Strength from weakness

I want to talk about weakness today. Lets be honest we all have them, so take a moment, stop reading and think about yours, however long it takes, I’ll wait. For obvious reasons, it being Lent and all, we have a tendency to self shame ourselves when our weaknesses get the best of us. We feel as though we’ve let ourselves, and more importantly, that we’ve let God down. Like most things in life it’s about perspective. For me, when I find myself closing in on the brink, and the devil is doing everything he can to ruin me, and my weaknesses seem like the strongest things I’ve ever faced…that’s the moment I feel the power of my Faith. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says …
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Now this isn’t a get out of jail(hell) free card, giving cart blanch to sin at will. It’s just another reminder that the power and love of God is greater than anything we can face. And like the prodigal son, we will always be welcomed back when in our hearts we truly want to be. You see it’s really easy to be holy when our minds and spirit are at peace, our task is to find the Holy Spirit within us when our weaknesses start us down that slippery slope and we feel farthest from Him. And no matter if the sin is a momentary thought or full blown action we have to find the strength to let it go, put all of our trust in God, and simply Believe. No matter how dark it feels He is the light. I’ll be praying for you all.

Remember to live the Faith.
God bless.

Imperfect Perfect

     As I was finishing my lunch today a random person from work asked me if I ever felt hypocritical? A bit taken a back I asked what he was talking about, to which he said something along the lines of he saw me bless myself before I ate, but he assumed (correctly) that I sinned in other times of my life.  “Absolutely not!” I answered quickly, “I pray BECAUSE I’m not perfect”.  It was at this point that he probably thought he shouldn’t have tried being funny.  Over the next few minutes he got a quick spiritual life lesson. I told him that imperfections aren’t bad, as long as the end goal is perfect.  Lets be realistic,life isn’t Instagram.  These perfect little moments. Life is messy.  I took a picture out the window and then told him to take a look out of the same window.  In the pic the world is neat and clean…the cars, the sky, the water.  But that’s not real. In real life everything is moving in a chaotic manner.  Those cars are trying to get somewhere and eventually home. The sky, may cloud up and rain or be beaming sunshine, but either way that’s going to help things grow. And the water…well for me it’s going to keep moving until it finally breaks as perfect surf-able waves.  I finished up by saying that I, like the cars, am just trying to get home… Heaven. The sun and the rain, well I hope I can be the light for someone and maybe help them grow in their faith. And as for the waves, I just said surfing is awesome.  But more important than all of that, I told him that Christ came for those of us that know we’re sinners. 

32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”-Luke 5:32

I’ll be praying for you all.
Remember to live the faith.

God bless.


     Now I know it’s still winter, but as I was walking around outside today I couldn’t help but notice the trees starting to bud. Now I’m absolutely a “summer” guy but there’s something about the coming of Spring that reinvigorates my feeling of Hope. Watching as the trees start to awaken from their winter slumber is nothing short of inspiring. It instantly makes me think of what we’re told in Corinthians 13. And although it says “Three things will last forever-Faith, Hope, and Love-and the greatest of these is love” I believe it’s Hope that carries us through our darkest times. I mean Love is the Way…our greatest gift, and Faith is our strength, but Hope…Hope is our light when we struggle to see.  I’ll be praying for you all.  

Remember to live the Faith. 
God Bless. 

Be bold

     Well we’ve made it to the first Friday of Lent, so as we all daydream of cheeseburgers and steak, only because we can’t have it, I’ll leave you with this to strengthen you as those around us question why we do what we do…

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.        

                       -Romans 12:1-2

         Remember this, if for criticism or from curiosity you are questioned, take the opportunity to be bold and respond like it says in Peter 3:15 “ And if someone asks about your hope as a believer always be ready to explain it“.  As always, I’ll be praying for you all.

Remember to live the Faith.
God bless.

The way

Knock knock…how many people instantly thought/said “who’s there”? Sometimes in life we’ve done things for so long it just becomes “the way”. At times it’s something silly as a “knock knock” joke, but other times it can be how we interact, or see others interacting, with the world around us. There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “the most dangerous phrase is: we’ve always done it this way”. Let me ask you how often do you act or react to certain situations based on that thought process. Now I know there are times when it holds true, but not always. The undertaking is learning when it’s not the case. One of my goals this Lent is to get myself back on the right path, because the truth is there is only one way…Jesus.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…. -John 14:6

So yesterday Kerri and I were talking about our goals for Lent and how daunting it was going to be so she suggests that if we feel like we’re going to faultier to say a prayer. I thought this was a brilliant idea, especially since how often was I really going to need it. After a little thought I decided if I needed it I would say an Our father for forgiveness and a Hail Mary for strength. No problem…well over the course of the day today I repeated this contrition six times! As 3:30 rolled around I couldn’t get home fast enough, so obviously there was delays on the subway. Accordingly by the time I reached Herald Square I was running down 34th St to make my train. In the midst of my mad dash, in the distance I saw a homeless guy struggling to stand up as the horde of commuters were pushing their way into Penn Station. As I reached that side of 7th Ave I stopped right in front of him. With my back to the oncoming crowd I reached my hand out and asked if he was ok. “All good now Leatherneck” was his response. Caught off guard for a moment, forgetting I am wearing a Marine Corps sweatshirt I snapped back with an “oorah”. After helping him up and off to the side, we spoke in the pleasantries that former marines do. Him asking if I was a “Hollywood Marine” because I’m wearing shorts in February and me responding that his softness was obviously because he wasn’t 3rd Battalion. We spoke for a minute or two but I had to resume my run to get to the train, so I handed him a bottle of water and said “Semper Fi brother”. He looked up at me and said “Marines never quit do we?” I shook his hand and said “no we don’t. God bless”, and was off. As I sit on the train now I wonder how many times have I passed that same man and never even gave a second glance. I don’t know if I’ll see that guy tomorrow or ever again, but what I do know is the way I feel after doing something so simple but at the same time so right makes all the difficulties that I went through during the day fadeaway. I’m honestly looking forward for the rest of this journey. Maybe just like the response to a “knock knock” joke this will just be the way.

Remember to live the faith.
God bless

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[a] you were doing it to me!’ -Mathew 25:40

Cleaning the slate

Before I begin I just want to say that as I read the Bible whenever a certain chapter, verse, or line hits me I make a mark so I can go back at a later time to reread it. So as I was looking through my Bible to pick a topic to talk about today I opened to Mathew 6:22-23.

22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!     -Mathew 6:22-23 

After reading it a couple of times it hit me that it’s a pretty good passage to start our Lenten journey with because sometimes it’s difficult to truly see our own faults. We have no problem pointing out the flaws in others, but in ourselves….not so much. Or maybe we see it but brush it off because we’re “normally good”, and my favorite during Lent is the “well I messed up already today, I’ll just start again tomorrow” attitude. Unfortunately that’s not how this works, but when you can’t or won’t see the errors in yourself it becomes difficult to genuinely see right from wrong anywhere. But that’s the beauty of Lent. We’re given this opportunity to hit a spiritual reset button. To look beyond our own vanity, and humble ourselves to God. In baptism we all received the indelible mark on our foreheads, cleansing us of original sin… cleaning the slate. Today when we receive ashes on our foreheads, it’s a reminder for both ourselves and the world around us that we acknowledge that we are imperfect, but repentant, and we’re doing this because Christ sacrificed Himself for us…cleaning the slate. So as this journey begins, remember we are all in it together. I’ll be praying for you all.

Remember to Live the Faith.

God bless.

A Lent conversation

I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.-1Cor 2:5

     So every year around now as spring approaches I find my thoughts floating to topics like “when should I start seeding and fertilizing”, “how do I find a way to surf…everyday”, and of course “what do I give up for Lent?”!       A while back I had read an article about how people tend to try and keep God at a safe distance. Almost like we’re don’t want to get too close to him out of fear of what He’ll ask us to do. When I first read it I was moved by the idea, but quickly let the thought fade away. Then, as Ash Wednesday crept closer the typical “Lent” conversations that take place between Catholics began to happen and I was reminded of the article. Although there has been a few people that were truly looking to test themselves and sacrifice, most had a reserved or even nonchalant attitude about it. What’s funny is, as I would listen to other people talk, in my mind, I would pass judgment. Either commending them for being willing to do so much, or silently chastising for not. But it wasn’t until this morning that it all became clear. My judgmental thoughts were meant for me.  I realized that over the last year or so I’ve become almost complacent in my faith. And what I mean by that is for a long time I saw myself as someone who was, for lack of a better, aggressive with my faith.  But at some point I started living my faith based on the actions from the past. I’m not sure if it’s ignorance or vanity that somehow made me believe that my ideas, my thoughts, or my plans were somehow better or greater than His. That the view I have of myself has become so distorted to think that I can judge anyone.  The truth is I’m not worthy to judge myself, much less others.  Delving a bit deeper on this spiritual realization I thought of last Lent.  It was a less than stellar performance on my part.  The entire situation is truly disappointing when I put it all together.  So here we are, it all starts tomorrow.  Lent.  When I think about all the things I have asked of God over the course of my life, between daily prayers to the more serious pleas, then I can absolutely do something for Him for 40 days.  So as the sun rises on Wednesday I’ll be doing a little seeding and fertilizing on a spiritual level.  And like Peter in the midst of the wind and waves said…

                  28 … “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

                   29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 

-Matt 14:28-29 If Peter was willing to put aside his fears and bring God close to him and “surf” with Christ, then I will too…everyday. Last week I spoke with someone how aggressive I would respond when I felt that someone was attacking my faith. Looking at it now, “aggressive” doesn’t sound very Christ like, so now it’s a time for “active patience”. No judgements. No quick gut reactions. But absolutely living and sharing the Faith regardless of what or who is in front of me. After all the blessings that God has given me in my life I’m not gonna keep Him or His plan at a distance anymore. So if His plan has me and Kerri as missionaries, teaching the Word, a little of both, or just doing what I’m doing as long as I’m “surfing every day” it’s all good.
Remember to always Live the faith.
God bless.

Lamp post inspiration

It’s in the moments when we are least looking for it that inspiration most often appears. So at around 3:30 this morning, as I climbed out of a manhole feeling exhausted and just rough from wrestling with cables for four hours, I look up and see this. And just like that I was smiling again. #jesus #oneway #onlyinmanhattan #lamppostinspiration #nyc

People forget

Before I begin I just want to say that for a couple of reasons I was reluctant to write this. One reason is that I feel when ever someone does something for someone else it shouldn’t be glorified if it’s the right thing to do, but it’s what happened at the end is why I needed to say it.

All in all I’m a pretty simple man. I don’t wear flashy clothes (my wardrobe is pretty much cargo shorts and t-shirts year round), and I’ll sooner try and fix something that breaks before replacing it with something new. But every now and again I want, what I refer to as, a bourgeois coffee. You know what I’m talking about. Just about anything on the Starbucks menu, regardless if it’s cold or hot it’s covered with foam, whip cream, and caramel! Today was one of those days. So I put a little money to the side ($15) and figured I’d grab something in Penn Station this morning while waiting for my train. Weaving through the crowds at this seemingly perpetually filled station, I finally arrived at the Starbucks that I usually go to (there are 3 in Penn Station) for my indulgence in excess. But for some reason as I got to the door I stopped. I suddenly didn’t want the coffee. Within a minute of me standing there a man, probably not much older than me, walks up and in an almost whisper asks if I have any change. I reach into my pocket and pull out the five dollar bill and hand it to him. Appearing a little stunned, I can only assume he was literally expecting change…or nothing at all. We spoke for a moment, he said thank you I said God bless and he was off. A few minutes go by and I’m still debating in my head about going in, I mean I can still get the bourgeois coffee just no lemon cake (as you can see I’ve done this before) when an older man walks up to me. At initial glance, the clothes and facial tattoos made me expect a confrontation. Yes I was being judgmental, but sometimes it’s safer to air on the side of caution. Then in a soft spoken, almost apologetic manner he said that if I could give him just a moment he’d be out of my way, and then asked if I “had just 4 quarters”. I said ,”I’ll tell you what buddy I don’t have any change, but I’ll give you this” as I handed him a folded ten dollar bill. His look went from disappointment to confusion. After looking up and down at his hand a few times he whispered ,”you made a mistake it’s ten dollars”. I told him,”it’s not a mistake, it all I have left.” Then simply said, “God bless”.

The next few moments are why I’m writings this down. It was both heartbreaking and heart lifting at the same time.

As he reached out his hand to say thank you, without a thought I shook his hand a gave him the “guy hug”. He looked at me and said “who are you? This was great” motioning to the money ,” but you hugged me…most people wouldn’t hug me”. I said, “we’re all just people right? Sometimes people just forget.” He stood there for a moment not sure what to say so I told him to go outside and soak up this unusually nice January day and God bless. As I walked away, my train platform was announced, heading down the stairs to my train the scripture quote “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me” (Mathew25:40) was running through my head. And the reality is it wasn’t about the money. Although I’m sure they both appreciated it, it was the conversation. It was the simple human contact and being treated like everyone else. I think that’s what we forget sometimes. Let’s face it we all start the same, and we all will face the same judgment in the end, and even though everything that happens in between may be different, we are all the same in God’s eyes. As soon we can learn to see each other through His eyes and not the ones we’ve created the world will be a better place. Now that I think about it, that was one of the best bourgeois coffee I ever had.

As much as I want people to remember, I am almost uneasy telling this because the unfortunate reality is there are a lot of bad people who try to prey on the goodwill of others. My size (5’10 250lbs) allows me the ability to put myself out there with less fear of something bad occurring. With that I still tend to air on the side of caution, just learning to do that without being judgmental. Alas we’re all just works in progress. Thanks for stopping by. Remember to live the Faith. God bless.

More than Kris Kringle

As we are entering the second week of December, and are now almost 10 days into Advent, I feel the need to bring up a point that too many people seem to miss this time of year. Advent is just as much of a time to prepare ourselves for the returning of Christ as Lent. Between the over commercialization of the season, and the anticipation and act of exchanging gifts it’s real easy to “forget” or dismiss the importance of the holiday on a spiritual level. Forget the commercialization aspect for a moment and just see it from perspective of a birthday. How can you blame anyone from getting caught up in the festive idea of the birth of Jesus. Now add in the gifts and “birthday party” mentality, sprinkle in some eggnog and a few Christmas songs, top it off with a tree and Kris Kringle and as happy of a time as it seems the day has become paper thin. Now before you start to respond with “Scrooge” or “bah humbug” let me just say that, like Easter, Christmas Day is a joyful celebration. And for the record I love eggnog! But THIS time…Advent…is for remembering the trials that Mary and Joseph went through in months, days, and literally minutes before the birth of Christ, as well as our time to prepare ourselves for when Christ will return. Whether it’s the birth, the rising, or the second coming of Jesus it is an absolutely joyous moment for us and should be celebrated accordingly. But like those who came before us, we must be ready…we must be worthy…of this gift. And we must be willing to teach others about this. So as we all (myself included) find ourselves over indulging in eggnog and holiday treats, while humming the same three Christmas songs we’ve heard a dozen times today, as we slip further into financial debt please take some time every day to center yourself with prayer, and put into perspective the TRUE debt we owe and the joy we will not just feel but live when He returns.
God bless. Merry Christmas. #advent #christmas #christ #jesus #reasonfortheseason