Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Prayer

Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Lord my heart is heavy as I and others grieve the loss of fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ in Charleston, SC. In your word you state that in your body there are many members and when one cries the entire body cries. May every Christian around the world cry over the loss of these nine lives in such a heinous and horrific way. I pray for the loved ones left behind as they plan funerals in the midst of their grief. I pray that the community that is Charleston, SC will surround the members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. That they will be a source of encouragement, support and love. Lord, in your word you also taught us to love our enemies. I pray for the man who has committed this violent act that has taken lives. I pray that he will be convicted by the Holy Spirit, that he will both turn himself in to authorities and to seek your forgiveness. Lord I pray that every person he encounters going forward will be a witness for your love and that he will come to the saving knowledge that God can turn his life around. Lord God you turned the life of Saul around, a persecutor of Christians. and If you can cause Saul to become Paul we know you can transform this man from the killer that he is to a man that would proclaim the good news to all. Lord God, inspire and compel us to live lives of love that we would live boldly the good news of Christ knowing that through us you will draw all of humanity unto you and this world will know peace. In Jesus Christ's name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

At Home?

When you don't feel at home when you are home, it is not pleasant. That is where I am at with my current home where I have lived since November 1 of 2014. Whenever life gets difficult and problems arise I have the habit of asking God, "What are you trying to teach me here?" Most of the important things God has taught me have come from some of my most difficult times in life and I know this time is no different.

So here is the issue, a little background for you. I have asthma and a month ago a built in air freshener system at the apartment complex I live at was turned on. One morning as I will leaving for work I enter the main lobby and immediately started to cough and wheeze, I was having an asthma attack. Up until that day in March it had been 13 years since I had an asthma attack. I took necessary measures to eliminate things in my home that trigger asthma attacks and to avoid those things as well when I went out in public and I have successfully managed, with one prescription, to keep it under control. When I reported the incident to the apartment manager he spoke with his supervisor and they turned the system off. I was happy. That is until yesterday morning.

Fast forward, on Wednesday, April 15 I once again went through the main lobby, leaving for work and felt myself begin to wheeze. I emailed the apartment manger to find out if the system had been turned back on. It had been and he had not been told. The management company has offered to move me to another apartment in the building but that is not going to solve the problem given the mailboxes are in the common area where the air freshener is being pumped into.

Needless to say my home has become a detriment to my health. Not a good thing. It got me thinking about Jesus and the disciples. They didn't have a home, they traveled and depended on the kindness of strangers to give them a place to rest their head. Jesus even spoke twice about not being at home. Read below:

Luke 4:24 (NIV) 
"Truly I tell you," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown."

Even when Jesus was home he was not at home because he was not accepted

Matthew 10:14 (NIV) If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

The reality is we will never be at home on this earth. If we live fully into our faith in God then we will never be comfortable living here and our soul will long and yearn for our real home, Heaven.

So how do we live with this dissatisfaction with our earthly home while waiting for God to bring us home? I believe it is my fully trusting in and leaning on God. That is what our Lord wants, for us to fully depend upon him to get us through this life till we enter the next one.

*if you are reading this I would appreciate prayers as I try to resolve the above issue with the Property Management company. Thank you.

Monday, March 16, 2015

I went to church

I must qualify the title. Yesterday, I got up, ate breakfast dressed for church (or worship) and went to the church that I am a member of. Service was great. (I say this because I have a habit of picking apart a service and naming all the things wrong with it. Yes, I am a perfectionist)

But when I say, "I went to church," in the title I am referring to my experience at a Roanoke city restaurant, following service. Allow me to share it with you now.

Church at Thelma's Chicken and Waffles

Thelma's Chicken and Waffles is my favorite Roanoke restaurant, amazing good ol' Southern food. As I was waiting for my food I observed the host seating a man at a table near me. The man had a torn t-shirt underneath a suit coat that had a silk flower on the lapel. It is unclear to me if he was homeless but with some slightly unkempt hair I discerned that this man struggled from the basic necessities of life. 

He never ordered from the menu, but my server, brought him two plates full of food. As I ate I continued to observe the man and his interactions with the server. As he ate he placed a $1 bill and a handful of change on the table. During one encounter with the server he said to her, "It's all I got but I want you to have it," and he gave the the $1 bill and change on the table. 

As this went on a feeling of hopefulness came over me but also an awareness. The interaction between the man and his server was the epitome of church. The church is not a building with four walls. Church is not something we go to it is something we do. When we love our neighbor, see their need and meet that need we are being the church.

I don't know if that server is a Christian or not but it really doesn't natter. We are not called to wear a label signifying our faith. What we are called too is to be in relationship with our neighbor. Thelma's Chicken and Waffles' reminded me of that and I wanted to continue that reminder to you as well.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mary's Revolution

The Gospel is controversial

Jesus came as a baby not an adult who rose to the throne, the head of a government. His birth was told to the lowest of society: Shepherds would were shunned and to the foreigner – Wise Men. Jesus was found with the lowest of society rather than inside the synagogue preaching. Jesus did not judge either. He called out the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and did not wage war but preached and practiced grace, forgiveness, and love of both neighbor and enemy.

Today I believe Jesus would be found with the homeless, the orphaned, the immigrant, the poor, the minority, the imprisoned, the refugee, the tortured, persecuted and killed.

I am skeptical that he would be found in the church and among those with great power, those blessed with great wealth and those who pass laws to oppress and discriminate against those in the minority.

In the gospel of Luke Mary gives us a description of who the God of all creation is.

Luke 1:46 - 55

And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."

When Mary says, "...he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts," she speaks of a moral revolution. 

The proud will be made humble. 

The story of a young woman named Mikah shows us what humbleness looks like, the opposite of pride and conceit.

When Mikah's mother came down with chicken pox when she was carrying Mikah. As a result Mikah was born with multiple birth defects. Despite that her spirit and cognitive capabilities were not affected. She constantly thought about others and how she could help them have a better life. Age, gender, color, ability or disability did not matter to her. If they were in need she wanted to help. Before dying at the age of 21 she continued to pray that her grandmother would come to know the Lord.

People like Mikah remind us that we are here on earth to serve and help others, not help ourselves

When Mary says, " He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.," she speaks of a social revolution.

Hundreds of years ago a wandering scholar named Muretus lived. He was very educated but also very poor. He became very sick, and he was taken to the place where the destitute were kept. The people who cared for him did not know that he was a scholar and that he understood the scholar’s Latin. One day the doctors were discussing his case in Latin and they were saying that he was a poor creature of value to no one and that it was hopeless and unnecessary to expend care and money on attention to such a worthless human. Muretus looked up and answered in their own Latin, “Call no man worthless for whom Christ died.

In America homicide is in the top 3 causes of death among people between the ages of 10 – 24.

  • The rate for Caucasian males is 1.5 per 100,000
  • The rate for Hispanic males is  7% higher than Caucasians
  • And the rate for Black males is 30% higher than Caucasians
  • In America 1 in 5 adults has a disability according to the US 2010 census. That is 19% of the population. Adults with disabilities face discrimination all the time because of their lack of ability by those who feel superior to them and all they can do for themselves.

In America dependency tends to be seen as an evil word. 

  • Lastly, but possibly most important, 686,000 victims of abuse were documented in 2012 in America. 

All these children and adults have worth because Christ died for them and when we discard, neglect, abuse, mistreat and kill we have done these things to the Christ child.

When Mary says, "He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty," she speaks of a economic revolution

Consider these statistics: 
  • Homelessness: 610,042 per night in January 2013
  • Poverty: 15.9 % unchanged from 2011-2013
  • Unemployment: 5.8% Currently – 18,517,022 without work
But for you who have been held down, held back, oppressed and mistreated I have a word of favor from your Lord and Creator: 

Isaiah 61: 1 – 3 says (NIV), 

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Because my God and Christ stand with the least of these I stand with:

  • Young males of color who fear leaving their homes for fear they will be killed because of the color of their skin.
  • I stand with all children who have been abused and lost all trust in adults
  • I stand with children who have been neglected and abandoned
  • I stand with all those who are disabled and want the respect they deserve
  • I stand with the homeless who want a roof over their head and a pillow to lay their head on.
  • I stand with those who do not know where there next meal is coming from.
  • I stand with adults who work full time and still can't make ends meet
  • I stand with the innocent who are in prison
  • I also stand with the guilty who are in prison for Christ died for them as well.
  • I stand with children who want an education around the world only to be shot and killed by grown men who are intimidated.
  • I stand with teachers in America and around the world who sacrifice their own lives to protect their students when madmen arm themselves with assault rifles.
  • I stand with those who are oppressed by laws that deny them the equal rights simply because someone doesn't like their lifestyle.

Because my God and Christ stand with the least of these I stand AGAINST:

  • Modern day Herods who have no conscience and will kill any and all children who are a threat to their power.
  • I stand against governments who continue to oppress the poor and praise the wealthy and powerful, for they are oppressing the Christ child and supporting the government that wanted him dead.
Do you the church believe in God and your Savior Jesus Christ? If you do you must stand with the least of these and work to bring down all those with power who seek to oppress the voiceless. Will you be a voice to the voiceless and stand with the least of these?

Monday, October 27, 2014


          Two weeks ago I was on vacation on the North Carolina coast. On one of those days my friend and I took a ferry ride from Harkers Island to Cape Lookout on the Core Banks. On our ride over the ferry captain slowed down so we could see one of the many wild horses that roam and graze on Shackleford Banks.

          He shared with us that prior to 1954 Core Banks and Shackleford Banks were one island. No water separated them. But in October of 1954 Hurricane Hazel came barreling into North Carolina and changed the one island, among other things. It pushed water from the Atlantic Ocean so far in the one island became two. The wild horses home was split into two islands. What the captain said next was very fascinating. The wild horses can be found every night on Core Banks, home of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. Yet that picture above and below is of a horse on Shackleford Bank.

          Since Hurricane Hazel the horses began, and still do swim across the water from Core Banks; in the am, to Shackleford Banks to graze, and return every evening to sleep on Core Banks. Despite a very devastating hurricane they adapted to their environment and continue to thrive.

          It got me thinking that if wild horses can adapt to a new environment after a storm then we, human beings, can too. The question is will we? In my 42 years of living I have observed two types of personalities when it comes to change. There are those who go with the flow and others who dig their heels in and refuse to change/adjust. I find that the latter group is angry, bitter and down right miserable. We face storms, big and small everyday of our lives, and if we allow ourselves to be flexible and nimble then we will survive the storm and THRIVE just as the Wild horses do today.

Things to remember when deciding how you will let storms shape you:

1 - Happiness and Joy never killed anyone but anger and bitterness surely can.

2 - God can't do anything with you if you are not willing to move and bend to his will.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Making a choice: Life or Death

              As I have begun Brian McLaren's latest book, We Make the Road by Walking, each chapter so far has focused on how we have a choice to make. The choice is whether we will eat from the tree of life or from the tree of good and evil, knowledge. We all know what happened after Adam and Eve eat from the tree of good and evil but do we consider daily what tree we will eat from. If we choose the tree of good and evil then the result will be death but if we eat from the tree of life then we have life. We are alive in this world and in line with the Will of God.

When we eat from the tree of good and evil we position ourselves in the place of God, judge of all things good and bad, and if we look at the world closely it can and does lead to us killing those we deem to be evil and bad.

Is this the world we really want to live in? Do you like what has become of humanity today?

We can do better! We can! Philippians 2:1 - 11 says:

            Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 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 Jesus:
 Who, being in very nature[a] 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[b] 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!
 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father

Allow me to leave you some words of wisdom from Kid President.

May we LIVE and not be lame.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Discovered Gem

Moving is a chore, a burdensome chore but you can find little gems you have collected along they way as you clean out and pack up. I want share with you a gem I found. I left two bibles unpacked to bring to my work to use while several other bibles and books are packed up till I move November 1. In college I learned a new song at a United Methodist retreat. I must have really liked it because I wrote the words to it in a bible. The words are below along with a YouTube video of a young lady singing the song. I hope this little gem I found blesses you this day.

Bread for the Journey

Give us bread for the journey, give us bread.
Give us bread for the journey, give us bread.
When our legs are getting heavy,
and we're hanging down our heads.
give us bread for the journey, give us bread.

Guide our way as we travel, guide our way.
Guide our way as we travel, guide our way.
There's so many roads before us,
where to go is hard to say,
guide out way as we travel, guide our way.

Make us one with each other, make us one.
Make us one with each other, make us one.
All the walls we built around us,
may we learn to tear them down,
make us one with each other, make us one.

Lead us home to the garden, lead us home.
Lead us home to the garden, lead us home.
Where we'll live with all creation,
find our place and never roam,
lead us home to the garden, lead us home.

Give us bread for the journey, give us bread.
Give us bread for the journey, give us bread.
When our legs are getting heavy,
and we're hanging down our heads,
give us bread for the journey, give us bread.