Archive for love

Jar of Blessings?!?!?

Posted in Apps, Bible, Christian, Church, Devotion, Digital, Faith, Fun, God, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, Pastors, Real Talk with tags , , , , on January 6, 2016 by BigPhatPastor

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So I can’t be the only one who kept reading about the Jar of Blessings and thought “No one actually does this”, right?  I mean I’ve been in a lot of people’s homes and have not seen one jar sitting around.  So I thought it was bunk…until I tried it.  In January of 2015 I thought I’d give it a try…with a digital spin.  Instead of using an actual jar I created a notebook in Evernote and jotted down blessings throughout the year.  Since Evernote is cloud based I was able to jot down notes anytime anywhere.  Granted, I was new at it and probably missed jotting down multiple things but every now and then I’d jot something down and think how blessed I truly am.

Towards the latter part of 2015 I was feeling less and less blessed.  Just dealing with my own junk and extended family issues drew me away from focusing on blessings and caused me to focus on trials and issues instead.  But then recently as I was going over some lists in Evernote I saw the Jar of Blessings notebook and decided to look through it.  I was shocked at my perception of God’s blessings; little things that I was greatful for, tiny events that others might ridicule I was extremely ecstatic over.  And all the blessings I listed continued even in the times where I seemed to be focused on my trials.  It was amazing to look back and see not just how good God was but to see His hand of blessing even in times when I didn’t think I felt blessed.

So I started another notebook and began jotting down blessings for this year.  I’ll definitely be more active in recording things and way more active in referring back to them.  If you haven’t done so, start now and begin listing God’s blessings in your life, big and small.  And if you have done so ensure you make time to refer back to them regularly.

Put A Bandaid On It…

Posted in Christian, Christmas, Christmas Party, Church, Comics, Community, Country, Culture, DC, Devotion, Digital, Dining, Election, Electronics, End Times, Entertainment, Evangelism, Faith, Family, Fantasy, Food, Fun, Geek, Global, God, Government, Health, HIstory, Holiday, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Life, Love, Marriage, Marvel, Medical, Military, Ministry, Money, Movies, Music, Nerd, New Testament, Old Testament, Pastors, Pittsburgh, Political, Prayer, Real Talk, Resurrection, Sacrifice, Sci Fi, Social Media, Spiritual, sports, Superheroes, Supernatural, Taboo Topics, The Church, The Law, Travel, TV, Tworship, Vampires, Werewolf, worship with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

So a few months ago I pulled a tendon in my left arm.  It took forever to heal because I kept going right back out and doing the thing that caused the damage in the first place, #dagorhir (you’re going to have to Google it).  After weeks of it not healing I finally took a few weeks off from sparring and gym workouts to let it heal.  Then I gradually re-engaged in both #dagorhir  and gym workouts.  It took time but it healed. 

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So what do you think I did when I pulled a tendon in my right arm a few weeks later (this was after a pulled abdominal muscle and a few thumb smashes…#dagorhir)? I went right back at it without allowing time for healing.  Of course once I finally took a few weeks off it began to heal; I am still in that healing process.

I look at our nation now and I see a nation that needs to heal, from wounds of lost loved ones, from wounds of lost trust and confidence, and from wounds caused by hatred and bigotry. This nation, we make up this nation, need time to heal.

Over the Christmas weekend take some time to heal.  Step away from the keyboard.  Don’t respond to any flagrant posts or tweets. Ignore the rants and tirades and spend the weekend with family and loved ones.  We all need time to heal.  #merrychristmas.

#NOMORE

Posted in Bullying, Community, Culture, Faith, Family, Life, Love, Real Talk, Taboo Topics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2013 by BigPhatPastor

I had to go back before I wrote this and try to search how many posts, blogs, and tweets had come my way but I did nothing about.  Let’s just say there was an extremely embarrassing amount.  Every time someone sent me a tweet, or img_6747_bw_3posted on their blog about bullying I was angry about the act, but I still did nothing.  Maybe it was because my kids are no longer kids.  Maybe it was because even when they were they didn’t bully people or get bullied (my oldest son is a professional cage fighter so I could be wrong on this one).  Maybe it’s because I haven’t heard about any of the youth in our congregation being bullied or bullying others but for whatever reason I somehow didn’t think the posts, tweets, or social media groups applied to me…until December 1st 2013, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.

A friend sent me a text which I was only able to read part of at the time.  Our praise team was taking part in a community choir festival involving multiple congregations and musicians from various communities.  I didn’t want to be that guy reading text messages during the event (although I was that guy taking pictures and posting them during the event).  The only part of the text I saw was: ‘call Popeye, his daughter hun’.  I consider myself a pretty smart guy so I figured I could determine the full message by just what I read but nothing seemed to make sense.  And the thing that did make sense didn’t make sense…so I read the rest of the text whilst standing with everyone at the festival to sing Silent Night.  Unfortunately, I was right.  Popeye, a friend, part of a motorcycle ministry called Michael’s Marauders, had a teenage daughter named Faith.   Some of the Marauders and their family members had visited CrossRoads for a weekend in mid-September, their third annual visit with our CrossRoads congregation.  Many of the Marauders I knew from when we were all part of the same congregation in Northern, VA where they are based.  I had just met Popeye’s family including Faith during the September visit.  Although I did not know Faith that well, it was still painful and shocking to read the text in its entirety: ‘call Popeye, his daughter hung herself and died. I just got off the phone with him.’

FaithIt turned out that Faith took her own life as a result of bullying.  I can’t imagine how bad a teenage girl with a loving family and friends has to be treated to be pushed to the point where she feels she cannot live another day.  I cannot imagine what Popeye, his wife, Faith’s siblings, or her friends are going through at having lost someone they loved so much.  For me, every time I look at her picture my heart literally breaks with pain for Faith, what she must have went through, and for her family, what they are going through now.  But I have to be honest.  I also get extremely ticked off! I feel like I am boiling with rage!  All over the world children are dying from curable and incurable diseases, from hunger, from adults that want to hurt them and do unspeakable things to them.  They should not be dying because of the way they are treated by other children.  #NOMORE

One thing I have always felt strongly about and still do is that with all of the national and global resources available, no child, or adult, should ever have to die from hunger.  Now I can add to that, that no child should ever be treated in such a way that they feel their only recourse is to stop living.  So from now on, I will not just read, but will retweet and repost everything that comes my way that will help put a stop to bullying.  I will aggressively respond to those who feel bullied and even more aggressively call out children who do it, and parents and school districts who allow it.  This isn’t a church thing, this isn’t a race thing, this isn’t a political thing or a separation of church and state or separation of 99% and 1% thing.  This is a pure and simple “have some freaking decency and respect for human life thing”.  #NOMORE

Crazy Christian Couponers

Posted in Christian, Community, Devotion, Digital, Family, Fun, God, Life, Love, Real Talk with tags , , , , , , on April 18, 2012 by BigPhatPastor

What you are about to read is a true story; no names were changed and I am as guilty as all get out.  My wife Christi is a budding extreme couponer.  While she has not saved thousands on any one shopping trip she averages about 85% or more savings on just about every outing.  I recently joined her on one such outing.  She just wanted to grab a couple of items that would have netted her a 96% savings: A name brand box of cereal, a name brand frozen pizza, a name brand box of granola bars and two bottles of iced tea…all for 62 cents.

Of course me being a non-couponer, I wanted to purchase a new flavor of a cereal brand that I enjoy regularly…for a cost of $2.50.  She wasn’t thrilled about it as I added it to our cart.  Throughout the rest of the shopping excursion she reminded me of the increased cost for that one box of cereal.  Once she had all of the items we came for she shopped for a few additional items that were on sale and for which she had coupons; all the while advising me that we could put my one box of cereal back and come back and get it at another time, with a coupon, for a significantly decreased cost.

Finally I stopped and asked her if it was really so important since we obviously had the $2.50 to buy the cereal.  Her response overwhelmed me.  She said, “Yes, it’s important, and it literally hurts me and grieves me that you would pay such a high price now, for something I can provide so easily if you were just willing to wait on me.”

You really have to be new if you can’t see where I’m going with this.  It made me think of how grieved and hurt God must feel when we try to do things in our strength without Him.  It must literally crush His heart to see people He loves trying to earn His love and work their way into a relationship with Him when He offers His love, forgiveness, and grace  at no cost to us even though it was an extreme cost for Him.

Epilogue: I put the cereal back and told my wife I didn’t need it.  Our total order, which included several other boxes of cereal, was worth $47, for which we paid $12.  When we got home she located a coupon and went back out and got my cereal for less than half the original price.

There’s Not an App for That

Posted in Devotion, Digital, Family, Global, God, Life, Love, Real Talk, Social Media with tags , , , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by BigPhatPastor

Despite what our culture tells us, there is not an app for everything.  Some things require good old fashioned hands on hard work.  Whenever I talk with couples looking to get married I advise them to keep in mind four major areas that will require constant hands on focus and attention to detail: Family, Finances, Faith, and Forever (commitment).  By keeping these 4 areas in synch they can handle anything married life might throw at them.

The first two areas are the easiest because you can usually touch, talk to, or connect with family and can immediately feel and see the effects of  financial responsibility or irresponsibility.  However, when it comes to faith and forever, things are usually more difficult.  There are no apps or social media networks to keep us connected to our faith.  In those areas, we have to do the hard work and make the touch decisions on our own.

Worth Dying For

Posted in Christian, Devotion, Global, God, Jesus Christ, Prayer, Real Talk, Sacrifice, Spiritual, The Church, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 22, 2012 by BigPhatPastor

Many of us have felt rejection, anger, frustration, and humiliation. We’ve felt hurt, felt pain, felt highs from accomplishments, and felt lows from disappointments; we’ve felt fearful, and felt courageous and some of us have even felt loved. But how many of us have felt like we were worth dying for? Despite our life or financial situations, political affiliations, or religious aspirations, that is how Jesus Christ felt and feels about each and every one us. In a new series we take a walk through how Jesus saw us as He lay on the cross; we get a glimpse into how He saw us, and how much He loved us.  Below is a link to a video clip from the series.  The full audio message can be heard or downloaded from http://crossroadsofjeffersonhills.com/#/our-message

MLK Way

Posted in Christian, Community, Country, Global, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, Social Media with tags , , , , , , on January 17, 2011 by BigPhatPastor

The other day I was listening to a broadcast (What in the Ham Sandwich on the Hype Radio Network), that asked the interesting question “Why is it that most people only worry about the poor during the holidays?”  Many of us would say that providing food for those in need is something that should take place more than just on the holidays; and in most cases it does.  It’s likely that the promotion and publicizing of such activities are increased during the holidays even though that is not the only time the activities occur.  The same is true of the principles that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of in his speeches and sermons.  The topics of equality, fair treatment, and love of our fellow man are not things that should only come to mind in the middle of January.  Instead they are things that every community and culture should be taking into consideration on a daily basis.

Does this mean that everything we do and everything we say has to be monitored or cultivated to ensure acceptance by all?  As a black man who is pastor of an all white congregation I don’t think that’s the answer.  Especially when I still see online and hear in public the most damaging of phrases we could use to point out racial and cultural differences:  Them and us.  I believe the answer lies in the heart of what Dr. King was preaching (not just saying but preaching).  The heart of His message: love and treat others the way we would want to be treated.  A message that Jesus Christ first communicated to a culture where religious, political, and cultural division was the norm.  Jesus’ message and that of Dr. King was not about a day of loving and accepting others, but rather a way of loving and accepting others.  It wasn’t about stopping on a specific day to take notice of my treatment of others because of our differences, but rather treating others regularly as if there are no differences.  That’s the real way to honor MLK Day.

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