Monday, September 28, 2015

Of Fall and of Jesus

I don't know if it's because fall gives me a good reason to wear my worn-out boots or the smell of burning leaves...I don't know if I love fall because of the brilliant colors or the crisp mornings where the steam off my coffee swirls out of the cup then floats away. Maybe it’s the hot apple dumplings, excitement of football season, or the joy John and I get from watching our grand-kids scurry like squirrels to collect hickory nuts and acorns.  Or maybe it's because in fall, West Virginia's state colors go from blue and gold to camo or is this just an illusion?  

I'm not convinced that's it either.  The only thing that I can say for sure, is that I love fall and trying to explain exactly why is simply impossible.

It’s a lot like trying to describe my love for Jesus Christ.  There are the typical religious answers such as because He died for me or because the Bible says I should since, after all, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! But, for me, these answers are lacking because they are not personal enough. So why do I love Jesus?  

Maybe it’s because my parents taught me to love Him? Or because I credit Him for my loving family? Maybe it’s because He protects my kids and helps us through the tough times?  But surely there is more to love than what someone gives to me isn't there; otherwise, what happens when things go South or the gifts stop?  Shouldn't I love Him less? Maybe I should...but...I don't so...why DO I sincerely love a Man I've never seen?

I'm thinking that it’s because Jesus is a lot like fall:  He manifests Himself when the time is right; He went away once and He will come back; and everyday He gives me a multitude of "little reasons" to love Him.  Like when we are together and I am searching for an answer or direction and when I least expect it, He reveals it to me (and yes, if you know me, I wink heavenward, smile, and say thank you!), or when I am feeling discouraged and close my eyes to breathe, and I feel His presence as His peace fills my heart.  I love Him because once in a while, when I need a break in traffic (Caledonia Heights in the morning = grrrr) and it opens up – just for me! He gives me so many reasons that picking just one would be impossible. 

My love for Him goes beyond the little things into the big things like healing a family member or helping make way for employment opportunities. It even goes into radical places.  Like once heading toward Baker I said out loud:  “I just want to see a bald eagle!” And (no lie) within minutes, one literally flew along side my Jeep, on my side no less. For the first time in my life, I was able to get a good look at our National bird in the hills of WV!  Talk about shooting a huge smile and thumbs-up to Jesus, that got Him one…and then, just like I would do for one of my kids showing appreciation for the gift I handed them, I felt Him smile and say “You’re welcome."  To me, that was a big deal! But if am not paying attention, these little things could go unnoticed and the personal relationship we have would not be as intimate.  You see, the big things, those are for everyone to see...but those little things, awww, those little things are meant just for me and they become a big deal, just because...

So, if you were to ask me why I believe in Jesus or why I love Him; it may take me a minute to answer, not because I'm indecisive, but because I am wondering which reason to share? Which reason will resonate with you as an individual? Which little reason will touch your heart?

Just like the flavors and colors of fall, each of us have to taste and see for ourselves what it is like to experience and enjoy an intimate relationship with The King of Glory.

I love fall. I love Jesus. The reasons are big. The reasons are small.  But the love is real.

Have a blessed week everyone - Coach Kelly.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Will you say "Oh, don't worry, it's Jesus"

Have you ever wondered when, or even if, Jesus is coming back?

I was watching one of my new favorite preachers and at the end of his sermon, a line from the W&P song caught my attention: "Our hands are lifted and our voices raised to the One who is seated forever to reign." I felt a question rise up within my spirit:  "Is this the generation that will finally remember what it means to have a relationship with Jesus?" Are we the generation, those of us living right now, who were raised up for such a time as this, the generation that will put aside religion and take up the cross of love, compassion, discipline, and power to be the generation that can lay aside the weight of religion and embrace what Jesus died for?

I certainly don't have all the answers, shucks some days I wonder if I have any of the answers, but it seems to me that so many "Christians" are still trying to let the Old Covenant define their right of passage into heaven when in all reality, there is only one Way since Jesus has already done the work for us. So we need to take our now faith and do our job:  believe in Him, follow His example, and love our neighbor; be salt (a preservative, a community enhancer, you know, add a little joy, peace, and love) and light (guide, example - share some insight, encouragement, enlightenment).

As the end of Summer 2015 quickly draws to a close, I am reminded that life too is short and one day Jesus will come retrieve the remnant of His church and my prayer is that our community will have more souls on the other side than we have left here to carry on...cause in our church/home/community:  "Our hands are lifted and our voices are raised to the One who is seated forever to reign."

Have a blessed week - 

In Christ with Love and Compassion,
Coach Kelly

Saturday, September 5, 2015

When "I Believe" Isn't Enough

This morning I was getting ready for my day and out of the blue the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about what it means to believe.

I honestly do not recall what I was thinking at the time when He tugged on my heart and said "You believe but it's more important to follow."  His words bugged me throughout the day so now, at 9:30 pm on a Saturday evening, well past my usual blogging time, I just have to put His words out here for y'all to read and ponder - ya know, share my thoughts, to share the love.

The popular phrase "I Believe" is a great way to share the fact that we believe in a Triune God; a great way to open conversation about God and faith and life in general; but what does that mean or what difference does it really make? Is it only words or can the fact that we believe change the world for others? Let me expand upon that thought:

Mark 1:24, Matthew 8:29, and Revelation 12:4 records instances of demons and angels alike knowing and believing in God and Jesus, even calling Jesus by name and title.  All indications point to the fact that they certainly knew and believed...yet they were cast out.  Believing wasn't enough to save them...are we so disillusioned as to think that we are going to fare any better than they just because we believe?  I guess I'm asking is believing enough or is there more to being a born-again, saved, heaven-bound Christian? The Holy Spirit answered this for me with a whisper "Follow".

Being an effective Christian born for such a time as this requires us to follow the promptings of The Holy Spirit, to testify, to share the love, to follow the Bible's commands because they are good and right; to follow the path that Jesus laid out before us with joy, compassion, discipline, and love...just because we want to honor Him! To believe  is the necessary first step but to follow, well to follow will lead us home.

Y'all have a blessed night; my prayer is that the road you are following will indeed lead you and others home.

In Christ with Love and Compassion,
Coach Kelly

He knows the Stars by Name

Photo Credit: Dolly Sods Facebook Group - Unknown Hey y’all.       After journaling morning prayers and reading a devotion, Psalm 147:4 ca...