Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Risen Life

I feel terrible today.

The weight of the world feels like it is slowly getting heavier on my shoulders. I feel caught in that ugly place of confusion, frustration, weariness, selfishness, lonliness, and exhaustion.

This is one of those days where I feel like everyone is just waiting for me to fail and like I have nothing to give.

But Jesus has risen.

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

You see, whether we want to admit it or not, we are human beings. 

We are needy, broken individuals who, if left to our own devices, allow our perspective to become narrow and our actions harmful.

On our own we do not always feel loved, or like we even have the ability to love others. On our own we dig ourselves deeper into despair or whatever bad feeling exists and we isolate ourselves from any form of true intimacy.

"I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

Jesus has risen.

Meaning we don't have to stay in frustration, isolation, or fear. Meaning that as we die to ourselves and imitate Christ's humility, as we share in his sufferings, we can also share in his resurrection.

"We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." - Romans 6: 2-4

The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus is a reminder that Jesus can breathe new life into our humanity, and has empowered us through his Holy Spirit to be an agent for resurrection everywhere we are.

You are not "just a" mom or dad, you are not "just a" employee, you are not "just a" ordinary person.

You are someone with the ability to influence those around you wherever you go, to live the power that comes from having Christ live in us and through us.

We don't have to be perfect, just willing. Willing to let God work in our hearts to bring true healing and intimacy with Him, so that we can be that for others and ultimately point them to Jesus.

"The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Friday, March 29, 2013

Imitating Christ's Humility

I want to start this blog with the following passage from the book of Phillipians. Specifically Phillipians 2:3-8:

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ JesusWho, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself   by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!"

(emphasis mine)

You know what one of the most amazing things about Jesus' death on the cross is to me? 

The fact that all authority and power in heaven and earth had been given to him, and he chose to lay it down of his own accord.

He could have summoned an army of angels to prevent him from being held captive, or at the very least taken the multiple opportunities that were given to him by his accusers to defend himself. 

He could have lashed out in anger at his torturers or ran away as he felt the anxiety and fear in his final moments at Gesthemane. He could have said "Father, not your will, but mine be done."

But he did none of those things.

He took the very nature of a servant and humbled himself to the point of death.

What Jesus did on the cross represents forgiveness for all of our sins, a way being made to relationship with God, and full submission of Jesus to his Father's will.

That's what I want us to consider. What steps are we taking to die to ourselves on a daily basis in submission to God the Father? How are we imitating Christ's humility?

Are we getting angry and frustrated when things don't go our way? Are we seeking only the good of ourselves? Are we entitled to what we "deserve"?

The Son of God himself did not wield his power against humanity. So we, who are here today & gone tomorrow, should not be so arrogant to think we can act any differently.

May we take the nature of a servant, may we "wash each other's feet", may we look not only to our own interests but to the interests of others. May we learn to hear the Fathers voice, and know that his commands are not burdensome, but are born out of his undying love and commitment to see us look more like Jesus.

May the death of Jesus remind you how deeply you are loved, and empower you to love others.

Monday, March 18, 2013


I want to be humble in a way that isn't just really good at faking it, but where I have a true self awareness of who I am in relation to the God we serve.

I want to improve at submitting to authority, and not always thinking my way is right or that I'm untouchable because of what I may have accomplished or experienced.

I want to mature in the unique plan that God has for my life, not spend all my time comparing myself to so and so in an attempt to either boost my ego or make their story into my story.

I want to have character and integrity, to do the little things well even when no one is watching.

Most of all, I want to help empower families and lead folks out of the poverty mindset and into the worth and dignity they possess as the creation of God Almighty. I'm tired of seeing single parent households that can barely pay the bills, feed their kids, do laundry, or find a job.

I'm tired of the way people in those situations fall into depression and believe they are worthless. I'm tired of them getting used to being somebody's project.

I'm tired of living in the poverty mindset.

Let's face it, you can't lead where you haven't been. I believe the church needs more spiritual mothers and fathers who throughout their life have consistently taken steps in faith to follow Jesus no matter what it may have cost them. People who are truly mature in the Lord, confident in their identity in Jesus, humble, compassionate, quick to love in action & truth, submissive to authority, full of character & integrity.

In a word, people who are being sanctified. Looking more like Jesus everyday.

If we want to see true and lasting change, disciples of Jesus being made, broken homes and families restored, and people coming out of poverty, we must allow Jesus to walk us through the process of maturity. If we want to be participants in what the apostle Paul calls "the ministry of reconciliation", if we want to see resurrection happen all over the place, we must be in tune with what God wants to do in & through us.

In this next season of life, I will be working part time at Starbucks and part time as a missionary through Current of Ohio, LoveCanton, and many other entities I am involved with.

I know that God wants to teach me all of the stuff I listed above, and I believe being bi-vocational for a season was the step out of my comfort zone that Jesus was wanting me to take.

So how about you?

What is the next step Jesus is asking you to take?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Reaching The Summit

Kids matter deeply to God, and the tragic circumstances and home lives that some kids must face, is not the end of the story. Healing for at-risk kids in physical, spiritual, and emotional ways is absolutely possible. I know because in many ways it's my story.

I grew up in a tough home environment, and the stress of poverty and the weight of our brokenness felt like too much to handle sometimes. My response was often violence, which caused me to get suspended multiple times, almost expelled, and eventually led to my brief incarceration in a juvenile detention center when I was in 8th grade. 

That is a brief part of my story, and was not the end for me. Today I am a new man who has   experienced great personal healing through God and the community of people he placed around me, including much of my once broken family. I have lived firsthand the life of an at- risk kid and the transformation that is possible.

As a result of how my life was changed, my goal is to give back and do whatever it takes to help kids facing big obstacles. To do this practically, I will be climbing Mt. Rainier in Seattle, WA ( during August 18-20, 2013 w/ 3 other friends. Our goal is to reach the 14, 411 ft. Summit.

This is both a personal growth challenge, and an attempt to raise money for the Christian Children's Home of Ohio ( Our total goal is $20,000 as each person has committed to raise at least $5000.

Their mission is to "bring healing to hurting children & families in His name." For more than 40 years, and with programs in 16 locations throughout OH, including many counseling centers and a Children's Residential Center where kids get the care they need, CCHO is a beacon of light for at-risk kids. 

For the personal challenge side of it, I will also need to raise some personal costs just to be able to go. Rest assured, I will be saving every penny I can to help cover this.

I will be tracking my progress in every aspect of this climb, so stay tuned for more info.

Please be in prayer for the climbing team, the kids that CCHO supports, and the countless other children that are still living in abusive situations.