welcome to bliss's trash&treasure,I made this site in hopes to have a unity of ppl who can give and share their old instruments,stories,pics and pass the torch of music and not negativity to the kids who can't afford an instrument or wan't one.even a little $1 maraca @ guitar center,that could change a kids life this site has a discussion board with q & a,pass this on to musicians,poets,basically anyone into the arts and entertainment.,I have an open mind with tons of ideas and this site can be a social spot to do these things,network w/other musicians and more,i'm always open to ideas...yea there are sites n pages i guess similar,but its something i felt i always wanted to do..... thanx AGBlIsS of bliss's trash&treasure.....

    you can also join us on facebook @ .....I never learned any traditional way of playing certain drums, so this is a hybrid of [i don't know] jams on drumkit/percussion add-ons,to bongo,things ive seen a few times or played a few times,not much if any experience behind it....just the LOVE OF THE DRUM~AGBLISS

The Leftovers

As a pastor, I speak a lot. But even with all the messages I give, there is still plenty of stuff that I just don't have time for on Sunday mornings. So this blog will mostly be the leftovers.

Escaping a cycle of mistakes.

I don’t know if you know this, but there is nothing new under the sun. History (and your life to some extent) is nothing more than reruns. 

Everyone wants to believe they are unique. Many of us were told when we were little that we were unique little snowflakes and that we were special. We believe that we can strike out on our own path in life to achieve our dreams. We think that if difficulties and temptations come our way, we won’t fall into them like people have in the past because we are different. 

I hate to break it to you, but we humans are not very unique. We tend to handle life according to some very predictable patterns. No matter how much feel you believe that you are the exception to the rules of life, but your life is just your version of a story that has been lived out thousands of times before. You might life to think of your life as driving off road, striking that new path, but it’s more like being on train tracks following path MANY others have travelled.

My family has a Roku box which enables us to watch shows over the internet on our TV. About 2 years ago, my oldest son, James, took his fingernail and carved the “ok” button off of the remote. It made the remote nearly useless. So after much frustration of trying to keep using it, we ordered a replacement Roku remote. About a week ago, my youngest son, Jude, took his fingernail and carved the “ok” button off of the replacement remote. Now when James did it I thought, “What a weird thing to do. What could have compelled him to do that?” But when Jude did it I just laughed. I could not believe history repeated itself. 

As a pastor, I kind of see the same thing. About once a month, I have someone come to me and will confess a sin or tell of something foolish they have done. They’ll usually share it in such a careful way as if I’m going to just be shocked. But it is extremely rare that someone tells me something that surprises me. I’m starting to feel that I’ve heard it all. Now don’t hear me saying this in a negative tone, necessarily. Because there is a piece of truth here that can really help us if we are aware of it: Humans tend to repeat the same mistakes. 


This past Sunday, we looked at a passage from Hebrews 3.  Hebrews 3 quotes Psalm 95 which is a warning not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Psalm 95 is the original warning not to repeat the mistake, Hebrews 3 is a reminder of the warning, and my sermon was a reminder of the reminder of the warning. If that was too confusing to follow, just realize that humanity needs to keep being warned to avoid the same mistakes over and over again because we tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. 

Humanity has a LONG history of repeating it’s mistakes. You have two options: you can either learn from that history of mistakes or you can become a part of that history. George Santayana was dead on when he said:

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”


  • Seek advice: Anytime you face a decision that might have major, lasting consequences in your life you need to talk to someone who is both more experienced than you and wiser than you. The reason they are wiser is because they’ve been through more life than you and actually learned from it. If you really want to talk to someone who has seen history repeat itself, talk to a good counselor. They see hundreds of people making the same mistakes all the time.
  • Read the Bible: The Bible has a story for just about every possible example of stupidity. Yes it might be 2,000+ years old, but it is still surprisingly relevant to your life and your problems. Not only does it have examples of things gone wrong, but also stories of how people recovered from those mistakes. Most houses have a Bible, there are free online resources and phone apps, and our church gives away Bibles for free so you really have no excuse.
  • Pray for Wisdom: James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” God doesn’t want you to wreck your life. God doesn’t take any pleasure in watching humans fall into the same holes over and over again. He wants to help you have a better future because He loves you.

Psalm 95 and Hebrews 3 are just a couple examples of the clear warnings that exist to avoid the common mistakes of humans. The Bible is full of these warnings. You’ll also find these warnings in the voice of your momma, your best friend, and people like me if you’re just willing to listen. Remember you can either learn from history or be a fool who is doomed to repeat it.

Posted 123 weeks ago

5 traits to help us put up with  one another

The church is full of imperfect people. If we’re going to get along and work together, it might just take a miracle.


The main point of this Sunday’s sermon was that we are to “bear with one another” AKA put up with each other. Think about what the church is for just a moment. It’s a bunch of imperfect, self-centered sinners put together and commanded to work together and take care of each other. That sounds like a recipe for failure. Not only do we deal with sins like pride and greed that will cause us to butt heads, but we’ll also just have those bad days when we’re in bad moods and say things we don’t really mean. 

What I’m saying is there will be times when the relationships in church will be strained. We’ll hurt each other, sometimes intentionally, sometimes in  some pretty big ways. It also means that there will be times when we just annoy each other with our personality differences. So it shouldn’t surprise us at all that being a part of a church will come with some hurt feelings, offenses, and elevated blood pressure. 

Knowing that there would be moments when we would struggle to get along, the Apostle Paul gave us this command to bear with one another. Because otherwise, it would be too easy to walk away. Jesus doesn’t give up on us, so we don’t give up on others. In this same passage Paul gives 5 character traits that we need if we’re going to be the kind of people that can put up with each other.

  • Compassionate Hearts: This means that we have deep affection for the other people in our church. We actually care about the struggles and spiritual health of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Don’t underestimate the value of caring when it comes to having the strength to show grace and forgiveness.
  • Kindness: Kindness is living in a way that is helpful and beneficial to others. Your intent is to leave people better than you found them. Whether that is an encouraging note or a prayer, you want to make sure your encounter with someone else doesn’t leave them worse off.
  • Humility: A person who thinks of others before they think of themselves is humble. Without humility, when someone offends you, your only thoughts will be of your own pain and you’ll never think about why said that or did that. You’ll never give them the benefit of the doubt if you can only think of yourself.
  • Meekness: I think meekness is easier to understand when you look at it’s opposites. The opposite of being meek is being rude and harsh. When someone hurts you or just plain annoys you, your natural desire will be to respond by being rude, blunt, and short with them. Meekness keeps you gentle even when you’re hurt.
  • Patience: The road we walk with Jesus is a long one. We all started as hopeless sinners. Jesus gives us grace and the Holy Spirit to start cleaning us up. This process of being purified of our sin is called Sanctification and it takes a lifetime. The patient Christian understand that we’re all on this long road together and it keeps our expectations of others realistic. Of course you’re going to hurt me. Of course I’m going to mess up. Of course there will be friction. We’re all still works in progress.

I think we should pray for these 5 character traits so that our church can grow together in unity rather than fall apart in conflict. If conflict in church is inevitable, then let’s not rest on our laurels and instead be the kind of people who are ready for it. I don’t promise to be perfect, but I promise to bear with you and ask the same of you.

Posted 124 weeks ago

1 thing you must get right if you’re going to help people.

Everyone wants to live a life of purpose knowing that they make a difference. Those who make the greatest differences in our world are those who help others. Unfortunately, there is a way that you tend to think that will drastically hinder your ability and desire to help.

Usually when I am preparing a sermon, I have too many things I want to say. There is just as much skill in knowing what to cut as their is in knowing what to say. Sometimes I end up only preaching a couple of verses because of time constraints. But this week, I had to cut something that I felt was so huge that I had to share it.

In Galatians 6:1-2, Paul talks about restoring people stuck in sin and bearing one another’s burdens. Meaning when someone in our church has a weight that they’re carrying around, we shouldn’t let them carry it alone. Their burden is our burden. Then in verse 3, Paul says something that looks like he’s just changing subjects, but in reality he’s revealing a flaw in our thinking that gets in the way of us actually carrying someone else’s burdens.

3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.
(Galatians 6:3-5 ESV)


What Paul is exposing here is our natural inclination to compare ourselves to other people. We’re always doing this. We want to see how our life measures up to the person next door. Is my car as cool as their car? Does their kid do more things than my kid? We’re always comparing ourselves to others. Where this get’s dangerous is when hear about someone who is struggling with something and we compare ourselves to them.  Let’s say someone in church is fighting some sin that you’ve never really been tempted towards. If you’re first move is comparison, then you will compare your victory in this area to their failure. You will actually use their struggle, their pain, and their slavery to sin to make yourself feel better about you. That’s pretty evil, but I also think it’s pretty common. 

Then it gets worse because usually comparing your good stuff to their bad stuff will lead you to condemn them for their burden rather than inspire you to help them carry it. You’ll shame them for being tempted to look at stuff on the internet. You’ll scoff at them for not being able to put the bottle down. You’ll look down on them for not being as good of a parent as you are.


Instead, Paul says that we are to look at our lives on their own. I don’t see how I measure up to you or someone else. I just take an honest look at where I’m doing good and where I’m struggle. This honest assessment will help you replace a condemning attitude with a compassionate attitude because you will see that you have struggles just like everyone else.  You’re struggles might be different than theirs, but you have struggles just the same. Whereas comparison leads to condemning, compassion leads to helping. 

I recently shared in church about some anxiety that I regularly struggle with and also a bout with some intense anxiety I had from a bad reaction to some medicine. In the middle of that someone in church said to me, “I have no idea what you’re going through, but I’m here for you.” That was compassion that led to helping and I was really grateful for it. Comparison would have led them to say, “Well what you do you have to be nervous about? I don’t get nervous about stuff because trust God. You need to trust God and get over it.” That attitude would not have been particularly beneficial to me when I was hiding under the covers having a panic attack.

So the one thing you’ve got to get right if you really want to obey God in this area to bear one another’s burdens is to look not with a comparing eye, but with a humble heart of compassion. So…

  • Take time to honestly evaluate your life and identify your areas of struggle (whether sins and temptations you fight or just a weight that life has put on your shoulders).
  • Never compare your areas of strength with someone else’s area of weakness. It is a measurement that will give you a false result and convince you that you are doing much better than you really are.
  • You’ve been commanded by God to bear the burdens of those around you. No one was meant to deal with the weight of this life alone.
Posted 125 weeks ago

3 Ways to Encourage One Another

In this past Sunday’s message, I spoke about the calling we have to encourage the other people in our church. We live in a very tough and discouraging world. Every day we deal with things that throw at us a variety of pains and frustrations. But as we looked at Sunday, we can have huge hope in Jesus because He makes all bad things temporary. If we have a relationship with Him, we have hope beyond this broken world. No matter what this world throws at us, we know that we have a future beyond it in Christ. The power of encouragement we have is by reminded one another of this amazing hope we have in Christ.

So how exactly do we encourage one another? What does it look like? Is it something we only do at church? Well here are 3 ways to encourage your church family members. 


This shouldn’t be too terribly hard to figure out but sometimes just a few encouraging sentences can make someone’s day. Maybe it requires you to set aside time for a meaningful phone call. Something I did recently was made a list on my phone of people in church who have some struggles in their lives. I set a reminder and I call each one of them every single week just to check on them and let them know they are cared for. Their pain is consistent so I want to make sure they’re getting consistent doses of encouragement. That’s just one small thing that I can do to help. It only takes me a few minutes a week to let a few people know that Jesus and their church have their back. Maybe you need to take the time to make a phone call today. 


When people go through something painful, usually their friends and family are great about surrounding them with love for about two weeks. After that, everyone sort of disappears. Though people drop off after two weeks, the pain doesn’t. So people regularly end up dealing with their bad situation all alone. Everyone else goes back to normal life and forgets about them. Break that cycle by continuing to be available for them. Loneliness and pain are a terrible combination. Loneliness in the middle of a painful circumstance increases the chances we’ll do something foolish. What many people need is your presence. A phone call is ok, but a visit is better. A comforting hug can’t be delivered over a phone call or text message. So set something up. Invite them over for dinner. Plan to meet them for breakfast before work.


Sometimes the best form of encouragement isn’t words at all, but rather you doing something nice for someone. Sometimes, what makes life so discouraging is that problems seem to compound. So go to someone who has problems mounting up and take away one of their problems. If someone lost her husband and on the top of that grief she’s worried about finances, then pay some of her bills if you have the ability. Think of the encouragement she would receive from knowing that she doesn’t just have friends that offer kind words, but she has friends who will do whatever it takes to keep her life from falling apart. Do you know a couple that is having marriage trouble? Tell them you’re going to be watching their kids one night a week so they can start going on dates. 

These three categories of encouraging open up endless ways to brighten someone’s life. So don’t just sit there. Someone in your church needs some encouragement!

Posted 126 weeks ago

We really care.


A couple of weeks ago, I began a new sermon series called “One Another”. The idea of the series is to look at some of the commands in the NT for how Christians are called by God to treat one another. When I was planning this series, I had this nagging doubt that maybe this subject might be a little to boring or obvious. I feared that a command like “love one another” was too obvious or that we’ve just heard this stuff so much that people would just zone out while I was talking. 


But in the two weeks of this series, I have found people leaning in eager to hear these commands. What I think is being revealed is that we are hungry for the type of community that God made us for. I think we are all tired of this surface level interaction of “How are you doing?” and “Oh I’m fine.” We want more. In our culture we are becoming increasingly more private. We spend less and less time interacting face-to-face and more time socializing behind a screen (phone, tablet, etc.). We’re spending less time on front porches and more time in front of the TV. As I’ve been talking about the ideal of actually getting involved in people’s lives, loving them and serving them, I’ve been exposing this craving for real relationships.


Recently, I had something that I was struggling with and my natural inclination was to kind of hide it and pretend everything was ok. I probably could have done that and gotten away with it. Instead, I shared it with my church. It was a little uncomfortable to be that vulnerable, but almost immediately after sharing people in church surrounded me with love, care, and prayers. The feeling of knowing that I was loved and not alone is so much greater than anything I would have gotten if I had hid my struggles.

I think most of us really desire that kind of a support network. A place where we know that we can find love and help on our worst days. As much as it seems that we want to be private and hide behind our closed blinds, we really care and we really want others to care about us. So turn off the TV and get out on the front porch. Spend more time in front of people and less time communicating from a mobile device. Sends less text messages and tweets and more invitations for people to come over for dinner. I believe we were created for this human to human interaction where we can truly know one another. After seeing people respond to this sermon series, I think we know that’s what we were created for and I think deep down we crave it.

Posted 127 weeks ago

What words will I use?

I’ve always been a talker. By that I don’t mean I’ve always been a natural public speaker. I mean I’ve always been a natural talker. I’d talk in class, talk to myself, talk to my mom and dad about any nonsensical thought that popped into my head. I guess I’m saying I have always had the tendency to make a lot of noise with my mouth.

But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the words that come out of my mouth. As a kid I just assumed everyone liked hearing me talk as much as I did. And I have always tended to (often without even realizing it) say to people what I wanted to hear. What utter selfish nonsense. 

As I’ve grown as a Christian, I’ve learned what things I should say (no cursing, say, I’ll pray for you, etc.). But only recently have I truly been thinking about letting the Gospel truly effect not just what I say, but even the heart behind my words.

My words are to be used, like anything else I have, to love God and love others. Just because my mouth has the ability to say some words or phrases doesn’t mean I should say them.  That may sound a little elementary school, but it’s true.  Take most any curse word for example. There are very few ways that you can say something vulgar in a way that encourages someone or love someone or is for their benefit. They get said because they make us feel better about ourselves or when we’re mad.  Or when someone says something incredibly rude that is technically true. Though truthful, the motives are selfish. That’s not loving God or people.

What if instead of saying what we wanted to say how we wanted to say it, we decided to surrender our mouths to God’s purposes. This would lead me to saturate my words with grace, kindness, and encouragement. This would lead me to speak truth graciously when I might otherwise have a tendency to be shy. This would give purpose to my speech and lead me to choose my words more carefully. I have too often been a verbal vomiter. I pray that the Holy Spirit may sanctify my heart and my speak so that I might honor God and be more of a blessing to everyone I encounter.

Posted 179 weeks ago

Just Follow Your Heart

For a few decades now, the consistent advice that is given when you are making a tough decision is, “Just follow your heart.” It sounds great, doesn’t it. This reassures us that deep inside, we have the right answer; that if follow our heart, we cannot make a mistake.  There is an alternate version of the whole “just follow your heart” thing. The meaning is ultimately the same. The alternate version is “Just do what makes you happy.” Again, how can you go wrong. Happiness is great! Happy moments are the ones we scrapbook and hang in frames on our walls to remember forever. So what could possibly go wrong with following your heart or doing what makes you happy?

Unfortunately, these two statements, though given out with good intentions, are terrible advice. Here’s why: your heart is corrupt.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Jeremiah 17:9

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in its end is the way to death.”
Proverbs 14:12

Your heart is sick. It will not always lead you in the right direction. It will crave things that are evil and wrong that end in pain and suffering. So following your heart is often disastrous and what you think will make you happy will ruin your life.

Everyone has seen that sweet, young girl who is in love with a guy that is basically a jerk. He’s selfish, crude, immature. Her family and friends tell her it’s a terrible idea, but her heart tells her she’s in love and that marrying the man she loves is the greatest possible thing! But what usually happens is they get married, have a kid or two, and he leaves for some shallow reason like her body doesn’t look like it did before the pregnancy. She followed her heart and it left her life in pieces. She did what made her happy and it left her struggling financially trying to raise kids all by herself.

The other day, my oldest son, James, almost followed his heart into the middle of the street. He’s just shy of three years old and has no clue what a car moving at 40 mph would do to him. But his little heart was having fun chasing a ball he was bouncing.

In my opinion, it doesn’t take much thought to realize that “just have fun” or “do what makes you happy” or “follow your heart” are very dangerous and destructive pieces of advice. At their best they are naive. At their worst they are saturated with a self-idolizing pride that puts my needs of everyone else’s. 

Don’t just follow your heart. Follow the God who cares about you. I understand that sometimes obeying God isn’t fun. I understand that sometimes you get lonely to a point that your heart says you need to settle and marry that guy and that following God will leave you single yet again. I get that your marriage is in a season that is dry and draining and you think you could be happier elsewhere and following God means staying put. 

But here’s the thing about God. God is looking out for your whole life. And not just that, he’s looking out for your whole eternity. Your heart will change what it wants and thinks is best from one moment to the next and from one season to the next. But God always tells you what’s best. He might still lead you through hard times for your greater good. Our hearts are easily deceived, easily persuaded, easily turned, but God is firm in His goodness. He will take care of you so that He may give you a life that is blessed with all you need even if it’s not all you wanted. When I look in the rear view mirror of my life, I see all the times God was leading me at just the right times, in just the right ways, to just the right places. But I also see how many times my heart led me into nothing but pain and stupidity. Follow God, not your heart.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
1 John 2:15-17

Posted 188 weeks ago

Unhappy Christians

This post will most likely be a rant to some degree.  This rant will begin in 3…2…1….


About everything!

It doesn’t matter what is going on a Christian somewhere will complain about it.  What is our problem? Why are we always so mad about things. In churches, Christians are mad about the music, the carpet color, the dress code. The leaders are doing too much of one thing and not enough of another. Some Christians are just always mad.

I just read an article on Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar’s speech. Some people were mad that he mentioned God too much. But Christians got mad that he didn’t mention God in the right way, that his theology was off, and that he thanked God for the opportunity to be in movies that are raunchy. 

A couple of thoughts: 1. Let’s assume that Matthew McConaughey is on some kind of journey of faith in Christ. We don’t if that’s true or not, he didn’t mention Jesus in his speech, but he has read Lee Strobel’s book A Case For Christ, which tells me he has at least been seeking. If he is seeking Christ, then why is the loudest Christian response one that critiques his journey. He needs a personal pastor to do that, not the masses.  2. If he is a Christian, then the speed of his sanctification is not up to us. That’s the Holy Spirit’s role. Our griping does nothing, but show the world that Christians just aren’t happy unless we’re mad about something. 3. I didn’t understand some of what he said or know what he meant by it, but he at least spoke of God as a personal God and not some intangible philosophical idea.

Another thing Christians are always grumpy about is politics. Christians are always freaking out about the latest move by the President or congress or something else. I’m not saying it’s wrong to be mad about some of this stuff, but we Christians freak out on such a loud, grand scale. Our reaction shows that we (at least in part) are putting too much weight behind politics and politicians. This country will stand as long as God wills it to stand. No President or politician can change that. God determines how long the U.S.A. will serve His glorious purposes on our planet. Since God is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, loving, and good, I don’t have to freak out about every political decision that takes place.

The saddest consequence of all our anger is this: we are becoming ineffective. Christians are no longer known as those who shine the light of Jesus, but rather the loud crazies. No one listens to the loud crazies. Honestly I don’t care what people think about us, but we are called to represent Christ and we are dragging His name down with ours. There is a time and place for anger. Even Jesus showed that. But when the overwhelming tone of the Christian voice is one of anger and outrage against something, I think it shows we are out of balance. All anger, no love. All law, no grace.

One more thing: If you are a Christian, you were saved by grace. It’s not like you are holier or more worthy of Jesus’ death for you. You’re a sinner, plain and simple. So am I. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Then He sent His Spirit to grow us and help us be more like Him.  So we can’t take any credit for our growth. That means rather than proudly screaming at those who don’t meet our high standards, we must humbly encourage and correct those toward Christ.

I understand the irony in that while writing about grumpy Christians, I myself, am quite grumpy. I think our anger is only only serving to make us feel better about ourselves and how we’re not as bad as everyone else (which isn’t true). But we are alienating our world from Christ, the death He died, and the life He brings. That is a shame. End of rant.

Posted 192 weeks ago

Decapitated Faith

If I ever write a book, it will probably be called “Decapitated Faith”. You see, Christ intended a fully alive faith to consist both a relationship with Christ (the head) and His church (the body). I often see horrible consequences arise when people try to separate the head from the body and still call it Christianity.

I have known many former church attenders who say something like, “I still believe in Jesus, I just don’t believe in organized religion.” The idea is that the church is corrupt and full of hypocrites who are nothing like Jesus, whom they like, so they just take Jesus and ditch the church. This sounds so good in theory and is why so many people feel so comfortable taking this road. But Jesus gave us the church for a reason and used His Holy Spirit to start the church on the day of pentecost. There are too many purposes and benefits of the church to fully lay out here, but among them are discipleship, caring for one another, unity, encouragement, and on and on I could go.  What I have often witnessed is that when people cut themselves off from the body, they eventually give up on the head as well.  When there is no longer a support network of individuals encouraging us in Christ, we get overwhelmed and swayed by the loud voices in our culture and Jesus becomes less and less the Lord of our lives.

The other side of the problem is seeing people be actively a part of the church, but not actively following Jesus. Unlike the former problem, where people are knowingly and actively deciding to give up on church, this problem is often unknown to those in the middle of it.  What I believe happens is that we let church become about us and not about Christ. When  that happens we start to leave him out of everything except in name only. The worship service becomes about whether or not I like the music or the preacher. The Sunday school classes or small groups become about whether or not they meet at a convenient time and whether or not I’m getting fed. Christians who are involved in the body without much concern for the head can be power hungry always in struggles, complaining about the smallest details, always trying to get their way. They can be people who don’t get much involved past things that are fun or emotionally charged for a moment. They can be people who have no care for the mission of Christ and reaching people as long as their personal needs are met. Because again, it’s not about Christ’s will, it’s my will be done.

Both of these problems fall under what I call a decapitated faith where you try to separate Christ from the Church. Neither of these is a valid form of following Jesus. Neither of these is His will for our lives. Both will assuredly lead to a stagnant, dead faith.

We need both Jesus and His people. We weren’t meant to pursue Jesus individually or use the church to pursue our individual desires. We were meant to follow Jesus together, challenging each other when we fall short, encouraging each other when we feel weak, and confidently proclaiming His glory to the world. Don’t fall for lie that you have a thriving faith in Christ without His church and don’t get tricked into making church and ultimately your faith about you and leaving Jesus around in name only.

Posted 193 weeks ago

Redeemed Pain

A couple of weeks ago, we realized that in all this winter weather, we hadn’t gotten the kids out of the house in the better part of a month (with the exception of walking over to church). We decided to go all out and venture to McDonald’s just for the sake of going somewhere….and we like fries. So while we’re there, I was chewing my food and I bit my tongue harder than I ever have in my life. The searing pain forbid me from conveying to my wife, why I had such a stupid look on my face and tears in my eyes. Only when I stuck out my tongue and she saw the blood did she understand. My tongue was sore for 3 days.

A day or so after our outing, I was having a daddy day with my two boys and Jude, my 9 month old, was crawling around the corner in the kitchen and his hand slipped and his face smashed into the floor. For a moment he looked stunned and then the crying started. But it was the type of crying where there is a face of pain and an open mouth, but no sound. This is the type of crying that indicates pain too strong for sound. As he takes a second deep breathe, the began to scream as he cried. When his mouth opened, I saw the blood on his tongue.

I tend to be pretty compassionate toward the pain of my children, but in that moment, I KNEW his pain. In fact, I was still feeling his pain as my tongue still ached from my prior chomping. In that moment I swooped him into my arms and hugged that little boy and comforted him as best I could. Now it wasn’t a serious injury, but this principle of compassion is the same. We have greater compassion for those whose pain we have felt ourselves. In fact, if we’ve gone through something painful, and later we watch someone else go through it, a part of us hurts all over again. 

This isn’t coincidental. This is something wired into us by our Creator so that we might be able to help one another and care for one another. 

The Apostle Paul talks about this in 2 Corinthians 1:3-6:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 

Now, I don’t want to presume to say that God caused your suffering in the past so that you might be prepared to comfort someone in the future. However, I will say this, if you have suffered in the past, God doesn’t want you to waste that part of you that might relate to someone who is hurting and be able to help them. Who is better to comfort than a person who has already been in identical circumstances? Who is better to administer the grace and peace of Jesus than someone who truly understands the hurt that is present? 

You can be a conduit through which the comfort of Christ flows. Whether the hurt is a bitten tongue or a lost loved one, a lost job or a terrible diagnosis, God has often chosen those of us who have endured to deliver His comfort. What a great thing that God can redeem your most tragic moments and allow some part of that to help someone else! Only our God can do that.

Posted 194 weeks ago

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