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Life groups- what are they, and why are they important?

Why do we go to church?  Do we go on a regular basis or sporadically?  Do we only go during Easter and Christmas, which is the typical times that people who do not regularly attend go.  Do we go to church fully expecting the church to meet our needs without giving back something in return?  Do we have hidden expectations and if those are not met do we pack up our stuff and head over to the next church across town?

One of the things that I love about Coastal Community Church is that they address those questions head on.  They encourage people to come to church with a desire to serve one another and those in the community.  One of their Tshirts says the following.  “Do not go to church BUT BE the church”.  What does that mean?  It means that the church is made up of people (you and I) and that everyone in the body of Christ (the church) has specific skills and gifts that can be used to bless other people.  Because Christ loved us and gave up his life for the church, we should be willing to love one another and give our love and lives away to other people within and without the church.  We should be a light on a hill and a salt in the earth.  We should be people who make a real difference in the lives of others.

Yesterday was Life Group Sunday.  We are kicking off the many life groups for the Winter and Spring semester that will last 10 to 12 weeks in 2014.  So, why are Life Groups important?  Why is it important that we belong to Life Groups at our local church?  It does not matter what the title is that is given to it.  What matters is that you are walking out your faith with other believers in that local church community.  Here are a list of points we were given yesterday.

 

1. I need others to walk with me  Col 2:6

2. I need others to work with me   Eph 2:10 and Eccl 4:9

3. I need others to watch out for me.    Phil 2:4 and Eccl 4:10

4. I need others to wait and weep with me.   1 Cor 12:26

5. I need others to witness with me    John 13:35 and Phillipians 1:27b

I would encourage you to think about these points and to look up each scripture and see how it applies to you.  I want to encourage everyone who reads this ,to get involved in a local church and become active.  When we do that, that is how we can begin to grow in our faith and spiritual maturity and bless others around us.

 

 

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A new season

In less than 30 days we will be saying good bye to the house we are living in and moving down the street to a newer and more modern domicile.  Currently we are living in a 3 bedroom and 1 bath house that was built in the 1950’s era.  We moved here from Johns Island because we needed a cheaper place to live that was centrally located in Charleston.  We wanted the teenagers to be close to school and we needed to be halfway between Berkeley County where Katy did substitute teaching and Kiawah Island where I work.

It has been a short 3.5 years that we have lived here, and now it is time to move.  Our teenagers took the GED road instead of completing High School, so we no longer need to live close to a high school.  I just happened to find out about this townhouse through a friend of mine that we play cards with on Johns Island.  I had gone over there for our monthly card game and my friends wife was talking about a friend of theirs who is renting their town home.  They are charging 100.00 more than what we are paying for this house but it is much newer and nicer than what we are currently in.  Originally Katy and I had talked about finding a smaller house or apartment that was more economical.

I thought about the possibility of moving in but figured that with our 3 dogs, 3 cats and 3 kittens that the owner would charge an astronomical pet deposit and that would be the end of that.  I never called the owner but they wound up calling me instead.  Two weeks later and the deal has been confirmed.  The owner of the new place is a pet lover and we have made the proper arrangements for the critters to be outside in a fenced in area when we are at work during the day.  I am also thinning the herd and finding a new home for the cats and kittens.  As of this writing we only have one kitten left that my son begged me to keep for him.

It is amazing to me how this happened but right after we made the commitment to move Katy landed a teaching job in Berkeley county.  Katy will be teaching a special education class at Sedgefield Middle school.  Katy was certified as a teacher in South Carolina exactly one year ago in October of 2012.  Katy has been looking for a full time teaching job every since that month last year.  We have lost count as to how many interviews she has been on.  The road to full time employment for Katy has been nothing less than frustrating.  Katy has been able to substitute teach when school is in session during the school year, but this last year during the summer she was unable to find employment of any kind.  That means that she was not bringing in any income whatsoever and my pay check was being vaporized and not leaving any extra funds for emergencies.

There is nothing more frustrating than to get paid , pay the living expense bills and then be broke for the next 13 days.  I realize that there are a lot of folks in the world that are much less fortunate than we are so I get that.  I guess that we would like to be able to do more than merely survive from one pay check to the next.  We live by faith , one day at a time, hoping and praying that nothing happens to the one full time job, mine, that is sustaining our current life style.

I can only imagine what it must be like for those folks that were one income families that found themselves unemployed due to no fault of their own.  We have been there, done that and had no money for a tshirt.  Back in 2002 I was working a nice I.T. contract job in Greenville and we had relocated to Simpsonville SC.  That contract was ended prematurely by the company that hired the contracting firm and I went from making some serious cash to living on unemployment of 8 bucks per hour.  We went from living in a nice 3 bedroom 2 bath house to a single wide trailer in Travelers Rest.  Our plans at that time was to be debt free within 18 months of working that contract job and we could have easily done it.

I suppose that it all boils down to perspective and priorities.  One of the ways that we survive is to learn how to live on a very strict budget.  If the expense is not on the budget it does not get paid.  You have X amount of dollars and you have to spread that out as best you can.  There is a complicated juggling act that has to be done in order to keep all of the utility companies and the landlord happy.  We also have had to learn how to live more frugally.  We have had to learn that when you go out to eat away from the house that you use coupons and share food.  That alone cuts your expense in half or more.  We have had to learn how to be content in the mean time.

We have had to learn how to stop comparing ourselves to our neighbors and friends.  We have had to learn that God is our provider and that He will take care of our needs and every once in a great while we get our wants.  In the book of Matthew in the new testament of the bible there is a scripture that says “Seek you first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”  Sometimes it can be difficult to take your eyes off of your circumstances and put it where it belongs.

 

 

 

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Guest post by Samantha Hayward

I do not know Samantha Hayward.  My friend Debby Stephenson from Courageous Kidz saw her article on Facebook.  Debby sent it to me in e-mail, and after reading it I thought it appropriate to share it with you.  I can relate to everything that Samantha shares in this article and I believe everyone could get some valuable insight from it.

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The soul destroying agony of your child dying is only truly known and understood by those who have endured it. Four years on, I still glance down at my daughters grave in disbelief. Visiting my child’s grave is surreal. It’s almost like I’ve vacated my body and I’m watching someone I don’t know standing there putting flowers down.

Is this really my life ?

Only a parent understands the powerful bond you have with your child; that absolute undying love you have and that monumental desire that roars like an open fire inside you to protect that child at all costs. It is openly said that a parent will lay down their life for their child, but it is not until you have your own that you truly understand these fierce emotions. Parenting is wearing your heart on the outside of your body. Whatever you imagine it might be like to have your child die, multiply that by about a trillion and you’re probably not even close.

On the surface it appears society is accepting of this unbearable sadness and people are supportive and open to talking about it. However, in my situation I’ve been surprised by people’s genuine kindness and empathy as much as I’ve been repeatedly shocked & disappointed by their lack of it. It’s necessary for bereaved parents to be able to talk and, most of all, be able to talk openly. I’ve found it’s the only thing which dispels the trauma.

Sure, friends and family have been supportive, but it’s proven to be the case with me that there is a mandate as for how long their unwavering support, patience, understanding, concern and empathy lasts. The truth is, the situation is so unbearably sad that it becomes incredibly emotionally draining on the other person.

The realisation that they can’t fix your sadness sets in, the frustration builds because not even they can see an end in sight, then gradually it starts to impede on the happiness in their life. They haven’t lost their child so why should they spend all their time sad about yours?

I will, for the sake of all the other parents out there with empty arms, write ten things I wish people knew about the loss of a child. Maybe one of my ten points might make a difference to a bereaved parent’s life.

1. Four years on I get up every day with the exact same sadness I had the day Ella died. The only difference is I’m more skilled at hiding it and I’m much more used to the agony of my broken heart. The shock has somewhat lessened, but I do still find myself thinking I can’t believe this happened. I thought that only happened to other people. You asked how I was in the beginning yet you stopped, why? Where did you get the information on what week or month was good to stop asking?

2. Please don’t tell me that all you want is for me to be happy again. Nobody wants that more than I do, but it’s something that can only be achieved with time. On top of that, I have to find a new happiness. The happiness I once felt, that carefree feeling, will never return in its entirety. It also helps to have the patience and understanding from loved ones.

3. Please don’t say ‘I want the old Sam back!’ Or, I can see the old Sam coming back! Sam’s not coming back. This is who I am now. If you only knew the horror I witnessed and endured you would know it’s not humanly possible for me to ever be the same person again. Losing a child changes who you are. I’ve been told my eyes look haunted.

It’s a strange thing for someone to tell a grieving mother, but it’s true – I am haunted. My views on the world have changed, things that were once important are not now and vice versa. I feel as though you’re telling me two things here. Firstly you don’t like the person I am and, secondly if the old Sam’s not coming back I’m out of here. By the way there is nobody that misses the “old Sam” more than me!!! I’m mourning two deaths here; my daughter’s and my former self.

4. If you chose to acknowledge my daughter’s birthday or the anniversary of her death on the first year, it’s terribly gut wrenching when you didn’t bother to acknowledge the second or third or fourth. Do you think any subsequent birthday or anniversary is not as sad for me? It also says to me in very big neon lights that you’ve moved on and forgotten about my daughter.

5. Please stop with the continual comments about how lucky I am to have my other children particularly my daughter. Do I say this to you? Then why say it to me? I’ve buried my daughter do you seriously think I feel lucky?

6. It’s not healthy to cry in front of the kids? You’re wrong. It is perfectly healthy that they see I’m sad their sister has died. When someone dies it’s normal to cry. What would not be normal would be for my children to grow up and think “I never even saw my Mum sad over Ella’s death.” That would paint me in a light that would tell them it’s healthy to hide your emotions when obviously it’s not.

7. I have four children I don’t have three.  If you want to ignore Ella as my third child because she’s dead go for it but don’t do it for me. Four not three!

8. There are still some days, yes four years on, that I still want to hide away from the world and take a break from pretending everything is oh so wonderful and I’m all better.

Please don’t just assume I’ve thrown in the towel, or worse, actually be so thoughtless as to wonder what’s wrong with me. I still know I’ve married the catch of the century and my children are gorgeously divine and I have a beautiful house, but I’m grieving.

It’s mentally exhausting, especially raising three young children and on top of that maintaining a strong and loving marriage. Unbeknownst to you, I’m dealing with not just my own grief, but my beautiful husbands and my two boys.

It would be nice if you congratulated me on the state of my family because keeping it together, stable and happy, has been hard work.

9. I did notice. To the friends and family that found the entire death and dealing with my sadness all too hard and held secret events behind our backs that were lied about, stopped inviting us to things we had always been included in and slowly ended our relationship thinking I didn’t notice.

I did notice. The only reason why I never said anything is because I’m not wasting my words on your shameful behaviour. I am thankful for something though – I didn’t waste any more time on people that were capable of such shallowness and cruelty. Please don’t fear. I would be the first one by your side if the same thing happened to you. That should give you some indication of how horrible it is.

10. Grieving for a child lasts until you see them again. It’s a lifetime. If you’re wondering how long your friend or family member might be grieving for, the answer is forever. Don’t rush them, don’t trivialize their sadness, don’t make them feel guilty for being sad and when they talk to you, open your ears and listen, really listen to what they’re telling you. It’s possible you’ll learn something. Don’t be so cruel as to give up on them remember it’s not about you it’s about them.

I’ve been left repeatedly heart broken as friends that I truly loved and never thought would walk away from me tossed me into the too hard basket or – more hurtfully – the crazy basket. Phone calls stopped, text messages stopped, comments on Facebook stopped and I get the same thing every time. “Sorry darling I’m just flat out”, “Let’s catch up soon” and “I miss you.” The list could keep going but I get it. I’m not the type of person either that is going to pursue a friendship I know the other person doesn’t want. Everyone has a conscience and thankfully I don’t have to live with theirs.

You would think there are a lot of articles that raise awareness of the awful process associated with grieving for a child, but even stories from other parents are a rarity. The sad reality is there just isn’t enough said or printed. You seldom hear through the media about grieving for a child and the impact their death has on all the various people involved.

It can destroy a marriage instantly, it can leave siblings hurt, confused and angry. Often siblings are too young to understand, they’re angry that their family is not the same and even angrier that they don’t recognize their parents. Losing their sibling is bad enough but so much more is lost for these siblings that is never recognized. I could count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been asked how my boys were.

You might hear about the gory details surrounding a child’s death in the media but that’s about all. There should be so much more written about this topic, and additionally it should be talked about more openly than it is. I’m disappointed not just for me but for all the other grieving parents in society that this topic is met with so much fear and silence.

The bottom line is people are uncomfortable with the situation and I really don’t know why. My feelings tell me it is such an horrific thing that most people don’t want to know about it. Maybe they fear through knowing so much they might become obsessed with their own children dying. Parents worry enough about their children already. Do they really need the added worry about knowing how your child died?

Without question, my daughter Ella dying suddenly has been the worst thing that has happened in my 37 years here on Earth. I doubt that anything in my future is going to top it. Actually, just between us, I beg and plead with God on a daily basis that nothing ever does top that experience, but the truth is I just don’t know.

I’m not a mind reader nor do I have a magic pair of glasses where I can see how the rest of my life will unfold. I just have to hope that nothing ever does, but I have a very real fear it will because it has actually already happened to me. I know without having to hold a psychology degree that having those fears is normal.

“I don’t think I would be able to survive something like it again.”

What I’ve endured, losing my little princess, has been so unimaginably horrific that I don’t think I would survive something like it again.

What I have had to give emotionally to get through it has dwindled away all my mental strength – just like twenty cents pieces in a kid’s piggy bank.

I’m broke – not broken – I’m broke emotionally. I know all the energy I’ve needed over the last four years has not just been spent on my grief for Ella.

It’s been on trying to get my friends and family to understand what it’s like to walk in my shoes. I’m angry about that. When I should have been grieving, I was defending myself.

I’m probably very close to being as angry about that as I am about her death. I wish I wasn’t angry. Lord knows I don’t need another emotion but I don’t know how to not be angry, especially with some of the things that people have said and done to me. I talk and talk yet I’m often never actually heard.

I’m not sure if it’s a lack of literature around or perhaps that people simply don’t want to read it because it’s so awful and they don’t want to know someone they love and care about it experiencing so much agony. I  personally know though, if I found out a family member or friend had been diagnosed with an illness or disease, or worse, their child, I would be on Google immediately finding out more about it and how I could help them the best. So why is it that this doesn’t seem to apply with the death of a child?

Most people just think they know. I find this extremely frustrating. The death of your child is the worst thing that can happen to a person, yet most feel educated enough to advise, to criticise, to lend their words of wisdom when they don’t know the first thing about it. Get over it? Why don’t we see if you could get over it first!

Most people wouldn’t know that when I meet someone new I instantly become uncomfortable and filled with dread. I know at any moment when I engage in conversation the question is going to arise about my family and how many children do I have? I would love not to have to tell them. Life would be a lot easier if I could take that path. However, I do have another child. Her name is Ella. She would now be four but she died when she was 19 days old. She isn’t lost – I know exactly where she is, she’s dead.

Ella is my third child and she deserves to be acknowledged just as much as my other children. I’ve lied before saying I have only three children, but the guilt that follows me around for days on end is just simply not worth it. I can actually hear Ella saying to me “don’t I matter anymore Mummy?” “Why were you too ashamed to talk about me?”

So personally for me, as much as I don’t want to tell someone I don’t personally know very well that my daughter is dead, the guilt of not acknowledging her is worse. I don’t have three children, I have four and my daughter is not my only daughter – I have another as well. It’s pot luck what their reaction is going to be. There’s no telling what they’re going to say. You just have to close your eyes, cover your broken heart and hope they don’t plunge that knife further in.

If I could have my questions answered on why people give so much advice on a topic that they know so little about, it would really help me. What has surprised me so much since Ella’s death is how little empathy there is in the world. Empathy to me is a no brainier. You just imagine you’re in the other persons shoes, simple yes? Apparently no. Just think how you would like to be treated and if you wouldn’t like it don’t do it. You never know what your life holds – one day it could be you wearing my shoes!

I hope this article about my personal thoughts and opinions helps at least one person understand to some degree what life is like for the bereaved parent ❤

I dedicate this article to my soul mate, Darren. I’m the luckiest girl in the world having you, my darling. I love you more and more everyday you’re simply perfect and after fifteen years my heart still skips a beat with I see you. My friend Natalie Donnelly & her daughter Eryn. To put it simply: she is an angel and if the world was full of Natalies, it would be a better place. Also my bestie Liv thank you for letting me be and never smothering me with pointless words. Love you both xx

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What makes me so special ?

I follow several blogs that I like to read and respond to when I can. One of the blogs is from Angie Mizzell.  Her blog post this morning asked the readers what made us special. As I read this blog post the voices in my head convinced me that I did not want to attempt to comment on it.  I told the voices in my head to shut up and I pushed it to the back of my mind to contemplate it.  I knew that I would re visit this particular blog post again this evening and I did.

I spent some time on Angie’s blog and wrote a response that FB and WordPress  promptly ATE…..  As I sat here and realized my response was GONE and I had not copied it, I did not miss a beat.  I popped open MS Word and rewrote the response below.

I read and reread the post several times and let it soak in.  As I contemplated the question about what makes me so special, this is what I thought.  As I look at myself I know that I have gifts and talents.  Having gifts and talents does not make me special.  Perhaps what I do with those gifts and talents could be special.  Then I figured that we all have gifts and talents.  Having those does not make me necessarily special.

What makes me special is my life story.  Two separate but important events happened that changed the course of my life.  The first event is when my adoptive parents found my sister and I in a German orphanage and brought us to America.  We were given a new lease on life.  My sister was able to get eye surgery since she was half blind and I was not supposed to ever walk thanks to a club foot.

Despite the wonderful gift of being brought to America my sister and I did not experience a picture perfect childhood.   Needless to say, I was a very screwed up young man.  I was so screwed up I wound up in a county jail for 45 days and then spent some time living under a bridge in Houston Texas.  I went from there to the Star of Hope Mission where I found God.  Actually, God ran to me.  I accepted Jesus as my savior as a 17 year old young man, but never allowed him to the Lord of my life.  I will never forget the day that I asked God to come into my life.  I was in the woods in Quinlan Texas and one of my friends dad was a chaplain with the voluntary fire dept.  He was the one who told me about how much God loves me.

What is so special about me you ask?  God ran to me and he loved me.  He saved me from my screwed up brokenness.  He has been fixing the pain and brokenness in my heart, mind and spirit for the last 35 years.  Because he ran to me and loved me I have been able to experience real joy, peace and contentment.  I am married to a wonderful woman who has loved me despite of who I am and where I have come from.  I have four adult children who love me and do not hate me.  I have had a job in I.T. for the last 24 years despite the fact I do not have a four year degree.   God has opened one door after the other and somehow I managed to walk through those doors.

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Happy Fathers Day

I had a very nice Fathers day.  My family went out of their way to make me feel loved and appreciated.  I got to see the Man of Steel movie with my son Justin.  Katy and I went to church at Coastal Community Church in West Ashley.  Pastor Chris spoke about what it means to be a real man.  My father is long gone.  James C Moffitt Sr adopted my sister Tanya and I from an orphanage in Germany when he and my mother were stationed in Frankfurt.  I will be forever thankful that my sister and I have been able to experience America.  Life could have been so much worse for us.  My adoptive father passed away in 1990 from lung cancer.

There is no such thing as a perfect parent.  None of us get instruction manuals with regards to how to raise children.  My father lost his dad to pneumonia early on in life so he was raised by his mother.  My father came from a family of 6 children.  Here are a couple of things that my father taught me which have stuck with me to this day.

  • If something is worth doing, it should be done right the first time
  • wish in one hand and poop in the other and see which one gets fuller the fastest
  • the Dallas Cowboys ARE the BEST Football team and you should support them  (I have since 69)
  • never tell me you are bored, I will find you something to do
  • if I ask you a question, I had better get an answer
  • never, ever lie to me

Here is a picture of my adoptive parents, Hedy and James Moffitt.  The basinet in the picture is the one they purchased for my son Jeremy who is now 26.  He was still a baby in this picture.

JHMoffitt

 

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Watching , waiting, hoping and praying

Watching, waiting, hoping and praying.  You do a lot of that as you watch young adults stretch their legs and head down the road of life. As a parent I found myself with a preconceived notion of what might happen as I watch my young adults go from being teenagers and morph into the next stage of life.

It seems that the older the kids get, the less influence we have on them.  Looking back at when I was their age I can remember how I felt about my parents and their warnings about life.  I thought they were idiots and way out of touch with life.  Now I sit here experiencing dejavu as I watch my kids making questionable life choices.

For the most part, Katy and I have imparted what we could with regards to them having a good foundation.  We taught them the difference between right and wrong.  We taught them to love God with all their hearts, minds and souls and love their neighbors as themselves.  We attempted to be living examples instead of saying “do as I say not as I do”.  Sure, we screwed up from time to time ,but I believe that over all we were consistent in what we said and did in our home.

Nothing pains the heart of a parent more than to see their children making bad decisions and then having to live through the consequences.  Our hope is that our children will not make the same mistakes we did.  We hope that because we want the best for them.  We want them to be happy, fulfilled and successful.  We want them to be a contributing member of society.  Eventually we want them to be able to stand on their own two feet and take care of themselves.

We have two adult children who still live at home and as they headed towards their 18th birthday I had an unreasonable expectation.  I expected them to be mature, make good decisions and follow the life path that I had preconceived for them.  You know the drill.  I expected them to finish high school and possibly go to college.  Katy and I both believe that education is a critical need that will give them more than a fighting chance in society.  Studies have shown that the more education a person has the chances of landing a better paying job goes up exponentially.

Much to our dislike and disdain we have discovered that our kids do not agree with the age old rules of society that says if you want to eat and have your own things you have to earn a pay check.  That principle is also a biblical principle.  The bible is very clear about the importance of working and earning your way in life.  All we can do is patiently wait as nature takes its course.   We have remained a refuge in this world so they always know they have a place to come to.  Our home is their home but at the same time there are rules that have to be followed.  Those rules have been in place for a long time and are designed to provide tranquility and harmony and peace.

As long as we are alive our love for our family will never falter.  We will always welcome our family in our home and will do whatever we can to facilitate the growing and maturing process.  Looking back at my earlier forages into life as a young adult I remember how many struggles I experienced.  Most of those trials and tribulations were brought upon me because of ignorance and pride.  I believed that I knew more than my out of touch parents.  I guess when I was around 23 or 24 I came to the realization that life is bigger than I am.  I realized that I was not as smart as I thought I was.  Life began to teach me some tough lessons.

As I watch my kids start to make mistakes and make missteps in life I realize the importance of grace and mercy.  I want to be the type of father that is always willing to extend grace and mercy when it is needed.  I want to be the type of father that extends love and encouragement when the time is right.  I want to be patient and to allow my kids to make those mistakes because it is those mistakes that will make up the fabric of growth and maturity.  Just as my father in heaven extends his grace, mercy and forgiveness to me when I falter, I feel the need to do that for my family as well.

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Taking our faith Public

Today at Coastal Community Church Pastor Chris talked to us about Taking our Faith Public. Here are five points Pastor Chris encouraged us to consider as we invite folks to church for Easter Sunday.

  • Pray for your unchurched friends

At coastal we have been challenged to have an “invite and invest” card in our wallet. On that card we write down the names of three people who we know that are not going to church and need a relationship with Christ. We write down those names and we are challenged to pray for those people on a daily basis. As we pray for them we are reminding ourselves of their need and it keeps them in the forefront of our minds. It reminds us when opportunities arise with those people to invite them to church.

  • Look for ways to tell others that you are a christian

We were reminded that there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. We should not be obnoxious or push about our faith. We should find moments in time where it would be natural to mention the different activities that we are involved in at church. As christians we should have a christ centered view and not a world view.   

  • Invest in others by serving them.

Many years ago I learned the following lesson and Chuck Swindoll coined this phrase. “People do not care how much we know until they know how much we care”. No one wants to hear the same old hell fire and brimstone mantra. Who wants to hear that they are going to go to hell and burn for eternity if they do not join a church or get saved? Do we really believe that unchurched people understand our church jargon? It is not our job to convert or change anyone. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to love people and to live life in front of them and with them. We should show people the love of Christ through serving them in whatever way we can. Serving them can be either large or small. If there is a family that is moving into your neighborhood offer to help them move in. What about that couple that desperately need a evening out and need a babysitter. If we open our eyes and look around at others then it won’t be that difficult to find ways to serve them.

  • Invite friends to church

Have you tried to invite your friends or co workers to church lately? Pray for them, serve them in whatever capacity you can and then invite them to come to church with you.

  • Invite my friends to have faith in Jesus

Do you feel that you do not know enough about the gospel of Christ to invite people to have the same faith you do? Do you feel as if you should be as knowledgable about the bible as your pastor or Billy Graham before you can share your faith? God only expects for you to be genuine and to share your life story with people. What does the bible mean to you? Why do you read it? Why do you pray for people? Why do you enjoy going to church? How has Christ changed your life since you invited him into your life? What is your story? Before you invited Christ into your life what kind of world view did you have? How did you treat yourself and others? Are you different now? Do you have different dreams, passions, motivations?

We all have a story to tell. It is ok to admit you do not have all the answers with regards to the bible. Theologians have been debating the finer points of bible doctrine for centuries. I do not believe that anyone expects us to have all the answers.

In closing there are 3 types of people who are most open to talking about God.

  • when people are under tension or anxiety
  • when people are in transition
  • when people are in trouble

I believe that we are real people who have been given a real gift and that gift is Jesus Christ and his love for humanity. Despite our sinfulness Christ died on the cross for us so that we can have a relationship with God through eternity. People need to hear about the awesome and life changing love of God. We need to live a life of obedience to the word of God and be genuine about our love for others. We need to put the needs of others before our needs. When we live life in that manner then people will know that we are different and they will be curious about what makes us different. We are living in a world that has real problems that need real answers. If we share a real faith in Christ with those in need we can lead them to the cross where they can find some of those answers.   

Remember to pray for 3 people this week and write down their names. Look for some way to serve them. Invite them to church on Sunday. You might be surprised at their response.

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Roll call of most influential people in my life

I follow Angie Mizzell’s blog and her question today was this.

Who is the one person who had an important influence in your life?

I have been thinking about this on and off during the day and I now have time to respond to the question. I was surprised when I found myself going down memory lane today as I thought of all the people who have had a positive influence in my life. I feel as if they are all equally important so I want to take the time to have an informal roll call.   

James & Hedy Moffitt adopted my sister and I from an orphanage in Germany when we were 1 and 2 years of age. If it were not for their influence in our lives we would not have been able to experience what it is to be an American citizen. Thanks to army doctors I have been able to walk and my sister had her eyesight restored. Had it not been for their generous love and rescuing us from that orphanage, we would have certainly had it much harder as young kids and probably as adults.

Coach Trussell – This was my favorite high school football coach, mentor and friend. Coach lived two streets over from where we lived in Quinlan Texas and I often caught a ride to school with him and his wife when it was raining outside. When the weather was nice I would walk the 2 or 3 miles to school on the other side of town. Coach Trussell was instrumental in helping me to build my self confidence and self esteem. I never was able to play football due to my club foot, but he allowed me to work out with the rest of the team in the weight room. I will never forget how proud he was of me ,and how he would brag on me to the rest of the team. He would tell them that I was once a 90 lb weakling but if I could accomplish the goals with strength training ,then anyone could do it. I will never forget how that made me feel.

Mrs Dean- This was my high school typing teacher. My mother forced me to take 4 years of typing in High School. Little did I know that I would be flying a keyboard for a living many years later. Mrs Dean was influential in my life because every time I would say something negative about myself she would correct me and say something uplifting and positive. She taught me to find self worth and to hold my head high and to find the bright positive things in life. She was an important encourager in my life.

Ida Colombrito’s father- I had several christian friends in high school. Donald and Ida were both friends and they were dating one another. Ida’s father was a volunteer fire dept chaplain. Ida’s father became my friend and was the one who told me about Jesus Christ and his love for me. I will never forget the day in the woods at the age of 17 when I bowed my head and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to come into my life. Apparently Ida’s dad did that with a lot of folks over the years. I will be forever thankful to him for taking the time to encourage a young man who was lost.

Aunts and uncles – I had several aunts and uncles in my life who were very good to my sister and I in our childhood. Needless to say our childhood was a bit troubled and we needed that influence in our lives.   

Tom Glisson – Tom is the pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Goose Creek. Our family are still members there even though we attend a church closer to home. Tom Glisson will always be my pastor because I know that he has a genuine heart for God and for people. Pastor Tom and the church family walked with us as we watched our daughter Jessica battle with cancer in 2000 – 2001. They provided a much needed support system and loved our Jessica no matter what. I am eternally grateful for my relationship with our extended church family in Goose Creek.

Katy Moffitt – the love of my life and best friend. Katy is the most selfless person I know. Katy met me at a singles MASH party at First Baptist church. I had recently gone through an ugly divorce and I had my son Jeremy for the weekend. Katy first took a liking to Jeremy and then later on she took a liking to me despite my rough edges. Despite my best efforts to just be friends, she stole my heart and we got married in May of 1990. As a married couple we have had more than our fair share of trials and tribulations. I would dare say that most marriages would have been destroyed. I believe that our faith in God and our love for one another are the two things that was the glue that held our marriage together. Katy is a giver and a lover. Katy is the true reflection of a virtuous woman. I cannot imagine life without her.

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Losing people

As I have done many times in the past I headed over to Newton Farms at Freshfields Village for lunch. I like to order either a wrap or a sandwich from their sandwich bar in their deli. On many occasions a lady named Melinda would serve me. Melinda was very professional and good at her job. On several occasions I was able to strike up a conversation with her as she was making my lunch. I have been visiting with Melinda for almost 5 years now. Every time I visited with Melinda I enjoyed the short time I had to speak with her. On several occasions Melinda shared her faith in God with me since we have that in common.

When I walked into Newton Farm today I noticed that Melinda was not working as she usually does. As a matter of fact it occurred to me that I had not seen her in the last two or three times I had gone to the sandwich bar. I asked the young lady who was fixing my sandwich where my friend was and I was stunned by her response. The lady told me that Melinda died on February 16th and had been shot and killed by her boyfriend on Johns Island. I guess I just assumed that Melinda would always be working at the sandwich bar and that she would be there when I would come in to order my lunch. It never occurred to me that her life would be prematurely snuffed out by a random act of violence.

My thoughts go out to Melinda’s two teenaged daughters who are now living life without their mother. The news story about this horrible tragedy stated that Melinda was a mother who loved her girls and would enjoy taking them to downtown Charleston to go shopping. I am hopeful that Melinda shared her faith in God with her girls and that they have a support system at church that can help them work through the grief. I will forever miss Melinda and the time that we shared talking over the counter at the sandwich bar. I know that her co workers will miss her a lot as well.

Life is precious and so are people. All people are precious no matter how different they might appear on the outside. I am thankful for the limited time that I was allowed to spend with Melinda. Having learned of this tragedy has reminded me of how important relationships are both in my family but outside of my immediate family as well.

R.I.P. Melinda you are loved.

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Letter from the Hobby Lobby CEO – David Green

As I was on Facebook this morning I read this letter and wanted to share it with you.  The liberal media will be sure to ignore it so it is up to Christians to share it with the world.  I agree with everything this man has to say and I hope that they win their lawsuit in court.  It is a shame that you have to sue your government to get something done.

http://thebrennerbrief.com/2013/01/03/tragic-letter-from-the-hobby-lobby-ceo-results-of-personal-freedoms-slipping-away/

 

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