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,