Tag Archives: Jesus

111715 + 111815: Syrian Refugee Crisis

I rarely ask this on my blog, but this one is important:

Do not start reading this blog post unless you intend on reading all of it. 

Continue, if you will read this in it’s entirety, otherwise, close this window and go back to scrolling Facebook.

Not quite three weeks ago, my Facebook news feed was full of #CollinsForChrist and people standing up for what I believed was Christ. Now.. Maybe it was just a bunch of lights that they stood up for.

Every time I hear the word REFUGEE, this is the image I see.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.47.05 PM

 

That image, right there.

That small, tiny, little boy, laying in the sand. Washed up on shore, with his little shoes both still on and his little wet clothes stuck to his still, lifeless body. That little body is what I see when I hear the word REFUGEE.

This little boy, Aylan Kurdi, was a refugee. He was 3 when his parents and his brother (5 years old) left on a boat, attempting to make it to Greece. The Father made it. He lost his wife, who was 32, and his two sons on his trek away from his homeland of Syria.

His situation was so unbearable, so fearful, that his parents thought, “It is better for us to risk death at sea, than to stay where we are and risk public amputation, caning, whipping, beheading, death…”

I see his body and then I look at Judah and….I have to hold back my tears. I’m usually unsuccessful.

Everyone has an opinion about this crisis and the way it may or may not impact the United States.

The refugee crisis is in full blown media mode at this point. But here’s the thing – the Syrians started fleeing and became refugees back in 2011. They aren’t suddenly deciding to become refugees. They’ve been running from ISIS for years.

And the ISIS terrorist that we are all afraid of sneaking into the United States with them? Believe me, they’d have an easier time sneaking in the US in ways not related to refugee asylum. Trust me.

Did you know…

…There are over 750,000 refugees already in the United States, that have trickled in since 9/11?

…none of which have ever been arrested on terrorism charges?

…the most violent extremists in the U.S. are actually natural-born citizens?

Yeah. That’s FACT.

Did you know that the pictures/news posts you’ve been spreading around about the 10,000 new refugees coming to the US isn’t a picture of what will actually happen?

The refugees will not be walking off of a boat in a group of 10,000.

It takes 18-24 months before they are allowed to enter the US. It’s a long and drawn out process, a process which most terrorist probably don’t care to go through. More than likely, the terrorist will sneak into the country like the rest of the illegals do. Also, if you don’t believe ISIS is already in the United States, then get your head out of the sand.

The refugees come in small groups- groups of their family. Usually, one family at a time. Here recently, New Orleans saw some come in. Somehow the news got everyone believing it was a flood of folks. Actually it was 2 families, with a third coming in soon.

Ok, before you toss me out…

I’m NOT saying we need to accept any and every refugee.

I’m NOT saying we need to trust everyone who applies to be vetted to the United States.

I’m NOT saying lets get stupid with our rules and start opening the flood gates.

I’m NOT saying let our guard down.

I’m NOT saying BRING EVERYONE WE’VE GOT SPACE!

I believe we need to be strict and careful.

I believe we need to be cautious and aware.

I believe we need to do what Christ has called us to do, as a Nation built on his word.

What does Jesus tell us?

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me inI needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Matthew 25:35-36

That is JESUS’s words. Following Jesus isn’t easy.

He calls us to do things that require actual faith in action.

Jesus never called us to a calm and mundane life, and if you think that, then you need to dust off your Bible and start reading it again.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Matthew 10:34

Jesus isn’t calling us to be stupid and hasty about letting the refugees find refuge here, but I do believe that he is calling us to help them in any way that we can.

Jesus is love.

He loved that little boy whose body washed up in the sand.

We need to help these people in whatever method or manner we are capable of.

What I’ve been seeing is this:

“We will stand together united to keep some lights up on display, but when it comes to standing up for people who are afraid and lost and praying for a place they can flee to, away from public executions, away from public beheadings, away from having a body left out on display for days afterwards so people know that ISIS is serious… When it comes to offering these people a place to live and live freely, we say NO. You are not allowed to enjoy in our FREEDOM. Because we are scared of what could happen. God isn’t big enough to protect us. We want to do it ourselves.”

That is what I disagree with. Fear of the what if, and that fear not allowing us to help thousands of people who are just like ourselves, but born on the other side of the world.

If you don’t think any refugees should be brought into the US, that’s fine. It is what it is. But PRAY for them. And don’t just say, “Oh, I’ll pray for them, but they need to stay where they are…” That’s not love. That is NOT love. And that sort of prayer doesn’t help.

I pray that you consider your freedoms and the grace that God has given you, and the mercy he bestowed by allowing you to be born into this great free Nation. Look into what ISIS is doing to these people, and you’ll see much more of the freedoms that we have.

If nothing else, realize how blessed you are.

Thank you for sticking with me til the end of this post.

I’m going to go hold my Judah now.

Make the Most of it

I’ve always heard it’s best to live every day like it’s your last. We’re only given so many days, so many chances at today, and we better make the best of every chance.

I’m here to tell you not to do that.

Definitely take some chances, and take advantage of a great situation or chance. But be aware that not every day is going to be “live like it’s your last.”

If I honestly knew I had a week to live, and the world would come to an end, you’d see me snatch my family up and we’d be on a plane to Italy so I could enjoy my last views of my favorite spot on earth.

But am I gonna do that next Tuesday? No. Because that would be dumb.

I’d rack up a whole lotta debt, and personally I like my ac in my house to run cold. So, I’m gonna be wise and not “make the most of it.” I’m going to live my life, how I’ve chosen.

And I’m going to make the best of that.

I think a lot of people choose something, then when they realize it’s not as luxurious as they’d expected, they bolt. Or they change their major. Or they get divorced. Or they switch jobs. Or they start a diet. Or get a new car. They change something because that’s what’s wrong with my life and this will fix it. And they say, “I’m not getting any younger!” And they say, “I’m only given one chance on this earth, in going to do it as I please!”

We’ve become an instant society that wants instant results with zero effort. And that’s just not how it works. We don’t live in a fairytale. Prince Charming doesn’t always exist. But Prince Puts-forth-a-lot-of-effort and Prince Works-hard-for-his-family do exist.

The riding off into the sunset in the Ferrari with the gorgeous blond with long legs doesn’t always happen. Sometimes in life we have to hold on to what we’ve got. Even if it’s riding off into the sunset in a beat up ol’ dodge with a lady who had your kids and may still have some of that weight.

We don’t always have to trade up. We don’t always have to trade in for a newer model. We don’t have to live every day like it’s our last.

We can choose to make a choice, then stick it out.

I chose Wesley. Have I seen other guys that were attractive since we got married? Yes. Has he seen other attractive ladies since we got married? Yes. But we haven’t run off with them. We made a choice, and we are sticking with it.

I chose to raise my children. Do I sometimes wanna list them on eBay and just see what happens in a 5 day auction? Yes. But I haven’t done that. They can drive me crazy, but I chose to have kids and I choose to stay home, still. Even though it ain’t glamorous. Far from it.

Don’t always rush to make the most if every day. Sometimes days were meant to be… Just regular days. It’s okay to have a regular life. Those are the best ones, spent with family and friends, and being a part of people’s lives. That’s what matters in the long run. Not how you made the most of your life… It’s how you made the most of others’.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (‭Psalm‬ ‭90‬:‭12‬ NIV)

Devotional: Luke 2

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel. Luke 2:6-7 MSG

Praise God for his most beautiful gift!

Praise God for Mary who carried and raised our savior.

Praise God for Joseph who raised Jesus as his own.

Praise God for John who announced our Lords coming!

Praise God for the fisherman that Jesus chose as his disciples, because they kept the word going.

Praise God for the tax collectors and the prostitutes, and the sinners so we would know that Jesus loves us all and cares for the less fortunate (including ourselves).

Praise God for Pilate, who was only a small piece of the puzzle in our salvation.

Praise God for Paul for starting the church.

Praise God for Jesus for willingly becoming fully human and giving his precious life for us.

We praise his birth today.

#cat11

What can I say about Catalyst. Whenever anyone would tweet from Catalyst, you were supposed to add #cat11 to the end of your tweet, so others could find your tweet, talk to each other, etc. Just a hashtag search. It was used often.

I heard speakers like Andy Stanley, Dave Ramsey, Francis Chan, Judah Smith, Mark Driscoll, Pricilla Shirer and I saw interviews and met (briefly) with Blake Mycoskie (founder of TOMS Shoes) and Katie Davis (blogger of Kisses from Katie, Author, and 22 year old mother of 14 adopted little girls in Uganda).

I worshipped with Hillsong United of NYC and Joel Houston, one of the original founders of Hillsong Worship.

And you may or may not have ever heard of any of these names, or know what any of them do… but they are my heroes.

And they showed me that even being so heroic, they know that nothing is about them. They are 100% useless when they aren’t fully led by Christ, and that is amazing.

These people are AMAZING and they don’t know it. All they know is their God is amazing.

The theme for this week was Be Present.

And I get it. I need to be aware of the here and now, and not just worry about my future or dwell on my past.

But what changed me most – was their humility.

Each one didn’t feel like they deserved to be on stage, speaking to thirteen thousand people. Each one only wanted God to be glorified.

Each one was doing just what God told them to do.

So simple.

And I am not them.

I am not as humble.

I am not nearly as much of a leader.

I am not as grateful.

I am not as wise.

I am not as holy.

I am not where I need to be.

Or where I should be.

Or doing what I should be doing.

Or thinking what I should be thinking.

And God opened my eyes to that. And he showed me that I need to stop focusing on what He’s GOING to do with me, but what He IS doing with me, right NOW.

And so now I’m at a point where I have to decide whether or not to stop doing things as I have been, and start changing myself into one of these great people. One of these people who are completely lost in their Jesus that you look at Jesus and He points to them, and says, “They are doing great things, through me, and for me.”

I have to start doing what GOD wants me to do, not what others are doing. He has a great plan for me, and I’m going to find it. I’m going to start living it.

I’ve talked about the book I’ve written…

But it’s no where near finished.

The original one is almost finished, but it’s my memoir. Its about me. And my life needs to not be about me, but about Him.

So I’m scratching it.

At least most of it. I will write a book, but it will be focused much more on Christ, than myself. Mostly because…

I’m nothing to write home about.

I don’t deserve a book to be written about me (even if I’m doing the writing.)

I don’t need a book about me. No one does.

But God…

God deserves it. He is someone to write home about. We need more books about Him.

And as a worship leader (a title I have never called myself until this weekend…) I am going to do better. I’m going to research and dig in, and dig deeper.

He deserves way more that I’ve been giving Him.

He deserves more than I can give him.

He is so worthy.

He is so deserving.

I know you didn’t come to Catalyst, and I know you didn’t hear the speakers, but if you feel led to start forgetting yourself, and relying on Christ to do your life for you, then come on. We’ll do this together.

#cat11