Phone Calls

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I’m an old soul, born circa ’93 but in my heart, I feel like I’m from an earlier era.  I love phone calls.  Yep, I’m one of those weird people that rather receive a phone call than an email or a text message.  It’s something about hearing the voice of those you love, it’s comforting yet exciting.  It’s a simple way of building connection and intimacy, two things that I hold dear.

I have a friend who is a master of connection.  She is the only one I know that loves phone calls, facetime, and face to face meetings.  It’s like she feels no anxiety as she bares herself to me in conversation.  Every time I’m with her I feel safely loved, heard and just free to be myself!  Over the past eight months, she has taught me about connection: both with God and others.

I realized that I shied away from connection because it allowed people to see me. And I mean see me: in rawness, brokenness and undone.  Yet, it is this baring of oneself that builds intimacy and connection.  If you cannot see me fully, then you cannot know me and you cannot love me.  Now, I find myself putting my phone down in the company of others, preferring face time calls, and wanting to have amazing conversations over a hot cup of coffee.  I prefer connection because to me:  it’s raw, it’s intimate, and it’s real.  Who wants to be in relationships and cannot be real?  Who wants to invest in something that only appears to be close?  That only appears to be solid?  Not me.  I’m good without the facade.  Give me the real, where I can hear in your voice that you’re not good.  The real, where I don’t have to decode your text messages or wonder why you used a certain emoji?  Instead of laughing emojis, I want to hear the ones I love laugh and I want to know that they are laughing from a genuine place.  At the end of the day, we all want something real.  Now, for my friends who are not like me, I’ve mastered my text game: GIFS, emojis, and short paragraphs of text but in my heart, I love a good phone call!

So why talk about phone calls? Well… maybe because we live in a world where people desperately want to feel connected.  To something, to anything; to someone, to anyone.  There are people all around us who want to know that they are seen, heard, loved and valued.  If we look up from our screens and start looking into the face of those around us, maybe we will build connections based on the raw, based on the real.  It’s harder to forget about those whose voices you hear frequently- that’s why when someone is around you all the time, you find yourself feeling closer to them.  On the flip side, those we only engage with via social media from time to time and even through an occasional text, sometimes we forget about them.  We forget to see how they are doing, beyond the highlight reel, we forget that we were once apart of their lives.  Our friendships lack communication, our relationships lack depth and before you know it, it’s easier to move on breaking covenants because what we had lacked the real- it lacked connection beyond a keyboard.

I encourage you to look up!  To be aware of those around you.  I encourage you to come out of your comfort zone and to connect.  I love phone calls, but it’s because at the end of the day I am okay with vulnerability. Are you okay with being vulnerable?  Are you okay with revealing who you are to have depth in your relationships? It’s okay if you’re not ready yet.  It’s okay if vulnerability frightens you, but I can guarantee that the level of love you desire is only coming through vulnerability.  What you want in your friendships and relationships is only going to come through revealing who you are, baring yourself to your inner circle.  Depth only comes through the raw, it’s only strengthened through the real. Happy connecting!

Xoxo,

Simone 

 

 

Shades Down, Lights Off

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

I’m not okay.  At all.   Not even close.  I think for a long time, I painted this face of being always happy but I’m not happy not one bit and the more I think about it the more I want to reveal exactly where I am.  There’s a saying that those who can’t, teach.  I’ve invested my whole life into loving people well because I sought to be loved well.  I’ve invested my whole career into advocating for people because I know exactly what it feels like to not have anyone advocate for me.  I push community on others because I would be rich if I had a quarter for every time I felt alone.  In fact, I feel alone now.   I wish I could change that thing about me, I wish I could say I had more good days than bad but truthfully that’s not the case.  Even now, though the sun is outside and it’s beauty is radiating… I’m in my room the shades down and the lights off, wondering if I can really do this thing called life.  It took me twice as long to figure out if I was going to church this morning because it took me a solid hour and some change to figure out if I still wanted to continue breathing.  Like, if I disappeared off the face of the planet, would it really matter?  If my presence disappeared from my apartment, my school, my church or my job- would anyone actually care?  At this moment, I understand so deeply what Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain felt, to be surrounded by people that don’t know you, who are oblivious to the inward turmoil that you’re facing because they assume by your success, position, gifting and outward garments that you’re okay.

I’m done pretending that my faith has positioned me on some pedestal, and I’m over pretending that there are no days when I want to let go.  Today was one of those days… the idea that I have to be strong is overrated and the fact of the matter is: I need God as much as you do. In fact, I need Him now!  I need him to sort out the messiness of my mind, I need his help to break destructive patterns, I need his love to soothe the pain.  I need him now and I refuse to live another day hiding my feelings for the conveniences of others.  It’s okay to not be okay.

Xoxo,

Simone

Giddy

Paused but for a moment an unusual excitement takes over me….

I don’t understand  it’s just a picture – how could this be?

Though miles apart, our hearts are woven together.

I better…be careful, I feel in over my head yet I dread

spending another second separated from you.

Whoo… I feel giddy.

Not overwhelmed, yet slightly overtaken.

Not anxious, yet extremely nervous- cheesy smiles consume my lips

and your name is on my tongue, maybe I was wrong to think that the love I had

for you doesn’t exist anymore I don’t know my brain is moving really quick and I feel

a ramble coming on, OMG, OMG…there you are!  In…picture form,

yet your smile has this magical way of overtaking me, making me all warm and

fuzzy.

I’m just a little giddy,

a little silly

while in love with you.

©Simone Holloway, 2017

FIC: http://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3389/3204002130_cc0538d41f_z.jpg?zz=1

Examine Yourself

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers- 

Have you ever had one of those “reality check” moments?  Like, one of those times when you became aware of who you truly were? I think we all have moments like these and they come when we have ignored the voice of God way too long.  I had one of those moments a few hours ago, I realized that I needed to be real with myself and with God.  Sometimes we are not in the situations we face because of the Enemy or the devil, we are in our predicaments because of us.  We placed ourselves in these various circumstances but then look to God and blame Him for our situation.  It’s not God’s fault but ours.  That’s a tough pill to swallow but it is not until we come into truth that we can: be free.  Jesus said,  “For you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. (John 8:32) “  It is the truth that sets us free, not our fantasies, excuses and rejection of what truly is – but truth.  So today, I came face to face with some hard truth about myself and it was that truth that compelled my desire to change.

With today being first Sunday, I know my home church performed communion.  My mom always read 1  Corinthians 11:28a, “But let a man examine himself…” This practice of examining ourselves is this check to determine our standing with God.  Sometimes we can become  so comfortable in our sin that we forget that our standing with God matters.  Christianity is not solely about Heaven, but what is the point to spend so many days in church just to end up in Hell? Why waste our precious time to live halfway committed to God?

We halfway worship,  we halfway praise.  We know all the scriptures, but can’t live them out.  We can speak in some kind of tongue, dance a church down with our coordinated two -step but can’t live and speak holy.  What is the point to do the most, if I’m not going to spend eternity with Him?  I’m at this place in my life,  where church homiletics and routines are no l longer cutting it.  I’m no longer trying to look the part of a Christian, I’m about being a Christian in all its entirety.  If I’m going to look a part, I’m just deceiving myself.

Today  I came to myself, I recognized that my heart and my mind was keeping me from this next place in God.  I needed a new heart, a new mind, a new outlook on life.  The cycle of barely trusting God, believing one day and then complaining tomorrow was going to keep me in stuck in a mediocre relationship with God.  I saw myself as super selfish, super whiny and someone who was more blessed than I realized.  Yes, life is tough but everyone’s life is tough and that’s why we have a God who is more concerned with us than we are sometimes with him.  God is not asking for my complaints, He is seeking my heart to trust him in the midst of where I am.

If we judge ourselves, we don’t have to worry about anyone judging us.

One of the teens in my church’s youth group preached a message called, “Check Yourself.” and I speak that to each of you – check yourself.  Are you who you say you are?  Are you as devout to the gospel as you appear to be?  Looks can be deceiving…. If you’re not where you need to be in God, get there and get there fast because we don’t have time to keep up appearances.  We don’t have time to appear to be whole when we are indeed broken.  We don’t have time to appear to be free when we are truly bound.  We don’t have time to fake our peace living in a state of torment.  We don’t have time …

When we are honest with ourselves, it is then we are made whole. It is truth that sets us free and it is confession that heals us.  I don’t know about y’all but I am ready to live in the fullness of what God created for me to be. I am ready to change.  I am ready…

Until next time,

Simone

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

He Think He Slick…

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

Hey y’all!  Today has been a great day, filled with peace and relaxation, but today as I was checking out the profiles of some of the those that follow me on Tumblr- I became upset by one of the pages I saw.  This person’s page looked like it was a Christian page, with a scripture here or there- but the images that came up were explicit perverse images.  I was HEATED  because as someone who was delivered from perversion, I hate it when I am surprised by perverse things.  I choose not to watch explicit scenes, I choose not to use bad language, I’ve changed and therefore I don’t invite perversion into my atmosphere or into my life.  As an individual on the road of purity; in my mind, actions and soul- I go to extremes to maintain my lifestyle in pursuit of pleasing God with my life.  SO I WAS HIGHLY HEATED…when my eyes saw some things that it shouldn’t have, HIGHLY HEATED….

But I think, I was more upset that this person pretended to be something that they weren’t.  They had this facade of purity but their blog didn’t reflect the mask that they wore.  I hate it when people pretend.  If you are dealing with perverse thoughts and you like to have sex and watch porn- then just admit it!  Don’t lie about it and pretend to be something that isn’t true.  I rather someone flat out tell me that they are bound to sin than to lie to me and that they aren’t.  That’s just me. When I was struggling with porn- I came out and told the truth and this honesty produced freedom in my life.

But you know what the Enemy think he slick… that after I ran into my accidental discovery that I was going to revert back to my past lifestyle.  That I was going to yearn and desire pornography.  That I was going to voluntarily make my bed in hell, but he’s stupid because I’m NEVER going back!!!! NEVER!!!!

I’ve made up in my mind that I was no longer living in a mindset of sneaking around, doing things that I wasn’t supposed to do because of some temporary thrill of pleasure.  A pleasure that left me empty, guilty and seeking to end my life.  I’m NEVER going back and right now y’all I am so mad at the enemy, I can’t stand his guts.

You know fam, he comes to steal, kill and destroy.  He comes to trick you back in to bondage and to throw away the key, but I am so happy that greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.  God is greater, He is bigger, He is more powerful than sin and the Enemy.  HE IS!!! 

Well…. I guess my rant is over, thought I would share my raw thoughts with you and I wanted to encourage you to be real.  I don’t care if you believe in God or if you don’t. I don’t care if you know “Christian” language or if you don’t.  I don’t care if you are church-ed or unchurch-ed.  All I care about is your authenticity, the realness of your soul.  So if you say you are a person of faith, be a person of faith.  If you say you love God, then love God. If say you live for Him, then live for Him.

Don’t pretend. Don’t make things up.  Don’t lie.  Be real!

Until next time,

Mo 🙂

Featured Image Credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/b7/40/99/b74099ddc4e8faf76f63189d5685d439.jpg

Look How Far

There's something I have to do,
I just want to take a moment to
address something dear to my heart
I could go on and on but I'll just start
with this...
my face glowing like I just experienced a kiss
a smile on my lips
happiness hanging around my hips
and I uber surprised
just realized
that I've come a long way
in my character, integrity, and overall public display.
I've grown from being a chief pretender
to being more real and learning to surrender
to the One that made me
in authentic love I am free
and from my soul joy flows from
look how far I have come
©Simone Holloway, 2015

Featured Image Credit: http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/74/f7/db/74f7db75732d9881db449c98e06d6e00.jpg

Christian In Title Only

Hello Authentic Lovers

If you are new to the Authentic Love family, welcome!  It’s nice to meet you all and I look forward to sharing with you.

Today’s topic of choice is a hard one to swallow but is something that is necessary to mention, especially with the condition of the world we live in.  I have been hesitant to discuss this subject but after much prayer and renewed confidence in God- I decided that telling the truth was more important than how others felt about me addressing that said truth.  I think I am learning to embrace that what others think about me is not as important as what God thinks and His purpose for my life.

I was studying a few verses in Luke, Luke 6:37-49 to be exact, but it was the 46th verse that really stuck out to me.

Jesus said “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

This verse really stuck out to me because it solidified my belief that faith produces change.  The thing about Christianity is that it is supposed to be a relationship with Jesus Christ, not a popularity contest or something to push one’s own ambition.  This faith in Jesus Christ is reflected in what we do: how we treat others and how we change our world. Think about it- Love is an action word.  It’s a verb, it’s something you do.  It’s the same with this relationship with Christ, it’s something you do.  It becomes apart of you, like your next breath and your life is supposed to change.

I guess the concern I have with modern Christianity, is the lack of change.  I can be a Christian, according to modern standards, and still live my life the same way I did before I gave my heart to Christ.  It’s like being a Christian is a label I can put on and off when I go to church or want to pass judgment on someone else.  Modern Christianity= being a Christian in title only.  It is not the desire of God that men only know about Him but it is His will that we come to really know Him ( for who He is.)  When you come to know people you change, especially if you love that person romantically.  You come to love the things they love and hate the things they hate.  You come to really value their opinion and want the best for them.  You come to want to spend time with that person and see them happy. Love makes you do these things.  Love is real.

This type of Christianity is not real and very misleading…Christ came so that we may change, out of a lifestyle of sin into victory.  Christ did not come so that we remain bound to things and defeated.  If that was the case, why serve God?  Why believe that someone who you have never met, loved you so much to die for you?  Why believe in this love if you are going to live a defeated life?  If nothing is supposed to change? We are supposed to change and to change the world around us through the saving knowledge and love of Jesus Christ.

So today being that it is #FreedomFriday, I want to encourage you to reevaluate your relationship with God.  Are you truly a Christian? Or just one in title only?  You do what other Christians do but you do not have a relationship with Christ .  You go to church, but you don’t know God.  You do nice things and you have good morals, yet God is not the first and foremost important person in your life.  Our love for God shows in how we live our lives- like all labels, after awhile they fall off and reveal who we truly are.  

I want to encourage you all to come to know Jesus for yourself. If we’re going to carry His name, we should know him – right?  So get to really know Jesus Christ and I can guarantee a lifetime of adventure, laughter, and purpose.  

I love you all ❤

Until next time,

Mo 🙂

Featured Image Credit: http://www.lovegodgreatly.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/labels2-1024×680.jpg

Searching for Something Real ( Aletra’s Story)

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers – 

Today is “Freedom Friday” and as I promised last week, I am sharing one of my favorite stories with you. Today’s story was submitted to me by my good friend and sister, Aletra.  Aletra is a fellow God-lover, Kingdom-builder, prayer-warrior and just plain loving person.  She is amazing and she has an amazing story that I thought you guys should hear.  She wrote her story for you guys, so here it goes… Aletra’s story. 

“I was ambivalent about talking about my life when Mo asked if she could write about the different paths that I took, in my search of a true relationship with God.  I wanted to share, but I did not know how much I wanted to share.  Then I realized that there is nothing to be ashamed of.  So I will tell what needs to be told, nothing more.

 I grew up in much dysfunction most of my life.  When I was five, my father brought my brother and me (and left my baby sister with my mother) down south to live with my grandmother.  She was very, very, very strict and no nonsense.

 I went to church with my grandmother when I was a young child.  She belonged to Rockfish A.M.E. Church. They met the fourth Sunday of each month.  The rest of the month she would send me to Adoram Baptist Church with one of her friends.  I never thought much about, being a kid and all.  It was fun because I got to dress up and got to see my friends.

 When I would go to the A.M.E Church with my grandmother, I would be afraid sometimes because the preacher would lean over the pulpit talking about hellfire and damnation. That is not what frightened so much as all the sweating and yelling that he was doing.  Sometimes it looked as though he was going to have a heart attack or something from all that yelling and sweating (a child’s thought process).  As a child that stuff was scary.  The church was an older congregation.  There was one lady in the choir who looked as though she was having a seizure (fit back in those days).  She was the only person I had ever seen doing that.  In my infantile mind I thought she was going to have a heart attack or something also.  After a few minutes she was alright.  I did not get it.

 Then I would go to Adoram Baptist Church with my grandmother’s friend, and it was a totally different atmosphere.  The Pastor was reserved, and he did not sweat or yell.  His wife beautiful, dainty and was always beautifully dressed.  The congregation was quiet and reserved, and the service was short.  I just went to see my friends for a little while.

However when I was seven, my father came to get us and took us back to New York to live with him, his common-law wife and her two sons who hated my brother and me; it was even more frightening, because we were back in the dysfunction again.  We did not go to church.  Finally when I was eight, I told my father that I did not like living with them and he took by brother and me to live with our mother and sister (I found out later that she had a different father).  More dysfunction.  We did not go to church.  When I was 12, my brother, sister and I went to live with my father, his “wife” and her two sons (total dysfunction, and too much to tell). 

 We were told to go to the Catholic Church, but none of us understood Latin so we would go to Mass every Sunday, make the sign of the cross on our heads with holy water, and then take the money we were supposed to put in church and go to the store to buy candy, and then take our time walking home.  There was no adult supervision so they did not know whether we went or not.

When I became an adult, I do not know why but I had a desire for religion of some kind.  I did not know about relationship. I went to Lutheran churches, Methodist churches, Baptist churches, all to no avail.  I did not get anything out of them.  I did not know what I was looking for.  In my finite mind I guess, for lack of a better phrase, I did not understand the whole “religion” experience.

 My children’s aunt invited me to go with her to a meeting.  I accepted the invitation not knowing what I was about to get into.  She took me to a home meeting of the Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist in New York City.  I had never experienced anything like it before, and I was thoroughly intrigued.  After the meeting that night I decided to become a member.  It was a really weird time in my life, considering all the other stuff that was going on (more dysfunction, and too much to tell) at that point in time.

 My father had to go out of town one weekend.  He asked me to take my grandmother to his church that Sunday.  I said that I would.  We went to a Baptist Church (which I will not name).  How it had changed from when I was a child.  It reminded me of the A.ME. Church.  However, I was not afraid.  After all I just went to take my grandmother to church as a favor for my father.  I was not interested in anything else.  After all, I was Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist.  I did not care about any other religions. 

 As the service continued, the Pastor made the Altar Call.  I felt this heat go all through my body.  I heard a Voice say “Go up”, and I felt a push.  I began to cry, and got up and went forward.  I joined the church, but I was never asked to give my life to Christ.  I didn’t know.  I went back to the evening service and was baptized.  After that night, I never went back to that church, nor did anyone ever check up on me.  The only thing that I received from them several months later were some tithe envelopes.  I never heard from anyone in that church again.  My father never even spoke with me about it.  So I continued on my journey as a Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist.  I was a member for four years.  However, I began to realize that Buddhism was not for me, and I left the sect (cult).  I had no real desire for religion for a long, long, long time after that.  I just lived my life the way I wanted to.  I was my god.  I did whatever I wanted to do, however I wanted to do it, whenever I wanted to do it, and I did not answer to anyone.

 I moved to Wisconsin some years later.  I was on my journey to find the “religion” experience again; and while there I became a Jehovah’s Witness.  I began to see the double standards within the organization (cult).  I now know that they were like the Pharisees.  They set laws in place for the congregation to live by, yet they did not live by the laws that they put in place.  Again, I was a member for four years. I had had enough.  What’s with the number 4?

 I began to realize that I was looking to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, not a “religion” experience but I had been going about it the wrong way.  I had no one in my life to discuss this with, because no one in my life was in church.  However, I began to purpose in my heart that I was going to join a church and dedicate the rest of my life to serving Him.  I knew nothing about being saved.  I just wanted to join a church and dedicate my life to Him for the rest of my life.

 Shortly, after that I move back to New York (I had been living in Wisconsin for ten years at this point).  I moved back on July 1, 2001.  I had not looked for a church, or a job for that matter, because I was not in the frame of mind at that time to do so.  I decided to take a few months to relax before I went out job hunting.  I was living with a man who had no desire for God, so at that time it was not a priority (unintentional of course).  I just had not given it much thought.

 When 911 happened, I became so depressed that I decided that I had to go back to work somewhere.  I called my former employer and was able to go back to work there.  I began to get the desire for Jesus again, and I decided that I was going to join a church.  Little did I know what God had in mind for me.   The HR representative who interviewed me began to tell me that I was very spiritual (go figure).  She began to tell me about a woman Pastor who worked there that she wanted me to meet.  However, it was months before I ever got an opportunity to meet this Pastor.

 It happened that we were both in the Administration building one day, and the HR representative had the chance to introduce us.  The Pastor was Co-Pastor Angela.  We greeted each other like we had known each other for years, but had not seen each other in a long time.    Pastor Angela volunteered to pick me up in the mornings, but she left work before I got off, so I had to take the train and then a bus, and had walk four blocks to get home after midnight (another story too long to tell).    

 Co-Pastor Angela invited me to visit her church, and I went that Sunday.  I really enjoyed the service.  She invited me to attend a Women’s Conference that she was having the following week.  I went and I was like “what’s going on here?!”  People were falling out on the floor, speaking funny, acting like that lady in the choir at Rockfish A.M.E.  I did not understand it.  Needless to say, I did not attend the rest of the conference.  However, when Co-Pastor invited me to visit her church again the following Sunday, I went.  I gave my life to the Lord, went through membership class, and joined Open Door Ministries.  That was in 2002. 

 I left one relationship that was not in my best interest, for the best relationship I could ever ask for.  There are some challenges as I am ever growing in my walk with Christ, but I have not looked back, nor have I ever regretted my decision to serve the Almighty God for the rest of my life.  I may not be where He wants me to be right now, but at least I not where I was.  Hallelujah!!!

 Submitted by:

Aletra”

I decided to share Aletra’s story because I believed that she was relatable.  Like so many of us, Aletra spent years searching for something, something more than what she was experiencing already.  We sear our whole lives for something more and yet end up unfulfilled.  That is what I love about Aletra’s story, she went from searching for something to finding peace and contentment in Christ.  She is the proof that Christ fills our empty voids and that He is enough.  He changes us-nothing else.  She is the living proof of the gospel . I think she’s an awesome lady and if you have any questions for her- don’t hesitate to comment below or email us at authenticlove789@gmail.com.  Thanks & Happy Freedom Friday!  

Until next time, 

❤ Mo

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Reasons Why People Don’t Go To Church

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

Today’s topic has been burning on my heart for a few days now, so I thought I would address some key reasons why people choose not to go to church.  Attending church is a personal choice, usually influenced by family and friends- but today, church attendance has decreased over time and the choice between church and home has become an apparent one.  I don’t blame individuals for choosing to opt out of church for a morning in their PJs but rather I look to the current conditions of the church as reasons why individuals choose to stay home. As you guys already know, I am a Christian and an avid church -goer.  I love my local church but as I look at the condition of the universal church, I’m deeply saddened by what I see.

Individuals no longer see the church as a pillar of strength in communities, or as a voice of change and awareness for those without.  The church has become a joke among those who do not profess faith in Jesus Christ and its influence seems to be waning as time goes by.  

Today, I am going to present my TOP 5 REASONS why people don’t go to church: 

#5- The Church Focuses Too Much On Materialism.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that an individual should be able to have nice things.  I think that if a person works hard for what they obtain, they should enjoy the fruit of their labor.  My biggest concern with this focus on materialism is that it does nothing to edify one’s spirit.

I don’t think that God cares about how many cars a person drives, or how many homes one can obtain.  I  don’t think there is some kind of competition going on between man and God to see who can have the most. God owns the world and everything in it, He won!

This focus on materialism in the church is misleading and it’s a turn off.  If I didn’t know God and I came to a service and all the preacher talked about was having nice homes and having nice cars, especially when I’m fighting real demons, I’ll be slightly annoyed.  I would be annoyed that I wasted my gas to drive to church when I could have saved it for work the next morning.   God wants us to live prosperous and to have abundance, but He also wants us to feed the orphans and to take care of the widows.  If God blesses us so that we can live selfishly, then having salvation in Jesus Christ would be in vain.  Materialism brings pride and it causes man to think that they got what they have on their own.  If I could get a car on my own, why do I need God? A new car won’t solve any of my problems… The church needs to stop focusing on things and to start focusing on God.

#4-  In Church Nothing Changes…

The Church is supposed to be a place of change.  When you come into the building and sit in the pew, the Holy Spirit is supposed to meet you at your seat and work on your heart, mind and spirit.  The Church building is symbolic of our bodies, a temple that God dwells in.  If I come to church seeking something and I leave still seeking something, something is wrong.  I’m supposed to come to church seeking, and while I’m listening to the Word of God, the questions in my heart are being answered.  This doesn’t seem to be the case today.

People come to church depressed and leave depressed.  They come to church suicidal and leave suicidal.  People come into the church battling all kind of demons of their past and then someone comes and says something, making things worse.  The church seems to be a place of no change, lives remain the same.  

This doesn’t represent God’s will because everywhere Jesus went in scripture, He produced change.  Whether He was performing a miracle, having a conversation, praying to the Father, arguing with the Pharisees or preparing for Passover- Him being in the lives of others produced change, a revolution of sorts.  If Christ is the initiator of change, then why isn’t His church doing the same thing.  Change comes through the Word of God and since Christ is the Word- He is change (John 1:1)! Why come to church to go home feeling the same way?  I could have stayed home for that? Especially if I am not going to gain strength or hope for what’s ahead.  I could have stayed home for the same old, same old.

#3-  The Church Lacks Love…

No one wants to come to a gathering of mean and hateful people.  Trust me, I don’t!

Why would I place myself in the company of negative people?  Why would I come to a building to be talked about and torn down with words? Why would I come to a building to have people tell me that my curiosity in Christ isn’t sincere? Like, Why?  I could have stayed home and looked in the mirror and spoke badly about myself, if I wanted that.  Why get up and put on my best clothes, to be told that what I am wearing is not right? Really, on my first day?

I remember when we could speak to those who didn’t know Christ in love. Yes, there is a standard and everything should be done in modesty but what about those who don’t know.  Some people never grew up in church, their family didn’t go so they didn’t go.  They might not have “church” clothes, but that doesn’t mean that we can be mean to them and speak badly to them.  The biggest hurt someone can experience is church hurt, individuals are hurting because those who claim  the name of Christ could not come to them in love.  God is love (1 John 4:8).  Jesus says in John 15: 12 “This is my commandment.  That ye love one another, as I have loved you”.  Jesus approaches us in love and we should do the same.  Even in our disagreeing we should be able to talk to one another in love and mutual respect.  Those who don’t know God look to the church for direction and guidance, and if we are being mean/ hateful to one another- they are not going to want to emulate us.  Being hateful is not attractive, having a mean spirit is not pretty and it’s definitely not Christ-like.  Those of us who say we love God are going to be judged for how we treated our brother and sister, we have to make sure we live a life of love.

#2-  The Church Tries Too Hard To Do Nothing…

We try too hard….  We change the style of music we play, we water down the preaching, we try to talk like we’re hip or cool.  We try too hard.  We don’t have to present an image that we are not, to attract people to the church. Whatever a church use to attract members is what they are going to have to use to keep the members they gained.  So if it was the music ministry that attracted a majority of the members, the music ministry is going to have to stay perfect to keep them.  Those without Christ is not looking for something that isn’t real… We have to be real in our presentation of Jesus Christ.

This realness is not a “raw” everything goes type of mentality because that’s not real, that’s popular.  Yes, as Christians, we have struggles.  Yes, as Christians, we get discouraged.  But no, as Christians, we do not use sin as a crutch for not living a life that’s pleasing to God. We don’t use crutches, that’s not real!  Being genuine goes a long way!  

We spend so much time trying too hard to do nothing.  We aren’t proactive in the world around us.  People are still poor, people are still homeless, people are still struggling.  We have all kinds of atrocities happening in the world today- in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo.  The church is supposed to be that beacon of light during these time, influential enough to get things done, yet we do nothing.  We try too hard to attract non-believers and yet we do nothing impressive.  Gaining resources to eliminate poverty is impressive.  Supplying a third-world country with clean drinking- water is impressive.  Making sure that children receive an education is impressive, but building a bigger stage to look like a rock band is not! 

And Finally…#1 – The Church Has No Standard…

We have compromised our standard for what’s popular.  We have made everything acceptable in Christendom.  Everything!  If you can imagine it, it has or will be acceptable in the modern Church mode.  We use the excuse of “judgement” to not keep a solid belief system.  If I preach a belief system that does not condone alcohol, then I’m judging my brother.  If I preach a belief system that does not condone adultery, then I’m “judging” my sister.   Placing judgement and uplifting a standard are two different things.  Judgments are reasonable conclusions that we come to, every single day.  We make a judgement based on what is presented to us; who we should be friends with, what restaurants we should go to, and what cars we should drive.  We make judgments that we believe will keep our families safe based on the information given to us.  Every single day, we make reasonable conclusions.  Uplifting a standard, says that I am creating a way of life based on a belief system and I am not accepting in my (personal) life anything that is contrary.  So if I believe drinking alcohol is wrong and that is my standard, my friends cannot bring alcohol in my home and help themselves.  They cannot buy me alcohol because that goes against my belief system.  So if I am a pastor and God’s word says that He is against adultery, I am not going to practice adultery and bring that lifestyle into the church and “make” God and His people accept my lifestyle.  My lifestyle goes against His standard.

We’re so concerned about numbers and whose tithing and whether or not we can get more money that we compromise God’s standard and we allow anything and everything to happen in His house.  This is not appealing to a non believer.  

The world, knows its standard and does not apologize to anyone for having that standard.  Why, as the church- do we apologize for our standard? Why? Why do we bend over backwards to make ourselves into something we are not, nor was called to be?  The world (according to the Christian faith ) is in darkness, yet there is order in their darkness.  We are the children of light but we are so full of chaos…why? That’s backwards.

Well guys, I hope you come to see my point of view in the light of things.  As a Christian, I believe that it’s my job to represent Christ.  I am supposed to love like Him.  I am supposed to give like He did.  I am supposed to share His goodness with the world.  If I am not doing any of those things then I am doing Him a great disservice.  It is not my job to make myself bigger than someone else.  It is not my job to compete with my brother for the most attention.  It is not my job to be my own god, but rather it’s my job to live my life with purpose through Jesus Christ.  Today’s post might seem a a little preachy but I want to encourage you to reexamine your life and your walk with God.  Are you a Christian? Or are you just one in label only? We can be labeled all kinds of things, that doesn’t mean that label speaks to who we truly are.  I encourage you to really understand what the label of Christian means.  This means you have surrendered your heart, body, mind and soul to Jesus Christ- you’ve decided to follow Him.  That’s a tall order but it’s rewarding.  If we place our focus on Jesus, He’ll do the rest.  He’ll draw hearts, save souls, and change minds- that’s His job not ours! 

Until next time,

Mo 🙂

P.S. I use the term universal church to represent the “church” as a whole.  There are local churches that are doing some great things in the body of Christ. Open Door Ministries ( SC) would be a great example, also Bethel Church (CA) is a great example as well.  This problem in the “church” goes beyond each individual church but as a collective body of believers (the whole group).  Therefore the term church is used loosely to represent all of those who believe & serve Jesus Christ.

What is a True Friend?

Hello all, 

It has been awhile since we’ve spoken.  I’m graduating from undergrad in 2 mos, so I’ve been busy  tying up loose ends concerning my future.  Tonight, as there is five more minutes in to the next day, I ask a question:  What is a friend? Can someone tell me?  What is true friendship?  

In a  few months I will be a graduate, moving to a new city, all on my own and I realized that my friendship reservoir was limited.  I realized that individuals I have been friends to- have not reciprocated my definition of friendship back to me.  I can count my closest friends on my hand, actually – I can count my closest friend on one single finger.  If you ask me how many best friends I have, I have one and her name is “E” short for Erica.  She is my one and only best friend- we’ve been friends for 7 years now.  She has seen me in my good times and has seen me in my lowest times.  She has celebrated all of my accomplishments with me, mourned with me when I lost loved ones and have been a listening ear when I just needed someone to vent to. She is the closest person to me besides God & family.  She is my best friend.  

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I have searched my entire college career for individuals to add to my inner circle of friendship.  I have befriended people and have gone out of my way to be the best friend I knew how.  I accepted lunch invitations and talked on the phone and counseled and I found out that those who was there for me in my suffering could not celebrate with me during my times of elevation.  It’s funny how fickle people can be, when someone is going through – individuals will surround that individual and “comfort” them but when a person bounces back and everything is great- the phone calls cease.  I have “friends” who forget my birthday, every single year – but when the day of their birth comes around, I go all out.  I call, I text, I love.  I do “the most” because I believe that friendships are connections made by God to journey with an individual through the good and the hard times.  I value friendship.  I value friendship in the same capacity that one values another’s life.  

Today, it was as if a light bulb went off in my head.  I discovered that friendship is not one sided, it’s not my job to beg for friends but to make them and if they last – great; if they don’t – oh well.  Friendships ceasing has nothing to do with me, but is all apart of God’s perfect will.  He knows who is ready to journey with me into my next place more than I do.  God knows who is really celebrating with me and who was just faking their loyalty to me all along.  God knows who had good intentions and who’s motives were never right in the first place.  God knows!  

The reason why “E” and I are still friends- is because she has stuck by me in all seasons of my life.  She has exemplified Christ’s love in our friendship and seeks to make our friendship one that glorifies God.  Her love for God and her authenticity has developed the trust that we share in our friendship.  I can count on my fingers how many people I have broken down and cried in front of, she is one of them.  I can count on my fingers how many people I have told about my graduate school plans first, she is one of them.  I can count on my fingers how many people I have discussed my past with (intricate details), she is one of them.  I can count on my fingers how many people actually took the time to pray for me like they said they would, she is one of them.  She is one of the only people that would answer  a 3 am phone call after I heard some bad news.  She is the only one that traveled to see me in my apartment after a rough night,  She is only one that has defended me when others have said things against me,  She has proven her loyalty and that she can be trusted.  I know who “E” is and no one can come to me and tell me anything about her that is contrary.  She is my best friend- In fact, she is my sister!  We will be friends forever and she is someone who is definitely coming with me into this new season of my life.  I can’t say that for everyone, but I can definitely say that about her.  

Back to my title, what is a true friend?  A true friend is someone who is consistent, someone who you trust completely, someone you can be vulnerable with, someone who accepts you for who you are, someone who tells you the truth (no matter what) and finally someone who has your back. If your friends are not reciprocating true friendship back to you then they are taking up empty space and you need to let them go so that your true friends can enter into your life.  Be blessed and enjoy time with your best friend!

Mo.