Posts tagged ‘Facebook’

Remembering Nychelle

Today, I would like to remember a young woman who really knew God. I think that even at her young age, she knew God better than many, and had the kind of relationship with Him that made this world seem like some kind of pale imitation. Nychelle Goad was a member of our church, and while I didn’t know her well, I often found myself observing her. I think sometimes when we recognize God in someone, we feel a connection and are drawn to them, even if we never actually speak. Nychelle and I never really carried on a conversation, but the way that she lived her life testified loudly to the fact that she knew that her life was not her own, but rather to be spent in service to others, and glorifying God.

 

In the immediate aftermath of her tragic accident, so many were heartbroken. So many asked why. And while for a bit, it seemed so surreal, sure enough life has gone on. Her parents Carol and Travis are warriors in the truest sense of the word. God has done great work in them, healing them from the pain of their loss. The cool thing is that as God has continued to heal them, He has used them to heal others of other various forms of loss. He has grown them. He has stretched them. He has grown their family. Their girls are awesome. Their son, Noah, is amazing! A future worship leader.  And most importantly, they all live their lives abandoned to God.  I have always really enjoyed watching them worship on Sunday mornings. It blesses me. They have prayed for my family, and our family has prayed for theirs. On FaceBook, nary a week goes by where Nychelle is not mentioned. Still. 2 years after her moving on to be with God. How amazing is that? It’s the kind of legacy that we all wish to leave when we die, not that we were known by man, but that we were known by God, and man could see it in the way we lived.

 

In a blog that I used to have, I wrote about Nychelle’s death, and how it affected so many.  I wrote about the shock and the tears. Today though, I just want to thank God that so much positive has come from her passing on. I would like to think that she is up there smiling, cracking jokes, and urging everyone onward towards the finish line. She lived a life of faith. She loved God. She loved others. What else can anyone want out of a life? There are some days where I see someone who looks just like her, and it makes me smile. She is still a part of us all. There is comfort in that.

 

Nychelle,

 

We still love you and think about you. Thank you for the life that you lived, and for the light that you showed. Thank you for being unashamed of the Gospel of the Kingdom, and breathing it daily until your last breath.

 

And God, I thank you that we were able to witness your wonders through her. I think we are all a little bit better because of it .

 

Until next time, family, be blessed.

Band of Brothers

When I get the inspiration to blog, sometimes I resist it because the topic is too personal, or I feel like it points back to me instead of pointing back to God. I realized something this morning though, and I just briefly want to share it.

 

Psalm 133 talks about how good it is for brothers to dwell together in harmony. Also, the Bible talks about how Jesus sticks closer than a brother, and also how iron sharpens iron. It occurred to me that there is something really, inherently Godly about a brotherhood. Men need brotherhood. So, here is the back story.

 

My family is going through a tough time at the moment. Thinking about it woke me from my sleep before the alarm clock. Now, I’m not one to talk to other people very often about what ails me. I just try and deal with is like a man, which is to say I don’t deal with it. Usually that ends up allowing it to eat me alive. There have been instances in the past, with more frequency since we moved, that I feel comfortable enough to share with brothers in my church, men who share the same faith and passion for God that I do. And even while it’s embarrassing to have to admit failure and weakness, struggle and heartache, it is also cleansing to know that I can share with these men of God, and trust that they will be praying with and for me. So, I get up this morning and grab my phone. I type out a facebook message to these men, and hit send. Now, while I’m washing dishes this morning, I’m still worrying about our situation, but I begin thinking about a Band of Brothers. That was a series on HBO that I never watched, but God really showed me the strength of a brotherhood in just that statement. The bond that brothers share was designed to be stronger than the strongest steel. And when I think about the friends I have had in my life, we could go without talking for years, and then strike up a convo like it was just a day in the recent past. There is a love in a brotherhood that is enduring and refreshing. In a true brotherhood, we should be able to unveil ourselves without fear of guilt or condemnation from our peers. Yes, it’s hard for a man to be transparent, but there is a blessing in being able to just lay it bare before your brothers and let your needs be known. That’s what I did this morning. My wife probably won’t like it, (lol), but I needed my brothers, and I know that they are there for me.  They won’t leave me behind.

 

Men, we need each other. And women, you should strive for brotherhood in your sisterhood, and I hope you know what I mean when I say that. Lol. I just don’t see the need to suffer in silence, praying to God every night, when He has also given us people to hold us up when we feel weak. Cause sometimes, and we may not admit it to ourselves, we feel lonely even after we pray. Our faith is too beaten down, and our spirit is too weak. I don’t think it’s sin to admit that. It’s the truth. It’s not ungodly to confide in those of the faith. The Bible urges it, and we as a church are commanded to bear one another’s burdens. There is blessing and edification in that. And the strength that I feel, even having not heard from anyone that I messaged, is the strength that comes from God through them to me. God blesses us with strength not just for ourselves, but so that we can share with others. There is a verse in the bible that references how the in the new testament church, everyone had just what they needed, and nobody had more than they needed. This doesn’t just go for finances. It goes for the full gamut of the human experience.

 

So, thank you brothers in Christ. Thank you sisters in Christ. Those of you who willingly show Jesus in your relationships and uphold your fellow brother and sister in prayer and support. God bless you. I pray that we all may become that Christ-like in our dealings with one another.

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Until next time, be blessed.

Who Ya With???

I need to go ahead and get this out of my head before it leaves me completely. Ive posted the sermon notes from our service yesterday. You can find a couple of posts down. Essentially, our Pastor was talking to us about submitting control to God. It’s easy to say, but many of us have some real control issues! Then, there are some of us who maintain a stoic public face, but behind our eyes, we are doing this to God,

“GAAAAWWWWWDDD, WHHHHHHHYYYYYYY????!!!!!! WHHHYYY GAWD!!! WHY ME, WHY NOW, WHY NOT HIM OR HER? I”M LIVING MORE RIGHT THAN SALLIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC!! WHY ARE THEY SO RICH AND I”M SCRAPING TO GET BYYY!!! WHYYYYYYYY!!!!”

Know how I know? I’ve done it. I do it. I used to tell people all of the time that I was a patient man. LIE. I asked God for patience one day, and God showed me that I’m the most impatient person that I know. Even in times when it seems warranted to ask God why, it’s still not cool. If we are taking off our shoes and completely submitting, then what good does WHY do? Either we are going to trust Him or we aren’t.

So, this is what I’m looking at, and this will be the only political statements that you will EVER hear me say. This past election got on every last one of my nerves. The left, right, center, moderate, celibate, deliberate, and any other “ate” out there just really and effectively put the world on notice that we don’t have ourselves together. The ad messages, debates, interviews, phone calls, etc just made me sick to my stomach. The Facebook pundits, touting freedom of speech, torched so many relationships, and for what?? Just to say that they were right?? Just to try and get people onto their side? Yesterday, our Pastor made it plain.

“There is no our side and their side. There is on GOD”S side.”- Gene Bebee
When the elections went final, the rhetoric was just as bad. And in the end, it’s all about control. We want control. We lust after control!

During worship service eysterday, I was so convicted on that point. Control. I want to control when I get a teaching job and where. I want to control when I take the pulpit and where. How stupid am I? Even in a time of great trial and tribulation, the timing on it is still God’s to control! Even when our accounts scream EMPTY, like they do most days now, God is still in control.

So, here is the thing that I really felt God speaking to my heart yesterday. I felt like telling you all here, rather than putting it up on Facebook. I know it won’t be read nearly as much, or “liked” as much, but here it is anyway.
I believe God impressed it on me to stop asking why! Plain and simply, trust God. Take off your shoes, realize that there is a God above who care and plans out every aspect our my life, and quit asking WHY! That hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m so quick to ask God why; to demand answers. God is not beholden to me. It is the complete opposite. I am dependent on His omnipotence and love just to take my next breath.

Here is the second part to that though. As Christians, we are instructed to pray for our leaders and those in authority. I truly believe that God is calling all Christians to the carpet on this one. Your calling as a Christian supersedes ANY affiliation that you may have with a political party, sorority, fraternity, or whatever. And as a Christian, we are supposed to pray for our leaders, respect them, and uplift them. I felt God telling me that what happens to our nation during the next 4 years will fall on us. Will we free God in our governments to counsel our leaders? Will we pray that our President does God’s will, whether he knows it or not? Or will we tear down and destroy this country that was built on being under submissiveness to God?

This is what I know in my heart to be true. God wants to bring His Kingdom through us. Our role in this is to model Christ to the nations. We must pray. We must pray. We must pray. Dare I say it again, we must pray.

Prayer is not a political issue. We can’t waste our time engaging in meaningless pursuits. God’s will must be done regardless of who is leading. As Christians, our job is to intercede and pray with all of the power of the Holy Spirit, realizing that no matter who sits in the White House or any other place of “power”, God sits on the throne of Heaven. He is our source! He is our Provider! He is our banner! He is our Redeemer! He is GOD!!!!!

Woo (wipes forehead). Sorry for that hastily written blog, but I knew I needed to write it. I was just putting it off. The sermon yesterday just reinforced what I knew God was already speaking to me. Oh, and if I offended anyone, I’m sorry. It still had to be said.

Until next time, be blessed!

Happy, Happy? or Joy, Joy?

I saw a question posed on Facebook today and it really made me start thinking. Here is the question:

“Are Christians supposed to be happy people? Is that something we should be known for?”
I don’t know why, but this question really caught my thoughts. I’ve actually spent the rest of the day thinking about that very thing.
Here is my first response. I don’t believe that Christians are always happy people. To me, happiness denotes something external. For example, ice cream makes me happy. A nice, cheesy pizza makes me happy. I have the thought that happiness is dependent on something external happening to me; something which I choose to allow to make me happy. Happiness can be physically seen through smiles and such. That is what I think happiness is. Some people may think otherwise, but to me, Christianity is not defined by being happy. Sure, we have many reasons to be happy, but I believe the words that should more define us are joy and love.

Joy is something internal. It is a guarded thing. The Bible speaks of joy over a thousand times from beginning to end. Happy or happiness only appears around 30-40 times, depending on the translation. In every instance, I look at the verses and happy does not feel right as a substitute for the word joy. For example, peep this:

John 16:21-23 (MSG)

The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you’ll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you.”
In this passage, we see that there is a joy that is ours if we will have it. For me, happiness does not fit accurately here. It feels a little more fickle, or superficial, and comes short of the full indication of what Christ was speaking about. Joy is what the Christian has to give him and her strength when everything around seems to be falling to pieces. It’s the joy of the Lord that upholds us. And in those moments, we may not be able to smile. We may not be able to dance, but that doesn’t mean that we are despairing or sad. The world can not understand our joy, because true joy is only found in Christ Jesus.

SO, I can see why the world would mistake our joy for simple happiness. We try to find ways to explain that which we don’t understand. But we are assured time and time again that joy is a gift from God, one which we can never fully understand, but one which makes our hearts glad and causes us to continually rejoice in the God of our salvation.

Should we be known by our joy? Sure! But the trademark of any true Christian is known in the way we love. Christ even says this, that the mark of a Christian is found in love. The reasoning is simple. God is Love. So, if we are in Christ, then we are in tune with the greatest love in the world. Whitney Houston sang about the greatest love, but her song didn’t even scratch the surface of Christian love. It is because of this love that we can have peace and joy. It is the linchpin of our entire existence in Christ Jesus. Simply put, the world should look at us and think, “Man, that dude has some serious love in his heart! I want some!!”
So, that’s my answer to that facebook question. Maybe I’m just splitting hairs here, and I suspect that I am. But to me, it’s important that we not get caught up in finding connections that might minimize the work of Christ in our hearts. Now, the person who asked the question is full of the joy of the Lord. This manifests itself in his being perpetually happy, but that is the outward manifestation of the inner joy that is working within him. I know this for sure.

What are your thoughts? Am I crazy? Does any of this make an ounce of sense to you? Am I crazy (again)?

Until next time, be blessed!