I had been wrestling with the idea of blogging some of my life experiences with the intent of encouraging others who may be going through similar situations. Although the main audience being those who have been attending church for a long time and are caught in the cycle of just "doing church", I believe these stories will reach all audiences with God's help.
I'd rather fail miserably at something I feel God asked me to do than just sit back and wonder what could've, would've or should've happened.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Sister Pat = a no-nonsense, in-your-face, take no crap from nobody, serious, all business, fire you on the spot, rehire you on the same spot, tough as nails nun. This little nun was no joke! Truth is she had to be that way to deal with these inner city kids she was responsible for. In retrospect, she had a great heart - and I'm sure still does.
We had a great time there! Lots of laughing, joking and learning went on in that woodshop. There were many great memories and some not so great. But this one particular day taught me a great lesson:
As usual, we were joking around and laughing. This time it was "make fun of Sister Pat day". We made fun of everything we could think of - maybe too much! She gave us several warnings to lower our voices and control our laughter but we would continue. For a moment, she briefly walked out of the room and came back in only to catch us making fun if her. I was sure we would all hear, "Izzy, Franky, Billy, Sammy (names were changed to protect the innocent) YOU'RE FIRED!" as we had heard many times before. Instead she put her head down, walked toward her desk and between her weeping barely got the following words out: "and you're supposed to be Christians".
OUCH! It was as if someone took a samurai sword and shoved it through my heart in a lower-case T motion! I would rather be fired than hear that! We made Sister Pat cry!
Since I was the PK and the oldest of our group, I eventually gathered enough courage to approach her and apologized. Things seemed to be back to normal but I learned a hard lesson that day - we represent Christ wherever we go!
I've heard this phrase thrown around a lot, "you may be the only Jesus someone sees". When you really think about it, that's a pretty tough responsibility! There are so many people all around us depending on us: at work, school, neighborhood, grocery store and even our family gatherings. We MUST represent Jesus well if we are to reach those around us.
Now some might take this to the extreme and try to shove Jesus down people's throats but I would argue that it is the little things that we do on a daily basis that will demonstrate Jesus (or the lack of Him) in us to others. Here are just 5 little things we can do:
- Treat your coworkers with love even though they may not deserve it.
- Work as if God was your Boss.
- Say hello to your neighbors every time you see them.
- Choose your words wisely around your family.
- Show God's joy in you by smiling!
As I'm reminded of this "Sister Pat" experience, I am committed to represent Him well one day at a time by asking the Holy Spirit to help me as I "gear-up" daily! I challenge you to do the same.
God's plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God. (Colossians 1:27 GNT)
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14)
The last thing you want to happen in a war is have your pants fall down! Talk about AWKWARD!! The Bible is also considered the Truth. We should use the Bible as a comparison tool in life - "what does the Bible say about that?"
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Thursday, October 11, 2012
- Crying when I found out Magina was not coming with us. She is our "adopted" sister who helped my parents bring us up and since I was the youngest, I spent a lot of time with her.
- Lidia's wooden platform-styled sandals coming off her feet and falling all the way down the stairs as we are climbing into the airplane and Isaias had to go fetch them - the joys of being the oldest! Sometimes I can close my eyes and hear the clinging sound of those things!
- Dinner on the plane (that's back when they served real dinners on planes), the choices: Chicken or Fish and how confusing this was to us. Isaias finally figured it out and explained it to us. The strong accents we had (some of us still have) still rings in my head.
- New York welcoming us with a snow storm! Our first sight of snow and yes I did attempt to eat some.
- The drive from NYC to Rochester took forever with all the snow. If that's not enough, the van we were driving lost its heat and it was cold.
- We stopped at a Burger King to eat. I can still smell the fries - well the old fries they had are better than the new ones. I took another taste of the snow there too!
- 1. Reduce the flow of immigrants
- 2. No legalization
- 3. No Guest-Worker Program
- 4. Protect Wages and Standards of Living
- 5. More Enforcement
- 6. No Asylum
- 7. Immigration Time Out (Very strict immigration only for "a narrowly focused refugee resettlement program" and limit family reunification each year)
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
- Hope - God is our hope. This is the foundation of His Dream for us. There is a "space" in all of us that can only be fulfilled with God. He made us this way...PURPOSELY! But we try to fill it with other things such as: work, love of money, drugs, alcohol, sexual sin, etc.
We need to stay connected to this Hope to keep His dream alive in us. "I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him." (Psalm 62:5 GNT)
- Family - united in: spirit, love, peace, joy, supporting each other, serving each other and God. This includes extended family, also. If the family is healthy, the church is healthy, the community is healthy and the world is healthy. "but as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord" (Joshua 24:15 AMP)
- Community - this part includes the church. We are made to belong to a body. This is where we find additional support and we use our God-given gifts to serve others. "He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love." (Ephesians 4:16 NLT)
- Joy - there is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness = a state of being happy or contentment. Joy = a metaphoric oasis of peace and love (as defined in wiki). The Bible repeatedly talks about the joy of The Lord. When you have this joy you don't wait for the circumstances around you to be positive but inspite of the circumstances you have joy. "You love him, although you have not seen him, and you believe in him, although you do not now see him. So you rejoice with a great and glorious joy which words cannot express," (1 Peter 1:8 GNT)
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
As I was thinking about these family devotional times we had with our parents I was challenged to have intentional family devotional times where my wife and kids can have fun, laugh, learn about God’s Word and have memories that will inspire our children to do the same with their families. There’s this saying, “the family that prays together, stays together” and I believe it….. not because it sounds pretty…. but because I lived it! My wife and I decided to put up a reminder in our room not too long ago to help us stay focused on this. I would’ve tattooed it on my arm but I don’t like needles. Besides, the words would probably not make sense when I got older and wrinkled.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
// En el hogar, en el hogar, tú necesitas a Jesús. //
// Veras que feliz se vive, veras que feliz se vive con Jesús en el hogar. //
Ok for those that don't understand Español, use Google Translate! Ha! JK! Here is the translation:
In the home, in the home, you need Jesus.
You will see how happy you will live with Jesus in the home.
I must say it sounds much better in Spanish - some songs were just not made to be translated. Any ways, until about 2 weeks ago, this was just an "annoying" song to me. Then it hit me one night while I was preparing for this blog!! I understood why my mom was so happy singing this song - and to be REAL with you, I felt convicted while tears ran down my face as I reminisced this moment. You see she understood that these weren't just words of a song that we were singing....she was declaring these words over our lives without us even realizing it! Eyes closed...clapping to the circus-like beat...singing loud and proud...with a smile on her face...her family around her in a circle singing alone - what more could a mother ask for? It was as if she was in another world with her God as she sang her favorite song. Yet deep in her heart, I'm convinced, she knew that this song would ring in our hearts for a very long time! She was right!
I called my mom this week to ask about this "annoying" song. This is how it went down:
(En Español of course)
Me: Mami, do you remember that song that you would always sing during our devotional time?
Mom: En el hogar! (all excited without letting me finish the sentence)
Me: Yep. That's the one! Why do you like that song so much?
Mom: Oh my son (poetically) because it's important to have Jesus as the center of our home! Without Jesus, we are nothing....our home is nothing! (then she began to sing the last part of the song)
También nosotros por la fe, nos acercamos Cristo a ti. Aunque tu rostro no se ve, sabemos que tu estas aquí.
By faith, we also draw closer to you, Christ. And although we can't see your face, we know that you are here.
BTW: This song is not so "annoying" to me anymore! :)
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues were will with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The Lord has done great things for them."
SHE GOT IT!!