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Refugee

Now that President Trump is in the oval office he has illuminated the need to provide proper screening for refugees pouring across our borders. The President has also suggested that we should build a wall between us and Mexico. This is a very polarizing topic that will illicit very heated debates on both sides of the issue.

One view point is to open our borders and let them all come in and lets help them, no matter what the cost. We will just screen the refugees the best we can and just deal with the fall out if a couple of bad apples get across and wind up killing some of us.

Another view point is to lock down the borders and stop being the world police. Lets stop being the giant refugee camp for the rest of the world. We have enough problems of our own, dont we?

I can hear the responses from my christian friends now. What would Jesus do? I am thinking that Jesus would meet the problem head on and provide for the needs of the people. Does that mean that Jesus could only do that here in America? In other words, could Jesus meet the needs of the refugees right where they live in the war ravaged villages where the refugees are from? Maybe only in America could he meet their needs…..

Please do not misunderstand me. I do feel compassion for people in third world countries that are being destroyed by war mongering dictators who have very little regard for human life. Does that mean I am not supposed to have compassion for the huddled masses of Americans who live on our streets? What about our veterans of foreign wars? Why has it come down to a choice between Americans vs refugees from other countries? Mabye someone should come up with a solution that will help all three groups of people.

I love to watch Dateline on NBC in the evenings. They always seem to have some sort of human interest story to air. The other night they aired a story about the ban that President Trump imposed when he took office. That ban was overturned by the Supreme Court and now the ban has been lifted. The story showed how much red tape and screening that refugees have to go through via the TSA.

One refugee family made their trek to one of our inner cities and were met by whatever organization that is in place to help the refugee family start a new life in our country. They were moved into a nice apartment and the father was assisted in finding a new job. I have no ide what other help was given to this family but now they have a new start and are no longer in fear for their lives. What an awesome story.

Meanwhile, back on the streets of America our government is doing NOTHING to help the homeless people or veterans. The most that the local goverment does is to bus the homeless away from their tourist districts downtown out to the suburbs or even to a near by city. Lets not address the problem, lets just move it around or sweep it under the rug and ignore it.

Yes, there are local organizations in Charleston such as Lowcountry Herald and other faith based organizations who try to meet the needs of feeding the homeless and providing them with health screening and personal hygiene kits. These organizations are run mostly by volunteers who give of their time, energy and money to see this happens. For the most part though, most folks ignore the homeless and consider them less than human.

There are those people who chose to live on the streets. There are some people who are homeless because they allowed addictions or divorce or joblessness to get them where they are. Sometimes addiction turns to job loss and a wrecked marriage and then they wind up on the streets. Does that mean there is no hope for these people? Jesus would look at these folks, feed them give them clothes, heal them and tell them to go and sin no more. That is what he did with the woman at the well.

We have churches that go on missionary trips to third world countries to tell people about the gospel of Christ and to take them clothes and provide them with clean drinking water and health services. Maybe our faith based organizations should turn that magnifying glass inside of our borders and see the needs right here in our own back yard.

This is a huge problem and it has gotten worse from one decade to the next. It is time that we as a people, as Americans, reach out to these people and lend a helping hand. If we do not do it, who will?

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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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Coastal Community Church in West Ashley South Carolina

Katy and I have been attending Coastal Community Church in West Ashley for about a year and a half. The church runs around 400 members and has three services each Sunday.

Today they kicked off a new series called “Moses : From Slavery to promised land”

One of the things that I love about Coastal Community Church is their love for reaching people for the kingdom of God. Pastor Chris likes to say “we will do everything short of sin to tell people about how much God loves them.” Pastor Chris has a heart for the people in our community and loves to promote the idea of service to the community we are in.

I think the important thing is that if you do not go to Coastal Community church that you do go somewhere. I believe that it is important that Jesus Followers are members of a local church for the purposes of kingdom building, discipleship and service. We have all heard this statement. I can be a christian and I do not have to go to a physical building to be one. While that is technically correct, it completely negates being around like minded people. The church is the body of Christ, and while it is not the building, it is centered around the people of God and their activities together.

In the next couple of blog posts I will attempt to reflect on the points that were brought up this Sunday in this series. I am hopeful that as I reflect on the things that I have learned that it will in some way bring a fresh revelation to your mind and bless you at the same time.

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Surviving the storms of life

Fathers Refuge has been a vision of mine since 2001 when my daughter Jessica lost her battle with cancer.

As a family we walked through our Jessica spending 14 months of treatments at MUSC Children’s Hospital in Charleston South Carolina. Nothing prepares you for that type of journey and you find yourself clinging to any type of hope and support system that comes along.

Support came in the form of local churches in Bluffton SC and Goose Creek SC. Support also came in the form of Camp Happy Days, Courageous Kidz and the Make a Wish Foundation.   Through the many things that these organizations provided for us, and our faith in God, we survived the passing of our daughter.

I remember how I described living through this chapter in our lives. I likened it to standing on a beach and watching an approaching storm.

I remember the night when we took Jessica to the emergency room at the hospital on Hilton Head Island after she started to show signs of head trauma. Jessica kept telling us she was dizzy and could not keep food down. When the doctors put Jessica through a battery of tests the CT scan identified a brain tumor the size of a baseball and it was wrapped around her brain stem.

The doctors performed an emergency surgery and removed 95% of the tumor. I will never forget the surgeon telling Katy and I that if Jessica lived for 12 months it would be a miracle. That is when the storm landed on the beach and the wind, rain and lightening descended upon our entire family.

Living on the East Coast we are always on the lookout for Hurricanes and between the months of June and November we are warned to have a hurricane survival kit. We are encouraged to have an evacuation plan in place for our families. Planning and preparation is key to surviving this type of devastating storm. Our family found out that there was no amount of planning or preparation that could have prepared our family for the storm we were experiencing with our Jessica.

Our master plan was to pray to God and ask him to heal our little girl. We pleaded for him to remove the two types of cancers that were wrapped around Jessica’s brain stem and that she would return to perfect health. Despite our prayers and pleading Gods’ master plan was to bring out Jessica out of this world and into his loving arms.  

That particular chapter in our lives turned out to be a storm that lasted 14 months from beginning to end. Like most major storms in life it left behind some wreckage. Our family was changed forever and would never be the same. The storm threatened the very foundation of our faith in God. While our faith in God never faltered I am sure that it cracked in several places.   

As we walked through the aftermath of this particular storm I noticed that as a father that most support systems were designed to reach out to the mother. I will never forget the funeral director telling me that within a year the chances were good that Katy and I would wind up in divorce court. Apparently this type of storm is conducive to wrecking families. As a father and a husband I vowed that we would not be another statistic.  

As a father I remember how I felt not really having much of a support system. It turns out that men and women process grief differently. I know now that women are more demonstrative of their feelings and men tend to turn their feelings inward and internalize the grief.

I remember speaking to a chaplain from MUSC about Fathers Refuge and how I wanted to help bring healing to other fathers walking through that type of storm. The chaplain told me that one of the biggest hurdles to reaching out to men is to get them to a place where they would be willing to talk about the grief, and begin the healing process.

I realize now, in that moment, in that stage of our storm, I was not ready or equipped to help others in their grief process. Katy and I still had a lot of processing to do. We had a lot of emotions to work through and lots of questions about why this happened to our family.

As I look back 31 years ago I realize that loosing Jessica is not the only storm I have been through. In my early 20’s I wound up in jail and spent some time living on the streets of Houston Texas. I also found myself living through the aftermath of a divorce.   Each individual event or storm has taught me some very valuable lessons. Each storm has its own unique story. Today I realized that while losing our daughter to cancer was a horrible storm, I also have several other stories to tell.

I am hoping that Fathers Refuge will be a mechanism that I can use to tell my stories. Hopefully I can tell the stories of each storm in such a way that men and fathers will be able to identify with their own unique struggles. I know that I am not alone and that there are other men who have struggled or are struggling with the many things that life throws at us.

As I look back at each storm of my life I realize that if it were not for the power of Jesus Christ in my life and the different godly men and women who influenced me, that I would have wound up in prison, a drug addict or dead. Thirty-one years later, I can look back at the storms and ahead to the future and say, “to God be the glory”. He is the one who brought me through each storm. He is the one who carried me through each storm. He is the God that never turned his back on me, even when I walked away. Through each storm God revealed himself as my redeemer and provider when I needed it the most.

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Gays in military could hurt recruiting OneNewsNow.com

Gays in military could hurt recruiting OneNewsNow.com.

I suppose that everyone has their opinion with regards to “gays in the military”.  Most of my conservative Christian friends are going to sit on the side of the fence that would support “don’t ask don’t tell”.   In some ways I understand where they are coming from however it is not going to change the fact that there are people all around us that believe in same sex relations and marriage.  I am not sure that lifting the “Don’t ask Don’t tell” ban is going to change anything.  There are “gay” people in the military now and probably have been for decades.   Does this ban make them “more gay” or “less gay”?   I for one wish that we could stop labeling people.   I am speaking to both “gay” people and those of the heterosexual persuasion.

I vote that we let people be who they are and if they chose to participate in a same sex relationship then that is their business. Someone being same sex oriented is not going to change my identity or threaten what I believe or who I am.  Each one of us has to live our lives in the best way that we see fit and we also must own our own garbage.   Many of us would like to think that we have everything figured out with regards to what sin is or is not. My pastor has pointed out the fact that while people are going out of their way to be “homophobes”  the church is filled with people who are openly practicing sin with regards to being adulterers, liars. fornicators and getting divorces from their opposite sex mates because of it.  We probably need to clean up the filth (sin) and garbage out of our own back yards before we start pointing fingers.

I personally do not believe that being “gay” and participating in same sex relationships is something that God would approve of.   I could point to several scriptures in the old testament and new testament that would lend credence to my belief.  I also believe that the bible tells us that we are to love our neighbor and that we are not to judge people.  God will be the only judge when it is said and done with and all of us will come face to face with our creator once we die.   Yes, I believe the bible clearly states that we have a season of life and once that season of life is over we are judged for what we have or have not done on this earth.   Our life is a gift and it should not be taken for granted and what we do with that life can and will be measured by our creator.

I have a son that I love dearly that openly communicates that he is gay.  I also have a blood sister that openly communicates that she is gay.  Despite the fact that they are gay they are still my family and I will always love them.   Their choice to be gay is just that, their choice.  Do I agree with that choice or do I want to expose my family to these types of choices on a daily basis?  The answer to those questions are absolutely not.    I firmly believe that what folks do in the privacy of their own homes is between themselves and God.   I also believe that if a group of people are going to push their way of life upon another group of people in public places then they should understand that not everyone is going to approve of it and they will meet some resistance.

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 James Moffitt

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A fresh start

In John 8:12 of the new testament we see “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “ I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

I have spent some time reflecting on 2010 and all the things that have happened in the world around us as well as those things we have experienced as a family and individually.   This has not been a horrible year however it has had its shares of ups and downs.  The economic downturn between 2008 and now has affected us more than I would like to admit.   Like it or not 2010 is almost gone and we have a new year to look forward to in 2011.  

As I look back at 2010 I realize that I have allowed my circumstances to get way too much of my attention.  As I have focused on our circumstances I have found myself doing everything I can to control things and fix things on my own.  I am not sure why I insist of being in control of my life when I know that I am not in control no matter how much I want to be.  My inability to control some of our circumstances has allowed me to become somewhat negative and grouchy which has not been a good thing for me or my family.

Going forward I want to get back to basics and to spend more time in personal devotions each day.  I want to begin reading the word of God again and to take my time each day and dedicate myself to renewing my mind and building my faith in who God is to me personally.  

I am using YouVersion to follow a reading plan that I found which will give me one chapter a day to read.  I believe by doing this that I can slowly but surely be encouraged in my faith and be able to start focusing my gaze upon those things that are worthy of focusing on and leave the rest of the negative garbage to God who is better able to handle those things. 

I set up a YouVersion Group for those of you that are like minded and would like to join me in this journey as well.  I am new to YouVersion so I am not really sure what I will be able to do with the group.  I just figured I would set it up and learn as I go.  If you create a free membership on YouVersion you can Follow me and you can add me as a friend.  You can also follow my notes as I make them.  Please understand that my NOTES will be a reflection or journal of what I glean from my bible reading.

Some would say that this could be categorized as a new year resolution.  I would say that I have never had much luck at new year resolutions however I am going to do my best to dedicate myself to getting back to doing those basic things that I have done in the past with regards to my walk with God.  I know that there will be days that I will slip and fall but I believe that if I put my mind to this and if I pray and ask God for the strength and focus to do it that he will give me the help that I need.  

 

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 James Moffitt

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Our faith in God and keeping it real

Like most of us I spend a portion of my time reading posts on Facebook and keeping up with the daily flow of events in the lives of my friends and acquaintances there. Quite a few of my Facebook “friends” are Christians and some of them are even folks I go to church with or live in another part of the world. It seems as if lately there has been an increase of people posting positive and uplifting messages about their faith in Jesus Christ and encourages everyone to copy those messages to their status windows. As I read these messages I can appreciate them and I identify with them. I also realize that while this is being done that there may be some folks that might be confused or disillusioned by the message that is being sent out on Facebook and the reality of what really happens in the real world. I wrote the following response below and thought it was worthy of a blog post as well.

I am looking for the scripture that says something all the lines of “yet by the grace of God go I”. The context of that scripture speaks more clearly to what I am trying to get across but until I find that specific scripture the one in 1 Co 15:10 will suffice.

(1Co 15:10) But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

The spirit of the living God calls us and we chose to follow. He has redeemed us and forgiven us of our sin therefore we should do our very best to put HIM first in all that we do. In our human frailty we struggle through our sanctification process desiring so much to serve HIM but are constantly distracted by the world around us that pulls us in every direction but Christ.

I enjoy seeing all of my Christian friends using FB and Twitter to lift up the name of Christ however I want to make sure that we are transparent with our faith and that we keep it as real as possible. Christian fluff to me is useless and confusing to everyone around us.

It is like my pastor said on Sunday. The church (us) is not known by the world to be a place of refuge or sanctuary. People do not feel comfortable getting help at church because they fear rejection and judgement from the people sitting in the churches. My pastor used the example of how the church loves to beat up homosexuals and jump on the hatred bandwagon but at the same time the church is full of folks who are committing fornication and not honoring the wedding vows before God. No wonder the world thinks the church is full of hypocrites.

We are real people living in a real world with real problems. As Christians the answer to those problems is Christ in us. As Christ lives in us and we draw closer to HIM then His light can shine forth brightly and then God can help us to live the type of lives that will glorify and honor him and then HE can use us as vessels that are worthy of being ministers of truth, compassion and mercy. We need to stop judging others and condemning others for their sins and pay more attention to the sin in our own lives and let God take care of the sins in the lives of others.

Our job is not to judge the sin in someone else’s life but rather to get our lives right before God and allow God to help us to show the Grace and Mercy and Love of God to others. Once we learn how to do that we can lead people to the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit can make the same changes in the hearts of other folks that he has made in ours.

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Obama uses Ramadan dinner to endorse NY mosque OneNewsNow.com

Obama uses Ramadan dinner to endorse NY mosque OneNewsNow.com.

I keep hearing the word “tolerance” being used to justify “intolerance” of the Christian faith that I hold so dearly. I am not sure why it is so important for this new mosque to be built near ground zero but I certainly believe that it is not only a direct reflection of the insensitivity of those bent on doing it but it also shows me that there is no respect for those souls that lost their lives on Sept 11, 2001 when terrorists flew two jet liners into the twin towers.

I understand that not all Muslim people are extremists hell bent on destroying America. I do believe that there are Muslim extremists just like the idiots that flew the jetliners into those buildings that are living right here in America in terrorist cells waiting for their chance to wreak death and destruction against us infidels.

I wonder how many Christian churches and organizations are lobbying our government officials to ban religious activities of non Christian religions or to change the laws of our land to force their religious ideologies on our way of life? I would guess that there are probably none. I do know that there are organizations that are actively doing everything that they can to subvert what our Christian faith stands for. The Christian church and family unit has been under attack for many years now and the sad fact of the matter is that the church is so apathetic and sleepy that before you know it the intolerance of the Christian faith will be the very thing that will bring more and more restrictions in practicing our faith.

If you do not believe that then how about the hate crimes law that was enacted not too long ago that makes it illegal for pastors to speak out against homosexuality. If a pastor makes negative or derogatory remarks about homosexuality or makes the mistake of saying that the bible says that homosexuality is a sin then he is guilty of hate crimes and can be arrested and put into jail. That is a clear example of how intolerant our nation is of our Christian clergy to be able to speak the truth of Gods word from the pulpits of their churches. Another example of intolerance of Christian values is the battle that rages in America to allow same sex marriage. A group of people are fighting to have the same rights and privileges as those who are a man and woman and married. The institution of marriage is under attack and those of us that believe and honor the fact that marriage is between a woman and a man are labeled as being intolerant. The church needs to stand up and be heard and quit cowering in fear. Why is the church afraid to stand up and let the world know what the word of God says and that they stand behind it with everything they have?

Our world and the beliefs we hold so dearly as Christians is under attack and if we are not careful we will lose our freedom of religion in the name of intolerance. We must be willing to do whatever it takes to protect those freedoms. We must be just as intense in the activities of defending our faith as those people and organizations that are bent on destroying them.
Saying that we are Christians and going to church two times per week and living in our little comfortable comfort zones is not going to get the job done people. The world is happening outside of the four walls of the church and our job is to take the gospel of Christ to the world we live in. Instead of sticking our heads in the sand and living in denial we should educate ourselves on what is happening all around us and get involved in whatever way that we can do be the church of God that God intended for us to be.

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Catherine Morris God Blog link added

My sister and co laborer in Christ is a dear sister who has shared the love of God both in offline ministry through a church group in Canada but also online through the Battle Plan Ministries womens forums. I am not really close to Catherine but I have had the experience to read her blog and I know that she has a servants heart and wants to tell people about the love of God. One of the things that I appreciate about Catherine and her ministry is that she is not “churchy” and she does not preach down to people. Catherine is a very down to earth person who tries to be real about her faith and transparent about her daily walk with God. I would encourage you to visit her blog via the blog link. Please hold Catherine up in prayer. From what I understand she has recently lost her mother. Thanks

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CitizenLink: Friday Five: Mary Anne Layden Discusses Harms of Pornography

CitizenLink: Friday Five: Mary Anne Layden Discusses Harms of Pornography.

This is an excellent article that discusses the harms of pornography to the family today.  This is something that the church today is not equipped to handle head on and typically the subject is not even discussed in the open.

I have been involved with Battle Plan Ministries out of Tennessee for the last 10 years both online and offline that helps men and women deal with this problem.  We have seen that there are a lot of lay ministers and clergy that have been fighting with this issue but because the church is ill equipped to deal with it the leaders do not have a safe haven within their churches to get help with this.

I am glad to have seen this article because it is from a non church related source.  Sometimes when the world sees something like this from the “church”  it is easy for them to cry foul and say that we are being judgmental and holier than thou.  I do not know anything about the person who wrote this article but I can verify from years of experience in talking with people who are addicted to pornography that she is right on track with what she is saying.

If you are reading this article and you realize that you have a problem or someone you love is having a problem please redirect them to Battleplan Ministries so that they can engage other men and women who have entered into the battle to remove this addiction from their lives.  There is hope for anyone with this addiction (or any other addiction) by embracing Gods forgiveness and by using the principles of Godly living outlined in the word of God to overcome this and find victory.

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