Archive for the Faith & Religion Category

Happy Birthday to Me! and Malcolm X, Kevin Garnett, Joey Ramone…

Posted in Birthday, Faith & Religion, Life, people, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2009 by Rick

…and Ho Chi Mihn, Pete Townsend and last, but not cute, Grace Jones!

I used to be full of crap now I'm just full of Joy!

I used to be full of crap now I'm just full of Joy!

Today I celebrated birthday number 33! While my joints feel the effects of 33 years of too much stress my spirit has never felt more alive. I have a core of friends and family that love me for who I am, I have two incredible jobs, two precious children to love and develop, and I have the most wonderful marriage a person could hope for. I think back to mid February of 1996 when I effectively alienated everyone that meant anything to me and I was forced to evaluate the abysmal choices I’d made to that point and purpose to do something different going forward. At 18 years old my life was marked by deceit, selfishness and foolish pursuits. To shorten this epic, I recommitted my life and decision making to pursuing Jesus Christ and the will of God. I didn’t get it perfect but I sensed more of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my heart and the things I thought were important before that time didn’t seem as urgent or relevant any longer. At my lowest, I never felt God could forgive me for my transgressions or use me to do anything for Him or anyone else. I thought I was eternally sidelined. That turned out to be a lie from the pit of Hell. I realize now that the brokenness I experienced in my youth was fertile ground for God to begin His work of restoration in my life. I believed I could plot my own course to success and joy but that left me outcast and irrelevant. Living for Christ has afforded me joy, respect and purpose. I credit all that I am and all that I have to God and God alone. I firmly believe had I continued life under my own guidance I would not have a story of celebration to report today.

Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I will abide in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abides in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

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Lent Observance 2009

Posted in Faith & Religion, Life, people, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2009 by Rick

My pastor, my boss and my brother-in-law (all the same guy) has asked that our church staff observe Lent together this year. We will do it in preparation for Passion Week and the recognition of Jesus’ death burial and triumphant resurrection. We will also do it to take a page out of Jesus’ personal preparation manual. Jesus fasted forty days to prepare for His Earthly ministry. We at Fellowship have a new ministry to lead as we look to open a new, second church site in downtown Memphis. So, starting today, each of us on the Fellowship Memphis staff will implement fasts and particular abstinences for forty days leading up to Resurrection Sunday.

There are hundreds of ways to do this. The most common is a meat fast or skipping meals during daylight hours. I’ve been dieting since January so I felt the food fasts would not have the same impact on me spiritually because starving myself is old hat now. So I have decided to abstain from a few other things that will surely cause me to feel a since of longing and sacrifice and ultimately cause me to lean more heavily on God.

I have started by steering clear of purchasing new music. That may seem inconsequential to the average audiophile but I gravitate to new music like moths to a bug zapper. Sometimes I get zapped! It’s rarely enough for me to get the new albums, I have to be one of the first to review them. I almost hate to have a CD recommended to me. I feel like I’m out of touch in some childish way. I am not bragging as much as I’m confessing. I have hundreds of discs and downloads some of which I’ve only listen to once or twice, formulated an opinion on and moved on to the next record. Sometimes I’m content to say boastfully “I have that!” regarding an album that only has one palatable tune. So I will miss the much anticipated release of albums from U2, Gavin Degraw, Busta Rhymes, Mandisa, Ciara, Lionel Richie, New Found Glory, Static X and Chris Cornell. This will spare me from having to endure the sounds of former American Idol Taylor Hicks’ new album, sure to be blaring over Memphis record store speakers.

I hope my music lust looks like this in April

I hope my music lust looks like this in April

There are two other fasts I’m observing that I will post another day. To God be the Glory!

What if…?

Posted in Early Death, Faith & Religion, Family, Life, people, politics, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2009 by Rick

That’s a question my father always asked when explaining to my siblings and I the travesty of abortion. He was conceived as result of date rape. In 1957 his young mother was faced with two unpopular options. She could abort my father, justifiably by many standards. She was young, severely underemployed, and the victim of rape. Her other choice was to have the baby, knowing its father would not be around to support it, and place a heavy burden on her lifestyle and those that loved her. Praise God she chose the later. My father was raised with the support of his mother, grandmother, aunts and uncles, and some close friends of the family and he lived to play significant roles in the lives of his mother, his birth-father, everyone that helped raised him, his eight siblings (papa was a rolling stone for REAL, but found redemption and reconciliation before death) and countless others. My father is now a devout Christ-follower and  a successful husband, father, church elder, friend, brother and business man. His story of triumph in adversity is not an anomaly, but the testament of millions like him who were given a chance to live despite the odds. It all started with mothers’ selfless decision to say abortion is not the only answer to unwanted pregnancy. Granny exercised the audacity of hope.

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SOME of the family

Today I saw a video that my friend Ben Washer posted on his blog after seeing it on BET. It’s not sponsored by a political party, person or organization but by the Fidelis Center for Law & Policy through CatholicVote.com.  I don’t know if it is marketed beyond BET but when I saw it I thought, “What if…?” Like dad, I pondered “What if this man and his unique path had never been actualized?” What would that mean socially and politically in America?

It’s painful to think that our new President, with my vote, will push legislation allowing mothers to snatch hope, potential and possibility out of the hands of deserving lives.  The unborn won’t have the opportunity to follow  in his footsteps. It’s like getting to Heaven and closing the door on those behind you. On this issue, I pray his political rhetoric was just that.

For the record I am not a one-issue-voter. Had the election outcome been different this post would be on a different yet equally painful attrocity in government.

Thanks

Posted in Faith & Religion, Family, Life, people with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2008 by Rick

God is merciful, just, and gracious. He has displayed His faithfulness, favor and forgiveness. God is my hope and salvation and for that, He alone, deserves my worship and praise. I have gotten better about regularly thanking God for the many things He’s given me and spared me from. I truly believe if He never did another thing for me I would still have infinite praise to give. I won’t run down the list but I do want to give thanks for the gift of a loving wife and two awesome children. Thanks God!

Jaxon The Shoe Bandit

Jaxon The Shoe Bandit

Ashlyn The Heart Melter

Ashlyn The Heart Melter

Heather The Queen Of My Heart

Heather The Queen Of My Heart

Psalm 136:1-9

1) O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2) O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. 3) O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. 4) To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever. 5) To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. 6) To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever. 7) To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever: 8 The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: 9) The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Prayer Answered

Posted in Faith & Religion, Life, politics with tags , , on November 7, 2008 by Rick

God,

I’d like to thank you for a very peaceful and well-run election day. No vote tallying controvercy and no violent demonstrations. I am reminded of your sovereignty during this whole process. Thank you for your trancendence.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Dr. James Dobson…Really!?!

Posted in Faith & Religion, people, politics with tags , , , on October 31, 2008 by Rick

Perhaps Dr. James Dobson SHOULD focus on the family and leave the politics to people that don’t run a non-profit. I’m just saying?

Check out author Matthew Paul Turner’s post http://jesusneedsnewpr.blogspot.com/2008/10/silly-dobson.html

I Reserve Judgement So YOU Don’t Have To…!

Posted in Comedy, Entertainment, Faith & Religion, Music, people with tags , , , on September 15, 2008 by Rick

Jesus knew this would happen but he died for us anyway! What a savior!