The Email That Never Leaves Your Outbox

I wrote an email once.  It was long and sort of detailed.  I was able to describe my feelings the best way I know how…sometimes. I talked about how I lost this and lost that; how I thought they were this or thought they were doing that.  It really was a powerful letter.  I mean, I poured my soul–what was left of it–onto my electronic paper.  My words were sharp and ready.  Was it too much?  No.  Was I letting all of it out? Sure.  I could go on and on about what I could have and should have and actually did say but, the thing of it is this:  I never sent it.  It stayed right there in my Outbox.  Sure I wanted to type the recipient’s address and send it on its way, but I didn’t.  The point I’m trying to make here is that there really are things that should be left unsaid.  There are some things that need to be carried to God and not to someone else. There are way too many things that we can never take back.  True, we can think whatever we want but, once they leave your mouth, all bets are off.  It changes everything. That’s one thing I’ve learned in these short years of my life.  When you throw those “rocks”, they don’t come back.  When you hit send, that email isn’t coming back.  Whatever you say has a one-way trip to whomever your saying it to.  You have to be careful.

Then again, you can always delete the email…

Thursday Rant

Well, here we are.  Approaching another summer.  So far, things are pretty much even keel for me. Definitely some challenges that I had to overcome.  Still, new challenges are ahead so for that, I am grateful.

I think I’m really going to try something new this time around.  I’m really going to rely on my faith.  Now, I know this is probably sounding strange coming from me but, let’s face it; we ALL have issues with faith and its lack of use.  The Bible teaches us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb 11:6)  This being said, we have to learn to adjust our faith so that it is at the forefront of our decision-making.  Lately, I have tried to use my faith but, I got in the way.  Too early, in fact.  God will always do things in His time and, when we deviate from that, it can prove disastrous.  You end up missing out on things that you could have very well had, if only you would have just waited.  I am a true witness to this.  I lost what would have been mine but I rushed it.  I was way too eager to seize the opportunity.  Was it fear? Was it pride? Was it selfishness?  Was it even all three?  Those are questions that we have to ask ourselves when we’re faced with this type of situation.  What am I afraid of if I wait? What happens when it doesn’t happen and how will that make me look?  What’s wrong with me having this? Everybody else does.  I WANT ONE TOO!!

Last time I spoke about removing the bandage in order to heal.  Well, this goes hand in hand with that.  The healing process has to begin but you have to trust God that He will heal whatever pain you have, regardless of whether it was self-induced or not.  Paul told the church in Corinth that he had a vision as well as a thorn in his side.  Apparently it was pretty annoying since he asked God to remove it three times.  This is when God spoke to him in verse 9, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9)  This means that, even though I am going through a period, even though my heart may be aching, and even though I feel like it can’t any better, God’s grace is sufficient.  It always has been, it always will be.  We just to trust and have faith that it is so…

Sunday Rant…Rip off the Bandage

I usually don’t do too many of these but, in the interest of transparency, I decided to share this.  We all have feelings.  Every one of us was born with them and, throughout our lives, they can be hurt, broken, crushed, etc.  That being said, how do we deal with that?  How do we keep them from going through the ringer of ruin?  Do we make decisions on a whim or allow some things to happen, only to possible regret them later?  That’s not an easy question to answer.  Those of us who have been in those tough situations will agree that there is no safe way out.

I’ll tell you a story.  When I was a kid, I scraped my knee really badly.  There was blood and everything.  Well, Mom put a bandage on my knee and things started to feel better.  A few days later, I was getting ready to take a shower as usual.  My dad comes in to see if I was OK.  I told him yes but he asked about my knee.  I told him that it didn’t hurt anymore.  He went on to say, “well you know that’s not going to heal if you don’t take the bandage off.  You have to let the air get to it in order for it to heal.”  I told him that I would take it off later that night and he left the room.  Well, as I was showering, I started to peel the bandage off…slowly.  It started to sting a little.  The more I peeled the more painful it got.  After I finished my shower, I went to my room and my dad passed my. He noticed that the bandage was still on.  “Andre, you have to take that thing off”, he said.  I told him how it started to sting when I tried to peel it back.  “That’s not going to do it, son.  Peeling it back is only going to cause more pain.  Rip it off.  It may bleed a little but the healing won’t start until it’s off.”  Again, I told him that I would take it off.  The next thing I hear was RIIIPPP!!  My dad came in and ripped off the bandage!  I was in shock.  However I didn’t feel the pain until a few seconds later.  Dad came back in and helped me clean it.  “Now it can heal.” he says.  I went to bed still kind of in shock.  Why would he do that?  Why did he make it worse?  IT HURTS!!!  A few days later I noticed that things started to heal quite nicely.

If anyone is reading this, look at this analogy.  Now read it again.  Instead of waiting for the right time, just rip off the bandage.  Leave the wound alone and then let it heal.  You be able to move on a lot quicker.

Rant: Mental Health

Good morning.  I want to take a few moments to talk about a subject that is the elephant in the room.  Mental illness.  Now, I am no expert nor am I qualified to diagnose anything.  The only thing I am qualified to do is pray for those who suffer from it and encourage them as well as their families to ensure the person suffering from it gets help right away.

There is a patron here that comes in quite frequently.  It’s very obvious that she is suffering.  Among all of the snickering and evil looks that she is being given by other patrons, the reality is that she is indeed suffering from a mental illness.  Admittedly, I was a bit annoyed by her presence but, after a while, I realized that she is suffering and may or may not know.  This is why I can only pray for her.  I can only ask God to move in her life so that she is able to get the help she needs.  From what I can tell she is not in the best place financially.  This is another issue that some who suffer from this have to deal with.  Treatment can be expensive.  No money, no treatment.  No treatment, more suffering.  It’s sad, really.

If you’re reading this, I am asking that you take the time to pray for those that are suffering.  They may be part of your family or you may not even know them at all.  What matters is that you ask God for their healing.

P. K. Minister: The Freshman Years…One Term Down

Well, I’ve done it!  I have successfully completed my first term at Liberty University.  It was definitely an amazing journey.  Walking through the corridors of the Old Testament and learning how to be a successful online student have both given me some much-needed insight on how to keep this school thing going.  If there was a drawback, I would say that starting my second term in the process of finishing he first term deemed difficult but, now that the first two classes are over I can get back to being less stressed.  The only difference now is that I have to prepare four sermons for the month of April.  That part I’ve done before but never while attending college.  One of my second term classes is evangelism so, I decided to use that as the focus for the month.  You can never learn too much about how to share the Gospel with others.

I hope everyone had a great Easter celebration.  We had a really great time yesterday, starting with our Sunrise service and followed by morning worship and Holy Communion.  We had a really great attendance as well.  I just pray that the numbers will continue.

Speaking of evangelism, we took to the streets 2 weeks ago and passed out some care packages to the less fortunate folks not too far from the church.  I’m not sure whether they were homeless or not but, they were in definite need.  One of our ministries made bags that contained Toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and soap.  After service that Sunday we passed them out and tried our best to “plant seeds” that, hopefully, landed on fertile soil.  Amazingly, one of the ladies we gave a bag to asked us, “where are the bibles?  It would be really nice if we could have one of those small New Testament bibles to read.”  WOW!!  Goes to show you that even though there are some people out there that are going through life struggles, they still want to read the Word of God. Pretty amazing actually!  I took her request back to the ministry and they said that they will see about buying some for the next time.  I am looking forward to that.

Well, that about sums up my latest adventures.  Stay tuned for more…

Friday Rant

Well, here we are at the end of another week.  I am also proud to say that I have also come to the end of my 4th week of school.  You have no idea how this makes me feel.  Actually, it feels REALLY GOOD!!!  So far, I have finished one essay on Biblical Worldview from my own perspective, taken a few quizzes, posted a few discussion boards, and even taken math and English assessments.

My essay on Biblical Worldview was based on the first 11 chapters of Genesis and how it relates to my own beliefs.  I have had no problems preparing sermons but this was definitely a different animal altogether.  Nevertheless, I got through it with an 85.  The only thing that kept it from earning a 100 was formatting.  My degree program calls for Turabian or Chicago style citing which was no problem there.  The issue was that I had too much spacing.  No problem.  I can fix that.  The good news is that I have to continue to use the same style of citing for the rest of the time I’m in school.  I have my Dad to thank for this because of his mission to rear the four of us knowing the Word of God.  Not necessarily everything (there is no way that we can know everything down here), but definitely where to go and how to read and interpret scripture.

The other class I’m taking for this term is a class on how to become an online student.  I thought that I was pretty good at that since my being in IT calls for a lot of research and using Google (yes, Google is IT’s best friend). Well, it turns out that there was still some new stuff to learn.  For example, I learned about the terms Pedagogy and Andragogy.  Both are learning styles but, Pedagogy is how children learn and Andragogy is how adults learn.  Obviously, since I’m all grown up (gasp), I am learning to use Andragogy.  We even get deeper into them but that’s for another blog.

My English assessment went pretty well.  I’m so glad that my Mom was an English major as well as a teacher.  And, since we weren’t really allowed to speak slang at home growing up, this made the assessment go well.  It’s really funny how you have to try hard NOT to speak slang.  This is partly due to working with the public on a daily basis and, of course, my Mom.  She made sure to correct us if we weren’t correct with diction and\or grammar.  “I don’t want you going out there speaking any kind of way.”  Of course you know that I have turned right around and done this to my sons.  Hopefully, the cycle will continue.

And then, there is math.  My least favorite subject.  That assessment did not go so well.  I say this with confidence because I have to challenge myself this time around.  I know my limitations but, I also know my strengths.  Again, being an IT guy, numbers are part of the job especially dealing with networks and IP addresses.  Fortunately, there is dynamic IP addressing but, in school, we had to learn the hard way – with exponents.  I will definitely keep you entertained with that class, once I get to it.

Well, that about wraps it up for this time…

The Organism: Stronger Than The Building

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c]

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

 

There has been a tragic event that has happened.  My former church has been burned.  The church where I was raised.  The church where my Dad was Pastor for 17 years.  The church where my oldest was baptized.  The same church where I delivered my very first sermon is now in structural ruin.  I’m trying my absolute best to not let my anger show at this time so, I am asking God and you for forgiveness.

One of the things that we have to remind ourselves of is that the Church is NOT the building where we worship.  Granted we have called said buildings and structures “churches” but the actual church that was established by Jesus Christ is YOU, WE, and US.  Paul made this very clear in Acts 17:24 that God DOES NOT live in temples that are built by man.  Yes, these buildings that we construct are meant for us to worship together corporately and to hear the Word of God preached to us.  Make no mistake, however, if the building collapses, or is destroyed, the church still lives because we are it! Paul goes on the say that cannot think that God Himself is like some piece of gold or a brick.  The children of Israel made that mistake in the wilderness.  We can’t keep thinking that.  Especially when we know better.  Yes, there will have to be a rebuilding of the building but Jesus said that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church that HE built.  The one not made my human hands.

I’m encouraging all of my friends who are still members there that, while buildings come and go, YOU are part of the organism.  Therefore the Church still stands…