WHAT IF I WAS SINGLE- by Jesse

blog-graphicThis past Sunday, I took the last antibiotic pill I was prescribed to take by my doctor to overcome some insane congestion I had that was quite debilitating. We’re walking into the cold and flu season and it welcomed me with open arms. I hate being sick!

I was out of it for about ten days. Achiness, respiratory congestion, sore throat and coughing was my life during that time and it was horrible. The massive bummer of it all was the fact that I had to keep my distance from the rest of the family; seemingly quarantining myself for their safety and health.

It wasn’t cool not being able to connect with the boys over a game of basketball or to pick up my little girl and nestle a kiss into her fluffy little cheek. It was tough, but what had to be even tougher was the fact that my wife had to pick up all of my slack. If you ask my wife, she’ll tell you that when I’m sick, it’s harder on her than it is me. And I totally get that. We both carry responsibilities to make our home function (i.e., household chores, homework help, tending to a very demanding toddler, etc.)

She literally becomes Wonder Woman (which BTW opens in theaters nationwide next summer!)

There was a moment within that 10-day period watching Missy operate in overdrive mode where I thought to myself, ‘What if I was single? What if I didn’t have the blessing of having a partner to help with life and its responsibilities when I’m weakened or sick?’ Then I began to think about all of the single parents out there in the world.

Single parents don’t have the opportunity to ‘tag out’ of their family responsibilities and allow their spouse to play double duty until they heal. Single parents don’t have that luxury. They’re forced to find strength to push forward at all times, even when they find themselves in a 10-day congestive valley coughing their lungs out…they still have to help with the homework, they still have to draw the bath, they still have to be Wonder Woman or Superman.

I just wanted to take this blog post and send a gigantic SHOUT OUT to all of the single parents I know or don’t know in this world. You are true heroes, tasked with leading at a level that many of us don’t. Single parents, please know the investment you are pouring into your child is enormous and know your child will most assuredly see that…and in fact appreciate you TWICE as much as my kids will ever appreciate me. Because you did it for two! I pray you feel the power and resource of our God as you carry out your parenting in ways I and so many others truly appreciate you for.

In fact, let’s take a moment within the next day or two and find a way to encourage a single parent by grabbing them a cup of coffee at work, or bringing them over a KFC meal for dinner and telling them you love them, writing them a note of appreciation or simply just praying for them, because they are some amazing human beings and they should be honored as such.

‘Being a single parent is not a life full of struggles, but a journey for the strong.’ Meg Lowery

Much love to you! Especially during this cold and flu season!

 Jesse

Dad Life- by Tim

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Wow all I can say is wow!

Before I talk about our amazing God gift, I want to thank each and every one of you that prayed, said kind words, brought us meals, and even just smiled with a nod. Ashley and I are so blessed to have a church family like you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Soooo, I’m a Dad…On October 10, 2016 at 11:48P, Mabel Elizabeth Overstreet was pushed into this world.  I was shocked to say the least.  Ashley is a trooper. She was actively pushing for over three hours straight. I can tell you I have never felt so empathetic in all my life; that looks horrifyingly painful. My wife is a super-human.

We are blessed, every time I see her smile I can’t help but feel this amazing love, she is perfect even though she can fill up a diaper to the point of overflowing. The moment she arrived and I saw her for the first time my life changed. It was crazy and I can only relate it to one thing.

This past Sunday our SAVOR leader, Sandy Miller, continued the talk on the fruits of the spirit.  She said something in her message that struck me. She said “When you experience the love of Christ you are never the same.” That is so true. When I first felt God’s love it changed me and I began a journey to seek after God, the only thing I can compare that “feeling” with is when I saw Mabel for the first time. It was a love I can’t explain; except this time, I was on the giving side of that love. It really opened my eyes up to the way Christ feels about all of us. We are each his children and we were born into his family, His blood flows through our veins (I did steal that line from one amazing song No Longer Slaves.) He is our Father if we make the choice to follow him. And by following him I mean seeking him out, learning about him, being with people that are seeking him as well. When you experience Gods love you are never the same and when you start to accept Gods love your life begins to change.

DAD LIFE…I love to imagine the feeling God gets when we turn to him and are born again.

Check out Sandy’s talk on our podcast here and catch up on all of the talks there I pray it impacts and blesses your lives.

 

God Bless

Tim

Friend Tim on Facebook or follow him on twitter @timoverstreet1
Follow Journey Church on Twitter @Journey_MO

I Cannot Wait- by Tim

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As many of you may know my wife Ashley is pregnant and that is very exciting. I have always wanted to be a Dad and by Monday afternoon I should be holding one amazing little girl.

I want to share something with you that most people do not know about me … I have always wanted to be a Dad, I just have. I remember as a kid thinking when I grow up and have kids I’m going to get them a motorcycle or a go-cart, something really fast that they can ride. Will I still do that?  Yes, but I’ll make her wear a helmet.

I’m going to wrap this up really because I may be leaving for the hospital shortly-I don’t know … As we get closer to having one amazing kid I can only think about one thing: how much I already love her even though I haven’t even met her face to face yet. It is more than a feeling and it’s hard to explain but it has allowed me to see the flip side of how Christ feels about me.  I think I’ve already forgiven her for using crayons on the wall or even sneaking out of the house to go fishing. Not that there won’t be correction for her actions but I think I have already forgiven her.

I cannot wait to post pictures and share with you all our new little girl.  Please be praying for a quick and easy delivery for my amazing wife, Ashley. Just so you all know, I asked our Doctor last night if we could get a discount on the hospital bill since I will be performing minor surgery cutting the chord. She laughed then said no …

 

God Bless

Tim

 

Friend Tim on Facebook or follow him on twitter @timoverstreet1
Follow Journey Church on Twitter @Journey_MO

Always Growing Up- by Angel

When I was younger I remember thinking “When I grow up I want to…” The end of that thought changed often as I grew and my interests evolved and my knowledge of things broadened. I also remember that I thought adults in their thirties had ‘peaked,’ that they knew all they would know and they were exactly where they would be in their lives forever (careers, money, cars, etc.)

Fast forward to me today, well into my thirties (we will leave out the part about me about to exit that decade.) I most certainly do not have it all figured out and the only thing I know for sure is that I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up.

Please do not mistake that statement as me being immature (although sometimes I am that too) or that I am unhappy with were I have landed so far. I am happy to say I am still growing up. For me, this simply means that I do not believe God is done with me yet. I am always learning from those around me. I am always striving to do better in whatever I do while expanding my knowledge in all areas of life.

Lately, I have had the chance to have several self reflection moments. I would encourage each of you to take a moment to look back on your recent actions, words, and thoughts. I do not always enjoy what I discover about myself but I do thank God that he has the grace for my mistakes, my flaws, and gives me the chance to grow and try again.

Today, I just wanted to remind each of you that it is ok to not be perfect. Take each stumble as a chance to learn and continuing growing. Growing up is a journey, not a destination. Besides, what fun would it be if we had it all figured out by 30…or 40.

P.S.- Any guesses on the ages of the pictures above? I thank God for puberty and better fashion trends. What were we thinking with all that hair?! HA!

Angel

What A Week- by Morio

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As I sit here starving for sleep, my brain continues to replay the last week over and over in my head. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a crazy “busy” life; always bouncing from one place to the next. Trying to figure out how I will make this mandatory meeting, a doctor’s appointment, get back in time to get Nat off the bus, pick up Grace from the high school, Mase and Logan from middle school football practice, and then rush back to get Ki and Davion to the city park for their football practice, all in a 3-hour window. This a normal day for Jamie and I this time of year. But this week I did not have Jamie!

On Tuesday, she had to have emergency surgery which will keep her down for a couple months. Now It’s a whole different ballgame! Now, I realize what God meant when He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” I start to hear the phrase ‘You don’t know what you got till its gone.’ I then began to realize that I take Jamie for granted on a daily basis, with the assumption that whenever I need her she will be there. I love when life reveals these little golden nuggets to me. The only thing I don’t like so much is the way these nuggets reveal the flaws in my life, that I hardly ever look at until something like this happens. I said all of that to say this, never overlook your today because you’re so focused on yesterday and tomorrow.

Being a pastor, I often get to hear about or witness the loads carried by my brothers and sisters who desperately need some weight lifted off their shoulders. This week I had to use my own advice and realize the people God has placed in my life today are there for a reason. To help carry the load that life throws my way. I appreciate what I have. I know we were not created to do this alone. I’m grateful to have such an amazing wife, children, family, and supporting cast in my life. Now if I would only use them…

Morio

Ground Zero- by Tom

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Acting as sponsors for a school trip to New York City, one of our planned stops to see was Ground Zero. This edge sits within the building footprint as well and signifies a gap, a hole, a loss or a void left in so many of us with connections to that day.
Does it explain, “Why?” Of course not. But it does remind us to remember what this attack meant to us that day years ago and how we live differently today, fifteen years later.

At School…
Students at my middle school were born after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This is history to them. None of them have that moment of, “I remember where I was when I heard about it!” None of them stopped their lives for a moment, an hour or a day or weeks to reflect, ponder and contemplate the implications of us under such an attack searching for meaning, a reason why or just facing the reality of such drastic events playing out on our own soil.

Sister-in-Law…
Fast forward fourteen years, and we arrive at the day I lost my Sister-In-Law, Jayne’s sister, Mary. Cancer, pain and a battle against an unseen enemy where the best treatments were nearly as bad as the disease itself, we struggled with Mary, but not as Mary. She finally relinquished her spirit on the morning of September 11th, 2015, resting peacefully in her own home, after making amends, saying farewell and admonishing reconciliation with everyone around her. Sisters, brother, immediate family and close friends all had come to say goodbye, yet none of that made her departure any easier, better or convenient for us. Yet we all asked WHY?

Why me?
Why would God take her? Of course it was rhetorical because the answer would elude logic. However, the question reminds us of our own selfish nature! (Mine too!) Why would He take her from us? It seemed like maybe he wanted her now! He thought it was time. I can’t speak to our value of her, whether we held her in proper regard, gave her the honor she deserved or held her in the right esteem, but it may not have been enough! Maybe He wanted her home for her benefit? Having this life event occur on 9/11/15 reminds us of the emotional connections already in place surrounding that day. It reminds us that each of us suffer loss.

Anyone?
Then, this morning after the first service, Jayne and I were up in the front wondering if anyone would come join us to share a story of pain, concern or need for prayer. We did not wait long! A parishioner came up and joined us, asking for prayer and looking for a sounding board. She shared a tragic story of an overdose. Behind the story were threads of success, recovery, healing, love, family, forgiveness and reconciliation. Yet, it was still a tragedy. A life was ended, due to all the reasons in the world with no reason in the world to justify it and nobody to explain “Why?” We sought to identify blame, purpose, or any way to explain why this might have happened, yet none was obvious.

Mirror mirror on the wall…
But a theme began to develop. This theme held hope for the victim. Hope for her future. What if this world was not worth her? What if she truly was wanted by Him? What if our own selfish desire to have her here was holding her back? What if our examination of everything was not really based on ourselves but actually what may have been best for the former addict? Maybe asking these questions, however difficult to pose, face and answer, especially if the answers are not about us, are meant to help us look at ourselves as ones to serve, and not to be served?

Blessed or Blesser?
For instance, we may be able to see how God, because of our treatment of her here, would want to bring her home to Himself. Maybe we were not really worthy to have her alongside us? Maybe we truly weren’t worthy? And maybe her departure helped us shift our focus away from the mirror and onto those that struggle, those less fortunate, those with less than we have or those without our faith? Maybe it is about what we believe, tenets we follow and our adherence to morals, justice and a Higher Power that sustains us in our very weaknesses.

Step One: Admit we are powerless to _________, ( fill in the blank with your struggle) and admit our lives have become unmanageable!

Why not?
Why would God allow something like 9/11/01 to happen? Why did we lose Mary, this day last year? Why did she overdose? Why does bad happen? Would we have contemplated this, drawn nearer to God or tightened our bonds with each other without it??? I don’t know yet, but I do feel like sometimes, I am not worthy to have such noble, charming, pleasant and beautiful people around me. Maybe, I’m not worthy!
Tom McCracken

Follow Tom @McCracken63 on Twitter
Follow Journey Church on social media @Journey_MO

Heros vs. Villians -by Missy

Picture1I was driving in the car by myself just yesterday and in that quiet time I thought to myself that the core to all sin comes down to selfishness.  Deciding we want to do something to gratify or make ourselves happy in the moment.  Sometimes it can be a harmless decision and sometimes in our selfishness we don’t see or don’t want to see that it is hurting those closest to us.

Then I thought that’s what makes the difference between a hero and a villain.  The hero is someone who has dedicated themselves to help others; in the end they are the least selfish person, willing to give up their own wants and desires to help others achieve theirs.  The villain on the other hand is living for themselves usually seeking money or power; ultimately living for themselves and willing to sacrifice the relationship with those around them to get those things.

We are all born with the desire to fulfill our needs and desires.  To strive after those dreams in our hearts and usually they are good things.  Yet it’s always good to seek out God and to double check our motives that what we are wanting is ultimately in His plans.  We all have to continually fight the desire to put down our flesh and its desires and look outside ourselves to help and make other lives better as well.  If there’s any verse that shows the difference between a villain and a hero, it’s Philippians 2:3 (MSG.)

“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

Missy