Infinitely More!

Infinitely More!

The bills piled on the desk in two stacks, need paid, and pay later. The money wasn’t flowing in like it once did and the realization that they were living above their means was becoming more and more apparent; but how to break the cycle wasn’t coming to mind.  Jim and Amanda, had been married for eight years, both once had great paying jobs but when the economy turned down so did their employers. Amanda was laid off first and could only fined part time work in a cafe. Although she loved her job it barely kept food on their table. Jim was a bit more lucky in his employment.

Simon’s, was a local appliance store, Jim sold refrigerators. Although, the business had downsized its employee’s Jim had been spared thus far but sales were down and therefore so was his commission. He brought home enough to pay the mortgage so at least they had a home but the decision was do they keep the heat and electricity or keep the car, the only car they had between the two. Jim mostly drove the car to and from work, Amanda took the bus. The discussion went back and forth, there were times Jim worked a later shift and the buses stopped running at 7. He could walk home but that was 7 miles. He could ask a co worker but there were times he closed the store and would lock up alone. It seemed everything they could think of had its down side and things were only looking worse. Recently, Jim found out that Simon’s would be letting another sales associate go at the end of the month if sales didn’t significantly improve.

Rick lived across the street and had been pretty much unfazed by the down turn in the economy as he was the leading marquee name at the Law Offices of Brown & Marquez. Rick would see Jim and Amanda work in the yard, walking their dog ‘Digger’ and they always seemed friendly and welcoming. He saw them one other place each week and that was church. Faithfully every Sunday, Jim and Amanda sat just in front of Rick. Rick was struck by their joy in worship, even though he knew some of their struggle. Not because Jim and Amanda complained but through conversations of life.

Amanda mentioned one morning when she was out with “Digger” that she had been laid off by the advertising agency where she had worked. However, she was so thankful that Cups was hiring and that they hired her.  He had just had a conversation the night before with Jim’s boss, Mr. Simon’s. Mr. Simon’s shared of the difficult decisions he was faced with when Rick was in buying a new washer and dryer.

On this particular Sunday the Pastor presented a message out of Ephesians on the Church and the provision of God. He read from Chapter 3:14-21:

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

That was when it became clear to Rick that God was going to provide for Jim and Amanda. Jesus, speaking directly to Rick’s heart through His Word. Rick heard Jesus say, “‘Rick, today you will invite Jim and Amanda out to dinner. You will share with them how God has been working in you mightily and how I have directed you in ‘love’ to help them financially.’ Rick,” the Lord continued, “Pay off their car releasing them from that burden allowing them to put their money to better use supplying their needs. Also, offer Amanda the receptionist position you are about to post.”

That day Jesus did more than Jim and Amanda could ever ask or think and Jim felt the mighty hand of God at work in him.

What is the Lord calling you to do? Or how is He calling you to trust Him?

You are loved,

cj

Die and Live

Die and Live

Colossians 2:6-9 CEB

“So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received Him. Be rooted and built up in Him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught. See to it that nobody enslaves you with philosophy and foolish deception, which conform to the human traditions and the way the world thinks and acts rather than Christ. All the fullness of deity lives in Christ’s body.”

We are to die and live in Christ. The letter to the Colossians is a great educator to this fact.  Even as much as we are all individuals and our lives are starkly different from each other; our circumstances and history, our influences and struggles, these all differ…it is still true that in the eyes of Christ we are the same. In that He loves us, died for us and calls us to live in Him.

Therefore, although we are different we are all on the same journey and have the ability to speak life into each others lives.  We are the same even with all of our differences. Lets us all have the mind of Christ. Rooted and built up in Him.

You are loved,

cj

A Man’s Best Friend

A Man’s Best Friend

my best friend is a Miniature Australian Shepherd or mini aussie for short named Shiloh.  He is the coolest dog i have ever had the privilege of calling friend. You know what they say about dogs, “a dog is a man’s best friend”. Shiloh is that dog.  He goes with me most places. Has his own profile on my MinHub Youth Ministry App, he has his own Facebook and Instagram…he might even Tweet.  He is the happiest to see me on any given day and twice as much when i have been gone all day.  However, as stated before he goes most places with me.

One day when i was trying to understand Shiloh a bit more i googled searched his breed and read that Mini Aussie’s suffer from separation anxiety. This causes them to chew things up and or act out.  Since reading that i have made it a point to bring him along with me more often. In fact as i write this he is sitting at my feet under my desk.  He knows some tricks, enjoys playing fetch, walks beside me without a leash, comes when i call, has his door that he likes to use when getting in the van and sits on my lap. He is pretty much my snoopy and i am his Charlie Brown.

When i think of my relationship with Shiloh i can’t help but think of how God desires us; Not to do tricks but to use our talents to bring Him joy. To bring others to Him. To walk beside Him freely. To come when He calls. To use our prayer closet regularly. To sit with Him.

i know a dog isn’t the best analogy since we are not dogs and Jesus does not consider us pets…but the response, the bareness of the relationship i think reflects the heart of the Father well.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

You are Loved,

cj