Waiting for Perfect (Guest Post on Inkspirations Online)

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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)”

And the Preacher Rolled Up His Sleeves

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“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.

Image-2What 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”

Pastor, Pastor’s Wife~ What Breaks Your Heart, What Keeps You Going?

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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?”

The Call: Why Did You Become a Pastor? (Part 2 in a Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastors Wives, 2018)

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_aaron-burden-unsplash-Why_Did_You_Become_a-PastorDid 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

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Pastor John and Sophie Foley and children, Malden, MA (Boston area)

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/

 

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Pastor Kevin and Janet Foley, McMinnville Oregon

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, (or is it Failure I Fear)

I hate commitment. It’s terrifying! Failing to keep a commitment devastates me, no matter how small. So, I shy away from it. I procrastinated all day about accepting Jeff Goins’s 30 day #My500Words writing challenge for the month of January, 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 being a 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

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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. But 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. If I stay in my comfort zone I don’t need faith. It’s not a risk if I know the outcome, or don’t need a miracle, or if I can do it in my own strength, or have all the answers up front. I like the sure thing, the guarantee. But if I don’t reach beyond my own abilities, I will 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 so hard to receive criticism from others because I’ve done such a good job of beating myself up already. That’s an issue with Grace. God says in His Word that His mercies are new every morning.

Unspoken- Miracle

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.

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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.

What about you?

Carrollton- Made for This

© 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

Dear reader,

I’d like to invite you to read about our young friend, Alek’s, battle against Lymes disease. Please consider sharing on your social media and with friends, family and co-workers.

*Matching funds on new donations from February 1st- February 14th! Link to read his story or donate toward his ongoing treatment. the information on Lymes disease in this article by his mom is a good education on the disease and may be helpful to others battling it or with undiagnosed similar symptoms:

Click to read or donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/aleks-battle-against-lymes

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One

“Everything in me wants to quit right now,” she said.

“You can’t. Not- an- option. That would be flushing all your hard work, and turning your back on the gift God gave you.”

“Suddenly I question everything, especially my abilities as a writer, and I just want to turn and run the other way…”

“You think you have battles now? Remember, there is no armor in the back, so if you turn tail you are more exposed than ever to the enemy. Regret is a miserable bedfellow. It’s harder in the end to go in the opposite direction God’s headed, which is forward.”

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

 Trending

My friend complained that certain media is just propaganda.

“(They) set algorithm to trend only hate and propaganda. The Gospel or anything positive never trends,” she said. “If you watch trending lines, you can tell it’s being manipulated. It’s so negative. We Christians, or positives thoughts, are being pushed off.”

There’s a lot of bad in the media, and in the world. And it’s all pretty trendy. I can pay attention to that and let it discourage, distract and derail me, or I can seize the opportunity to promote good and encourage others.

The Gospel has never been trendy, but it still gets its work done— one by one. Jesus only had 12 apostles and not nearly as many followers as Rome, or the Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious leaders of the day. And even Jesus’ few followers deserted Him for a time, but that didn’t stop the Gospel.

Your worth is in Christ, not in others. Even if men revered you- what is that compared to the King of Kings and  Lord of Lords calling you His own and loving you?

Never mind what others are doing. Focus on what God is doing and what He has for you to do.

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Galatians 1:10 (NLT)

The Sound of Crickets

“…I know my writing is amateur. I know all these things, but it’s still frustrating putting words out into the world to the sound of crickets….” she said.

If God has called you to a task shouldn’t you get to it?

The only real failure is quitting when we are called to carry on. All else is just the learning on the road to success.

“Lord, You are life giving Living Water. Encourage Your weary word warriors. Refresh our world worn souls.”

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. II Corinthians 4:1 (NKJV)

I believe God created us with the desire to be a part of something greater than ourselves, to do something that matters. Fulfillment is found in Jesus, and purpose, when we follow Him and find our calling and use our talents to glorify Him and serve others.

I am called to scatter the seed of the Gospel through His Word and the words God gives me, to lift up Jesus’ name and honor Him. I write for the one and The One. I let God decide what to do with it. The good shepherd leaves the 99 to rescue the one lost sheep. So, even if my words only impact a few, what matters is that I obey God by sharing His truth from the platform He gives me. It’s worth it for the one who hears and follows Jesus. You are one. I am one.

And if my words impact many, I must remember it is:

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” Says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6  NKJV

So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. I Corinthians 3:7 (NKJV)

Small Potatoes

A friend recently referred to her writer website as “small potatoes.” Let me tell you a story.

Dwight was only four years old when his father died, leaving his mother to raise his family of nine children on their farm in Northfield, MA. His formal education ended in fifth grade. He moved to Boston at 17 years old where his uncle hired him to work in his shoe store, under the condition he attend services at Mt. Vernon Congregational Church. On April 21st, 1855 his Sunday School teacher, Edward Kimball, took the time to pay a visit to and share the Gospel with the young shoe salesman. Dwight L Moody accepted Jesus as his savior and became one of the leading evangelists of his time. He also founded the Moody ChurchNorthfield Mount Hermon School, the Moody Bible Institute, and Moody Publishers.

Look at the chain reaction of influence and conversions of men who became preachers:

Edward Kimball, volunteer Sunday School teacher ⇨

 

D.L. Moody- “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do. And that which I can do, by the grace of God, I will do.” ⇨

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F.B Meyer- “Let us, therefore, not live in the summer‑house of emotion, but in the central citadel of the will, wholly yielded and devoted to the will of God.” ⇨

Wilbur Chapman- “Anything that dims my vision for Christ, or takes away or cramps me in my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me; and I must, as a Christian turn away from it.”⇨

Billy Sunday- “Stopping at Third adds no more to the score than striking out. It doesn’t matter how well you start if you fail to finish.” ⇨

Mordecai Ham- “When’s the last time you asked God for something that was beyond your ability?”  ⇨

Billy Graham- has preached to more people than anyone else in history.

And it all goes back to a volunteer Sunday School teacher who took time to share the Gospel with one.

Every soul impacted by each of these preachers and each of their converts is the fruit of Mr Kimball’s decision to minister to one.  I wonder who led Mr. Kimball to Christ?

We are tools and seeds in the Master Gardener’s hands. Jesus is the sun shine and the rain that makes the seed grow and bear fruit. I must use what I have for God and leave the results up to Him. That’s enough to keep me busy and blessed till He takes me home.

“Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.” – Billy Graham

“When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God.”- Billy Graham

Remember, it’s by grace.

His grace will take you from the place called, “small potatoes,” to the plans He has for you.

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. John 4:34 (NKJV)

RESOURCES

 The Story of the Chain of Conversions of Famous Evangelists.

D.L. Moody

https://www.moody.edu/about/our-bold-legacy/d-l-moody/

Biography: The Life of Dwight L. Moody, by his son, William R. Moody

D. L. Moody books

F.B Meyer

F.B Meyer Books

Wilbur Chapman

Wilbur Chapman books

 Billy Sunday

http://www.billysunday.org/

Billy Sunday books

Mordecai Ham

The Day Billy Graham Found Christ

Billy Graham

https://billygraham.org/

Jesus Saves and Ordinary Farm Boy (Billy Graham’s conversion story)

Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham

Billy Graham books

*Update on My Daughter, Abby’s Mission Trip Here:

She is His https://abbysmission.wordpress.com/blog/

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                                                       A. M. Views, Kathmandu, Nepal   -Abby Colby

**Please Note: I made necessary revisions to my prior post entitled, Happy Birthday America. If you read it beforehand, please take a moment to read the revised version.

© 2017  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

Be Wary of Comparing

Be wary of comparing. It’s a wretched road which leads to  self-doubt and discontent. Stop. Look to God.

God withholds no good thing from us. So, to be jealous or discouraged because of someone else’s success is like accusing God of denying or not knowing what’s best for us. It’s an attempt of the heart to mutiny against the Lordship of Christ. God makes the path, sets the pace and wants to patiently, lovingly, bring us to the destiny He has for us.  DSCF8135-002

I understand massive spiritual assaults, like apathy and doubt. Sometimes I’m so exhausted and discouraged I feel like my pen weighs a ton and it’s so hard to pick it up and write. I understand no time, little support, feeling overwhelmed— and procrastination.

I am acutely aware of my inability and shortcomings. And I’m so grateful for Jesus’ guidance and empowerment to overcome.

Others inspire, challenge, and teach me. But Jesus calls me to follow Him, and by His grace, to become the best me I can be for Him.

A lump of clay is of little use until it is yielded to the molding of the potter’s hands. It’s value is determined by who the potter is and his workmanship.

So it is also with us. We are dust, clay- and Jesus is the Potter. Like a lump of clay, our existence lacks significance until we fulfill our purpose. Our first purpose is to know Him; He created us for relationship with Him. We cannot form ourselves into what God’s intent is for us. We are truly nothing on our own.

It’s as we place ourselves in The Master Artist’s hands and let Him work out our imperfections, mold and shape us into the vessel He intends for us to become, that our identity, purpose and value is realized.

God makes no duplicates, so why compare yourself?

God does not judge greatness or reward according to talents and accomplishments, but rather, by the intent of the heart and faithful stewardship to His calling.

There are no insignificant tasks when I am doing what God has called me to.

There is no less than or better than, in God’s eyes- just obedience or disobedience to His will.

You cannot attain anything greater than the destiny God has for you. We are all called to greatness in God.

Jesus is a hands on kind of Maker. We are His workmanship.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

Have you allowed the enemies of frustration, doubt and fear to hinder you? What are you going to do about it?

What has God called you to do? Do that. What are your gifts? Don’t doubt them- develop them.

It is my responsibility and God’s desire for me to use my gifts for His glory and to serve others. If I do that, I will have nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing to be proud of either, because it’s all given  by Him.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17 (NKJV)

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” Galatians 6:4 (NLT)

So, to my writer friends I say, sit your butt down in the chair, and just write! Just start. Lay one word down on the page and then another and another… Pay Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M-Colby_Wield_Your_Swordattention to your heart and the stress, and the mess, and the blessed around you. It’s all  potential writing material.

There’s a whole hurting, dying world out there waiting for a glimpse of Jesus and his grace and power. Your words can be the window.

Don’t draw back— carry on soldier. Write on. Let’s press the battle to the gates.

Yes, we all have much learning and growing to go. So, “Go!”

(In His grace.) 🙂

© 2017  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart