How a Mail Carrier’s Mistake Saved Me from Suicide

Disappointment set in when there was no response, but I figured the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association had thousands of correspondence to monitor a day and probably wouldn’t see mine.

“Lord, I just want some of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association team to see my article and be blessed by what I said about Billy and their magazine.” I prayed when I tweeted the link to my 2018 blog post entitled What #BillyGraham Meant to Me in answer to a #HealthyFaith Chat question on Twitter. 

Several days later, I was stunned to receive the following message from BGEA’s Twitter account:

“Hi Rachael! I’m a website writer at Billy Graham. My team recently came across your incredible testimony involving Decision magazine, and we’d love to have an interview with you and write an article. Is that something you’d be willing to do?… — Lizzy Long”

Continue reading “How a Mail Carrier’s Mistake Saved Me from Suicide”

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)”

Threats to the Church & Keys to Revival

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The onset of the year is a good time to acknowledge the challenges we face, the changes needed, and to look to Jesus through whom we are more than conquerors. The last two articles in my 2018 series of interviews with pastors and pastor’s wives—have bled over into 2019. So, please, grab your favorite hot cup of comfort, pull up a chair, and let us listen to the words of wisdom offered by these mighty ministers.  

How do you feel about the spiritual and cultural climate where you are pastoring?

Pastor Kevin Obermeyer:  I think there is a huge spiritual battle going on, and Christians are losing ground rapidly.

Pastor’s Wife, Janet Foley:  I feel like the Gospel is often misunderstood and disrespected. I feel a bit intimidated here to share the gospel, more than other places. There is a lot of witchcraft, new age religion and political correctness here. A lot of ex-Christians, a lot of drugs too. Pot has been legal here for a few years so many people are hooked on it as well as methamphetamine. There’s also a lot of spouse-swapping, (married people who exchange for fun), which really freaks me out. Ugh.

Pastor Pablo Catala:  I think it has been diluted and stained with perversion and sin unimaginable.

Pastor’s wife, Sophie Foley It’s a breath of fresh air where we are pioneering. This is such a culturally diverse area, that most people have either not been exposed to Christ and so have no formed opinions and are open. Others have been raised with a respect for church so they are receptive and respectful of both the church and the role of the pastor.

What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today?

Anonymous Pastor, Kathmandu, Nepal:  Complacency.

Pastor Tim Schmoyer:  Consumerism is the biggest threat. Seeing church involvement as one of the many choices in the buffet of life.

Janet Foley:  Political correctness, compromise, complacency. Too much activity without true relationship with Jesus.

Pastor Kevin Obermeyer:  Secular worldviews, worldly attitudes, Biblical illiteracy, and ignorance.

Sophie Foley:  Emotional indulgence. People are so very fragile now, and when it comes time to speak a bit of caution or direction, the confrontation of it is no longer acceptable and they leave for churches that never confront.

Also, media. We are a generation so connected to our devices, and yet we are steeped with loneliness and depression, which causes us to withdraw and avoid dealing with the social interaction of church services. We have several people who want to come but are easily distracted, or too emotionally distraught, so they stay home and binge movies, and then feel terrible and it becomes a vicious cycle.

Pastor Pablo Catala:  The biggest threats to the church today are dead religion and homosexuality. Why do I say this? Continue reading “Threats to the Church & Keys to Revival”

Wishing You a Holly, Jolly, Holy Christmas (Guest Post on Southern Ohio Christian Voice)

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Thanks to Janet Foley for my snowy portrait graphic.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to juggle writing, family, and church, without dropping the ball before Christmas got added to the list. My first impulse is to run and hide from this whole messy madness called Christmas in America. Right now, I’m busy procrastinating  to avoid it all…

Honored to have my article published on Southern Ohio Christian Voice. Please click HERE to continue reading, Wishing You a Holly, Jolly, Holy Christmas.

Continue reading “Wishing You a Holly, Jolly, Holy Christmas (Guest Post on Southern Ohio Christian Voice)”

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?”

GPS – God Positioning System

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The sky darkened and I tensed, gripping the steering wheel harder as the rain began to fall. I’d done fine on the morning ride to drop my son off for an out of state science class. The route was no different now as I drove to pick him up, but I hate big highways and unfamiliar roads, and the inclement weather just added to my anxiety.

Continue reading “GPS – God Positioning System”

A Father to the Fatherless

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_A_Father_to_the_FatherlessOur culture spends a lot of time demeaning men and undermining the importance of the role of fathers, but wonders at the staggering numbers of fatherless and troubled children. To the fathers out there who stick it out and stand up for their families, and to the men who have stepped up to the plate to fill someone else’s shoes—thank you. You play a vital role not only in your family, but your positive impact is felt throughout society.

My heart aches for those who do not have a father in their lives or perhaps not a good relationship with them. My parents were divorced and I remember the longing and loneliness of watching friends make cards for Mother’s Day while mine was overseas and I had little contact with her at the time. Some feel this emptiness because their parent has died, is not a part of their life, or is physically present but emotionally absent. For those, Fathers Day can be hard. Or perhaps you know a dad who is not shouldering his responsibilities, or doesn’t know how to be a father and needs someone to come alongside and help him. I’m hoping if you know of such a person, you will consider reaching out as a friend or father figure. Continue reading “A Father to the Fatherless”

From One Mess to Another

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_aaron-burden-97558-unsplash_From_One_Mess_to_Another“And I look around at all these wives and mamas who got. It. Down. Seriously, I’m surrounded by women who don’t just impress me. They terrify me with their apparent perfection,” said my friend, Rebekah.

“Beauty is being real—and letting Jesus do His thing. He’s the master builder, we’re His work in progress. Building sites and renovations and restorations are noisy and messy.

Wanna know something else? There’s a whole lot of people out there who look perfect and orderly on the outside but down where no one sees they’re hurting and all busted up in disarray, they’re rotting from the inside, full of black mold—it’s just not visible yet. And they don’t know it’s okay to let it show, to let the sunshine and the Son shine in until they see some Real in someone else and how Jesus can love us from right where we are and…” CLICK HERE to continue reading this conversation with Rebekah Love Dorris, entitled, Confession Time, originally posted on her site:  everywisewomanbuilds.com

 

© 2018 Rachael M Colby      Tattoo It On Your Heart

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

#whyiteach

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I received the following messages from a friend who is a teacher. She wishes to remain anonymous.

TEACHER:   Texting you this… Need people to help remind me why I teach when I’m having bad days.

Teaching is one of the hardest jobs. You rarely ever get kudos. You mostly hear what you are doing wrong.

So, in those rare moments when the smoke clears, and you see what truly matters, and you see the little things you do, and the impact they can have, that is the gold you have to hold on to—or you will quit.

*Per request, I have re-posted this article from 2017 in honor of  #TeacherAppreciationDay and #TeacherAppreciationWeek Please take the time to encourage teachers, not just this week, but throughout the year.  

So Far Today:

I comforted and prayed with a teacher who just had a miscarriage.

I’m standing in the hallway welcoming students, hustling the stragglers to class. Glancing in my classroom, I realize one of my boys is crying. I motion him to come into the hall and he tells me his aunt died from a stroke last night. We talk, I give him a hug and help him grieve. He gives me permission to share with the class. His friends quickly change seats and circle him. No talking or touching; they are middle school boys after all. They support him by just being there. They take out paper and write notes of encouragement—without any prompting. #proud #whyiteach

All before 9:30am.

11:20am Update

Another student running up and down the hallway screaming and crying. Counselor trying to help. He refuses… I step into the hallway, take his hands, have him take deep breaths with me to calm him down so he can talk to the counselor without screaming. #whyiteach

Teaching is never about the subject you are teaching. It’s about showing compassion, how to grieve, process anger, express joy. So much emptiness and anger in my students— they just don’t know how to handle life. Happy that I can be here to help them.

Remind me of this when I’m having a really bad day.

Anyone who becomes a teacher because they want kids to learn a subject is missing a huge piece of teaching. I went into teaching because I want to teach children how to successfully live their lives, process emotion, and become productive people. The subject I teach has so little to do with what I really do.

“When will I use this?” they say.  (Algebra, science, etc..)

The answer is: “Who really cares? Will you remember that I taught you compassion when your classmate’s aunt died, that I held your hands when you just couldn’t take another step, that I told you I care about you?”

And yes, of course, I’ll give you another chance when you screw up yet again in my class, because this is #whyiteach.

Update 1:00 pm

Two boys try to fight in my classroom. Calmed them down and talked to them. One of the boys tells me he’s not really mad at the other kid. He just watched his dad get arrested and he’s really upset… Sigh.  #whyIteach

At lunch, the boy whose aunt died comes up to me. “I’m doing better,” he says quietly, and dashes away.

Last Block:

The boy who was crying and screaming in the hallway comes to class. He’s smiling now, and we’re just figuring it all out. It’s a good day. #whyiteach

I know I could get a job in a better district. My family asks me why I stay all the time.

“Who’s going to teach them if I don’t?” I reply.

“Someone will,” they say.

“But will they care about them? Will they pray over their desks? Will they cry over them? Will they love them?”

I can’t walk away from these kids. Many of them don’t have adults that truly care. They are used to being thrown away, adults not sticking with them. I can’t be one of those people. Teaching is a calling, not a job. I have to teach them how to be cared for and to care for one another, to create community in the classroom. Once I’ve done this, and only then, can I actually teach them any academic content with success. This usually takes a few months to establish.

I have to teach them, I don’t know if someone else will care for them like I do. #whyiteach

A Few Weeks Later:

TEACHER:  Why do I teach again? My head hurts, my neck aches…

RACHAEL:  Because it matters—maybe for eternity for some of your students. Even though you don’t see it now.

Because they need you even when they don’t want you.

Because you may be the only love, the only Jesus, some will see today and over the next few months.

Because you have to. It’s your calling.  #makeadifference   #youmatter

Because it costs more to quit than to carry on. #whyyouteach

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NKJV

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strengthTattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Heroes_Among_Us
is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2nd Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

 © 2017 Rachael M Colby       Tattoo It On your Heart

Important Announcement 

Dear reader,

It has come to my attention that those who read my post entitled, Herald, and also, What #BillyGraham Meant to Me, and perhaps prior postsin their emails rather than on my website, may not have realized that several of what appeared to be still photos are actually videos. If you click out from the email to read my posts on my website, there are arrows on the photos which indicate that they are videos. Apparently that doesn’t show in emails. I am so sorry I didn’t catch this sooner.

Also, the black box that says, Tattoo It On Your Heart, mid way through Herald is a podcast, (audio with music and sound effects and me reading my poem, He is Risen). 

In my Billy Graham post, there was no text with the link in the videos listed under Resources, so some may have mistook those for still photos as well. I did include a text link for the videos included in my actual Billy Graham story, as I usually do in all my posts, but I did not under Resources. Hopefully those who read my post in their emails noticed the links to those videos and all the others in prior posts.

To avoid these issues in the future and so you don’t miss out on any announcements, promotions, updates to posts, or content in the sidebar and other pages on my website, I will be changing the settings for posts received via email. In the future when you receive my posts by email, they will only include an excerpt of the post with a request that you. “Click here to continue reading this post.” This will take you out to my site which will give you access to the most updated version of my post and site and to resources on the other pages. I plan to add a Q&A and a Resources feature to my site soon.

Until I make these changes, please click the title of my posts in your email as that will also take you out of the email to my site to read posts.

*If you read my prior post, What #BillyGraham Meant to me, you may have noticed my whopper of a typo. If so, sorry about that. I’ve corrected it. Must be that staying up writing until 3 o’clock in the morning makes for a fuzzy brain. If you didn’t catch my error—whew! 😉

**If you haven’t yet read my Billy Graham post, or you missed out on some of the videos, please click here to link to:  What #BillyGraham Meant to Me

***If you haven’t yet read Herald, or if you missed the videos and podcast in it, please click here to link to:  Herald.  

Thank you for being a part of my writing journey. God bless you. You are in my prayers.

Rachael

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