There’s only one explanation for Robin—Jesus. And also for her sons Miles and Jake. Robin and Jake are nurses currently caring for Covid19 patients. Miles serves as a teacher in Malaysia. Robin is also an award winning author, speaker, and leader of Higher Ground Outreach ministry for incarcerated women. What an honor to interview them during Teacher and Nurse Appreciation Week and in time for Mother’s Day, and to share their timely and timeless, inspiring and joy filled stories with you in these two videos and the article that follows.Continue reading “#FaithOverFear from the Perspective of a Mom, Nurse, and Teacher”
You cannot stay here.
Mountaintops, valleys, running with the wind and running in water, heartbreak and breakthrough, trials and triumph. — It’s been the best of years; it’s been the worst of years. I’ve braved the battleground. I’ve floundered and failed; I’ve pressed on and prevailed.
Sometimes life bulldozes. Stuff happens. Yes, “onward” is my word of the year, and no, the irony of getting stuck writing Onward did not escape me. It’s been awhile. Forgive me. Shame tried to hold me down, but God said, “Rise.”Continue reading “Onward!”
Challenges are more often like marathons than sprints. We’re most spent as we near the finish line, and when I can’t see the end, sometimes I falter and it’s tempting to quit rather than carry on.
“God,” I said, “I’m not entering any more writing contests if I don’t win something this time.” —I almost didn’t enter, but I figured entering my article on failing was appropriate since I’m so adept at it. Besides, the road to success is often paved with failure.
The best will fail the most.
George Washington lost more battles than he won. Thomas Edison scrapped more “great ideas” than he ever saw come to fruition.
The well-played life is not about never falling.
I cried when my friend Cherrilynn asked me to go to Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. There was no way I could go! I had wanted to for three years, but the timing was wrong, the money wasn’t there, and how could I leave my husband and two teen boys, one of whom just became our foster son, to fend for themselves? Besides, I was sure my husband would never say yes. So I didn’t ask.
“Just praying and doing the One-Day-at-a-Time Sweet Jesus 🎵 thing,” I told my editor friend. “So much to write. So much drama and distraction. Sure wish I could run away for a few days to Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. Well—🎵 Hallelujah Anyhow.🎵 Thy will Lord—in Your strength.”
Then Cherrilynn called two days before departure and asked again if I would go with her to the conference.
The thought of attending a writers conference with all those amazing people and accomplished writers terrified me! Who am I to go?
Shouldn’t I have a several thousand page book written first to justify the expense and inconvenience to others? I have a couple children’s picture book manuscripts but… Am I worth it? Am I worth investing in? What if I fail?
Our worth is not defined by ourselves, others, or by our performance, but by Christ’s investment in us, His precious blood spent and His love for us. That makes us priceless. And it is He who bestows gifts on each of us for His glory and to help others.
I don’t doubt God’s calling on my life to write, but sometimes I doubt myself. I fear quitting. Remember in the Grinch when the townspeople are all shouting at him? “You don’t belong there!” echoed in my mind. Continue reading “Am I Worth It?”
This is a terrible way to introduce an article, Bryan! You’re supposed to grip the reader with a compelling opener, but since you’re the boss of this contest here goes: I am participating in the Writing Contest: You Are Enough, hosted by Positive Writer.
I really like you Bryan, because you’re real, an overcomer, and your is heart to encourage and equip others.
Oh, and Bryan’s a great writer too, people! Check out the other contest submissions and subscribe to Positive Writer here.
Did you miss the memo that anything worth doing is hard? Writing is hard work. For me it is mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. And exhilarating too—but that usually comes after the exhausting. It is time intensive and demanding. But it’s worth it. Your calling costs something too.
Life happens. Sometimes all you can handle is small steps and bite sized pieces, but they will get you where you’re going. Instead of overdrive on the Autobahn you might need to take the slow country road for awhile. Somewhere between doing nothing and doing everything, there is balance.
I was waiting for perfect, but it never showed up. So I decided I’d better start the journey without it. I thought I needed to be the perfect Christian, wife, mom, have the perfect family, and coin the perfect phrases. Then I’d have something to say. Then God could use my writing. I mean, who am I?
But it’s not about who I am; it’s about… Continue reading “Waiting for Perfect (Guest Post on Inkspirations Online)”
“Hi Pastor Obermeyer. Would you like to unwrap these statements of yours a bit, which you gave in answer to my questions? Here, Preacher; the floor, or rather, the pulpit is yours! If you wish to take it—go!”
“Okay, rolling up my sleeves, lol.”
Rachael: What most breaks your heart? What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today?
Pastor Kevin Obermeyer: The condition of the church these days, which gets so caught up with the world and then wonders why it isn’t being effective. Secular worldviews, worldly attitudes, Biblical illiteracy, and ignorance.
What I mean is that I see many worldly philosophies and practices actively being taught in the church by ignorant and immature Christians. Spiritual immaturity is rampant, as is Biblical illiteracy. I hear more people offering their logic and opinions than actual Scripture verses. I hear Christians talk about “centering,” themselves, not realizing they are really talking about centering their “chi,” or life energy, which is a complete Eastern thought about how our life energy vibrates out of balance and needs to be re-centered.
Even yoga is designed for this, each position centering and balancing a different part of the chi; and yet we find “Christian yoga,” which is kind of a contradiction in terms, being led in some churches. I hear Christians talk about karma—good and bad karma and how karma is going to, “get that person.” This is horrible. Karma is not the same thing as the Biblical teaching of reaping what you sow despite its popular use even among Christians. Karma is a cosmic force, energy, or presence generated by the sum of a person’s actions, good and bad, which affects the nature of a person’s existence and determines their destiny or fate through transmigration into their next incarnation. That’s a mouthful, but it’s even more than that. It’s also one of the three margas, or paths to Brahman or salvation taught in Hinduism, being the path through works.
All of this comes from paganism and mythology and is completely contrary to Scripture, which teaches against reincarnation and salvation by works. It also puts our trust for justice and vengeance in something besides a merciful God and bypasses mercy altogether. Sadly, so many people today think they get into Heaven by doing enough good things to outweigh the bad, which is why many people struggle with the security of their own salvation in Christ.
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; Romans 3:10 (NKJV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
Karma completely undermines the finished work of Christ on the cross and the hope we have in Him. It puts all the responsibility on us and our own abilities to save ourselves, which is an impossible task. And it isn’t enough just to say you don’t use the word, karma, that way but mean something else, like good or bad luck, (also pagan). The Bible is clear that it is what it is regardless of how you use it (c.f 1 Corinthians 10:19-21). And if that isn’t clear enough, Paul specifically writes that we are to avoid even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). The Bible is replete with passages, (Old and New Testament), telling God’s people not to be like the pagans and not to do what they do, especially in dance, worship, and lifestyle. We are to be different, set apart, holy. That’s something I think a lot of Christians overlook but really should investigate. Both Paul and Christ warn even further against causing others to stumble in their faith by one’s own misleading actions.
People offer their thoughts and positive energy along with their prayers; again Eastern thought. And they confuse Eastern and New Age meditation, (emptying your mind and thoughts), with Biblical meditation, (filling your mind and thoughts with Scripture and Godly reflection). Christ warns that an empty “house” is vulnerable to being filled with demons, (Matthew 12:44-45). We think if we call it, “mindfulness,” then it’s not the same thing as Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age thought; whatever you want to call it, it isn’t Biblical.
I see churches and pastors getting distracted and becoming more concerned about looks and feels and making sure people are entertained rather than about teaching solid truth and deep faith. We sure get fired up about political and social issues, and we’ve got to look fly in front of people to keep up with the world, while the meat of God’s Word for daily living, spiritual growth, furthering of God’s Kingdom, and changing that world can just take a backseat—as if we don’t truly believe in it’s Power. I hear more motivational speaking than preaching, and those are not the same thing. Sadly, the church is sick and is presenting a shallow Gospel, and then we wonder why so many people, especially young people, question and abandon their faith. They’ve been given a different Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Galatians 1:6-9) with no saving power. Their need isn’t satisfied. Their faith doesn’t take root because their faith hasn’t been placed in the true Solid Rock of Christ, but sinking sand.
Rachael: If you could tell the Church anything, what would it be? What’s on your heart?
Pastor Kevin Obermeyer: So many have unteachable spirit attitudes. I want to remind people about holiness that seems to be so lacking today. Continue reading “And the Preacher Rolled Up His Sleeves”
What has being a pastor/ pastor’s wife cost you?
This comes at the expense of a broken heart. —Pastor Pablo Catala
Physical and emotional stress; personal time and freedom; often any sense of security because things change so much in your life; and struggles with self-worth as you are constantly being evaluated, of which you mostly only hear about your shortcomings. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer
As a missionary it has cost convenience, comfort, seeing family… but the promised reward of souls far outweigh the costs. —Anonymous Pastor, Kathmandu, Nepal
What is the hardest part of pastoring?
Seeing what people need to do and watching them not do it, no matter how I present it or how I word it, no matter how much time I spent with them and then having to hear the lament of,“Pastor, you were right,” which does not comfort me as I’m seeing the carnage of their bad decisions. —Anonymous Pastor
Expecting to be loved, understood, maybe even appreciated? They have no idea how needy we are. —Anonymous Pastor’s Wife
Sometimes your own children reject everything you’ve lived for and still you must keep going. —Anonymous
Realizing how much you don’t know, and feeling like you never do enough, aren’t good enough, or that you might misspeak something heretical. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer
What is your biggest challenge and most unexpected hardship in pastoring?
I guess my passion for the church gets me in trouble. —Janet Foley
Making sure that in the midst of building God’s church I don’t lose my marriage or children to the devil’s lies. Stretching time and making sure none of the 3 most important elements of your life are not cheated: God/ family/ work. —Pastor Pablo Catala Continue reading “Pastor, Pastor’s Wife~ What Breaks Your Heart, What Keeps You Going?”
Did you think when you became a Christian you would be pastoring one day? Tell me about when you realized you were called to be a pastor /pastor’s wife?
Sophie Foley: I always believed I would marry a pastor. But then again, I’ve wanted to marry John since I was 12, and knew he was called to it.
Pastor John Foley: It was something that came to my mind but I wasn’t clear about. I had some other plans. I watched a world evangelism video of Greg and Lisa Mitchell in South Africa and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I responded to a call to preach. I still wasn’t sure but a man in the church told me if I wanted to I probably was. I felt
moved that God could use my life to make an impact by preaching to people around the world. I thought most people felt like I did. I dedicated my life to becoming a pastor but it didn’t happen for another 8 years or so.
Sophie: We arrived in Malden, Massachusetts on June 2, 2017. We promptly began Bible studies in our home and soon moved to a hall nearby and began having Sunday morning services. My husband, Pastor John, met a group of young men almost immediately, who had been praying for a young pastor for a year. That same week we met a woman and her adult children, who had been praying for a young church as well. Within a few weeks, we had 20+ people attending. It was mind blowing. Truly, God had a people here, He just needed someone to come.
We remodeled and moved into our current building in May of this year and have had such favor with the community. This really has been a dream come true, to serve God here. It is right in the heart of the new downtown development and one block from the T station. We run anywhere from 20-60 people at any given time. —The Potter’s House, Malden MA https://www.pottershouseboston.com/
Janet Foley, (Pastor Kevin Foley’s wife & John Foley’s mother): My parents were faithful Methodists, very active in the church, my father teaching the adult class and my mother 3rd and 4th graders, me in the youth choir, etc.. But we never heard the term “born again,” and never heard that we must repent of our sin and truly invite Jesus Christ in to our hearts, which caused a lot of problems in our home!
My parent’s marriage was rocky. I got in huge fights with my dad where he accused me of things I never ever thought of doing. Just because I had incense in my room I was accused time and time again of drugs and lying. Finally I said to myself, if he thinks I’m so bad then…I’ll be bad!!! Where’s some dope? I became a rebellious pot smoking hippie chick at 13 years old. My 21 year old boyfriend turned me on to LSD—I didn’t want to do it, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I was intrigued with the music, yoga and philosophy my brothers brought home from college and the partying, flower children, and concerts of the time. Continue reading “The Call: Why Did You Become a Pastor? (Part 2 in a Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastors Wives, 2018)”
I hate commitment. It’s terrifying! Failure to keep a commitment devastates me, no matter how small. So, I shy away from it. I procrastinated all day about accepting author and writing coach Jeff Goins’s 30 day #My500Words writing challenge because I figured if I waited long enough, it would be too late to commit and then I couldn’t fail. One way to avoid failure is to not commit—just don’t take the risk. Right? Wrong.
The Bible admonishes us to count the cost, to consider if we are able to complete a task before we begin and to let our yea be yea and our nay be nay. We should have reverence for commitment, but there’s a difference between responsibly considering decisions and living in neutral. Neutral often slides into reverse motion
You can choose to live a reactive or proactive life. God calls us to action and faithful stewardship of our talents and abilities. Passivity is an action. We are responsible for the results of our indecision. We either pursue God and His call for our lives or neglect it. Inaction is an action; indecision is a decision. No risk, no gain. Guaranteed.
In an effort to feel more secure and protect myself from failure, I wrote my first 500 words before typing, “I’m in,” and accepting the challenge—at the last minute. So how did I do? I failed. I missed three days and many days I fell short of the 500 words, but on others, I exceeded it. There is a difference between failing at something and being a failure. Failing doesn’t necessarily identify you as a failure. It could just mean you tried and as Thomas Edison said, figured out many ways how not to do something, which is often the route to finally achieving a goal or overcoming an obstacle.
So, what really is the battle here? Am I afraid of commitment, or failure? Or am I just a control freak? The answer is yes. I like the sure thing. It’s not a risk if I know the outcome, can do it in my own strength, or don’t need a miracle. But if I stay in my comfort zone, I don’t need faith and if I don’t reach beyond my own abilities, I miss the chance to see God work with me, through me, and move on my behalf. My mess yielded to Jesus is a chance for God’s miracles. My obstacles are God’s opportunities.
I’m often hard on myself when I feel I’ve let myself, others, and most importantly, God, down. Even though I want and need input to grow, sometimes it’s hard to receive criticism from others because I’ve done such a good job of beating myself up. That’s an issue with Grace. God says in His Word that His mercies are new every morning.
Let your trials and failures refine you and let God define you.
Sometimes it’s the process of the struggle that builds the strength to accomplish the task. The only real failures are those who do nothing or quit at their calling.
Sometimes what we think of as failure is God’s strength and endurance training, equipping us to help others.
Sometimes that good thing for us is failure, or setback, or discipline, or faith stretched until the midnight hour—and then the victory. Pray; wait on God, and when He says it’s time to move—move.
When I depend on myself and my own abilities I fall short. The only sure thing is the Gospel. The only guarantee of success is to obey God and hitch our hearts, our hope, our destiny and eternity on Jesus. What matters is not my own or the world’s definition of success or failure, but God’s. God defines us by our identity with Him. I am His.
If God is asking you for something you can’t do then it’s God’s turn to do whatever it takes to accomplish His will and destiny for your life. — Pastor Chip Ganiear
And all that really matters is the will of God.
I’m going to fail sometimes. You’re going to fail sometimes. We will lose some battles, but I read the end of the story, and those who walk with Jesus win the war.
Pray. Persist. Prevail.
“I AM THAT I AM” beats “it is what it is” every time. — Pastor Chip Ganiear
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NKJV)
We were made for Christ, to follow Him, to obey His
Word and calling, to lean on His strength and grow in His grace.
He has called me to write for Him, and so, I write.
3rd place 2019 Tar Heel Award, North Carolina Christian Writers Conference
© 2018, 2019 Rachael M Colby Tattoo It On Your Heart