Facadebook


I recently had someone tell me how shocked she was that a particular couple was no longer together because everything looked so good on Facebook. Are you laughing too?

It is so easy to portray things to be one way when they are another. I can especially testify to this in the church. We put on our “Sunday best”, carry our big Bible, use all the Christian lingo, pray out loud based on something we heard from someone else, and everyone thinks we are spiritual. The truth is that we know how to play the game. Some of the most godly people I know are those who look like they would dismember you. 

I was trained to look and act a certain way because “that’s what good preachers do”. Then my life was torn apart, and a counselor got all up in my business. He told me that I needed to be authentic. I warned him that the authentic I was feeling at that time was not “what good church people (especially pastors) say”. He still encouraged me to be real because I would never move past the anger if I continued to fake my way through what was supposed to be the healing process.

I feel like everyone’s life has become a reality tv show. We parade our lives on social media with pictures of us going into debt with purchases we can’t afford, smiling with people we don’t like, and making people envious of lives that are completely fake.

Is there a place where you can be yourself without fear? You should be able to be who you truly are with your faith family. The sad thing I hear is that many people do not affiliate with a church because they cannot be real about their addictions or struggles. 

In the near future, Overcomers Church (the church God called me to plant in January) will have an online presence. I can guarantee that it will be a different experience. We are not trying to be like any other church. We just want to be a safe place where people can learn, grow, and serve. We are praying that our online ministry will be a way for people to reconnect with a faith family who have experienced hurt in the institutionalized church.

If I can be of help to you, please contact me. You can find my contact info on the blog page. It’s time to take off the mask, trash it, and be the person God designed you to be without fear.

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Your Weakness is also an Asset

Great thoughts about our weaknesses from another blogger! Don’t miss the opportunity that can be found in your weaknesses.

CHOMSKYWEB

For one thing, being weak makes you look horrible. It  deprives you of courage.

The thought of being weak at something looks like a disaster to your dreams. It is no wonder that weakness is one of your most dangerous fears. Beside, who would want to be labelled weak? I know you definitely would not.  It isn’t a great achievement.  

But what if you knew that your weakness is a great asset. What if you knew that being vulnerable is the birthplace of creativity and your ticket to bliss.

 Here are 6 Reasons why your Weakness is an Asset.

1.  Your Weakness Resonates with People

Why Your weakness is an asset 2-min

Do you know that being weak boosts connection? 

The world is filled with different types of problems. You might be thinking that your problem is unique but trust me, you are not alone.

Connection is what makes meaning in our lives. Connection is the lifeline of business and every…

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Facebook Friendaversary (revised)


The link I shared had privacy settings, so here is what I posted on Facebook on a personal note:

Two years ago, thanks to Jodi, Jennifer searched for her future husband on Facebook😂. The next day, I went to a Nerium party (skin care product for those who don’t know). I was the only guy and had all evening to talk with Jennifer. I had no idea that night that God had picked her to be my wife. For anyone who has gone through the pain of divorce, you know the difficulty of finding a good mate and thank God daily when He finally sends you one. I celebrate today because God allowed me to meet via social media a lady who is always by my side, cheering me on to be the best God would have me to be. I love you, Jennifer!

The Easiest Decision That People Try To Make Hard Every Day- Jesus Christ.

Great testimony by TJ Petri! I encourage you to check out his blog. You’ll find a wide variety of topics and a few posts that will take the edge off.

Don't Label My Kid! -

I have never been one to take people’s word for things and it was no different went I got my first bible bruise on my head from a bible thumping Baptist who thought he WAS Jesus I think. I did not say ” ouch that hurts” I think I will dedicate my life to Christ. However I was also smart enough to let one irritating Christian chase me away from Christ, just in case my investigation decided that Jesus really was who He said he was. After all his comments were not too light- like John 14: 6- ” I am the way the truth and the life, NO MAN shall see the Father except through me” If I did scratch him from my list, I wanted to be sure.

I enjoy investigating things, and finding out for myself what truth was about anything. I reads some good books, one…

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Uncomfortable 


I am sitting here dwelling on some things that are uncomfortable. For my family, it is a little bit warmer in the house because the AC decided to have an issue we will need to have examined. I think about my supervisor who is recovering from a broken hand (a pain I can’t imagine). I think about people who live in fear tonight of abuse and violence. Those who are sick and will only get worse. The list goes on. My heart is deeply moved, and I pray for these and others who are uncomfortable for one reason or another. 

Despite the extra warmth of the house, I am thankful to have electricity to operate fans. I am thankful to have a roof over my head. I am thankful to have a job and coworkers I enjoy. I am thankful to be called to plant a church in a community I love and long to see the denominational and ethnic divide demolished by the power of God. I am thankful for the people God has given me to pastor and pour my life into. I am thankful for my wife and children. I am thankful for a dependable vehicle. I am thankful for second chances. I am thankful for the blood of Jesus that has washed away my sin. I am thankful for good people in my life. I am thankful for parents who sacrificed for me and other family members who have encouraged me. I am thankful for those who encouraged me to not forsake my calling when the enemy wanted me on the shelf. 

Some of you who are reading this may be dealing with some minor issue like the AC going out, and it would change your perspective if you would simply count your blessings. Others of you will struggle with counting your blessings because life has been a series of difficulties for you. I will not condemn you for your struggles. I pray that God will somehow reveal Himself so sweetly to you and bring healing to your life to the point where you can begin to see the blessings. 

Father, I know that many who read this are walking through things I will never understand. Although I can empathize, I will never grasp the pain, guilt, or whatever they are carrying today. I take great joy in knowing that You understand their every heartache and can dry every tear. May each reader find encouragement and experience Your sweet love that is demonstrated through the sacrifice of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross. I thank You that Jesus conquered death and lives today so that all who read this who have placed their faith and trust in Him can experience His resurrection power. May their discomfort be replaced by the sweet comfort of the Holy Spirit. For I ask this in the sweet name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

Be the Fire! 

Please beware of this elderly man who is starting fires in people’s yards. He is old and dangerous.


Seriously, this is my friend Howard. He and some others came and helped us with some needed work around the house today. As we were working, I took this picture and thought that it could turn into a great blog post.

In life, I have found that there are 3 kinds of people in relation to fire.

  1. There are those who avoid fires. They don’t like conflict or anything that might be contagious positively or negatively. They play it safe and never take a chance. These are those who say, “I won’t get burned if I don’t get near the fire.”
  2. There are those who create fires for others to extinguish. These are the trouble makers. They always like to make a mess for someone else to clean.
  3. The third type is my favorite – those who are the fire. You may ask what I mean by that. These are passionate about their cause and spread like wildfire. They know the proper surroundings that are necessary to be contagious and spread. John Wesley said, “Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” This is what I want for my life and for the group of believers of whom I am privileged to pastor. 

We need more people who will be the fire. Revelation 3 says that God wants those who are hot and on fire for Him. Will you be a fire in your home, workplace, and community?

Losing My Religion


If you’ve said, “I almost lost my religion”, I hope you go ahead and lose it. Go all the way with it. Don’t just get rid of some of it. Get rid of all of it! 

Great advice coming from a pastor, huh😀? I think so. Religion is manmade. I have probably encountered more people with a manmade, mustered-up version of something God never intended. That kind of religion has created some of the meanest, snootiest people I have ever met. This is the kind of religion where people try to be good enough. They know the right things to do, say, wear, etc. The problem is that it is fake. The outside conforms, but the inside is dead and empty. Religious people strive to be “good enough”, and the only way to measure that is by comparison. We compare ourselves with others to see if we are better or worse. That’s when church becomes a competition, and we try to figure out who won the “holier than thou” award this week. 

Biblical Christianity is not about comparison because none of us would be good enough to make it into Heaven. What would the standard of righteousness be anyway? God is the righteous standard, and the only way to have God’s righteousness is through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn from your sin and turn to Him. It sure beats the whole comparison thing because we will NEVER measure up.

I will close with the lyrics from the R.E.M. song “Losing My Religion”. Read these lyrics with the thoughts above in mind.

Life is bigger

It’s bigger

And you, you are not me

The lengths that I will go to

The distance in your eyes

Oh no, I’ve said too much

I set it up
That’s me in the corner

That’s me in the spotlight

Losing my religion

Trying to keep up with you

And I don’t know if I can do it

Oh no I’ve said too much

I haven’t said enough
I thought that I heard you laughing

I thought that I heard you sing

I think I thought I saw you try
Every whisper

Of every waking hour

I’m choosing my confessions

Trying to keep an eye on you

Like a hurt lost and blinded fool

Oh no, I’ve said too much

I set it up
Consider this

The hint of the century

Consider this

The slip that brought me

To my knees failed

What if all these fantasies

Come flailing around

Now I’ve said too much
I thought that I heard you laughing

I thought that I heard you sing

I think I thought I saw you try
But that was just a dream

That was just a dream
That’s me in the corner

That’s me in the spotlight

Losing my religion

Trying to keep up with you

And I don’t know if I can do it

Oh no I’ve said too much

I haven’t said enough
I thought that I heard you laughing

I thought that I heard you sing

I think I thought I saw you try
But that was just a dream, try, cry, why, try

That was just a dream, just a dream, just a dream

Dream

Written by Bill Berry, Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Peter Buck • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

Co-Parenting


I have been blogging consistently for almost 2 years, and I have read several blogs by other writers. Surprisingly, I have never read a post about co-parenting. You know the grueling task of sharing children with an ex?

I have been doing this for about 3 1/2 years. As the time passes, the challenges increase. Kids get older. They move from the emotional trauma of the parents not being together anymore. Then they adjust to a new “parent” or two being in the picture. Add issues like behavior, problems at school, puberty, and sibling or stepparent/stepchild rivalry into the mix. Kids playing the game of divide and conquer while you and the one to whom you were once married (potentially your arch nemesis) have to be on the same page, despite the fact that you couldn’t get on the same page when you were together. Can anyone relate?

What do we do in these difficult situations? I can’t write the book on this subject, but I can give a few helpful tips to those who are struggling through this. To give you a clearer picture of my scenario, my ex-wife and I are both married to different people. I have 3 kids from that marriage and 1 with my wife now. My three live 4 hours away. My current wife has two from her previous marriage, so a blended family of 6 (ages 10 months to 14). Both exes are in the picture, so you can imagine that 4 different philosophies can cause tension. With that in mind, what would I recommend?

  1. Do what you want and make the ex vehemently angry. Just kidding😂! Compromise! You will not agree on every matter, but civilly discuss issues of disagreement and come to a truce. It is not about one party willing to die on the hill of being right. 
  2. Take some time before you respond! Do not respond emotionally or hastily! These responses only intensify matters. The Bible says in James 1:19 to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Hear all perspectives and allow the Holy Spirit to control what you say. Fire is not put out with fuel. 
  3. Unite for the sake of the children! This has several aspects to it. First, a set of rules must be agreed upon and implemented. Second, kids can be divisive and find a loophole in EVERYTHING. They do this even when the family unit is a traditional family, so this is intensified in the blended family when exes have to co-parent. 
  4. Don’t parent out of guilt! This is an easy one to do when the family unit you once knew has been decimated and you want to soften some of the blow. Principle must not be compromised. Bad behavior is inexcusable, even if the kids have been through a lot.
  5. Get counseling! I am a firm believer in a professional counselor. I would not be where I am today had I not had some great counselors when I was going through my separation, divorce, and remarriage. Most people will dismiss this because of pride. I threw my pride aside when I knew I needed help. Counseling digs beneath the surface and reveals things that must come to the surface. It is best to bring the junk to the surface rather than sweep it under the rug. It will come out anyway, so it is best to process the issues sooner rather than later. No wonder the Bible says “Do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26).

As I said, I can’t write the book on this subject. I can just pass along what little bit I am learning and invite you, the reader, to chime in and share your insight in the comments. It’s a hard road to hoe, and co-parenting is not for wimps. Here’s to all the brave parents who share this journey and its accompanying battle scars!

Addiction


I normally don’t address subjects like this on my blog, but it’s real! I cannot count how many people I know who struggle with an addiction of some sort whether it be porn or sex-related, alcohol, food, illegal drugs, prescription meds, or whatever the case may be. The thing that concerns me is that most churches either don’t know how to handle those who struggle with addiction or don’t want to handle it because it’s uncomfortable.

A few months ago, God allowed my path to unite with TJ Petri, author of Don’t Label My Kid blog. Since that initial phone conversation, I have begun to partner with his blog to provide a spiritual element to it. TJ became an addict at an early age and overcame through the power of God. He personally experienced the hell of addiction, withdrawals, and all that goes with it. 

I want to share what TJ has posted on his LinkedIn page. Read what he says below:

“Our goal is to make a difference at what we do. Our vision is to set the bar so high that an entirely new standard of care is at least in our daily thoughts. In the mental health and addiction industry it seems at some point, we all just quit demanding answers and started accepting mediocrity. 

“The only numbers that have increased are the cost of the trophies we hand out. Certainly not in the success rates of the problems we have. I guess I just cannot settle. Maybe because that hell took half my life. 

“If someone is not telling me that I am crazy when they find out what my plans are- I am missing something. 

“If I know a way to help even one person overcome the throngs of addiction and mental illness, and sleep well without making a move, -I am a failure.

“My career is not about me wanting people to like me for the way I choose to help others ..If I’ve been through the hell of addiction and I know a way out that’s better, I could care less who agrees.

“I respect education greatly. Especially internships. When it comes time to pull the trigger on a model of treatment I think might help even 1 more person than the last one did- you better believe my mind is not on some pie in the sky manipulated numbers or a text book. 

“My mind is STILL on a hard cold floor of a filthy detox/rehab that I laid my head on and vomited while the ‘experts’ made their rounds to remind me that I was letting my children down telling me I ‘just did not want it bad enough’ (coming from those who have never known more then chapter 8 & 9 in their college texts about withdrawals).

“Right about then is when we ‘slouchers’ scanned the room for sharp objects.

“For those of us who do make it out (mental health or addictions)- We must find every single ingredient that made it possible for us to the make it to that finish line –

“{BTW- wish us luck this summer as we meet with BC/BS -Fl. -They want a closer look at our treatment model….T.J & Team”

If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, click on Don’t Label My Kid and contact TJ. He’s not interested in your money. He wants you to overcome. 

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