Monday, March 25, 2019

Just Thinking...... About Loving like I have been loved.

For the follower of Christ, showing love to those who do not believe like you or are "sinners" does not take away from your faith. It does not compromise truth or negatively affect your relationship with God. In fact, it makes you more like Jesus. It makes you obedient to Christ's new command to love others as He has loved you. Jesus really said that. It's in the book!

You may actually find that an intentional effort to behave in a loving way opens more doors to speak real truth than our current version of faith which is more concerned about sharing "truth" than in seeing the love of God come alive in those who do not believe. We cannot be satisfied with proclaiming "truth" that never leads anyone to the knowledge of Christ's love. This is not the kind of truth that Jesus proclaimed. It is religious pablum.

It is the love and kindness of God that leads others to repentance. That's actually in the Bible too....... New Testament even. You can look it up. :)

Let God use YOU to reflect that love and kindness to those who don't look like you, act like you or believe like you. You may be shocked at the result because a God-inspired love will be backed up by The Holy Spirit. Consequently, the same Holy Spirit will bring the fruit of changed lives. Simply because you chose to be good to someone who many may not consider to be worthy of your goodness. However, never forget that God was good to you before you were ever worthy of his goodness. In fact, we are still not worthy of his goodness. He extends it to us anyway. A thought worthy of consideration.

There is a caveat to this though in that many who subscribe to the philosophy that forcing "truth" on sinners is more important than changed lives will not like your commitment to love. However, you are not obligated to please those folks. The only responsibility we have is to please God and show the love of Christ to the world. If you are good with God, you are good, period. No need to concern yourself with anything or anybody else. May the love of God reflected in our lives not only change the lives of the unbelievers but the believers as well. God Bless you today and I hope you have a Great day. #TRCLove #LoveIsGreater

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Just Thinking...... About Living

So I will try to keep this from being a book but I want to share for a minute about my efforts to get myself in shape. Like you really care, am I right?? Anyway, I’ve been posting a lot of pictures on social media of my daily runs and I’ve received some really encouraging feedback. So thanks for that! But I want to let you know why I’m doing what I’m doing. This may ramble a little bit because there are several seemingly unrelated things I want to share that brought me to a crossroads. So hang in there I’ll get to the point. I Promise. It may also seem kind of over dramatic, but the end result is good, so no worries.  

It all kind of started back in July. My family was camping and I noticed something was up with my right ear. It felt like it was plugged and there was a weird buzzing sound. The best I can explain is it sounds like a refrigerator running in my ear all the time. Along with the feeling and the sound I noticed that I couldn’t quite hear like normal and when I would begin to lead worship at church, it felt like something was hitting me in the side of my head. Not really a pain, but an unexplainable pressure. If you understand my love for music both playing and listening you can guess how frustrating that is. 

So I made an appointment to talk to my doctor and, after checking some things, he could not determine what the problem was. After three appointments he referred me to an ear doctor. After several more appointments, the hearing doctor could also not figure out the problem, but could tell something was up because, after taking a hearing test, they found I had a decent amount of hearing loss in my right ear. 

In the midst of this, Ann went in for her surgery and if you follow our story at all, you know how that has turned out. So, while being worried about her, my doctor referred me for an MRI. I put it off for several weeks because I was at the hospital with Ann and honestly didn’t care about much else. 

However, my doctor wanted to check to make sure there wasn’t any kind of growth or tumor that was messing with my ear. He assured me that he didn't believe this was the case but wanted to act in an abundance of caution. So off to the MRI machine I went. Not a big fan of that to be honest with you.

Fast forward! When I came in to the appointment to find out the results of the MRI, the hearing doctor confirmed there was nothing noticeable causing my ear problems. So… no answers. The plan for my ear is to continue to keep track of what’s going on and check back after a period of time to see if there are any changes. Kind of a bummer but, as they say, it is what it is.

Although the doctor didn’t find anything related to my ear on the MRI, he did find something pretty unexpected that kind of knocked me for a loop. He showed me the picture and pointed to a small dark spot and asked me if I had high blood pressure. I confirmed that I did, but that I was on medication to control it. He said “That’s good because somewhere along the way you had a ‘mini’ stroke. He asked if I knew when it happened and I said I had no idea. His advice was to make sure that I stay on my medication and pay attention to my blood pressure so that something more catastrophic wouldn’t happen. Wow!! Really!?!?

For just a moment let me put a bookmark right there and switch gears. As I mentioned, at this particular time I had been spending a lot of time at the hospital and at the doctor with my situation and with Ann’s as well. I must have walked around the hospital 100 times and I saw so many people who were sick, young and old. 

I realize that what I’m about to say is going to seem indelicate and actually pretty rude, but please understand I’m not saying it because of others, but because of ME. Did I say this wasn’t about others but ME? ME ME ME ME! Not others ME!! O.K. here it goes. Many of the people I saw were overweight. Some a little and some a lot. I remember thinking; I wonder if they wouldn’t be here if they would take a little bit better care of themselves. I know that’s horrible, I get it, I have asked God to forgive me for my judgmental attitude, but I have to be honest about it because it was part of my personal wake up call. Why? 

The “why” is because while I was thinking these things, I myself was weighing in at a fit and trim 302 pounds. That’s right! Mr. “They should lose some weight” was in the same position as the ones I was thinking about. And guess what? Now I was facing MY OWN medical complications because of MY OWN choices and although I have skated through life thinking I’m fine because I’m young and strong, my recent encounter with an MRI told me that I wasn’t all that invincible. After all, nearly my entire family has a history of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. What made me think I was any different? Cue the “Lord please forgive me for being so stupid, and oh while you’re at it please forgive me for looking at someone else’s speck while my view is obscured by this log.” 

Bookmark #2 Trust me I’m getting there. 

To add one more layer to this story, during this same period of time I had several conversations with different people about my ear. I remember multiple times of there being a joke something to the effect of “that’s just what happens when you get old.” Ha Ha. Yep, when you get older, you should just resign yourself to a decrepit life of being overweight, losing bodily functions and fading away into history. I mean, that’s how it goes right?


I began to think to myself, maybe it doesn’t have to go that way at all. Maybe, I thought, my situation isn’t so much about getting older as it is about me being lazy and not taking care of myself. Not so much the ear thing, but just in general. Thanks for hanging in there with me, I’m about to get to the point. 

It was in this season of thinking and pondering that I had an epiphany!! I’m 48 years old! What if, just what if, instead of facing 50 with a sad sack attitude about getting older, I punch 50 right in the face. What if, when I turn 50 years old, I am in the best shape of my life? What if, not just physically, but physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally, I’m hitting on all cylinders when I hit the big Five O? Some of you might say 50!! Are you kidding me, I wish I could go back to 50. Others might say good grief 50 is practically dead. I can’t believe you’re that old! However, it’s not about being young or old, it’s about ATTITUDE! I made a decision that when I hit 50 years old which will be on May 13, 2020, I will, by God’s grace be in the best shape of my life in every area. 

So why the #FitBy50 thing? 50 is roughly a year and a half away for me. I know in the next year and a half there will be some ups and some downs. To be honest I haven’t really lost any weight for about 4 weeks now. Exercising? Check! Eating right? Check……….for the most part. Very frustrating!! However, #FitBy50 is a goal that reminds me that I don’t have to do it all today. It reminds me that if I have a bad day or two along the way all hope is not lost. #FitBy50 reminds me that I have a goal in front of me and I need to keep my eye on that ball and not on what’s happening just today. #FitBy50 is attainable. It is not unrealistic. It is a lifestyle not a momentary diet or a week of working out really hard and then quitting when I didn’t lose 100 pounds….. in that week. 

Did I say 100 pounds? Actually from my epic starting weight of 302 pounds, I actually need to lose 124 pounds to get to my goal weight. So far, so good. As of today, I have lost 63 pounds. Pretty good. I’m excited, but I’m not finished. My goal is not for today! My goal is to be #FitBy50

So, you may ask what does this have to do with you posting your exercise pictures all over social media? Are you trying to be inspirational? Well, maybe? I would not be opposed to being someone who inspires others to make a change in their lives too. So, yeah… maybe?

However, that’s not really the reason. The real reason is……………. I’m lazy! There I said it. It’s out in the open. I have confessed my mess. 

I have a history with weight loss. It may be frustrating for some to hear this, but I don’t really have a hard time losing weight. I don’t have a metabolism problem. I’m not big boned. My problem is that I eat too much and I’m too lazy to exercise consistently. However, when I get my mind set and focused I can do it. I can lose weight. I’ve done it! Over and over and over…………..and over.

My problem is not that I can’t lose weight. My problem is that I reach a certain level and I lose focus. I get lazy and I fall back into my old unhealthy patterns. 

I have been exercising now for about six months, but I haven’t really said much about it. Why? Because I haven’t wanted people to know what I’m doing because my history says that I will work hard, lose weight, get in shape and then get lazy, quit and gain it all back. And in the end I’ll be worse off than before I started. If others don’t know then they won’t know when I crash and burn again. After all, that is my pattern and that is my past.

However, I have made a decision that my past is my past. I have made a decision that my future is now what I’m fighting for. I have a calling on my life to teach the word and make disciples of all nations. I am a husband and a father. I need to be around for my wife and my kids. I am an EXTREMELY proud PAPA!! I can’t imagine not being around to see my grand kids grow up and pursue God’s calling on their lives. I can’t miss that!! So, I’m making a change!!! This has to be it. My time for messing around is over!! I’ve been playing with fire for too long. Yee hawwww!!! Sounds Great!!!

But I’m lazy!

So I need accountability. I need to let others know what I’m doing. Instead of hiding and banking on failure, I need to put it out there and say this is what I’m doing. BY 50 YEARS OLD I AM GOING TO BE IN THE BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE!! PHYSICALLY, SPIRITUALLY, MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY!! #FitBy50. There I said that too. I put it out there. Now I’m accountable to it. 

So if you’re reading this I’m giving you permission. If you don’t see me posting about my journey for awhile please feel free to call me out. If you’re part of my church family, YOU ARE MY FAMILY!! If you see me falling off call me out!! I’m good with it! I need it! Maybe you would say “I don’t even know you” Doesn’t matter. I need the accountability to not only reach the goal but to stay there. I need encouragement, but I don’t just need encouragement. Sometimes, I need someone to remind me that there are real life consequences if I don’t stay focused. Sounds harsh? It is my personality. I don’t need it sugar coated. Hit me with it! 

Maybe you are in my spot and you know you need to make a change. Maybe it’s weight, maybe not. Maybe you’re addicted. Maybe you’re not getting where you need to get in life. If you need someone to encourage you or kick you in the backside I’m here. I know making big changes is not easy, but it is doable. Let me know. I’ll pray for you. I’ll talk with you. I’ll help in whatever meager way I can. 

So there it is….I guess it did turn into a book. But I just needed to get that off my chest for what it’s worth. Thanks for taking the time. Be Blessed #FitBy50

 Oh, By The Way... If you don't follow me on social media, I would love to invite you to do just that. You can find me at:

Twitter: @TRC3
Instagram: TRCTOM 

Be Blessed, Tom

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Just Thinking..... About Love And Hate

Our country has become accustomed to a certain level of hate. It is accepted. It is expected. It is regrettable. It is spreading like a disease.

Hate is tricky, however, because we are conditioned to recognize hate only in those with whom we disagree. We, quite conveniently fail to see it in ourselves. And the disease of hate continues to spread.

From a self perspective, hate is not hate. It is “righteous indignation!” We are right, they are wrong. Consequently, angry, divisive and arrogant attitudes and interactions are justified in order to win the fight! And the disease of hate continues to spread.

The highest success of our day is to “Own” someone we hate. Humiliate them! Make them look like a fool! Destroy their reputation and character at all costs! Then, like mighty kings and queens we too can rule the world! And the disease of hate continues to spread.

As one side amps up the hate level, the other side must also amp up to keep pace. You hit me, I’ll hit you back. You bring a knife, I’ll bring a gun. You bring a gun, I’ll bring a bomb. It’s the way of the world. And the disease of hate continues to spread.

The problem is, as the hateful rhetoric and actions amp up, no one’s thoughts are changed and problems are never solved. 

Those who agree with us will cheer our hate. Those who disagree will search for another way to win the next round of the hate war. And the disease of hate continues to spread.

In this environment, true Christ-inspired love is revolutionary. No one knows what to do with it. It is not what we are accustomed to seeing, experiencing or engaging with. It cannot be tamed by hateful rhetoric, threat or action. It is unstoppable. It is undefeatable. It is eternal.

Christ inspired love is patient and kind. It is not envious; it is not arrogant or proud. The Christ kind of love is not rude, self seeking or looking for a fight. It does not assume evil in others or rejoice over sin. It seeks the truth. Christ like love is the ride or die kind of love. It believes the best about others hopes the best for others and is willing to go to any length to believe in, hold onto, demonstrate and spread the message of Christ’s love to others. Why? Because Christ's love is the only way to salvation. It is healing for our nation and it is the only lasting path out of the hate.

Christ-like love is unlike anything else we see in culture, politics, entertainment, sports or any other aspect of society. Perhaps it is time for us to reject the divisive message of the politicians, entertainers, sports figures and cultural messengers and look to a higher source of truth and love. The disease of hate does not have to continue to spread. Why not me? Why not you? Why not now?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Just Thinking..... About Taking A Stand

Just Thinking...I suppose it should be clear at this point that the days of burying our heads and "standing" for a version of Christianity that will keep everyone happy are gone. JESUS HIMSELF SAID that following him means that you will risk losing your reputation, your career, your good name and even much more. If you're a Christian, are you ready for that? That time is coming. Some might say it's already here.

 Too often the only thing people, even in the church, can remember Jesus saying is, "judge not lest you be judged." We have been happy to sit by and let others who have a complete lack of understanding of that verse, use it beat us into a corner where, in all reality, we have to ask permission to follow Christ. Is that the Christianity that has been passed down to us from Jesus and His disciples? I don't think so! 

The Christianity of scripture is such that we are to live our lives to the best of our abilities to love God, love people and speak the truth about both. Our desire is NEVER to offend, but it will happen. The Gospel is offensive! Jesus is THE ONLY way to Heaven. What His Words says is true and cannot be changed. Sin will not go unpunished, but there is a way out through Jesus alone! There is no way that message will not offend. The church must come to grips with that or we can no longer call ourselves the church. Social club? Maybe. Church? NO!

 At times you may be surprised that the ones who are standing against you are the very ones who claim to be your brothers and sisters. You will be lied about, misrepresented and painted as judgmental, hateful, intolerant and those are the nice words. When it comes down to it, we must make a choice between trying to be the all around good guy or girl who everyone likes, but who makes no real difference in the world or be someone who is willing to lovingly and firmly speak the truth without consideration of the consequence. Jesus NEVER called us to work hard to get people to like us. He called us to love everyone enough to tell the truth. He called us to be a faithful voice for Him as it is revealed in scripture. He has called us to be willing to risk it all for HIM and Him alone. Paul said, "If we live, it's to honor the Lord. And if we die, it's to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." That's the Christianity of the Bible.

Casual Christianity is over. It's been over for awhile but we have, at times, had our heads so buried in our own little world's we haven't noticed. Or maybe we haven't cared. It has been so long since the church in America has truly been persecuted to the point of loss, that we feel like something is wrong if everyone doesn't love us. This feels heavy on my heart to say that but I truly believe it is reality. It could be, however, that a little shot of persecution is what the church actually needs to cause us to stand up for something, or should I say someone, instead of constantly being pushed backwards by those who will hate God no matter what we do. Somewhere between the faithful remnant of God and those who hate God is a world that desperately needs to know the truth of the Gospel! Will we give it to them? Or will we just continue to post happy quotes, and say happy things that don't offend but most certainly will not help anyone to find salvation through the Gospel of Jesus? 
Anyway, I was just thinking...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Just Thinking....About The Next Generation

Just Thinking.... I have seen a fair share of Facebook posts lately from "more mature" older generation pastors and believers who seem to have nothing better to do than put down the younger generation of pastors, worship leaders and leaders in general. Their song lyrics aren't good enough. They don't preach the right way. They don't preach the "Real Gospel." They don’t dress right. They don’t look right! Blah, Blah, Blah. Generally speaking, I try to scroll right on by and ignore it. However, it is really beginning to get on my last to speak.
Are all of these criticisms true in some cases? Of course they are. They are true just like the criticisms of the hyper holiness, suit wearing, judgmental, preachers who don’t actually love people, but simply want to beat them with the Bible are true in some cases. They are true just like the preacher who is preaching repentance on Sunday and sleeping with his secretary on Monday are true in some cases. HOWEVER, most older generation pastors and leaders are loving, caring, go to the ends of the earth for their people kind of folks. Is it fair to paint the entire older generation with a broad brush of hate and immorality because there are some? Absolutely not! I am exceedingly thankful for the pastors I had growing up. Some have gone on to be with The Lord. Some are still pressing forward preaching the Gospel. All of them have had an amazing influence on my life. Were they perfect? NO! Did they always say and do the right thing. NO! However, they loved God and taught me to do the same. They SHOWED me the way to go.
When I started preaching I was HORRIBLE! (Some may think I still am :) ) I still have a cassette tape (Remember those?) of my first sermon. I don’t know how anyone could have sat through that. I wouldn’t want to sit through it. My pastor could have torn it apart and destroyed my passion to do anything for the Kingdom. He did not. I am thankful. Instead, I was encouraged and taught. Every once in a while my pastor would say, hey you kind of missed that one. Or he would encourage me to see something I didn’t realize before. In short, he helped me instead of tearing me down. I have had several imperfect and yet amazing pastors in my life. They have helped me to learn, to progress and to continue growing.
What’s my point? It is DANGEROUS and I believe on the border line of sinful to create straw men caricatures of uncaring, unprincipled, ignorant young leaders who don’t love God like we did “in the good ole days” when our doctrines and actions were absolute perfection. (Strangely, I’ve been in the church for forty years and I don’t remember the good ole days in that way.) Those ignorant caricatures are then used to paint a broad brush picture of an entire generation of leaders and believers. It Is WRONG and it needs to STOP!
Instead of using our voice to tear down and criticize, how about using our voices to help mentor and teach? I realize it’s easier to sit “in the balcony” and criticize from the sidelines like the two old guys from the Muppets. Nonetheless, it is not helpful or productive for the Kingdom. Come to think of it, I think the Bible actually says something about the older generation teaching the younger. (Hmm, maybe we should check on that.) Anyway, how about encouraging their passion and teaching them how to better express it? If it’s not right teach them. If it’s just not your “cup of tea” leave them alone and let them run for the Kingdom. Pray, encourage, mentor, these are the things that matter. Not criticism and belittling.
The world we live in now is not the same world we lived in forty years ago. We MUST stop trying to push the next generation into ministering the same way we did forty years ago. The message doesn’t change, the methods do! We have to stop trying to create “mini-me” preachers who would have torn it up in the sixties, seventies and eighties. We aren’t living in the sixties, seventies and eighties anymore.
What the next generation needs from the older generation (and like it or not I am part of it now) is guidance. Not criticism! Not picking apart each word looking for reason to let them know they aren’t quite as good. (By the way, why the need to criticize so much? Could it be that the critic is really only trying to make themselves look better by tearing others down?)
Personally, I know several young leaders who love God, love worship, LOVE the Word of God and want nothing more than to be vessels used to preach the gospel. They don’t seem to fit into that whole straw man camp of ignorant heretics and apostates. Those I know personally are just a small sampling of young leaders all over the country and even the world who want to make Jesus famous. They are not perfect, but they are being used by God.
It’s time to help, not tear down. Show the way like somebody showed YOU the way! Sometimes it’s inconvenient. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. Sometimes it is all of those things, but ALL the time it is worth it.
If you consider yourself to be part of the “old guard” of the church, the younger generation NEEDS your help, your knowledge, and your experience. Don’t deprive them of that. Go out of your way to give it away.
Finally, Thank you to Deloy Pooler, Larry Odam, Paul Walker, Harold Westcott, Ron Moore, Larry Comer, Dave Scanlon, Tony Arnett and all of the other pastors and teachers that didn't give up on me. Thank you for encouraging me when I was right and calling me out when I was wrong. I owe you all a debt of gratitude. I am who I am because of your influence. I only pray that God would help me to lead others in the same way. Imperfectly but sincerely.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Just Thinking about being ready

For all of my Coos County and surrounding area friends I have a question for you? As you are watching the fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and etc. are you secretly saying I'm glad it's them and not me? Are you secretly thinking nothing like that could happen here? I’m not saying that in a negative judgmental way, but in a real and serious way? Is there some sense of relief that it is not you who is under threat right now? Well…

I have a feeling that a month or so ago those in Houston didn't think it would happen to them. Those in Florida know hurricanes can come, but one like this? The hundreds even thousands who have been forced to run because of fires probably didn't realize it would come so fast either. Last night there were folks in Mexico that went to sleep like any other night and were blasted awake with the shaking of an 8+ earthquake. Some lost their lives. They probably didn't think that would happen either.

What's my point? My point is that I am concerned. Seriously! I am concerned for my family and for my church family. I am concerned for those who live and work around me every day. Some of you may be my friends and some of you may not or would not like me at all. I am still concerned for you. My concern is that if something really catastrophic happened like a MAJOR storm or an earthquake, many would have no plan or preparation to deal with it. I suppose, like many, we believe the government will step in and fix it. What if they don’t? What if they can’t? What if you and your family is all you have to count on? I am concerned that we are so busy living our day to day lives that we don’t even care enough to think about it.

What if there are no stores to go to for food or water? Can’t happen you say? It’s happening right now in Houston Texas and is likely to be the case for, as it looks at the time I am writing this, most of the state of Florida. In just a few hours it may be that there is no food, water, gas or other supplies available in large portions of two states. That doesn’t even include what is going on in the Islands that have already been hit or those who have been displaced because of the fires in our territory. I’m sure most of those involved didn’t think it would happen a few weeks ago or even a few days ago.

 Do you have a plan? Do you have food and water available to you should there be a time when all the stores are closed or empty? Do you have an emergency bag that you can throw on your back and run if a storm, earthquake, fire or some other emergency happens? Should you? Or is this just a bunch of nonsense “prepper” talk?

I am happy to say that there are some areas that my family and I are prepared. I am equally bummed out to say there are some areas that we are not. However, we are, even today, working to remedy that situation.

How about you? Does it matter? Is everything always going to be as it has been?

On another and I believe more important note. I am a believer in Christ. I am a pastor. One of the greatest passions of my life is to study the Bible and to see what it has to say to us today, and it says a lot! Take these words for instance. I have noticed they have been floating around the net for the last couple days. Jesus said that in the final days:

25 “there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. 26 People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. – Luke 21:25-26

I know! I know! There have always been eclipses, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and more, but is it possible that there is significance to the fact that they are all happening almost simultaneously? Aww never mind. This is all probably just a bunch of religious silliness, right? Yeah, maybe. But what if it’s not? What if what’s happening isn’t what all the “best and brightest” minds say is happening? What if Jesus really did tell us 2000 years ago what we should look for before he came back? What if we really are in the final days? Are you prepared for that? I think as important as it is, AND IT IS, to prepare for a catastrophe, it is even more important that you prepare spiritually. If, for any reason, catastrophic or not, your life were to come to an end today do you know where you would go? Your eternity depends on it. Trust Jesus. Ask him to come into your life and give you the wisdom to know how to live in the days we are living in. If you need help knowing how to do that hit me up. It would be my honor to help you get it figured out. I would never say I know it all, but I think I know enough to help you get started.

Whether you know who I am or not, I want you to know that I care about you! PLEASE do what you need to do to be ready if that thing you don’t think can happen really happens? Be Blessed, Tom

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Just Thinking..... About Elections, Politics, Divisions and Real Love

 It’s been an interesting few months hasn’t it? I have tried my best to avoid the mindless political speak that I am constantly bombarded with these days. I have friends who span the political spectrum from the pretty far right all the way to the pretty far left. I like it that way. It does get crazy sometimes though.

 I remain clear, to all my “righties” and “lefties” what I believe and I try to leave it at that. Since my core belief is that hope for our country and world is in Christ and not in politics, I try to steer clear of political arguments. However, there is just this teeny-weeny little thing I want to point out to all of my Christian brothers and sisters and also my very non-Christian friends as well.

 But first, some background.

On Election Day all of my friends on the left of the spectrum were simply glowing with over confidence. The election was over before the voting even started. When the results started to pour in they became apoplectic. The election was stolen, there was fraud, the Russians did it, and on and on. That has continued to be the posture of most. The protests of inauguration day and the woman’s march only succeeded in stoking the rage and further proving to most of America that those who so adamantly profess tolerance and love can also be some of the most intolerant and hateful people around. (I’m really sorry, but it’s true)

These days my twitter, facebook, etc. timelines, as well as multiple personal interactions are a constant barrage of hatred toward Trump, the republicans, the stupid American idiots….. You get the point. I don’t say this to stoke further division, I simply want to say that if you are on that side of the political aisle, it may be helpful to look at yourselves and find out why you lost. Not only have you lost the presidency, but you have lost 100’s of federal and state legislature positions, governorships and so on. It has been going on for years. The more you push, hate and divide the more you lose. I’m just sayin’….. Let’s move on shall we?

In the last few days though, I have noticed a shift in the anger. Oh don’t get me wrong, they still hate Trump and every other person who chooses not to bow down to their intimidation, but now I notice all the hate being thrown at the Christians. My question is why? Rhetorical, I already know the answer.

Just today, I have seen cartoons of overweight, hateful Christian women beating Syrian children with Bibles, I have seen posts mocking Christians as the stupid white guys who have all the privilege in the world and want nothing more than to take everyone else’s rights away. (Who knew that every Christian is a white guy? That will come as a surprise to a lot of my friends and… Hey wait a minute; I thought it was angry women beating children with Bibles. I’m confused) I have seen posts mocking the pro-life community for having the unmitigated gall to say that murdering children in the womb is a bad thing. My favorite post today at least, is the “America has become a theocracy” angle. Donald Trump??? A Theocracy??? (Pardon me while I clean up the orange juice I just spit out laughing) I pray for President Trump but I think we’re a couple minutes out from a theocracy. In the end, as I have come to understand, the Christians are the single biggest problem in the world. If they could get rid of us I’m sure everything would be perfect.

At times I begin to get discouraged. I think to myself, “Man I must be surrounded by a bunch of hateful, hayseed idiots. Maybe I should turn my back on Christianity.” But then!!! I get punched in the face by reality!

You see, I am surrounded by Christians on a daily basis. REAL CHRISTIANS! Not the buffoonish caricatures that are being pushed by those who don’t like us. You know what I see? I see folks who have little to no money sacrificing what they do have so they can buy food to help feed a homeless person. I see people working their tails off to create a place where food and clothes can be stored in order to feed and clothe those who need it. (Excuse me a moment… Just got a text…..Ahh yes it is from a lady in my church who, on her day off, is trying to organize the food recently donated to give away in the “food room” that some other church members have been trying to finish for two weeks….such deplorables)

Anyway, I see people who work 40 hour a week jobs and then in their “off” time, they minister in prisons and work to help people get out of abusive, negative life-killing situations. I see people who sacrifice tirelessly to help people find freedom from alcohol, drugs and whatever other addiction they may be caught up in. I see people every day who take seriously the admonition of Jesus that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. Do you know their names? No you don’t! Why? Because they do not care if you know their names, they only care that you find help and the love of God. And guess what? Keep hating them and they will still try to help you when you need it. Weird huh?

 Here’s some real truth. Love is not shown by sitting in front of a computer all day long mindlessly retweeting everyone else’s thoughts. Love is not in the #resistance or the #revolution or whatever the meaningfully meaningless hashtag is today. Love is shown when you get out from behind your computer screen and actually help someone. I understand it though. It is much simpler and conscience easing to sit behind a monitor and take shots at people in the name of love and tolerance than it is to actually get out and love people where they are. You can agree or disagree with building a wall on the border, but hundreds of thousands have already built a wall between themselves and the real needs in our country. That wall is their computer screen. Keep on posting and you won’t have to see the real needs. It may make you feel better but, in the end, 1000 tweets do not feed, clothe or help ANYONE!

 I’m not actually moved by any of this though, because I have known since I was young that the world would hate those who follow Christ. It may actually be beneficial. As long as folks are hidden behind their hashtags, they won’t be in our way as we try our best to help others and proclaim the love of God. My thanks for helping us win the culture war.

No it doesn’t bother me that people who don’t know any better dislike me or my Christian family. What bothers me most is when my Christian family gets wrapped up in the back and forth. When Nehemiah was rebuilding Jerusalem, his enemies mocked him and did their best to intimidate him. They sent a message and told him to stop doing what he was doing and to come talk to them. Paraphrasing his words, the response was “I’m doing a great work for God; I don’t have time to come and talk to you.” We must realize that our job is to share love and truth. If that is rejected, so be it. However, don’t stop doing the “great work” God has called you to. Share the gospel, Love the unlovable, free the captives, and be like Jesus! In Acts 10:38 it says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Church family, this is what we need to do. Just keep “doing good,” speaking healing, and proclaiming  the love of God. Don’t get caught up in foolish arguments. It’s a waste of precious time.

In the end, I see that much of the anger is coming because our enemy, our real enemy, (Not people) knows that his facade of fake love and fake tolerance is crumbling in the face of the real love that is being shown by the real church. There are crazies, fakes and frauds who hate and shame the name of Christ, but they are not us. We are those who are willing to lay it all down to love God and love others and we are succeeding. In the end those who love in the name of Christ will be shown to have had the truth all along. Just love. You will most likely continue to be hated. Jesus told us what to do with that. Love those who hate you and pray for those who persecute you. Show them all what love really looks like. In the end Love really will win!

Lastly, it’s time to start bridging some of the gaps. What I know is that the perception many have of Christianity is not the reality. I also know that every ugly thing said about the non-Christian community is not true either. If there is anyone who wants to do something to actually try and help people let me know. We, as well as many churches and groups in the area could use the help. Christian or not, turn your computer off and open your eyes. The opportunities are all around you.

With nothing but love to you all