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God’s Not Dead He is surely alive !!

We watched God’s Not Dead He is Surely Alive 2 on Pureflix today.  All I can say is WOW.  Very powerful and compelling movie about a teacher who is pulled into a court room and put on trial for sharing the words of Christ in her history class.  Watch it and share it with the people in the community that God has placed you in on this earth.  You will be glad you did.

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Happy Birthday Angel Jessica

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Today our Jessica Ann would be 25 years old.  Jessica is our 2nd oldest child next to Jeremy Moffitt who is 29.  Today is also the 14th anniversary of the World Trade Center twin towers being attacked.  I remember both events as if it were yesterday.  I remember Jessica taking her last breath on August 5th 2001 at approximately 2 am.  I remember telling her that it was ok to quit fighting and to let go.  Jessica Ann slipped from the bonds of her cancer ridden body into the arms of Jesus in that moment.  It is our hope and belief that we will see her again along with other loved ones when we leave this life and move on to the next one.

It has been said that time heals all wounds.  I would say that time allows us the opportunity to learn how to deal with the pain and grief of losing a loved one.  Time gives us a measuring stick for our perception of the pain and feeling of loss that comes with grief.  One does not simply “get over it”.  If you are a friend or family of someone that has lost a loved one please do not make the mistake of expecting them to just “get over it”.  Grief is something that becomes a constant companion.  Over time, the pain does subside and get easier to deal with but it never totally goes away.

Today, my heart goes out to the family and friends of the 3000+ souls that lost their lives in the terrorist attack in New York City on this date in 2011.  Terrorists (aka cowards) hijacked 3 jet liners and intentionally flew them into both of the World Trade Center towers and attempted to fly into the Pentagon.  Someone said that 9/11 is the “Pearl Harbor” of my generation.   I will never forget where we were when this happened.  A neighbor called me and told me to turn on the TV and watch the news.  We sat in our living room and watched in horror as the World Trade Center buildings burned and then collapsed one after the other.  We watched as the second plane hit the second tower while the first one burned.  I remember how surreal it was to watch the 110 floor towers just collapse into the ground while millions of viewers watched in disbelief.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of the public servants who rushed to the scene to help people and ultimately paid the highest price for doing so.  Police officers and fire fighters who were trying to help victims lost their own lives on that horrible day.  This is a day that Americans came face to face with radical Islam and their act of cowardly terror.  I know that the pain of the event was and is intense for most of us.  It would be so easy to categorize all Muslim people as terrorists but I realize that is not fair.  That would be like saying that all Christians are willing to kill innocent people in the name of God.

The problem with terrorism and war is that innocent people including women and children lost their lives.  I guess that our government calls this loss of life as collateral damage.  I do not pretend to fully understand all of this.  I just know that people were going about their day to day business in the World Trade center towers and that it was forever interrupted by a cowardly act by terrorists and now they get to live with the grief.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the survivors.  May they find some sort of release from their pain and find the courage to go on despite their losses.

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Beating the obesity monster 2015

So, 2015 will be upon us in a few short days and I am putting together a plan.  A plan that I intend to follow to the best of my ability.  I realize that there will be good and bad days but I plan to not allow anything to deter me from the path.  Plans are very easy to put together and even harder to follow.

Here are some of the changes I am attempting to make.

A. Logging my calories at MyFitnessPal.com
B. Using Endomondo app on IOS to track walking each day
C. making better food choices
D. making myself accountable to YOU to stay on track
E. asking God in prayer to give me the ability to just DO IT.

Will you join me by doing the following?

A. Create an account on MyFitnessPal.com
B. Use Endomondo or whatever other app on smart phone to track exercise
C. Enter your food choices for each meal on MyFitnessPal.com
D. Make yourself accountable through conversation here on this FB group
E. join with me in prayer asking God to give us success in this area of our lives

You can also join us on the Facebook Group called Beating Obesity Monster 2015. I look forward to seeing you there.

 

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Authentic Faith

I love attending Coastal Community Church in West AshleyScreen Shot 2014-01-05 at 4.23.04 PM.  Katy and I have been members there now for going on a year or longer.  One of the things I love about the church is that it is alive.  The church has 3 services every Sunday and they have close to 450 members in attendance.  The church is growing so much that they are breaking round on a new building this year.

The evangelism strategy of Coastal Community Church is simple.  They want us to “invest” and “invite”.  We are to live our lives in such a way that people will know that we are Christ followers.  We are to invest our lives into the lives of others.  Our challenge is to love people for who they are right now and show them how much we care.

No matter where we live, where we work or where we play, there are people all around us that are hurting.  God has placed us there so that we can reach out to them and bring them hope.

One of the statements Pastor Chris made today was this.  Salt and light have a “radical influence” on whatever it is they come into contact with.  He also stated that there are three types of “Bitter salt” and “glaring light” people who are counterfeit Christians that repel people from God.  Those are the following types.

In your fact Christians” whose sole purpose in life is to cram the word of God down your throat at all costs, and communicate to you that you will go to hell if you do not change your ways.

Holier than thou Christians“, who feel as if they are better than everyone else.  They measure their worthiness of God’s grace, by their religious accomplishments.

Cosmetic Christians”  project an outward appearance of being a Christian but when you look past the surface you find that they are no different than anyone else.  The lives of those people do not tell the story of someone that has been redeemed or changed on the inside.

Unfortunately I think that all of us have been guilty of being a lot like those three groups of people at some point.  The challenge for all of us is to do our best to be humble servants and invest our lives into those around us.  None of us deserves grace.  God pursues us because he loves us.  It is because he draws us to himself that we are even aware of his presence and love for us.  Once we respond to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and ask God to be our redeemer do we really understand the power and importance of grace.

This morning we were told that Savory Salt and Illuminating Light looks like this.

A costly Christianity.  Live out our faith, even when it costs you.

A compassionate Christianity.  Don’t just share God’s love, but show it by your actions.

A consistent Christianity.  Be real, you are being watched

A committed Christianity.  Pray for people, even when they do not “deserve” it.

If you are like me, I have been challenged to be who God wants me to be in the community he has placed me in.  My challenge is to be authentic with regards to my faith and not live my life in such a way, that show me to be a hypocrite.  No one expects me to be perfect but if I say I am a Christ follower then I should act that way.

I would like to hear if any of this has challenged you.  Share with us the message you received at church today.  I would love to hear from you dear reader.

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Faith

I spend a lot of time reading blog posts and sound bites on social media sites such as Google + and Facebook. I follow several bloggers because their style of “keeping it real” resonates with me.

I love to try and “keep it real”. I do not try to pretend to be someone I am not. I do try to follow the “TMI” rule which means that I do not share every single thing that goes on in my life online. There are things that are meant to be shared online and things that should be respectfully be kept offline. Having said that I suppose that means that it would be easy for me to only share the good and positive and never share the bad and ugly. Now that I think of it, we all have dirty laundry that we would rather not share with anyone. We would rather have one of those delete keys that we could use to get rid of the bad and ugly.

Today, on G+ I asked my “Jesus followers” circle a question. That question was simple yet difficult. Who is Jesus to you? I realize that discussing politics and religion is something that is not socially acceptable. If you read all of the sound bites on Facebook and Google Plus you will know that there are a lot of opinions being shared with regards to party politics. The November presidential election is several weeks away and the political mud slinging is in full swing online. At the moment I am doing my best to not add to the political sound bite message stream.   

Why did I ask, Who is Jesus to you? I asked it because I am interested in knowing WHO Jesus IS to people. Is there really a heaven or hell? What about eternity? Why can’t I live my life according to my own gospel? I see signs on the freeways that say things like “Live life unfiltered”. Live life with gusto. Be all you can be. Pull yourself up by your boot straps. Be successful. On and on the sound bites and messages go. We are bombarded by society with messages of how to be who they think we should be and why.   

For some of us, we have faith in God. I call God Jesus. You may call God something else. What does it mean to have faith IN God? Why do we have faith in the first place?

More importantly, how does our faith in God affect our day to day lives? Is our faith in God something merely intellectual? Is our faith in God something that is only exercised when I go to church? Is our faith in God more than another religion? I believe that our faith in Jesus Christ should make a profound difference in our lives. I believe that if we truly believe the gospel of Christ then our lives will be radically changed. I believe that our life story will be changed to reflect the glory of God. I believe that no matter where we are at that the joy of the Lord will be our strength and that joy will shine through in everything that we do.

I believe that faith in Jesus Christ brings hope for eternity. I believe that the bible shows me that God has been pursuing his creation through all eternity. Over the last 50 + years I have seen Gods’ hand on my life. I have seen how my faith in Jesus has made a real difference. Like most folks, I too struggle with keeping it real. I struggle to keep my faith in Jesus Christ the center of my world each and every day. I believe that Jesus Christ cannot be reduced to a mere sound bite.   

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Faith

Our faith is not defined by what we do in church on Sunday, it is defined by what we do Monday through Saturday.  It is easy to focus on our faith in God, when we are amongst like minded people in church on Sunday.  Our faith is strengthened by the fellowship with other believers, and by exercising our ability to express our faith through different types of worship.  Worship is what we do when we express our love for God, whether it be through singing, prayer or listening to someone teach the word of God. 

Once upon a time it was understood that if you build the building (church) and create the programs they (people) will come.  Our culture has radically changed and going to church is not something that a majority of people do any more.  There are too many other distractions that are competing for our attention.  It is almost as if church and religion are no longer relevant, in the 21st century.  Maybe people are tired of religion, and do not believe that going to church makes any difference. Could it be that the church (believers in Christ) have been sending the wrong message for way too long.  

As believers in Christ, we need to exercise our faith in tangible ways, no matter where we are.  I had a youth at church tell me something several years ago, with regards to their activity on Facebook.  They told me that their Facebook page, was who they were away from church.  When they told me that, I questioned whether or not what they were learning at church, was making a real difference in their life.  Who we are IN church should be who we are out in the world.  If we say that Jesus is LORD of our lives, then perhaps we should act like how Jesus would want us to act.  How will the message of Grace get delivered to the folks who are all around us, if we act like the rest of the world?

People need to know and understand that God loves them no matter what they have done, or how bad they think that they are.  People do not need for us to beat them up with the word of God.  People need to know that God is not a spiteful God, that is looking to get them.

Through the ages, God has pursued us in order to have a relationship with us.  God has provided forgiveness of sin through His Grace, and His Son who died on the cross, for our sins. Only Christ can provide for that forgiveness.  Our jobs is to take the good news of the Gospel of Christ to our friends, neighbors and co workers. People need to see the love of God in our lives.  People need to see us living out our faith in tangible ways.  As Charles Swindoll quotes in his book on compassion, people do not care how much we know until they know how much we care.

I want to be a messenger of Grace.  I want people to hear the good news.  What can we do dear reader, to be better messengers of that Grace?

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Bringing our faith and behavior together

For those of you that know me I have always struggled with weight loss.  My wife and I are on a new journey together.  We are attending a new life group at Coastal Community church, which is a 12 week Bod4God weight loss program.  I posted the following entry to my Myfitnesspal blog this morning and I thought I would share it with my friends here.

There are a LOT of nice gems in the Bod4God book.  One of them that I love is how we are to bring our faith and behavior together.  We confess Lord Jesus with our mouths.  We confess that we desire to be obedient to his word.  We confess that we want to die to ourselves and carry our cross daily.  There are days when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  Those are the moments when we need to cry out to God and ask him for his power and strength to bring our behavior into submission to our faith and his will for our lives.  

We know that eating garbage is turning our temple of God into garbage.  We know that it grieves the holy spiriit within us, when we do that.  God gave us our bodies so that we can be his glorious children.  We are to serve him and use the gifts within us to bring glory and honor to his kingdom.  

My prayer today for all of us that struggle with bringing our faith and behavior into perfect alignment is this.  

Dear Jesus, please forgive us for being slothful stewards of the temple you have given us.  I ask that you will put a burning desire within each of us to take small steps each day to live out our faith in obedience to your word.  Help us to love one another and not to judge one another.  Help us to encourage each other and to be examples one to another.  Help us to lift each other up when one of us is weak or struggling.  We believe that your word is true.  We believe that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.  Help us to be the kingdom kids that you want us to be.  We ask you these things in your most precious and holy name.  Amen 

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Stay faithful to what you believe

Thanks to the availability of Social Media portals such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and blogs anyone can say anything they want and reach a global audience.   

The quarterback of the Denver Broncos has garnered attention, because of his faith, and that has been linked to the season’s success that the Denver Broncos has enjoyed this season thus far.  The Denver Broncos suffered a loss in their last game and Bill Maher took it upon himself to use this as an opportunity to tweet something inflammatory. 

While I do not appreciate the comments that were  made, I also understand that I can expect that sort of behavior from this individual.  Bill Maher openly disregards, and makes fun of those, who profess faith in Jesus Christ.  There is nothing new about this, Bill Maher just happens to have the ear of the liberal media outlets, that give him a global audience in which to spout his garbage. 

I watched Pier Morgan of CNN interview Joel and Victoria Osteen last night.  Pier Morgan spent the duration of the interview, trying to pin Joel Osteen down and get him to take a definitive stand on several inflammatory social issues, such as abortion, capital punishment and homosexuality.  Joel Osteen did a good job of not getting pressured into making any type of statement, that would be construed as an official statement of Lakewood church or Christianity in general.   Joel Osteen is labeled as the pastor of a mega church in Houston Texas, and therefore is someone that has a lot of influence over a lot of people. 

Joel Osteen did reiterate his belief that homosexuality is a sin.  He did not back down or apologize for scripture.  He stated that he based his belief that homosexuality is a sin, because of what the scripture states.  What Joel Osteen failed to say was that God loves all people and despises ALL SIN.  Joel and Victoria Osteen stated that while they thought that homosexuality is a sin, that they would not have a problem attending a same sex wedding, IF the people involved were dear to their hearts.

I believe that the Bible says we are to love the person and hate the sin.  The bible also says that if someone is openly living in sin, and has no remorse, or does not show a repentant heart, that we are to break fellowship with them.  In other words, it is our duty to love them, and to show them what the bible says about their behavior.  If they repent of the sin, and turn away from it, then we can have fellowship with them.  If they do not repent and reject the counsel of God’s word then we are not to continue to be in fellowship with them. 

I realize that blogging about religion and politics is not going to make me a popular person.  Most folks shy away from those topics because they are so polarized and emotionally charged.  We believe what we believe, and some folks say that these topics are too personal and private to be discussed in an open forum.  I totally respect those people who tell me that they do not want to discuss these topics no matter what the reason is. 

What I take issue with is people who use social media portals in order to make fun of folks who have faith in Christ or mock God with their statements.  I also take issue with people of faith who use the same social media portals to openly attack people and wish them ill will or tell them that they do not deserve Jesus.  When people of faith make that kind of statement they are doing more damage to faith in Christ. 

Lets get this straight folks. None of us deserve Jesus.  What did Jesus bring to the world?  Jesus died on the cross for the sins of man for all time.  Grace is the gift that God gave to mankind through his son Jesus.  No one deserves that grace, but it was freely given for all.  Instead of attacking people who do not agree with our faith in Christ, we should agreeably disagree with their opinions, but respect the person.  If we are Christ followers, then we should act like Christ followers.  If we are Christ followers then we will show the fruit of the spirit that Galatians 5 speaks of. 

Please stop using social media to openly attack people who do not agree with your faith in Christ.  Use social media to engage those people in a mutually respectful manner, that will open up a dialog to discuss our faith in Christ.  No matter what be ready to agreeably disagree with those we chose not to believe in the way you believe. 

 

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Striving to be more faithful

Today I was reminded that the book of Genesis talks about families and conflict. This book also speaks to how the people dealt with the conflicts,and how God was faithful in the midst of that conflict. I was reminded that no matter what I do, or don’t do, that I can not stop the plan, or will of God.

I was also reminded of the fact, that God’s will happens, within his timing, and not my own. Understanding this helps me to realize that I need to have faith in what God says in his word. All through the bible God makes promises and he keeps them. The bible says “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”. What do we have faith in? There are many things in this world that can distract us from our faith in God. Are we able to be content with God’s will for our lives? Do we have enough faith to believe that God has a plan and purpose for our life? Are we willing to be still and listen to God so that he can reveal that plan and purpose?

The conflict that happens with our faith is that we take matters into our own hands. We want to be in control of our own lives. We do not want other people telling us what to do. As children, and young adults, we yearn for the day to stand on our own two feet, and make our way in this world. Having faith in God does not mean we are mindless puppets. It also does not mean that we are too weak to deal with reality, or that we are looking for some sort of crutch. It does not mean, that we use faith as an excuse to blame someone else for our failures.

Having a sense of direction and goals in life is good. Realizing that we do not understand everything and that we are prone to making mistakes, will help us to look to our faith for the strength to go on. Some would say that being a person of faith means that all your troubles are over, but that is far from being true. Living by faith, means that we put our trust in God and that we release the control of our lives to him. The more we pursue God in our lives, the easier it is to recognize his voice, and to trust him with our lives. The road to faithfulness is filled with a life time of learning many lessons.

One of the ways that God proves his faithfulness to us, is by allowing us to be in a place where we are not able to control the situation. When we get to that point, we can chose to fight or we can let go of the circumstances of life, and let God do what only God is able to do. That does not mean that we can live life irresponsibly, or with reckless abandon. Some times we wind up in bad places, because of bad life choices. God does forgive us of bad decisions, but part of the lesson might be living through the circumstances.

Living a life of faith in God, means that our hope is in someone higher than ourselves. My hope is in Christ and his blood and righteousness. I believe that he shed his blood on the cross for the sins of man, and that he defeated death, and that he loves us very much. My hope is that I can have faith in the word of God, and when I do get in the way and screw up, that he is there to pick me up, dust me off and put me back on the right path.

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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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