Where do I start?

We don’t really want the yes man in our life. Really, we don’t! Yes, it feels good for a moment to have a cheerleader, someone there to affirm our beliefs. And yes having someone enthusiastic about all our dreams makes us feel like we can reach the peaks of success, but that can get old quickly. Especially if success doesn’t come, it might seem like the yes men in your life are a broken record. “You can do anything you want,” or  “you can do it if you try hard enough, don’t let anyone get in your way” are often the cheers we hear from them.

Just Stop!

Why do we like ‘yes men’ (whether in reality or in our own heads)? It’s because it helps us ignore the no’s in our life. Read more…



What is Reality!?

 

“Do you trust what you hear?” In all honesty, there are times I really don’t know what to believe. I’m certainly not the only one. If you’re a young adult then you are significantly less likely to trust or to be known as a “low truster” (according to Pew Research). We’ve definitely seen that over the last few weeks as we face an unprecedented time of uncertainty. You can flip between two news outlets reporting on one story and find few similarities between the two. There have been reports that have been published only to be questioned for authenticity and accuracy. It’s all makes understanding what is real – really difficult. It seems to happen for a few reasons:

1. We’re inundated with information

 

You think this would be a good thing. Read more…



Where do I fit?

How do I fit into God’s narrative? There are times when I wish that there were a formula I could punch into my life and have it spit out the next few steps to help me on my Christian journey.  It would make things a little more clear at least. What do I say in response to everything that is happening in our lives from what are the next steps I should take in a COVID19 world? Or what exactly should I be doing to address racial injustice? These are serious issues demanding caution and perspective we sometimes find it hard to come by. 

You might ask, “Who do I listen to? Who would God rather me follow now? What’s my place in a rapidly changing world?” Read more…



George Floyd and the Church

Our hearts no doubt have been wrenched by the events that have unfolded over the last few days- the injustice of an officer called to protect and serve, who instead took the life of George Floyd and the violence in our cities and the anger over racism that still exists in our country. Our prayers are for the Floyd family and a loss magnified by the painful circumstances. May God bring them peace and comfort. And may God work peace and comfort in all of our communities at this time.

How can these things happen in 2020? Read more…



First worship back!

“It was a start!” That’s a way of saying, “It’s not where we end up.” It felt like the first day on the job. Everything was just foreign enough to where it throws you off. It takes a moment to think, “How do I do this?” The consequence, it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel the same, but we didn’t expect that it would. Singing in masks: not a pleasant experience unless you enjoy your mouth drying out and the slightest feeling of asphyxiation. Nor was the still invisible barrier of physical distancing we are all asked to maintain. We were together, but not in the same way that we once were. 

Let’s say there were things that made it difficult to come back and get that warm fuzzy feeling, like going home after a long day and resting in your favorite chair or settling into the comfort of your nightly routine.

Something Special

BUT as awkward as it was, what was there was special. Read more…



The Promised Land

We had a trial run of what our first worship back together might look like. A few members joined us on Sunday afternoon for a short communion service, and it was a greatly needed dose of “normal” in our crazy times. As a pastor- leading people in worship vs. recording worship was much more enriching for me. To commune with fellow saints of Crown of Life was like a long awaited feast we finally celebrated. 

But even that normal was different. The caution needed just to be able to meet was hard to ignore. The new challenges that come with a phased reopening are like taking a step into a fast moving stream- the footing seems so unsure. You’re not quite sure where you end up and how you need to adjust. Each action had to be thought out and thought through. It would be much more assuring if we had a clearly laid out path to follow with no slippery stones, or hidden hazards… Read more…



A Hard Night

It’s been two months and you’re itching to get out! So were Peter, Thomas, and some others. They might have been hungry, they might have been looking for something to do, so they jumped in a boat and went fishing. They came up with nothing, again and again, and again. They were out of luck and tired having fished the entire night, and when they finally were willing to give in to being skunked, a man calls from the shore, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some [fish].” 
 
It was Jesus who called out to them and it was a lot of fish they caught. There wasn’t any doubt in the disciple’s hearts- it was their Savior and he was in their boat. No, he wasn’t there in person tossing the nets and hauling them in.  He was calling from the shore and the disciples listened but it was still Jesus who gave them a great deal of fish. They went through a hard night. This wasn’t last cast luck. It was their Savior providing them even more than they need.
 
Some of us might be going through a hard night right now. As hard as you cast your nets, there’s nothing that comes up. But many times those are the moments God uses to show us he’s in our boat.

Read more…



Waiting

Thank God for those mother’s we got to celebrate with face to face this Sunday! There’s joy in receiving letters, texts, video calls and things like Zoom, Skype, and Marco Polo have made it more convenient than ever. But there is always something special about being with someone face to face. Ask someone deployed overseas if it’s easy to do especially over long periods of time. Talk to someone locked away how it affects their family life. And, if it’s true for you, how the quarantine has stirred up your longing to be with someone. 

This is how John rights to his church.

2 John 12 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

We are missing something when we aren’t together. As I preach, I miss being able to see the faces of the people I am preaching to and thinking how this Word of God connects with them. To be honest, joy flows into the sermon a lot easier that way. Read more…



Built like an (elastic) building

Ephesians 2:21–22 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
But what good is a building with nothing in it? We’ll, it becomes a structure without purpose and without purpose it becomes wasted space. It grows cobwebs, and fills with dust, and given enough time it will end up breaking down becoming an eyesore, and more of a burden of whoever is responsible for it. The greatest is worthless if it has no purpose.
Right now, our understanding of “being joined together” is challenged. Read more…


ConnectedBody

 
Hello Crown of Life Family & Friends,
So I get text updates from the City of New Orleans about COVID and they are all very helpful, but I’ve been noticing the challenge it must take to lead the hundreds of thousands of New Orleanians to do the same thing simply by the tone of the text. Most are strictly informational, but every so often you can sense a tinge emotion whether it’s frustration or empathy. They range from You must wear your face masks in public- stay at home, save lives. To- you’re doing great staying at home! You’re helping us flatten the curve! You can tell our leaders are trying their very hardest to get everyone moving in the same direction. There’s no doubt- it’s not easy. Success for a plan relies on the whole group and the capability of the leader, that’s why at times it has to be frustrating. Even our governor recognizes he doesn’t have the perfect solution for this and there will even be mistakes along the way.
 
An encouragement for connectedness- we are part of a group called the body of Christ and we are called a body because we are vitally important to each other as each of us has been given different abilities and gifts.

Romans 12:4–5

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Read more…