“You’ll like this one,” she said as she thrust the sign in my hands and ran off into the crowd, leaving me in a dilemma. I attended the peaceful anti-racism protest organized by friends of my 17 and 21-year-old children to keep a watchful eye for any trouble, to support those involved whom I love, and to learn. Well, it was a peaceful protest until it got a little hairy for a bit when a couple women attempted to take over the protest while hurling a high decibel disrespectful tirade of questions and demands at the law enforcement officers standing in front of the state police barracks where the march ended. “Once the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace,” the quote on the sign I held read.Continue reading “Protesting Prejudice, Pursuing Peace”
It is my honor to introduce you to United States Army Chaplain, Brad Lee. Chaplain Lee is a husband and father of six, and a writer with a forthcoming book inspired by his journey with his young son who has Downs Syndrome and Autism.
In Part 1 of this two part conversation, Chaplain Lee shares the road that led him to become a chaplain in the U.S. Army, some of the adventures, challenges, and opportunities he encounters as he serves our country and our soldiers, as well as some powerful thoughts on and wise counsel to our nation.Continue reading “Part 1: A Conversation with U.S. Army Chaplain, Special Needs Parent and Writer Brad Lee”
Jesus Is – not just for Easter! (And neither is my recommended series suitable for family viewing at end of this article.) But first I’d like to share:
Honored to have my article, Reflections on Grace, featured on Southern Ohio Christian Voice: “Sometimes we miss the splendor of God and what He is doing when it isn’t wrapped in the trappings we expect or want….Do our desires focus more on God prospering us in worldly wealth and meeting physical needs and wants, while we turn a blind eye to our spiritual poverty? Are we more enamored with position and possessions and traditions of men than the greatest gifts—God’s grace, salvation, and Christ Himself?” Click HERE to continue reading my guest post, Reflections on Grace, on Southern Ohio Christian Voice.
The following piece, Jesus Is, is an unfinished project. It’s going to take a while to complete all the ideas I have for developing it, but I decided to share it as is for now.
A friend and fellow writer put out the challenge to fill in the blank in a Tweet with the following words, “Jesus is______.”
I replied with my short answer. Here is my long list in progress. In these turbulent times we need to remember who God is and that He is in control. We can find calm amid chaos, comfort during crisis, peace in a panicked world because:
ALPHA, He is the Almighty, Anointed One. — JESUS is Alive! He is my All-in-All. He is the Answer, and the Answer for All That Ails Us. He is Adonai.
HE is —
BEAUTIFUL and Blameless; He is Bulwark and Bastion. He is the Balm of Gilead. He is our Banner. He is the Bridge and the Bridegroom.
And HE is —
COMING!—Are you ready? — He is the Christ; He is the Cure. He is Creator and Cornerstone. And yes—JESUS is My Crutch. I like to lean on Him.
HE is the —
DESIRE of Nations, the Divine Deliverer, the Designer of our Destiny. He is the Devil-damner and the Defeater of Death and our great Defender. He is The Dayspring; He is The Door.
JESUS is —
ETERNAL, He is Everlasting, He is Emmanuel. He is the Exonerator, He is Everything We Need, He is Elohim. He is Enough.
JESUS is —
FATHOMLESS, He is Faithful, Friend, and Fortress, He is Faultless.
JESUS is —
GOOD and Glorious; He is the Gracious God. He is the Grave Robber, the Gateway, and the Great Physician.
HE is —
HOPE for the hopeless, Help for the helpless. He is our Healer and Hiding Place. He is the Hell-raider; He is our Hedge. He is Humble; He is Holy.
JESUS is the —
INITIATOR. He is the Intercessor. He is Indescribable, my Inspiration. He is Indomitable, Incomprehensible, Invincible. He is Infinite, He is Inimitable. He is the great I Am.
JESUS is —
JUST, He is the Judge. He is Jehovah. He is my Joy.
HE is —
KING of kings, He is the Key, He is Kind.
JESUS is the —
LOGOS, the Light of the World and a Lamp to our feet. He is Life. He is the Limitless Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah, the Lord of Lords and the Lilly of the Valleys. He is Lowly, He is Love and He is the Lover of my Soul. —Do you know Him?
HE is the —
MAJESTIC Messiah, Mighty God, He is our Maker He is our Master. He is the Mender of the Breach, the Mediator. He is Merciful; He is Mine. —Do you want Him too?
JESUS is —
NAME above Names; He is Never-failing, Never-ending.
HE is —
OMNIPOTENT, Omnipresent, the Omega, the Overcomer.
JESUS is the —
PRINCE of Peace, the Pardoner, the Propitiation. He is my Protector and Provider. He is the Purpose. He is my Passion and the Possessor of my Soul. He is Perfect.
HE is the —
QUALIFIER, the Quencher of Thirst, the Quaesitim.
HE is the —
RIGHTEOUS Redeemer and Restorer. He is Royal; He is Regal. He is The Rock and The Reason. He is the Rose of Sharon, He is my Resting Place. He is Risen!
HE is the —
SON of God. He is Sovereign. He is Servant and Savior and Sanctifier. He is The Steadfast Sustainor, a Strong Tower, a Shield. He is the Satan-stomper and the Storm Stiller. He is the Shepherd of my Soul. He is our Strength. He is Sufficient; He is Supreme. He is our Salvation.
JESUS is —
TRANSCENDENT, He is Triumphant. He is Truth, He is My Testimony.
HE is the —
UNDERGIRDER; He is the Underpinor. He is Unprecedented, Unparalleled, Unfathomable, Unfailing. He is Unmatched.
HE is the —
VINDICATOR. He is Victor. He is Virtuous.
HE is —
WORTHY, Wise, Wonderful. JESUS is The Way and the Way Maker, and the Wellspring. He is The Word.
JESUS is the —
X in CHRISTMAS. He is Xristos – Χριστός
HE is —
YESHUA and Yahweh.
HE is —
ZION and He is The Zenith.
JESUS is ____
HE is Risen
Inspired by a sermon on early Christian church history which tells of believers greeting each other with the words, “He is risen!” and their response of, “He is risen indeed!”
I tried to quell the yearning for a greater something, a purpose greater than the here and now
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 way called grace
Mercy withheld judgment
Forgiveness wiped away my transgression
Grace translated me from servant to friend, from abandoned to adored
Do you want this?
God created you for Himself, for Heaven
That is why everything else misses the mark—just as we do
I fall short, but Jesus is the difference maker
Yes! My Creator is my crutch. I like to lean on Him
He is my healer, redeemer, restorer.
He is the Way and the way maker.
He wants to be yours too
I am a riverbed whose banks cannot contain the rushing water
He rains on me; He reigns in me.
He compels me
But I do not walk alone
Here is a highway.
This is my rooftop
Can you hear me?
Do you know my Jesus?
Because He is risen, I have hope
Because He is risen
I know Him
Because He is risen
I can come boldly before His throne
I do not fear death
Because He is risen
I have been translated
From dead in my sin to alive in Christ
From slave to set free and daughter of the King
From bound for Hell to Heaven bound
He is risen indeed!
This world is not my home
It’s just the road to where I’m going
Heaven is my home, and Jesus is my prize.
The Chosen TV Series – A good choice for the whole family!
The Chosen | Official Trailer HD “The Chosen is the first-ever multi-season series based on the true stories of the gospels of Jesus Christ. It is the #1 crowd-funded media project of all time.”
More information about The Chosen here:
May you know Him, His comfort, and blessing more fully in this season and beyond. – Rachael
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© 2020 Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On Your Heart
Missionaries upend and sometimes risk their lives to serve the Gospel in restricted nations. They are often bold in the face of opposition, while many people in America display passivity in the face of peace, and take for granted our freedoms rather than being grateful for them. American Christianity is uncomfortable with inconvenience. I pray these messages from missionaries who left the comforts and security of their homeland to proclaim the message of Jesus’ love, deliverance, and salvation, will stir your heart.
Anonymous Former Missionary to China: Sharing the Gospel wherever you are is all about leaving the comfortable whether it’s leaving our home or going beyond ourselves. Compassion and caring for people can awaken anyone to go beyond intimidation and our own limitations. We were missionaries in China for four years—that was our commitment. We had a house church, although a lot of our missionary friends had their church in a building. Continue reading “Messages from Missionaries”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. ―Martin Luther King Jr.
The King of all creation, Jesus, shouldered our sin and calls us to bear one another’s burdens.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 (NKJV)
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)
bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:13 (NKJV)
So, why are we shouting?
But avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness. 2 Timothy 2:16 (HCSB)
I’m truly sorry for those who suffered and suffer at the hands of others. We must speak out and stand up against injustice for if we say nothing and do nothing when we are called to stand and speak we become part of the problem. We must take responsibility for our wrong actions and when we are treated unjustly we must remember that reasons aren’t excuses for wrong reactions. We must learn from the past, but live in the present and take steps toward a better future.
..in the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream, speech
“the time is always right to do the right thing”―Martin Luther King Jr.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ―Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34 (NKJV)
We are not our skin; it’s just the stuff we live in. Strawberry, lemon, chocolate, vanilla—let us savor the flavor in each other’s cultures.
Some believe themselves superior while exhibiting inferior behavior toward others. With large mouths, shriveled hearts and tiny mindsets they eke out finite lives in their effort to undermine noble ones. Others say they want equal rights but demand special privileges.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” ―Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
What if instead of looking out for ourselves we looked out for each other?
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)
The Bible says:
The Great Seal of the United States of America says we are. “E Pluribus unum, out of many, one.” Our pledge of allegiance states, “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” and our national motto says, “In God We Trust.” But when we seek our own and trust in man, as some do, we end up divided. See, the Gospel has the answers—it is the answer for all that ails us.
But I think we need to focus less on racism specifically because it is a symptom, just like every other sin, of a sinful heart—and the only thing that will change that is a heart changed by Christ. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer in Threats to the Church and Keys to Revival
We are meant to marvel at the majesty of the Creator in His creation.
There is a root that sustains
There is one Vine—
How marvelously He colors our lives with vibrant brushstrokes of many hues—
Facets of Himself reflected in our differences
Let us recognize our common ground
The ongoing work of the The Master Artist.
Portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. by Jean Colby
Link here to read: One Blood, A Civil Rights Story, as told to me by Jean Colby, my mother-in-law and Sara Clay, my sister-in-law about their experiences as Civil Rights activists, about the March Against Fear, MLK, and James Meredith. (Scroll down in my post, See, Stand, Speak.)
Click here to read, Threats to the Church and Keys to Revival, featuring interviews with pastors and pastor’s wives to see what these great leaders have to say about these questions on racial tensions:
What are your thoughts on the current racial tensions in America? What do you feel has fueled them and what do you think we as a nation and the Church can do to quell this and bridge the racial divide?
…The tensions are high and so political. The whole thing upsets me. People’s lives should never ever be political playing cards, and yet they are. They always are. I believe that what we did during the time of slavery was horrifying and we should not be dismissive of those whom it is still impacting today. I believe…
…My wife is Chicana from west Texas, and I, (though Texan as well), am actually a fifth generation Cherokee that left the… Click here to Continue.
Click here for excerpts from and links to: A Series of Interviews Featuring Pastors and Pastor’s Wives. The final article in the series, which features missionaries, will post in a few days.
Photo credit: Holding Hands, by Renee Williams, featuring Simone & Mac
© 2019 Rachael M Colby Tattoo It On Your Heart
Pastor Schmoyer, were you raised in a Christian home and why did you become a Pastor?
Pastor Tim Schmoyer: Yes, I am very thankful that both my parents love Jesus and raised me to love Jesus, too. I’ve been a Christian for 33 years.
I was 17 when I took a trip with other teen Christians to Israel. We were in the desert at night when the youth leader asked us to surrender something to the Lord. So I thought, I could spend the rest of my life giving up this or that to the Lord. But I needed to give him everything. I didn’t know what that meant until the following week when my youth minister took me to visit a Bible college and while I was sitting in a class, the Lord reminded me of my promise to give everything to Him. Continue reading “The Preacher and the Writer”
What kind of challenges do you face raising preacher’s kids?
It’s hard to remember that they are kids and they are not as far along in their spiritual growth a I am. I need to take the time to train them in the Lord at home intentionally and prayerfully. —Rachel Schmoyer
Having people understand that salvation is personal and individual. And people don’t look at our kids as normal kids. So we have to navigate our children and encourage them on a different scale because they face different challenges than other kids. —Pastor Pablo Catala
Being criticized by others for your kids not being perfect, and having your own feelings of frustration for your kids not being perfect. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer
The expectations put on my children to behave and act a certain way by people in the church was quite a burden to me—honestly one of the hardest things for me to face entering the ministry. Leaving a home church where my kids had family to love on them for who they were and not expect them to act like angels but allowed them to be kids—to a church where adults would yell at them or try to correct them, even if I was right there and had a situation under control, was a total shock. The church we took over pastoring had no small children for quite a while before we came, so they were not used to children being children. I learned to talk to women privately, and my husband to the men, and we explained that our children were our responsibility and that we were accountable to God for how we raised them. That they did not need that burden on themselves, and God will not hold them responsible for our children.
Over time this became much better and as new converts and their children began attending, the church learned to have more grace and realized our kids were actually quite well behaved. I also would like to say that people’s expectations do not mean a pastor or pastor’s wife, or any parent for that matter, need to change to please people’s expectations, but aim to please God. We will give an account to God, not men. Having a little grace toward all the children in the church and treating them the same regardless of their parent’s position would help pastor’s kids to not be resentful later on in life toward the ministry or people. —Anonymous, Missionaries to Kathmandu, Nepal
People expect perfection and have no idea the price that preacher’s kids pay—sharing their parents, their homes, their lives, with the people of the church. They feel they must follow in their parents footsteps and find it hard to be individuals. To be unique. To think independently. People expect them to be clones and to mimic the “party line!” Ha! Oh I could tell you stories . . . —Janet Foley
A Preacher’s Kid Speaks~Pastor John Foley
What was it like being raised as the preacher’s kid, (PK)? What are some the pros and cons?
Pastor John Foley: I was into it. I liked knowing my dad/parents and our family were doing something important with our lives. I enjoyed getting to meet all the pastors and speakers. They were always pretty fascinating people.
The con may be that your dad doesn’t get to clock out and you can end up moving around a lot. Continue reading “A Preacher’s Kid Speaks”
“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?”
I 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
Nicole 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”