Hardship/t

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Wrote this thinking about a son in ministry going through medical challenges:

I talked to God about you this morning.

I started to ask Him why His children experience hardship, but in frustration, I dropped the “p” and a used a “t”.

I’m not sure He was pleased, but I’m sure He understood.

Why we are allowed to encounter challenges?
And yes the scripture comes to mind.
Yeah,
I believe it,
But some of us love you and live for you,
Read of you
And
Depend on you,
Desire to be like you,
And point others to you!

Are we that hard headed, that we have to experience pain?

Are we that stubborn that we must face struggles?

Are we that unfaithful that we must feel hopeless?

It’s still quiet!

I guess I’m talking to myself?

Even amidst my thoughts,
I know He’s there and listening,
Compassionate and not just Concerned.

He is God!

And while we understand in part,
He understand in total.

I prayed that God would speak to you in a flow
Like you displayed (he was an excellent freestyle rapper).

I saw Him taking memories and holding them up one by one,
Just like you used to freestyle,
Displaying random things,
And sticking together verse after verse,

Masterfully,

Creating a hook by accident,
Making verses out of nothing,
Adjusting His cadence to life’s beat,
While we sit eyes and ears open
Waiting for what’s next,
Knowing that the verse that had been spoken,
He’s not spitting off the dome,
But recounting pages of lines in one breath.

I breath in
And asked Him to not only fill your lungs,
But to fill you with the hope
And the faith that allowed you to pursue your passion to inspire others!

Love you!

#PastorJDO3

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Love is not Rude

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Love; “It is not rude,” 1 Corinthians 13:5 says.

What an important revelation this is.  It would seem a little unnecessary to state on paper, but upon watching and listening to the state of married couples everywhere, it has been determined that instruction is very needed.

Marriage includes many ups and downs, and amidst these highs and lows, couples are still interacting with each other.  During these times, men and women will continue to communicate, and must be careful to watch and measure each word, especially during the lows.

Rude is a default setting for many.  When covenant has been broken or strained,  it can be challenging to restrain the old man, and respond with the new man.  Our relationship is defined by love, which is compassionate, and considerate, selfless, and refreshing, not rude and or destructive.  

Why then is rude an options?  Because covenant requires trust, and trust requires one to have a level vulnerability with the covenant member.  It is this vulnerability that makes the pain felt and the frustration experienced more intense, and stirs passion and damages and destroys hope, which extinguishes faith.

This abrupt shift can cause one to swing from the left to the right; leaving one pendulous between love and its opposite pole hate.  Swinging between these emotions can cause one to guard their tongues in the morning and loose it at night.  God warns us about the power of the tongue, and instructs us about the purpose of our words.  A broken heart, left without a filter, can relive and release emotions from the past enough to cause one to bypass forgiveness and place all their chips on vengeance.

Worse, many continue forward in covenant, with the wrong guard over their heart.  As opposed to guarding ones heart against offense, one can because to guard against hurt and pain.  One hurt in the past can place barriers in place to keep them from being vulnerable again.  This prevents not only forgiveness and healing, but wont allow for love to exist and to thrive.  One can not rest and find peace in trust, if their heart is protected by being removed from the equation.

We must understand that a heart removed for the equation is broken covenant.  In addition, a tongue and actions seasoned with the spice of rude, will lead to further offenses.  One can not maintain covenant and can not heal hurts where there is either an abundance, or regular actions.

 

#PastorJDO3  #DrQDO  #TQAYMYM

Disqualified Before the Start

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“You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.  You foolish people!  Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?” Luke 11:39-40

This encounter between the Pharisees and Jesus is powerful.  He finds himself reclining at the table of a Pharisees.   Via personal invitation, Jesus prepares to eat dinner with a local, no doubt to teach further about what was presented.  Though there to eat, the teaching began long before the meal was served.

The Pharisee, like many, watched Jesus closely.  He was measuring each action and word by the strict laws of the land, hoping to disqualify Jesus, and to dismiss His actions and purpose as not divine, and demonic in nature.  discouraged

Not that I am Jesus, cause I am not, but I have found myself in this position many times.  As a Youth Pastor, the teens were always measuring each action, word and deed, hoping to disqualify the message taught even before it went forth.

Is this you?  Are you the Pharisee? 
I wonder how many people are like this?
How many worshipers are like this?
How many people are watching to disqualify?

This watching is both good and bad.

It’s good in the sense that our actions and deeds should match the message that we preach.  We should all know this and be keenly aware of this while interacting with people.  This is a healthy action for most, that helps them to discern who they should trust and whom they can follow.

On the other hand, its bad.  It’s bad when the person is looking and analyzing the smallest of details to disqualify a person.  It’s bad when one uses one small action to over ride all the good and positive qualities and teachings of an individual.  It’s not that we should make room and accept the sin in ones life, rather that it is foolish to dismiss all truth because of one mistake.

This present age has taken on the character of the prince of the air, in that it has been raised to be an accuser generation.  As a Youth Pastor, I knew all of the teachings and moments spent with the teens could be tainted by one event (be it truth or a lie).  This means we must do our best to live out before man the truths of God, and also must be diligent in protecting our reputation in the community.  Though we can’t spend our days in defense, we must defend greatest by our commitment to righteousness.  It’s this commitment what will testify for us, causing others to fight for us, and our reputation and lifestyle to testify against any attack.

shockedThough the Pharisee had heard great things about Jesus, their concern was not to learn and confirm, but to disarm and disable the ministry that would pull people away from their structure that was making money and yielding them power.  Jesus, after teaching and healing, reclines at the table and finds himself disqualified for not washing his hands before he ate.  Because of this, it was thought that He was unsanitary and thus unclean.  Thus Jesus, knowing what disturbed them replied,

“You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish,
but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.”

The Pharisee was measuring the righteousness of God in the way the measured their righteousness, and the righteousness of others.  They were not concerned about their soul, but were concerned about their public persona.  They left their homes each morning, and were meticulous about their outward presentation before other people.  This was done not to please the Father, but more to give them a platform to judge and condemn others.  They used this bit of obedience to elevate themselves above others, and not to elevate them in the sight of God.

People respected their commitment to God, and were impressed by their diligence to learn the law and master all of its tenets, but God was able to see the insides of the Pharisees.  He could see their heart, and thought the outside was impressive, He saw their thoughts, and knew their motives.   He knew they were not out to please the Father, but they were positioning themselves and leveraging their position to gain favor and wealth with Rome.

You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?

Jesus continues, by pointing to the Father.  He says, the one that made the outside, made the inside also.  In other words, these things stem from the same source.  God is the maker and creator of all things.  It is not the washing of your hands or the blessing over your meal that sanctifies, but it is your acknowledgement of God as the provider and protector that is required and measured by God.confused person

Honestly, I have had food poison before, and been sick; and yes, I prayed over that meal, and thanked God for providing it.  I have had my blood pressure spike after eating things that are high in sodium, and yep, I asked God to bless the meal, and asked it to nourish my body.  Likewise, I have eaten without blessing my food, caught up in conversation, or just plain hungry, and have not bee poisoned by the food and gained strength and energy from consuming it.  I have also eaten meals without washing my hands, and eaten some after a good scrubbing and even using alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer, and found that they were not enough to protect me from unsanitary cooks, kitchens, in-properly stored food and the like.

I’m sure you too have found the same.  Jesus does not speak against us washing our hands, but lets us know that other factors are at work, and certain truths must be acknowledged.    God is the creator of all things.  It is how we handle things, and how we live that make them impure.

So how are you living?  Are you washing the outside and leaving the inside dirty.  The same piece of chicken properly prepared, must be properly stored or it will prove possibly fatal for the one that dines next.  In this, we must be aware that more than a blessing or hand-washing is needed to be considered clean before the Lord.

 

#PastorJDO3

 

Love is not Proud!

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This is from a blog I write with my wife.

“…It is not proud…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Man, this was a tough one to read. Much like love being not a “boastful”, God reminds us through Paul that Love is not proud. Proud is defined as “feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.”

While I looked at boastful as outward displays and actions, I thought we would look at proud as more internal. It is similar to boastful in that it often is directed towards an audience, and is reflective of what one has in their hearts. But it also be the cause or the effect. It is a cause in that self pride can cause one to boast, and the effect because boasting can create pride.

Pride can also be dangerous, in that it can halt growth. Pride can cause one to be neglectful. Pride can cause one to be comfortable. When we admire our relationships to the point of pride, we can find ourselves believing that it if flame retardant or at least stain resistant.friendring

In pride, our marriages can also lead to idolatry! Yes, your marriage can be an idol. You can worship, cherish, and value your relationship with your spouse to such a way, that it stands before your relationship with God. We can experience distance from God, and find ourselves consumed and challenged in intimacy with God.

In 21 years of marriage, 25 years of friendship, we have found that the strength of our bond, and the pleasure and satisfaction found within it requires full time attention. And shamefully, we can also attest that there are periods where it has received part time attention and at other times is neglected all together.  We have also had to fight to maintain a balance between honoring our covenant, and worshiping our love for each other. We fight to maintain this balance, because its our love and commitment to God that allows us to experience 25 years of friendship and 21 years of marriage. Without God first, the stage for a broken relationship would be set.

But God, in His power, through His Word, and by
His Grace has sustained and directed us such that
we have been able to maintain purpose and perspective,
understanding that its not our love for one another
that seals our bond, but the love received from
Christ that allows us to look past faults,
and appreciate the full measure of who we both are.

It is His sacrifice and example that we seek to mirror, and in our flesh, our individual foolish actions that should destroy what God has joined together, yet we remain. We remain because God’s sacrifice is the model by which we are guided, and His interaction and treatment of us as His individual children that allow us to find comfort in that which is an earthly representation of His spiritual provision.

Knowing this makes us much like Paul; boasting in our weakness, and knowing that we about in grace. Because of this, we have very little room to boast. We cannot boast because with God most of marriages would have end years ago. It is through our faith that we have learned forgiveness and grace and practice it in our marriages.

#TQAYMYM  #PastorJDO3  #DrQDO

Church..No Hazing Policy

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For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” I Corinthians 12:13

Over two decades ago, I was tormented by the words to a chant. If I close my eyes, I can still hear it…

“I’ve got a feeling, that somebodies trying to sneak in my frat…….”

I cringed each time I heard it, first because it wasn’t true and second because it came from the vocal chords of those who had achieved entry and couldn’t keep the organization on the yard because of foolishness. They got in, and then made it increasingly difficult for others to follow, some of which would have been great lights for the group. Sadly, some took pride in this foolishness and felt making the organization more challenging to enter made it more exclusive and somehow made them look more accomplished.worship-fast

It is interesting that some organizations allow people to rule today and destroy tomorrow. Ok, why this intro? Why this text? include those with this perspective.

As I spend time in the confines of the church walls, there are times when I hear similar chants. They come from the same type of people, and cause the same amount of damage. Practices of “blackballing” and “hazing” from the pulpit and from the pew work against the Gospel Message, often excluding and causing many to drop out of the process leaving with #churchhurt , accepting the head and rejecting the body. This often leads to new movements; feeding sheep directly into the hands of the wolves. It has increased Spiritual Streaming and lead to a Broken Body that’s forced to operate with missing members (gifts, talents, labor, resources).

This is why the intake is so key, and why the process has to be uniform. And from time to time, members must hear the Gospel to be reminded that we are all beneficiaries of the same corporate buyout and experiencing the same painful merger!

Paul, Christian Royalty, states “For we…” Let’s take a second to acknowledge the Paul includes himself in this “we”. Though he was a “Jew” and a “Pharisee” he relabeled himself “slave”, “bond servant”, “chief sinner” and “we” keeping his perspective on who he was, who he is, the purpose of the Gospel and the work of those who follow Christ. Though a focal point of many, Paul chose not to elevate himself, and chose to step down, like Christ from any throne, and dwell among and serve God’s people.

Are you a part of the “we” or do you see it as “I” and “they”?

Most of us are preaching and teaching to the they. This is obvious in some cases because our presentation of the Gospel includes judgement not just love and compassion. The humility Paul had is one we must also carry. Though He has obtained, he was eager to add to the flock daily. And though ministering across the country side, Paul thought of himself as one who was no better than those He was speaking too.  And so must we!

IMG_1065Paul didn’t measure his experience to others. Though he was knocked down, heard God’s voice, blinded, and confirmed by the Apostles, Paul acknowledges that his entrance was the same as others. “We were all baptized by one spirit…”. Regardless of who preached, who taught, and who baptized us, Paul writes, it was “…one spirit…” that was present and received by us all.

Sadly, some have stumbled upon pride, not in themselves, it in their church and even their Pastor.  Though an honor, there is no significance in the one who baptized, rather the significance is in the Spirit that is received.  Paul took the time to squelch foolish arguments, as such, choosing to find common ground in One Lord, One Spirit and One Baptism.

So too should we! Let’s put aside foolish discussions and traps for pride.  Let’s be humble and honest about who we are and what we have been called to do.   Our hope lay in Christ.  Save His sacrifice, we would be uncovered by His blood and exposed as who we truly are, unrighteous.

Because of this, churches should have a no hazing policy.  There is no reason, brother should persecute brother and. sister sister.  Our judge is God, and none of us are deserving, God shed His blood foe us all.

#PastotJDO3

Love is NOT Proud

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This is taken from a blog my wife and I share together.

“…It is not proud…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Man, this was a tough one to read. Much like love being not a “boastful”, God reminds us through Paul that Love is not proud. Proud is defined as “feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.”

While I looked at boastful as outward displays and actions, I thought we would look at proud as more internal. It is similar to boastful in that it often is directed towards an audience, and is reflective of what one has in their hearts. But it also be the cause or the effect. It is a cause in that self pride can cause one to boast, and the effect because boasting can create pride.

Pride can also be dangerous, in that it can halt growth. Pride can cause one to be neglectful. Pride can cause one to be comfortable. When we admire our relationships to the point of pride, we can find ourselves believing that it if flame retardant or at least stain resistant.friendring

In pride, our marriages can also lead to idolatry! Yes, your marriage can be an idol. You can worship, cherish, and value your relationship with your spouse to such a way, that it stands before your relationship with God. We can experience distance from God, and find ourselves consumed and challenged in intimacy with God.

In 21 years of marriage, 25 years of friendship, we have found that the strength of our bond, and the pleasure and satisfaction found within it requires full time attention. And shamefully, we can also attest that there are periods where it has received part time attention and at other times is neglected all together.  We have also had to fight to maintain a balance between honoring our covenant, and worshiping our love for each other. We fight to maintain this balance, because its our love and commitment to God that allows us to experience 25 years of friendship and 21 years of marriage. Without God first, the stage for a broken relationship would be set.

 

But God, in His power, through His Word, and by
His Grace has sustained and directed us such that
we have been able to maintain purpose and perspective,
understanding that its not our love for one another
that seals our bond, but the love received from
Christ that allows us to look past faults,
and appreciate the full measure of who we both are.

 

It is His sacrifice and example that we seek to mirror, and in our flesh, our individual foolish actions that should destroy what God has joined together, yet we remain. We remain because God’s sacrifice is the model by which we are guided, and His interaction and treatment of us as His individual children that allow us to find comfort in that which is an earthly representation of His spiritual provision.

Knowing this makes us much like Paul; boasting in our weakness, and knowing that we about in grace. Because of this, we have very little room to boast. We cannot boast because with God most of marriages would have end years ago. It is through our faith that we have learned forgiveness and grace and practice it in our marriages.

#TQAYMYM #PastorJDO3 #DrQDO

Love is not Jealous

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“Love…is not jealous…” 1 Corinthians 13:4 announces.

Both parties must find security in covenant, and strength in their bond. When reading this, it can seem a little unreasonable. As we discussed jealousy being a response, we whittled down jealousy to insecurity.

When in a relationship, both parties have a covenant relationship and community relationships. And while these worlds can be supportive of each other, they can also serve as a wedge or a source of contention inside of a covenant relationship. Even without a breach in covenant, one can find themselves bothered or threatened by the interaction or actions of their mate.victory-clipart-1.jpg

The old adage, “Jealousy rears its ugly head!” becomes accurate to many relationships during time of marital lows (broken or weakened fellowship), or through personal lows (insecurities and failures). It is during these moments, Jealousy creates smoke, which then leads to a fire (This smoke is not from an actual fire, but the smoke gives the illusion of a fire, and the response to the illusion leads to fires in marriage which can be challenging to control and to put out).

Harmless interactions between to innocent parties can be deemed as harmful the covenant member struggling personally or that remains injured from a prior breach in covenant. This insecurity can cause one to over analyses actions and responses, causing them to become bothered, and harmful in their response to what the perceive to be true.

Jealous can also be envious. What we have found most today (as we speak with other couples) that its challenging to have true appreciation for your own unique love when The Jones’s are on every Social Media Outlets!!!! (Yes, here comes a short social media rant!) Their pictures always seem perfect. Their outfits are coordinated. Their vacations are the best! They wine and dine at the finest places. They stay in resorts and hotels with the latest amenities and accommodations. And because they know you are looking, the take the time to document each item, giving full descriptions to make sure you are bitter and envious. The present to the world their love, and then file for divorce!

Couple after couple have been ruined by jealousy via social media. Scrolling through the timeline of another couple, and even of those that are single, and becoming more envious with each swipe. Jealousy can make us covet. Covenant members wishing they could switch places with another persons mate. Foolishly believing that life would be so much better if they had chosen or were paired differently. Covetousness can be the accelerate to a smoldering fire that burns down the entire estate.

God says, “Love….is not jealous..” Mind you, this comes from a God who defines Himself as Jealous!  His love for us is pure, and is balanced by other qualities, and not solely defined or controlled by His desire to be love by us exclusively. We too have the same right within our covenant to expect and demand that our love be exclusive, but must fight the tendency to allow our expectations to cause us to be sinful in our response and actions.

#PastorJDO3 #DrQDO