Known by Love.

The Church has done a disservice to the world around us. To our neighbors, those that Jesus told us to love.
To those that this has effected, I’m sorry. Jesus called His followers to a higher standard. Jesus spoke these words in the gospel of John, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.(John 13:35)”

A topic that seems off hand, but is a correlation that has been passed on for ages; marriage. I’m fairly new at this marriage deal, however, while desiring to learn I’ve watched teaching after teaching about marriage from others that have been married much longer than I, some longer than I’ve been alive.

The common thread in it all? Serving. That’s right, putting the other person above your own wants/desires. I remember hearing some time ago, that marriage should be a game. A game of who can serve who better. Looking for ways to love and show that love to your spouse. A friendly game of serving each other.

I’m curious if we, as Christians, did this as well. What if we took the chance to serve those around us. Sure, I believe that serving those as that we only see once a month, or once in our lifetime; but I think that’s the easiest out of the people in our lives.

What about serving those we see everyday?
The spouse that has that one annoying habit.
The coworker that doesn’t pick up after themselves.
The child that keeps breaking things.

These are the people that not only see us all the time, can frustrate us the most but also the people that know us the best and, most importantly, be the most impacted by this serving.

I believe this world needs to see love, real love in action. Once we love and keep loving, like we are called to, they will be able to see God through/in us. “I (God) have made You (Jesus) known to them, and will continue to make You (Jesus) known in order that the love You (Jesus) have for Me (God) may be in them and that I myself may be in them (us people).” John 17:26

 

Be Blessed.
Jon

Promise

I’ve been thinking & praying about promises lately.

I’ve been thinking about Abraham, Isaac & Jacob  from the Old Testament & how God promised them 3 things:
• I will make you a great nation
• I will bless you & make your name great
• You shall be a blessing

Finally at the ripe age of about 90 Abraham got his wife Sarah pregnant & conceived a son, the long awaited inheritance.

Which is great & all, but 1 son? Not much of a “great nation” if you ask me. Then God asks him to sacrifice his son.

Uh…. What?…

But Abraham follows God’s plan, which turns out fine since God sees Abraham’s obedience & his heart.

It may be in between the lines (the whole instance with Hagar & Ishmael), but I don’t really see Abraham complaining or doubting God in this whole ordeal.

With all this to get to my point & what I’ve been wrestling with lately. These men, without seeing the promise fulfilled believed & kept believing God.

There are so many days & instances that I scratch my head & think, there is no way that I would be able to do what I feel called to do (Creatively lead teams) because of this, that & many other things, really excuses & a lack of faith.

What if I never get to lead a team of creatives? Is that really the goal?
What if you never see your promise fulfilled either? Will we stay faithful to God & not worry so much about a destination than the journey & who we are taking this journey with? Will I really care if I was labeled a “creative lead” when I’m laying on my deathbed? I doubt it. I think I’ll be more concerned with being faithful with what I was given.

Through my pondering I’ve decided to not worry so much about getting to a specific place, though I really would love to be a “creative team lead” & focus my attention on being faithful to God with my talents, my attitude & my time. So, here’s to following God & seeing what He does with “little ol’ me.”

Be blessed,

-jC

Encourage

  • to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.

The other week I had an unplanned conversation that I never expected to have. I left that conversation with much more hope than I had for a while.

This conversation got me thinking, why don’t these conversations happen more? Why is it so much easier to be negative and discouraging to those around us, especially those closer to us.

I’m at fault for this as well.

The faults in others seem to shine so bright but the good is hidden in a corner that we seem to lose. Or is it that we are shining lights in the dark to find the bad in others? We glaze over their good characteristics like every one else does but doesn’t say anything about them.

I truly believe it should be the opposite. We should be scrounging for the good in others and shouting them loudly for others to hear, to inspire those we are talking about, making this world a little brighter.

Encourage

The person I was taking to the other day didn’t not say how great I am, but say words that I doubt they knew I was dying to hear from someone else that I would never ask someone to tell me, I don’t find encouragement encouraging if we have to ask for it.

They simply stated, “keep doing what you are doing”. My heart leaped inside of me begging that they would fully day what I’m longing to hear.

They did.

Not only was it encouraging but it was challenging because what I had/have been doing seemed to be running in to a wall with no avail of breaking through.

There apparently was a crack that I had not noticed.

So what if those conversations happened daily?

The saying goes, “you never know what kind of battle someone is facing” so why not give them a helping hand in that battle? Maybe their day is clouded with rain and dreariness that they can’t see clearly.

Can you see good in them?

In the person sitting next to you?

Across the table?

Next door?

In the grocery isle with you?

It’s true, you never know what the person is struggling with around you. Why not shine a little light in this world? It has enough darkness without us nitpicking at each other.

Be that light. As much as you can, because I’m sure you will need a little light or an extra boost of morale soon.

Building others instead of tearing them down

Encourage- to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence. Earlier this week I had an unplanned conversation that I never expected to have. I left that conversation with much more hope than I had for a while. 

This conversation got me thinking, why don’t these conversations happen more? Why is it so much easier to be negative and discouraging to those around us, especially those closer to us. 

I’m at fault for this as well.

The faults in others seem to shine so bright but the good is hidden in a corner that we seem to lose. Or is it that we are shining lights in the dark to find the bad in others? We glaze over their good characteristics like every one else does but doesn’t say anything about them. 

I truly believe it should be the opposite. We should be scrounging for the good in others and shouting them loudly for others to hear, to inspire those we are talking about, making this world a little brighter.

The person I was taking to the other day didn’t not say how great I am, but say words that I doubt they knew I was dying to hear from someone else that I would never ask someone to tell me, I don’t find encouragement encouraging if we have to ask for it. 

They simply stated, “keep doing what you are doing”. My heart leaped inside of me begging that they would fully day what I’m longing to hear. 

They did. 

Not only was it encouraging but it was challenging because what I had/have been doing seemed to be running in to a wall with no avail of breaking through. 

There apparently was a crack that I had not noticed. 
So what if those conversations happened daily?

The saying goes, “you never know what kind of battle someone is facing” so why not give them a helping hand in that battle? Maybe their day is clouded with rain and dreariness that they can’t see clearly. 

Can you see good in them?

In the person sitting next to you?

Across the table?

Next door?

In the grocery isle with you?
It’s true, you never know what the person is struggling with around you. Why not shine a little light in this world? It has enough darkness without us nitpicking at each other.

Be that light. As much as you can, because I’m sure you will need a little light or an extra boost of morale soon. 

Contradictions. Everyone has them.

The other morning I was driving to work and listening to a new podcast called Coin Check by 99% Invisible.In this podcast they were talking about military Challenge Coins, which oddly enough I’m familiar with because I have a great friend that was in the military that gave me one. 

In the course of the podcast they described uses for challenge coins- being grateful, thankful, appreciation and a sort of pat on the back for people that aren’t usually emotional. As the podcast went on they talked about one use of a challenge coin was to call “challenge” at a bar and if someone doesn’t have one, they would buy everyone a round of drinks. They stated, that the Marines don’t usually start these challenges, but are usually 100% willing to participate. The podcasters talked about Marines are known for drinking and abusing it often, which is and was stated as a contradiction. 

I found that intriguing and let my mind wander on that thought as the podcast took some other turns to who knows where. 

Don’t we all have contradictions? 

Role models break the law.

Clergy get involved in sex scandals.

Politicians are known to be liars.

Spouses are h faithful to those that they pledged to be faithful to.

We all know people that contradict themselves and if we are honest, we are offenders as well.

As I let my mind wander, I thought, there is no one that does not contradict themselves as much as we may hate it, everyone says one thing and does the other. Sadly, it’s “in our nature.”

You know the great thing though? God’s nature is not the same as ours! He doesn’t contradict Himself. When He states something He is ALWAYS faithful to come through (the worst part is that it’s usually His timing not ours that He does).

God nature is pure and He never goes back on His promises. The bible is full of statements and pieces that make God seem like an emotional teen- commanding kings to kill other tribes and then talking about His undying love for everyone. Uh… How is that possible?! Context.

God is love. He doesn’t contradict Himself.

I love that even though one day when things seem to fall apart and I can’t seem to “find God” and the next I’m “so in love and trusting of Him” that He accepts my emotions and silly contradictions. His love doesn’t change and is faithful no matter what. 

I love that no matter what God never contradicts Himself and doesn’t reject us when we contradict ourselves. 

What a great God the Lord is. 

So great.

Be Blessed. 

-jC

Experiences from the inexperienced

I have been married a year, as of Saturday. Which means in all reality I have little “experience” in this subject. However, I believe that if your ears and heart is open you can learn many lessons in a short amount of time. I write this in hope that it will help those that are not married, looking to get married or even have been married less time than I have.

A few lessons.

  • In marriage and even in life, I’m selfish and want to be right. When it comes to arguments many of us stop the story right before it turns and shows our imperfections. No matter the argument or struggle I tell my story and make it about me. About how I am right. The other day my wife got a little upset at me that I did not offer her a beverage while we were spending time together and only got myself one. She mentioned it to me and you know what my response was? I laughed… What an immature response. Then I made it even worse, made a joke like a 15 year old dummy would make. It went back and forth and through it all I never realized the obvious problem. I didn’t care (at the time) that I hurt my wife’s feelings, I cared that she saw from my point of view and that I was right. Gentlemen, and ladies, don’t be like the immature 15 year old that lurks in us. When you hurt someone, especially someone close to your heart, fix that. You made a mistake. Fess up to it and let them know you hurt them and let forgiveness have an opportunity to mend the relationship.
  • The other lesson I’ve been learning throughout this year: marriage is supposed to make us holy, not happy. I heard that from a friend the other day as we hung out and a lightbulb finally went on, that my mind had been trying to find the switch. That’s it! Yes! Marriage exposes us to the bare truth of who we really are. When you are tired, frustrated and have your guard down who are you really? Marriage has it’s way of doing that. It exposes our selfishness and desire, like I said in the above point: to be right, to be self-centered. When that happens we must fight that urge to let ourselves be the “bad guy” and know we made a mistake. Jesus Christ did that for us and didn’t fight to get out of it, He actually fought to get Himself stuck in it!

So put down the selfishness and “right to be right” and love each other. That’s what marriage should be about- serving and loving each other. Now go and do it!

A glimpse into my life