Wednesday, April 14, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Play along with me if you would.  You’re blindfolded and I give a large gift.  Now, there’re a few ways you can go about trying to figure out what’s inside this gift.  You can feel the size of the package.  How heavy is it?  You can shake it.  You can open it up.  But all the while you’re blindfolded.  Your past experience may be able to help you figure out what it is.  But what if it’s something new?  Something you’ve never experienced before?  Still blindfolded, what if you asked and I told you is was a very elusive Thingamajig.  Would you believe me?  Everyone else around you are so excited to see the Tingamajig and can’t stop talking about it.  It’s amazing!  How do you react?  Do you take our word for it?  I mean, this is a pretty special Thingamajig.  Are you going to trust that we’re telling you the truth or are you going to have to see it for yourself? 

“Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.  So, the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”  Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.””  – John 20: 24-29

How easy it is to doubt.  Heck, you’re just being human, right?  If that’s the case, why don’t we all get that label…Doubting Shelly.  It’s not a very becoming name, but it’s not all about how others look at you.  It’s about who you are when no one is watching and it’s just you and God.  Then, what will you do?  Who will you be?  Who will you become?

There is so much in this world that we learn and believe as truth because we were told it was true.  As a young child someone told me this was BLUE and GREEN and RED.  I was also told that this was 4 and 7 and 23.  And so I believed.  At times, that’s not so easy with God.  Is it?  We’ve got history showing us what’s true, but we choose not to believe.  God tells us, “You’re life won’t always be like this.”  But we choose to believe in the moment we’re living in.  God tells us, “You’re faith will lead you.”  But yet we choose to go only where we can see.  God tells us, “I love you and desire no harm for you.”  But we choose to see the hurt and pain we are experiencing and ask, “God, why are you doing this to me?” 

Personally, I think doubt is the easy way out.  Will you trust or will you doubt?  Ask the Lord to turn your doubts and fears into faith and excitement.  Now, act upon your decision with authority.  For if you don’t bring authority to your decision, you may find that doubt will very quickly take back over.  You have to be strong in your decision and ask Him many times over.  “God turn it around.  God turn it around.  God turn it around.”

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

#ChurchOfTheCity – God Turn It Around

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

😎🐫🎤 May the peace of Christ’s glorious resurrection be with you.  Happy Easter!  It was so great to be back in church this year to celebrate the Easter Vigil Mass.  The Easter Vigil Mass, above all others, fills my spirit beyond words.  It’s usually twice as long as a regular Mass, but we get to start with a fire and assemble the new Easter candle, work through more Bible reading, and renew our Baptismal Promises.  You know, those promises aren’t necessarily something we think of too often and it’s even less that we say them out loud.  Saturday night, when we renewed our Promises, what overwhelmed me was the sound of authority in the voices around me.  That’s what God needs from us, sold out believers.  I thought about that again at work yesterday when I was working in a system, I hit the + key to add a new code, but the screen didn’t shift down so that I could see the new line.  In the past, I would stop what I was doing to scroll the page so that I could see what I was working with.  But yesterday I thought to myself, “You know the line is there.  Trust that it is and keep moving forward.”  Immediately following that, “Just like your faith.  You don’t have to see to know that He is here.”  Trust and keep moving forward! 

You’re Baptismal Promises have opened up many doors for you.  Some that you have seen and purposefully chose to open and others that to this day, you never knew existed.  But none the less, your decision to choose Christ has paved a way for you.  You don’t have to live, as Cara Whitney puts it, “Waiting for the show to drop”.  Live in the moment you’ve been given.  Don’t spend your time “…letting the devil steal our joy.  Waiting for something bad to happen in our lives…”.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Catholic or not, today I would like to give you the opportunity to denounce Satan as the ruler of your life and affirm Jesus Christ, the Father, and Spirit as your source of salvation.  Say it aloud and proclaim your decision with authority.

V. Do you reject Satan?
R. I do.
V. And all his works?
R. I do.
V. And all his empty promises?
R. I do.
V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
R. I do.
V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
R. I do.
V. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
R. I do.
V. God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

#CaraWhitney – Unbridled Faith Devotions for Young Readers

#HillsongWorship – This I Believe (The Creed)

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Wow, can you believe it’s Holy Week already?  Lent went by in a blink.  In the Wednesday, February 17, 2021 message I asked you about your approach to Lent and challenged you to a brand new habit.  How has your Lent moved you in your relationship?  Go ahead, take a moment to search the highlight reel.  I’ll wait………

I hope you saw conversations of confusion, enlightenment, comfort, joy, peace, questioning, discovery and aha moments.  But above all, I pray that your conversations with the Father, Son, and Spirit brought you growth and a greater, more two-sided relationship.  The more you choose to engage with the Lord, the more you move your relationship from one sided to balanced. 

In Monday’s Gospel reading, John 12:1-11, this part particularly caught my attention as if I were hearing it for the first time.  “The large crowd of the Jews found out that He was there and came, not only because of Him, but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.  And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.”  Talk about being used for God’s mission and glory.  No, Lazarus didn’t choose to be raised from the dead and I really doubt that he chose to have people want to kill him.  There’s no doubt that life can seem a bit crazy and turn on a dime.  But where does your constancy lie? Awhile back, in a conversation with my niece, who is a gymnast, she was telling me how now that she doesn’t compete and doesn’t have to keep her hair pulled back so tightly, she has new hair growing along her hairline.  So you may be thinking, “What does that have to do with anything?”  Let’s take a step back.  When did it stop growing?  It stopped when constant pressure and opposition dominated it.  It’s like it gave up trying.  Now that her scalp is relaxed, in a natural state, and not under constant opposition, it’s able to peacefully grow as it was made and intended to.  Where does that opposition lie in your life, that is constantly pulling you away from Christ?  What’s the opposition that’s creating pressure in your life?  What’s the opposition that’s stopped your growth?  You have a couple days left this Lent.  Come back to Him.  Talk with Him.  He’s not mad at you.  He misses you and wants to talk and spend time with you.  Allow your time with Him to release the pressures and oppositions on life.  Allow your time with Him to open you up to new growth.  Sometimes the stories about Him just seem like words on a page, but He’s a pretty awesome God when you get to know Him in person.  He’s literally dying to meet you.

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

#ElevationRhythm – Quiet

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Do you feel it?  Can you see it?  Can you smell it?   It’s working its way to you.  You’re only a few days away.  It’s a big celebration!  Feel the excitement!  Set your eyes upon a King.  Breath in the smell of donkey???  No, let’s breath in the smell of fresh cut palms.  Yes, Palm Sunday is just a few days away.  Our King is making His entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey. 

Hands and voices raised “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!  Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!  See, your King comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” – Zechariah 9:9

12 ’The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!”’ – John 12:12-13

You still have time.  Prune your heart, eyes, ears, thoughts, words and actions of all that is dead.  Make room for the new life that is budding and about to spring forth within you!  Shout aloud and echo holy is the Lord!  You have been on this journey.  You have taken wrong turns.  You have spent time stuck in the mud.  But…ALL is being washed away.  YOU will be made clean, not as before, but brilliant like never before.  Your Lord, my Lord, He is the release from our season of sin.  Celebrate, for there is no greater victory.  Welcome and praise Him with all your might.  I don’t care if someone thinks you look like a fool.  Listening to today’s song gives me Holy Spirit bumps (aka goosebumps).   Sing aloud and rejoice in Him.

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

#RedRocksWorship – Echo Holy

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  This week I was reminded a little of my past.  Before I get into that, I have a question for you and I want you to be very specific.  What, if anything, do you say when someone sneezes around you?  When I was a young child I would say “God bless you.”  But there came a time as a young adult, and I don’t really remember why, maybe it just wasn’t cool to say, but I dropped God and just said “Bless you.”  As I grew in my faith and relationship with God, I eventually brought God back in front of the “Bless you.” 

So why do I bring this up now?  This week, I spent time around a young child that had the sneezes.  Every time I heard a sneeze I said “God bless you.” 

After saying “God bless you.” multiple times, the young child said, “Can you not say G?” 

I responded with, “G?  Do you mean God?”

“Yes”

Pause a moment…

First, this may seem strange, but I was proud of this young child for being willing to speak up for what she’d been taught and her young degree of belief.  At this age, it’s about mimicking those authority figures that influence her and less about her own educated belief.  It may not seem like much now, but I’ll circle back to this.

Second, WOW!  My heart sunk for two reasons 1) I was asked not to say God.  And 2) the child wouldn’t even say the word God.  Just G.

…un pause.

Without a thought I said, “God’s blessing is greater than any blessing I can give you, so I’m going to continue to say “God bless you.”  And so, I did. 

I’m not mad at this child or her parents.  I was just really caught off guard.  I would imagine a good portion of all of us have gone through those Saul periods of life when, maybe not as bluntly as Saul, but in our own ways have persecuted the Lord.  Those years that I chose to remove God from the Bless you, yes, I was persecuting Him.  Okay, you may think I’m overreacting, but am I really?  Our purpose in life is to give glory, honor, and praise to the Lord in all we do, serving those He places before us, and make His presence known so that others may also live a glorious life with Him.  So, the question is, how can we do this if we are afraid and won’t even speak His name.  By letting the fear of what others think stop us from doing what we know is pure, right, and holy, how will we every glorify the Lord?  Choose the Lord and be bold in the smallest of opportunities.  Put God back in front of the Bless you.  You know where you’re skimping out on Him and I pray that every time it happens, He makes us fully aware of what we do so that we go back to putting Him first. 

I know for a fact we will ALL fall in our journey with the Lord.  By our choices, some of us fall farther than others because of our lack of a personal connection with Christ, such as Saul.  Once Saul had that personal experience with Christ…The rest is history.  You can read about Saul’s conversion experience in Acts 9: 1-19.  A prayer that I have prayed for many years for my children is, Lord I pray that they don’t fall too far and get too hurt before they come back to You. 

Saul, one of the biggest persecutors of Christ became one of His biggest advocates.  If you, like me are not Jewish, God’s choice to have Saul bring His message to the Gentiles is the reason we know Christ.  That child’s boldness to speak up at such a young age gives me great hope for what God will do and work through her life and how her boldness will bring others to Christ.  She has a Spirit in her that is the one and only Holy Spirit.  Be bold in your faith, belief and actions for the Lord.

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

#RhettWalkerBand – Believer

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Ecclesiastes 7:14 “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.”  Don’t think, just say it out loud.  At this very moment, what life experience are you working through? 

Are you on the hilltop, in the valley, or working your way somewhere along the hillside? 

What brought you to this point?  More than likely it’s not just one thing.  I imagine it’s more like a chain of actions binding and holding your life together.

What led to what?  Looking at it in hind sight can be rather interesting.  There are so many inconspicuous details that we miss while living in the moment, but upon looking back they play a big part of our direction moving forward.

I, by God’s timing, read Ecclesiastes 7:14 on Friday during my lunch walk.  It was just about three hours before reading this scripture that I was notified of a promotion I received.  What made this scripture so meaningful in conjunction with my promotion was the fact that the reason I was in my current job was because of a human error and one year and 11 months of trying to clean up that error that led to not only this promotion, but another one in February 2020.  In the moment when learning about the error and many months that followed, I was not focused on what God was preparing me for, but simply blinded by my stress, worry, and emotions.  Can you relate to this type of blindness? 

But that wasn’t the starting point either.  As I continued on my lunch walk, I continued rolling the footage on other life events that link by link has built this chain that holds me firmly anchored to my Lord.  I not only looked at the past footage, but He is also allowing me to see some previews of what He’s setting in motion because of these highs and lows, good times and bad times.  Life is not all fun and games, but it’s not all worry and stress either.  I’m so grateful that I have a God, a Friend that is so willing to share every experience with me.  Yes, life is filled with good and bad, but when we live this life together, there is no greater bond.  Thank You Lord, that You’re willing to put up with my whining and complaining during those uncomfortable moments in life, to help see me through to the best life you desire me to experience with You.

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

#BrandonLake – Gratitude

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  During the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:43-48), Jesus turns life as they knew it upside down when He tells them/us hating our enemy (you know who He’s talking about) is no longer an option.  Hating our enemy is the easy way out, Right?  It also typically carries with it little to no growth for the purpose of sharing and growing the goodness He is.  Instead, Jesus is telling and encouraging us to love our enemy.  Again, you know who He’s talking about in your life.  We’ve all been there.  Forgiveness is not easy.  It’s not enjoyable.  With a right Spirit, forgiveness is sobering and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight.  Forgiveness is a marathon.  Slow, steady, consistent, that’s what draws us to forgiveness.  Forgiveness is not forgetfulness.  You need to know the difference or you will never reach the point of forgiveness. 

This time of Lent, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  40 days, not 4 minutes.  It takes time and a whole lot of God within you to workout the hate, which will slow and steady move it’s way into love.  No, it probably won’t turn into a friendship kind of love and I would take a guess it more than likely will never be a romantic kind of love.  That’s okay.  The love that you’re really going for here is Agape.  That undeniable, unconditional, 24/7, 365, God’s got this kind of love that’s beyond explanation and freeing beyond belief.  Let that fire that’s burning within you be the fire of the Spirit, not an eternal flame that burns you up from the inside out.  The Spirit, your Trail Guide, He’s with you on this.  Keep pace with Him.  Slow and steady the flames within find a new Wind to fuel them until the moment you will never walk in fear, anger, and hate again.  Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

#JordanSt.Cyr – Fires

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  How was your first week of Lent?  I was less than a half a day into Ash Wednesday when I let myself get the better of me and ended up doing the opposite of what Jesus specifically tells us about in Matthew 18:15-17.  Basically, He tells us if someone sins against us, we need to talk with them first.  If the issue persists, then we talk with the person again, but this time we bring a couple witnesses.  If things still don’t change, then we bring the situation to the church (community).  Well, I let the issue build in me and instead of approaching the person, I skipped a few steps and took it right to the community.  I have been beating myself up about this ever since then.  I’ve had quite a few conversations with the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirt about they way I went about things.  I’m not proud of myself at all, but God has shown me some better options for future situations and how to act as He teaches.  I’m still a work in progress, which He knows too well.  But He is willing to work with me.  Yesterday morning I read the final entry in Cara Whitney’s Unbridled Faith, which again drew me back to my actions from last Wednesday.  She wrote: “When the Bible steps on our feet by addressing a sin we are afraid to confront or give up, we are reminded of how heavy our sins can be.”  She goes on to say: “…the battle for our souls may be over, but the sting of sin will continue to harass us.”  Are you like me and allow your sins to beat you up?

Speaking of talking with the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, did you accept last week’s Lenten challenge to talk with each of Them individually on a daily basis?  Last Thursday during my lunch walk with the Holy Spirit, I received a name that I’ve been trying to figure out for a few years now.  When I speak with God, I like to address Him as I would a friend.  Father is good.  Jesus is good.  But Holy Spirit, it just never seemed to quite roll off my tongue.  It seemed formal and forced, so I tended not to address the Holy Spirit when I spoke with Him.  Before I go further, one thing I want to share with you is that God makes His presence known to me by showing Himself as a deer.  So last Thursday when I was walking in the snow, I looked across the field and saw one set of deer tracks.  He told me: “Sometimes I let you see where I’ve been and other times, I’m there without you knowing.”  My mind drifted to walking with God at our favorite place, and that’s when He told me…”Trail Guide.  You can call me Trail Guide.”  I know this probably doesn’t sound exciting to you, but it was perfect addressing the Holy Spirit as Trail Guide.  That flows very easily and after all, He is guiding me on this journey through life.  It really was no surprise to me when again yesterday morning, God gave me to read Cara Whitney’s devotional “Follow the Trail Map” from Unbridled Faith Devotions for Young Readers.  Cara wrote: God has given us the perfect trail map to get us safely through life: the Bible.  Dotting the pages of Scripture (like trail markers along the way) are God’s promises.  They encourage us to keep going and warn us away from danger.  God knows the way because He is the Way (John 14:6).”  She goes on to say: “And consider this: not only did God give us the map, He created the trails!”  There is NO ONE better than the Creator, Himself, to take our guidance from.  Grab your Bible and this week (if you aren’t already) in addition to having your one on One conversations, start blazing your trail through His living, true, and ever guiding word.  Bless others and be blessed.

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.

#CaraWhitney – Unbridled Faith

#CaraWhitney – Unbridled Faith Devotions for Young Readers

#Unspoken – Mistakes

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Happy Ash Wednesday and welcome to Lent.  Which best describes your approach to Lent 2021?  Take your time, I’ll give you a moment to think about it.

  1. 40 days. 
  2. 40 days? 
  3. 40 days!

What will the next 40 days look like for you?  It’s been said that it only takes 30 days to create a habit.  So, what can Lent offer you in 2021?  That’s right!  A BRAND NEW HABIT + 10 extra days.  Evolution is moments of transformation within our sprit, soul, mind and body.  Growing our relationship with the Lord into deeper meaning and understanding.  With that being said, my challenge for you this Lent is to evolve your conversations with the Lord.   

How will this challenge work? 

  1. You decide the times, but you will need three different times each day.  Try to make them consistent.  Set an alarm if it helps.
  2. How much time?  I guess that depends on you.  To get this evolution started, let’s think realistically.  How about 10-15 minutes, three times a day?  To put that into perspective, how much time each day do you spend looking at social media or watching shows or whatever your favorite vice is?  Probably more than 10-15 minutes.  You could probably spare this much time for a worthwhile reason.  You can always add more when…well, you’ll know when the time is right.
  3. Just have a conversation.  What?  Yep, that’s it.  Just have a conversation.  I don’t want you reading a book, listening to a song, writing in a journal, doing work, cooking, looking at your phone or even praying.  Just have a conversation.
  4. So, who are you supposed to have a conversation with?  Three people.  God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  But not at the same time.  I want you to have one on One conversations with each One.  They Each have something very special to offer you. 
  5. If you like to journal, that’s great, take notes about your conversations.  But only after your conversation has finished.  I don’t want you distracted with writing and miss the conversations.  Keep engaged with your conversation.  If you don’t like to journal, I know you’ve got at least one word in you.  Write down at least one word about your conversation.  After your Lent, take a moment to read about the journey you all took and the evolution you experienced.

How will you evolve and come out on the other side of these 40 days?  Bless others and be blessed.

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that He may also bless others.

#Madisa – These Days

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  During Mass last weekend, Father Chris’ homily enlightened me and gave me a new perspective regarding Mark 1:29-32.  “On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.  Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.  They immediately told Him about her.  He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.  Then the fever left her and she waited on them.”

In the past, when reading this passage, I always thought…”Dang, she didn’t even get to rest.”  She went right from being sick to waiting on them.  I rationalized that to being a sign of the times.  So, why would something as simple as that be important enough to be written in the Bible?  It seems like such a common place event.  If you think about it, Jesus was all about the “common place” and everyday events.  Jesus didn’t have the disciples booking Him to perform at sold out amphitheaters to crowds of crazy fans just trying to get His autograph.  No, He was more invested than that.  He invited Himself to dinner at your home, so that He could look into your eyes, listen as you spoke, and hear the depths of your heart.  He would tell stories about events you could relate with, such as pruning (John 15:12), parenting (Luke 15:11-32), weddings (Matthew 22:1-14), and finances (Matthew 18:21-35).  True, He did speak to crowds of people, not because He had planned gatherings, but because people heard He was in town and would drop everything just to see Him, hear Him speak, or even simply touch His cloak for a split second.  Even these brief encounters with Christ changed their lives forever, to some degree.  But, Jesus was seeking friends and followers, not fans.  In our healing encounters with Christ, we can choose one of two responses:

1) Wow!  That was a cool experience.  Hey Buddy, let me tell you what I just did.  – Fan

2) Thank You!  Hey Friend, I want to share with you what I just experienced…I would like to show you the way to Him, so that you can know and experience Him also.  – Friend and Follower

You see, upon Simon’s mother-in-law’s healing, waiting on them wasn’t a chore that she had to do.  She chose to serve the Lord.  Will your experiences with Christ bring you that momentary high that a fan experiences or will your experiences with Christ move you into compassionate service?  Service for the Lord is not a drudgery, it’s a joy.  Is He worthy of your time and service?  Which will you choose?  Bless others and be blessed.    

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that He may also bless others.

#ChrisTomlin – Is He Worthy?