Now (Guest Post on Southern Ohio Christian Voice)

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Some words get thrown around like confetti in January— “Happy New Year! What’s your New Year’s resolution?”

But what about when it’s not happy? What about when you don’t know which way is up, and what if you can’t see any resolution for issues in your life, much less make a resolution? While some began the new year with fireworks and hope, others look out on the future through the fog of uncertainty. What then?  Continue reading “Now (Guest Post on Southern Ohio Christian Voice)”

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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?”

From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_From_Dope-Dealer_to_Hope_DealerI recently had the privilege of being on an outreach team to help Pastor Pablo and Nicole Catala’s pioneer church in Bridgeport CT. I was struck by how laid down, how wide open and vulnerable their hearts and lives were for God and the people of their city. I watched them love people with the love of God. I watched the ease with which they outreached, their children alongside them—truly a team, like a machine in sync. I took note of their home. Everywhere I turned there were photographs of their family and decor that shouted in unison about God and family. I learned their story later and asked them to share it. Here it is.

The  Catala Story

IMG-4281Nicole Catala: One night my husband and I were fighting and basically done with our marriage. We both never had an example. We were only 6 months married and wanted to go for a divorce! That night my husband packed his clothes and left the house. The very next day I got a flyer from someone that there was going to be a healing crusade right across the street in Poe Park, put on by Victory Chapel in the Bronx, NY. As I was looking at the state of my life I knew I needed a miracle. I didn’t want my life to be just like the life of my family: Divorced, having multiple children from different men. I decided to go to the first night of the healing crusade. I was in a state of depression at only 18 years old and felt there was no hope for me and my eight month old son. Continue reading “From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer”

Easter Offerings

Rachael_M_Colby_tatto_it_on_your_heart_face-the_Son_North_Light_StudioToday marks the day of the ultimate love story, the day when Jesus, God incarnate, bore our sin, shame and the penalty for our sin and gave His life on the cross so we could gain forgiveness and eternal life, so we could know Him and have hope. For this reason, we call it Good Friday.

I am reminded that at what seemed to be the darkest day, at the greatest human injustice, is when God was most in control. —Dr. Sean McDowell 

Dear Reader,

Please forgive me for being absent from my blog for so long.  My miserable excuse is I’m undergoing treatment for an impinged nerve and two numb fingers. That makes for painfully slow typing and a somewhat distracted foggy mind. (No, it’s not carpal tunnel and the cause is not typing.) Prayers appreciated.

I am almost finished with my Billy Graham Post, and hope to have it up this weekend. But until then, here are some suggestions for your Easter weekend and beyond as well as excerpts and links to my posts from last Easter.

May you know the depths and heights of Jesus’ love for you and delight in Him and the great plan He has for your life.

Rachael

Christ Revealed documentary film series featuring 25 world renowned experts

Click here to register to watch #1 Christian Documentary of 2017/2018, Christ Revealed, offered free for a limited time. This series reveals astonishing facts about the validity of Christ and the resurrection

New Movie! The third in the God’s Not Dead Series

Today, Good Friday March 30th, 2018  PureFix releases their new movie, God’s Not Dead: A light in Darkness, in theaters across the USA.

Return to the Holy Land
This Easter: Watch & Share This Graham Family Devotional
Join Franklin Graham and his family in this video as they explore the rich history of Israel, and study the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the land of the Bible.

Below are excerpts from and links to my posts from last Easter

Reflections

I tried to quell the yearning for a greater something, a purpose bigger than the here and now and myself.

I chased all manner of both good and evil earthly pursuits, but nothing fulfilled. Not even religion. It was all vain distraction.

But then, He found me.

I met mercy and forgiveness on the road to grace…

How often I miss the splendor of God’s glory passing by, what He is doing and calling me to, because it isn’t wrapped in the earthly trappings I expect or want. Of the people who did recognize Jesus as Messiah and greeted Him with palms and called Him King of Kings, I wonder how many had the revelation that the road led to the cross? Death before resurrection…

Hey heart, do you turn aside when the road goes uphill, or against your will to the place of self death and sacrifice?  Do you hold out when you are called to be poured out and lift others up to Christ?

Because He is risen I have…

Click here to continue to Reflections

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Am I Enough?

“Am I enough?” He said.

“Yes, Lord. Of course, You are enough.”

“Then stop making excuses. Whatever you lack, whatever your need, I Am enough. Come to me.”

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You don’t have to be a victim of your failures, shortcomings, or circumstances. Every obstacle, every failure, every defect, every unmet need is a chance for Jesus to move on your behalf, to prove Himself in your life, and bring Him glory. Your defeat is Jesus’ opportunity to bring victory if you give yourself to Him. He is the God of the turn around, the God of a new beginning…. Click here to continue to, Am I Enough? 

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Copyright 2017, 2018   Rachael M Colby    Tattoo It On Your Heart

Broken

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Lazy rays of afternoon sunlight stretched across the beach, the relentless waves strewing shell and stone along the shoreline. I bent for a beautiful shell partially buried in the whirl of sea and sand encircling my bare feet. It was broken. Disappointed, I flung it back into the angry waters. As it left my hand God spoke to my heart.

“Aren’t you glad Jesus doesn’t treat you like that?”

Jesus walks through the sea of humanity, intentionally seeking the broken, the flawed, the less than perfect. He sets out to rescue and redeem the lost, those battered, even shipwrecked, by the storms of life.

Jesus, perfection personified, gave Himself to bring us to Himself. There’s no need to bury my brokenness, or my wrong thoughts, or feel condemned because of them. God is Holy, but I believe He prefers our honest uncensored prayers to an act, or rote religious dialogue. He knows me; He sees me. I cannot hide from Him. I can let Jesus uncover my sin.  He won’t cast me away when I stumble and fall. He loves me anyway.

He loves you too. Do you need to be found?

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalms 34:18 (NKJV)

Sometimes, through no fault of our own, life beats us, leaves us breathless, lying on the ground.

I can give Jesus my sin, myself, and what I’m not meant to bear. He carries me when I can’t walk on my own.

My God is a restorer. That’s why He likes to show up when things are broken. Sometimes He needs to break us, so He can make us again.

It’s by way of the road called broken that I am mended. I am made whole as I place my battle weary sin scarred heart in the hands of my Maker.

He brings purpose to pain. With a touch from His healing hand my heart is made whole.

He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. Psalms 147:3 (NKJV)

He is the designer of our destiny.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

We are His treasure.

Do you want Him?

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. John 6:37 (NASB)

I want You, Jesus

I want all of You

Have all of me

Thy will be done

Have Your way in me

You fulfill me

But I am not satisfied

Empty me

Fill me

Teach me your ways

Oh God, I want to know You

You are my sustenance

My life, my breath, my strength

My friend

My God.

“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:6 (NKJV)

Matthew West – Broken Things 

© 2017  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

Forgive

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Relationship problems are the result of sin played out in that forum. Sin is the culprit- our own brokenness, the gap in our relationship with Christ- where we are, as opposed to where Christ would have us to be.

Sometimes I catch myself praying for God to change circumstance and behavior when what is needed is for God to change hearts. Our actions and reactions are merely a symptom of the problem. When God transforms a heart, the change will spill out to influence all circumstance and relationships. We need to treat the root, not the fruit, if we want true and lasting change.

When I focus on my unmet needs, nobody’s needs are met, because no one is serving. I’m just having a self serving pity party. If I want to see change, then I must change, and the only way that will happen is if I let Christ have His way in me. I must give Jesus the reins of my heart.

“Will the tears ever stop, Lord?”

You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? Psalms 56:8 (NKJV)

“Sometimes I think that must be a really big bottle, Lord.”

But to forgive the incessant provocations of life- to keep on forgiving the the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son- how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning what we say in our prayers each night,“forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.” -C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Forgiving means letting go of offenses, not holding it against the person. It means wiping slate clean, canceling the debt, not retaliating.

What if I dared to speak the words I’ve never said?

What if I set them free from the captivity of silence?

Would the chains of pain be broken?

Or would the weight of regret be too great?

For once let loose I cannot call them back.

 “Lord…?”

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.Isaiah 53:7 (NKJV)

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-  …A time to be silent and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 7 (NASB)

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.Psalms 141:3 (NKJV)

Extending forgiveness requires humility, putting aside my pride, emotions. It means valuing relationships and being right with God over my rights.

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”Matthew 18:21-22

Life is too short and eternity is too near to be easily offended by those I am called to love. Bitterness is like barbed wire around a heart. The walls I build to protect my heart are the same walls which keep Christ and His healing out.

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:31-32

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.Psalms 147:3 (NKJV)

Rather than trying to fix others, I need to fix my relationship with Christ. When I let Jesus overhaul my inward man, the core of me, many of my relationship problems resolve themselves. He is the restorer.

Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Matthew 7:4 (NKJV)

As the old song goes, “It’s not my brother, not my sister, but it’s me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”

I’m guilty, Lord.

Here I am

Forgive me

Heal my divided, renegade heart.

Deliver me from myself, my sin.

Change me, Jesus

I long for one accord with You

But I fail; I fall

Remember,

I am dust, Lord

Help me

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. II Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

You are The Way

Have your way in me

Burn up the dross

Make me pure

I want to love like You

Refine me until I reflect You

Jesus, my heart’s desire and delight,

Song of my soul

Form Yourself in me

I want to be one with You

Standing In The Need Of Prayer (Live)

I must extend forgiveness if I want to be forgiven, even if the other person is wrong and unrepentant. This requires a supernatural enabling.

How I forgive others = God’s grace extended to me in forgiveness

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15

To be Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because Christ forgave the inexcusable in you. -C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Many times what God asks of us is impossible. He knows we will fail in our own strength. He want us to acknowledge our brokenness, failures, our need, so He can change and empower us.

Matthew West – Forgiveness (Lyrics)

Jesus didn’t just die for those who would accept Him. He paid the penalty for all the sins of those He knew would reject Him too. The sins of all humanity were borne on the shoulders of the great I Am.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

Jesus did His part. He paid the price and provides forgiveness- it’s available up front, but we must choose to accept or reject it.

We must let go of unforgiveness, of sin, if we want to receive the forgiveness He offers. We can’t hold on to both.

The reason people mistreat others is because of what’s broken in them. If I focus on their need for healing, the injustices I receive will be so much easier to bear. When I really pray for someone, not just for my vindication or relief, I find God gives me the heart, the grace, to forgive them. And besides, I need forgiveness too.

Regardless of the behavior of others, if I forgive them and yield to God’s refining of my heart and character through the circumstances in my life, I will be rewarded with a closer walk with Jesus and the peace that comes from a right heart.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. Psalms 28:7 (NKJV)

Love is forgiving. Love is serving. We are commanded to love. When I set my heart and mind to love and serve others as Christ calls me to, even if it is unrequited, Jesus will fulfill me. There is joy and contentment when my heart rests in Jesus’ hands and I walk in His ways.

Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7 (NASB)

Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Matthew 5:8 (NKJV)

Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9 (NKJV)

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The Story Behind the Song, Forgiveness –Matthew West

Robin & Spencer’s Story

On January 26 2002 my life changed forever. My son Spencer Macleod was brought into the ER where I was working as a nurse, barely clinging to life from a stab wound to the heart. He was pronounced dead fifteen minutes later. It was then that I discovered his identity. He died coming to the rescue of…Continued at:  http://spencersmom.com/the-story/

©2017 Rachael M Colby    Tattoo It On Your Heart