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

Walk This Way -by Danny

WTW_LogoIt’s that time again. CAMP TIME! Next month, we have our Journey Youth camp and Journey Kids camp. First of all, if you are of age and our not registered for these experiences you are truly missing out. I am lucky enough to get to be a part of both. Today though I will focus on the latter, Journey Kids Camp.

We will be using the next two months of Sundays to set up what I think will be a fantastic experience for our children and volunteers. Last year was my very first kids camp and it was a great personal experience. This year we will be using the same format, so anyone who volunteered last year will have a great heads up on how this year will be ran.

This year, starting this month, we are focusing on faith and this theme will extend into July all the way to our camp July 25-29. Walk This Way will explore the life of the Apostle Paul; when he encountered Christ and his ministry. We have some awesome crafts and games to help illustrate the truths of what kind of impact faith in God can have on someone’s life. Not to mention our live drama team, video teachings, and worship.

I encourage you to get your children to this camp. I also encourage you to volunteer. I know kids ministry and especially kids and youth camps have a bad rep, but I will reiterate what I said before: if you are missing these two ministries in your life you are truly missing out. You can register for Walk This Way at journeychurchmo.com.  If you have any question about kids camp don’t hesitate to hit me up on Facebook or email or whatever. If you cannot be a part of our camps please join us in prayer that lives our impacted, futures are changed, and dreams are born.

Danny

Friend Danny on Facebook or follow him on twitter and instagram @00brooksy
Follow Journey Church on Twitter @Journey_MO

What A Catch -by Tim

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You probably thought I was talking about the fish. Nope, that’s my wife and she is the best catch I’ve ever reeled in.

I just wanted to take a moment and tell you all how much my life has changed in the last year; and let me tell you it has changed! Around this time last year, I made a drive that would change my life. I headed down to Nashville, Tennessee where I met my amazing wife who is in the picture holding another kind of great catch.

You know, I prayed for her to come into my life for years. The things she does amaze me. Why you ask? Well let me tell you. It is not too often you find a gal that wants to go fishing as much as you do; even when she is five and a half months pregnant.

God has really blessed me with an amazing wife and a baby on the way all within a years’ time. I guess, really, that this is a reflection blog of just how awesome God is and what He has done in my life.

I want to encourage you to never stop talking with God about what your heart desires because He hears you and will deliver in due time.

God Bless

Tim

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

Real Talk -by Angel

040416_ls_lipreading_freeHave you ever said something to someone in passing and then find out later you offended that person? Have you had someone say something to you, that was not intended to be hurtful, however you walk away with your feelings hurt? How many times have you had a conversation with someone and when they bring it up later, you do not even remember the words you spoke?

I have spent some time reflecting on these points. I have taken the critique of those I trust on my communication skills to heart. I have looked up verses on what God commands of my speaking; there are tons of bible verses on how we should speak.

Speaking comes in many forms: verbal, email, text, and social media.  Many of us have heard how texting is great way to misinterpret what the other person is trying to say. Another great quote I have read is ‘We listen to reply, not to understand.’

What does all this have to do with anything? Simply that I want to encourage you to take a moment to reflect on your speech (in all forms). Are you representing God in your daily speech? Are you being kind with your words?  I promise you that words hurt and last longer than any bruise that can be seen.

Today, as I continue to reflect on how I speak to and with others I am reminded of what I strive for: I want my speech to always be gracious and seasoned with salt, so that I know how to answer each person the way that best reflects how God would answer. I only want to speak positively and honestly with a gentleness that lets others know my heart.

I hope your day is amazing and your words are kind, helpful and true!

Angel

Friend Angel on Facebook or follow her on twitter @AngelLayher
Follow Journey Church on Twitter @Journey_MO