Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spiritual Warfare

Good Evening Everyone! Tonight I want to address a very, very important topic. One that as Christians we tend to not to focus on enough. Its the root of many of our heartaches, the essence of the evil that swirls around us, and a great explanation when many of us ask "Why?". What am I talking about. Well, I'm talking about Spiritual Warfare. Its real, its present, and as Christians we need to understand the concept, embrace the concept, and have faith that we have the final victory through Jesus. I know some of you tend to tune out on some of my emails, skip through the verses, or skim through for the message. Please, please, please read every word of this one because for some reason this is really heavy on me right now and someone in this group (maybe even me) needs to hear the words God is giving us. Let's start with what I feel is one of the best Biblical descriptions of what is going on around us... Ephesians 6: 10-20: Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. The war is on Brothers and Sisters! Don't believe me? Look around! Pay attention! There's a reason for the heartache you've felt. There's a reason you don't think your good enough, beautiful enough, or remotely qualified at times to make it through. There's a reason you want to pass blame, question others, through daggers, and lash out because of the hurt you've felt. That reason is the devil. He is the source of the pain and darkness. Remember this is his world, but we are not of this world nor will we stay here. His schemes are aimed at destroying us, separating us, and breaking us. We cannot let this happen! Don't believe in the darkness! It is temporary and Jesus already won our freedom! Did you hear me? WE WIN THROUGH OUR RISEN SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST!!!!! Take heart, have passion, Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, all your soul, everything that is in you. Accept the full armor of God, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit, and the shield of faith. BELIEVE IT! YES, I'M SCREAMING AT YOU AND SCREAMING IN THE MIRROR... BELIEVE THAT WE ALL NEED TO BE DILIGENT AND PROFESS OUR FAITH WHEN WE FEEL LIKE FALLING! If we believe, stand firm, and pray with perseverance and petition we will not fail. Remember, the price is paid and God is with you! Next time the spiritual war erupts around you and the darkness creeps in take a moment and read the verse above, but do more than that. Say out loud "I'm a Child of God and the evil has no authority over me. I'm redeemed by the healing power of Jesus who is the Christ!" Grace, mercy, and peace to all of you Brothers and Sisters. I'm right along side of you on the battlefield. Let's rally around each other, rally around all believers, and welcome our General to the battlefield again. Join us Jesus! And onward Christian Soldiers! In Christ, Steve

Planting Seeds

Good Evening Everyone! Hope everyone's week is starting off well and that you are energized by the arrival of fall, the smell of bonfires, the beautiful color about to burst in the trees, the brisk air, and the sites of pumpkin patches littering the landscape. It is such a wonderful time of year reminding us of God is faithful and the harvest is about to be taken in. Today as I was driving around I reflected on farmers and how much faith they must have to year in and year out plant their fields and depend on God to provide. As I was thinking about that I also started thinking about the parallel that can be drawn with all of our lives. We plant seeds all the time in hopes of producing a bumper crop of financial security, family stability, and prosperity in every aspect of our daily lives. As I thought of this the first parable that came to mind was the parable of the sower. Although I truly love that parable the one that came out stronger was one focused on faith. Specifically, the following verse from Matthew: Matthew 17:20 "He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." How many seeds have you planted? How many times have you doubted God? How little faith have you had in Jesus? Tough questions I know. These were the questions that were swirling in my head when I realized I don't have a fraction of the faith a farmer would have when it comes to my life. "I" would rather try to handle things instead of trusting in God. "I" would rather set the time table rather than listening to him when he says "not now". "I" would rather feel like I have control over my life instead of trying submitting to a compassionate and caring Lord that guides me in the paths of righteousness. All that being said "I" will not give up on my walk and my desire to truly give it all to him. As you can tell I obviously need some work, but at least I'm trying. What about you? Where are you on your faith walk? Where are you truly at on your faith walk? I observe many of you and can tell you I'm in awe of the outward faith you demonstrate. You inspire me by your works and your dedication. You build me up with your words and actions. I could specifically mention each of you and the impact you've had, but rather I will ask you to reflect on the area of your faith that is most strong and how you will expand upon it. There are certain evangelists that focus on all of the goodness of God without focusing on the God of Perseverance, Character, and Hope. I know each of you has tough times you deal with. I know each of you have your own moments of darkness. But, I also know that each of you have it within you to do what is impossible in your eyes if you only have the faith that Jesus spoke of in the verse above. Instead of listening to what the world says will happen or must happen submit yourself to God and watch him show you his love and faithfulness. You might be surprised by what he has in store for you. And, by all means get out there and enjoy the harvest! Love, Peace, and FAITH be yours through Our Risen Savior, Steve

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

All About Relationships

Good Midweek to Everyone! First of all let me apologize for my tardiness. No excuses... just consumed by all that's swirling around me. This week I want to touch on something that can be so often overlooked by all of us and that is the power of love. And, I'm not talking about the romantic oooohhhhh/ahhhh makes my heart flutter love. I'm talking about love that is there when its hard, love that looks at the character of a person rather than their actions, love that is not judgmental, love that is not fair weather... unconditional love. I've had many conversations lately about relationships including friendships, family, and work. There seems to be a common thing that seems to arise in every circumstance where something is failing. Any guesses on what that is? The common theme is the devil. I find that in every broken family relationship, friend relationship, or work relationship there is an underlying jealousy or hatred that leads one party to attack the other. This verse came to me as I was exploring Proverbs recently:

"Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrongs." Proverbs 10:12

Do you agree? Well, I don't expect you to on the surface, but if you dive into the depth of this verse I think we could go many places with it. How about our Messiah laying down his life to cover our wrongs for one. But, I think there is another very important truth in this short verse. That truth is that if both parties chose to put "God" aka LOVE in the center He has you covered. The sad fact is that you can only control what YOU do and not the other person, right? Well, yes to an extent.

I'm going to go out on a limb again and issue a personal challenge to myself and all of you. After you read this email I want you to take a moment and pray about that relationship in your life that is not the way you would like it. I want you to pray that God will take control of the situation. Pray that God will give you the strength to approach the situation with the other person in a Biblical or Christian way. Pray that his words will flow from you as you interact with the one that challenges you most. Finally, ask that the hatred be covered by love. There's nothing like a fresh snow to make things look all bright and pretty. Let God make your interaction white.

I mentioned above that in a relationship you can only control what YOU do. Let's not forget that God controls all, knows all, loves all and is ALL! There is nothing too big for God. Talk to the other person. Tell them what you feel and how you plan to approach it. Invite God to the conversation and watch him work for you. And, don't get discouraged. This isn't on your clock, remember? God has a plan that is much bigger than any of us. Give him time to work miracles. And, cast satan out whenever you can. Remind that snake that we are ALL Children of God! And, we deserve relationships with our Brothers and Sisters accordingly!

Now for my last and possibly CRAZY request (nobody ever accused me of being normal). Hug that person when you get a chance. Yes, I said HUG THEM and tell them that you are going to make this work for both of you.

Love and Peace Always from Our Savior,

Ever Feel Weid?

Eph 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

Good Evening and regarding the title I'm not talking about stomach upset, physical ailments, or anything like that. Tonight I want to talk about being labeled or looked at like you are weird because of your faith. I'm starting a study on a book related to the subject this week, but wanted to give you my initial thoughts before diving in deeper.

We are constantly challenged by many competing forces in our lives to do things a certain way, speak about subjects a certain way, or just "be" a certain way. You know what? I DON'T FIT! I NEVER TRULY HAVE! Why? I can't answer that question, but can tell you that all my life I've been different. And, not always good different. I've been the subject of jokes, the topic of whispers, and someone that people just "don't get". Well, I guess my only explanation is that I've never fit into the box the world creates for me. I don't allow conventional wisdom and the interjection of Satan to tell me what I can do. Therefore, I'M WEIRD!

Many people will say that you can't make everyone happy. I say you can. They will say that you can't be everything to everybody... maybe not, but God can. They will say that you've failed by the standards of the world because you don't do what the world expects... You know what? "THEY" are wrong!

Tonight I want you to follow my lead and stop trying to be normal. I want you to take a step, take a chance and live your lives the way God would want. Don't be afraid to make your situation "happy". Did you hear that? I didn't say you necessarily have to change or change your situation, but you do need Christ. Put him in the center and enjoy the benefit of being Weird. Because Brothers and Sisters... Christ was also considered "WEIRD" to many ... so much so that they crucified him! But, we know the TRUTH!

Let's all start living like we are Children of God and being WEIRD is in!
Love and Peace from Our Risen Savior,

The Silent Few

Good Evening,
Hope everyone is off to a great start to the week. I apologize for taking last week off. I truly was on vacation. Tonight I want to talk about something I will call the silent few. Do you have anyone in your life that inspires you, assures you, and lifts you by their actions? If your like me you do and those around you might not even know their names. Why? Not because you don't care about them, but rather because you don't highlight their significance. Tonight I ask you to pray that all of us together can put these individuals more front and center in our lives and recognize them for the gifts from God that they are. It may seem awkward as first, but I encourage you to acknowledge them to their faces and to others in you life so they are "the best kept secret". They arte living sources of God's love. I can think of a bunch of verses, but let's consider 1 John 2:10 "Whoever loves his brother lives in the light and there is nothing in him to
make him stumble".
Love in Christ,

Give Me the Ball

NLT Hebrews 10:35 "So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! ".

Ever wonder what the Bible says about confidence? Well study your concordance and you will find great things. I recently came across this one. I found it very applicable to my own faith walk and have prayed over it much lately. This may come as a surprise to some of you that think I'm very secure and even cocky at times. The real me has been relegated to much less than that over the past 8 months. The real me has taken many blows and if it weren't for words from you my Brothers and Sisters and THE Word I would have believed that I was meant to stay where I've landed. The good news is I believe I'm finally getting my footing and ready to get back in the game. In the movie the Replacements there is a great quote. To paraphrase it, the coach says "when the game is on the line winners want the ball in their hands". So give me the ball! I'm ready to win this one.

Anybody else with me? Are you tired of being just average? Are you tired of being less than you can be? If you are, get in the game! Make things happen and be living examples of what being a Christian is all about. Yes, you heard me right! Being a Christian affords you confidence. Jesus has already won the battle and the devil is under our feet, but we have to BELIEVE IT! So I say BELIEVE, WALK, GRAB A HAND ... time for us to march! Time for us to win!

And If your fast enough you can tackle me before I do my touchdown dance ;o)

Love and Peace through Our Risen Savior,

Mountain Top

Good Evening!

Tonight I'm going to write about something that came to me over the weekend as I was relaxing at Snowshoe, WV. We had the tremendous opportunity to ride on the oldest steam powered train in the U.S. at Cass RR, go hiking, paddle boating, swimming, and just relax inside our condo. Now that in itself would be enough to write about as a "Mountain Top" experience, but it certainly wasn't the only one for me. And, in case you wondered you do not have to be on a mountain to have a "mountain top" experience. Its just a moment in your life when you feel that life doesn't get any better. A time when all is right with the world. They aren't things that you don't deserve, time that you've borrowed, or dreams. They are purely a small glimpse of just a piece of what Heaven will be. When did you have your last one? What did it feel like? And, finally ... Did you take the time to recognize that all of it came from the Creator and thank God for it?

Proverbs 10:22
The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.

I used the verse above to demonstrate that wealth is not always material. And, I'm guessing that your mountain top experience had little to do with money. How rich are you? Well, take a moment and think of your mountain top moment... let it sink in. Yep, you have more than you deserve, don't you? I know that I do. I don't deserve what I have. I don't deserve half of it or a quarter of it. But, I'm slowly learning not to question the gifts and blessings that are literally laid at my feet and to cherish them as I should. Guess what? I've been able to recognize many more blessings and even notice a couple more Mountain Tops... hope you can too.

To borrow from a card that Pastor John distributed at his last sermon at UALC "Jesus is the same, yesterday... today... and, tomorrow". And, we have been so richly blessed by his ultimate gift. Now, its time for us to hold onto the others and see them for what they are.

Love and peace from Our Savior and All Praise to Him for all of our blessings! And, may a mountain top experience be in your near future!

Take Courage

Good Evening. Tonight I want to start with a verse that my prayer partner shared with me shortly after Renewal and I find it coming back to me just when I need it.

Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it."
Ezra 10:4

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most of you probably don't spend much time reading Ezra these days, right? Well, Thanks to Scott for finding this gem and helping me remember that our God is always there. As you all know I'm certainly no Biblical scholar, but I do try to read as much as possible and pray over what I read. This particular verse was one I really had to do some digging on though. I discovered from most commentary that this verse was speaking to Ezra carrying out God's Law and having the courage to do so with the support of other believers. There are many times I've found this concept repeated as I've read. Isn't it amazing how a verse or a chapter keeps coming back to you over and over? Isn't it amazing how God provides encouragement when we need it most?

Its hard being a Christian and walking the walk. I know I can't do it all the time. I struggle to do it half the time in my opinion, but I do always try. I always try to take courage and do what God would want. Why? Is it because of what I want to do? Not always, but because its what God calls me to do. I think if we all are honest we are unruly children at heart. We still do things, think about things, and talk about things that are not pure, but I'm hoping most of us are convicted by the Holy Spirit to make things right. I'm slowly learning that its not about not making mistakes. Its about trying to do better when you do. Even if that means a life long struggle with something. We will all eventually get it, right? Well, YES and its because God will make it so. We CAN hand it over to God if we just have enough faith to believe.

So tonight will you take a walk with me. Will you rise up and take courage and do it. Whatever your "it" is in the name of God, its time. Take heart. There are many of us here to support you! I know I am.

Love in Christ,

The Blessed and The Broken

Good Evening,
Tonight I wasn't exactly sure where I was going to go with this subject, but it kept being laid on my heart as I prayed before I sat down to write. Tonight I want to talk a little about those in our lives that walk with us, fall with us, cry with us, laugh with us, and share almost everything you can imagine with us.

Close your eyes for a moment and picture your top 3... Do you have them? Okay, now I want you to ask yourself two questions: Where are they most blessed? and Do you know what it is that is broken in them?

Pause, Pray.... Now, were you able to answer both questions? Yes, good for you! Keep talking to them, keep sharing, keep up the conversation... you are doing something very right and God is truly Blessing you. And if the answer is No, don't be upset because you have good company. I will join hands with you and tell you that I'm not often as knowing as I should be. Is it because I don't try or is it because I live among alot of good poker players... who knows? But, I'm learning I have to be better. I have to see the blessings in my Dearest Brothers and Sisters and I also need to know them well enough to know where they are broken. I need to reach down and meet them wherever they are. I need to wake up!

The past 6 months in many ways has been a good start at a wake up call for me. I've experienced extreme heartache, extreme depression, and extreme obstacles. But, the one thing that was a constant was that every time I was close to rock bottom one of you picked me up. Is that coincidence? No, THAT IS GOD! I firmly realize this and do not take it for granted. Because as I'm climbing out of this muck I'm becoming stronger, more faithful, and more of a witness to what the healing power of the Living Water is all about. I'm learning that not only is it not about me, its about recognizing how I can give every last ounce of what I have in me to others in Christ's name.

Many will say I'm weak because I want everyone to be happy. Many will say I'm weak because I convict myself severely when I hurt those around me. Many will say I'm weak because I get so very frustrated with all of the darkness and want the light. But, I'm not weak and neither are you if you care as much as I do. Because we are called to be more than wallflowers. We are called to do more than sit the bench. We are called to serve. We are called to witness. We are called to live like Christ would have us live. Yes, I'm VERY, VERY Blessed and Yes, I'm Broken too. And at the end of the day I will give this blessed and broken life to Jesus and pray that I've done just one thing to glorify his name. Will you join me? I'm looking forward to seeing you in the trenches and grasping your hand.

Matthew 5:9 NLT "God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. "

Love and Peace Through Our Risen Savior


Good Evening!
Tonight I want to talk about shackles. You might ask what a shackle is? Well, Webster defines a shackle as something used to bind the hands and feet of prisoners. You may have even seen shackles in history books on slavery. Why do I want to talk about shackles? Because everyone of us is bound by them. Everyone of us is a slave to sin. I had the tremendous opportunity yesterday to play at my home Church in St. Clairsville, Ohio and Pastor Call delivered a wonderful, Spirit filled message about "New Life" and "There is no condemnation in Christ". Needless to say, I was inspired by it and carry it with me this evening as I type. Pastor Call made several great points in his sermon. One of these was that we are all slaves to sin and Jesus set us free!

After hearing that I wonder how many of us truly understand what that means? I wonder how many of us are willing to let go of our Shackles? I wonder how many of us are willing to truly believe we are free because we are believers in the Risen Savior? Well, I can t say that I'm always able to let go of my shackles, but I can say that its one of the things I've hoped to focus on this year. Those that know me know that I convict myself far greater than any man could. I'm probably a little hard on myself at times, but I for one am tired of being a slave to sin and its empty promises. I for one am tired of the devil dancing over my sorrow because of my failure. I for one am tired of watching those I love beat themselves over their failures when all they have to do is "Lift Up There Face" and see that Salvation is here... Salvation has come in Christ Jesus! Praise to his name!

Let's all pray together that we can give our lives fully to Christ, Lift up our faces and see the Salvation, Accept that we are broken, we will fail, but we can't stop trying. Let's pray that we truly believe there is no condemnation in Christ... Only open arms!

Now go and read Romans Chapter 8 and pray with me.
Love and peace through our Risen Savior,

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ever make a mistake?

Good Afternoon and Happy Memorial Day!

Hope everyone is getting to spend some time in the sun with friends and family and remembering all of those that gave so much for us. Today also brought on news of a resignation... Coach Tressel's resignation. I don't think there were many that haven't heard about it, do you? Now comes all of the talk, all the buzz. I bet the you've probably heard things like "I can't believe Tressel let that go on" or "How can he look at himself in the mirror" or "what a total lack of class". Really? Really? How many of those individuals are perfect? How many of them have never made a mistake? How many of them in the same situation wouldn't have done the exact same thing? Let me guess anyone hear said "I would have done better". Would you?
How do you know unless you have walked in that person's shoes and who are you to judge?

Remember Matthew 7: 2-5

2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Are you willing to be held up to the same measure. Be careful. If you've ever made a mistake would you ask for compassion and love or judgment. I'm not saying its not fair to help others see things from a Christian view, but I am saying that there is great hazard in passing judgment on others with your own wisdom. Why not pray and ask for wisdom for the person with lack of judgment. Why not seek to help them? Why not ask God to ease their pain? Yes, they do suffer.

I know that I'm so far from perfect that I cannot question the behavior of anyone and it deeply troubles me that so many of my Brothers and Sisters are far to quick to jump on the bandwagon to beat someone when they are already down. I actually identify with Jim Tressel... I've felt much like he probably is feeling right now. I hope this message doesn't find you in the company of fellow haters and if it does, maybe its time for a change of scenery.

Have a great week and do me a favor that will only benefit you... take a moment, pause, and pray before you begin the beating of a man that is already down.

Love in Christ,


Monday, May 23, 2011

Can you bear it?

(I Peter 3:9) 9 not rendering evil for evil, or insult for insult; but instead blessing; knowing that to this were you called, that you may inherit a blessing

Good Evening! Tonight you will notice I started with a verse and yes, there is a reason. I came upon this verse last night while Michelle and I were doing our Bible study and it really spoke to me. I'll let you in on why in a moment, but first I want to ask you: What does this verse say to you? What does it mean? How do you bear it when people persecute you?

Well, here's my take from recent events in my life. I could rightfully (in the eyes of this world) lash back at those who continually question my character, throw stones, and beat me down with their actions, suppositions, and hate. After what I've endured, nobody would question me repaying their evil for evil and reacting instead of praying. In fact, many have questioned me: Why don't you defend yourself? How do you let them say that about you? Why don't you speak your mind? Why don't you set them straight?

Truth be told I've really, really wanted to. I've really wanted to point our the failures of those that have wronged me. I've wanted to hurt them in the same way their judgment and lies have hurt me or those that I love. I've wanted to expose them for what they are so that they can face the same pain that I've felt. But, I haven't. I've somehow been able to restrain myself from falling into the trap. A major part of that is relying on many of you. You have allowed me to "vent" and given me perspective that my infantile brain couldn't fathom. You have provided me the "Truth" through your references to Bible Verses and examples of steadfast faith. You have been extensions of Jesus and for that I'm extremely grateful.

I know that the "Stone Throwers" are still and will always be at work in my life and yours. Actually I anticipate the next move from these extensions of Satan is right around the corner. I'm just glad that I have all of you to support me so that I can follow through with the instructions from the verse above. Its no accident that God has provided us to support each other in these times. Its no accident that we are here to lift each other up and provide unconditional love. Its God's perfect plan.

Tonight I want you to pray over your "Stone Throwers". They may be family members, friends, coworkers, or complete strangers. They may be very aware of the stones they are casting or may be oblivious to how they are hurting you. Pray for them. Pray for you. Pray over the verse above so that their actions don't keep you from experiencing the full richness of the Kingdom. And, finally stand strong my Brothers and Sisters. You know who you are in Christ and that's all that really matters.

One of my most hated phrases lately is "Well, perception is reality you know." This jaded reality could be that you are scheming to do something spiteful, being a bad parent, being a bad friend, being a bad sibling, being a hypocrite... get the picture? Don't let the "Stone Throwers" dictate the truth or trick you into believing these lies. We are children of God and as long as we keep our focus on Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to drive our lives we will never truly fail. Soon their "reality" will be seen for what it truly is and that is the work of the Devil. And, the Good News is that we will rise above as long as we are diligent.

Tonight Brothers and Sisters I pledge to pray for your "stone throwers" and I ask you to do the same for me because together as a Family of Believers We Can Bear It! Love and Peace to you through our Risen Savior,


Monday, May 2, 2011

Tell me Can you Witness

Good Evening!
Not sure if this will make a whole lot of sense this evening, but I'm going to give it a shot. This week I want to briefly discuss the topic of witnessing. What do I mean by this? Its simply talking to others about Jesus and the impact being a believer has had on your life. Lets look at a verse to put this in perspective:

Matthew 28: 18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Some of you probably recognize this verse and I know of at least one of you that its your favorite. What does it say to you about witnessing? I think its pretty straight forward isn't it? We are commanded to go and make disciples of all nations in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How cool is that?!

I want to tell you of something that happened to me last Friday. I was playing my guitar with a friend in a local coffee shop and we were picking out some popular songs in preparation for a set that we are going to play at Delaware's Relay for Life this year. I took a moment to play a Christian Song. Actually the one I'm going to have played at my funeral party someday.... any guesses? Seriously though I wasn't afraid to play it in public... Why? Because that is first and foremost who Steve Ruckman is. I'm a Child of God! And I'm not Ashamed! I'm proud of it! I can talk for hours about it and have actually talked several friends ears almost completely off on the subject. I guess what I'm saying is once you dive in you don't look back. Submerse yourself in those healing waters and then TESTIFY! Testify to the impact it makes on you. Live it and Love it!

I believe there are several types of people in this world. A couple of these are Believers who walk it, Believers who take the free ride, Non-believers who show apathy, and Haters who represent the antithesis of our belief. Each one of these four groups offers and opportunity. Certainly each merits a different approach, but this week I want you think about whether you know anyone in the categories above and develop your plan to reach out and transform them or encourage them on their walk. Enjoy the gift of witnessing... let it lead your heart to smile!!!!!

Love and Peace In Christ,

Monday, April 18, 2011

Would you Deny Him?

Welcome to Holy Week. As our Pastor said yesterday its one of the most powerful weeks of the year. I want to start tonight with the passage of Peter Denying he knew Jesus:
Luke 22: 54- 62
54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”

“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

What does this passage say to you? How many of us are Peter hourly, daily, weekly? How many of us never truly get away from the fear of being called a Jesus Freak, Holy Roller, or Bible Thumper. How many of us let ourselves and those around us down because we are too afraid to be what God calls us to be? When was the last time you denied Christ?

I can tell you that I've done it recently not by my action, but by my inaction. A month ago I fell into a trance where I was afraid to do anything wrong, afraid to hurt or offend anyone, afraid to live. Thanks be to God that one of my dearest Sisters in Christ for pulling me out of my slumber by telling me I was better than the man she was seeing. I was more to everyone and quite frankly "I needed to get back in the game" I needed in part to stop denying Jesus and to live as God intended.

I have a pray for all of us this Holy Week. I pray that given the opportunity, we will be bold for Christ, we won't hide the fact we are attending 1, 2, 3 or more services this week, we won't be scared to ask someone to join us at Church. I pray that all of us will somehow learn from Peter, who was by far more faithful than any of us could probably ever imagine ourselves being and know that we too Deny Jesus. We too cry Crucify Him... Not by what we have done, but by what we leave undone.

Be bold my Brothers and Sisters. Wear your Cross this week! Show the world you are Children of God!
Love in Christ,

Monday, April 11, 2011

Even Though I Walk Through the Valley...

Even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I fear no evil for thou art with me... Psalm 23

Are you unshakable or do you tremble when fear comes knocking. Can you face a demon head on? What about an army of them? What about those that dwell deep in your own soul? When was the last time you walked the "Valley"? When was the last time you were battle tested? Here's some thoughts if its been awhile and you would like a refresher...

Take heart Brothers and Sisters. The truth of our defense lies in quite arguably one of the most notable Psalms... Psalm 23. I'm guessing many of us can literally say every line by heart, but can we live every line by heart. Can we say that when we are in the Valley of the Shadow of Death that we fear no evil. Can we say that we truly believe that Christ will lead us beside still waters and restore our soul? Are we being led down the path of righteousness for his name sake? Do we believe that a table is prepared for us in the presence of our enemies and our cup overflows? Do we truly believe that goodness and mercy will follow us all of the days of our lives and that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever?

I ask you tonight to pray that the answer to the questions above will be a resounding YES for you! I ask you to put your full trust in Jesus and give it over to him. I ask you to bring the Word found in Psalm 23 to life. If you can live it, others will take notice and live it to. We are in a broken world full of pain, heartache, jealously, and every evil imagined and unimagined. It is up to us to be a living example. It is up to us to set the bar.

Next time you are in the "Valley", PRAY. Pray like you've never prayed before and enjoy that green pasture, enjoy those still waters, enjoy the table the Lord has prepared for you. And, don't keep it secret. Tell someone around you about how God is moving mountains for you. HE CERTAINLY MOVES THEM FOR ME! AND MY CUP OVERFLOWS! PRAISE BE TO GOD!

And, Love and Peace to each one of you this week as we get ready to celebrate Palm Sunday. Hear the celebration, feel the celebration, and get ready for Easter.... Sneak peak.... He is RISEN! Sorry, couldn't resist.


Monday, April 4, 2011

What have you done for HIM lately?

Good Evening,
I write to you on this Monday evening as a very tired Dad after a long day of meetings, playing with boys, and getting them ready for bedtime. Tonight as I was going through what seems to be a nightly routine I couldn't help, but wonder: Did I glorify God today? What did I do that was significant enough to be a gift to my Risen Savior? Or, in reality did I do anything at all or live in apathy? Ever ask yourself these questions. Ever wonder if you have a purpose beyond what you are doing? Rick Warren certainly did a wonderful job discussing Purpose in his book Purpose Driven Life, but tonight I want to get to the basics. Touch you at your core. Did you do ANYTHING today to Glorify God? What about yesterday? What about last week?

Hard questions. Now I will follow up with one I ask myself quite often: Did I do enough? Let's look at a verse:
Romans 1:4-5
And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.

Pretty powerful words. Words of truth, challenge, and light. We are not asked to glorify Him, we are given the privilege and authority to do so. It is up to us to take advantage of every opportunity to speak of Our Risen Savior.

Now for a gut check... Not too keen on being a witness? Are you saying Steve, you are nuts I can't talk to someone about God... they will think I'm a Holy Roller or Religious Freak. Or, maybe you are saying "I just don't have the words". If that is true I'm going to ask you to use what you do have to Glorify God. You don't have to use words to "speak". Use your talents, use your actions, use music, use love. All of these and many more can help you reach those in need. And, don't expect immediate reward. You may never know just how much of a difference you have made to someone. You may never know if you have truly helped "Your One" find Jesus until you get to heaven and see them there. This is all the more reason that I ask you during you morning prayers or during a moment of quiet during your morning that you ask God to show you one way that you can glorify him each day. And, don't worry if you seem to focus on one person on one thing for an extended period of time. That one person may be the one that needs you most. And, guess what? Others watch and they will notice you doing God's work, good work. They will truly see you good and faithful servant.

May God Bless Us All as we continue focus on hearts on the sacrifice Jesus gave us on the cross.
Love in Christ,

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lift Up Your Face

Good Evening! Well, I promise not to make it too much of a pattern, but music is in me lately.... Christian Music... and I'm going to open with some lyrics from one of Third Day's new songs "Lift Up Your Face":

Lift up your face, lift up your face

Salvation is calling, salvation is calling

You have fallen so far now

You don’t even know how, you are going to survive

(But) Just above the horizon

A new light is shining, breaking through the darkest night

Love is coming and it’s calling out your name

Lift up your face, lift up your face

Salvation is calling, salvation is calling

Lift up your face, lift up your face

Salvation is calling, salvation is calling your name

Now for the verse tonight: John 1:12 "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"

Anyone being bold lately for Christ? Do you believe you are FREE? Do you believe you are a Child of God? DO YOU BELIEVE SALVATION IS CALLING IF YOU ONLY LIFT UP YOUR FACE AND SEE HIM?!

My prayer tonight for each and everyone of us is that we can some how take a moment out of busy schedules to see that God not only gave his Only Son for our sins, but that Christ is a Risen Lord and in him we have Salvation. There is nothing that anyone or anything can do or say to take that away from you. Next time someone tells you how bad you are, next time they put you down, next time they try to make you feel worthless... Remember we are not perfect, we are redeemed! The price is paid... Lift up your face and see how good you are. Se how much love you bring to this world. See how much of a difference you can make if you only believe that God saved you for a purpose.

We are not meant to take this gift and keep it to ourselves. We are meant to share it, shout it, witness to it, and live it! Take some time this week to tell at least one person in your life that you are a Christian and take 5 minutes to tell them what that means to you. Yes, you can take the safe route with a spouse or a family member or maybe walk a little on the wild side and share with a stranger. Never know when that stranger might actually be Jesus looking for you. I'm choosing to lift up my face, share my faith, live it as if I've nothing to lose... hope you'll join me!

Love in Christ,


P.S. If you ever have the chance to see Third Day, Trevor Morgan, or Tenth Avenue North in Concert... Go for it! You will not be disappointed!

Monday, March 21, 2011

You're Beautiful

Good Evening! Sometimes I start these little testimonies with a Bible verse or an experience. Tonight I want to start with a portion of the lyrics to a song by Mercy Me "Beautiful"

Days will come when you don't have the strength
And all you hear is you're not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart
They'd see too much

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You're beautiful

And now for the verse... Jeremiah 1:5 (The Message)

5"Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that's what I had in mind for you."

Tonight I'm going to ask a tough question of all of you. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see the beauty God has placed inside you or do you see what the world has done to you. How many times have you told yourself I wish I was a better person, wish I did more, wish I gave more, wish I witnessed more, wish I lived my life more like Christ. Well, I think the answer is we all do that quite often, if not daily. I know that I do. Part of this is conviction and self challenge and that part is good. But, the devil has a way of altering this conviction into guilt and pain. It is then we should remember words like what are written above be that in song or scripture.

We need to remind ourselves of how God sees us. Yes, he sees as as sinners, but he also loves us with his pure and perfect love. We are his Children! When was the last time you called yourself a Child of God? There's power in those words. Just like there is power in knowing you are beautiful in God's eyes no matter how much others try to degrade you or make you feel less than you are.

I want to issue a personal challenge to each and everyone of you. The next time you look in the mirror I want you to say "I am a Child of God and I am Beautiful to him. All of me. My heart, my body, and my soul." Let it ring true. Let it carry you. Because I can tell you that each and everyone one of you is not only Beautiful to Our Living God. You are Beautiful to me! Thank you for being such amazing Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Each one of you has made a positive difference in my life and I see the Beauty inside you!

Have a Blessed Week! Love and Peace to you in Christ,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Rescue

Good Evening! Hope this Sunday finds all of you well and in good spirits. I hope you have been blessed with a weekend of refreshment, restoration, and renewal. Tonight I'm going to start with a verse that very dear friend sent to me:
Psalm 18: 16-19
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

What does this say to you? Does it mean anything? Have you ever needed rescue? For whom did you cry out?
Tonight I will admit that there are times when I can't live what I tell others to do. I can't always have the unshakable faith that I know God would want me to have. It doesn't happen often, but it scares me when it does. This is because in those kinds of times I don't cry for rescue... I tend to just want to let myself sink. Any guesses on who leads that charge? You got it... Satan. That snake loves to whisper in your ear and tell you to stop swimming, stop fighting, give up because you are not worth Grace. The good news is that God is there, all along, knowing we will turn back to him. And, if we don't he sends Angels to remind us. These Angels usually take the face of our Christian Brothers and Sisters. It are at the darkest times that God shows his face through those that love us. We carry each other on the darkest of days.

I write this tonight as a reminder that God needs us to do his good work. Sure, he could take care of it in other ways, but how awesome it is to be one of his messengers! I ask you to keep your hearts open to this. Simple request on the surface, but not a simple request. What I ask of you is to not run from those that are being shunned by everyone. Don't run from those with whom cause you to be judged in their presence. Rather, run toward them, take hold of them, and love them the way God intends you to. Help him use you to draw them from deep waters. Help him use you to be their on their day of disaster. In turn, you will delight the pure and perfect God. You will be a good and faithful servant. Thanks to a very special person for reminding me that Grace is free. God's love is endless. And, when two pray together, Christ is there as well.

Love and Peace to all of you,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Time for a Mini-Renewal?

What's your worst? Yes... I'm asking... What is the worst thing you've ever done in your life? Who did you hurt? When did it happen? Why did you do it? What did it profit you?

Some introduction tonight, huh? I write this introduction not to convict you this evening. My guess is by visiting the questions above, you've already done that to yourself sometime a long time ago. Tonight I ask those questions because I want to focus on one of the most powerful things we experience as Christians, but sadly one of the hardest for many of us to accept. Any Guesses? A couple of you probably nailed it. The gift I'm talking about tonight is the gift of GRACE! You can't buy it, can't earn it, can't fathom it, but it is freely given by our Risen Savior and the sacrifice he made for us on the cross.

Grace has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Mostly because I'm one of those beat yourself up Christians ... the kind of Christian that persecutes himself for hours, days, and weeks over his failures. How weak that is of me when all I really have to do is freely receive the Grace that comes from Christ. What about you? Do you dwell on your failures like me or are you truly faithful and allow Grace to cover you like a blanket on a cold winter's morning? If you are like me, I want you to step out with me a little in the coming weeks as we enter this Lenten Season. I want you to turn to your Concordance in your Bible and look up Grace and Forgiveness. I ask that you and I pray together about the verses that lie there and allow them to truly penetrate our hearts. Its time for a mini-Renewal if you will for me. Its time for me to elevate my game and be a better witness for Christ.

Let's make this year a year of miracles. Don't be afraid to let Christ live through you. I'm opening my heart, trying to let go of guilt and feel the Healing Waters of Christ. Will you do the same? This year as you make you Lenten pledge. Make it count. One of mine is to faithfully read my Bible every day and get on my knees and pray... everyday. Hope to see you there!

Love and Peace to All of You My Brothers and Sisters,

Monday, February 28, 2011


"For where you have envy and selfish ambition there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." James 3:16-17

And, Good Evening! I don't usually open with a verse, but this verse came to me as a result of about a week of discerning prayer and I just had to put it up front tonight. It has been a very trying week to say the least and I've had to ask for some direction from God. This time not what to do, but rather for conviction of how to go forward and recognize where I've let myself, my friends, and my family down. I was in kind of a coasting pattern for a little while, all to eager to lash out in anger and scorn those who would persecute me, when in reality what I should have been doing was taking a hard look in the mirror. I somehow fell into the foolish belief that if I did things with best intentions that they were God's intended work. The problem lies in the term "best intentions".

These "best intentions" aren't always rooted in truth. Sometimes, in fact, they can be rooted in anger, revenge, and spite. Best intentions may make someone's life far better, but at a cost to many. I don't know how often Christians fall into this trap, but I've found myself in it. Let's give you an example that might help. Have you ever watched a person near to you be wronged by someone and wanted to get even or have you ever wanted to get even for something somebody has done to someone you care about? In the end your mind has probably told you things like. They deserve to hurt for hurting my friend and "I" should do something about it! What do you notice about that sentence? Is it clear? Its a word with only one letter isn't it? Its the root of selfishness, the root of ambition, the root of envy, and in the end if you focus on only it you will inevitably find disorder and evil practice won't you? If you focus on "I" you will fall into a trap of selfishness. It doesn't matter if you think you are being selfless you aren't. You are performing one of the most selfish acts a human can do and that is REVENGE. What does it serve you Christian? What does it serve you Steve Ruckman? Yes, that is the question I was left asking in the recent past. The answer is it doesn't serve you well and it certainly doesn't serve me well.

Next time somebody hurts you or someone you love I want you to pause before action and pray over the verse above. Let it sink deeply into your heart and soul. Let it soften you so that you can live with the wisdom that comes from heaven which is all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Try this as an exercise to help you along the way. Take that "I" from you selfishness and place it into the verse as follows and see just how good it sounds:

I will be all pure; I will be peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Wow! Isn't that the heart of walking the way that the Lord Jesus would have us walk? Can you say that sentence and mean it? Right now I can't, but I pray that I will continue to strive for it. Will you walk with me? I hope so!

Love and Peace to you from our Risen Savior,

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Fixer

Good Evening My Brothers and Sisters!
I hope this email finds you well. Tonight I have a question for you. Do you have anyone in your life or know anyone that always wants to FIX things instead of wanting to listen? Well, I do and that person is me. I've been told its typical of the male gender to want to make everything right prior to listening and hearing things out, but I don't blame it on anything other than lack of patience. Why do I want to "Fix" things you ask? Its simple. I'm uncomfortable with pain. I'm uncomfortable with heartache. I'm uncomfortable with tears. I'm uncomfortable being on the bench or the sidelines and not being an active participant at making things right for people I love. Rather than listening I want to take action. I don't think this is all bad, but I do believe there is great merit in a pause... great merit in a prayerful response... great merit in letting God take care of things.

2 Corinthians 5:7 "We live by faith and not by sight"

Answer me this... Does the "fixer" truly live by faith or sight? I believe the fixer in me lives by sight and only the patient Christian in me lives by faith. I would guess the same would ring true for all of the "fixers" in the world. If we could only allow ourselves to let Faith be an action verb in our lives we wouldn't need to jump on everything and fix it. Rather, God would direct our actions and lead us to the truth. If you know a "fixer" or if you are one take a moment to prayerfully consider the verse above. What does it say to you? Are there circumstances swelling around you right now that you could apply some Faith instead of Sight? Is there an opportunity to allow yourself to grow? I have some and I'm praying as hard as I possibly can. And, I have FAITH that God will lead me straight to where I need to be... even if that's just being a good listener.

Love and Peace Through Our Risen Savior,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


What is one of the hardest things to embrace in this life? CHANGE!

Anyone good at it? Please, Please, Please let me know your secret because I am not good at it. I loath it, fear it, run from it, insulate myself from it, and otherwise try to have nothing to do with it. Why? Because I'm good at just being who I am without altering anything. I like the predictable. I like the safe. I don't like change!

Wonder why I even touch this subject? Because this year will almost certainly be a year of change for me. I know it. I have faith in it. And, this change will be positive if I only have the courage to accept it. I look at those around me that are facing extreme challenges and wonder how they ever find the courage to do it. I wonder how do they seem so calm when a storm is raging all around them. I prayed and prayed this past week for God to give me some wisdom and some courage to embrace the unknown. It was in discerning prayer this morning during my run that the Holy Spirit directed me back to one of my favorite Bible verses. One that is likely very familiar to all of you:

Isaiah 40:31 "Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary"

I guess as I read these words again I'm reminded that there is NOTHING God can't do! We have the power to do anything and overcome anything if we trust in him. We have the power to make change a positive thing. I encourage all of you to help me and yourselves to look at change coming in your life and serve as an example for those around you. They may be asking "How do they have so much courage to overcome change?" Don't keep it a secret. Be good Disciples ... share the Good News!

Pray for me my Brothers and Sisters. I'm at somewhat of a crossroad in my career and may be making a dramatic shift soon if its God's will to do so.
Love and Peace from Our Savior,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just Another Day in Paradise

Tell me how you wake up each morning. Do you wake up thanking God for all that you have in your life? Do you wonder if you deserve all of the blessings you have been given? Do you think about your physical gifts? Do you think about your spiritual gifts? Or, do you even take time to consider any of it? Has this world rendered you too busy to take the time to consider that God gave you many blessings?

I'm guilty as charged. You see, I wake many mornings worrying more about getting my 4-6 mile run completed before work than I do about anything else. I don't take the time to consider that without some physical strength and endurance I would never be able to do such things. Then I make my way to the office where communication and interaction usually flow from me so effortlessly that I often don't realize how easy it is for me to really interact with those I come in contact with. After work I travel home and I'm usually greeted with two little boys running toward me and giving me hugs around my legs... fighting to be first to get to Daddy. You could say that I have a very blessed life as this scenario repeats itself day in and day out. I'm surrounded by amazing friends and family and until recently a great job.

All that being said I don't focus enough on the blessings I listed above. Do you know where my thoughts tend to drift... you got it... the negative. And why? Why is it that we focus so much on the challenges in our life such as: my job is terrible, I'm too fat, I'm too thin, my kids drive me nuts, why don't I ever seem to have enough money to pay bills, why is it that the mean people always seem to get ahead. Those thoughts sound familiar? I'll bet they do for many of us. And they are all from evil. They are all from sin. They are all from our lack of wisdom to recognize the true blessings we are given.

I'm issuing myself and all of you a personal challenge. The next time you start drifting toward the negative. Think of just one of your blessings that God gives you and pray about it. Thank God for caring enough to give it to you. Let's start a revolution together. A resolution to focus on the positive, focus on our blessings and live not only a life where we recognize all the good, but a life filled with thanksgiving.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3(NIV)

Love in Christ,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's Holding You Back?

Many times in this life I've asked myself the question "What holds me back from being who I want to be, having what I want, or doing what I want?" The answer many times is simple ... FEAR. Why is that possible? and What is fear anyway?

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear ... "
1 John 4:18

I want you to consider the Bible verse above for a moment. Read it, digest it, and pray about it. What does it say to you? You know what it says to me? It tells me that the only limitation I have is allowing myself to believe I'm not loved enough to do something great, not loved enough to overcome the obstacles, not loved enough to succeed. All of those things come down to allowing "FEAR" to rule my actions. "FEAR" to freeze me. Well, one of the decisions I made this past year was to not let my life be ruled by "fear" and calculation. Rather, I've placed my trust in God, my trust in those that surround me in love, and allowed myself to just "be". No I didn't magically pop into the perfect life, but life got much better when I let go and allowed myself to be fully loved.

Now I want to talk about the other part of this. Who needs you? Who needs perfect love, Agape love? Have you shared it with them or do you just assume they will overcome their obstacles on their own. Do me a favor. Be another tool in their toolbox. Give them perfect love and allow them to cast out the fear that may be holding them back.

And, pray for me that I'm somehow strong enough to do the same. There's so much pain in this world that could be taken away if we only allowed ourselves to truly be and make Disciples of our Risen Savior.

Love and peace in Christ,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Faith or Insanity

My Good Brother Jeff inspired me tonight with his facebook wall post "Where's the line between having faith and being nuts?" This might quite possibly be one of the best posts I've seen in a long time, but reserved expressing my gratitude toward Jeff until this forum. You are a light, keep it up! Now for my thoughts on the subject.

Many of you know that Hebrews 11 is by far one of my favorites. It is because it is the model with which I try and try to live my life. Faith runs very much tangentially with life doesn't it? When life is good... faith is easy; when life is hard... faith is almost impossible. Did you notice how carefully I chose my words? I said "almost" impossible. I'm currently in one of the roughest patches of my life and don't seem to be coming out of it anytime soon. Actually, its quite the contrary. More and more keep being piled on. So much so that you can say that I've almost reached a point where I'm numb... comfortably numb. Maybe its my body's way of coping or maybe its God's way of shielding me. Either way I've still found possibilities and they are all routed in that one word with such profound meaning "FAITH". Without it I would be lost. Without I would be nothing. Without it I would have died long ago.

Now let me tell you a little about who I am with it. I'm a Dad that will not give up on my children no matter how many struggles, how many challenges, how many special needs. I love them so much it hurts sometimes and try everyday to be all I can for them. I'm also a friend who knows things about my friends that nobody else does. I know real pain. I know real joy. I share burdens and I share joy. I'm a Husband who tries to do all he can for his wife to make her life happy amid the crazy that is thrown at us. I'm a Son who wants to do all I can to help my Mom get and stay healthy and happy. Finally, I'm a Brother in Christ to all of you that know in some small way my words may find you at a time when you need them. Therefore, I will not stop writing. I will not stop sharing. I will not stop encouraging. Because you can through Christ!

Each and everyone of you has very special gifts that you share every day. For some its laughter, others hospitality, others just being able to light a room with your presence. Use those gifts for good. Use those gifts for GOD. Someone might even call you insane. If they do, you might want to give Jeff credit for an amazing quote and say well... guess I must have alot of Faith if you think I'm that close to being nuts ;o) Well done good and faithful servant!

Love From Our Risen Savior Jesus Christ,

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Did yo u see them?

Good Evening!

I want you to take a moment and think about your day. Think about your trip to school, work, play, and your trip back home again. Think about all the faces. Did you see the smiles? Did you see the frowns? Did you see the joy? Did you notice the sorrow? Or, did you not recognize them at all? Was your day more focused on you. Was it more about how your work was? Was it more about what you needed to get done around the house? Was it
Self Centered or Christ Centered?

Are you with me now? I write tonight about the forgotten. They may be strangers, coworkers, people you do business with, or they may even be your family and friends. I say they are the forgotten because sometimes we fail to recognize how life is treating our Brothers and Sisters. We fail to ask how they are really doing and care about the answer. We fail to see through the fake smiles to see that they are hurting. We also fail to celebrate true joy when we see it in their eyes. Not because we don't care, but because we don't "see" them. At least we don't "see" them as Christ would have us see them. I often pray for the discerning eyes of our Savior that I can do more, be more, and witness more to those in need. I truly am an infant in many ways in my faith walk, but have been Blessed time and again to see the "real" in my Brothers and Sisters and act on it. I just hope I do it enough to use the gift God has given me.

Do you have similar opportunities waiting for you? Who in your life needs a Christian hug, hand to hold, or a smile to tell them you care? Who would benefit by you taking five minutes to ask them about how they are doing? Do you have a picture of a person in your mind? Go to them the first chance you get and tell them you care. Let them see Jesus in you. You may be surprised it may be just the thing you need to open up a conversation about God.

About a month ago when I was struggling, one of my Dearest Sisters in Christ told me that my conviction and sticking with her during a very difficult time she was having was the reason that she came back to Church... the reason she came back to Jesus. Now you and I both know the truth that it had little to do with me, but more about Christ speaking through my words and actions. I truly was humbled by her words and am so grateful God used me in a small way to get her back to the Kingdom. I guess I was just blessed enough to be his instrument. Therefore, I say to each and everyone of you that you may have someone waiting that needs you. Don't let them down by being silent. "SEE THEM" and take a faith walk to show them you care.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's Grace in its various forms
- 1 Peter 4:10

Love and prayers that you are ready to take that next step,