asked yourself, “What on Earth happened?”

The appropriate answer would be that Life decided to “bring it” that very day.

Apparently, Ashley and all of her coworkers attracted a virus from work last week that hit them hard over the weekend. I don’t know what exactly happened to them but I do know what happened to Ashley. She ended up vomiting just about everything there was to vomit from her system. She became extremely dehydrated, experienced intense abdominal pain and eventually began to hyperventilate. The nurse put it simply, “Her nervous system is going haywire” and that is exactly what was happening. We ended up being in the ER until 10pm that night. It was a terrifying thing not knowing what was wrong with her. The doctor took a blood and urine sample to figure out what was happening. Luckily, it was a virus that already started to die down. After all, she had already cleaned out her system.

Most people will tell you that Life can happen at any moment. I know that to be true because it sure didn’t try giving us a rain check on behalf of our plans for that day. Don't get me wrong, I’m not complaining in any way. I am just relieved that my wife is doing a lot better now. As a matter of fact she has returned to work today and has made a complete recovery.

It’s a sobering thought to realize that sometimes we have no control over what happens to us. It’s during times like these that we are reminded of how frail we are and how much we need one another. In a way, I am glad that Life did not wait until later to do what it did. Yes, it was my graduation day. The day was supposed to be a day full of joy and celebration but it wasn’t—and that’s okay. That’s Life. I’m glad that God allowed the timing of the event to happen when it did because it taught me two valuable lessons.

1.)   Life never takes a holiday.
2.)   Life never considers yours.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Graduation (In Its Full)

Graduation is next weekend and I have no idea what the future holds for me. Of course I have a plan immediately afterwards but it is only temporary. Hopefully it will lead me closer to the career that God has clearly made known to me. The thought of being done with my undergrad seems so unreal that I have to pinch myself from time to time just to remind myself that it's really happening. It has been a long road. A road covered with stress, frustration, disappointment, change.......but all along the way it has been a journey of self discovery. I learned that I have what it takes to better myself intellectually and that with a little bit of planning skills I can accomplish multiple tasks within a demanding time frame.
I have overcome many obstacles throughout the past five and a half years and I am thankful that I am coming out on top. After high school I thought that I wasn't cut out for college....that I would not be able to keep up...but I did. I thank God for never letting up and never allowing me to walk away. I know because of his faithfulness that I was made for a purpose--as we all are--but I know that I have a specific purpose that only I can fulfill.
The one subject that I will never forget from my college experience will I learned exactly what I am. I am a man who was made to love and care for people of all ages, especially teenagers. I thank God for not granting my wish of going to Southeastern University because if he had I wouldn't be where I am today. I have the best wife a man could ever hope for, friends that so happen to be the best people on this Earth, and a church family that truly grasps what it means to be the body of Christ. All of these relationships have played a crucial role in the development of my adult character and I am blessed to have them.
God, thank you for believing in me and giving me all the tools necessary to have gotten this far. I know that your love and faithfulness will never leave me or forsake me. I know without a shout of a doubt that after graduation you will turn my life upside down with something I will have never expected....and I'm okay with that. To live a life under your purpose is to live a life in its full.