Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Cause for Pause: Lent 2016

"Lent is the 'spring cleaning advent' 
for the heart that awaits 
the resurrection of its Christ."

Certain seasons in life are cause for pause:

For evaluation...
Deep reflection...
Inner renewal...
And restoration.

Beginning with Ash Wednesday, Lent is a special season hallmarked in several faith traditions as a time of letting go; giving up.

During the season of Lent, many put ashes on their heads to:

Remind us of all those around the world who are mourning and suffering...
Remind us that we all have sinned, we all need repentance, and we all must cling to the promises and love of Christ...
Remind us that in the passage of time, we will all someday die...
Remind us of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection...
Remind us that in the midst of this, we are still called, named, claimed, and loved children of God...

But not only is Lent about the giving up and the letting go, but it is also about the pouring in that only God can do if we allow ourselves to pause long enough to let Him.

Lent is the Cross' beckoning toward a transformative journey of being made new.

It is not a religious obligation to be enforced, but rather an invitation to be accepted. 

To go the distance. 

To journey with Jesus.

Today, I want to extend an invitation for you to be transformed by following Jesus these next forty days to the cross of Calvary.

I invite you to embrace the truth that:
Jesus loves you. 
Jesus died for you. 
Jesus wants everlasting and eternal fellowship with you.

I encourage you to:
Lay the sacrifice of your desires at the Lenten altar. 
Repent of the things that have blocked your vision of who God is and who you are in Him.
Allow Him to wash you with the water of His word.
Invite Him to increase your capacity to receive more of Him. 

Begin by praying this Prayer of Forgiveness:
Merciful God,
I confess that I have not loved You with my whole heart.
I have failed to be obedient.
I have not done Your will.
I have broken Your law.
I have rebelled against Your love.
I have not loved my neighbors, and
I have not heard the cry of the needy.
Forgive me, I pray.
Free me for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ my Lord.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

On Being An Extension of God {Part 2}

There he lay on the side of the road...
Just up the street from my house.
He was on the ground doubled over next to his vehicle.

He seemed to be vomiting blood.
He seemed to be having a seizure.
911 was called.
"How, sweet Jesus, do I get myself into these things," I thought?
He was an 18 year old male.
I never did get his name.
When the paramedics came, they said he probably bit his tongue while seizing

and surmised that's probably where the blood was coming from.
They got him on a stretcher, thanked me for stopping and took him to the hospital.
I never did get his name.
He couldn't speak in that moment.
But my heart heard his cry for help.
"How, sweet Jesus, do I get myself into these things?"
Because I am called to this...
To heal the broken....
To bind up their wounds...
To stop. To see. To care.
We all are.
It may not be convenient.
But then is saying "Yes!" to a calling bigger than ourselves ever is?
May our prayer be to be used by God, daily.
May we see as He sees.
May He increase our discernment.
May our eyes be focused on what really matters.
And may they be kept peeled for pregnant opportunities
To be His hands
To be His feet.
To be His voice the world.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

On Being An Extension of God {Part 1}

There she stood on the side of the road in 100 degree weather.
She was holding a small sign, made out of cardboard that read,
"Please help. Homeless and pregnant. God bless you."
She was the same age as me.
And all I could think was, 'what if that was me?'
For it could've been, you see.
It could've been any one of us...
I pray she won't forget today.
Not because of me, but because of Him.
Because of the chance to be seen beyond her sign.
Because of the opportunity to receive Christ...

God needs us to be His extension in the world.
He needs us to see a need and seize every opportunity to make His name known.
And there's no better feeling in the world.
I pray Christabel won't forget today.
I know I won't.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

When In Need of Wisdom: ASK!

Early this morning I was seeking the Lord about some things.

I asked for wisdom with regard to something in particular.

And as I was on my way to work, the Lord told me to speak to the persons that I needed to talk to and make a specific request according to how He relayed it to me.

Y'all, it was outlandish what He told me to ask.

And I already knew that the typical response to such a thing would ordinarily be, "No."

But I asked anyway and wouldn't you know my request was granted?!!

Moral of the story?

1) If you don't know what to do about something, ask for wisdom.
The Word says if anyone lacks wisdom, let him/her ask and it will be given.
2) It PAYS to listen to God even if and when it sounds crazy!
He is stretching your faith and testing you to see if you will trust and obey.
3) Your willingness to ASK for God's wisdom is attached to your ability to ACCESS God's favor!
And that is all!
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all, without finding fault, and it will be given to you."
~James 1:5 NIV

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hosanna in the Highest: Palm Sunday 2015

Today is Palm Sunday.

It is the day we commemorate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem,
riding on a donkey with palm branches strewn in His pathway.

It is the first day of Holy Week.

Holy Week is the last week of Lent and is observed in many Christian denominations
as a time to reflect upon the passion of Christ as He makes His way to Calvary, bearing His cross.

This sacred week culminates with Resurrection Sunday and is a time of thanksgiving and rejoicing for the rising of our Savior Jesus Christ.

If there were no other time to draw close to Jesus, this would be the time. 
Take this week to think about His sacrifice.
Mediate on His suffering.
Ponder is pain.
For our sins.

Don't just cry "Hosanna" today but neglect to live holy the rest of the week, month, year.

But let Jesus live forever in your heart 
by accepting His grace 
through salvation.

Happy Palm Sunday!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

When Jesus is Waiting...

It is Saturday morning:
You have breakfast to make...
Errands to run...
Laundry to do...
A house to clean...
Events to attend...
Sermons to finish (those of you in ministry)...
Papers and projects to start or finish...
Kids to taxi around...
Hair and nail salons to patron... 
Sunday dinner to cook...
More laundry to do...
Figure out what you're wearing to church....
Get ready for another week...
And the list goes on...
And on.

But I can I encourage you to take if nothing but fifteen minutes to still yourself before the Lord today?
Invite Him into your world and prioritize His entry above all else. 
Be still and listen to the soothing sounds of the rain (if it's raining where you are). 
Pay attention to what He whispers in those moments of quiet. 
Pour out your heart before Him. And then wait on His response. 
Have a meaningful conversation instead of a monologue. 
Make peace your portion and feast on the daily bread that He offers through His word. 
Breathe and bask. 
The "to-do" list can wait. 

Jesus is waiting. 

For you... 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Growth: The Greatest Hallelujah!


It has been said that one of the greatest deliverances
that one can receive is from people.
And while I believe this is true, I would also add that
the greatest deliverance one can receive is from oneself! 

When you can take an inventory of yourself 
...where you've been
....who you used to be {even after conversion}
...the things you used to do
...the ways you used to think
...the people, places and things that used to effect you in certain ways
but now, have none at all,
it is the greatest blessing to behold. 

For more often than not,
it is the internal work of deliverance that we need most 
than that from external vices.

This season of Lent is a time of reflection and introspection 
as we journey with Jesus to the cross.
If you haven't done so, and even if you have,
carve out some quality time to survey the landscape of your life's journey: 
where you were, where you are now, and where you've yet to go. 
More importantly, evaluate:
 who you were, who you are now, and who you are yet becoming
in the eyes of Jesus.

Allow the cross of Christ to be a mirror instead of a measuring stick, 
remembering that He died to give us eternal life through the gift of grace.

You may see things you like
You may see things you don't like.
You may see things that are good.
You may see things that are not so good.
But the most important thing that I hope you'll see is, growth.

Growth indeed, is a beautiful thing and it is most revealed through change!
So, don't fear it...embrace it! 
You'll look back,
And *your* life will thank you...
And *you* will shout, "Hallelujah..."
And then, the journey will continue...

For while we live, we are never done! 
The constant ebb and flow of growth, grace and gratitude 
are among the greatest constituents of this journey called life!