Merging faith with Jesus by Pastor Ron


Status Change

Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you’ve probably seen this news report about the wedding in Maryland where the groom interrrupted his wedding ceremony to update his Facebook status from “single” to “married” to let all of his online friends and family that know that he was officially hitched…

As funny as this video may be, changing one’s status is an important ritual for those of us who use Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. I keep getting updates from friends and family members who post comments about their ever changing status.. “off to work,” “home from school,” “studying for my exam,” “taking my exam,” “walking the dog,” “just put the kids to bed,” “watching the big OSU game,” etc. It seems that in this digital age we have quite a fascination with getting the word out about what we’re doing so that everyone we know in our online community can share in our experience.

It occurred to me this morning, while I was brushing my teeth [Facebook status alert!!], that getting the word out about our change in status isn’t a new thing invented by Facebook. Luke 5:19-20 recounts the story of a man who Jesus freed from demons. Jesus tells him, “‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ So the man went away and began to tell…how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.” Just imagine if he could have shared the miracle on Facebook back then!

You see, while it may be cute to let everyone know that you’re “doing laundry,” “headed to the grocery store,” or “visiting the grandkids,” there are some important status changes that you ought to share as well… the changes of status that come when we’ve been touched by God: “I witnessed a miracle today.” “I got a second chance.” “I’m forgiven.” “Jesus touched me!”

Hymn writer, John Newton, tweeted his changed status when he wrote the famous hymn, “Amazing Grace”: “I once was lost but now am found; Was blind, but now I see.” William Gaither updated his life status when he wrote these famous lyrics, “He touched me, O, He touched me, And O, the joy that floods my soul! Something, happened, and now I know, He touched me and made me whole.” Finally, Kurt Kaiser shared the result of his status change in the camp song, “Pass it On” when he wrote, “I’ll shout it from the mountain top, I want my world to know: the Lord of love has come to me, I want to pass it on.”

What status change has Jesus made in your life? Get the word out! Share it on Facebook or Twitter. Tell your family and friends. Believe me, the world wants to know!

Standing in the Rain

Have you ever noticed what people do when it rains? At the first sign of raindrops people begin to panic. Ladies will grab an umbrella to protect themselves from the upcoming torrent. Parents will scoop up their children in a frenzy and run with them from their car to the store as fast as they can so they might escape the deluge. People immediately grumble about the weather and wish the sun would soon reappear. Why is that? Why does a little rain cause such chaos for so many people?

I remember as a kid how I used to love standing out in the rain, splashing in the puddles. I’d soak up every raindrop as it beat down on my face. Feeling the rain fall down on me was an incredible experience. (Granted, my parents didn’t think so. They always becken me indoors as soon as possible.) Yet, as a kid I never feared standing out in the rain like so many adults [and even kids] do today.

You see, I understood that rain was a blessing that was so vital for life. Ever notice when we don’t get rain for awhile how people grumble that we don’t have it. Rain is necessary to make the crops grow. It waters the flowers. Without rain, the crops dry up, flowers wither, cracks form in the ground as if pleading for a shower from the heavens to quench the thirst of the earth. Yes, the world needs rain. Without it life would dry up and we’d become a desert. Perhaps we already have.

Could it be that the reason we dislike the rain is because we’ve dried up on the inside…we’ve lost our childlike innocence and become like walking deserts void of life, real life. I know a lot of relationships that have dried up. Love has run dry. Cracks form, like those in the parched ground, and people thirst for something that they can pour into their lives that will renew them, fill them, make them feel alive again.

The fact is rain falls freely where it wills. You either receive it or you don’t. It’s kind of like love, forgiveness and God’s grace. You can run from these things and stay dry or stand in the rain and soak up the blessings that come from gifts unexpected and undeserved. Rock singer Michael W. Smith portrays that truth powerfully in the music video for his hit song, Healing Rain. (Check it out!)

So many people walk around all dried up. They grumble that can’t find that love, peace, God, spirituality, [you fill in the _________] that might quench the thirst they feel in their lives. Yet, the truth is this. You or I won’t ever get filled up with the things that we’re really looking for until we take the chance to step out into the rain.

What are you waiting for? Loose the umbrella. Stop running. Quit complaining. Step out into the rain for once and just stand there and let yourself soak it in for a change. Perhaps if you do, you’ll find that it really is OK. And you just might find the courage to take the next step. Drop the umbrella and quit hiding from the other showers of blessing that God would like to pour down into your life and mine if we but step out in the rain.

Take a moment, and use the music video below to step out into a virtual rain shower. Feel the drops splash on your heart and in your soul…

Headed for the Junk Yard?

Let’s face it. Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes we make a total wreck out of things. Sometimes we wreck things so bad that we wonder if there’s any way to salvage that friendship or marriage or whether we should consider it a lost cause and just dump it in the junk yard and move on. I should know. I’ve made a total wreck out of things a time or two or three or four…

Wrecking things that bad can make you feel like an utter failure. The sad thing is too often other people can give up on you as well: friends and family included. When that happens you can feel like nothing more than piece of scap metal.

Yet, there’s one thing that I’ve learned from a life that has been totaled a time or two and that is this: your life doesn’t have to end up in the junk yard! No matter how bad you’ve wrecked things, no matter how dented up you might feel, you are still a person of great value!

When everyone else is ready to load you up on a wrecker and haul you off to the junk yard, know for certain that there is one person in the world who looks at you and doesn’t look at your dents as a thing to be ashamed of. That one person is Jesus.

You see, Jesus loves you…dents and all. And when he looks at you, and even the ways that you might have totaled parts of your life, he doesn’t see something that needs to be hauled away. Instead, Jesus wants to love on you, buff your scratches and make you as good as new. Why? Because he sees what others don’t and what you or I might overlook. You’re a person of great value…ultimate value. You are loved by God.

The Apostle Paul states it this way, “When you were dead in your sins (feeling like you’d wrecked things beyond repair) God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins…nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-15). Jesus took your dents, your failures, your total breakdowns, upon himself when he went to the cross so that you might have a second chance to live the life you were always meant to live. That’s called forgiveness…and amazing grace.

Daughtry’s hit music video “It’s Not Over” is a testimony to the second chances that we all can have in life to start over once our dents have been wiped away by the love of Jesus Christ. Nothing needs to be wrecked beyond repair when we let Jesus take hold of us. Headed to the junk yard? Let Jesus put his hand on you. You’ll be amazed at what might happen. That’s what it means to live faith outside of the box!

Watch the YouTube music video It’s Not Over by Daughtry

It’s What’s Inside that Counts!

People always say, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover!” I’ve learned that to be so true! Too often people judge you by the way you look. If you’re well dressed, they think you’ve got money. If you’ve got tattoos and piercings, people think you’re a rebel without a cause. Yet, I’ve learned over and over again that people often overlook the most important part of what makes us human. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

I remember a time a few years back when I went out shopping for a car. I stopped by the dealership wearing a t-shirt and jeans and no salesmen came out to assist me. The next day, I returned to the same dealership to scope out the same car wearing a suit and tie and I was given prompt attention and service. What gives? I was still the same person. My money was still worth the same. The difference was that I was judged to be worth more by the way I looked from one day to the next.

God had to remind the prophet Samuel of that when he was called to annoint one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king of Israel. Samuel looked at Jesse’s oldest boy, Eliab, and thought he sure he was God’s chosen one because he looked handsome and strong. Yet, God tells Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

This is so true. When you focus only on the exterior of a person you only get a partial picture of who they really are. One can look all together on the outside and be falling apart on the inside. I wish there was a way to use a stethoscope like the one in this YouTube video to really hear and see what’s hidden from plain sight.

The next best thing is to look at people through God’s eyes. Don’t let designer clothing fool you or wild hair and the grundge look cloud your eyes. Focus on the heart. Take time to see what really moves them. Let the inside shine through. Look upon the beauty of the heart. You might be amazed by what you find there…

That’s living faith outside of the box!

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