How To Love...

One day, when I was sitting in one of my sociology classes at Auburn, my professor raised a very unique question. He asked, "Is there one thing that connects all beings together?" Several people raised their hand and some said things such as, "Our instincts our what connects people together." He said that is true, but not the answer he was looking for.
Sidebar for just a second: This professor has done a lot of case studies and has been in the sociology filed for 25+ years. He knew what the answer was and he also stated that it took him traveling the globe, studying people in social situations, writing papers, having a family, and discovering God that he finally came to this conclusion.
The professor continued, "This is the one thing that we all know in different forms. We can use this, hate it, make it better, we can show it, express it, read about it, and much more. What is the one thing people crave from some, yet it connects all beings together?"
Our class sat silent as we didn't know the answer. Suddenly a hand went up. It was a very shy type of hand raise, because this person did not want to be wrong. She said, "Is it Love?" The professor jumped up and screamed, "YES! Love is what connects all beings together!"

This professor I had is a close friend of mine, in fact we still communicate through email every now and again. I also have his permission to talk about him in this blog, but no names will be named.

Through out that class session, we talked about nothing but love and the many different types of love we all have, crave, need, show and express. He left us with the thought that, whether or not you believe in God or a higher being, through out different religions, love conquers all.

As I left this class that day, I do believe that I was changed! From there, I went on to grow in my life, my ministry and my relationship with Christ. I was reading a devotional book this morning, and the scripture came from 1 Peter 1:22 which says, "You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart."

Through Jesus, we were cleansed from our sins. This only happens when we obey the truth that Christ offers us and God shows us. Through this cleansing of our sins (the greatest expression of love that has ever happened and will ever happen) we must go and show SINCERE love to each other as brothers and sister. We must love deeply with our WHOLE HEART!

What an uplifting verse! I can't believe what God has shown me from this verse and how through this, I am brought back to my time at Auburn and reminisce of my times there. I learned a lot while in school at Auburn, but I have never learned as much as I can about life and love expect through reading the Bible and sharing and showing my relationship with Christ.

There is a lot of political things going on now that has caused a nation divided almost. Whether we feel one way or another, does Christ not call us to love each other,enemies and neighbors, but we must first love God and ourselves?

Family, it is time that we put away our petty differences!We can stand on the front line for God or we can wait quietly in the back! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? MY GOD has CALLED me to LOVE those who I encounter on a DAILY BASIS! This does not mean I can go out and push people off because I do not want to talk to them at that time. A walking and talking relationship with Christ is not sunshine and smiles all the time. There are times we go through ups and downs, yet the real relationship that Christ shares with us is through both the good and bad. HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU! Why do we forsake Christ and turn our backs on Him?

I think I, and a lot of people, have a mentality sometimes of the prodigal son. We can do what we want, turn around and be forgiven, then live life as we want to again. HOW FALSE IS THAT STATEMENT! Share the love of Christ, the grace that He offers everyone, to everyone so that His kingdom will be advanced on this earth so that ALL will know who Christ is.

As I close this post, please note that I am challenging myself to be a better sharer of Christ's love that He has shown me. I will try to not be selfish and worry about myself and how I will make it through this life. I will depend on Christ for all matters that come through my life and I will seek Him out through the best of my ability and through that I will share the love that I know to my brothers, sisters, enemies and neighbors. Will you?

How To: Be a Nerd...

I am about to reveal how much of a nerd I really am. Are you ready for this? Hidden beneath my strong physic and my physical stature, I love to watch the show....Star Trek: The Next Generation.
................................................(this is me pausing while you laugh)................................(done yet?)..........

Star Trek: TNG is about the starship U.S.S. Enterprise. It has a very large crew and is the lead ship for The Federation, which is an alliance between Earth and a bunch of other races of different beings. I told you I was about to reveal my nerd side.

This show, however, is a very popular show, as it was during its time as well. They show it on Peachtree TV here in Atlanta, and I DVR it to watch it later in the morning. Occasionally I watch it while it is actually showing. Yet, whenever I watch it, there seems to be some kind of lesson that can be taken from the voyages of the Enterprise and it's crew. I watched an episode this morning that I wanted to share a little about. This is the second part of my How To portion of my blog.

I have had a lot happen to me over the past week. I resigned from my position at my church and I am now, technically speaking, a free agent of sorts. The reason I did this is to grow in my faith in Christ to better myself for my ministry to students, as this is my life's calling of course. Last night, and this morning I have had a revelation of sorts.

Let me explain. Last night, there was communication to me that made me very upset. This was because it had to do with my church and I am guessing my wounds are still fresh. But let us look at the Star Trek episode this morning.

Here is the plot: Picture this if you will. The Enterprise is on course for a rendezvous at a star base in the Protaznic Sector. Oh, and here is what the Enterprise looks like...

The Enterprise is on course when they detect an anomaly with their computer sensors. Suddenly, the ship is being pulled by a 2-D gravitation and a life form that is unknown to the crew. While being pulled in the gravitation, the ship's counselor, who is a batazoid (a species that can read feelings and thoughts of those around them) loses her powers.

This is unique to her because she is half human and half batazoid. This whole experience is new to her because she has never had to rely on her human instincts alone. She had to depend on something she didn't know. However, as time passed, she learned to develop her skills and finally become functional again. In the end, (SPOILER ALERT), she gets her powers back, right before the ship is sucked into a black hole of sorts.

As she got her powers back, she learned that the life form was acting on instinct and they were going to a place that was common to them. It was their home, of sorts.

I look at Star Trek:TNG and I look at my current situation as a Christian and too often I try to depend on myself, something safe for me, and I don't try to step out and go where God needs me to be. I need to be on the front lines, however, when we look at where God wants and needs us to go, we often try to hide from God.

So the How To section of this blog? Secretly watch Star Trek: The Next Generation and then reveal it to the whole world you watch it and can most definitely apply it to your life.

The good word portion of this blog? Psalm 91:1 -Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Find your place in God. Find the comfort of life through the one that gives you life. Don't depend on yourself to find solace. Go to grow. What I mean is, go to your quiet place, where you can GROW in Christ and in prayer.

how to...

I have had a lot of time over the last few days to really evaluate myself, my ministry, and my walk with Christ. When one looks at their own life, we look at the bad and the good. Sometimes we can have such rose colored glasses that we tend to miss on the opportunities that God gives us.

So for a while, I am going to do a How To blog series. I can only hope and pray that those who read this blog will read and understand that I am not telling you how to live your life. I will tell you from my own personal experiences about how I have lived my life and how God transformed my life to better myself for the things He has planned for me in the future.

Today's How To: How to not be religious but a follower.

Read with me the words from The Gospel according to John.
John 3:1-2

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God."

John 19:38-40

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.

Nicodemus is well known throughout the Gospel according to John. He was a very religious man and he came to Jesus in the night, asking about how to be a follower of Jesus. I believe that the story of Nicodemus is also well known because when we continue reading, we find a very famous verse, John 3:16.

Aside from one of the most recognizable verses in the Bible, most people seem to think that the spiritual journey of Nicodemus ends after chapter 3 where he leaves Jesus confused. This is not the case. Look at chapter 19 of John. We see that, after the death of Jesus, Nicodemus shows back up to help with the burial of Jesus. Nicodemus was a very religious man. However, he needed more than religion alone. When he comes to Jesus in chapter 3, Nicodemus is in search of something more. He needed to follow Jesus. We see this as evidence in chapter 19. Jesus gave Nicodemus the opportunity and He continues to give us the same opportunity even today.

When I first started in ministry, I was so excited about what I was doing that I became cocky. I tried everything to look good, but on the inside, I wasn't growing. The past few days, I believe that I have truly started a pattern of life that will change my ministry beyond all belief. God is in the business of the supernatural and some things can't be explained in the natural world. I believe the God is all powerful and loves me unconditionally. As I continue to seek Him and His direction for my life, I am no longer going to be religious in life. I will be a follower of Christ.

You're FIRED...

Donald Trump. Vince McMahon. There are many tops CEO's in the business world today who get a kick out of saying, "YOU'RE FIRED!". In fact, there are some times when a friend and I joke about how to fire people with a little feeling as possible.

To end people's hopes and dreams would be terrible. It would be awful to tell people they are fired. However, what if instead we fire people, we fire them up. Why don't we try to get people excited as opposed to knocking down their dreams. Let's build them up.

Let's start out with prayer today. And I am going to try to be as real as possible with this blog post. In order to see some sort of growth in this world and in my or your own community is to be honest and build up people.

How often do you prayer for people when you say you will pray for them? Is prayer a cop-out for Christians to do no action? I was reading a blog of a pastor in South Carolina. He states that his church is doing a new series called "Practical Atheists". What is a practical atheist? Someone who says they believe in God, yet live their lives like HE does not exist.

How many people have been going to church for 10, 20, or even 30+ years and have never changed? It is because they say they believe in God but they don't want Him to impact their life.
Look at Acts 12:1-16. This is where one Apostle was killed and another was set free. Sometimes God delivers us from our trials and other times He let's us walk through them. However, the constant in all of this is GOD IS STILL GOD!

When people pray, and God says no. We all have this jacked up, legalistic theology that God owes us something and He should never say no to us. God does this out of love. He is not some genie we can just ask for something and with the wiggle of His nose and His head do a little motion and poof there is our prayer answer. No, GOD IS GOD and it is OK to say no to us!

Think of those who have children. You want the best for your child, even if they don't see it, you do. So some of you say no to your child for the better of your child. Even though they can't see it right now, you are showing them love.

There are things in this world that God says, "Don't pray, OBEY!" This is where God's word speaks clearly. For example, if you say you should pray about having sexual relations with someone you are not married to, is God going to tell you it is OK? ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is an EMPHATIC NO!

Christians use prayer as an excuse for inactivity. Let me ask you this question. Are you praying your way out of something you behaved yourself into? That came from the mouth of Andy Stanley. WOW!

Parents, you can not just pray your child into being a follower of Jesus. You must show it by example and you must be more passionate about raising disciples for Christ rather than the all star athlete! In order for my ministry to grow, I must be passionate about my ministry. I CAN NOT CONTINUE TO SIT ON MY HANDS AND MY KNEES AND NOT DO ANYTHING! I must live to my calling and be passionate about Christ in such a manner that this passion POURS into those around me and in my ministry. If I am not passionate about raising disciples of Christ, what am I even doing in ministry?

Scripture says that we must pray for those to be healed, whether it is physical, spiritual, or mental. A man can not tell me he can pray himself out of porn addiction. There is no way! There needs to be physical healing, mental healing and spiritual healing. It is going to take more than just him doing it too! Look at what scripture says we must do in James 5:16

Pray for those who need healing. Pray for those around you. But don't use prayer as a cop out for no action. Raise and be a disciple of Christ and LET CHRIST IMPACT YOUR LIFE. Don't be a "Practical Atheist"
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